Laws should push for energy savings
Bravo Dave Bruns and his Solara Apartments that were featured in the March 17 Daily Gazette article (“Net-zero apartment complex awarded $750K.”)
Not only are they important for our future and the New York State energy goals, but they are attractive.
What we need to encourage more projects like this is a law that requires environmentally sustainable zoning for all new buildings.
Have-nots have a lot less than wealthy
“There’s nothing surer. The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer.” These lyrics, written by Gus Kahn and Ray Egan 100 years ago, are surer today than they were then.
We used to have poor people and rich people, but in these euphemistic times, we have “wealth inequality.”
The Pew Research Center reports that that inequality has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 70% of the global population living in countries where the wealth gap is growing.
As more have-nots become aware that they have much less and everything is costing more, there has been an increase in social unrest.
Meanwhile, incomes have increased much faster for the rich.
From the 2007 recession to 2016, for instance, the average worth of the richest 20% increased 13% while that of those in the lowest percentage decreased 20%.
The incomes of the five wealthiest men (Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg) combine for $738.1 billion (although that may have gone up a billion or two since I wrote this). Given there are about 330 million people in the United States, they could give each of us $2,236.67, more than one and a half times the $1,400 stimulus money Congress has approved. At least, with a salary base of $174,000, senators and representatives won’t be eligible for the stimulus.
They’re wrangling over whether to raise the $7.25 minimum wage that the working poor have been trying to exist on for 11 years!
Richard W. Lewis, Jr.
Seuss Co. caved in to cancel culture
In response to Karol Newton’s March 16 letter (“Get the facts before making comments.”): Many people are making the argument that the editors of the Dr. Seuss Publishing Co. all of a sudden decided to cancel publication of some of their all-time popular, money-making books because they think they are offensive.
You can bet your bottom dollar that the board of editors was threatened by ‘cancel culture’ people with lawsuits, intimidation, etc.
Give Cuomo the benefit of the doubt
It seems to me that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting an uphill battle with the press and also with various political opponents and even affiliates. I always thought that our judicial system operated on the grounds that people were assumed innocent until proven guilty, but apparently this is not the case with our governor. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt, until he is proven differently?
Country benefits from the Peace Corps
I was saddened by the column (“Peace Corps needs to be reformed, not abolished”) in the March 3 Gazette about former Peace Corps members advising that the organization be abolished, I consulted two friends who had served in the Peace Corps in 1964 and asked how they felt.
Both said that their time in the Peace Corps was incredibly meaningful and that the organization should be continued and supported. They had received high-quality training beforehand in sociology, language, geography, politics and the emphasis that they were going to help where help had been requested, not to change or indoctrinate anyone into American way of life.
One went to the Philippines and the other to Ghana. Both grew immeasurably in understanding different cultures, countries and individuals and continued their international interests all their lives.
One became a teacher of English as a second language for refugees in this country. When her daughter also entered the Peace Corps (Botswana), she spent six weeks visiting her and other volunteers and was impressed with their seriousness and dedication (not acting as White saviors.) The other friend revisited her school several times over the years and maintained contact with a few students, one of whom came to this country for a PhD in Education and returned to Ghana.
They both felt that improvements could be made such as recruitment from minority groups and possible help with tuition for higher education.
It seems to me that our country gains from these returning volunteers with their international awareness and understanding and commitment to people.
Stefanik is holding Cuomo accountable
Since December, our representatives have been silent, but not Elise.
I think we must take a moment to recognize Rep. Stefanik for her unwavering effort to hold Cuomo accountable. Elise has been consistent, strong and determined to uncover the truth.
Elise has consistently held Gov. Cuomo accountable when all others did not. U.S. Sen. Kristin Gillibrand until very recently remained silent on the six sexual harassment allegations Cuomo has accumulated over the past month. In fact, it took a full investigation by New York’s attorney general for some Democrat lawmakers to even speak up. On Elise‘s record, Elise has proven that she will never bow to the leftist mob and do what must be done to support her district. Keep it up, Congresswoman Stefanik. Cuomo must be held accountable.
South Glens Falls
Trash hauler goes the extra mile for cleanup
I’ve read many letters in this section from people thanking various entities for their help, so here’s a shout out to Advantage Disposal trash collection for service above and beyond.
