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Letters to the Editor for June 14

Thursday, June 14, 2012
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Bloomberg’s plan won’t kill anyone, but supersized sodas do

Columnist John McLoughlin took a jocular swipe at New York City Mayor Bloomberg [June 8 Gazette]. He joined a shadowy business group that recently mocked the mayor in a full-page ad in The New York Times as a “nanny” politician. Mr. McLoughlin also thought the mayor was laughable and behaving like a nanny for attempting to restrict sugared soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per cup in city restaurants.

Moreover, McLoughlin did not admire Bloomberg for having already “banned smoking, trans fats, salt, sugary soda in schools and excessive smiling north of 59th street.” I suppose McLoughlin also thinks the mayor, whom he described as short and having a whiny sing-song-y voice, also behaved like a nanny when he banned smoking in all public places in New York City.

I will do Mr. McLoughlin the courtesy of taking him seriously. There is excellent evidence that obesity is a high-risk factor for a variety of illnesses, including diabetes and hypertension, which kill people earlier than they ought to die, and seriously impairs the health of many others.

There is also plenty of evidence that consumption of an excessive number of calories is related to obesity. There is even evidence that the consumption of supersized sweet drinks contributes importantly to both.

What Mayor Bloomberg has done is take a small but significant, courageous step to protect the public’s health.

ARNOLD Ritterband, MD

Niskayuna

The writer is co-medical director of the Schenectady Free Clinic.

Book on Debs sheds light on labor movement

Thank you to Joseph Seaman [June 2 letter, “Republican knees jerk too quickly over communism”] and Herbert Spencer [June 7 letter, “Socialism was working class’ answer to fascists”] for their informative letters on socialism and communism.

Let’s not forget the fact that Schenectady once had a socialist mayor.

While in school, I learned all about the different wars and presidents of the United States. I was never given one lesson on the subjects of socialism or communism unless the connotation involved some sort of evil, especially in a parochial school setting. Little did I know, at that young and malleable age, that the movers and shakers who designed the curriculum were solid right-wingers.

At one point, by sheer happenstance, I was appointed liaison from a local conservative trade union (and 98 percent of them are extremely conservative) to a local progressive political committee. During one meeting of this committee, I was handed a book called “The Bending Cross,” a biography [of labor leader Eugene V. Debs] by Ray Ginger. The man who handed me this particular book was a professor at SUNY Albany. The book has left an indelible mark on my life and political consciousness and has been a life-changing event.

If only the nuns had made this book available to me and others at an early age, the results may have been even more remarkable.

John Newell Jr

Amsterdam

Be safe, steer clear of Batchellerville Bridge

As a resident living near the Batchellerville Bridge in northern Saratoga County, I am so tired of the lack of civil behavior displayed by drivers wanting to cross our one-lane bridge.

Recently I was third on line, waiting on the north side to cross over the bridge, when our light turned green. I know that should normally mean “go,” but the oncoming traffic was moving so slowly that they were still on the bridge throughout our green light. The last car finally cleared the bridge after our light turned red. To my amazement, the first car in line started across the bridge against a red light. Red means stop.

The problem is, in their questionable wisdom, the engineers have changed the traffic pattern on the south shore: Drivers waiting there can no longer see if cars are still on the bridge. So we have a driver who does not know color crossing the bridge, and waiting drivers who cannot see this car. Their light turns green and, according to law, they can start across the bridge, only to find their single lane occupied by a lawless driver. I simply cannot wait for the Fourth of July traffic.

Please, please, please:

1) Tell your holiday visitors to get to your Sacandaga residences in any way possible that does not involve the Batchellerville Bridge.

2) Review traffic law. Especially that involving the colors red and green.

3) Understand that just because you have been waiting your turn to cross, you do not have the right to break the law.

4) Drive at 45 miles per hour on the Batchellerville Bridge. Stop on red. This way everyone on the bridge can get off the bridge in time to let the next group go.

You may have to wait to cross this bridge. If you don’t have the patience to wait, don’t use our bridge.

Marilyn Sargent

Edinburg

Damage from suicide bid hardly ‘impressive’

Re your May 22 cover story, “Wild ride sends car through house”: Your reporter, Justin Mason, called Ryan Ramroop’s damage “impressive.” As a resident of the house and victim of the devastation, I believe Ramroop’s disregard for life and my family’s property is anything but impressive. It is disgusting.

Had Ramroop gone on his crusade only a few minutes earlier, before my mother went upstairs to sleep, I would have had nothing left of her — just like I have nothing left of 28 years of memories kept in my childhood bedroom. Had I been home, my mother would have had to bury her only child.

I find it incredibly hard to believe Ramroop was not wearing his seat belt to survive his foiled “suicide attempt” with a mere broken wrist, after sending his vehicle like a missile into the middle of our house and out the other side.

What is most “impressive” (or astounding) about this situation is that the Rotterdam Police Department has failed to charge Ramroop in connection with the incident. After repeated phone calls and weeks of perpetual “investigations” and a telephonic runaround, I write in final plea to the town, state police, and Schenectady district attorney to see that some justice is served for my mother, who has been a resident of the home for nearly 30 years. A speeding ticket will not suffice.

One person’s disregard for their own life should not come at the expense of another’s. As an attorney, I believe in our justice system, but sadly there was no justice here.

Rachael Ward

Rotterdam

First they take our giant sodas, then our speech?

John McLoughlin’s excellent June 8 column on “big gulps” [focused on] yet another upcoming loss of freedom: New York City’s mayor wants to ban soda servings larger than a pint.

Unfortunately, the huge “health at any cost” majority will support this ban and it will soon go into effect. Gone will be the option of two or three people buying a large drink and sharing it.

What’s next? Both free speech and even peaceful assemblies cause stress. Will they get banned in the name of improving our health?

In other words, will we repeal the First Amendment to extend our life span by a few days? I hope not.

Joel Nelson

Schenectady

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comments

June 14, 2012
7:47 a.m.
wmarincic says...

ARNOLD Ritterband, MD

Over the years I have heard studies that eggs are bad for you and the study that saccaran was bad now it is sold under the name of aspartane. Where will it end? How about a large pizza being banned because of the cheese? The governments job is not to control our lives remember that old paper The Declaration of Independence? Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? I am an adult, I can make my own decisions and the decisions for my children I don't need Mayor Doomberg or any government agency making them for me. Stay out of my personal life.

June 14, 2012
7:50 p.m.
albright1 says...

Well stated Wmarincic......it's hard to believe that ARNOLD received an advanced degree with such a shallow understanding of personal freedoms that we are guaranteed in the USA

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