Mandatory sentences ineffective crime tool
Councilwoman Zalenski-Wildzunas’s proposal for a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ incarceration for those convicted of possessing an illegal firearm demonstrates a laughably naïve understanding of crime and punishment.
There is broad scientific and academic consensus that increasing the severity of sentences has little to no effect on deterrence, and likely increases recidivism.
If Zalenski-Wildzunas had even googled the question “Does increasing sentences prevent crime?” she would have seen a mountain of evidence that it does not. It’s unacceptable that our legislators would propose such a drastic change in law without bothering to gain a basic understanding of the issue.
Our city does have a problem with gun violence. But if we want to reduce gun crime, we must be willing to use an evidence-based approach.
We must confront the question, “why does gun violence happen?” Over the last half-century, the economic outlook for the poorest of our fellow citizens has collapsed.
Like most crime, gun violence is highly correlated with poverty. Want to curb gun violence? Take bold steps to increase economic opportunity and decrease poverty in neighborhoods where crime is most prevalent. Give people a path out of poverty that doesn’t involve selling drugs or engaging in other lucrative illegal activities.
Draconian mandatory minimums are another boot on the neck of the people who have been pushed to the margins of our society and will exacerbate the problem.
It’s time to break the cycle of poverty and violence that has been allowed to persist in our community.
Worried about fate of St. Clare’s retirees
Everyone has an opinion about what happened to the 1,100 former employees of St. Clare’s Hospital.
We know that their pension plan was terminated as of Nov. 1, 2018.
Over 400 pensioners had their monthly pension payments slashed by 25% or more.
Another 600-plus former employees learned that they get nothing at all.
The St. Clare’s Pension Plan: What went wrong? How a struggling community hospital shorted its employees on tens of millions of dollars in retirement income.
We are now approaching the three-year mark in this devastating time in the retirees’ lives.
I’m wondering about the fate of my family members who are caught up in this nightmare.
Jerry and Kathy Adach, former employees, were told they are losing their pensions because it is low on funds.
The hospital was everything to Jerry and Kathy Adach. They married and both worked, their daughters were born there, and they devoted a combined 59 years of service to the facility, expecting to retire with a good pension from the hospital.
Then the St. Clare’s Hospital delivered a gut punch that they would not get a dime of their expected benefits.
The Adaches are among more than 1,100 former St. Clare’s suing to recover their money.
How these loyal healthcare workers can struggle through life without pensions is horrifying. I can’t think of a more frightening journey to make.
May God bless these loyal healthcare workers who gave so much to receive so little for their kind efforts.
Walter “Neal” Brazell
Turn out to support new fire station
On the evening of July 27 I attended the first public hearing on the proposal to replace the existing Stanford Heights Fire Station 1, a 72-year-old facility.
The architects described how the current station is too small for the current equipment and not adequately ventilated for the breathing safety of the all-volunteer force.
During the question period, residents of the adjoining streets expressed concerns regarding the proposed design.
I urge all Niskayuna and Colonie residents living in the jurisdiction of Stanford Heights Fire Station 1, as identified by the postcards you have received, to be present at the second public hearing on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. at the fire station, 2240 Central Ave., Colonie, and to vote in favor of the necessary bonding on Sept. 14 from 6-9 p.m.
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