Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Sunday, March 21

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Towns should seek input on relief funds

The recently passed American Rescue Act of 2021 will result in funds being given to local and regional governments as outlined in the article (“Relief bill contains millions for area”) published in The Gazette on March 9.
The previous pandemic-inspired relief act known as CARES and also the more recent Consolidated Appropriations Act both suffered from the appearance of some of the money being spent foolishly.
Investigations continue, but reports of banks giving loans to individuals to purchase Lamborghinis and yachts abound. I hope we can avoid these mistakes with the new funds.
As a resident of Princetown, I read in The Gazette that my small township will get a bit north of $200,000 from the American Rescue Act. Similarly, other townships, cities and counties in our area will all be receiving funds from this act.
It is my firm belief that Princetown could set a great example for other local governments by starting a public discussion to seek input from our community of how these funds should be spent and approval of any decision made relating to the expenditures.
Furthermore in light of Sunshine Week it would be appropriate for the town to promise a public and transparent accounting of where the money is eventually spent.
John Fisher
Pattersonville

Action needed on scooter street safety

Regarding gas and electric bicycles and scooters. With the warmer weather approaching, we are again faced with illegal and unlicensed vehicles on our city streets.
We all have seen the dirt bikes and ATV’s running rampant on the city streets. Now we have gas powered bicycles and electric scooters to contend with.
I recently almost had a collision with an older woman and a young child who failed to pay attention to the street signs to stop. The scooter had directional lights, they were wearing helmets, everything that would be needed to be a licensed vehicle.
I called the Schenectady police and was told that they do not stop these vehicles because prosecutors will not enforce the V&T laws related to these vehicles. I was told to contact the city council member for public safety.
So I sent an email to Mr. Mootooveren and his reply was that the council is a legislative branch, not-day-to-day operations. So welcome to Bureaucracy 101. We have enforcement willing to keep the public safe, prosecution that could not be bothered and finally an obtuse city council unwilling to create laws for the safety of the community.
Such a simple request. I guess when some reckless teenager gets hurt or killed, then maybe they will do something and name the law after the deceased. I was also told that the police were informed not to pursue, so maybe if this sparks some debate keep that point in mind as well.
Robert Sponable
Schenectady

NRA’s Project Exile can save lives in cities

Every time someone is shot in one of our local cities, the mayor of the city is quoted as saying how awful it is, and how hard they are working to prevent such tragedies in the future, bla, bla, bla.
They establish groups and committees to study the problem and get zero results.
In one city, a person who steals a firearm has only to contact the local religious-based “fence” to sell it.
It appears that these mayors have been influenced by Gov. Cuomo’s hatred for the NRA to the point that they will flounder around with half-baked, useless, solutions while more and more people die in their cities before they will ask the NRA for help.
The NRA has developed a program called “Project Exile,” which has proven very useful in reducing crime in many cities. It is my understanding that this program essentially centers around enforcing all federal firearm laws, already in effect, many of which carry mandatory jail terms and fines.
Many people feel that the federal laws are too strict, and perhaps rightfully so.
However, every mayor who really cares about crime in his/her city should stand up to Gov. Cuomo, contact the NRA, explore the details of Project Exile and learn how it can reduce crime and save lives in their city.
Kenneth Benson
Charlton

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

21 Comments

LOUIS RESTIFO

By questioning Fred regarding the vaccine for COVID-19 Cynthia has opened the door to the topic. My take:

It is troublesome to me that approximate 35 percent of Americans are conspiracy believing anti-Vaxxer’s or are in a wait and see mode. These people are the breeding ground for the virus to mutate. New variants then spread, reinfecting vaccinated people as well as themselves with new strains. The likelihood for additional booster shots will be increased creating logistical and financial issues. Not to mention the additional stress on hospitals, illness and deaths.

Furthermore the right leaning conservatives are so concerned with voter identification certificates which would undoubtedly hamstring black and minority voting. I am concerned with certificates to verify that Americans have been vaccinated prior to partaking in many close quarter endeavors. i.e. flying, entering government and other public buildings etc

RAYMOND HARRIS

Louis – 49% of republicans say they will not take the vaccine. As you said, this gives the virus a better chance to mutate. Add to this the right wing’s reluctance to wear a mask and socially distance. We’ll have to watch for the increase in cases in places like Texas and Florida that are letting their guard down.

