Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, June 19

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Councilwoman owes family an apology

I write to respond to Niskayuna Councilperson Denise Murphy-McGraw’s false and slanderous claims recited in The Daily Gazette article (“Town Board member accused of ethics violation”) on June 3, that members of my family have “spent the last four years threatening and harassing” her.
Her allegations are simply not true. I have never, other than her reaching out to me on social media once, have had a conversation with her. That communication was very cordial.
McGraw recently publicly apologized for not abstaining on a resolution to hire one of her family members as a summer employee in Niskayuna. Of greater concern is that she later requested the town clerk to alter the minutes of that meeting. As reported on June 2, McGraw emailed the town clerk she “meant to abstain on 2021-109…” with a request to “Pls list me as abstaining.” Her attempt to have those minutes altered is improper at best, possibly illegal.
If she has any evidence of my “threatening or harassing” her, I encourage her to share it publicly. Is McGraw out to get me and my family: My son happens to be a candidate for town board. She needs to apologize again, this time to the Moskowitz family.
Lewis Moskowitz
Niskayuna

Litz has made life better in Rotterdam

I have lived in Rotterdam my whole life. I also raised my children and managed my family’s business, JM Jeweler’s, for many years in Rotterdam. I have never written a letter supporting a candidate, but I feel compelled to do so for an individual that I strongly believe is worth supporting.
I have known Judge Kenneth P. Litz for over 30 years. Judge Litz has been our town justice for nearly 32 years and a practicing attorney for nearly 42 years.
I had the distinct pleasure of working with Ken as a co-judge for 20 years and can say, without hesitation, that he is one of the most honorable individuals
I know. While working together, I admired not only his legal knowledge and knowledge of the court system, but also how he treats everyone who appears before him fairly, with dignity, respect, and patience, regardless of who they are.
Judge Litz also has a particular concern for victims, making sure they are afforded justice as well.
Our town is a better place to live, work and raise a family with Judge Litz as our town justice, and I ask that you vote for him on Primary Day.
Kevin J. Mercoglan
Schenectady

Seat belt law about safety, not tyranny

In regard to Daniel Singer’s June 14 letter to the editor (“Rear seatbelt law is a step to tyranny”), the requirement for a rear passenger to be wearing a seat belt has nothing to do with being unconstitutional, tyranny, invasion of privacy, nor unreasonable search. It is all about your safety and well-being.
In a head-on collision at 60 mph and you wearing your seatbelt, you come to a complete stop in less than two-tenths of a second. However, the rear passenger not wearing a seatbelt will come flying over your seat at 60 mph (or whatever the speed of the car) and likely take your head off.
If you don’t care, unfortunately, it thus raises the cost of car and medical insurance for the rest of us.
Harry Darling
Burnt Hills

Lift restrictions on nursing home visits

This letter is to bring much needed increased awareness to the forgotten nursing home resident, those that remain isolated from family/friends and their communities.
As New York state reopens many venues ( bars, restaurants, racetracks, sports arenas, concerts, etc.) that improve commerce and state tax revenue, we have to question if the reason nursing home residents have been abandoned by their state lawmakers is because reopening a nursing home to unrestricted visitations provides no monetary gains for New York.
Our parents were admitted to a Schenectady County nursing home in January 2020. Visitation restrictions began March 2020.
In-person visits resumed in April 2021 but sadly were restricted as of May 7.
As New York and the country look forward to plans for reopening and vacations, our 95-year-old father and World War II veteran remains isolated and unable to be with his family.
The most recent guidelines for visitations have done little to reopen visitation as their criteria puts up more stop gates than freedom to visit a loved one.
The recent Essential Caregivers Act has not proven helpful in reopening visitations. The nursing home that our father resides at is telling us that they are waiting for specific guidance and permission from the state Department of Health to lift restrictions before they can move forward. Is this how we reward state residents for a life well lived or a veteran who has served his country? Nursing homes need to reopen for unrestricted visitation.
Kathleen Giminiani
Voorheesville
Gary Dashnaw
Scotia
Christine Wolfe
Scotia

