It’s not always good being invisible
Back in 1967 the Moody Blues released the album “Days of Future Passed.” One song on that record was “Nice To Be Here,” a portion of the lyrics from that whimsical tune are: I can see them they can’t see me/ I feel out of sight/ I can see them they can’t see me/ Much to my delight.
Do you remember it? 1967 was a long time ago but the Moody Blues are still touring, though the concert dates all say “rescheduled” now because of COVID-19, which brings me to my point.
I am a conscientious mask wearer and lately this song has been popping into my head when I have my mask on. That’s because a feeling sometimes comes upon me that people can’t see me, just like in the song. It’s like I’m peeking out from behind something and just my eyes are visible. Not in a sneaky way, I’m simply standing there, and they can’t see me. An editor in New York City has told me that when she is wearing her sunglasses with her mask, she feels practically invisible. Much to her delight.
Do you ever feel this way? A word to the wise: I can sense the potential for trouble if one becomes too secure in their concealed state, because they actually can see you. So, I intend to be extra careful when out walking around and control my impulses.
Tedisco makes the people his priority
There’s a saying that you only see elected officials at election time. That has never been the case with Sen. Jim Tedisco. He is always here listening to and caring about the people he represents 365 days of the year.
Whether it’s visiting and supporting small businesses, reading to schoolchildren or honoring our veterans, you can find Jim Tedisco across the 49th District at any time.
Jim Tedisco listens. When people were losing their jobs due to COVID-19 and couldn’t get through to the Department of Labor, Senator Tedisco heard their stories and helped thousands get their unemployment benefits.
When they returned to work, he visited both them and local businesses and offered continued support, as well as much-needed hand sanitizer and PPEs.
Jim Tedisco puts people first. He participated in local food distribution sites by delivering food and offering suggestions of help to those in need. Sen. Tedisco also took the time to honor our community heroes — regular citizens who have done good work during this pandemic — through his Acts of Kindness Awards.
I support Sen. Jim Tedisco because we need more compassionate people like him who are here for us and upstate New York.
New gov’t would be good for Spa City
As a resident of 40-plus years, I’ll turn over my ballot on Election Day and vote for charter change. A city manager meets weekly with department heads (fire chief, police chief, city planner, etc.), discussing projects and procedures, deadlines, funding, coordination of departments, etc. Requirements, duties and passwords will be passed on to new administrations, which, at times, have been withheld by a rival party.
Improved efficiency, longer institutional memory, better organization offer savings. No more “surprise” state fines, no paid-for studies sitting on shelves, no grant deadlines missed by those newly appointed and unaware.
I am not disconcerted by the proposed ward systems. Wards would not be in competition;”our neighborhood groups are not competing” now. A ward captain could be their ear piece and connecting cable to the City Council. Yet any citizen would be able to meet with the mayor, city manager or council members individually, as they can now.
Other benefits will be ours to discover. For more info, visit commonsensesaratoga.com.
Now is not the time to mess with charter
One can honestly conclude the success and longevity of the city of Saratoga Springs can be attributed to its commission structure/form of government. It has been the stable and reliable foundation on which the city was built.
It has firmly withstood its expansion over the past 105 years. The group Common Sense Saratoga depicts its proposed charter change as ‘providing more accountability, representation and transparency while providing taxpayer savings.’
However, upon closer examination, their proposal would completely restructure and, in my opinion, overly complicate the way our city is run and may impose a financial burden to its constituents.
At this time of change and uncertainty in all of our lives, we need reliability and stability in our government in both its functional and financial implications. Say no to charter change in Saratoga Springs Nov. 3; now is not the time.
Barbara Ann Whelan
Voter article not a complete picture
OK, I’m confused. The Sunday Oct. 18 Gazette page one story, “In their words,” about voter concerns in the upcoming election informed me that The Gazette reaches into the hinterlands around Schenectady, including Hamilton County, as it reported the views of a random group of people, three quarters of whom reside beyond the bounds of Schenectady County.
What the article did not do was reach out to a reasonable sample of persons who account for the large majority of subscribers and readers.
The sample included no one from Niskayuna, no one from Rotterdam, Princeton or Duanesburg, and only two responders from hometown Schenectady. So, if the point of the piece was to reflect some sense of how Gazette readers are feeling about the election, nothing much was accomplished. Consequently, I am compelled to ask what the point was of this undertaking?
