Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Friday, July 30

PHOTOGRAPHER:

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
Schenectady

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
Rotterdam

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
Schenectady

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

12 Comments

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.

Joseph Vendetti

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.

RAYMOND HARRIS

Joseph – All excellent points. Don’t forget Australia and most likely New Zealand. There are simply too many guns being manufactured, purchased and stolen in the U.S. Biden has just cut the poverty rate almost in half, but the gun violence will continue.

How can I explain the extremely low gun crimes in those countries? Well, for one, Singapore has the strictest gun laws in the world. Good luck trying to own a gun there. Malaysia? You need a license to own a gun or ammunition, and it can take years for that approval process. Indonesia? The right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law. Only high ranking officials, military, or police may legally purchase and possess guns. Qatar, UAE, Maldives average around 15 guns per 100 persons. You know how many guns there are in the US for every 100 persons? 120. So thank you for proving that the problem with gun crimes in America is that it is both too easy to possess a gun, and there are too many of them.

Schenectady Man

Joseph – instead of taking bold steps to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in bad neighborhoods, you want to…be more like Saudi Arabia?

Joseph Vendetti

Schenectady Man:

These programs that have dumped close to $1 billion dollars into Schenectady in the last 45 years – they aren’t bold enough?

Just the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has sent over $100 million to Schenectady since 1975, add in numerous economic development programs – Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG), HUD programs, City & County Minority Development Loan Programs for job training, Minority Incubator on Albany Street, Minority Community Training & Program (MCTAP), BNI, etc etc –

The saying “you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him/her drink” – I think would be accurate.

Harvard Study –

Highly Successful People

1.) They have a purpose
2.) They know that knowledge is the backbone of success
3.) They work on themselves
4.) They’re extraordinarily creative
5.) They’re self-reliant and take responsibility
6.) They live in the present
7 .) They never quit.

The problems with most if not all impoverished areas – A.) dominated by single parent homes & B.) They lack appreciation for education

So you can see why Schenectady, Albany, Troy, struggle with poverty – they have terrible graduation rates and extremely high single parent communities. Yet, our brilliant government rewards (by financially supplying food, shelter, medical, travel, phone, internet, utilities) single parenting. In fact, the more children you have without any male parent, the more money you can receive.

Instead of valuing education, forcing responsibilities, making people work, making people take drug tests that receive social services – we trap our less fortunate into a cycle that has now lasted since the 1950’s – with no end in site.

So I’m frankly very interested in know what bold programs you feel will end poverty besides hard work, education and determination?

Wow, I don’t have any idea how to get people more motivated, but I can tell you a lot of rural folk fit your description too. Judging by our political environment and the way the demographics fall, city folk have no monopoly on intellectual laziness.

Btw, my abacus shows $1B over 45 years is $22M a year. Not sounding very bold to me.

RAYMOND HARRIS

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.

And this person got elected to office…

It’s no wonder none of her alma maters want anything to do with her (including her high school, it would seem).

No Keynotes for you, traitor!

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Elise Stefanik
@EliseStefanik
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5h
Today’s Anniversary of Medicare & Medicaid reminds us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families. To safeguard our future, we must reject Socialist healthcare schemes.
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Who can spot the hypocrisy (or is it pure ignorance)?

RAYMOND HARRIS

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.

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?

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