Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Monday, Feb. 1


Syed must disavow Joy and Stefanik

I write shocked and disappointed that a full two weeks after the siege on our Capitol, a grave constitutional crisis in which a young person from Niskayuna participated, our Town Supervisor, Yasmine Syed, has still done nothing to disavow her longtime support of Elise Stefanik and Liz Joy, who perpetuated the lies which radicalized her young constituent.
No apology for the hundreds Syed has donated to Stefanik, and no statement of regret for having accepted an endorsement and contribution from her in late 2019, long after the congresswoman was fully on board the Trump train and spreading egregious lies about the Bidens and Ukraine.
Syed, who is one of the Schenectady County Republican Party’s two vice chairs, has not even mustered the courage to demand that Liz Joy resign as the other vice chair, even though Joy was literally at the inciting rally outside the Capitol and helped organize buses to it.
Congresswoman Stefanik and Liz Joy might not be on the ballot this fall, but the people of Niskayuna should show that their lies, and the actions of Brandon Fellows, don’t represent us by kicking Supervisor Syed to the curb.
Kevin Duffy

America better with Trump out of office

We are finally rid of the worst president, EVER, in the history of our country.
There should be a celebration, except there isn’t.
Instead, there is fear and uncertainty.
Donald Trump has left behind a lot of debris.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have inherited a mess.
However, they bring attributes to the White House which have been sorely missing for the last four years — things like intelligence, experience, honesty and dignity.
Have you ever wondered if Mitch McConnell had held a real trial, with witnesses and evidence allowed after the first impeachment, that we would still be in this horrible situation today?
I’d like to think that Mike Pence would have been a big improvement on his own and not a Trump puppet as he has been.
Donald, your four-year reign of misdeeds and “alternative facts” was a waste of your time.
America has always been great and might even become greater with you out of the way.
Jane Reisenger

Encouraging siege deserves punishment

If encouraging terrorists to push pass Capitol police, beat officers, break windows, enter the Congressional chamber and offices, steal and destroy federal property, call out to hang and kill government officials and be the cause of five deaths doesn’t warrant impeachment and eviction by the Republican senate, then what does?
Beyond holding Trump accountable, there is the more pressing issue of setting a precedence for future administrations. A future president may be a more organized and effective traitor, and therefore actually succeed.
It is the duty and responsibility of our current elected officials to make it very clear to future administrations that to attempt a coup d’état, betray the oath taken to protect and adhere to the Constitution, and to encourage insurrection will have serious consequences.
Traitors, seditionists and terrorists must be held culpable to the fullest extent of the law. If any elected official chooses politics over the Constitution, shame on them!
JoAnn Sifo

Under Biden, U.S. will be far worse off

At 75 years old I am getting old and crotchety, but I still know right from wrong. Events of the last six months and during the first week of the Biden administration are just wrong. The American people will regret their choices.
Your taxes are going up significantly, energy costs will skyrocket, we will be overrun with undocumented immigrants, freedoms/rights will be lost, unemployment will increase, the economy will regress and nonsense in Washington, D.C., and urban violence will continue. As examples:
Biden has already canceled the Xcel Pipeline, driving energy costs up and losing 11,000 jobs.
Biden may repeal the Trump tax cuts, increasing everyone’s taxes.
Biden is re-entering the country into the Paris Climate Change Accords, escalating energy costs and penalizing all Americans while allowing China, India, Russia and many others off the hook for several years.
Biden will reverse Trump’s common-sense immigration policies.
Election laws in many states have been violated and the courts refuse to look at these violations.
Censorship of free speech by social and the mainstream media has already started.
Wasting time on impeachment of a departed president while doing nothing about the continuing violence led by left-leaning groups in numerous American cities like Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Chicago and New York.
Biden’s administration will come after your guns and restrict your Second Amendment rights.
Biden’s getting cozy again with China, and it will have a huge negative impact on Americans.
Good luck, America. In four years, if allowed to continue, we will not recognize you.
Lawrence Wareing