Robert K. Corliss
No checks, balances in charter proposal
If you’re thinking of voting for charter change in Saratoga because you want a city government with a traditional checks and balance system, you’re in for a big disappointment.
A system of checks and balances requires a separate legislative and executive branch, each independent of the other and capable of interacting to block an action by the other branch. Who is the chief executive in the proposed city manager form of government?
It can’t be the city manager as supporters claim because the city manager is hired by the legislature and is not part of an independent branch. The city manager is a manager, not an executive.
How about the mayor? No, the mayor has been stripped of all executive authority. The mayor will no longer run departments, cannot hire, fire or even communicate with city employees. The mayor will have no more power than the other six council members in overseeing the city manager.
The mayor will also have legislative power as a voting member of the council. So, we’re back to co-mingling executive and legislative functions only in a more confusing way. If you’re looking for checks and balances vote no for this change or risk buyer’s remorse.
Trump has failed to protect Americans
Trump’s former chief-of-staff General John Kelly says Trump is “the most flawed person (he’s) ever met. The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding.” Trump’s own niece and older sister agree, as do any who have come to know the real Trump and left his administration or were fired.
But which of his many flaws is the worst? It has to be his total disregard for any life but his own.
For it is Trump whose incompetence and vanity have led to 220,000 plus dead due to his inaction at the beginning of the pandemic, his continued encouragement of followers to avoid protecting themselves, herding them like lemmings into his unmasked rallies, lying that we have “turned the corner,” and discouraging those who wear masks.
How many is 220,000, and soon to be half a million, if Trump has his way? More than the combined populations of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. More than the Civil War dead and approaching those killed in World War II. Four times that of World War I and approaching those killed in Viet Nam (while Trump was avoiding the draft).
Of course, to Trump, all those heroes were “suckers” and “losers.”
Linda C. Lewis
We need more public officials like Tedisco
Two years ago, my life and the lives of over 1,100 fellow former St. Clare’s Hospital retirees were turned upside down when it was revealed that our pensions were going to be significantly reduced or outright eliminated.
Our St. Clare’s retirees, many of whom cared for some of the most vulnerable people in our community, have been coping with economic uncertainty and desperation with no end in sight as our pensions evaporated in the snap of a finger through no fault of our own. Now, people in their 70s and 80s have had to go back to work and sell their homes to survive. It’s unconscionable.
Throughout this very stressful time, Sen. Jim Tedisco has been our strongest supporter all along and worked hard to advocate on our behalf to find out what happened to our pensions and help us find a solution so our retirements can get back on track.
Sen. Tedisco’s responsiveness and determination to right a wrong and to never give up in his fight for his constituents is heartening. It gives us hope that justice will prevail for our cause. If only we had more people like Jim Tedisco in government.
The writer is chairman of the St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance (SCPRA).
Commission gov’t has failed Saratoga
Ever since I moved to Saratoga Springs, I’ve seen how the commission form of government has failed the community. Lacking a legislative body, the city has no coherent long-term policies resulting in the city pushing unpopular projects costing taxpayers thousands in litigation. The city lacks goals because it’s preoccupied with the daily problems of running a city.
Local government needs to focus on the entire community, not just the interests of one or two individuals.
The new charter calls for the creation of six wards with a council member for each ward. Presently, the commissioners/directors of each department, are elected at-large, and pay little attention to the local community. At-large elections have been known to dilute minority voting strength, making it impossible for diverse candidates to get elected. Council members elected by wards would give the community a voice.
The new city council would be the driving force behind city government having the power to hire a professional manager, approve the budget and determine the tax rate. The council would focus on community goals, major projects, land use development, and capital improvement.
If you want Saratoga Springs to begin an era of cooperation and fiscal common sense, vote for charter reform.
Military was misused in border wall folly
I read recently on the Military Times that the U.S. military contributed several thousand members in support of the battle against COVID-19. These members of the Army, Navy and Air Force included those from the Active, Reserve and Guard forces. This commitment of our military demonstrates how it can support the needs of the nation it is dedicated to defend it. It’s a shame that we misused this same military in a foolish and unnecessary deployment to the Mexican border. What a tragic misuse of our military.
Hinchey backs issues important to you
As one should, I did my homework on the candidates running for State Senate District 46, the seat vacated by George Amedore, and the choice is very clear to me. I will vote for Michelle Hinchey.
