New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 2

Your Voice

Cuomo’s response is mostly whining

I keep reading on these pages and hearing on the news how Gov. Cuomo is doing such a good job. What planet do these people live on?

New York state has more “official” COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world, contributing about 25% to the U.S. total.

In addition to that, he single-handedly has caused the high number of deaths in nursing homes and eldercare facilities by requiring them to take in sick people.

He had shuttered so many small businesses that may not come back with his New York Pause. He’s destroying our children with his refusal to open up schools. The worst affected of these are children with special needs of which I’m very familiar and affected by. The governor refuses scientific facts by prohibiting doctors from using medicines that have been shown to be effective against COVID-19.

The governor only cares about himself. This is evidenced by his refusal to unpause New York because he’s afraid that he might get sick and die. That’s so ironic since his brother and his family got sick and they didn’t die.

He whines that the federal government needs to ship him boatloads of money to save him. He whined that the federal government had to create thousands of beds, which it did and which went largely unused. He whined about getting thousands of ventilators and PPEs from the federal government which he didn’t need. All of this whining instead of what a real leader would do: fix the problem.

John A. Gaetani


Stunned by what performers are paid

I’m writing regarding the April 27 Gazette article (“Dismissal of concert lawsuit sought”), describing the lawsuit over the concert to celebrate the reopening of the Times Union Center.

Did anyone else find the fees that James Taylor ($600,000) and John Legend ($500,000) get for an hour-and-a-half of work each excessive?

James Calkins

Ballston Spa

Clifton Park trash pickup mishandled

There is a failed project in Clifton Park. There is a massive bulk recycling pick up contractually done with the town and County Waste.

The town is asking County Waste to operate as business as usual, when the company is understaffed and without the resources to pick up all the debris.

Trash and waste removal is an essential business and I am offering my thanks and respect for these essential folks on the front line. There are literally 100-plus houses around mine with heaps of debris on the front yard and along the roads: plastic chairs, TV, mattresses. It’s terrible.

There is no one accountable at the town hall. I have called several times. Matt Andrus is the ‘information specialist’ and Town Supervisor Phil Barrett are not returning my calls.

Who makes this decision to do this during a pandemic?

This garbage has been out for three weeks. It’s depressing to see every day. County Waste said it is still two weeks from cleaning up my zone. This is unacceptable and I would like to know who made this decision.

Adine Viscusi


Transmission line a poor option for NY

I assume nearly all readers are unaware that a minimum one-billion-watt electricity transmission corridor (power line) is proposed to run through the Capital Region from Quebec to New York City.

First proposed in 2010, the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) electricity would come from dams, power stations and enormous reservoirs constructed on destroyed rivers in Quebec and Labrador. Quebec is wrecking the Romaine River and Newfoundland, and Labrador is destroying the Churchill River. Much of the electricity is for export to New York and New England states.

More than half of CHPE would be buried under Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, but most of the remainder, over 100 miles, would be buried along roads and railroad right-of-ways in Clinton, Washington, Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany, Greene and Rockland counties. CHPE would cross many rivers and streams.

Originally, CHPE would have been buried under Erie Boulevard in Schenectady, but the applicant, Transmission Developers Inc., has often changed the route. In a March 19 order, the state Public Service Commission wrote the applicant now desires to relocate “the route centerline in the Village of Scotia and the Towns of Rotterdam and Glenville to avoid downtown Schenectady.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio favors CHPE, despite the needless river destruction, the wealth of New York would flow out of state to pay for imported power, and that a similar investment in state constructing and operating appropriately sited wind and solar electricity generation would create probably a hundred times more good jobs than CHPE.

Tom Ellis


Living in fear until we get vaccine for covid

I’m confident I’ll be living in fear until a widely available and affordable vaccine for COVID-19 exists. As New York continues to experience the worst of this crisis, my fears only grow.

Not only are we older, but both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, me with multiple sclerosis (MS) and a heart condition and my husband with Alzheimer’s and COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I worry that if exposed, we risk infection, and in the worst case, our lives.

We’ve had to dramatically alter our day-to-day lives to keep the virus out of our home.

For starters, I’m petrified of running normal errands, like going to the pharmacy or grocery store. In addition, we can no longer allow our in-home caregiver who assists with care for my husband to come over. We can’t allow any guests, not even family. We just can’t afford to take the risk. I never thought I’d have to consider dying alone; now, I just might.

