Moving prom date not special treatmentIn her June 12 letter (“Would district move prom for Christians?”) Audrey Saltzman asks if a school would change the date [of a prom] for Christian students. The answer is they wouldn’t have to because events such as proms would not be scheduled on major Christian holidays in the first place.In spite of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are treated like national holidays. Christmas is even an official national holiday, and Easter would be also if it did not already fall on Sunday, which is the Christian sabbath.Public offices and most non-retail businesses are closed on Sunday. It was not so long ago when retail sales were severely restricted on Sunday, even for non-Christians. No such deference is given to the major holidays of citizens who may be followers of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or Sikhism.The Muslim students did not get special treatment; they were simply given a small part of the same accommodation to religious observances our society already provides to Christian students. Victor RobertsBurnt HillsEnough effort wasted investigating TrumpAs Paul Tonko’s office will not acknowledge or respond any criticism from his constituents, I must resort to The Gazette, thank you. A message for him follows.Mr. Tonko, you were elected to represent the people of the 20th Congressional District to fight against the onslaught of socialism, the threat of our foreign adversaries, and to look out for their welfare. You were not elected to further your career at their expense. Please, do you’re your job.A Gazette May 4 article says that you want to impeach our president.We need comprehensive immigration, health care reform, infrastructure improvements; to name just a few. What we don’t need is any more wasted taxpayers’ dollars spent on foolish projects such as the bridge to nowhere in your hometown, or witch hunts. Your party just squandered over two years and untold millions of dollars using 19 partisan lawyers, perverted and discredited witnesses, ruining the lives of many along the way, with an investigation based on a lie.It concluded that your president neither colluded with Russia to win the election nor obstructed anything. No crimes, nothing, Paul.Using the same convoluted logic, Robert Mueller used “we can’t prove he’s innocent.” What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?It then would be fair to say, we can’t prove that you are guilty of doing anything good for your constituents save for never attending a funeral of someone you didn’t like.Shameful. Impeach him for what? He ate your lunch?Jane PauzeSpring Hill, Fla.The writer is a former local resident.Who owned land before Israel creationWere it not for the approximately 1 percent of truth in James Van Dijk’s June 15 “Israel Experiment” letter, there would be no truth at all.However, I’m curious about one comment. Who are the people who supposedly owned the land (now Israel) for centuries and how was that ownership established? Howard KaplanClifton ParkMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes I’m a proud resident of Niskayuna and member of the Independence Party and I support Yasmine Syed for town supervisor. As an independent, I support candidates who reach across the aisle and, most importantly, who bring reform and foster good government.Despite the “old guard” trying to stymie her efforts, Supervisor Syed has transcended partisan politics and transformed the culture in Town Hall for the better, ushering in a renewed focus on the needs of residents.Supervisor Syed is a dedicated leader who has a record of fiscal responsibility, increasing transparency and governing ethically. This is why I am voting for Yasmine Syed in the June 25 Independence Party primary and I urge my fellow Independence Party voters to join me.Jeffrey VanhoesenNiskayunaCollins will restore fiscal responsibilityAt a recent town board meeting, Duanesburg Supervisor Roger Tidball announced that the town was going to receive an audit by the state Comptroller’s Office. This audit is long overdue.Several months ago, I asked Mr. Tidball what the town’s surplus was. He responded with an answer of $700,000. When the town financial statements were finally posted to the town website, the real total was in excess of $1.7 million.The town continues to overestimate expenditures and under-forecast revenues. This practice has been going for a number of years by this same group of Republicans. This practice was noted in the 2014 Comptroller’s audit, but the town has continued to ignore this finding. Town taxes could be eliminated for a few years by using surplus funds to avoid levying more property tax. The worst of it is that those surplus funds can be spent with virtually no taxpayer oversight. Mr. Tidball, to my knowledge, has never been on time with the town’s annual audit. It’s due in the Comptroller’s Office by April 30 of the next calendar year. The 2017 town accounting was finally posted on the website in November, over six months late. There is no way to know if it was filed on time.To make matters worse, there is no dissenting voice on this board. I’m hopeful residents will vote for Tom Collins, who will provide an independent voice for our residents. More residents need to come forward to help stop the overtaxing strategies of this group.William H. ParkDelansonThe