I would be fine with Americans being required to show that they have received an approved vaccine before boarding a plane, train and other close quarter travel and entertainment (e.g., sports events) venues. This should take effect following Memorial Day or no later than July 4th when most people have had the chance to obtain the vaccine. I have no patience for people who view the pandemic as a political hoax.

FRED BARNEY

Ray fails to recognize that some to not wish to gamble with their life by taking a vaccine that has just been developed. That being said it is widely accepted that no one has the right to behave in a manner that puts another’s life at risk. After all that is why resisting arrest is a crime!

FRED BARNEY

1>Lou reasonable people can have reservations about a vaccine that was developed at warp speed. As you have correctly pointed out their could be severe consequences to the wait and see approach to vaccinations.

2> Voter identification laws are designed to promote the integrity of elections. If you find getting voter identification is to much trouble trouble then then do not do it! I would make voter identification to be supplied by the Feds to all who paid Federal income tax. My theory is that those who pay should be able to say how their taxes are spent

RAYMOND HARRIS

Since there have been several comments about protests and protesters around the country during the past 10 months regarding the George Floyd and many other minority murders by law enforcement, I’ve been doing a little research when the following news story broke. Pay attention Fred, Bill, et al.

In City After City, Police Mishandled Black Lives Matter Protests
Inquiries into law enforcement’s handling of the George Floyd protests last summer found insufficient training and militarized responses — a widespread failure in policing nationwide.
For many long weeks last summer, protesters in American cities faced off against their own police forces in what proved to be, for major law enforcement agencies across the country, a startling display of violence and disarray.
In Philadelphia, police sprayed tear gas on a crowd of mainly peaceful protesters trapped on an interstate who had nowhere to go and no way to breathe. In Chicago, officers were given arrest kits so old that the plastic handcuffs were decayed or broken. Los Angeles officers were issued highly technical foam-projectile launchers for crowd control, but many of them had only two hours of training; one of the projectiles bloodied the eye of a homeless man in a wheelchair. Nationally, at least eight people were blinded after being hit with police projectiles.
Now, months after the demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police in May, the full scope of the country’s policing response is becoming clearer. More than a dozen after-action evaluations have been completed, looking at how police departments responded to the demonstrations — some of them chaotic and violent, most peaceful — that broke out in hundreds of cities between late May and the end of August.

In city after city, the reports are a damning indictment of police forces that were poorly trained, heavily militarized and stunningly unprepared for the possibility that large numbers of people would surge into the streets, moved by the graphic images of Mr. Floyd’s death under a police officer’s knee.

The mistakes transcended geography, staffing levels and financial resources. From midsize departments like the one in Indianapolis to big-city forces like New York City’s, from top commanders to officers on the beat, police officers nationwide were unprepared to calm the summer’s unrest, and their approaches consistently did the opposite. In many ways, the problems highlighted in the reports are fundamental to modern American policing, a demonstration of the aggressive tactics that had infuriated many of the protesters to begin with.

FRED BARNEY

George Floyd was not murdered. He, in his drugged state, choose not to surrender to the arresting officers. If the above protests did not reflect racism why have we not hear about the need to taking being arrested rather than it being a mere suggestion that can be ignored with impunity?

Joseph Vendetti

Ray:

$1.5 billion in property and commercial damage from the “peaceful” protests last summer. Some cities like Minneapolis, Portland, Baltimore, Los Angles still have chain link fences and areas that are not accessible.

We closed offices in MN & OR because insurance premiums tripled because the losses insurance companies suffered.

I take umbrage with your statement “many other minorities were murdered by law enforcement”. Besides the George Floyd murder – what other murders are you referring to in 2020? 2019? 2018?

There are 60,000,000 million police/citizens interactions in a year. There are a handful of fatalities (most white). You have a 10x better likelihood of being an astronaut then harmed by a police officer no matter what color you are.

RAYMOND HARRIS

Assuming the $1.5 billion is correct, who do you blame for this cost (BLM, whites, other people of color, antigovernmental groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, 3 Percenters, white supremacists, etc.)?

In 2020, there were 1,004 fatal police shootings (999 in 2019). The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans were much higher than for any other ethnicity, standing at 35 fatal shootings per million of the population (according to Police Shot to Death by U.S. Police by Race). Of course more whites were killed because they are the majority population so whole numbers are meaningless.