Litz very professional as Rotterdam judge

Ken Litz is an outstanding town judge, and this letter is intended to urge all Rotterdam residents to support his candidacy for re-election in the upcoming primary election, and the subsequent general election.
I am a retired Schenectady County assistant district attorney who had the privilege of prosecuting cases in the Rotterdam Town Court for over 38 years.
For 32 of those years, I personally observed Judge Litz serve the town citizenry in a fair, impartial and dignified manner handling the multiple criminal, vehicle and traffic, small claims, eviction and Town Code violation cases that came before him.
In these proceedings, he always treated the parties, their attorneys, police officers and witnesses with courtesy and respect. He always knew the law applicable to each case that came before him, and his decisions were thoughtful, well-reasoned and fair.
As someone who had a unique opportunity to view Judge Litz’s performance of his duties as a town judge, I can tell you that he is a consummate professional who deserves the support of the electorate so he can continue to serve the Rotterdam community as their town judge.
Raymond E. DeMatteo, Jr.
Niskayuna

We can’t ignore sins of America’s past

The conservative bogeymen du jour are critical race theory and the sainted Dr. Anthony Fauci.
As a former social studies teacher, I’m more troubled about the wave of state laws banning the teaching of American history from the perspective of critical race theory.
I understand that conservatives view this nebulous doctrine as a divisive message that pits people of color against White people. But does that mean American history teachers should ignore the Founders’ struggle with the contradiction between the ideal of “all men are created equal” and the existence of chattel slavery?
Do they have to gloss over “the Trail of Tears,” Wounded Knee and other atrocities committed against First Americans? Should they not teach the shameful consequences of the Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decisions? Would they run afoul of the law by covering the Jim Crow era, segregation, lynching, the Tulsa Massacre and the Civil Rights Movement?
How about the Chinese Exclusion Act, the voyage of M.S. St. Louis and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II?
To me, the sins of our past came back to haunt us with the murder of George Floyd. If legislators think we can escape history by blaming Floyd’s death on one sick policeman rather than examining the roots of racism, they better think again — or better yet, look at the matter-of-fact expression on Derick Chauvin’s face as he slowly asphyxiated Mr. Floyd. That was the look of culturally ingrained racism.
Fred Como
Burnt Hills

Law enforcement in Nisky needs tools

The study of the Niskayuna Police Department before 1988 indicated that the town of Niskayuna was eight police officers short.
As a Niskayuna town justice from 1988-1995 I also sat on the Public Safety Committee. There were then 31 officers, including the brass. Today, we have dozens if not hundreds more houses, and dozens of new businesses, including new malls.
We are down to 23 officers, including brass, and a detective is retiring soon. We should have at least 40.
It takes nearly two years for an officer to take to the streets competently; six months of training and then ride-a-longs. Do we have any officers in training? Consider that the police department is a 24/7 operation. How do you stretch 22 officers over that period of time? How do detectives get time to investigate if they must serve as patrol officers?
It is no surprise that we have lost Chief Wall, are losing a detective, and have lost the reputation of being a kind, efficient and effective police force.
There is no question that legislators and executives are under great pressure to keep taxes down. But at what cost? Do we need a major tragedy to see that our police officers are spread too thin? Stressed?
Unsafe? Would you pay an additional $100 to add police officers? $200? I certainly would. And property taxes are deductions from income taxes, so that amount is effectively less than that. Let’s give law enforcement the tools they need to keep us safe.
Bruce S. Trachtenberg
Niskayuna

