Residents want reasons for decision
“You can’t fight city hall,” so the saying goes, and it’s true. My neighbors and I have been battling the town of Ballston for over a year concerning a wide discrepancy in the fees the town charged residents to connect to the same public water supply.
When the water line was extended in 2004 to serve the new town hall on Charlton Road, homeowners along the route (known as Extension 14) were invited to hook up for a fee of $9,100, with an explicit promise that the fee would never go up or down.
In 2016, the town consolidated all the water districts and simultaneously reduced the water connection fee to $2,000, a clear breach of the assurances made in 2004.
Those of us who paid the higher fee sought reimbursement. The board hired an outside attorney, who concluded the town wasn’t legally required to reimburse us.
We don’t know the attorney’s rationale because the board rejected our Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for his memorandum on the grounds that it was privileged lawyer-client communication.
We appealed to the state Attorney General’s Office, the state Comptroller’s Office and The Committee for Open Government. No agency was able to help us. Our only hope is to hire an attorney.
But this case is not one that attorneys typically take on a contingency fee basis. If we have to pay a flat fee, any damages recovered would be offset by the legal expenses. So much for fighting city hall.
EBB program can bridge digital divide
Despite progress in recent years, more than 112,000 New Yorkers have no wired internet services available at home.
This issue disproportionately impacts people in rural areas. Affordable and reliable access to broadband internet is more important than ever before.
This year, Gov. Cuomo has attempted to tackle the problem by proposing a mandate for a $15 per month broadband plan for low-income New Yorkers.
This short-sighted approach will do little to help New Yorkers in need.
Rather than coordinating with the public and private sectors to make broadband more accessible and affordable, this proposal would violate federal laws and attempt to use a mandate that fails to solve the true challenges.
Without access to telemedicine, remote schooling or remote, residents and families have been severely impacted throughout the pandemic.
What these citizens need is improved broadband infrastructure, not empty promises.
The Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program provides a path to bridging the digital divide for disconnected communities.
The EBB Program funds broadband services through a federal direct benefit program.
The recently-enacted federal Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month ($75 in tribal areas) towards broadband service for eligible households, including a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a connected device.
Solutions for rural residents must be made with them in mind.
That does not mean price-setting mandates or exclusionary policies that violate already instituted laws.
Leveraging the EBB program to bridge the digital divide and empower Upstate residents is a better solution.
The writer is executive director of Upstate United, which serves all of upstate New York.
No transgenders in women’s sports
I have watched in amazement that no women’s organization seems to have the courage to stand up for women against the transgender movement.
Where are the firebrands of yesteryear who fought for women?
What is the matter with the current leaders? Even Gov. Noem of South Dakota backed down on signing a law protecting girls in her state — and she’s a former athlete.
Biology has not changed. Courage to do what’s right is lacking.
Someone or group needs to carry the girls’ torch.
I see men writing on the subject with the warning that there will be few girls’ and women’s sports eventually if we follow the trend.
We all know the reasons why biological boys and men do not belong in girls and women’s sports.
Besides being bigger, stronger and faster, there is also the danger of girls being hurt in such sports as ice hockey, field hockey, soccer, softball and basketball with boys playing.
I have heard parents express amazement at boys being allowed to play some of the girl sports and the boys’ ability to knock the girls around.
If women’s organizations do not stand up, then girls and women are going to lose out. Carry this trend forward and see how many ‘women’s’ Olympic events will be left.
Gerard F. Havasy
Honors at local fields long overdue
Kudos to Vince Riggi for his March 26 letter (“Scoreboard should honor Buck Ewing”) enlightening our mayor and city council as to the proper name of the so-called “A” diamond at Central Park.
It took Mr. Riggi, a former council member and fellow member of the Schenectady Ole Timers Baseball Club, to alert them that the city had officially renamed the field, Ewing Field, in 1979 to honor the Schenectady baseball great.
Buck Ewing had starred for the Mohawk Colored Giants and other Negro League teams when Black players were barred from playing in the major leagues.
The impressive, new scoreboard will now denote the field as the Ewing Field, not the “A” Diamond.
The city has also agreed to finally erect the plaque honoring Ewing to a rightful location near the diamond.
Somehow the plaque had been stored away for some 40 years. Have not heard any explanation for this faux pas.
While we’re at it, the city should refer to the “B” diamond as the Joe Spruill Memorial Field.
In 1994 the mayor and council officially renamed the diamond to honor a Schenectadian who pitched for the Mohawk Colored Giants, but who is best remembered as a baseball mentor and coach to hundreds if not thousands of Schenectady youths of all races in the years prior to Little League and Babe Ruth baseball.
To the city’s credit, a plaque honoring Spruill was placed at the field’s entrance.
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