Letters to the Editor for April 18
State’s Operation IMPACT not serving inner cities’ public safety needs
Re April 4 article, “Indictments target reputed gang”: Since 2006, there have been four major anti-gang operations conducted in the Capital Region by state and federal law enforcement, two within the past week alone headed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian, respectively.
These conspiracies are remarkably difficult to eradicate. As stated in the Gazette article, the Uptown/Gunners appear to have been active in Schenectady as far back as 2004. The Four Block gang, which was brought down in 2007, appears to have sprung up from remnants of an earlier organization known as the Cleanaz.
I’m a firm believer in finding solutions to community problems like gangs, guns and drugs, at the community level. Programs dreamed up in the bureaucracies of Washington or Albany, and off-the-shelf programs like DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] and its gang equivalent GREAT [Groundwater Recovery Enhancement and Treatment], are simply not effective or even legitimate. Every community and its problems are unique. Solutions must be crafted with that reality in mind.
In January, the Times Union published a letter I wrote urging the creation of a gang task force modeled on the Albany Gun Violence Task Force that began work in November 2007. That group, consisting largely of community stakeholders, spent more than a year facilitating a wide-ranging public discussion on the root causes of gun violence. It solicited public and expert input to develop a well-thought-out report with a full range of recommendations that responded to the unique culture and environment of Albany. Unfortunately, few of its recommendations have been implemented.
In fairness to all, local budgets are tight and the state’s principal local assistance program for law enforcement, Operation IMPACT, does not lend itself to funding community public safety priorities. Operation IMPACT is essentially statistics and photo-op-driven. We should be demanding its complete overhaul. If state money is coming to localities for public safety purposes, it should be spent on what the community deems in its best interest. We certainly appreciate the technical advice and assistance of Department of Criminal Justice Services, but its bureaucrats don’t live in the ’hood. And if gangs are such a priority, why does the state have no high-profile anti-gang program? Is Gov. Cuomo even listening?
Operation IMPACT uses crime statistics to identify high-crime impact zones. In both Albany and Schenectady, the same neighborhoods met that criterion before Operation IMPACT debuted during the Pataki administration as do now. Not one of them has ever [come close to] being taken off the sick list. Analogizing this to the field of medicine, Operation IMPACT is to enlightened and effective public safety policy what leeches are to modern medicine.
Too many Americans on blind-belief bandwagon
It’s always the easy way out to just jump on the bandwagon of current belief on any given topic, basing your belief on minimal knowledge and what sounds right or makes sense to you. Maybe a magazine article, a TV ad, a radio show. Never mind if there is scientific proof for what you believe.
Many things sound true but are not proven. Greenhouse gases are mostly water vapor, CO2 [carbon dioxide] is a small fraction of total greenhouse gases, and man’s contribution is a fraction of that. That carbon dioxide is causing global warming is not a proven fact, yet it sounds right to many who quickly follow where they are led by the global warming crowd.
Cholesterol is another example. There is no scientific proof that cutting your cholesterol lower and lower will reduce heart disease. Numerous studies prove the opposite, yet the unproven theory sounds right and, so, the masses are again led onto the bandwagon and take their drugs.
Don’t take the easy way out: Seek and demand proof before following the herd. The list goes on: secondhand smoke, moderate smoking, salt, animal fats, etc. We are all victims of accepted “science,” which is often the opposite of proven science.
The bigger worry, which many on the various bandwagons ignore, is that at the rate we’re going, we’ll be a Third World country in 20 years or so, mainly due to uncontrolled spending and a failed educational system. This is a chain reaction that is underway, and it will matter little who we elect.
Much ado over crack about Romney’s wife
Re April 13 AP article, “[Michelle] Obama stands up for Romney’s wife”: As if there isn’t enough dirt associated with the ongoing Republican circus, now we have a Democrat strategist [Hilary Rosen] taking a swat at Mrs. Romney.
How dare Mrs. Obama? Isn’t her husband taking much worse swipes at his fellow aspirants to the presidency and they, in return, against him?
Unlike Ms. Rosen, the candidates do not apologize for anything they say about one another — regardless of whether there is a thread of truth attached to their comments. Every so-called “mama grizzly” in the country knows exactly what Ms. Rosen meant, as does Mrs. Romney.
So Mrs. Romney raised five sons. Wasn’t it a bit easier for her, with unlimited resources, to do so, as opposed to a single mother who had to rely on a minimum-wage job with a little public assistance?
Get over it. We have enough to worry about trying to figure out what [Mitt] Romney stands for.
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