New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 9

Your Voice

Trump is only in office temporarily

In response to the April 16 Opinion page cartoon of Trump and Pence: To the current resident of the White House: You are not king nor God or even a supreme being.
You are an elected official that has temporary residence at the people of the United States’ White House. That’s right, the White House belongs to all people of the United States. You are a tenant at the present time.
This is not your permanent residence, as all the presidents before know for a fact that when your term is over, you must vacate.
Anne Fringo

Our clergy deserve praise for efforts

America has been quick to praise and reward the efforts and sacrifices of people dedicated to defending the nation against a merciless invisible enemy. It is well earned and deserved.
As a nation, we must also remember the role of the clergy of all faiths plays in the spiritual, emotional and mental well-being of a society in crisis.
Their organization and leadership of community outreach programs is vital now more than ever. The, too, are in need of recognition, support and encouragement in the face of unprecedented demands for guidance and reassurance.
In our darkest hour, the ability of the clergy to follow their calling, no matter the denomination, of direct interaction with people has been drastically curtailed.
They are frustrated in providing comfort to the forgotten, the sick, the grieving and those dying alone. Access to hospitals, nursing homes and shut-ins is restricted due to COVID-19 protocols, creating a grim void in the lives of the most vulnerable. Open celebrations of marriage, childbirth and religious holidays are on hold indefinitely.
In closing, I wish to see the media dedicate column space and airtime to the challenges facing the clergy and how they respond. Their importance can’t be ignored and unappreciated.
Mark Rahn

Trump must start doing his real job

In my opinion, President Trump is determined to usurp prime time on television each day for as long as possible to provide us with coronavirus updates. He could do that in 20-30 minutes. I think the real reason is that he is using it as a free way to campaign, to ensure that his supporters see him as working for them. He loves to be the center of attention anyway he can get it.
There are daily references that he is responsible for “the best economy the world has ever known.” It just so happens that many believe that he is the worst president the world has ever known. Never a day goes by that he doesn’t come up with a nasty put-down to the media.
Trump brags every day about all the wonderful things he has accomplished. One thing he has never done and never will do is accept any responsibility for taking nearly two months to admit there was a pandemic. Acting sooner could have spared hundreds of Americans from death and the suffering.
What the country desperately needs are the testing materials as soon as humanly possible. Do your job, Donald.
Jane Reisenger



Schenectady schools need a black leader

Schenectady’s next superintendent of schools ought to be an upright, professionally qualified woman or man of color, preferably black.
 Here’s why: Since the inception of public schools in Schenectady in 1854, there have been 25 superintendents, all white men. This, despite the fact that other important educational institutions in the Capital Region (RPI, Union College, SUNY at Albany, Schenectady County Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, and the Shenendehowa and Albany school districts) have had presidents or schools superintendents of color, mostly black.
Schenectady’s demography is continuing to change. Among the city’s 66,000 residents, nearly a third are from communities of color: black, Latino, Guyanese, Asian, Native American, etc.
Of these, blacks are the most numerous, with the deepest roots in the city harking back to well before the Civil War.
Schenectady’s school district is one of the largest in the Capital Region. Among its 10,000 students in 18 schools, more than 75 percent are from communities of color.
 Authoritative demographic projections are of Schenectady city having a majority formed of communities of color by mid-century, an eventuality anticipated also in the nation’s demographic trend.
Hopefully, Schenectady’s Board of Education will perceive its need now to fill the office of schools superintendent as an inflection point, as an opportunity simultaneously to recognize the importance of Schenectady’s communities of color; to advance the school district with a superintendent of color most likely to strengthen ties between the city’s communities of color and the school district; and thus to elevate Schenectady.
Alvin Magid

Respect flag, stay home, wear masks

I took special notice of the article and the photo on the April 23 Gazette front page. I don’t understand people. When there’s a problem in this country, the first thing they seem to do is wrap themselves in the American flag. They all of a sudden find that the American flag is their special symbol to support their efforts to show they don’t agree with something. Why use the flag as their form of protest?
Do these people show any respect to the flag at any other time? Do they show respect and fly the flag on the days listed in the federal flag code? Or when we lose great military people who are defending our country and give their lives for their country?
If these people are so mad at the governor and don’t agree with him about the restrictions that he has put on us to protect our lives, why use the American flag to protest him? Why not use the New York state flag?
They aren’t protesting against the United States, so why use that flag as their symbol?
Too many Americans have given their lives in support of the freedoms we enjoy under the flag of the United States.
Over 40,000 Americans have died from this virus. Be thankful it’s not one of your loved ones or someone you knew. You don’t have to love the governor, but he’s trying to protect us from ourselves making poor judgments. Stay home and wear your masks.
James A. Wilson

