New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 11

Your Voice
Don’t lower voting age; raise it to 25
The Point/Counter Point article in the May 5 Gazette on lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 had it all wrong. Science has stated that the brain is not fully developed until age 25.
So why would anyone want to allow 16- or even 18-year-olds to vote before they have the maturity to make their decisions after experiencing life through additional education and work, especially after having to pay income and property taxes. 
Raise the voting age to 25 and see what a difference informed decisions can make.
Charles Robinson
Simpsons wouldn’t find hotel in Nisky
I just read Jeff Wilkin’s Simpsons article in the April 29 Daily Gazette. Niskayuna Supervisor Yasmine Syed invited Homer and the gang to a long stay next time they leave Springfield.
I just checked and there are no hotels/motels listed in the town of Niskayuna.
I guess this explains why no hotel points are needed. They are invited to stay with Yasmine.
Mike Rozdolski
Nurses Day cards are in Price Chopper
It’s only fair that after writing a letter or two in previous years exhibiting my disappointment in the lack of Nurses Day cards, that I give credit when the problem is resolved.
Thank you to the Price Chopper, which not only has a few Nurses Day cards but a fine assortment. Happy Nurses Week to my nurse friends.
Lois Mills
Spa candidates have common sense plans
A group of high school students and I recently met with the Saratoga Parents For Safer Schools Board of Education candidates Shaun Wiggins, Ed Cubanski and Dean Kolligian at a meet-and-greet.
We were impressed that the candidates spent over an hour of their time listening to our concerns and discussing their plans to address them, if elected.
Our main concern was safety. We all agreed that safety and security are the foundation that allows for a better learning environment.
As students, we need to know that we are protected at all times and don’t need to wait precious minutes for law enforcement to arrive in case of an active shooter situation.
We are well aware that the Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland shootings were over within a matter of minutes.
Additionally, we discussed the disrepair in our building, namely the restroom facilities.
They are in horrible condition and could really use some updating.
Lastly, we voiced our concern about the ongoing vaping problem that continuously occurs in our restrooms.
The district just can’t seem to find a solution, and it’s a huge problem. This, too, should be considered a school safety problem and deserves a solid plan to fix it.
I’d like to thank Mr. Wiggins, Mr. Cubanski and Mr. Kolligian for taking their time to speak with high school students in the district and to offer common sense solutions to these issues that are important to us.
Meg Messitt
The writer is a sophomore at Saratoga Springs High School.
Put Backus back on Nisky school board
We are writing to support retired Col. Brian Backus, USAF, for re-election to the Niskayuna Board of Education. Brian currently serves as the vice president of the board.
Brian was the commander of the 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and has served in the military since 1978. He has had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to the Air National Guard, Brian was employed by the Capital Region BOCES for 18 years and served in a variety of positions, including coordinator of health and safety and risk management. Brian is also a parent with children in the Niskayuna schools.
Brian’s entire career has been spent in public service, and we applaud his desire to continue his service to the pupils, teachers and administrators of the Niskayuna Central School District. Brian’s long and varied career in the military and BOCES makes him uniquely qualified to continue his service on the Board of Education. His career, temperament and demonstrated leadership qualifications serve as a model to our students and our community.
Niskayuna is fortunate to have Brian as a candidate again. We ask that residents of Niskayuna vote on May 21 for Brian Backus for the Board of Education.
Anne and Michael Skrebutenas
Enjoyed “Dine” guide to local restaurants
Just a quick note about recent April 25 Gazette supplement, “Dine 2019,” featuring local restaurants in my area. It is a great feature and I believe will reap benefits to said food places. I enjoyed the way the articles and pictures were put together. I was amazed how many relative dining areas are within my reach. The ones out a ways look worthy of a road trip. You guys did good and thanks.
James Murphy Sr.
More fairness needed in consumer billing
Why is it that we are tolerant of so many financial abuses?
When you use a smart phone, your data usage continues, even when you sign off the site, unless you actually shut the app, which requires an extra step. I found this out the hard way.
Why do credit card companies get to choose the hour that your payment needs to be paid by to avoid incurring an added penalty cost? The calendar states that a day is comprised of 24 hours. So if a bill is due on a specific day, that should mean that the person has until midnight of that day to pay it and still be considered paid on time. 
These time requirements seem so arbitrary and have no rhyme or reason that I can decipher. Seems to me it’s just another sneaky way to get more money, sort of like all of the added charges in our cable bills. Why aren’t these charges just included in our monthly fees? Broadcast charges, really?