Joseph Vendetti

Ray:

At 1004 fatal shootings – thats .00001 of total police interactions in the US.

They certainly aren’t “murders” – if anything they probably prevented thousands of murders. Our law enforcement officers go out every shift with the possibility that they may lose their life. They work almost impossible conditions these days with every action covered by video (someones phone, their body camera, their car), everyone wants to be a Monday morning QB & say what they should have done in that split second between their life (or another innocent) and a criminal.

Of the 1004 shootings 989 were deemed justified. Of the 15 fatal shootings that were not 9 were white, 5 were black and one was Hispanic. All 15 officers were fired & brought up on charges. Thats .00000025 of all LEO interactions that ended in wrongful death. Now go look at the wrongful death of surgery, dentistry, etc.

There is no law of proportionality. If there were wouldn’t whites have the same proportion of the NFL, NBA, MLB then the standing on the planet? & for us to point to lowering arrests, incarcerations based on color or proportions is silly. I believe why we are seeing violence and violent crimes exploding in NYC, Buffalo, Chicago, etc is we have put “shock” collars on our officers. They are afraid of being called “racist” or having their behaviors overly scrutinized. So like any predator, their is that sixth sense of weakness and violent crimes are rising all over the US.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Hey Ray, I guess we just don’t get it.

There are absolutely no bad or corrupt cops in America. I’m sure if Al Capone was alive he would attest to that. Never any on his payroll.

Come on Ray, don’t you know that law enforcement is the only profession in the world where there no racists or bigots?

Just ask any black person: Any issues with cops? Nah, they all love me like a brother, unless they mistakenly shoot me in the back, or suffocate me. – I know they keep pulling me over claiming I didn’t have my directional on just to say, “hey man have I nice day, be safe and I love ya.”

Having said that I truly believe the vast majority of cops are good cops, but that most certainly does not negate the need for reform and training within the ranks of the police force.

Joseph Vendetti

No one is say no bad cops!! There are bad people in every profession. Racist lawyers, doctors, truck drivers, cops, etc – but there is no “hunting” of black man by white police officers in the US. President Obamas Justice department did an investigation in 2011-12, there was no evidence at all to support any type of that narrative.

If you are a white, black, purple criminal you of course are going to have some type of negative reaction or negative to say about the police.

Joseph Vendetti

And Lou if you are saying I am a racist or bigot I will let you know that I have two half African american sons.

RAYMOND HARRIS

Who determined they were justified, white police Chiefs or white juries? Regardless you never answered my question who do you blame for the occasional violence at protests this past summer?

Joseph Vendetti

Ray:

Portland has a 4 block by 4 block area that is vacant – the mayor thought by not having a police presence respond as did Minneapolis it was going to limit the destruction – both wrong.

Thats like believing a bully will stop taking your lunch money if you keep giving into him.

This isn’t Kent State.

If there were police in riot gear, national guardsman, etc at the US Capitol riots I would have expected them to lay down the law and crack heads, use rubber bullets, tear gas, whatever it takes to restore order.

We can’t possibly think living in lawlessness is correct?

LOUIS RESTIFO

Joseph, You’ve said that before and as far as far as I’m concerned that does nor absolve someone from being a bigot or racist. People call Obama a racist and he’s black. There are people who castigate and denounce their own biological children for being of the LGBTQ community or marring out if their race or religion. – Your words and your behavior are determining factors as to whether or not you are a racist or a bigot, not who your relatives are.

Joseph Vendetti

Funny how I have two black sons, one white son, two white daughters and none have been in trouble with the law. To be respected you have to give respect. Taking personal responsibility for all your actions is something they all understand.

When you put yourself in harms way by loitering, selling drugs, driving with no license, not complying with simple requests, then your chances that you will have a run in with the police increase dramatically. All my kids were born, grew up in the city, went to schools in the city, played sports in the city and not one time have had an issue.

I coached at Schenectady high for 10 years. When any of my African American players got into any trouble – I was the 1st person they called. I was the 1st person their parents called. I have bonded 3 former players out on minor offenses and provided lawyers – so you sir, from a Burnt Hills suburb has no idea until you live & breath for 30+ years with someone that is African american in your household what you are talking about.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Joe, To set record straight, I have lived in a “Burnt Hills suburb” for two of my 72 years. I was born in and spent the other 70 living in Schenectady. I, as your kids did, went to Schenectady public schools from k through 12.
I have, for over 50 years owned a business in the Hamilton Hill area of Schenectady, so I am quite familiar with the deprived, under privileged disrespected lives of the inhabitants of that neighborhood. I am also aware of crime committed there, from shoplifting to prostitution and murder.