‘Indians’ is example of systemic racism

In his Jan. 24 letter to the editor (“Removing Indians names is the racism”), Edward Vacca described how the word “Indian” is not a racist term and that not using that word was, “ … saying to the Indian people that your name is not worth honoring.”
This is a perfect example of systemic racism, for he is referring to them by the wrong name, Indians. Indians are a completely different people, on a different continent.
So referring to them as Indians is false. But it is understandable, because it is taught all throughout American society.
Calling them Indians does not honor them; it honors European ignorance. It honors ignorance that lumped thousands of different tribes, with vastly different cultures and languages, into one group, then labeled them with the name of a place half a world away.
Ryan Bussing

We must work harder to protect children

The heartbreaking life and death of 4 year-old boy in foster care, detailed in the Jan. 23 Gazette (“Man accused of killing foster child”), is a sobering reminder that good intentions – and a system designed to protect vulnerable children – cannot always prevent tragedy.
Charlie’s removal and placement into a certified foster home was designed to provide protection. How can we make sure something like this never ever happens again?
We start with some facts.
Some 1,300 allegations of abuse and neglect are reported daily in New York. About 5,000 trained and dedicated professionals are responsible for receiving and investigating allegations each year.
According to Prevent Child Abuse New York, more than 100 children die from abuse or neglect in the state every year. We need to work together, provide the funding, reject funding cuts, and allow for transparency. We should:
• Rigorously educate the public about recognizing signs of child abuse and neglect.
• Provide adequate resources for foster homes and parents.
• Promote community-based responses that include parents, caregivers, law enforcement and professionals focusing on prevention and service delivery.
• Support common-sense legislation like the recently proposed Family Assessment Response program to strengthens at-risk families.
• Reject the proposed 5% cut in reimbursement for child preventive and protective funding as recommended in the NYS Executive Budget.
• Provide trained supervisory and front staff with the tools, adequate caseloads and support to make informed decisions.
New York has built a child welfare system second to none. We can, should and must always strive to do better, to save every life.
William Gettman

Grateful to McCarthy and crews for efforts

This past summer, the house next door to mine needed an underground water service repair.
Although the repair was successfully completed, the work disturbed the natural water flow coming from the street above us. The result has been just a large wet area. Once the cold weather set in, it manifested itself as an ice patch, large enough to cause an accident as this corner has a large flow of traffic.
I contacted a city manager, and that department responded by salting the area. But they told me that was all they could do.
I recently witnessed a vehicle slide on the patch between saltings and decided that I needed to contact the mayor’s office to elevate my concerns.
Not to my surprise, that week, the city had the area dug up and repaired.
I want the public to know that in spite of the recent criticism directed at the response to the major snowstorm, this type of service is what we can normally expect from our city officials. Thank you, Mayor McCarthy.
Michael Fusco

Stefanik fails to honor Grant’s legacy

Great news in the Jan. 22 Gazette (“Grant Cottage gets National Historic Landmark status”) that the Ulysses S. Grant Cottage in Wilton has been added to the National Register. It’s long overdue, but a bright piece of news from the waning days of the Trump Administration.
It’s interesting that Rep. Elise Stefanik mentioned “The Personal Memoirs” of President Grant as having inspired generations of writers. It is an account of leadership and patriotic values second to none.
He gave his all as commander of the Union Army to preserve the United States against white supremacy. As president, he passed the first Civil Rights bill through Congress.
Too bad Stefanik has not taken President Grant’s writing, his life and legacy to heart herself.
On Jan. 6, Rep. Stefanik voted to disqualify the duly certified ballots of millions of Americans, making herself a collaborator with the insurrection against Congress only hours before, led by white supremacists, the likes of whom President Grant fought against all his life.
We certainly appreciate the lessons of history so accurately conveyed by those who manage Grant Cottage and, now, the National Register designation. Let’s hope more people will learn of Grant’s leadership and values, including our members of Congress.
Sharon Boyd
Saratoga Springs

