We’ve already felt retaliation

To the Editor:

I am writing to thank the members of the Guilderland school district, board of education, library board, and community members who worked to formulate the plans for the vote on May 21. I am convinced that my daughter, who is an elementary school student, is an avid reader now because of the countless hours we spent at story time at the library when she was young.

I am also the spouse of Jim Cifarelli, who was interviewed for an article [“Anonymous ‘vote no’ flyer for GCSD capital project echoes the one from last year,” May 21, 2019] in this newspaper this past week because he was not afraid to voice his concerns over these proposed budgets.

For the last few months in our household, we have agreed to disagree about this vote. However, I fully support his effort to exercise his rights as a taxpayer.

For the last six months, my husband went to board of education meetings and met with school staff and wasn’t afraid to ask hard questions. He did not come to his decisions based on newspaper articles or flyers, but by face-to-face conversations and direct emails.

It’s interesting that people took issue with the “anonymous” vote “no” flyer that was circulated before the vote. I saw many vote “yes” signs around my neighborhood and the town. There was no credit or name on those either, but no one has criticized the anonymity of that author.

To say that the idea of “retaliation” for my husband expressing his opinions is “outrageous” is wrong. We’ve already felt it.

A couple of parents who were once excited to invite my daughter for play dates have faded away. A few people who used to be friendly in the grocery store or library no longer stop and chat. My husband has been yelled at and sworn at. It’s sad and disappointing.

As we celebrate Memorial Day, I hope we can all remember those who died to protect the freedoms we all enjoy — especially that of free speech. And I hope we can live in a kinder community that isn’t so quick to pass judgement on those whose thoughts and concerns differ from our own.

Suzanne Cifarelli


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