Climate deniers can’t have it both ways

*Climate deniers can't have it both ways *Pay hikes not way to revive the economy *Towns need new w

Climate deniers can’t have it both ways

This note is to all the curmudgeonly climate deniers. Back in February when we suffered through a spate of unusually cold weather, you were champing at the bit to state that the cold weather was absolute proof there was no such thing as climate change or global warming.

The average historical temperatures in the Capital District for the first week in May are typically about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. As I write this on May 8, the average temperature this week is about 82 degrees, a good 16 degrees above the average. You cannot have it both ways, curmudgeons. By your own (misguided) logic, I guess climate change is back on.

I will take it by your silence that you are all now are believers.

Michael Winn

Saratoga Springs

Pay hikes not way to revive the economy

The “April 24 letter, “Higher pay is good for business and economy,” is, I believe, an example of imagined reality. It might be considered practical by a casual reader, but it offers little that is supported by evidence. As a former manager, I think that permits me to suggest some counterpoints to that letter.

It may appear that benefits would flow from a workforce totally supportive of a company’s business goals as the letter contends, but that notion is unrealistic. A workforce is not a uniform mass of contributors.

Workers are individuals who exist in their own worlds of contentment and disappointment. They are primarily invested in their own well-being and have individual attitudes toward work. Some have a passion for their career and gain pride from their labor. Others work simply for money to buy personal necessities. Job morale varies accordingly.

From my experience, very few workers are knowledgeable about business efficiency and profitability. Nor do they care. Their focus is at the personal level — what the job offers to them and their families.

Additionally, an ideal workforce cannot be created by a one-time raising or even doubling of pay scales. A worker’s wages only have short-term motivation. As soon as a worker absorbs a pay increase into his/her lifestyle, it comes time to anticipate another increase. Even in a high-wage environment like that of IBM, workers expect annual pay increases. Such raises are important to a worker’s morale because they indicate one’s personal workplace status and/or recognize one’s personal job performance. They do not necessarily translate into commitment to the business that provides them.

Wage increases are given for many reasons. At best, they are earned through a worker’s increased productivity. They are not a form of largesse that is intended to enrich the community. Business does not exist nor can it afford to sustain local and governmental interests independent of its own production and profit.

Payrolls are not cure-alls for society. Wages and the community economy are certainly related, but the local economy is merely the beneficiary of wage rates. The cart does not lead the horse.

The letter’s erroneous premise of a new economic happiness begs a question. If an ideal workforce is impractical, what is the source of the wealth that business would need to sustain wage rates that “keep on coming” for society? Higher prices? Fewer workers?

Ed Bernier


Towns need new way to balance budgets

A friend who resides in Rotterdam told me he had to pay the $50 “yard waste pickup fee” because he was in Florida and missed filing his notarized refusal of pickup by two days.

His first comment I cannot print. But he did state, “They won’t use the word tax, so they get you with fee.” If you go to Florida (Florida people) take care of town business before you go South. A fee is a kinder and gentler tax.

Compel residents to deal with their yard waste on their dime and time. Be done with it. Painting symbols on the roadway in front of people’s homes is like something they did in Nazi Germany. Stars of David, pink triangles, etc.. Maybe a 666 would be nice in front of some people’s homes.

I understand the town of Rotterdam (all municipalities) are hard-up for creative ways to pick our pockets. Use your imagination, town officials. Cut services. Provide services commensurate with the ability of the tax base to pay.

The Nanny State is everywhere. People want government to provide for their every need, then moan over the cost.

On Election Day, wear a dunce hat into the voting booth, it will help you vote for people who want to spend your money. Then treat yourself to some soft ice cream; it will make you feel good. If you can afford to go to Florida for the winter, maybe you’ve got deep pockets. It is only money — your money.

Edmond Day


Discouraged by code enforcement efforts

Re May 11 article, “Schenectady code sweep upsets homeowners”: My family is in the process of considering a move to Schenectady. We are drawn to the city by its cultural diversity, many resources and reasonable housing prices. We are a professional family with children, and the first reaction we get from nearly everyone has been, “No, not Schenectady.” They talk about the problems in the schools, crime rates and high taxes.

To those people, we have argued and praised the city, praised programs like the arts and International Baccalaureate high school programs, and looked forward to community gardens and engaged neighborhoods. The high tax burden is a concern, but we have pointed out what we will be getting for our money in the community. We are active, engaged citizens who want very much with our family to be part of Schenectady’s bright renewal.

Or we did, until we read Tuesday’s article about code enforcement in Schenectady, ending with a quote by the mayor, saying: “Those individuals that put their interests above the common sense and good of the community, I don’t want them here as property owners.”

I admit, reading that, along with Mayor Gary McCarthy’s implied statement preceeding it (unsupported by any reliable statistics) that code enforcement equals a decline in violent crime.

While there are legitimate reasons to enforce building codes, I failed to read in the article of any mayoral commission to help low-income and elderly homeowners make repairs, or property tax relief for the poorest residents who may have to choose between Schenectady’s high tax rate and maintaining their property. The assumption that one only fails to maintain property because of disregard for community values seems enormously disrespectful, as well as ignorant of the realities of poverty.

And I thought twice for our own family — what happens if a job loss or a medical emergency means we can’t make a major repair on short notice? Moreover, do I really want to live with my multi-racial family in a community that is confused about whether crumbling steps are equivalent to a fire hazard, or that thinks broken-windows policing, which often works in a discriminatory manner, is a good thing for everyone? We are still drawn to Schenectady, but some of my enthusiasm was dimmed by the mayor’s words.

Sharon Astyk


The reason kids don’t know how to write

In response to a donation I made to the scholarship fund of my alma mater, a freshman student thanked me in a note that was poorly printed.

I wrote the SUNY Onenota president Nancy Kleniewski wondering if the college could offer remedial training for students unable to write in longhand.

In a kind, beautifully handwritten letter, she lamented, “On the subject of penmanship, I fear that battle is already lost. Many school districts no longer even attempt to teach cursive writing in the elementary grades. Printing and ‘keyboarding’ are now the preferred communication modes.”

To check this out, I got through to a state Education Department public relations employee, who confirmed this shocking negligence. She said that the New York state education curriculum does not demand the teaching of cursive writing. “They leave that up to the local school districts whether they want to teach it or not,” she said.

No wonder Johnny can’t write.

David Childs


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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