Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Monday, June 21


We must bring end to systemic racism

When people ask, “Is America a racist country?” I believe that they are asking the wrong question.
The more important question is, “How do we combat systemic racism in America?” Racism in policing has recently received a great deal of attention, however, the problem is much more extensive as noted below.
Systemic racism places people of color in a vicious cycle of economic, educational, and health disadvantage.
Compared to Whites, people of color generally are paid lower wages and accumulate less wealth.
As a result, racist redlining forces people of color to live in poorer neighborhoods with inadequately funded schools. This situation leads to inferior education and fewer high paying job opportunities.
In addition, poor neighborhoods have limited health care facilities which results in poorer health outcomes and shorter life expectancies for people of color.
The incidence of violent crimes is higher in poor neighborhoods, which also impacts health and longevity.
Combating systemic racism requires laws and policies which bring equity to the playing field.
We must elect officials who are willing to fight racist practices and racist legislation.
For example, racist legislation makes it more difficult for people of color to vote and thus support their candidates.
Substantial financial investments will be required to improve these economic, educational and health disparities.
The Democratic Party will have to lead this effort, since the Republican Party often abets racist policies.
We have an opportunity to correct a long-standing and egregious failure of our society. We should not “throw away our shot.”
Don Steiner

Republicans all in on Trump’s Big Lie

In his June 15 letter (“Dems, media just keep bashing Trump”) to the Daily Gazette, Bill Denison prattles on about the media bashing Trump, and then goes on to claim that the Democrats are bashing Sen. Joe Manchin “because he won’t toe the line for their ridiculous efforts to undermine the political systems.”
Apparently, Mr. Denison doesn’t consider former president Donald Trump’s various attempts to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election as undermining the political systems, which is not surprising because the Republican mob — has gone all in on Donnie’s ludicrous claim — aka his big lie — that he really won the election.
Walter Wouk

Strock’s attack on Israel is shameful

I am writing in response to Carl Strock’s June 6 letter (“Claims against Israel are based in history.”)
Carl Strock’s accusation that Israel came close to participating in ethnic cleansing is not true.
In 1947, the UN General Assembly proposed a two-state solution which was accepted by the Jewish community and rejected by the Arab communities.
In 1948, the surrounding Arab States invaded Israel in an attempt to eliminate the Jewish population.
Between 1948 and 1958, the surrounding Arab States forcibly expelled nearly one million Jews.
That is ethnic cleansing.
Carl Strock also confuses ethnic cleansing with a landlord/tenant dispute that is still in the Israeli courts.
No Arabs have been expelled from those properties to “make way for a band of Jewish zealots from New York,” as he offensively labels them.
I also find it offensive for Carl Strock to use the Holocaust to collectively shame the Jewish people. That is antisemitism.
Carol Henry



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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Joseph Vendetti

Mr. Steiner:

Lets start with some facts – The City of Schenectady & the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority (Over the last 20 years) -you can find this data on – thru the community development block grant (CDBG) program has sent over $100 million.

These monies were and have been used for new housing, demolition of blight, incubator & minority business startups, building new health care clinics, etc – yet 12307 (Hill & Vale) zip code continues to be one of the lowest income and highest crime areas in NYS and the US. Also ranks in the top 10 in Single parent households, teen Pregnancy and HIV cases.

Lets talk about “under funded” schools. According to – schenectady, Niskayuna, shen, & Bethlehem all spend & receive the same aid per student. Yet 12307 is much different then 12309 zip codes.

What laws or policies should we change specifically to make 12307 into 12309?

As a moderate registered lifelong democrat in the City – I look forward to voting on 6/22.

The City of Schenectady has been controlled politically (council and mayor) primarily by the Democrats for most of my adult life that I have lived in the City. They have also controlled the County Legislature for better part of the last 15 years. They have controlled NYS government Assembly & Governor (Besides Pataki) for my entire life and NYS Senate for last 14 years. Yet NYS has 2nd worst COVID fatality rate per person, 2nd in total deaths only to CA (who has 2x our population), 2nd highest tax rate in the US.

I look forward to these policies and law suggestions so I can vote for the correct candidates tomorrow.

Don Steiner Please stop with the systemic racism crap. You talk about crime in poor neighborhoods let’s look at Baltimore for example. The mayor is black, the police chief is black, seven out of 12 city council members are black. Look at the crime, look at the city, look at the garbage on the streets, look at the drug use. Who is the blame Republicans, whites, systemic racism? Everyone running that city is black for the most part and Democrat, not a single Republican other than the governor of the state.