I think it’s time for the consumer to stand up and demand fairness. 
Contact your political representatives to get the laws changed so people can be treated fairly when it comes to paying bills. It’s a disgrace that corporations are allowed and encouraged to rip us off on a daily basis. I feel like a veil is being lifted and truth is rising to the surface in many areas. I’m tired of being robbed legally, and, hopefully, so are you.
Linda Mackanesi
Dems experiencing a political breakdown
I’m submitting this letter in hopes that, by your printing it, that will bring into focus the disservice that is being done to our nation by our elected officials. 
As a veteran who has some skin in the game, I’m alarmed about the misdirection our country is being led.
Making fun of their selfish partisanship is my way of calling attention to this very real problem.
With the recent spate of auto safety recalls, one must consider the safety issues that apply to the Democratic Party.
Their recall is necessary to insure the safety and well being of our nation. Examples follow:
Steering problems. There are way too many loose and cross-threaded nuts in the steering mechanism. Investigations blow out and go flat. Windshields become clouded and crazed. Exhaust systems emit foul odors that smell like rotten eggs. 
Transmissions stick in low gear and will not shift to the right. Paint fades weeks after being on a rough road. Engines fail to start, with improper amounts of money being deposited. Directional lights indicate left turns only due to too many loose screws.
Radios randomly revert to playing “You can keep your doctor and health plan if you like them” and “Those jobs are never coming back to America.”
Some older models i.e.: the Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler, Waters and Schiff, are especially troublesome, as they constantly emit loud whining and moaning noises, wander in driving lanes, often backfire and cannot be depended upon for safe travels.
Jack Osterlitz
Jansson’s experience needed in Niskayuna
I’m supporting my friend and neighbor Greta Jansson in her run for Niskayuna school board. She and her husband, Naseer, have three boys who have attended elementary, middle and high school in Niskayuna. They are well behaved, well disciplined and smart kids. She has personal experience with what works with kids and what doesn’t. 
Greta knows, through her children’s experience, our school’s high and low points.
Greta has 22 years of business and financial experience. She is the owner/manager of her own business. She will bring experience in finance, managing budgets and people, and serving others to serve the district and all stakeholders.
Greta has taken the time to learn about the many programs and initiatives the district is currently undertaking under the district’s strategic plan. She has identified a number of priorities the board needs to address. She knows where the board needs to focus.
Another priority for Greta is building a civil community. Mutual respect, collaboration and compromise are paramount, and that is the way she has always done business.
Greta will work for a Niskayuna where everyone — teachers, staff, students and their families — feels welcome. She will be an amazing board member. 
Roberta Steiner
Schools can lead on human trafficking
Human trafficking is a dark and tragic reality that we as a global community must face.
I would like to compliment The Daily Gazette for the May 5 editorial regarding human trafficking and the ongoing efforts to combat this issue. Organizations such as SAFE Inc. are proactively working to inform, educate and empower others to help prevent future trafficking events.
Awareness is a first step at addressing the factors that contribute to human trafficking. A committee in Schoharie County has been developed and has started to reach out to local schools in an effort to increase awareness and information regarding human trafficking.
Schools are prime organizations that can help identify potential at-risk youth and by working with outside agencies, develop systems to provide support to mitigate the potential of human trafficking.
Inviting outside agencies to inform faculty and staff about the reality and prevalence of human trafficking is a first step. Schools can begin to place a larger emphasis on understanding how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact students and increase social-emotional learning (SEL) practices in order to develop stronger relationships with students.
Awareness and information are a first step in protecting children from human trafficking. Schools can help move this initiative forward by coupling with outside providers and understanding more about the children that enter schools by building stronger relationships with them through ACE knowledge and SEL practices.
David Russell
Remember heroes who fought in WWII
Another Memorial Day to remember those who gave their all so that we can enjoy our freedom will soon be here, and I got to thinking about my World War II Navy experiences and what a great day August 15, 1945, was for all of us. 
The celebration aboard my ship, the USS LSM 256 in Naha Harbor off the Okinawan coast, will never be forgotten. As an enlistee who couldn’t wait to get in, my pride in having played a part in our victory in the Pacific has sustained me for 74 years. 
Specifically designed to land troops and supplies on the beaches of Japanese-held Pacific islands and bristling with antiaircraft, Bofors, and 50-caliber machine guns, the LSMs were scheduled to be in the first wave of amphibians to land troops on mainland Japan on Nov. 1. 
