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GE still doing plenty of good things in, for, Schenectady

Friday, October 11, 2013
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GE still doing plenty of good things in, for, Schenectady

The Oct. 6 front-page article [“Bright future or dim prospects?”] considering the question of General Electric’s regional commitment seemed long on doubt and short on context.

Changes in economics and business are constant; yet GE continues to do cutting-edge research here, manufacturing here, and, now, global renewable maintenance and observation.

As a kid, I only knew GE as an electronics and appliance manufacturer. Just the fact that it did not collapse in those businesses as international developments competed head-on is remarkable. More remarkable is that we in the Capital Region are home to future-oriented GE investments, not rear-view-mirror businesses that may not be able to continue to compete. It makes it clear to me GE is here to stay.

Our agenda as a community should be to partner with this international and diverse institution as much as possible. Be attuned to its changing environment and build with them as many win-win opportunities as we possibly can.

Schenectady’s leaders seem to get it: Be as competitive a home to, and with, GE, as GE is competitive in its global enterprise. Then the answer to your headline question is answered.

Philip Morris

Schenectady

The writer is Proctors CEO.

Don’t even think of charging $10 for parking

Are the mayor and City Council out of control even considering charging $10 to park for a Proctors special performance [Oct. 8 Gazette]?

I don’t know how far out they plan to charge that fee, but I do know one thing: Tickets for the six-part package performance at Proctors this year are over $600 per couple for “A” area stage seats, and as we participate with a few couples that always go out for dinner and drinks after a performance, having to pay the city an extra $60 to cover the year’s subscription for events will certainly curb my, and I bet a lot of peoples’, appetite.

How far out do they plan to go? Far enough to kill all business at restaurants, the movie theater and State and Jay street business, too? Union Street restaurants possibly? And what about the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sundays around matinee time? You want to charge people to grocery shop just because Proctors is having a special event?

I can think of no better plan to kill the golden goose than this scheme, which is up for vote by City Council on Oct. 15.

Andrew M. Kopach

Rotterdam

McClatchy attack on Obamacare unbalanced

The Oct. 6 Opinion section published three opinion pieces from McClatchy Newspapers on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It was unfortunate that all three columnists proceeded to dump on the act, each in his own peculiar way.

1) Robert Graboyes complained that the act will never allow private innovation in health care and that “the law worsens things considerably by tightly controlling providers, patients and employers?”

Of course, if by “tightly controlling” he means reining in a system that is, by objective international measures, neither efficient nor good at providing preventive care, well, perhaps he’s right.

Graboyes is described as a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. A quick check finds that the Mercatus Center is a conservative think tank which, like many such outfits, has received a big chunk of its funding from the far-right billionaire brothers, Charles G. and David H. Koch.

2) Wayne Madsen opines that the act’s ultimate success will only be due to the health care insurance industry, whose principal lobbyist, Karen Ignagni, according to Madsen, was “a longtime supporter of health care coverage for everyone.” In fact, the private health care insurance industry had been so “supportive” of coverage for everyone that it wouldn’t insure people with pre-existing conditions, charged women higher premiums than men, and made health care costs ruinous for many small businesses and individuals.

For the record, Wayne Madsen is a self-described “investigative journalist.” He is also a conspiracy theorist, one of whose recent “investigations” (a book) claims that President Obama was “inserted” into the White House by the CIA.

3) Finally, Lawrence McQuillan has multiple complaints about the act, which boil down to his view that it is really a behind-the-scenes conspiracy by the health insurance industry to gain more customers and boost profits. Madsen might find a helpful partner in McQuillan, to find out if the CIA was also involved. McQuillan is described as a senior fellow and the director of the Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute.

Here I go again with some pesky research: The Independent Institute is a libertarian think tank which has been funded by such “liberty-loving” institutions as the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the John M. Olin Foundation, both heavyweight donors to conservative causes, as well as by Exxon and Phillip Morris.

It didn’t bother me that all three of these opinion pieces were provided to the Gazette by the same newspaper chain, but I would have been happier if at least one of them had something good to say about the Affordable Care Act and at least one of the writers was not a conspiracy theorist or a beneficiary of far-right billionaires.

The Act is an attempt to provide affordable health care to everyone, as most other nations in the developed world already have. Let’s give it a chance.

Tom Williams

Malta

Indicted only means accused, not convicted

We were disturbed by the wording in your Oct. 2 editorial, “Nightmare on State Street,” in which you declared that “the perpetrators were indicted, as they deserved to be . . .”

While the actions committed on the June night in question were certainly vicious and despicable, it must be remembered that no one has yet been convicted of committing them.

An indictment is not a conviction, and, unless those arrested in this matter are convicted or plead guilty, they are not “perpetrators” — and they retain their right to be viewed as innocent, just like any other citizens.

We hope that, in the future, you will respect the rights of people who are innocent until proven guilty.

Melanie Trimble

Albany

The writer is director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Yield; there’s little point in being dead right

I am a cyclist who has spent many hours riding in varied situations.

When riding, I place myself at the bottom of the pecking order, which includes motorists, pedestrians, runners, roller bladers, animals (leashed or not) and other bicyclists.

Cyclist rights aside, I yield right of way to all for the safety of all, including mine.

Brian D. Koehler

Schenectady

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