Stratton has hardly instilled confidence with Canal Corp. job

Friday, March 1, 2013
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Stratton has hardly instilled confidence with Canal Corp. job

I had to laugh when I read Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton’s recent comments on impending layoffs in his department and the Thruway [Feb. 21 Gazette].

Stratton claims that the loss of 42 lower-level jobs in his department shouldn’t disrupt any operations of the state’s canal and lock system. His past history, however, leads me to believe just the opposite.

Stratton was given his current job at the start of Andrew Cuomo’s term in office as a “thank you” for his work on Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign. At the time, Stratton’s job was considered just a very high-salaried patronage job that required little or no experience, which adequately describes Stratton’s qualifications. Even now, Stratton remains one of the governor’s good “soldiers.”

Unfortunately for Stratton and many people in the Mohawk Valley, we were hit with the one-two punch of a hurricane and tropical storm, and the new canal director’s lack of experience became painfully obvious to the residents of Rotterdam Junction, Scotia and Schenectady. Blunder after blunder occurred as Stratton chose to ignore the warnings and advice of the canal workers and took his direction from the governor’s office, which had the same [lack] of experience.

In the aftermath, many experts believed that had the locks been opened a few days sooner and the construction equipment in the river at Lock 10 moved to open the river channel, much of the destruction down-river may have been avoided.

When questioned by the press following the storm, Stratton was at a loss to explain his action, or rather inaction, to the storms and looked very uncomfortable in front of the cameras. Now Mr. Stratton wants us to believe that losing 42 of the people who actually do the work of keeping the canals and locks operating smoothly will have no effect.

It’s also pertinent to mention that no high-level administrators in the Canal Corp. or Thruway Authority will be getting pink slips; only lower-level union employees, who got their jobs by taking a civil service exam instead of being appointed by the governor or another politician paying off a political favor.

I sincerely hope we have a very quiet storm season this summer for the residents who live along the Mohawk River. I would feel much safer if it had been 50 bureaucrats who were laid off and not the canal workers. No matter how much Director Stratton assures us, I can’t realistically believe him. His track record speaks for itself.

John Angilletta

The writer is a retired state employee and longtime union activist.


Student players surely miss old chess column

Re Feb. 25 article, “Kings, Queens pick up the pieces”: This is exactly why the Gazette should not have dropped Bill Townsend’s “Chess Corner.” As evidenced by the higher number of players in this year’s state Scholastic Chess Championships, the game continues to grow in popularity among young players.

As the adult facilitator of a local public elementary school chess club that completely fills the school library (and is taught by a high school player), I see firsthand the benefits of chess and the enthusiasm brought to the game by young players.

While we in the club are thankful that the Gazette has brought back a truncated version of “Chess Corner,” called “Area Chess,” it misses many of the best parts of the old column — the analysis of a game, the chess puzzle and the list of upcoming events.

The Capital Region has a very large and active chess community and hosts two large state tournaments every year, as well as having three active (non-school-based) chess clubs (Albany, Schenectady, and Saratoga) and numerous chess-themed events throughout the year.

Most prominent among these are the well-attended free monthly chess tournaments hosted by “Make the Right Move,” and the popular summer lunchtime event, “Chess Under the Marquis,” held every Monday in summer outside Proctors.

In an era where budget cuts are slashing money for education, and schools are responding by offering a bare-bones, teach-to-the test curriculum, the exploding popularity of young people playing chess, a game proven to strengthen analytical and higher order thinking skills, is truly a bright spot.

Please reconsider your decision to cut “Chess Corner.”

Michele Calderon


Assault weapon ban the very least we can do

Re Feb. 26 article about Saratoga County leaders backing the gun law repeal — I couldn’t help but notice that amidst all the grandstanding about God-given, fundamental rights, nowhere is it mentioned that the subjects of the law — assault weapons — are solely used to kill people; moreover, as many people as quickly as possible.

Who the heck are these gun owners planning to bear these arms against? Marauding invaders from Canada? Any intelligent person should accept the fact that the creators of the Constitution hardly foresaw the slaughter of modern technology and [should] be willing to limit their abuse.

I realize “the genie is out of the bottle” and the gun lobbies have successfully perverted the system to the point where way too many assault weapons are available to both criminals and average citizens alike, but this law, while not perfect, at least attempts to control them.

We have to start somewhere, and like the Constitution itself, laws often need adjustments and tweaking to best serve the entire population. Amend, maybe, but don’t repeal!

Virginia Newton

Burnt Hills

YWCA celebration was an inspiring affair

While the rest of the world was preparing to celebrate the Oscars, the YWCA of Northeastern New York held its 20th annual Black History and Unsung Heroine celebration Feb. 25 Gazette]. The event celebrated the accomplishments and spirit of African-American women in Schenectady who have given their time, talent and resources to benefit others.

Being an anniversary year, it did not specifically honor a certain woman, but all the women who had won the award in the past. The event did exactly what the heroines are honored for: It inspired, motivated and challenged us to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

[YWCA board member] Marsha Mortimore should be commended for the effort she put into the event this year and years past. The voices of the Duryee Choir were amazingly powerful and 12-year-old Katera Edward’s rendition of “The Greatest Love of All” was moving.

As a previous award winner of the Unsung Heroine award, keynote speaker Doris Belton did not disappoint the audience. She talked about how women come in all shapes and sizes, how far women have come, and how powerful women don’t necessarily wear suits.

To the “phenomenal women” who inspired me on Sunday, I’m looking forward to attending the celebration next year. May this be a sample of what is to come during the YWCA’s 125th anniversary year!