Trump made nation less safe, respected

With all the drama and trauma of the Jan. 6 attempted coup, it’s not surprising people are losing their focus on other important matters.
One is the covid pandemic, another one of Trump’s triumphs.
Every move he made seemed designed to make the situation worse. He claimed he knew of the virus’ severity and how contagious it was, while telling the country that the disease was harmless. He belittled people who wore masks and ignored methods like social distancing, even after he caught the virus himself.
He dissed Dr. Fauci, the nation’s leading epidemiologist, and toasted Dr. Mengele, I mean Dr. Atlas, who advocated just what Trump in fact did: fast track the virus to as many people as possible. Trump’s actions regarding the coronavirus are worthy of an article of impeachment by themselves.
It will take many years for the United States to regain the world’s faith, trust and respect. Twenty-five thousand troops in D.C. may make the Capitol secure, but it further erodes America’s standing in the world.
What are people supposed to think of the United States when it can’t hold an inauguration without a military lockdown?
Matthew Lofchie
Saratoga Springs

Unhappy with Nisky school, town boards

The Daily Gazette published an editorial on Jan. 16 (“Get Nisky absentee ballots now”) on the Niskayuna school board’s special election along with several letters opposing the February special election.
I agree with both the editorial and the letters. Despite the pandemic, uncertainty of their school aid package, the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, the district is trying to ram this vote through.
The only logical reason seems to be their hope for a low voter turnout and their disregard for the taxpayers. Enough is enough.
Also, The Gazette’s Jan. 20 article on the Sebesta report (“Town issues final report on ‘blackface’ incident”) turned out to be a “nothing report” costing six figures.
I was surprised that the town stated no matter what the intent, such actions are unacceptable. Intent matters in a court of law, but apparently not to the town. Paul Sebesta is not guilty of racism. But in my opinion, the town is guilty of attempting to destroy a person’s reputation. What is even more egregious, the town board members know that former Supervisor Landry would never tolerate racism on his watch. Sebesta was his comptroller for years and if he felt racism was an issue, he would have handled it with professionalism and discretion making sure the board members handled it the same way.
This fiasco would never have occurred.
Linda Rizzo

Reach out to workers on front line of covid

As a retired nurse I want to express my thanks and sincere admiration to all of our front-line healthcare workers as we continue to battle COVID-19.
They include nurses, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and physicians. They work in our hospitals, nursing homes, and primary care centers as well as in the community and public health.
Although as a nation we have faced crises in the past, there have been few that have exceeded this one in scope.
In a little over a year, we have surpassed the number of U.S. lives lost in all of World War II. Locally, the initial surge we faced in the spring was challenging and eye opening, but nothing like what we are facing now in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, where our hospital and ICU beds are increasingly being filled with patients struggling with covid.
This surge is putting tremendous strain on our local resources and front-line staff. Even if you aren’t a “believer,” the facts speak for themselves. Consider what will happen when you or a family member need hospital care and there are no beds available. It can happen and has happened in our region.
Please reach out to front-line staff in whatever way you can to show your support. Let them know you care and be part of the solution. Your actions count.
Sue Cridland

Explain recreational marijuana campaign

For the last several months, The Gazette has carried almost daily a very large advertisement on page one, first section, bottom for marijuana — “give the gift you’d like to get” plus a tiny disclaimer of five lines, 150 words.
Sometimes, they also add a smaller version at the top of the front page.
Who is behind this massive advertisement campaign of a destructive product? And why is The Gazette participating in that effort?
Your editorial (“Weigh all factors in legal pot”) in the Jan. 17 Sunday Gazette, contains not a single word relating to the negative health impact associated with recreational marijuana usage. How can that be ignored? By The Gazette? By the New York governor?
You undoubtedly know of the damage marijuana recreational usage can do to a young individual. Virtually every adult member of the community could also.
Your readers deserve to know more, a lot more, about this advertising campaign in which The Gazette is a participant. Please tell us.
Clyde Maughan