If you want someone who will support issues that protect the environment, such as renewable energy goals, reducing chemical threats, protection of our air and water and improved waste management, vote for Hinchey.
If you want someone who will make supporting women’s health issues, a woman’s right to choose and improved health care for all a priority, vote for Hinchey.
If you want someone who will support amending criminal justice laws and regulations that better serve and protect all of our citizens, and who opposes racial discrimination in any form, vote for Hinchey.
If you want someone who will support our LGBTQ community, our voting rights and keeping sensible bail reform, vote for Hinchey.
Look at the voting record of Sen. Amedore, you will find that he consistently voted against these measures. Richard Amedure, also running for District 46, clearly states that he wants to continue Sen. Amedore’s legacy and even build upon it. If these issues are important to you, vote for Hinchey.
Tedisco truly works for all the people
I am writing in support for a gentleman who truly works for the people: Sen. James Tedisco.
Sen. Tedisco represents one of the largest and diverse Senate districts in the state. From Hamilton County with a population of 4,434 to the City of Schenectady with a population of 65,575. The challenges of representing a district this size are daunting. Sen. Tedisco has shown through his local representation that the people of his district come first.
The town of Indian Lake recently had a grand opening for a new Stewart’s Shop. In most areas, a new store opening would not even be on the radar for its local representative in Albany.
But when a major food market is an hour drive away it is a big deal for us. Sen. Tedisco took the time out of his schedule to make the two-hour drive each way to be with us.
This shows his commitment to all the people in his district no matter how big or how small, he treats everyone and every event with importance. I’m proud to support Sen. Tedisco and consider him a friend. I will also add that I consider Indian Lake to be one of “Tedisco’s Towns.”
Brian E. Wells
The writer is the town of Indian Lake supervisor.
Charter reform will bring accountability
From 2005 to 2009, I was privileged to serve as Saratoga Springs’ commissioner of Public Safety. Today, as co-chair of Common Sense Saratoga, I support charter change in Saratoga Springs because it will result in a more accountable, representative, and transparent city hall.
The new charter ensures accountability and savings because it will eliminate five deputy commissioners and replace them with a single professional city manager who will be led by a mayor in consultation with a representative city council. This will also immediately save $100,000 in salaries every year.
Commissioners will be replaced by a six-member city council composed of citizens, elected from the neighborhoods. Instead of answering to a department, city council members will listen to you and your needs. You will get real representation in city hall. You will not have to hire an attorney to be heard in city hall, your elected city council neighbor will be your voice. This new form will be transparent because we will have a professional, non-political auditor watching where every penny is spent.
Please vote yes on charter reform for a future of accountability, transparency and representation.
Santabarbara is always on right side
I’m pleased to see Assemblyman Santabarbara is backed by local and state police unions again this year. It seems he’s always on the right side of things. With all that’s going on in the world, he’s one of the few this year to have the police endorsements, but it speaks to Angelo’s record. He served in the military and his votes are tough on crime, support law enforcement and are on the side of public safety.
Angelo has developed a reputation of putting politics aside and doing what’s right for our community. That goes a long way for me. These days there are not many Republicans or Democrats that rise above party politics and just do the right thing. It’s nice to see someone in Albany who thinks for themselves and not along party lines. Now we need the rest of them to follow Angelo’s example.
Walsh will work hard for her constituents
We have known Mary Beth Walsh for several years, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to vote for her to be our Assembly representative once again. In addition to her 30 years of legal practice and government experience at the town and county level, Mary Beth has a genuine passion for her district and community. She is the kind of person who is honest and real with everyone she speaks with.
From the quickly growing populations in the southern part of the district to the more rural areas of Galway and Providence, Mary Beth understands the needs of families, seniors, school districts and business owners. An example of her addressing Galway’s needs is that she was instrumental in securing some state funding for the new Galway Public Library, a meaningful project for our small community.
This year has been a challenge for all, and while many of us are feeling divided, this choice is clear. We need genuine and hardworking individuals like Mary Beth Walsh representing us in Albany.
David and Carol Schweizer
Charter change: All trick and no treat
Saratoga voters deserve to know the facts of the charter change proposal that is on the back of the ballot this year and why they should vote no:
1. The pro-charter group has not disclosed the cost of this change to the public. Transition costs, legal fees and the actual number of positions/salaries that this new proposal entails have been ignored.
2. You would only be able to vote for two of eight people that will be governing us and running our city; your assigned ward representative and the mayor. Right now, you can vote for all elected officials. Under this new proposal, you would only be allowed to vote for two.
