Excited about cage match: Union vs. city

*Excited about cage match: Union vs. city *Niskayuna wrong to fire its rowing coach *Trump rise expl

Excited about cage match: Union vs. city

While I am not a fan of the sport of mixed martial arts, I do look forward to the looming “Cage Match” between the Elitists Progressive Issue Advocates of Union College versus the Elitists Progressive Democrats currently running Schenectady politics.

The challenge: Appropriating other people’s money through tax levies or maintaining the “Island of Utopia” in central Schenectady, all for the cause of the greater good.

Gotta love it.

I thought about applying for the popcorn concession, but a cost benefit analysis shows it would be a losing venture. The violent popping of the kernels of corn would necessitate the construction of a “Safe Room” for the Union kids and the vig charged by the capos of the regime would eat up the profits. Stay tuned.

Peter W. Struzzi


Niskayuna wrong to fire its rowing coach

I am a Niskayuna High School alum and a Niskayuna rowing alum. The decision made by Niskayuna School District to terminate Jonathan Markowicz is a disservice to all the rowers who call Nisky their home.

Markowicz’s leadership brought with it skills I carry with me to this day. Beyond endurance, strength and how to row, he pushed mindsets which are invaluable.

He pushed for mental fortitude, focus, goal-oriented effort, and team cohesion. He taught us about accountability for our actions and how to deal with failure. Some of my fondest memories are rowing under Coach Markowicz, despite all of the cold, wet and sore days.

The termination of Markowicz is a devastating blow to the team. A head coach like Markowicz is the capstone to a successful program, one which has recently produced a world record holder.

By forcing another coaching change the school district is harming the rowers’ chances of success. The district is now party to destroying their students’ pride and confidence. Certainly, this would be against the entire mission of the school board and the superintendent. Shouldn’t they be advocating for the students, not attempting to dismantle their support systems?

To me, it seems the school district is participating in something which they should be vehemently against: the destabilization of their students’ lives. I’m unsettled that the board defers to the superintendent on all personnel, for this seems as though they aren’t doing their job.

Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra’s remarks after the meeting on Tuesday night [April 19] left me worried for my school’s future. “Someone is going to walk away from that conversation unhappy, and as the leader of the organization that person isn’t usually going to be me, and I’m unapologetic about that” — a remark as unneeded as it is unprofessional.

If Superintendent Tangorra’s goal was to make himself seem arrogant and power hungry, he accomplished it. He showed that he cares little about the wellbeing of these rowers; he cares about flexing his figurative muscles. That statement says, to me, that he was unwilling to hear, process and understand new information from those whom he considers himself above, a skill which an educator such as himself needs.

I would just like to reiterate that Coach Markowicz played a formative role in creating who I am today. He gave me the skills to accomplish many goals of mine and was invaluable towards my development as a person.

Andrew Stewart


Trump rise explained by examining history

The United States is going down the drain and an opportunistic monster wants to destroy the party and upset the apple cart.

Look that one up.

Donald Trump is not new to presidential politics. Don’t look any farther than your wallet for an example.

Andrew Jackson did not fit the image of the stodgy Jeffersonian Republicans — no relation to the party of Lincoln.

They represented the old interests, not the people. They kept wearing britches after everyone adopted the new-style long pants. They called Jackson every name in the book and insulted his wife so badly she died in shame. Jackson supporters only loved him more and fought harder.

In 1824, Jackson ran for the party nomination and won the popular vote. Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams, both candidates, struck the “corrupt bargain,” and the party threw the nomination to Adams. The old Hamiltonian Federalist Party was unable to field a candidate, so Adams won by default.

Jackson and his supporters broke away and formed the Democratic Party we have today and in 1828 Jackson became the first Democrat in the White House. He promised to clean up Washington, devised the spoils system and kicked out all the mandarins. On the other hand, he will never live down the “Trail of Tears.”

The corrupt Republicans dissolved and formed into the short-lived Whig Party, dreaming about the good old days, until they became irrelevant.

We kicked the bums out more than once, but they keep coming back. “King” Andrew Jackson showed us the good and bad sides of power. It is not difficult to believe this time will be any different. You know what they say: “History repeats.”

I don’t think Donald Trump will settle for a being on the $20 bill.

Vincent Pellccia

Saratoga Springs

Look to NYC codes to protect old buildings

The April 20 Gazette quotes Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen making an affirmative statement that the precarious conditions present at the Nicholaus building “had nothing to do with the demolition” of the Olender Building because engineering firm Ryan-Biggs had not yet pinpointed a cause.

Such a conclusion is certainly not warranted prior to a finding by the engineer charged with the investigation.

For the past several years, I have worked in New York City accrediting inspection firms working on building construction. Nearly half of New York City’s approximately 1 million buildings are unreinforced masonry buildings of which the Nicholaus building is likely a type.

New York City has very strong provisions to protect against damage to adjacent historic structures. I recommend a reading of Chapter 33 and Chapter 17 of New York City Building Code 2014 to the city officials who will face this issue again in the future.

New York City Building Code requires study of the structural condition of adjacent structures, pre-construction condition surveys of adjacent structures, underpinning of adjacent foundations, monitoring of the adjacent structure during demolition and construction, including seismic monitoring, and stringent support of excavation practices.

The New York City Building Code further requires special inspection by a qualified structural engineer during the critical phases of the demolition work and the subsequent construction work.

Gillen and the engineering firm tasked to study this matter may not know the answer, but anyone familiar with this type of construction work will tell you in five minutes exactly what happened and why. I will defer to the engineer actually responsible for the investigation for the conclusion, but I would like to offer one suggestion for consideration.

The city operates under the less stringent New York State Building Code. While not as comprehensive as the New York City code, the New York State code also requires protection of adjacent structures. New York State Building Code 2010 has a clause that would apply to this situation. Section 3304.1.2 states: “Existing footings or foundations which can be affected by any excavation shall be underpinned adequately or otherwise protected against settlement and shall be protected against later(al) movement.”

It is my hope that upstate New York cities like Schenectady will look to the good work New York City has done in creating provisions to protect historic structures both during renovation and during construction of new buildings nearby.

Lawrence J. O’Connor, P.E., L.S.


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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