After heavy winds early in the morning one day last week, my recycling can was blown over.
I had accepted that I would need to get out later that morning to pick it up to wait for next week when I heard the truck pull up and stop. I went to the window to look out and saw that the driver had gotten out of the truck, put on gloves and picked up all of the recycling strewn over the lawn.
So thank you Advantage for this help. It meant a great deal to me.
Banks took financial risk to save Proctors
The feature (“Remembering when Proctors was rescued”) in the March 14 Gazette was a great tribute to the grass-roots effort to save this gem of a theater, but I found it lacking in one respect.
As a junior officer in what was then the National Commercial Bank & Trust Company office on State Street (now Key Hall), I was aware of the formation of ACTS in 1977.
One of the requirements of this organization was financing, which became a somewhat volatile issue.
A consortium of the then-local commercial banks was formed, which included National Commercial, Schenectady Trust Company, Mohawk National Bank and Community State Bank.
A lending committee was formed and grappled with how to lend money to a startup entity with little in the way of collateral or guarantees of repayment other than anticipated revenues from the renovated theater.
If I recall, there was much angst over the merits of financing the project at all, much less who was going to participate and in what proportions.
Ultimately a package was put together subject to periodic review meetings that seemed to stretch on for years. Not being on the committee, I don’t remember the details other than that the local banks took a major flyer in the name of community service.
This behind-the-scenes aspect of Proctors’ rise from the grave certainly deserves to be included in the success story otherwise so well covered.
Let rural ambulance services give vaccines
While New York ramps up its vaccine distribution, it’s critical that we ensure rural New Yorkers are not left behind.
As the elected representative of many rural communities, I know that transportation can pose a barrier to many of us and a long drive to a mass vaccination site can be difficult or even impossible.
Many of us know of, or have even helped out a neighbor, friend, or relative or who cannot commit to a long drive to get essentials, including travel-restricted seniors and people with disabilities.
To reach the needed threshold for herd immunity and ensure equal access to vaccines, we need to start looking for ways to reach rural residents.
One way to do this is to allow rural ambulance services to administer vaccines. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued guidelines for reimbursement rates for ambulances that administer vaccines.
Becoming a vaccine administrator can be a complicated process, and ambulance services in our rural areas already struggle with limited staffing and resources. I have written a letter to the Department of Health urging them to develop guidelines to help rural ambulance services register as COVID-19 vaccine administrators.
During the pandemic, EMS services across the country have been nimble enough to adopt new practices and expanded roles to safeguard the health and safety of their communities.
Other states have already moved forward with plans to add ambulance services into their vaccination strategies, and it’s time for us to put a plan into motion as well.
The writer is a state Assemblyman representing the 111th district.
Police actions people take, not thoughts
A recent letter to The Gazette, concerned about potential insurrection, advocated for the repeated vetting of military and police by screening their ties to “extremist groups” and their use of social media.
It also encouraged members of the military and police to report others who engage in insurrection leaning activities. The writer did not define what those activities might be or give a list of forbidden “extremist” groups.
He focused on the military and police because of their potential to join in rebellion. Some might suggest that we also vet college professors, with their potential to cause a generation of our youth to hate their country and engage in rioting, looting, fire-bombing and statue destruction. And how about politicians, with their potential to abuse power and destroy the foundations of our democracy. And let us not leave out newspaper editors, with their potential to incite the masses.
Perhaps we need a government entity to carry out this vetting. We already have an example from our own history. It is frequently referred to as McCarthyism. We could call this entity the Thought Police.
Or maybe we should just stick to our Constitution and allow police, military, academics, politicians and newspaper editors to believe whatever they wish and to peacefully assemble with whomever they choose, only holding them accountable for actions that do not comply with the law.
First Amendment is for individual speech
The First Amendment only applies to the government not restricting a citizen’s freedom for expressing their opinion, peacefully assembling, or practicing religion.
It does apply to an employer firing an employee for language or behavior that is offensive or against company policy.
The First Amendment does not dictate that this newspaper or any information or social media platform is required to print a letter, opinion, advertisement or article that is deemed to be libelous, seditious, vulgar, profane or offensive.
