Police can improve relations with civility

*Police can improve relations with civility *Be aware of claims in golf course proposal *Disagree wi
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Police can improve relations with civility

It was very encouraging to read in the April 14 Gazette that residents’ main concerns with Schenectady police are slow response times and the use of profanity.

While the former must be addressed at the dispatch level, the latter is clearly a huge problem nationwide. Virtually all the arrests caught on video recently, including the widely publicized local slapping incident, were peppered with profoundly vulgar epithets.

Since when has this basic lack of decorum and respect for human beings become acceptable? Isn’t it the responsibility of the police force to set the example and not possibly escalate a situation by using such degrading and taunting language?

It would seem that requiring police to tone down the verbal abuse would go a long way toward normalizing community relations everywhere.

Virginia Newton

Glenville

Be aware of claims in golf course proposal

Re March 22 Gazette editorial, “Project would enhance open space on city’s border”: One would have expected The Daily Gazette to take a more critical look at a developer’s word on protecting open space.

Saratoga National Golf Club’s original proposal called for a 100-room hotel, 96 condos, four golf cottages and retail, all not allowed in the rural residential zone in which their property is located. Their proposal includes other things like outdoor winter activities, a golf academy and expansion of some of their existing uses, all of which is allowed. But what they legally can do seems to get little attention.

It’s difficult to imagine how a hotel and condos in a rural residential area can “enhance” open space. Apparently the developer’s representation that they will “voluntarily set aside 378 acres of the property to permanent green space” didn’t require any further questions, such as: Why would a developer “voluntarily set aside 378 acres?” They wouldn’t, of course.

Here’s the truth: Of that 378 acres, approximately 134 are already developed into a golf course, clubhouse and maintenance facility; another 130 acres of the land was already placed in a permanent conservation easement in 2001 when the golf course was built. They were required to do this in exchange for all the wetlands they filled in.

Another 116 acres are “permit restricted wetlands,” according to Saratoga National Golf Club’s own tax grievance filed in 2002. And are we taking their word on the “permanent” part of this? Has the “permanent” easement language even been drafted, nevermind reviewed for legal sufficiency?

Saratoga National Golf Club’s sales pitch must be impressive. They also persuaded The Gazette to opine that a change in zoning for the golf course would mean “a connection to the Greenbelt Trail would be enhanced by kayaking and winter sports.” Another black eye. The hiking trail was also already granted in 2001 when the golf course was built, as was the trail to Lake Lonely for kayaking.

All the above is public record. Saratoga National Golf Club is playing the city for a fool if it can convince the council it is getting something the city doesn’t already have. We will have to see how much of the farm the council is going to give away in exchange for nothing.

The Saratoga National Golf Club is powerful and influential and has the full weight of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce behind it. The people just have themselves and whatever spare time they can afford between work, kids and all of life’s demands. There was a time that the people also had the “fourth estate,” an independent and conscientious press to help offset the power of money and prestige on government.

Theresa A. Capozzola

Saratoga Springs

The writer is a member of 2013 Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Disagree with column trashing Obamacare

Re March 29 Viewpoint, “Five years later, Obamacare still not working,” by Alyene Senger: I object to the opinion of Senger in the form it was published in your newspaper recently. She works for the alleged “Center for Health Policy Studies” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. To call her employer a “conservative think tank” is really a misnomer. It’s just a propaganda site for the right wing.

I don’t object to your paper publishing her opinion if it were clearly labeled as opinion. It was in the Opinion section, but laid out like a news article. The headline did not look like it was opinion. Anyone looking at it would think it was news. The headline was clearly wrong. Obamacare is working and lots of people benefit from it. People who had no health insurance now have it. We can continue to improve various issues, but nothing Ms. Senger says will effectuate improvement. She and others of her ilk are just looking to have it canceled.

People who have it want it better. People who need it want it. The people who don’t like it are the Republican right wing, which doesn’t like anything. There’s your “think tank.”

Andrea Moran

Broadalbin

Funds to fix potholes need to be increased

The March 16 article “Long winter, longer pothole season” was an interesting read. Potholes plague the streets of our cities after the winter months, and it seems as though this season has been especially bad. They serve not only to damage cars but severely slow down the traffic in the cities as well.

The supplemental photograph of the infamous series of potholes on Altamont Avenue in Schenectady depicts some that I drive over on a regular basis. These potholes, and many others in the area, slow down traffic immensely. The traffic jams that result from drivers either slowing down to lessen the damage done to their vehicles, or drivers that have consequently ruined their vehicles on the potholes, can add much more time to a person’s daily commute on these roads.

Drivers are also endangering themselves by swerving their vehicles into oncoming traffic to avoid the potholes.

New York state is funneling an extra $40 million into the $438 million of funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs). This extra funding was designated to fix the extreme winter damage to local roads and bridges that came as a result of the winter months.

The funding is reaching the hands of our local governments. But in 2014 and 2015, the funding for Schenectady County, specifically, was actually reduced in some areas, according to the 2014 Schenectady County Overview. While many potholes were fixed last year, it seems as though many more remain unfixed and continue to get worse. Even given the extreme winter funding, many towns received only a minuscule increase in funding to cover the damages.

Something more needs to be done about fixing these potholes. The state needs to be held liable for the damage done by the roads they govern.

Caleb Hewett

Rotterdam

GOP should not fear Hillary’s candidacy

With Hillary as the Democratic presidential nominee, it should be easy pickins’ for the Republican Party, what with all her excess baggage.

Rich Kiffney

Amsterdam

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