You sound like a Democrat. Who proclaims to be against for race based actions while promoting government raced based actions. Could try to explain while some racism is bad other racist actions are good.


Another example of systematic racism are the protests that erupt as soon as a group finds out the a Black has been killed by a white cop.

Joseph Vendetti, Zachary, Fred, please read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson, then please return to his forum with your thoughts. Fred, I made a specific reading suggestion for you several weeks ago; The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Did you read it? If so, thoughts?


[email protected]
April 23rd, 2021
Please read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It will be enlightening for some and reinforcing for others on this blog

LJordan, they didn’t read it then, why should they read it now?

You must understand that if it’s not what they want to hear, fact or reason matters not. – CRT, Reparations, the BLM movement and reasons for it as well as the 1/6/21 insurrection are irrelevant to them. Nothing matters but their off the rails agenda. Nothing.

I will concede not as much some with Joe. 😉


Ten mass shootings happened across the nation this weekend, leaving at least seven people dead and more than 40 injured. It was the latest in a streak of violent weekends in America. The weekend before this, there were also 10 mass shootings that left 12 people dead across seven states. (mass shootings are defined as four or more people shot, not including the shooter.) This weekend’s violence included shootings at several parties and celebrations, including in California, Indiana and Colorado. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 293 mass shootings in 2021 so far.

Fact is there are too many guns on the streets. There should be a moratorium on gun purchases until Congress can agree on a proposal to screen who can purchase a gun, how many guns people can own and the types of guns, offer a massive federal and state buyback campaign, limit states’ ability to liberalize gun availability (like Texas) and publicize gun violence daily in the media like the Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Gun violence is a public health issue and should be treated as an emergency.


Israelites, Christians, and Arabs lived peacefully in Palestine until Zionistic Jews from Europe started taking over and clashing with the locals. Palestine continues to come to the table accepting a two state solution, but Israel is the one that continues to illegally occupy territory that is explicitly not theirs and continues breaking cease fires.

Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes in the area that became Israel after the 1948 war, and they became Palestinian refugees in what they refer to as the Nakba (“the catastrophe”). In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel. Around 260,000 Jews moved to Israel from the Arab world during and immediately after the war.

The far right wing Israeli government is currently dropping bombs on schools, slaughtering children, nurses, journalists, and anywhere they “think” Hamas resides which usually results in civilian casualties. This is by very definition, ethnic cleansing. Emigration is not ethnic cleansing – surrounding Arab communities did not scare them into leaving. They emigrated into Israel.

Criticizing the far right wing government that is slaughtering thousands daily while illegally occupying land that is not theirs is explicitly not anti-Semitism.

America is sending Israel billions of dollars every year while the Palestinians have nothing, and are fighting back with rocks and Hamas sends missiles (which Israel has defenses against, unlike they continue to claim) – yet the Israeli side decides that they get to become judge, jury, and executioner killing thousands of innocents (including children and journalists), under illegal occupation.

Case in point, Israel and Palestine came to a cease-fire, but the day after Biden gave them a million dollar arms deal and Israel proceeded to continue bombing Gaza the next day. This cannot continue like this and so long as Israel has a far right wing government, it will continue.

Thank you zdani002. Rational people understand the rise of Hamas given the decades of Israeli oppression (and western complicity). The depressing truth is that Jewish occupation of “the land of Canaan” is hardcoded into the Christian faith which seems to mostly be characterized by an inability to recognize anyone else’s religious beliefs. Christians believe Jews have been “blessed” and that anyone else who supports them will also be blessed. And that’s a Big Deal to Christians. The Palestinians are just collateral damage for the Zionists’ and Christians’ twisted interpretations.

Anyone think I’m wrong? Read it from an Evangelical himself:


Here’s the latest news summary on the coronavirus:

It’s been a little over 500 days since the first coronavirus death was recorded in the US. Though much of the country is heading back to normal, there are still signs of wariness: States with high rates of unvaccinated adults, like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming, are at particular risk for the spreading Delta variant. The US also has extended restrictions on nonessential travel to Mexico and Canada. Meanwhile, China has administered more than 1 billion doses in its unparalleled vaccination drive. That accounts for almost 40% of the 2.5 billion shots given globally. In Brazil, a more tragic milestone has emerged. The country surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths, and angry citizens are putting the blame squarely on President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic. (FYI – Bolsonaro was a Trump dictator buddy).


It would be helpful if the two most effective or all three vaccines received full approval from the FDA. The emergency use authorization rightfully causes some to be hesitant.