As private entities, each information provider has set standards that they adhere to based upon their judgment of what is acceptable to their advertisers and consumers of their product. There is also a responsibility to publish news, not opinion or ads, that is based on verifiable facts. Case in point: QAnon conspiracy theories.
They are unverified fantasies and should not be repeated in the media as news. Religion is beliefs, that are protected rights but not based on provable fact. It’s hard to mix politics and religion for that reason.
While the First Amendment is constant, societal norms change and evolve. What was acceptable yesterday may no longer be acceptable today. So-called “Cancel Culture” is merely business decisions to change with the time.
It is in the interest of business to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
They want to sell things to everybody regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. The government never forced retailers to remove “Christmas” from ads at the holidays.
It was a business decision based on demographics.
GOP has become the party of White rage
I remember back in 2008 watching television coverage of Sarah Palin speaking at a McCain presidential campaign event.
As she excoriated Barack Obama, members of the audience, some carrying firearms, shouted out “N****r! Muslim! Terrorist!, Death to Obama!” Palin stood behind the podium with a goofy smile on her face, never uttering a word of reprimand. Visceral white hatred was on full display.
Fast forward to 2020. President Donald Trump has dredged up and mobilized the vilest elements of White society — Boogaloo Boys, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Qanon, Three Percenters — culminating in the events of Jan. 6, with Trump giddily cheering on his storm troopers.
Trump’s Republican Party is undeniably the party of White rage and White supremacy, with its own army of psychopaths.
And now, Republicans in Congress walk around with goofy smiles, blaming Antifa and Black Lives Matter for Jan. 6. America the Beautiful has become America the Stupid.
Fear the powerful will undermine oversight
I was driving up the Northway the other day when I passed a dirty panel truck. Written in the dirt was, “Pack the Blue.” At first, I was confused and thought he may have meant, “Back the Blue” but I realized he knew what he was writing. The Jan. 6th Insurrection made clear that White supremacists and insurrectionists have been quietly conspiring to infiltrate law enforcement including courts, prisons, persecutors, parole, probation, police, military and associated unions.
Look no farther than the NYCPBA support of Trump.
Today we have a fleeting chance to enact civilian boards to monitor and oversee police agencies. We still have a choice between false security and freedom. Civil servants swear an oath to people of our nation and cannot serve two masters. Many have pledged allegiance to groups that trace their origins to the Ku Klux Klan and unions that conspire against our government.
I only know what I read in the paper, but I am afraid these powerful forces will once again water down true oversight and promote increased infiltration. It is time to stop, ‘Pack the Blue’ before it is too late.
Grateful for support at the national level
On March 8, my Niskayuna Town Board colleague Denise Murphy McGraw was contacted by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s office and informed the town of Niskayuna will be receiving $2.45 million under the American Rescue Plan.
This is great news. Thanks to the leadership of President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, our Congressman Paul Tonko, and all the Democrats in Congress, American families, small businesses and municipalities like Niskayuna have been given a lifeline.
We incurred tremendous expenses over the past year due to the pandemic and our fund balance (the rainy day fund) has taken yet another hit. Thanks to our strong visionary leadership in Washington, towns like mine will not be forced to raise taxes, lay off workers, and/or compromise services for our residence due to tremendous financial burden of COVID-19. Our community is fortunate to be so well represented on the federal level.
John Della Ratta
The writer is a Niskayuna Town Board Member.
Don’t overlook bolts on Cuomo bridge
Concerning Gov. Cuomo, shouldn’t we be at least as concerned if not more so about the bolts on the bridge rather than the babes in the boardroom?
Frank L. Palmeri
Grateful for health workers, distributors
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through. At the height of the pandemic, my father had a stroke and passed away. My mother and I were not able to see him at all while he was in the hospital. We weren’t able to visit him until ten minutes after he passed.
And I know my story isn’t unique, unfortunately. Thousands of others have gone through similar horrific experiences.
I anxiously await the day that we will all be vaccinated. It is the only way we can end this pandemic and the suffering of thousands of families. It was heartening to see over 2,000 people receive the vaccine at Rivers Casino recently, so there is cause for optimism.
Healthcare distributors are delivering those vials of vaccines and other necessary equipment across the country, to every community that has been affected by the pandemic.
They are responsible for bringing your state those precious doses so your nurse or doctor will administer it to you. Because of them, those that are struggling in the hospital can get the care they need and see their vaccinated loved ones in person.