This drastic transition has been devastating and trying. For the sake of my husband, other New Yorkers in similar situations, and me, I hope that our lawmakers will continue to support the American pharmaceutical industry in their pursuit of coronavirus testing, treatments, vaccines and medicines. It is through their ongoing research and discovery that we will once again live without fear. We are counting on our legislators to see us through this crisis.

Pamela Leffingwell LaBrake


St. Clare’s retirees matter in crisis, too

Gov. Cuomo has been sitting in front of the television and media cameras every day for weeks now garnering the affections of a captive audience. He’s smiling and joking and using a calm demeanor. I hear people falling for this behavior.

Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. I don’t mind too much wearing a mask and having to stay indoors, as I see the light at the end of the tunnel. What I mind is that Gov. Cuomo has ignored the St. Clare’s pensioners from day one and now has a bigger excuse for tossing us out the window.

There are answers, but I feel that he’s only concerned with the people in New York City and his brother, Chris Cuomo. News flash, Gov. Cuomo, your brother, who’s bragging about how much money he has, isn’t the most important coronavirus patient.

You and your brother joke and banter on air and don’t seem to care that you’re disrespecting people who have much less money than the Cuomo brothers have. Your brother even went as far as to say that he doesn’t need his job. Talk about throwing salt in our wounds.

There are many upstate New Yorkers who have much less than you do, and they’re suffering every day. St. Clare’s pensioners have suffered unfairly with the loss of their pension and now have to suffer miserably through the coronavirus crisis. We count just as much as your brother, but we hear not one word from you.

Mary Hartshorne

Ballston Lake

The writer is chairman of the St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance (SCPRA).

Keep public informed about government

Recent editorials, commentaries and articles about school district functions during our pandemic indicate participatory democracy must continue instead of ‘closed-door sessions.’

I think school district officials could use the policy of the Board of Regents, such as the April 6 proposal for emergency regulations with a 60-day comment period before their July meeting.

Participatory democracy within school districts may enhance school health services, Article 19, Education Law, by staff, students, parents and county EMS.

Also, application to regional Economic Development Council funds can enhance County EMS public health policies and school health services for our youth, teachers and families.

The use of Smart School Bond funding for technology may improve remote teaching and increase opportunities for direct support professionals to assist teachers, students and parents with home studies.

Funding for direct support professionals using the NYS Apprenticeship Expansion Grant offered through the State Apprenticeship and Training Council can improve academic performance, especially social and emotional learning during our transition toward our future.

Michael McGlynn


Step up penalties for city’s graffiti vandals

With the recent arrest of an individual for acts of graffiti in and around the city, it occurs to me that only charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief doesn’t seem to be enough. More severe charges should be levied for this senseless act of disrespect for others’ rights and freedoms. On top of stronger penalties, the individuals involved should be sentenced to community service to help remove such blight from our community. With help from the city and the mayor’s office, we can begin to keep graffiti from occurring in our great city today.

Michael Whitehouse


Plenty of proof of Trump incompetence

In recent weeks, I have debated associates over cable TV’s decision to air President Trump’s daily press conferences on the government’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

They contend that the pressers, which typically run for two hours, afford Trump free air time to politicize the subject and effectively substitute for his campaign rallies, which are shut down because of the pandemic.

I have countered that the press conferences have given status to the medical experts, who can speak authoritatively about the contagion and apply relevant scientific knowledge to the control of the virus.

More importantly, I have argued the pressers patently reveal Trump’s narcissism, abject ignorance, mendacity and incompetence for all the world to see. The man clearly does not have any sense as to how stupid he sounds.

The other night, the president’s ignorance blew up in his face when he suggested that injecting or ingesting bleach or isopropyl alcohol might be a practical means to rid one of the coronavirus. In fact, most people recognize both products as toxic if taken internally.

How much more do we need to know to be convinced that we are endangered every day this guy remains in office.

Robert K. Corliss


Doubting Trump’s medical qualifications

President Trump claims a “natural ability” to understand health issues. He amply demonstrated this by staring directly into a solar eclipse. This non-physician but self-declared “stable genius” is again offering his latest ideas on how to treat COVID-19.

In March, a man died after ingesting chloroquine after listening to Trump promote its benefits.