Sch’dy government failed in many ways

Rotterdam roads and streets are clean. Rotterdam roads and streets have been resurfaced. Niskayuna roads are clean.
Schenectady roads and streets need resurfacing, and the plowing is really something to be desired. With 31 inches of snow, the plows should have been out. Waiting could have cost lives in an emergency. How would ambulances or tire trucks or police go to respond?
This is negligence on the part of the city. But the city doesn’t mind raising taxes. We need better management of this city. In summertime, how many parks are open? Next to none. Schenectady gets high taxes with no benefits for kids or homeowners, but yet you vote the same people in. GE was our biggest asset and the city screwed that up, too.
The city council could have piece-mealed the tax cut and given Schenectady priority in employment. No, they refused. So GE left Schenectady high and dry. We lost the stores downtown. Look at how much revenue this city lost in taxes for being stupid. Homeowners are stuck supporting this city now with no industry, only retail businesses.
Now the small businesses are closing due to COVID-19, which will put people out of their homes if they can’t pay their mortgages or rents. Remember, you voted for this when you were warned this would happen. Who do you blame – the voters. The stimulus of $600 won’t pay for a doorknob.
Claude Rizzicone, Jr.

Where is the outrage over remote learning

This letter is in response to Sara Foss’s column in the Sunday Jan. 24 paper (“Closing city schools was a huge mistake”) regarding Schenectady schools. Her column is spot on, but my issue is where is the outrage?
These kids are already disadvantaged, even when they are able to go to school. With remote learning, they are further disadvantaged. Remote learning is not equitable and, at best, inadequate. Is it too cold for those folks who protested in the spring about systemic racism to come out and protest this systemic racism? This may not be a perfect comparison, but the outcomes are the same.
Dan Miller
Clifton Park

For balance, restore Fairness Doctrine

Does anyone remember the Fairness Doctrine rule?
After Trump supporters trashed the Capitol, I wondered how so many people could believe that President Biden’s election was fraudulent.
The easy answer was because Trump told them so. But a friend suggested I watch Fox cable “news” shows. So, I randomly chose Lou Dobbs Tonight and was stunned. Dobbs interviewed Congressman Mo Brooks and the two engaged in fact-free repartee about the “stolen election.” Dobbs ended by saying: “The effect of this [stolen election] is we are left with a government, run by criminals, the corrupt, and those beyond consequence for their actions. That’s where we are today.”
He was talking about President Biden. If “news” like this is what the Trump mob watched exclusively, then I can understand how they might be duped.
Once upon a time, the FCC had a rule called the Fairness Doctrine that required TV (and radio) stations to air matters of public interest and also provide time for an opposing point of view.
The rule was repealed in 1987. But maybe we should re-promulgate it.
Then the Fox channel would have to provide time for someone to challenge liars like Dobbs. Trump supporting readers will maintain that cable channels catering to “leftist” points of view also “dupe” viewers, but the FCC rule would apply equally.
Such challenges might focus attention on factual discrepancies and maybe even force agreement on a common set of facts. But I’m probably being naive.
Jerry Jasinski

We should all hope that Biden succeeds

I wish President Biden well as he assumes the duties of president of the United States of America.
I did not vote for him, but undeniably he is my president, and I will give him the due respect accorded that position.
“Respect the office, if not the man,” is a bedrock principle of a democratic republic. Yet somehow this concept eluded the Trump-haters for four years.
I want Mr. Biden to succeed; he is after all the leader of our country.
As our leader, he is charged with protecting our best interests. And so, I would be a fool not to want him to be successful. I am reasonably certain he will be workman-like with the tasks of consensus building and facilitating compromise. These are essential tools that allow for efficient and effective government.
However, on the international stage, there are times when a president must stand alone and make a decision, a final and often gut-wrenching decision, but unquestionably his decision alone.
Biden has demonstrated time and again that he lacks the vision, the conviction and the courage to be that leader. He will take the path well-traveled by all too many of his predecessors — a path that has made America appear weak and irrelevant. He will draw lines in the sand that will be crossed and erased with no fear of reprisal. Our allies will worry, and our enemies will become emboldened.
Good luck Mr. President; I will pray for you.
Frank J. Ciervo