The odds were less than 50 percent that any of us would avoid becoming a casualty. When the Japanese surrendered, my shipmates and I realized that in a true sense, we had “dodged a bullet.”  
The men and women who served in World War II never gave up the fight because above all, they valued their freedom and understood that it was dependent on the enemy’s unconditional surrender.
My hope on this day of recollection is that we honor those who saved the world and that all Americans will stop and ponder what their lives would have been like had we not defeated the Axis powers.
Dan Riley
Clifton Park
Diocese should act  on St. Clare’s pension
I join with other letter writers to this page calling for more attention and action on the plight of the St. Clare’s Hospital retirees facing the loss of significant reduction in their pensions.
I call upon The Gazette to keep investigating and reporting on the issue and to advocate for remedies for those affected.
As regular readers of The Gazette know by now, a combination of factors contributed to this local pension crisis. Among the factors, the grievous decision was made by the CEO and the St. Clare’s Board of Trustees in the 1990s when they sought and obtained a religious exemption to bow out of the guarantee of their pension benefits by the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. How short-sighted.
St. Clare’s was founded as a Catholic hospital. It has been sponsored by the Diocese of Albany, and successive bishops have sat on the board for decades. I believe the obligation for seeking a remedy, morally if not legally, lies with the diocese.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger and the diocese have a moral obligation to support the retirement welfare of the 1,100-plus hospital retirees who worked for decades to support the medical needs of Schenectady’s indigent and elderly residents. The bishop should seek financial support from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the $3.2 billion foundation set up in 2018 by New York’s Catholic bishops after the sale of Fidelis Care, the Catholic health plan begun in 1993.
The delays and finger-pointing must stop.
Dennis Quinn
Show proof of Trump conspiring to win
Just finished laughing, excuse me, reading, Dr. Michael’s May 4 letter (Plenty of reasons for Trump impeachment). I don’t know what his doctorate is in, but I am sure it isn’t in reading comprehension.
The doctor claims that Trump associates conspired with Russian hackers to win his election. Where’s your proof?
Did it ever occur to the good doctor that if Mueller had found any real evidence of collusion, he would have convened a grand jury? 
When will all you highly educated people come to grips with the fact that you lost? Those crimes of the president’s associates were for money laundering and lying to Congress. (That’s like bringing coals to Newcastle.) Neither of these had anything to do with him.
As for public opinion being able to persuade the House to impeach, I didn’t read that in the Constitution. I believe it has to be high crimes and misdemeanors, and I challenge you to produce even a shred of hard evidence to support it. That would make you better than Mueller.
Your 2/3 column of babble is just wishful thinking. Take a trip to Disneyland and bring other liberals with you.
Jeff Falace
Grateful for caring in loss of loved one
The hardest thing for a family to endure is the loss of a loved one. 
Having recently been in that situation, I would like to thank two organizations for their kindness and professionalism in our time of need. We lost a loved one who was a part of our lives for many years. 
She passed peacefully as a result of help from the Schenectady County Hospice Organization. As a healthcare professional, I can say that I have rarely seen a more smoothly run caring group of people.
The second group is the folks at Glenville Funeral Home.
We had requests that they filled with out hesitation. When it seemed as though we couldn’t take another minute of the grief and heartache, they were there to bring calm and peace to us all. Always with a smile and a gentle voice to say, no worries, we can do that for you.
Thank you both for all you did to make this troubled time more bearable.
Andrew Greiner
In this country, voting is your responsibility
Many years ago, as a public-school elementary student, I learned that in a democracy, the citizens, either directly or indirectly, comprise the government. 
Consequently, the right to vote, I was taught, is a duty, not a privilege. 
As a freshman in college, I was required to read the John Stuart Mill essay “On Liberty.” Mill explains the citizens of a democracy secure and preserve their freedom through accepting certain responsibilities. We are not “free” (legally) to cry “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. The duty to vote, in my opinion, is one of these responsibilities. 
Anthony Peter Carota III’s May 4 letter (“No voting for people who go to prison”) argues against allowing certain ex-convicts to perform that duty. I will allow that whether or not former prisoners may exercise the right to vote is arguable. His letter describes the duty to vote as a privilege. To me, this understanding of the right to vote as optional rather than obligatory is one of the problems our nation faces today when only 52 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
Fred Chambers
Fort Plain
Mayor should fix the city’s real problems
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy’s priorities regarding city needs are definitely skewed. Instead of finding solutions to the real problems facing Schenectady neighborhoods and residents such as high property taxes, blight, litter, and crumbling streets and sidewalks, he’s fantasizing about turning our city into a “smart city.” Normally companies, cities and organizations implement new technology to solve problems they are facing. But McCarthy is exploring solutions to problems that we don’t currently have in Schenectady. 