Shared services can help improve society

Regarding the June 5 Gazette article (“Businesses struggle to fill jobs”), as hiring picks up, many job seekers still on the sidelines mentioned a “gap between the economy and labor market.”
The current cooperation among neighbors, especially during our public health emergency, has improved our neighbors’ well-being and can enhance our economy.
The state Board of Regents’ “social and emotional learning” policies will “Develop self-awareness and self-management skills essential to success in school and in life.” The federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) will finance “social and emotional learning” priorities mentioned in the state Education Department’s American Rescue Plan.
The department’s Office of Support Services, through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) program, will assist schools and community-based organizations obtain resources to further guidance, in-person and remote learning enrichment programs to meet the most immediate needs of students and their families.
The County Shared Services Initiative and Plans can expand cooperation among municipal governments, business owners, nonprofit organizations, and education agencies. Coordination of “social and emotional learning” goals with the Career and Technical Education programs will improve federal funding of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.
And the regional Economic Development Councils’ Consolidated Funding Application can increase state monies for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.
Since our municipalities are responding to a variety of public health and public safety tragedies, then County Shared Services Plans may enhance coordinated “social and emotional learning” programs for youth and adults improving their standard of living and the economy within our democracy.
Michael McGlynn
Watervliet

Article was nothing more than a hit job

Regarding the June 6 article, (“Link between sheriff, troubled officer had tragic start”) was nothing more than a hit-job hiding as a so-called piece of journalism which has no business being printed in a newspaper. Sheriff Dagostino is one of the most professional individuals we have in elected office and we in Schenectady County are lucky to have him as our sheriff.
The demise of The Daily Gazette continues as the editors and reporters have now degraded themselves to tabloid journalism the likes of the National Enquirer.
The Gazette has an anti-police bias and has done nothing for our community but try to stoke the flames of hatred and violence for their own gain.
Try sticking to the facts and reality, but that is obviously too much to ask.
Marva Isaacs
Schenectady

Population of state went up, not down

I hate when people make stuff up to support an argument. On May 23, your editorial board did just that.
In an editorial (“Lawmakers must address school spending”) about school taxes being partly responsible for an outmigration of residents, you said, “The overall net decline in population has already cost us a congressional seat.” But our population did not decline; it grew.
The 2010 census had our population at 19.58 million; the 2020 census put us at 20.2 million. We lost a seat (maybe, but that’s another story) because we apparently didn’t grow as much as other states.
Your editorials might carry a little more heft if you didn’t puff them up with made up stuff.
Jerry Jasinski
Niskayuna
Editor’s Note: The error was noted and corrected the same day online.

Judge Litz is faithful to the rule of law

I learned about Judge Litz’s post on Facebook and website regarding restrictions on putting up political signs in Rotterdam before Sept. 1. I applaud Judge Litz for his decision not to put up any political signs until allowed by law. We need judges who will apply the law equally to all and will follow the law themselves regardless of who it helps or hurts. Say what you may about political signs but they do not give a candidate exposure to the voting public.
Judge Litz’s decision shows his true character and that he will follow and put the law above his own personal interests. I cannot say the same about his opponent, who has political signs up in the town promoting his candidacy. All need to follow the law whether we agree with the law or not. It is even more important for our judges and elected officials to do the same.
We need judges like Judge Ken Litz who do not feel they are above the law. I will vote for Judge Litz on Primary Day, June 22, and urge all of you to do the same to properly protect and apply our rule of law for all.
Frances Lawyer
Schenectady

Sheriff’s story was hateful and unfair

I’d like to “thank” The Gazette for the story in the June 6 edition (“Link between sheriff, troubled officer had tragic start”) about Officer Coppola’s dismissal from the Schenectady Sheriff’s Department.
What trash! Not only did you cross the line reporting how Sheriff Dagostino had possibly met his wife and your blatant attempt to make it sound as unprofessional and improper as possible. Since when is it anyone else’s business how someone met their partners? As reported, there were no improprieties, so why include it? Didn’t the sheriff do the right thing and fire his son? Wasn’t that enough to report? No, not The Gazette. You have to throw in your bias and attack the sheriff.
You went way over the line to tell of Officer Coppola’s father’s death. You think it ties in with Coppola’s DWI charge? This anti-police thing you call a story is the worst reporting I’ve seen in years.
You brought up such gruesome and painful memories to families and friends (myself included) of the horrible end of a good man’s life.
You summoned those horrible pictures of his death from the corners of everyone’s mind, where they had been buried away for years.
My heart goes out to the Coppola and Dagostino families and friends for having to endure your hateful rhetoric and rotten bias now to have to relive the horror story you dredged up. Take your place on the magazine shelf right next to The National Enquirer and other trash. Your story was a new low even for The Gazette.
Jay Affinito
Esperance

