Schoharie County not getting help it needs on flooding

*Schoharie County not getting help it needs on flooding *Comprehensive immigration policy needed

Schoharie County not getting help it needs on flooding

More than four years ago, I advocated for a long hard look to be taken at the creation of wetlands and holding ponds alongside major waterways and tributaries running through Schoharie County.

While I spoke with our representatives at the next levels of government on this issue, my concept managed to capture the attention of Sen. James Seward, who reached out to our Assemblyman Peter Lopez, our congressman, Rep. Chris Gibson, and other state agencies such as Soil and Water, DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation], DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], the governor’s office, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers.

Local supervisors and town board members were invited as well to discuss the necessary solution in overcoming future flooding events. The group was labeled the Flood Mitigation Coalition and it was meeting at least once a month for close to a two-year period, with promises from our assemblyman, senator and congressman that they would knock on all doors to derive the funding to implement corrective measures to safeguard life and limb.

Please be mindful that the Stream Bank Project was not part of this effort at the time it presented itself. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand struggled for the funding to try to help Schoharie County after the flooding in 2011. I must admit that while the coalition was meeting, things were looking somewhat promising and the scheduled meetings were left to our Assemblyman, Peter Lopez, moving forward.

Unfortunately, our county still remains vulnerable to flooding without a plan in place to mitigate.

Mr. Gibson’s platform for becoming a congressman was that Washington was broken and he wanted to be elected to help fix Congress. After two terms, he has decided that perhaps it will be easier to run the state of New Yorkm and now he has decided to run for governor.

Our assemblyman advocated his desire to replace Mr. Gibson, a game of chess continuing. What about the residents of Schoharie County, who suffered extreme losses and struggle to rebuild from the devastation caused by Irene?

If these representatives are not capable of helping safeguard this county, what are their true capabilities? There is no logical reason for this effort to have fallen by the wayside. Perhaps the steadfast senator will read this letter and get everything back on track to protect Schoharie County’s future pertaining to flood mitigation.

Obviously the content of this letter will ruffle some feathers and will promote rebuttal. But these are the cold hard facts and it is my opinion that it is nothing short of shameful.

Gene Milone


The writer the former supervisor.

Comprehensive immigration policy needed

I worked as a border patrol agent on the Tijuana border in the early ‘90s when the border was still hemorrhaging aliens.

It was not uncommon to catch a few thousand aliens in a single night between three border stations that patrolled from the ocean in the west to the Otay Mountains in the east. The general rule was that we only caught about one-third of the traffic that crossed.

When Bill Clinton became president, he instituted Operation Gatekeeper, which finally gave the border patrol the manpower and equipment it needed to effectively enforce the law. It was intended to clamp down on border traffic in San Diego and for the most part it worked. But most of the smugglers and drug runners simply moved east into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Donald Trump has proposed to build a wall to clamp down on border crossings. Clearly, Mr. Trump has never even been to the border, parts of which are cordoned off by a 10-foot fence, which is routinely tunneled under, jumped over or welded through. It is hard to imagine what kind of wall Mr. Trump believes will not be tunneled under or jumped over. This is not an effective solution to our immigration problem.

A better solution to America’s immigration problem is the nationwide implementation of the 287(g) program. A major sticking point in immigration enforcement is that only immigration agents have the jurisdiction and training to determine citizenship, which effectively means that the police can do nothing to illegal aliens except arrest them for criminal violations of U.S. law.

The 287(g) program deputizes state and local police as immigration agents who can determine immigration status and thus arrest aliens illegally in the country. Another sticking point in our immigration strategy is the lack of interior enforcement. Once an alien makes it past the border, they are essentially free of any enforcement activity. In other words, aliens do not fear the police.

The 287(g) program can rectify that. Police officers could determine the citizenship status of aliens they encounter and make arrests for those here illegally, something they cannot now do. Aliens arrested by the police are simply released back into the country once they’ve served their time for any crimes committed.

Securing our border with something akin to the Berlin Wall is fantasy. Aliens will always find a way through. Their determination is not to be under estimated. I have seen cars get airborne over the Tijuana border fence. I have seen fingers ripped off hands caught on the fence. I have watched aliens with welders punch holes in the fence. No wall is too high for the desperate.

We need a comprehensive strategy to solve the problem of illegal immigration. This necessarily includes enforcement of the law in the interior of our country, and this includes the deportation of visa overstays. To focus solely on the security of the border itself is myopic and ineffective.

Lora Como

Ballston Lake

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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