Follow Mr. Rogers’ lesson: Listen more

I like to watch Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. OK everybody, roll your eyes. This guy is not right.
I have to agree, I’m not right. (Just ask my friends.) But I can’t blame Mr. Rogers. I can’t figure it out.
Maybe I like the show because he talks slow enough so children can grasp what he’s saying. My brain can usually keep up.
He also has interesting guests. Some are human, but mostly not. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself, even fail. Watch the kids at a puppet show sometime. Puppets are locked onto their eyes, but more importantly their words fill their ears.
The puppets in the Land of Make Believe have their complete attention, very important for communication of thoughts, ideas, emotions, and opinions.
Watch Mr. Rogers when he interacts with kids. He looks at them with full attention when they speak. He asks questions so they open up. More importantly, he listens with full attention to whatever they say.
I think adults sometimes forget how to interact, or maybe we never learned how. We tend to talk rather than listen.
Our views are more important than yours, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.
One-way communication isn’t communicating. We don’t learn anything when we don’t listen. We cannot make an informed decision if we don’t listen. Listen when you are engaged in conversation with others that you may not agree with.
You may find you have more in common than you think.
Clay Carpenter


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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Interesting how Lawrence, who apparently knows “right from wrong”, fails to mention anything about any of the things the former president ACTUALLY did that were objectively wrong. Unless he doesn’t think that paying off prostitutes, grabbing women by the p***y, trying to get a foreign leader to help with his presidential re-election, or spreading falsities that the election was rigged and he unjustly lost, are “wrong”. Instead he parrots the same old “Biden will come for your guns” scare tactic mantra we’ve been hearing from the Republicans despite all evidence to the contrary. For eight years we were told that Obama was coming for our guns, and yet there isn’t a single piece of legislation to prove that to be the case. He’s either living in an alternate reality or something else.

A coupla points:
Sharon Boyd is just scratching the surface of Grant’s legacy with regard to insurrections. Coincidentally Politico is running an article that takes a deep dive into the problem of White supremacists and insurrections of which he faced a few. Interesting that now, 140 years later, the same anti-democratic faction seems alive and well in the persona of young Ms. Stefanik, and for that matter, any person who will not stand up to this. At the risk of sounding McCarthyesque, every Republican needs to be considered suspect if they do not denounce, and *act*, against the Trump presidency and the fringe behavior their party has enabled. This includes those in their very midst in the House and Senate who would trample the rights of the majority because they didn’t get their way. If the Republican Party has a lick ‘o sense (which right now is not evident), it will convict Mr. Trump and bar him from ever holding a public office again. Act like adults and you will be treated like adults. Act like children and suffer the consequences.

Clyde Maughan seeks to bring attention to the dangers of marijuana and the apparent failure of the DG to warn us. People become addicted to all manner of substances and activities. They always have and they always will. Sometimes it shows itself as a slavish devotion to eating, or exercise, or their career, or a mind-altering substance. Let’s deal with why people are sometimes compulsive. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’m pretty sure the ready access to sugar-sweetened products at eye-level to children, and the plague of heart disease and obesity in our culture, and the economic price we pay for it, and the lobbying money behind it paying off our politicians presents a far, far bigger threat than legalizing marijuana. And I’m pretty confident that anyone who’s tried marijuana, anyone, would agree it’s far less dangerous than alcohol.

Frank J. Ciervo, are you really this devoid of self-awareness? The hypocrisy of this statement is stunning, and almost comedic:
“Respect the office, if not the man,” is a bedrock principle of a democratic republic. Yet somehow this concept eluded the Trump-haters for four years.
What does this say about the Trump-lovers then? It’s sounding more like a cult every day. We, the majority of Americans, feel Trump insulted the office of the Presidency and we are doing what we can to restore it. Step One was firing Trump.
I agree with your concerns about Mr. Biden as our President, I didn’t support him in the Primaries. But having a stubborn attitude toward the world and a blindness of the approaching abyss (with a proven fealty to our adversaries), and a one-dimensional fixation on your own well-being is far more dangerous. Trump does not deserve America’s support. Biden does.

Clay Carpenter: Bless you, and bless Mr. Rogers. He was an important part of my early years and left an indelible mark on me. Thank you for your letter.


The only bill Obama signed into law regarding guns was the rider on the Bank\Finance reform laws that allowed licensed gun owners in their home state to carry firearms within National Parks where they were previously prohibited.

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