Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Thursday, Feb. 25


High time to reform N.Y.’s parole system

As the daughter of a loving, caring man who’s currently incarcerated, I agree our parole system is in need of reform. My father will be eligible for parole release in five years based on his court-imposed sentence, but he may serve many more. Having totally transformed himself, he’s more than ready to contribute to our community. Sadly, under current law, the Parole Board may deny him release based on the one thing he can never change — his original conviction.

Together, the Fair and Timely Parole and Elder Parole bills would ensure that people in prison have an opportunity for parole consideration based on who they are today, what they have done to change, and whether they present a danger to community safety, in addition to their past behavior. These are moderate reforms backed by the families of incarcerated people and advocates for victims and survivors.

Your Feb. 21 editorial (“Make sure parole reform is done correctly”) calls for input from law enforcement, too. Having spent decades lobbying for policies that created mass incarceration, often silencing crime victims while purporting to speak for them, their advocacy should be taken with a grain of salt. These bills are supported by the Law Enforcement Action Partnership and at least one district attorney.

On top of the moral and financial problem of mass incarceration, there’s a crisis of aging and dying in New York’s prisons, especially now during COVID-19. Lawmakers must pass these reforms to reunite families like mine before it’s too late.

Divided GOP would be best outcome

Trump was acquitted again by Republicans who stand for nothing but their own self-interest. What I hope will happen next is that Trump divides the center-right and far right of the GOP (there is no middle in the GOP). This will effectively destroy the party for years to come, which is fine with me. It was so evident in the impeachment and Senate trials that most Republicans (86 percent voted to acquit) care more about getting re-elected than following their oath of office and the Constitution. One hundred percent of Democrats showed they are the true patriots in this country while the flag-waving Trump Republican seditionists almost pulled off a massacre in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In addition to not getting re-elected, Republicans fear getting death threats from these insurrectionists. These domestic terrorists need to be dealt with by Homeland Security, DOJ and the FBI. If we need a domestic terrorist law, then let’s do that. It would be interesting to see how many “brave” Republicans would vote for such a law given their ties and support for the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and, of course, white supremacist factions.

The other big issue in 2021 and beyond is the renewal of voter-suppression efforts by the states’ GOP. Over 100 bills have been introduced in state legislatures to make it more difficult for less advantaged citizens to vote, despite the fairest and most secure election that just occurred. But with a split GOP, hopefully it won’t matter.


Dems must back impartial redistricting

I was distressed while reading the article (“As redistricting looms, Dems have second thoughts”) on the front page of the Feb. 16 Gazette to learn that New York Democrats were considering abandoning their call for a nonpartisan redistricting commission. This is extremely misguided.

The Democrats, of which I am one, have spent the last four years bemoaning the actions of the Republican Party while they have held most of the power in the country. We were outraged that Mitch McConnell pushed through the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett after blocking the consideration of Merrick Garland four years earlier. We blasted gerrymandering when the Republicans did it; we railed against voter suppression in states controlled by Republicans; we were horrified when 43 Senators voted to exonerate Trump from his part in an armed insurrection against the government of the United States. For four years, the Democrats appeared to hold the moral high ground.

I think the Democratic Party needs to defend this high ground by supporting fair, impartial redistricting. Someone needs to stand for good government based on democratic principles. Many people in this country, mostly quiet ones, long for this. Let New York be the “shining city on the hill” for government based on fairness, not based on power.

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

LOUIS RESTIFO February 25, 2021
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Hot off the press…

“NEW YORK — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has taken possession of former president Donald Trump’s tax returns and a wealth of other financial data deemed central to prosecutors’ ongoing criminal case, officials confirmed Thursday.
The transfer, involving millions of pages of records, occurred Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the former president’s last-ditch bid to shield his financial records from the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.”

“A team of analysts in the district attorney’s office, including some from an outside forensics accounting firm, FTI Consulting, have been at the ready for months to dissect the records and scour for any evidence of criminal activity at the Trump Organization or by its executive employees. The group includes Trump, three of his adult children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer.”

Perhaps now we eventually find the “witch” as a result of this hunt. – It will take time because, just like the rest of us have, there’s “millions of pages of records” to review.

FRED BARNEY February 25, 2021
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There are plans plans to reopen schools but there are no plans to have all adults in the reopened schools to have their Covid – 19 shots. Perhaps we could change the state motto to the land of the expendable.

geri krawitz February 25, 2021
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i love how a group of you just go around congratulation each other and never talking facts or news. i can imagine the happiness when you read others like you who no nothing and do not think

Matt February 25, 2021
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Excellent letter Raymond. For my entire life, the Republican Party was one that supposedly stood for law and order, conservative spending, and an originalist view of the Constitution. Yet in a span of only four years, Donald Trump has completely destroyed the party, much as he has done with all of his many failed businesses. The party no longer stands for law and order, having had their own president and fellow lawmakers lie about the results of our democratic election, incite them to storm the Capitol in an attempt to have Mike Pence overturn the votes of over 81 million Americans, and assault, murder, and maim police officers. They no longer believe in conservative spending, having added over 2 trillion dollars to the debt with their corporate tax giveaways in 2017, and Trump added almost $7.8 trillion to the debt overall during his short stint in office. And they no loner believe in a strict reading of the Constitution, because they argued the latest impeachment was unconstitutional even though it states that a conviction can lead to “disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States” as written in Article I Section 3. And that previous officeholders were also impeached after they held public office. On one hand it’s sad that once-principled Republicans have completely kowtowed to one man, on the other hand, it is a bit joyous to watch them destroy themselves from within. The latest press conference with Kevin McCarthy telling reporters that Trump should absolutely speak at CPAC, and Liz Cheney immediately contradicting him by saying Trump shouldn’t play a role in the future of the party or country, had me reaching for the popcorn.

geri krawitz February 25, 2021
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mr. harris i am begging begging what is the crime trump was acquited of. all the letters allude to this crime but no on e states what it is. was it the call to a russian official?
did monies change hands as with the bidens? it seems no one who alludes to this crime can put the actual crime into words. now we have the bidens commiting ellegal acts we have the words we have the videos show me the ones for trump or stop talking about an issue that does not exist and if their is an issue it is of small caliber nothing like the thieving bidens how can you defend this family with all their lies and theiur weak morality all cheated on their spouses and yet they claim to be perfect catholics what a crock

geri krawitz February 25, 2021
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ms. taylor whay did your father do tht has caused such a lenghtly prison term? whay will he do when he is released to aid the community what type of job will he get?
many people struggle to find jobs at this time with no criminal backgrounds whay will he do how will he support himself or will he dependent on newly created programs to help.

William Marincic February 25, 2021
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Ray, 75% of Republicans say they would follow Trump to a new party which means that most republicans are behind him so that fantasy of yours is dead. Nobody’s trying to make it difficult for anyone to vote, what the Democrats are trying to do is make it easy for fraudulent votes. I keep saying if you enact the same rules that Florida has for absentee ballots and a national ID card which could be your Social Security card for him person voting then everyone will believe the outcome of an election, 25% of Democrats and 80% of republicans believe the last election was rife with fraud, how much we may never know.