Conservation Corps could provide jobs

Youth unemployment will remain high when we are able to open up the economy once more. Would an updated Civilian Conservation Corps be worth pursuing?
Created in 1933 by President Roosevelt, the CCC employed young single men (18-25) to do a lot of outdoor work. It provided training and an opportunity to make money for one’s family.
Every summer, there is a need for firefighters out West. In the off-season, brush could be cleared and firebreaks established. Global warming increases the need for beach protection. Parks and hiking trails need constant attention; fiber optic cable could be run in rural communities, etc.
The CCC did not pay a lot, maybe $150/week in today’s dollars. But they got room and board, training, skill development and medical care. The CCC performed work within ten general classifications:
1. Structural improvements: bridges, fire lookout towers, service buildings.
2. Transportation: truck trails, minor roads, foot trails and airport landing fields.
3. Erosion control: check dams, terracing, and vegetable covering.
4. Flood control: irrigation, drainage, dams, ditching, channel work, riprapping.
5. Forest culture: planting trees and shrubs, timber stand improvement, seed collection, nursery work.
6. Forest protection: fire prevention, fire pre-suppression, firefighting, insect and disease control.
7. Landscape and recreation: public camp and picnic ground development, lake and pond site clearing and development.
8. Range: stock driveways, elimination of predatory animals.
9. Wildlife: stream improvement, fish stocking, food and cover planting.
10. Miscellaneous: emergency work, surveys, mosquito control.
What do you think?
Ed Guider
Ballston Lake

Not the time for big tax hike in Niskayuna

Over 30 million individuals filed for unemployment during the last six weeks, representing just over 18% of the nation’s workforce. In Schenectady County, unemployment is now over 15% and likely to continue to rise in the coming weeks.
At a time when it’s not clear how homeowners, businesses and governments will be financially impacted by the COVID-19, two Niskayuna school board members have seen fit to push for a 7% tax levy increase.
Average homeowners would see an increased school tax bill of roughly $325.  Additionally, with the school district exceeding the state’s property tax cap, homeowners would lose a Property Tax Relief Credit payment of roughly $400.
Combined, the cost to homeowners in the Niskayuna district is more like $725 or a 15% tax increase.
Since we have no idea what the total impact will be on businesses, jobs, eviction or loss of homes or the reduced value retirement accounts will have on our local economy, this kind of tax increase appears unwise.
Many of our neighbors will have to tighten their belts to survive the additional burden the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our region. The school board should be looking for ways to tighten their budget and not increase the burden to taxpayers at this time.
In the past, I supported both Board Member Schlossberg and Tully at the polls. However, today I question their foresight by recommending such a large tax increase.
Robert J. Serotta

Old protest song can be applicable today

While watching the freedom protest in Albany on the news, a thought came to mind that every protest needs to have a protest song. Here is one from the past: Find the cost of freedom/Buried in the ground Mother Earth will swallow you/Lay your body down.
Dean Rhinehart

Let some golfers use golf carts on course

Currently golfers can use pull carts only.
For some that is fine. However, for those of us who are elderly and cannot walk the course to play we currently cannot play. I understand the maintenance issues so simply charge more for the cart use to cover the cost for disinfection.
I’m confident those of us who use riding carts would not mind the increase. I hope the governor and the courses would please consider this.
Gary Kirkham

Thank you to woman for simple kindness

With regard to the letter from the woman who donated her gas money to the food bank, thank you. You are a very giving person. What a better place the world would be if people would think to do simple kindness.
I give my friend the crossword puzzles. It helps her pass the time, as she doesn’t get The Gazette.
Emily McCarthy
Ballston Spa

New Yorkers feeling the pain of shutdown

Just a thought here. As we all should know, the coronavirus is a serious issue facing all of us. But I‘m wondering how long the governors, the media and all of the other people in power who want to extend and impose quarantine would want to continue on keeping the shutting down places of business and classifying essential and non-essential personnel.
I wonder if they were in the same position as the non-essential people who lost jobs and had to lay off their workers and haven’t received a paycheck for over 30 days. Hmm, I wonder how long the shutdown would last then? Oh, I forgot, wait until the children return to school.
I’ll bet the schools will have to hire counselors and therapists to help transition students from home to back to school.
Money is no object in New York state, as long as there are taxpayers.
Rick Splawnik

Do Trump supporters have a conscience?

