Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Friday, July 30


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.
Brendan Keller

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.
Ted Thompson


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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Zachary July 31, 2021
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Only 36% of African Americans are vaccinated, what do you say to them or do they get a pass, only 41% of Hispanics are vaccinated, what about them?

Florida2015 July 30, 2021
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His conspiracy rants even to much for Fox.
On guns, be lucky you don’t have stand your ground laws in NY.

RAYMOND HARRIS July 30, 2021
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How crazy are some Trump supporters? Mike Lindell, pillow man, believes the Supreme Court will “decide ‘9–0’ in favor of reinstating Donald Trump to the presidency sometime in August, or possibly September…” And if it snows tomorrow, we can all go sledding.

RAYMOND HARRIS July 30, 2021
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Everyone, particularly voters in Elise Stefanik’s district, should read the article on her on page A6 of the today’s Gazette. In the past few days, she has lowered herself to blaming Pelosi for the Jan. 6 insurrection as well as other stupid comments for the GOP base. Elise (looking more and more like Borden’s cow commercials of the past) is stooping to the likes of republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the QAnon darling. Both should face ethics charges for their classless rhetoric. People who vote for these two are just as complicit and undemocratic.

Joseph Vendetti July 30, 2021
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Mr. Keller:

1 – you should state that you are a paid Schenectady county public defender in your LTE.

2. – if minimum sentences don’t work, how can you explain – extremely low gun crimes and overall violent crimes in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, & Indonesia that have some of the stiffest penalties in the world for gun and crimes compared to our penal systems?

I would suggest that people that don’t hold rule breaking children & adults responsible & teach them right and wrong are a major part of why we are in the mess we are in. There have been millions upon millions of US citizens that legally immigrated to the US that had extremely poor up bringing, suffered thru the spanish flu, world wars, depression, etc and never picked up a gun, knife, etc to better themselves- they picked up brooms, mops, & shovels!! Some worked as many as 20+ hrs per day at 2 or 3 jobs.

Zachary July 30, 2021
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Brendan Keller You can blame anything you want but the bottom line is it’s up to the person to want it. The top neurosurgeon in the United States Dr. Ben Carson grew up in the ghetto, he wanted better, his mother pushed him to be better. I have many black friends that I played golf with every week, they are all successful in their careers some grew up in the ghetto and they told me the same thing one and all, they wanted a better life, their parents wanted them to get an education and be better than they were. That’s the difference, let’s find ways to keep the father in the household, that will be the difference.