 

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

38 Comments

William Marincic

A couple weeks ago we had the terrible false attack on Sheriff Dagostino and the other day I read another hit piece on Lew Moskowitz. Lew is beyond reproach and for decades protected your families while they slept. This is just more anti police bias as far as I’m concerned.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Definition of hypocrite. – Merriam Webster

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings 🤔

Sound familiar?

William Marincic

Bencic just so you don’t get things twisted, I support the Capital Police just like the SPD and if anyone is guilty of January 6th they need to be arrested and tried. Period, have I made myself clear enough for you people?

“Police bias” is about how anyone would describe your inability to stand up for the Capitol police. Because of the obvious conflict between your sympathy for the insurrectionists and your so-called “back the blue” apparently. Who knows?

As I commented in late April when the Dagostino story broke, since when are the police above concerns about nepotism? There’s a very good reason most companies specify it’s not allowed. I guess the cops are above that kind of thing? In any case, it’s hard to muster up much sympathy for those who would flaunt the reasons for rules against nepotism. Clearly it doesn’t result in the best person for the job, and in this case, it actually jeopardizes the health and safety of the public.

But let’s let the wise and grizzled Carl Strock fill in some of the gaps:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Job openings for ex-cops of the right party
I called over to the sheriff’s office in Schenectady the other day to see if it was too late for me
https://dailygazette.com/2012/01/05/0105_strock/

William Marincic

ChuckD you bring up what? A sheriff hired the best people for the job, period. I know Bobby Hamilton well enough that we call each other on occasion and Bobby was a great cop, please stop trying to sully his name and reputation. You talk about nepotism in the Police and Sheriff’s department, there are many family members that work in many departments across the country. We are lucky enough to see third or is it fourth generation of police officers at the SPD. A great family along with many brothers and sisters in the department. Why do democrats hate the police so much? I have my ideas but will keep them to myself.

You are plainly creating your own fantasy that “democrats hate the police”. Democrats, like everyone, like yourself, want to live peacefully, securely with laws enforce fairly. Democrats (and many, many others) resent that police won’t police themselves adequately, especially when it involves people of color.
There’s a very good reason for nepotism rules and just because it exists throughout government DOESN’T give law enforcement a pass. And I’m pretty sure your lame excuse about “A great family along with many brothers and sisters in the department” drips with suspicion among most of the public.

Fred Como, thank you for your letter – very well done. The many quotes about living a better today and planning a better tomorrow all rely on an honest understanding of the past. Our history must not be distorted of forgotten if we are to have any hope for a better future.

FRED BARNEY

We should be proud of our assessment of the past in the light of todays ethics. This reflection is evidence that as a society we have evolved!

As for reparations for past national sins I suggest that is a matter best settled by the dead! Does any one think that collecting reparations from former slave exporting countries is practical?

LOUIS RESTIFO

Fred, heads up. It’s a rather long, true and informative Wikipedia piece.
The high likelihood of you losing interest is inevitable but please do yourself as well as the rest of us a favor.

If nothing else Fred, I implore you to at least read the first three paragraphs. and make an earnest attempt to understand a few aspects of the overview you seem to be lost on.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_United_States

FRED BARNEY

Lou is right all should read this fine piece of historical writing. I am awaiting acknowledgement at how much we as a country have grown!

