New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, June 6

Your Voice

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

It will take time to rebuild the country

I feel sorry for our younger generation who are witnessing the political hatred, the coronavirus and the riots at the protests. They have seen more negativity than a person twice their age. It is so sad to see these issues which are tearing America apart, when it took our fellow Americans so long to build it up.
It is going to take time for our country to overcome the obstacles so we can once again live our lives without the fear we as Americans have had to struggle through.
Walter “Neal” Brazell

Santabarbara good to Amsterdam

I’ve only been mayor of our city for four months, but through the COVID-19 crisis, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has proven to me that the city of Amsterdam has no better friend or more effective advocate at any level of government.
What I admire most about this guy is that he doesn’t wait for me to call him. He regularly reaches out to me, asking what he can do to help, suggesting options and opportunities our city should investigate and pursue.
Angelo is a tireless, passionate and highly intelligent human being. He makes it a point to focus on the best interests of his constituents and not partisan politics, regardless of the issue.
He provides Amsterdam with a highly respected, objective and independent voice in the State Assembly and I’m thankful to have him representing us.
Michael Cinquanti
The writer is mayor of the city of Amsterdam.

We’re all the same children of God

Black lives matter. We all bleed the same color – we are all created in God’s image.
Concetta Cannizzaro

Vote independent line in Schenectady

I received the election ballot for the school board and mailers from candidates.
In reviewing the information, I found that the Schenectady Federation of Teachers (SFT) endorsed three candidates, and in reviewing their backgrounds and platforms, I found that one of these candidates is employed by NYSUT. Although I am a strong supporter of unions in general and belong to a union myself, I feel there is an inherent conflict of interest in electing a union member to the school board. I assume SFT does an excellent job of representing their members, but the majority of their members do not live in our city.
As a long-time city resident and taxpayer, I urge voters to support the three independent candidates running: candidates: Etienne, Rose, and Stephens. They live in our community, care for our schools and represent the residents of the great City of Schenectady.
Zakhar Berkovich


Hope next president will be my president

My president is decisive, not derisive. My president is compassionate, not obstinate. My president listens to science, not sycophants.
My president is a smart man, not a con man. My president reads books, not banners. My president works for the country, not for a better golf score. My president worries about the farm market, not the stock market. My president knows his limits, not his net worth.
Maybe the next president will be my president.
Jeff Klein

Candidate slate will help ensure balance

I respectfully submit this letter in support of three candidates running for Schenectady school board this June: Hitlall, Leary and Rivera.
We need their voices to ensure a balanced conversation where the interests of all the cities’ diverse constituents are represented. We need members unafraid of tackling tough topics who remain committed to fairness, openness and transparency.
The resignation of our district superintendent and the search for his replacement is a good example of an issue requiring active community input and collaboration across stakeholder groups. I am confident that Hitlall, Leary and Rivera will advocate for a leader who has what it takes to effectively engage and communicate with all employees, parents and students across the district.
We need a district leader who is agile and innovative; strong, and fair. A board must remain committed to improving the school climate and advocating for resources, services and supports that benefit all students. Running Schenectady schools is a complex job, requiring a talented team of experienced individuals. The newly configured board will be a very strong one and will continue to work diligently towards meeting Schenectady’s goals by advocating for the best policies to strengthen its academic, social and emotional learning community.
Leah Lembo

Solve problems first, then point fingers

It wasn’t my fault, he made me do it. Mom says: “If your brother jumps off the bridge, would you?” When we grow up (I emphasize “grow up”), we learn this. I guess Republicans and Democrats didn’t. Finger pointing just leads to a government unable to function. Dysfunction is one thing; allowing people to die is another.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR immediately sat down with Ford, General Motors and many others. A simple question: “What are your capabilities and when can you deliver?” Then: “A- You make tanks, B- You make B-29’s, C-ships, D-engines that fly the planes and it’s very important that you coordinate with B. They all get on the phone to senior management. Wheels are in motion immediately. No “Are you Republican or Democrat?” Next to the Secretary of Defense, “What’s our inventory and when can we get what we need before ours roll off the line?” You work with the Secretary of State to coordinate our needs with allies.
I’m going to bed. Making or acquiring masks, gloves, test kits, test procedures and respirators is not rocket science. Observe what the rest of the world has done or is doing; what works what doesn’t.
The first case of Covid-19 occurred in the United States and South Korea on the same day.South Korea didn’t even totally shut down its economy and our death rate is 50 times theirs. Why? Democrats and Republicans. Play the blame game later or we might as well all jump off the bridge.
Clay Carpenter