You appear to have somewhat of an open mind, but I am perplexed when you make statements like the following:
“When you put yourself in harms way by loitering, selling drugs, driving with no license, not complying with simple requests, then your chances that you will have a run in with the police increase dramatically.”
What does that have to do with racism or bigotry, which is what we were talking about?

It is my contention that people of color are racially profiled disproportionately to the “white privileged” by many involved in law enforcement. It is my contention that there are many bigots and racist living in America whose actions have been strongly influenced by people the likes of Donald Trump. Look at the heinous crimes committed against the Asians because of trumps words.

I just want, to partially paraphrase Martin Luther King, a world where we all can live in a nation where people will not be judged by the color of the skin, the shape of their eyes but by the contact of their character.

Racism and bigotry are most definitely alive and seemingly increasing in America. Many of posts on this line reinforce that statement.

I’m fighting for a level playing field for all. That’s it Joe, let’s not make this personal.

Joseph Vendetti

Lou – it doesn’t get any more personal then calling someone a racist or bigot! Frankly its slanderous especially on a public forum.

Having two black kids I’ve had racism and bigotry from family, from neighbors, from teachers, from “friends”, so its very personal.

Having a flooring company in Hamilton Hill really doesn’t tell me anything. Did you employ mainly 12307 residents? Did you provide 12307 residents with cheaper floor covering then residents in Niskayuna or Rotterdam? Or were you just taking advantage of inner city cheaper taxes, being in the economic development zone, cheaper electric rates? I would like to see what the positive benefits were for the residents of Hamilton Hill of having your business there.

I can tell you my business is 51% minority owned, I employ 84.66 % minorities (black, latino, asian) & another 2% (women) in the field. Our average heavy equipment operator made $93,000 last year. I have multiple resource programs to move our craft workers into management staff, we pay for health benefits, life insurance policies, higher education, work clothes, children scholarships, etc.

I voted for Reagan, Bush, Clinton despite his faults, Bush, voted for John McCain in 2008 because I thought he was the better candidate, but voted for Obama in 2012, was out of the US in 2016 but wasn’t going to vote for Hillary, Voted for Biden because I felt Trump was too negative, too divided – but like Clinton who had tons of faults (women, scandals, land deals, telling lies) had done many good things, I think Trumps economic expansion & cutting red tape to get us vaccinated can’t be ignored, but his negatives out weighed anything positive.

NYC has ended “stop & frisk” and NYC is a danger zone – there are no safe areas of the city. Every industry used statistics to advance- unfortunately what the statistics have born out that more crimes are committed by minority population between 18-35 yr old men. Should we as a people just turn a blind eye to facts? Not arrest people because of a BLM movement? A year ago, NYC turned a blind eye to african Americans attacking Hasidic jews & asians – it was quite prominent.

The george floyd murder was horrific, wrong in every imaginable way, whether Mr Floyd had fentanyl in his system or not, an arrest procedure is get the perpetrator in cuffs, transport – not lay on someones head or neck. He gave a bad name to every good cop that ever worked.

I do feel police need further training for mental health calls, to be more racially sensitive, to live in communities where they police.

Interested to hear your responses.

William Marincic

Joe you can’t talk to these people, they are brainwashed listening to the main stream media and CNN. According to them I am a racist too, I have a black sister and I have almost 10% black blood in me but I’m a racist. You can’t reason with the unreasonable. That’s the new liberal cry along with climate change global warming to divide us, this week it’s called systemic racism. Isn’t it funny how the Democrats always find something to divide America, in the late 60s and 70s it was women’s liberation, then it was abortion and AIDS in the 80s the 90s gave us global warming, remember New York City was supposed to be underwater by now. The 2000s we had hope as a country after the 9/11 attacks as we all got together as America but then by 2010 things turned back to the way they were, school shootings and gun control became the manta of the left and here we have 2020 where the Democrats are going all in, systemic racism, global warming, white against black, Republican against Democrat. As you see the Democrats never ever let a crisis go to waste. They always have a cars to divide us, because united we stand divided we fall.

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