At April 23’s presser, Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectants might help patients flush the coronavirus from their system. The assembled medical experts were shown exhibiting classic “deer in the headlights” expressions, but none of them challenged Trump. A reporter from The Washington Post called Trump out, stating: “People tuning into these briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do. They’re not looking for rumors.”

Trump replied, “I’m the president and you’re fake news.”

Isn’t that reassuring?

Lysol’s manufacturers released a statement that under no circumstance should disinfectant products be administered into the human body, through injection, ingestion or any other route.

I’m not a physician, but would it be OK for me to suggest that women who desire to become pregnant ingest cow manure? After all, it works great as a fertilizer. To quote Trump, “What have they got to lose?”

Paul Deierlein


Harvard shows it’s not very intelligent

There is no way to sugarcoat this: Harvard professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who believes that homeschooling is a threat to children and society, is a total nitwit. Her arrogance and hubris are astonishing. That Harvard University even hired this woman and is sponsoring an invitation-only seminar (no opposing views allowed here, folks) to hash over “problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling” confirms that the lunatics are in charge at this $71k per year asylum.

George Nigriny


Spa County needs new system of gov’t

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors appears to be in disarray and apparently unable to govern. I have become concerned as I learn more about it.

I was a member of the Saratoga County 21st Century Study Commission in 1987. It looked at six issues to study as the county grew. Some were economic development, infrastructure, etc. and a governmental/ intergovernmental operations task force.

The governmental study remains of interest today. The report indicated that the Board of Supervisors was a satisfactory mode of operation. However, the study proposed the creation of a county board of representatives by 1991.

Interestingly, the next section recommended that if the present system is functioning and producing satisfactorily, it should not automatically be abandoned.

To me, this was a mixed message. However, I think the bottom line now is that the Board of Supervisors is not functioning satisfactorily, and it is time to have a county legislature or board of representatives similar to other counties in the Capital District.

Saratoga County is a great place to live and work. Let’s keep it that way.

Sheelagh Baily


The writer is a member of the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County.

Follow protocols before opening up

I was sorry to see that not everyone in the pictures of the April 26 Schenectady Greenmarket who was handling the food had on rubber gloves. Food was being offered and received with bare hands.

Also, multi-use bags were evident and the people in the background on page A4 were not practicing social distancing. This shows that opening things up without proper instructions, even though it has been repeated time after time, isn’t going to work yet. People need to remember that the protocols need to be observed no matter what the situation. I won’t be visiting the Greenmarket yet. Another activity that will benefit from waiting.

Susan Bushman


Feds shouldn’t fund poor state decisions

It seems Illinois thinks the federal government should, as part of the COVID-19 aid package, cover the cost of years of mismanagement of their public pension program.

Similarly, Andrew Cuomo whines that the paltry billions coming to New York don’t cover the $6 billion deficit that existed before the pandemic. This deficit arose largely from the Medicare program because New York had to have its own brand of Obamacare. This strikes me as a self-inflicted fiscal wound.

Add to that the $60 million New York pledged to Planned Parenthood, and who knows how much to give driver’s licenses to illegal Democrats, and it is small wonder the president is reluctant to send more money here.

The solution, of course, is to tax the ri… Oh wait, the rich have already left. Oh well, there is always the middle class.

Michael Reilly


Not all protesters are deplorable Trumpers

With a broad brush in his April 28 letter (“Protesters put self above greater good”), George Milner painted all protesters “Trumpkins” and “Deplorables.” I am both and proudly wear the badge of “Deplorable.” Name calling is a great way to get a point across, as evidenced by you and the woman that gave me that badge.

I take offense to one person (Cuomo) telling millions what to do. We have a Constitution. Get the Cliff’s Notes version and try to read it. A crisis doesn’t void it. God, guns and redress of grievances are also in there. I choose not to have a nanny state dictate my very existence. You are free to stay home and hide and follow Cuomo’s dictates. I won’t. Most people protest just for fun. I’m disgusted, too, that these selfish people are trying to feed their family or pay their bills. Three or four weeks without income is not enough sacrifice. We can just print more money and pass it around, for the greater good, of course.

Unlike you, I couldn’t see all the signs. They might not have had signs proclaiming it, but most are probably very appreciative of the people helping us. I am.

Kim Lake

Saratoga Springs

Nurses have earned church, Cuomo’s help

The St. Clare’s Hospital nurses have gained great respect for the 60 years of operation the hospital served the area. They were known to care for all different types of people because that’s what their duties called for.