Hello, Trump supporters, one and all. Has he duped you so much, for so long, that your conscience has stopped functioning just as his did long before you knew him as your president?
When you look at yourself in the mirror each morning, do you hum “Stand By Your Man” and salute him? OK, then. Swallow your Lysol and enjoy your last gasp.
Oh, I forgot, he was just kidding.
Virginia L. Mee

A clean city is better than a Smart City

Schenectady’s past innovations came from the private sector, not at the expense of the taxpayer.
It is short-sighted for the city to continue to spend money on the Smart City project but claim not to have money to clean the city streets.
I visited my church on Easter Sunday. The litter on the avenue was enough to embarrass the devil. Millions of dollars were spent to revitalize the area, but the filth remains.
When are the city officials going to get it? There is nothing promising about the Smart City initiative. It will not save money for the taxpayer. The figures don’t add up. The project will only continue the city’s indebtedness. No one has yet to mention the cost for security against a cyberspace attack. Floating a bond won’t cut it.
The Smart City initiative is a lost cause. Get real. Spend our tax dollars on cleaning streets and filling potholes. The effort will produce instant results. A clean city will celebrate Earth Day every day.
Mary B. McClaine

Fantasy draft left out some great players

I’m writing in regard to your sportswriters’ article that appeared in the April 19 Sunday Gazette (“Gazette fantasy boys’ basketball draft.”) Simply unbelievable.
How could these so-called experts not have picked Billy Kirvin, Jim Tedisco and Billy Telasky over the guards they selected (Dick Suprunowicz, Joe Cremo and Antoni Wyche)?
Check the stats on the three men I mentioned compared to these three selected by your people.
Craig Forth, as your center, come on now. You mean he was better than Armand Reo or Joe Geiger?
Finally, and of the coaches, how could they not have included the great Sig Makofski?
I suggest they start over again and possibly involve individuals that have been around longer than these writers.
Michael Barrett

Balanced approach to covid crisis is needed

History has told the horrors of one-man-rule, in which the freedom of others is inevitably enslaved. But the wisdom of man is folly compared to that of God, who allotted separate but equal parts to His Church.
We know the team impact of just one sports injury, but imagine an entire team sidelined except for one specialty given free rein over all.
Mathematicians would start first graders off with advanced calculus, while fitness trainers would never let anyone sit long enough to share a family meal. Psychologists would require that all be diagnosed with at least one form of mental illness.
Dr. Anthony Fauci puts us in an equally frightening scenario with no regard to the innate personhood of others expressed by our right to work. Justifying the mounting federal debt from unemployment and stimulus packages by the notion that federal credit is technically limitless places an unjust burden on generations to come.
Such malfeasance also disregards the rise in suicides associated with male unemployment.
President Trump quickly learned that a virus cannot be intimidated, but we should take a balanced approach to advance equally necessary goals. After all, this is not the land of a dictator, but the home of the brave.
Stephen Dansereau

Also thank those who deliver news and mail

Thank you, Mr. Miles Reed, for your May 3 Gazette column (“Saluting other workers of the front lines.”). I do appreciate the journalists for their expertise and tireless efforts.
That appreciation extends to The Gazette delivery staff, too, delivering every day without fail. These efforts, working together not only brings us news but also works to hold us together as a community.
Letter carriers, delivering essentials, also work to hold our communities together. They are caring, diligent members of their community watching out for and helping their patrons. They brave the streets every day delivering mail, medicines and packages for which we have all become dependent. Our letter carriers are a lifeline to everyone sheltering in place.
Letter carriers may be invisible to some, but don’t ever doubt that each and every one are heroes. I got mail today. I’ll bet you did, too. The letter carrier always delivers.
Christine Cook
Ballston Spa

Old economy lacked current expenses

I am responding to Mr. Thomas Singer’s May 2 letter (“Economy was better long before Trump”)  in which he claims that our economy was much better in the 40’s and 50’s where only one family member had to work.
Back then, we had no expenses of cell phones, video games or cable TV. We also didn’t have two late -model cars, at least one of which is an expensive SUV or luxury pickup truck, nor did many of us have college loans to pay off. As for taxes back then, they were much lower because most schools didn’t have large fleets of buses and their own athletic fields, tennis courts and swimming pools. People were also satisfied with their two-bedroom Cape Cod “starter” homes instead of the ranch and colonial homes they must have today.
So, Mr. Singer, please don’t compare today’s economy with that of yesteryear. Apples can’t be compared with oranges. I don’t think you do know which economy most of us would prefer.
Robert Dufek
Clifton Park