3. Your would-be ward representative would be a minority on the city council. Nothing prevents other wards from ganging up on yours.
4. There is no residency requirement for the unelected city assessor who determines how much property tax we should pay to the city, the unelected city clerk who manages public records and the unelected city manager who would run our city.
Happy Halloween! It’s all trick and no treat for the Saratoga voter when it comes to this charter change proposal.
The writer is co-chair of Saratoga Works.
Cobb will preserve American ideals
Tedra Cobb is a refreshing choice for the vast 21st Congressional District of northern New York. Along with being a St. Lawrence County legislator, she raised a family and has been a teacher and corrections counselor. She formed an organization to make healthcare more available. She joined the volunteer fire department. Firefighters don’t care if they are protecting Republicans or Democrats.
In contrast, the incumbent congresswoman is infamous for kowtowing to big money and a self-serving president. During a global health pandemic, they are destroying the Affordable Care Act that helps millions of people. They have no alternative.
All presidents from George Washington through Barack Obama struggled to unite the nation. The divisive nastiness of our 45th president is establishing a dangerous new normal. Lying doesn’t matter. Voting rights are being obstructed. The press and courageous reporters are threatened.
Democracy is a fragile alternative to tyranny. It requires good people. A vote for Tedra Cobb is a vote to help preserve our nation’s now 232-year experiment in democracy that Abraham Lincoln famously described as “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Santabarbara is a bipartisan leader
I want to thank Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara for continuing to work for the city of Amsterdam during these challenging times.
Angelo and I became good friends during my time as mayor. Anyone that knows me knows that I call things as I see them. I can truly say he’s one of the few that doesn’t care about what political party you belong to; he cares about the people in our community. I couldn’t have had a better partner than Angelo to work with for the betterment of Amsterdam. He always rolled up his sleeves and got things done when this city needed it. We accomplished much in rebuilding the city’s sewers, secured funding for our water towers and brought in historic state investments for our downtown revitalization projects.
I’m a Republican and retired police officer and I’ll be casting my vote for Angelo Santabarbara. I like that he served in the military and proudly stands on the side of law and order. I watched him take on the governor on bail reform and then go toe to toe with him again to stop new license plate fees. He’s a friend of Amsterdam, my hometown, the city that I love.
Michael J. Villa
The writer is the former mayor of Amsterdam.
Writer needed to get her terms straight
I planned to write about being sad for people in our country, including our family, since we won’t be able to celebrate the holidays as usual, when I read Inga Solomos’ Oct. 20 letter (“Look at countries that have socialism.”)
Her letter suggested that those countries were some kind of monster dwelling places. My husband and I have been lucky enough to travel all over Europe. We’ve been to the lovely Scandinavian countries that happen to be very socialist. Funny, they come up on top on the “happiest people lists” each year. We have been to France, Germany, Italy, etc., which, although not perfect, are all socialistic in providing a safety net of care for their people. I am not sure what socialism means to Inga, maybe she was thinking of communism.
But “the main difference is that Socialism is compatible with democracy and liberty, whereas Communism”, think China and North Korea, “involves creating an ‘equal society’ through an authoritarian state, which denies basic liberties.” Is that what you are afraid of, Inga? A word that frightens me is fascism, which by one definition “is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy,” which in the 20th century was exemplified by Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.
Facts is another good word. Now back to planning a different, but safe holiday for my family, following COVID-19 rules.
How can a modern leader ignore science
At a rally in Nevada on Oct. 18, President Trump disparaged Joe Biden by saying “He’ll listen to the scientists.” That implies that Trump doesn’t believe in what science says? After all, Dr. Fauci told an associate, “His attention span is like a minus number. His sole purpose is to get reelected.” However, Trump has said, “I’m a very stable genius” many times. He makes decisions with his gut, so who needs science?
His former chief of staff, John Kelly, is on record as saying, ”He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.” With our deaths from COVID-19 alarmingly rising, are you comfortable with our national leader dismissing science? Trump has said, “I know more than anyone.”
Climate change ranks extremely high on a scale of problems this nation should be addressing now, and yet, our science denying president ignores it. Why? As he said, “My primary consultant is myself, and I have, you know, a good instinct for this stuff.”
We live in a world driven by science. A president who denies science is like a member of the Inquisition who judged Galileo. Let’s stay in the modern world.
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