Hitlall, Leary, Rivera will bring change

The city of Schenectady will vote on our city school district budget as well, as who will fill three available seats on the Schenectady city school board, on June 9 by absentee ballot. Six candidates are on the ballot, three running independently and three running on the same slate.
Three candidates —  Dharam Hitlall (seeking his third term), Princella Leary (seeking her first term), and Bernice Rivera (seeking her second term), running on a unified slate — have a profound and unwavering commitment to service, experience, deep roots in the district and will represent a voice for all people. Hitlall, Leary and Rivera believe in transparency and a city school board that welcomes the voice of the community and the schools that they represent. These three have fought for veterans’ rights, school culture and climate initiatives; have pushed for greater school safety policies and practices, along with parental rights and inclusive activities, and schools that are equitably funded and supported. Schools where “Schenectady Pride” exists.
We need Hitlall, Leary and Rivera for the Schenectady city school board. as they represent the change that is deeply needed here in our Electric City.
Maritza Martinez

Zhao will make best decisions for Nisky

I have lived in Rexford for more than 30 years and have had two children graduate from Niskayuna schools. I met Jennifer Zhao 15 years ago when we were colleagues at GE Global Research. I know her as an energetic, passionate young woman who is not only bright and compassionate, but also courageous and willing to lead.
I witnessed her grow as an engineer as well as a community leader through the leadership positions at the Asian Pacific American Forum GE, and the Young Professionals Club at the Chinese Community Center. In the past three years, she has served as a positive role model for minority students as the only Asian American board member. I urge my neighbors to vote to re-elect Jennifer Zhao for Niskayuna Board of Education. I can count on her to consider all points of view to make the best decisions to benefit students and taxpayers.
Hsin-pang (HP) Wang

Don’t be in a big rush to legalize marijuana

We are alcohol and substance abuse prevention professionals and we witness daily the woeful consequences of recreational marijuana use. Recreational marijuana legalization will come at the expense of our children and public safety, and will have detrimental effects on education, employment, health, mental illness and addiction. New York really needs to wait to understand the consequences and have more scientific evidence and data.
Dangers to our youth:
• Will harm children’s developing brains and bodies (the brain is not fully developed until mid-twenties).
• Higher ER Visits and accidental overdoses will occur, due to unpredictable highly potent THC (as high as 90%).
Adult outcomes:
• With prolonged use, lifetime health and drug problems occur including cognitive difficulties, physical illness, mental health problems and addiction.
• Dangers to babies, pregnant women and their unborn babies from smoking and vaping, as well as harmful secondhand marijuana smoke and vapor.
Workplace repercussions:
• Legalization will bring changes to hiring practices, increasing conflicts between drug-free workplace laws.
• Employers will not be able to protect themselves from the liabilities of marijuana use.
Public safety consequences:
• More driving under the influence of cases with more fatalities will occur. DWAI is not a new situation, but more training and better equipment will be essential for New York to provide adequate resources for prosecution.
These facts illuminate why we implore our legislators to do the right thing, and not rush to pass recreational marijuana.
Nancy Jones
The writer is the director of prevention for New Choices Recovery Center.

It’s time to rein in social media sites

A friend’s experience has brought home to me why regulation of social media is needed now. I have a 70-year-old friend who is a very decent individual, active in the community, and is on boards.
On Facebook, she posts jokes and occasionally polite political thought that is backed up by evidence. Without any notice, she was completely removed from Facebook along with all of her photos and contacts “due to content”; they provided no explanation what content was problematic, nor was she given a chance to delete it. She was purged from Facebook without explanation. A possible remedy is to send a photo of her government issued ID, something no sane person would do. However, they are so overworked, Facebook doesn’t know when they could get back to her. What exactly does identification have to do with “content” issues?
Yes, Facebook is a private business. However, it has become a base for everyday life. Without a Facebook account, you cannot comment on The Daily Gazette’s articles or participate in groups within games and other apps.
Facebook accounts contain links to mutual interest groups, saved links, photos, etc. and can be your main contact with friends and relatives across the country, especially when you are elderly. It is clear that Facebook has become such a pervasive, dominant platform that it is time for some regulation to rein in its cavalier and arbitrary actions. If this can happen to my friend, it can happen to anyone on a whim.
Diane Barney