Shannon Kelly


If Obama had told the truth, he would’ve lost

Re Feb. 25 letter, “Forget Kool-Aid cracks, focus on country’s future,” by Diane Hombach: She is correct that more people voted for President Obama, although it is my opinion that if only 2 percent more people fact-checked his rhetoric, he would not have been re-elected.

Here are but a few Obama falsehoods reported by His administration “has created 5 million jobs in the private sector”; we have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas”; and “we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.”

It’s time to move on from blaming President Bush for Obama’s lack of leadership and success at fixing this economy. Maybe he should look at how President Reagan fixed Carter’s out-of-control economy of 15 percent hyperinflation, 18.5 percent mortgage rates and the most bank failures post-Depression in less than 18 months.

I believe President Reagan had it right when he said: “Large government is not the answer, it’s the problem.”

Maryanne Faulisi



Wednesday’s letter by Paul Finnegan asserted that there were more U.S. combat deaths in Iraq between 2007 and 2010 than in the previous six years. That was true of the war in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

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March 1, 2013
3:55 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Re: Faulisi - and of course we would now have a President that told only the truth? Jeeps made in China, for example. Immigration would be solved with self deportation. I would still be supporting the 2% with my hard earned dollars. Oh, if only 2% more of the 47% watched that fair and balanced Fox News and checked their facts on the internet!

March 1, 2013
5:26 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

Janesjoys, you really have no clue about Fox do you. You are the true Kool-aid drinker. Like most liberals you dont understand the difference between the "NEWS" and
conservative programing. When Fox does news it presents the story as is, better then any other network. The anchors of the left wing stations you watch are all lefties as well. They do their part to promote the brain washing you have gone through. When it comes to balance, they go way over board to ensure the lefty loons are on their programs. How many conservatives are allowed a daily platform on your loser stations?

March 1, 2013
7:04 a.m.
muggy says...

Virginia. Why didn't you define the term "assault weapon" in your editorial? Hmm? What exactly constitutes an assault weapon? Do you know that the term was invented in 1989? It is simply a cosmetic definition about the APPEARANCE of a semi-automatic rifle - not the PERFORMANCE of that firearm. It's not a machine gun, which is extremely rare to find and almost impossible to own. I suspect you have a certain amount of naivete or possibly willful ignorance about the term "assault weapon." A gun is no more responsible for human actions than a knife or a car or a lit match. Guns don't shoot people. People shoot people. Cars don't drive drunk. People drive drunk. Knives don't stab people. People stab people.

March 1, 2013
7:36 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I challenge janesjoy to watch one week of Fox News from 7pm to 10pm for one week and then tell me how they don't report fairly. I watch NBC news every night then Fox news, I see how both are reporting the same story.

March 1, 2013
8:14 a.m.
janesjoys says...

It is truly amazing that readers assume what I watch and don't watch. How do you think I even know what Fox is reporting. I actually watch right wing and left wing news and research many websites before making any assumptions on what might be the truth. Perhaps you all should do the same.

March 1, 2013
12:14 p.m.
rsmall803 says...

why would he care? it's just a money job for being one of the governors pets.

March 1, 2013
4:58 p.m.
Phils2008 says...

Well Then Janesjoys give us a glaring example of FOX NEWS misreporting a story. How about one where they doctored the audio or video.CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NYT, Boston Globe to name a few have all had published issues with that. So when Scott Pelley asks John Boehner'
"As the majority leader, dont you think you have a responsibility to lead on this" in reference to sequestration is he being fair? Does he ask Reid? Obuma? No he doesnt. He wants narrowed minded lefties to think Boehner is not doing his job. Who was honest about the Duke rape accusations? Sequestration? The Travon Martin incident? Not those idiot "news" channels you listen too.

March 2, 2013
9:27 a.m.
stockadian says...

Janesjoy, you have to forgive our friends on the right. Look at their lack of maturity. Their blatant name calling is significant to understand them. When was the last time you or I changed someone's name into an aberration of their name the way Phils2008 does above with his reference to the President of the United States as "Obuma"? For me, I think it was seventh grade. And describing highly intelligent news organizations that he happens to disagree with as "idiots" is funny. Of course all lefties like you and me are "narrow-minded" according Phils2008. But apparently, sometimes, our right wing friends eventually get caught in their overt name calling and cross a line, as happened a day or two ago to Wmarincic, when apparently the staff of the Gazette judged what ever comment he made to be over the top and deleted it. (Thank you)
Janesjoy. Keep commenting. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

March 2, 2013
10:05 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Let us not forget the racist call of MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC,and CNN sayint that George Zimmerman was a "White Hispanic" thereby imflaming racial hatred and in fact because of that and the doctored phone all from NBC Mr. Zimmerman had a $10,000 bounty put on his head by the New Black Panther Party. Yet with this administration not only was nothing done to the NBPP about the bounty, nothing was done about the them carrying baseball bats and intimidating voters. As far as stockadian and his comments, there is a double standard at the Gazette. Liberals get a pass as what they say, see he can call me a lapdog and get away with it, where I get deleted. I wonder who the lapdog really is though? I would say it is those that blindly follow a tyrant and try to make the news rather than report it. As this and other liberal news outlets do.

March 4, 2013
7:35 p.m.
Root_Beer says...

John Angilletta has it right about the canal system and politics. The first time we saw there was a major problem a few years ago the moveable dams were not pulled because a "navagable pool" had to be maintained and unfortunatly that navagable pool wound up being Fonda. Anyone who grew up on the river could do a better job than all of Wanna be Pres Andrews cronies. Heavy rain, start pulling gates down stream and go upstream as far as needed. The few boats lost will be far less than the lost homes and property damage avoided.

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