writer is a former 14-year supervisor of the town of Duanesburg.Gary McCarthy most qualified to lead cityNow that I’m officially retired from the city of Schenectady, I would like to air the complete and honest truth about what really goes on at City Hall. The honest truth is there is no one more qualified nor better suited for the position of mayor than Gary McCarthy. I know this because I have seen it first-hand.The continued economic progress and revitalization of our city over the last several years has truly been exciting to watch. But at this juncture in our history, it’s more important than ever that we also continue to lead the way in energy efficiency and sustainability.In 2018, Schenectady was the nation’s top winner in the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. This was due to Gary’s extraordinary vision of moving our city forward to a more sustainable and energy-efficient future. Under Gary’s leadership, the city has acquired a fleet of electric vehicles, expanded its investment in solar power, and will soon replace all streetlights with LEDs.This is true progressive leadership and part of Gary’s vision that will strengthen our community for future generations. Please join me in supporting Gary McCarthy on June 25.Chuck ThorneSchenectadyThe writer has recently retired from his position as Schenectady city clerk.McCalmon offers a new vision for Sch’dyFor too long now, our city’s leadership has traveled down a perilous path.The path of influence over people. We have seen time and time again, whether the casino, the Yates project or even infrastructure repair, that the interests of the affluent come over the interests of the people in general.Worse yet is the lack of transparency with key votes being scheduled three days in advance to cut down on public comment. The aforementioned Yates project, the demolition of blighted properties that could be rehabbed and sold to people now renting, the high-priced apartments and the bloated rate at which our minorities are arrested on marijuana possession are signs of continued gentrification of our city.On June 25, we have a choice, a choice for change. Thearse McCalmon will reverse these frightening trends, listen to the people, be transparent in governing and most importantly move to procure affordable housing for our citizenry.I wholeheartedly endorse Mrs. McCalmon and ask that you do as well, where it matters most, at the ballot box. We the people can no longer just comment. We must act.Edward Smith, Jr.Schenectady Support Syed in Independence primary Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionMany ways now to define a ’family’As far as I can see, our world is changing. For instance, if we were to talk about family, generally speaking you would say it consists of a married mother and father and their biological children living together under one roof.I don’t think we’ll ever again see the father going off to work and mom staying home. I look at our society and see other forms of family emerging, which makes me wonder how we define family.You have more unmarried couples raising children, more gay and lesbian couples raising children, more single women having children without a male partner to help raise them and more people living together without getting married. It’s amazing to me how far we have come, from when we started with the word, “family.” It’s not for me to judge where all this came from, or where it might be going. But I expect there will be more to come.Walter “Neal” BrazellRotterdamMore to NY baseball than the YankeesI just wanted to remind The Daily Gazette that there is more than one major league baseball team in New York. Every morning, you have a long story on the Yankees, accompanied by a color photo, and you have a much smaller one on the Mets with a score for a headline. Really?How about a little more equality in your coverage. And by the way, the Yankees you keep cheering for haven’t won a pennant in 10 years. Can I remind you the Mets were in the World Series four years ago? One more thing: Your coverage of national major college basketball is also terrible. Alan HartGlenvilleMadigan has served Spa citizens wellIt has been my pleasure to know Michele Madigan for over eight years. Michele is a prudent, progressive public servant. She has served our city as commissioner of finance for almost four terms. I have been impressed by her dedication and hard work on behalf of Saratoga Springs. As commissioner, Michele brought financial reporting and transparency to a new level. She improved the city’s budgeting process and significantly increased the transparency of the city’s finances for all residents. She posted a portal on the city’s website so that everyone can see in detail where their city’s tax and revenue dollars come from and go to. Her attention to the details of the city’s $47 million budget has provided savings and efficiencies. As a result of prudent budgeting, we have predictable expenditures and rock steady tax rates.Commissioner Madigan championed several progressive causes. She oversaw the development of a solar park, funded affordable housing and established Saratoga’s Smart City Commission.I ask Saratoga Springs Democrats to join me in voting for Michele Madigan, commissioner of finance, on Tuesday June 25.Peter MartinSaratoga SpringsThe writer is the commissioner of public safety.