Big Tobacco must be gotten under control

May 31 marked the 32nd annual World No Tobacco Day, a global public health campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to expose the deadly tactics of the tobacco industry, the impacts of the tobacco epidemic it drives, and offer solutions for people to claim their right to healthy lungs and lives.
As the world’s eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t lose sight of another deadly global epidemic. Each year, tobacco kills 8 million people globally. Almost a half-million of those deaths are in the United States.
This epidemic is driven by the tobacco industry, which seeks to profit off the sale of addictive and deadly products. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Tobacco has doubled down on its time-tested tactics: marketing its products to young people and interfering in public policymaking.
Luckily, the world has a powerful tool to curb Big Tobacco’s power: The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), also known as the global tobacco treaty.
The United States has yet to ratify that treaty, but state and local governments can still use the guidelines in the WHO FCTC to counter the devastating impact of COVID-19 and future respiratory-related pandemics and save millions of lives from the effects of tobacco use.
I’m calling on our elected officials to take steps to stop Big Tobacco’s marketing to youth, reject tobacco industry interference in policymaking and make Big Tobacco pay for its abuses.
Andrea Sreiber

Don’t reflect bias in reports on protestors

In regards to the photos posted on page A2 of the May 31 Gazette in alignment with the article “Demonstrators clash with city police in violent protest,” where a black man standing in front of a line of police officers is labeled a “defiant protestor” while below a man who does not immediately present as a black man is burning a flag and labeled simply “a protester.”
This letter is not to touch on the climate of such protests, demonstrations or rallies being seen in the Capital Region. This letter is to address the way in which these two men are portrayed by the language chosen and used.
Using words with a negative connotation (i.e. defiant) sends a strong message. As journalists, you know that your words hold power.
I hope that as the editor, you will consider how you are representing people of color when you caption images around fights for racial justice. These images would have been just as powerful if they were both simply “protesters.” Biased captions such as this are harmful, hurtful and toxic, and perpetuate stereotypes. As a long time reader of this paper and resident of Schenectady, I request that you do better to dismantle racial injustice at every given opportunity. Sharing unbiased portrayals of the happenings around the Capital Region is a good start.
Rachael Pietrocola

Evil is working to destroy Christianity

As a child, I was fascinated with those movies about Jesus, The Christ and aftermath. The Christians in the catacombs and being eaten by lions in the arena was instructive. I was inspired by Christians preferring death to denial of their beliefs. Being a martyr for Christianity (not the Church), there is no greater status in the eyes of Christianity. That was 2,000 years ago; we are too sophisticated to become martyrs for our faith in the 21st century. Life is good. Hell, Christianity may be obsolete. “God is dead.”
The Catholic Church in New York State has gone to the state with its hand out for decades, always with good intentions. Priests have mouthed a politically correct gospel from the altar. Payment is due now from the lords of the underworld.
Priests (others also) bow down to the pandemic god. A yellow streak runs down the back of clergy. What goes on in church is not the province of transactional politicians like Gov. Cuomo.  Maybe all those stories were stories. Stories or not, the lions are out there consuming what is left of Christianity. Evil is real. God is dead.
Edmond Day

Templeton will be a leader for Shenendehowa

I am writing this letter to express my full-throated support for Tom Templeton, candidate for Shenendehowa school board.
I have seen Tom in action, as a father, therapist, community leader and friend. In each instance, Tom has demonstrated competence and action. He asks questions, he listens. He admits when he’s wrong and is unafraid to demonstrate vulnerability. He is also willing to use qualitative and quantitative data to defend his convictions.
His passion for inclusivity would make him the perfect board member. His work with children and adults with profound needs serves as only an example of his willingness to stand up for those who can’t stand on their own.
I have known Tom for 30 years. We learned in the same classrooms at Shenendehowa and now raise our families in the same town. He is deeply rooted in our community and possesses unmatched integrity. Tom knows this town and school.
He listens to everyone whose tracks bend his way. He’s intentional and proactive and wants to effectuate change where necessary. He also wants to help preserve what works. In times of unprecedented change, Tom is precisely the type of leader we need on the board.
Michael Lawrence
Clifton Park