That is why a nurse is so important in all of our lives. They are willing to help all even if the people say the following: I’m an ex-convict, I have AIDS, I’m a prostitute, I’m poor, I’m old, I’m a lesbian, I aborted my baby, I’m a teenage mom, I’m a victim of rape, I’m a drug addict, I’m an alcoholic, I’m a beggar, I have cancer, I have a contagious disease. The nurse said, “I’ll take care of you.”

The question I would like to ask is if Gov. Andrew Cuomo is willing to try to help the people of New York state with the coronavirus, and the Albany Catholic Diocese is willing to help the priests with all their problems, why aren’t they both willing to help the St. Clare’s Hospital nurses?  Because the nurses are in great need of help. Can’t they see that?

Walter “Neal” Brazell


Economy was better long before Trump

I keep hearing President Trump saying we had the best economy ever before the coronavirus pandemic. I beg to differ with that statement.

When I was a youngster, it was unusual for a family to have two working parents. In the late 40s, the 50s and early 60s, most married women were homemakers.

With only one working spouse, most people could afford a car, a house and to raise a family.

Schenectady had a plethora of jobs, including about 30,000 at GE and 8,000 at Alco. My neighborhood in Glenville was a mix of white-collar and blue-collar workers, and both could own a car, a home and raise a family.

Nowadays, most families have two working parents and are just scraping by. I know which economy most of us would prefer.

Thomas Singer



Consider statistics in reopening upstate

The 10-county region around Albany appears to have a COVID-19 mortality rate of less than 0.01% for its total population.

The chart printed in The Gazette on April 27 showed a total of 80 deaths so far in our 10-county area, which has a total population of just over 1 million. Ten thousand deaths among that population would be 1%. One thousand deaths would be 0.1%. The mortality rate among those actually infected with the virus would have to be an educated guess.

Some experts estimate that around 10% of New Yorkers have been infected (a large majority of whom are unaware that they are sick). Thus, the mortality rate for those infected may be in the range of 0.1%.

The rates may be even lower in regions west of the Capital District. I hope that the governor’s plans for reopening our state, particularly upstate, take these data into account.

Roger Sheffer


Make adjustments to public pensions plans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently stated that states in financial difficulty should consider filing for bankruptcy.

First, states cannot, under current law, utilize bankruptcy to cure budget shortfalls.

Second, is he willing to throw millions of state and local employees under the bus? Probably yes, if they are from blue (Democratic) states.

Using Illinois as his example, he states that the federal government should not be responsible for covering the underfunded pension liabilities that politicians created by giving state and municipal extremely generous pensions which cannot be sustained in the long term.

As an example, many states and cities allow police, firefighters, teachers, etc. to retire after 20 years. With the current U.S. life expectancy nearing 80, the potential to collect a pension for 35-40 years is real.

Unlike private pensions, state payouts are essentially guaranteed. No state can reasonably expect to fulfill those obligations without substantial tax increases or renegotiated labor contracts.

Is it reasonable, going forward, to ask unions to adjust for the current life expectancy and not allow retirements after 20 years or making the pension based on the last 3-5 years of service?

Current employees can keep their programs in place. All future contracts should reflect the reality that we live in today. I realize the impact of this proposal will not be seen for years, but it is a start.

Jim Brodie


Need to vote out Trump, GOP Senate

Recent days offer a dramatic contrast in political leadership. During an interview, Governor Cuomo was asked about his dire warnings regarding COVID-19.

His sobering reply: if people didn’t buy into what he was saying, they would never agree to something as onerous as staying home and he would be powerless to force the issue.

In contrast, President Trump spoke inconsistent optimism. Now, he asks his science experts about trying to administer disinfectants internally.

States are now reopening with potential hazards like tattoo parlors, hair salons and bowling alleys. Trump expresses disappointment, but never misses an opportunity to self-congratulate on what a wonderful job he’s doing, all the while, leading from behind, taking credit while deflecting blame.

During the Bush43 administration, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld stated “you go to war with the army you have,” implying a need for a stronger military.

If we were challenged with an act of war right now, we’d go to war “with the Commander-in-Chief we have.” We need to send a message come November. New York is not pivotal. But many of us have friends and relatives in swing states.

We should encourage their involvement to generate an electoral landslide that includes flipping the Senate.

Thomas P. Herrmann


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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