My father was able to get as much care as possible because of the efforts of healthcare distributors and his frontline workers.
In the future, those same vaccine distributors will be the reason why your loved ones can survive covid and have their family in the hospital with them.
Letter disparaged Ballston Spa trustee
I am surprised that The Gazette Editorial Board printed Forman Phillip’s disparaging Letter to the Editor on March 14, (“Think before you vote in Ballston Spa”) accusing Ballston Spa Village Trustee Liz Kormos’ company of potential conflict of interest for a service her company does not even perform.
I can understand Mr. Phillip’s disregard for Ms. Kormos: when he built his house BEFORE Ms. Kormos built hers down the street a couple of years later, Mr. Phillips insisted that she contribute $15,000 to offset his sewer hook-up from the street that he forgot to account for when he built his house. Ms. Kormos, of course, politely declined this claim as having no relevance and having nothing to do with her.
In this day and age of so much hate, hypocrisy and ‘fake news’ and distorted information, I am astonished that The Gazette printed the letter without even fact checking Ms. Kormos’ business. Both the newspaper and Mr. Phillips owes Liz an apology. In transparency, I am Ms. Kormos’ husband.
School closures hurt minority students
Democrats in the Capital District and all over the country are hurting our most vulnerable youth, the minorities.
You talk about opening the schools, yet you don’t realize that the predominantly Black schools Albany, Schenectady and Troy, have largely been closed since last March and the predominantly White schools Delmar, Colonie, Niskayuna, etc. have all been open since last September for full in-person learning much of the time. Who gets hurt by these policies in these cities like Albany, Schenectady and Troy other than the minorities, the people that can least afford to be shut out of school?
You’re destroying the Black community and the minds of the youth. How can these kids grow to their full potential if you are keeping them down by keeping schools closed?
You want to talk about systemic racism, there is your perfect example.
Banning books hurts children’s education
Regarding the Dr. Seuss book ban, it baffles me how it seems acceptable to ban children’s books because of an adult’s point of view.
Children’s books are for children to read and enjoy or to entertain themselves. Children, younger and older, learn many things from books like people and places, language, art and culture, and sometimes, silly words, phrases and rhyming like in the Seuss books.
Educators use books to teach children life lessons like peace, love, family and culture. They teach children to think or reflect on what’s happening in the story.
To say these books should be banned because they have a racist or culturally insensitive story line is something only adults read into it.
Children do not read stories or understand adult ideas like this when reading. That’s why they’re called children’s books.
I think we need to stop pressing our adult opinions and beliefs on an age group that will miss out on some of the funny and whimsical stories Dr. Seuss wrote.
We don’t ban music with swearing that children hear every day. We don’t ban news stories about riots or violence children see every day. We don’t ban movies that are violent, culturally insensitive or inappropriate for children. We put a rating on them instead. So why don’t we do that for books as well?
In order to promote tolerance and change, we need to stop reliving the past and teach a better future. Banning a few books will not make that change.
Seuss decision not a case of censorship
In his March 13 letter to the Gazette (“Censoring Dr. Seuss is crossing the line,”), Dave Bouck claims that Dr. Seuss is being censored. Then he asks what about offensive song lyrics?
The Seuss organization that oversees Dr. Seuss’s legacy decided that they no longer wanted to publish some of his works. No outside group forced this decision. This is not censorship.
Perhaps if Mr. Bouck expanded his news gathering sources, he would be better informed on the facts so that he would make more informed conclusions.
Dems started cancel culture with Trump
I was talking with a friend the other day about volcanoes. The conversation somehow changed to cancel culture. Go figure.
It’s come to my attention recently that a large number of liberal personalities, Democrats and elected officials are saying that this cancel culture is going a bit too far and needs to stop.
They fail to realize that they were the ones that created it in order to attack Trump.
At the time, they felt that it was important to cancel anything by Trump and by anyone that may have supported him.
Now that Biden is in office, they want to do away with it as they feel it’s not needed.
They are trying now (here comes the volcano reference) to put the lava flow back into the volcano — it doesn’t work that way.
Liberals, Democrats and those we elected seem to not know a lot about life in general and definitely know even less about volcanoes.
Gerald V. Marmuscak
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