Not Just a Job
had to read Miriam Axel-Lute’s “The Parent Track” article
[Looking Up, Feb. 8] twice because I was sure I missed something,
like the other side of the story. Alas, I did not, and it
was truly a one-sided piece about inequality cloaked in feminist
guise. And while it reads as though the inequality is between
men and women in the workplace, of which she makes a fine
point, she disregards the real-world situations of the co-workers
who are left behind to pick up the slack when Jack and Jill
need “eight paid weeks off (minimum),” or need to “stop home
so their breast-feeding partner can take a nap.” We, as readers,
are to assume in these situations that the deadlines will
just be moved out, or the client will wait patiently until
mommy or daddy comes back to finish the job, or laughably,
that the frequency of these absences will decrease as the
child gets older.
suggestion that we allow special treatment to employees of
both sexes, who in most cases have made a conscious decision
to raise a family (often planning the birth down to the exact
month), is ridiculous. And while mothers are claimed to be
earning 27 percent less, it seems only slightly unreasonable
(I would put the figure closer to 15 to 20 percent) when you
factor in the amount of time they are spending at home for
whatever reason . . . early soccer game, runny nose, midday
field trip to the zoo, etc. The argument could be made that
new dads (as part of the fifth wave of feminism) should then
have their salaries lowered as part of her equal-pay-for-equal-work
scenario. The employees who are staying late, working weekends
and through lunch to finish Jack and Jill’s work, would justifiably
reap the benefits of higher pay.
While she doesn’t state who exactly would pay for this idyllic
parents-only paid leave, I’d have to guess it would be the
government, or worse, employers are expected to foot the bill
in soft-dollar costs, and co-workers in terms of increased
workload. The role of Parent is one of choice and should not
unilaterally garner special rights. She suggests that “it
is possible to allow for many people’s desire for some period
of stay-at-home parenting without pretending there aren’t
gendered baby-care differences.” Luckily, for all of us, there
is a solution and equal among the sexes; it’s called part-time
employment. And yes, your employer’s paid benefits will generally
reflect this new status. Alternatively, there is the Federal
Family Medical Leave Act, which will allow you to retain your
job and grants 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Remember,
that equal-pay-for-equal-work idea?
She does state however that “there is a lot more that would
be needed to actually make our economy fair and family-friendly.”
Fair? Could we apply this concept across the board and suggest
equal health-care costs for HMO “family plans”? Many couples
without kids are currently paying the same amount to HMO plans
as a family of six or more. Furthermore, should we adjust
school taxes so they are based on the number of children you
have in the school system, and not on the fact one merely
owns property in that district? Fair indeed.
While Miriam’s personal situation and solution is unique,
it should encourage others to find alternative solutions to
make ends meet. Want to start a family? Fine, work part-time,
start an at-home business, or quit your job and become a one-income
family. As we all learn, parents or not, life is full of tough
have never read a more one-sided story in Metroland
than your recent cover story on Mr. Sarris and his wildlife
preserve. [“Crying Fowl,” Dec. 14, 2006] If he truly wanted
to be a wildlife preservationist, why did he buy a house in
a suburban, established neighborhood? He had apparently checked
into Clifton Park’s restrictive zoning laws before purchasing
his home. Why didn’t he buy property in a more rural setting—which
would be more appropriate for what he had planned. If he really
is concerned about his ducks and with losing his property,
why doesn’t he just obey the law? Because he’s an ex-cop and
knows what he can get away with?
Terri and Bob moved to a suburban neighborhood (many years
before Mr. Sarris moved there) to get away from the city.
Their home was their refuge—until he moved next door. I know
that Terri and Bob initially tried to work with Mr. Sarris
and discuss rationally his total disregard for the zoning
laws and his continued persistence in feeding and attracting
even more birds. Taking him to court was their last resort.
Do you think they like spending their life savings in getting
this man to obey the law?
Imagine living next door to a neighbor who has a constantly
barking dog, who totally disregards all pooper scooper and
leash laws, and then flaunts it in your face—now multiply
that times a hundred! That’s the hell their life has become.
I have personally seen the negative effects of Terri and Bob’s
continuing saga with their neighbor, and it is nothing to
joke about. They spend as much time away from their home as
they can. Was there a reason why you didn’t mention Mr Sarris’
personal life or where he works? Terri and Bob are a hard-working,
middle-class couple who want nothing more than to be able
to enjoy their home. Your article made jokes about them and
fabricated lies so you can take the focus away from Mr. Sarris’
total disregard for the court system and the laws of Clifton
Park—which is what your article should have focused on.
David King’s Jan. 18 story “Tough Justice,” the quote that
began, “I think Chris D’Alessandro is an awesome investigator,”
was incorrectly attributed to Albany County legislator Frank
Commisso. The quote belongs to Albany County legislator Shawn
In last week’s Art Beat [Feb. 8], the Web site listed for
the EdWood FilmFest was incorrect. The correct Web address
is: www.ew film.com.
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