Board wrong to cut STOP-DWI position

The Otsego County Board of Representatives has led the public to believe it saved $65,722 in the 2010 budget by eliminating the STOP-DWI coordinator position, administration costs and community/educational programs. Not true. The $65,722 does not come from taxpayers. By law it is separate from the county budget. The board also led you to believe that the "saved" money could be used to relieve county shortfalls in other programs. Not true. By law, STOP-DWI fine money may not be used to replace any employee, equipment or program previously funded by the county.

By appointing the sheriff as coordinator, the board chose to ignore the ethical opinion of the state attorney general that a conflict of interest occurs when the coordinator of a STOP-DWI program serves as a police officer in that county; even the appearance of impropriety should be avoided to maintain public confidence. The board has chosen to violate 15 NYCRR Part 172, §1197 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, state comptroller's rules and opinion of the attorney general. The board does not listen to its program managers. Why not let the representatives run the programs and save the taxpayers the program managers' salaries? They claim to know more about running the programs than the managers.

I always thought a county manager would be another level of bureaucracy, but maybe the right person and a qualified treasurer, with public service experience, might get the county out of this budgetary crisis _ without using smoke and mirrors to fool the public.

It was a pleasure serving the county as the STOP-DWI coordinator and I am sorry to see the independent, self-sustaining STOP-DWI program being used as a sacrificial lamb at the cost of the safety of the community. Safe travels.

Karen Liddle

Oneonta

Liddle is the former Otsego County STOP-DWI coordinator.

Don't attack science without knowing it

In his Dec. 8 column, Mr. Sears makes an excellent point, but probably not the one he intended. He contends that global warming is a "hoax," based upon the unprofessional behavior of a single research group in East Anglia. From their stolen, personal e-mails, it appears they were not very nice to their scientific competitors. As a scientist myself, all I can say is that basic research can be a contact sport, and not everyone always plays nice. However, whether they were boorish or not has nothing whatever to do with the ultimate validity, or not, of the underlying science. They committed the scientific mortal sin of allowing their pre-conceived ideas to impact their impartiality toward the interpretation of their own data.

Now, the problem with Mr. Sears' column is that he does exactly the same thing. He apparently does not like the implications of global warming research, and so justifies making sweeping scientific conclusions based on the personal indiscretions of a single scientist. First, Mr. Sears is not qualified to make such scientific judgments. Secondly, the scientific conclusions emerging will ultimately stand or fall on their own merits.

What bothers me most about so-called conservative thinking is its eagerness to attack scientific ideas that it doesn't like for social or religious reasons, such as evolutionary theory, or global warming, without understanding the science, much less offering valid competing scientific ideas. To declare that an entire body of scientific conclusions in the field of global warming is a "hoax," based upon the personal e-mails of a single scientist, is absurd. Just because Mr. Sears personally doesn't like the conclusions of the majority of active scientists in the field that man-made global warming is real, does not mean the science is wrong.

Richard Hartwick

South New Berlin

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