States with rising rates of covid and lower vacation rates if it’s residents choice to forgo shots?


With hundreds of million already vaccinated with no discernable adverse effect, you still need FDA final approval? Sounds like an excuse more than a rationale.

It’s no wonder that the lowest vaccination rates and highest number of covid cases are in red states. I suspect the government outreach to rural and poor areas in those states is minimal since the GOP governors care little about their citizens.


One would think that at would be a common sense and critical thinking decision, which reading and observing many questions and reply’s on here in my humble opinion is sorely missing.

We were literately first in line here when the county began vaccinations in early Jan.

As far as my comment above it is in full evidence on a similar forum here in Florida, actually on steroids if I think about it. A earlier comment about the new meaning of CRT is very evident here. Can’t Really Think

Joseph Vendetti


Book was part of my book of the month club –

Things I would point out:

1.) Caste itself is a Portuguese word – which was imposed on Indians to create division. India is an ancient civilization that doesn’t adhere to ‘caste’ system, however, there is a varna system, which is more based on social/occupational inclinations vs Race. My CEO and President were born in India and now live in the US and we have spoken extensively on this topic as they got education, benefits, etc.

She also simplifies the very complex Indian system. Wilkerson is right that caste puts people in silos but while caste imprisons individuals, caste silos can move. These silos in the US, Germany and India continue to better their particular standing – its not a forever!! As we have seen with an African American President, African American Supreme Court Justice, US Senators (4) , Congress People (57), Governors, Mayors,. In that same breath women who just received the right to vote 100 years ago have a VP of US, supreme court, 143 US congress reps, 24 US senators. We have never had a Jewish President or VP.

Wilkerson ignores the fact that Nazis drew on centuries of European anti-Semitism which dated back to the dawn of Christianity and led to many European Jews fleeing to America in the late 1800’s and early turn of the century.

Wilkerson’s book is full of stories of the oppression suffered by People of Color, and her description of her own experiences of discrimination is very powerful, but her attempts to link America with Nazi Germany and India does not quite work and is at times simplistic.

To me the author has not done the proper research & is all over the place on certain topics and illustrations.

Unfortunately there are too many books such as these in circulation today that want to blame someone or something for society ills and past transgressions & not look at the gains we have made as a society. Yes there is racism (against POC, jews, asians & yes even Caucasian), there is sexism, homophobia, etc – but books that divide us further are not the answer.

Lets look to solutions.

Joseph, I’m happy you’re familiar with the book. I think the author was drawing parallels with India and Germany but not claiming that the US mirrors either. I agree with you that progress has been made in this country. It started in the 1860’s and has progressed in fits and starts up to the present. Nonetheless, Jim Crow laws were firmly in place for 200 years since then, and the vestiges of oppression are still in place today in employment, housing, the justice system, medical care and education. Generation after generation have gone to their graves waiting for a time when all persons are treated equally and enjoy equal opportunity. So, despite the success of a handful of POC, the majority are still waiting.
The point is not to cast blame, but rather to meet a common understanding of reality. Books like this enlighten the ignorant. They are helpful in defining the problem in order to make effective solutions possible.
You obviously have an open, critical mind. The country needs more like you. Thank you for your thoughtful input to this forum.

Joseph Vendetti


I have a very unique perspective- I have 2 male African american children & 3 (2 female & 1 male) Caucasian children. They range in age from 34 to 22 years of age.

I have experienced racism from both my father & mothers side of the family. I have experienced racism from local law enforcement officers, from local teachers, store owners, etc against my children. I have (along with my wife, and Caucasian children) have experienced racism from POC (coaches, competing players, parents, etc) because I was Italian/white and I had black children.

Frankly- I wish everyone could experience this perspective. I am confident in another 200 years we won’t be having these conversations and the human “race” will be one race.

History – world history – should teach us that there were many oppressed people – Egyptians, Asians, Latinos, African Americans, Women, Jews, etc over the life of this planet. If you, or me, or anyone appeared different they were unfortunately singled out, they were enslaved, they were persecuted- all we can continue to do is help one another, educate one another, try and learn from lessons.

I continue to try and learn. I am educated but naive and stupid at the same time. I take 20 minutes in the middle of the day and 20 minutes at night and try and reflect on new lessons, new readings, and new thoughts. I am always asking my sons and daughters what we can do to make the world a better place. Just like we can learn much from our past I think we can learn from our future.

If I had one wish – it would be to see America in 2222.