The piece in question refers to immigrants from what used to be called upper and lower Canada as native Americans. The logic of referring to those with tribal citizenship as Americans escapes me.

FRED BARNEY

What is the point that you think I missed? Why do you not acknowledge that as a society we have grown? It is also true that the Democrats wish to bring the same benefits that tribalism has brought to Africa to the US but own balance The fact that we can look back on our actions supports my belief that we have grown.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Kind of reminds me of a expression from my old Harley riding days:
“If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.”

Have a good one Fred.

LOUIS RESTIFO

“Insults are not a good cover for your inability to be your ideas forward.” 🤪

“I always have a good day when I can show others the Democrats commitment to substance” Me too.

FRED BARNEY

A California reservoir is expected to fall so low that a hydro-power plant will shut down for first time

The Democrats are going to have to face the fact that hydro power is not a dependable source of electric energy. We must face the fact that the only sustainable way to to deal with global warming is by population reduction and/or a decline in living standards.

Yep, and those Canadians, and the Chinese, and the Egyptians, and every other country that uses hydropower and continues to invest in it.
They really need to be listening to you, Fred. Sounds like you’ve got it pinned down. It’s a worldwide Democratic failure!

Fred Como, No, they still should teach those subjects but the difference between teaching history and teaching history with CRT is that by teaching straight history it is up to the student to form their own opinion according to the facts. With history being taught with CRT you are placing blame on White people and by doing so you are attacking Whites as killers and oppressors and people of color as the oppressed. You don’t allow people of color to celebrate how far they have come while facing great obstacles, you give them no credit and no hope.

Florida2015

Democrats?
It works really well Fred where it rains and snows. Think climate change and weather pattern changes because of it.

LOUIS RESTIFO

B-side “Are You Sleeping” also quite appropriate.

LOUIS RESTIFO

Fred Como, great letter, I also thank you.

Because of your being a former social studies teacher I believe the points in your letter should be regarded as having greater credence than those of the average layperson.

I have always taken issue with the words you quoted from the Declaration of Independence; “all men are created equall.” I say this because you certainly can’t convince me that a poor lost soul born in the impoverished country of Ethiopia was born with equal opportunity to that of, as the Creedence Clearwater Revival song Fortunate Son refers to; being a senator son.

Having said that, regardless of the gross inequities in regards to birth rights, I emphatically believe that no one human, at birth, is any more significant than another.

Terrible that white supremacy still exists!

William Marincic

Lou, Let’s look at what you said and look at it from this point. You have a poor Black child born in Ethiopia and he is lucky enough to be able to immigrate to the U.S. He grows up and studies hard and wants to go to an Ivy League school. There also is a poor White child born in the Appellations who studies hard and wants to go to the same Ivy League college. Do you want to bet which one gets in?

Mr. Como, thank you for your reasoned letter.
It’s telling who is the most agitated by the idea that we would teach students how racism has infiltrated our public infrastructure, in effect become systemic: those who feel their self-entitlements threatened. They’re overwhelmingly White. Even though I’m sure our ‘always right’ friends will toss up all manner of non-White critics, the most noise is unmistakably coming from what used to be called conservative quarters, and not coincidentally, Trump supporters.

Maybe we need schools to teach the meaning of “humility”? America’s history has a very dark side, there is no denying that. America offers great things too which I’m optimistic about. But we need to acknowledge the entire America in order to make a greater America. To show humility, and acceptance and responsibility of our past is higher level human thought within reach of every American student. A shocking number of Americans don’t seem capable of that.

My mother used to tell us kids not to pick at a scab because it will make it bleed and it won’t heal. That’s some pretty darn good advice, America has learned and grown from its past. We have people of color running every department in towns, cities, states, and the federal government, we had a Black President and a woman of color as Vice President right now, yet the left continues to pick at that 160 plus-year-old scab that continues to bleed and not heal. Why would anyone want a wound to not heal is beyond me.

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