I don’t believe city residents have ever complained about Schenectady not being a smart city or for not having WiFi-enabled light poles on their streets. McCarthy has so far failed to explain how smart lighting and WiFi-enabled light poles will address any of our pressing problems like high property taxes, blight, litter, crumbling streets and sidewalks. If we, for example, ask property owners to chose between having their property taxes reduced and WiFi-enabled poles, we all know what the overwhelming choice would be. 
Because he has miserably failed to solve our city’s pressing problems during his many years as mayor, McCarthy is diverting our attention with his sudden interest in smart-city technology. In the process, he is becoming a favorite target of salesmen selling technology and gadgets that we don’t currently need. He’s unwisely spending our tax money and has awarded grants that could be better spent addressing serious city problems.
Mohamed Hafez
Good luck to Sch’dy parenting program
As a Schenectady city school administrator in the ‘80s and ‘90s, one of my many responsibilities was PPT, the Program for the Pregnant and Parenting Teens.
Our goal was to support young parents to stay in school and to graduate from high school. That program is long gone, but the May 5 Gazette article, “Baby Steps,” gives me hope.
Every mother knows the difficulty of managing the care of a child, especially a new baby. The effort being made to bring together services of support, as well as a known place to get that help, is critical to changing lives. So many things about Ginni Egan’s support system make sense. Engaging the community in being a part of that initiative also deserves praise.
I hope the “Baby Shower” fund-raiser is a big success. Good luck to each young parent and their children. With support, may you create healthy, productive, happy lives.
Mary L. Anderson
Burnt Hills
Cuomo a failure at reforming education
With the passage of a new law that removes the mandatory use of state testing results in the evaluation of teachers (a totally wrong-headed idea), it appears that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has finally given up his attempts to control the education system in New York and to punish the teachers’ union, which refused to endorse him in recent elections.
For instance on January 3, 2013, a headline in the Albany media proclaimed that, “Cuomo touts school changes.” The article featured ideas from a group of high-ranking business and education leaders and even some New York state legislators, which resulted in nothing.
Additionally, the governor, in his State of the State speech in January 2012, appointed himself the chief lobbyist for students — according to him, the only group in education that does not employ lobbyists. It appears that the governor has either lost interest in that position or that he’s the quietest lobbyist in the history of lobbying. The governor has had nothing to say about the failure of the teacher evaluation system he personally crafted. 
It appears the governor is officially out of the business of education. That’s a good place for him to be. 
Dr. John Metallo
Citizens don’t need laws to give freedom
Regarding the proposed Brendan’s Lemon-Aid Law (A5120/S762), let me get this straight. Our supposed moral and intellectual superiors in New York state government are going to pass a law to give us freedom? Or at least a little bit, in certain cases, with more to be clarified, or maybe removed, at some unknown future date.
There was a time we lived in a free country according to the Constitution. But now we have to rely on the charity of our leaders to give us what they see fit. What have we become?
Ed Nieters
Burnt Hills
Agree on the need for understanding, civility
I think we should not have to whitewash our weaknesses and failures. In living, we should seek growth and authenticity, but not perfection. And we should look for harmony of values, but not for uniformity of opinion.
Regarding Gerard Havasy’s May 4 letter, I was quite delighted when I felt myself agreeing with much of that which he had written. We all can find inner peace if we do not chastise other people, but accept them as they are — blemished indeed, but still of value and worthy as human beings.
Jerry and I understand this, for we have maintained a cordial relationship for quite a few years. We are different, he and I, but we remain civil and kind and considerate. 
To us, Kate Smith was a grand lady of song. She sang beautifully and inspired Americans of all stripes during the difficult years of the 1940s and ‘50s. 
Also, consider Paul Robeson, who altered his deep-voice singing of the song, “Ol’ Man River” (from the musical, Show Boat) by using the word “darkies” instead of the dreaded “N” word. He also changed the lyrics to a more standard English, with these uplifting final words: “But I keep laffin’, Instead of cryin’, must keep fightin’, Until I’m dyin’.” He changed that song from an African-American lament into a civil rights rallying call.
Yes, Robeson was political. Kate Smith was not. For me, she was a lady.  I agree with Jerry, that we need to know and understand history, while remaining civil.
Kernan Davis

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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