Joseph Vendetti


The New Jim Crow – hypotheses that a “caste” system being created by incarceration of POC is based on proportions. Because POC make up 13% of US population tries to hypothesize that only 13% or less POC should be incarcerated. If that theory held, wouldn’t that hold across every profession, athletic event, etc? At that point, are we limiting doctors or lawyers to 13% of the entire population can be POC? Should we limit professional sports teams, athletic scholarships to just 13%? Of course not, so to lower numbers of POC incarcerated are LEOs supposed to turn a blind eye to crimes? Of course not.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2018 black males accounted for 34% of the total male prison population, white males 29%, and Hispanic males 24%. White females comprised 47% of the prison population in comparison to black females who accounted for 18% of the female population.

Joseph, here’s the rest of the passage from Wikipedia you quoted:

The imprisonment rate for black females (88 per 100,000 black female residents) was 1.8 times as high as for white females (49 per 100,000 white female residents), while the imprisonment rate for black males (2,272 per 100,000 black male residents) was 5.8 times as high as for white males (392 per 100,000 white male residents). Out of all ethnic groups, African Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, and Native Americans have some of the highest rates of incarceration.[82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90] Though, of these groups, the black population is the largest, and therefore make up a large portion of those incarcerated in US prisons and jails.[clarification needed][91]

To your first point about proportions holding across professions, black physicians make up only about 5% of that profession despite being 13% of the population. I think that may speak to lack of education/opportunity equality for POC.

Joseph Vendetti


Having had coached boys HS Basketball at Schenectady from 1998-2006 as well as involvement in our youth feeder program – I saw 1st hand how the lack of parental involvement has hurt our kids. When kids are taught education is important (reading to kids, positive reinforcement- papers on refrigerator, etc) they work harder to succeed period.

If I didn’t drive around the Hill & Vale in my excursion and one of the other assistants doing the same in his vehicle we wouldn’t have had enough kids to field a team. Parents from our 4th – 8th grade Capital District Youth Basketball League (CDYBL) which served as our and other districts feeder program were almost non-existent compared to our Suburban counterparts.

As coaches we had leverage to keep kids in the building and in class from late October to March – because they knew if there were notes in the coaches mail-box or if they were on attendance list – they couldn’t practice or play.

During other times of the year the phone calls would either fall on deaf ears or not be returned at all. As much as we stressed and pushed & pulled – if they didn’t have a parent doing the same it was extremely difficult to get them across the stage to get a diploma. The “no child left behind” does a disservice to our inner-city kids. To keep advancing kids that aren’t at that reading, writing, math levels – only frustrates kids, embarrassing them, and leads to them leaving the building.

On senior night – when most seniors (cheerleaders and players) would be escorted to half court by two parents in other districts, ours in Schenectady was bleak, many times we as coaches walked with a senior that had no one in attendance.

The point in all this – our POC that end up incarcerated aren’t because police are targeting POC, or trying to meet a quota, or trying to fill jails, its because POC are more likely to be raised in a single parent household. Statistics bare out that anyone, any color raised in a single parent household has a higher rate of drug use, teen pregnancy, HIV infection, dropout rates.

So how do we get out of this awful cycle? Because we have thrown hundreds of millions of dollars at these problems over the years and they are still happening. What laws do we change to promote the nuclear family? What policies do we change to make parents understand the importance to reading to their children?

Joseph, your life experiences allow a unique and valuable perspective. My bet is that your interactions had a life changing, positive impact on at least some of POC you coached. I believe that’s how the cycle is broken – one individual at a time, so that the next generation is better than the last.
I did my share of stupid, foolish stuff growing up. And I caught breaks from authority on more than one occasion. Would I have caught the same breaks if I was Black? How would my life trajectory have changed?
A piece by EJ Dionne talks about moving police from a warrior mentality to a guardian mentality. I think that’s part of the solution.

Joseph Vendetti

Jordan – definitely agree with that premise. Same mentality that Gentleman running for NYC mayor Eric Adams has. As a former NYC police captain who joined the force for that reason.

Joe if you look back over the decades you will see that this problem evolved from LBJ‘s welfare initiative. It took the father out of the home, the mother could sit home with her three children and collect welfare but if the father showed up and was part of the household and was working they lost their welfare and sometimes went to jail for welfare fraud. The same issue goes across all racial lines but is most pronounced in the inner city with our African-American families. If you go to a state park you will read a sign that says please don’t feed the animals they will become dependent and not forage for themselves. People are animals too, we are seeing the same thing today with the additional $300 a week unemployment benefits, millions of people are refusing to go to work because they’re getting paid by the government to stay home. We need to completely overhaul our welfare system and find ways to make sure that the father stays in the household.

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