DEC not protecting state’s environment

We live in an environmental and public health twilight zone. The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner had a May 27 New York Daily Newsletter boasting of DEC’s “science-based” decision making processes. Gov. Cuomo pontificates on television each day about public health and the value of a human life.
The DEC allows a smelly, noisy dump to operate right next to a Rensselaer public school campus and in between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods. Many people are getting sick. The DEC works closely with dump owners to keep the dump operating for many additional years. Many people think operating a dump next to a school is insane, but apparently not DEC, the state Health Department, or Gov. Cuomo.
A few years ago, the DEC approved a major Colonie landfill enlargement despite its location atop a large unlined hazardous waste dump on the Mohawk River bank.
The state government allows a hazardous waste incinerator to operate in Cohoes, adjacent to a residential neighborhood, despite decades of malfunctions and violations. Thousands of people, including children, live nearby and down-wind.
The state government has not required a multinational cement company in Ravena to prepare an environmental impact statement for its long-desired goal to burn perhaps millions of tires per year in a cement kiln directly across Route 9W from the Ravena-Coeyymans-Selkirk Middle and High schools.
Tom Ellis

Brennan will bring experience to Nisky

I have known Tim Brennan, candidate for Niskayuna Board of Education, for a number of years as a fellow parent in the Niskayuna school district.
Tim has both professional and personal experiences as a construction lawyer that are needed at this important time, with a multi-million-dollar capital project possibly voted on in the near future.
Tim commented recently that “budget season” must be all year long to be fiscally responsible in building a budget. Tim would like this to begin in the summer by talking with each building and departments to find out what their needs are for next year.
I know Tim as a person of commitment to his family, teams that he coaches and the Niskayuna school community. Tim and his wife, Jessica, are passionate about helping kids in crisis, including their involvement with the foster care system in this area. Tim’s entire family volunteers to make sure these kids have their nutritional and medical needs taken care of, which then helps with social and emotional security.
I feel that Tim Brennan is the strongest candidate running for the Board of Education on June 9. Please consider voting for Tim Brennan for Niskayuna Board of Education.
Colleen Pigliavento

Trump truly only cares about himself

We are inundated with information and questions about Mr. Trump. I have often heard or read items about whether he is working in his own interest or for the good of the people. Frequently we hear about the benefits his own business interests reap because of his presidency. This seems to be a good argument for the former. If I needed one conclusive piece of evidence, it has presented itself in the form of the Republican National Convention. In the era of COVID-19, we are provided with the good advice to wear masks and socially distance. When Mr. Trump wants to risk the lives of 50,000 people just so he can have a cheering crowd, I can draw no other conclusion than he cares only for himself.
Martha Meskutovecz

Egotistical Cuomo acts like a demigod

I wonder if our demigod, Gov. Cuomo, is vacationing on Mount Polimpus, the home of the American political gods, the birthplace of demigod overwhelming political power and ego.
Demigod Cuomo mandated the wearing of masks and threatened the use of the National Guard to take ventilators from upstate hospitals for use in areas of New York City. The shortages there were caused by hospital closures mandated by one of his commissions and a sell-off of ventilators by the New York City mayor.
Let us not forget the man also single-handedly shut down New York state, forced millions of people to stay at home, closed schools, stopped worship services across the board, ended sports seasons, stopped concerts, closed and likely bankrupted thousands of small businesses, as well as single-handedly caused nursing home chaos and additional deaths via executive fiat. Shouldn’t he have been able to stop a few riots in all locations of the state with an executive order and a casual wave of his hand?
I guess he can only bully the law abiding into obeying. But I’m sure if the law abiding rose in riots, and maybe even if they rose in peaceful protests, they would get squashed in typical petulant, demigod fashion.
Francis Van Staveren

Look elsewhere for truth on Antifa group

I thought I’d seen the very edge of far-left ranting on your opinion page until I saw the June 2 column written by an Antifa defender, Mark Bray, (“Antifa isn’t the problem. Trump‘s bluster is a distraction.”) Gazette readers should look elsewhere for the truth about that group.
Roger Sheffer

What is GOP’s goal for ‘black problem?’

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to not believe that ReTHUGlicans, all of them not just the elected officials, have a final solution to the “black problem.”
Michael Boehm

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