Thanking God for Gov. Cuomo’s efforts

I have always been proud to be a New York state citizen. But I have never been prouder to be a New Yorker than I am right now.
On March 11, this became a national emergency, a pandemic. I’m sure that I am not alone in saying “I’m scared to death.” To be honest I have truly never been so scared in my life. Two weeks later, I was laid off from the job of my life.
Scared to death but with a strong faith in God, I began this journey with my wife and mother-in-law, all three of us taking every measure to keep us safe. Being the man of the house, I had to live up to that role of protector. God give me strength. God as always answered my prayers. Thank you, God.
He did it in the form of our New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Thank you, God.
Prior to God’s intervention, a normal interaction in my home was: wife: “Gov. Cuomo’s cool”; me: “I like him but I don’t agree with a lot of his political ideals.”
Gov. Cuomo, you have given me the strength to keep fighting, to keep doing the right thing to keep my wife and mother-in-law safe, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your daily press briefings are brief and to the point; just the facts.
Bill Cody, Jr.

Trump behaves like some cowardly bully

Donald Trump’s actions over the past three years leave no doubt: The man is a coward and a bully.
He feels strong when he beats up and mocks those he perceives as vulnerable – women, working people, immigrants, people of color, the disabled. But, like all bullies, he always rolls over in the face of the powerful. Consider how quickly he caved in to corporations that opposed his use of the Defense Production Act to force them to produce the PPE equipment because it would cut into their profits. The frontline health workers desperately needed this equipment. Without it, it was leaving them vulnerable to sickness and death. More recently, Trump ordered the reopening of meat processing plants that closed because thousands of workers had contracted COVID-19 and dozens died.
This order achieved his goal of protecting the profits of the politically powerful meat processing companies, but it also exposed thousands of vulnerable $11.63/hour workers to COVID-19. These workers now must choose between staying home and forfeiting their unemployment benefits or going back to work at the risk of sickness and death for themselves and their families.
One can’t help but wonder, how badly does this bully really need his daily hamburger fix?
Bill Scheuerman

Social isolation not the American way

Are we trying to crush the entrepreneurial spirit in this country?
Private businesses are being killed off by our government at the local, state and national levels.
Flooding the economy with $4 trillion to $7 trillion is not going to resuscitate the majority of businesses that are going under.
The abrupt seizure of total control of our economy by our government officials is a major step towards a command economy.
The longer we acquiesce to the “shutdown,” the less likely we will be able to reclaim the private sector economy we enjoyed just eight weeks ago.
The mantra repeated endlessly by our officials is “stay safe.”
Isolation is not compatible with a free market economy; isn’t that why we build roads, railroads and-airplanes? Isolation leads to alienation.
The normal social contacts, which are part and parcel of a free economy, are denied us. Alienation is not reduced by putting rainbows in windows or by having so-called celebrities tell us to “follow the rules.”
The demographic data tell us who should be protected from this virus. Those in nursing homes require others to protect them, while those over 65 and those with certain underlying conditions can often take care of themselves by social distancing.
For the rest of our people, however, the shutdown serves the purpose not of protecting them,  but of controlling them. This is not America’s way.
Richard Evans
Burnt Hills

Recognize foreigners’ contributions, flaws

The Spanish conquistadors discovered the potato in the 1500’s. This is given credit for a large part of Europe’s population boom in the 1700s.
Leaving Europe for the Americas and Australia was mostly a voluntary decision. Some were winners, along with a huge number of losers, mostly other species.
Clearly corporations and politicians who have constantly failed to address problems deserve blame. However, to a claim a small number of Europeans haven’t made massive contributions to the problems would be wrong.
The coronavirus? Some countries are doing OK, while others are suffering worse than the United States in relation to population size.
Other countries had slavery, and many ended it, too. William Wilberforce and Dom Pedro II are two of many who helped end slavery.
The claims about the Union killing livestock and destroying warehouses, I don’t read about foreigners doing this. As far as I can tell, we’re the only country who did horrible things in order to end slavery.
The first modern welfare state? That would be Germany under Otto von Bismarck.
Both good and bad, foreigners have made major contributions to the world. I’d argue they deserve more attention.
Colin Yunick

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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