Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Wednesday, Aug. 25


Check out historic Tubman presentation

Reading Neil Yetwin’s Aug 14 letter (“Frank Wicks is a Schenectady treasure”) in The Gazette, a tribute to the accomplished Frank Wicks, as a “Schenectady treasure,” I couldn’t agree more.
That has prompted me to expound further on the Seward/Tubman statue, one of the many achievements accorded Frank in the article.
Located on Clinton Street, outside the Karen B. Johnson Schenectady County Library, sits a large most impressive work of art in bronze, the magnificently crafted statue.
Fortunately, I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Frank and his associates on April 11, 2019, as the producer of the film “Wade in the Water,” the title being a reference to abolitionist Harriett Tubman’s struggles during the 1850’s emancipation of slavery.
This documentary and subsequent May 17 unveiling ceremony at the library site were filmed by the very talented Randall Hogue and his son, Randy Hogue Jr., and have been archived at the Schenectady County Historical Society for public viewing. It’s a must-see!
Please make an appointment with SCHS at 518-374-0263 for this historical presentation, as this was made possible by the visionary and philanthropic Frank Wicks, professor emeritus at Union College, who had an idea that he fostered to benefit our community and for posterity.
I am proud to call him my friend and the “Schenectady treasure” that he is.
Janice Evans Thompson
The writer is a producer/host with Schenectady Access Cable Council.

Nisky needs better way to hire new chief

The town of Niskayuna has more sagas than a TV series. The latest is the hiring of a new police chief.
Stephen Benton’s Aug. 15 letter (“Niskayuna needs to get better leadership”) pointed out, that the residents have received a flurry of emails seeking input. Why? How often do residents interact with the chief?
The police chief should not be a pawn of any elected official, but an advocate for this department as Chief Wall was.
We have had two chiefs embroiled in controversy in less than a year. The Wall controversy is disturbing. The comptroller, who does NOT live in the town but makes decisions on our taxes, made allegations against Wall. Despite the fact, that Wall has a bi-racial son and a multi-racial grandchild, she was accused of racial slurs and making threatening remarks. This hardly is a prototype of a racist.
Wall was asked to remain and to give conditions to continue.
The town never responded to these conditions. Instead, a committee investigated these charges but never interviewed Wall. Unbelievable!
This type of investigation is called a “kangaroo court.” The articles on Wall leave more questions than answers. Personally, I do not believe these allegations.
This type of nonsense never occurred under previous administrations (Luke Smith and Joe Landry).
Our town government is rudderless — no leadership. Three long-time employees (Sebesta, McManus, Wall) have suffered unnecessarily. Who will be next?
The process used to hire the new chief is the same one used to hire the comptroller. I suggest the town find a better process.
Linda Rizzo

We’ll all just be glad for Afghan war’s end

The 20-year war in Afghanistan is over. That’s all most Americans care about. It’s finally over. The media is enthralled with the chaos of the last days of the withdrawal. It makes for great TV. But in a month or two, no one will care.
We won’t care about the story behind it. We won’t care that in February of 2020 Trump cut a deal with the Taliban. It simply was this: Stop killing us and we’ll leave next year. The government of Afghanistan was excluded from the talks, so the Taliban went about cutting their own deals for cease-fires, lubricated with bribes, with every tribal chief and warlord they could find.
So when Biden said he’d honor Trump’s deal, they were all set to stroll in the front door when we walked out the back. It was the war’s end that Biden wanted for years.
In two months, no one will care about that or what is sure to be many tales of corruption and palace intrigue. The planes will all have left Kabul and the Afghans will have reconciled their fate, unwilling to fight for something they viewed as not worth fighting for.
The forever war is finally over.
I don’t expect the generals to apologize for being so wrong, I don’t expect the think-tank geniuses and TV talking heads to admit they didn’t know what they were talking about, and I don’t want to hear any comparisons to Vietnam.
The war is over, go in peace.
Paul Donahue


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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Paul Donahue You’re going to blame President Trump for what Biden is doing in Afghanistan? President Trump cut a deal and in that last year and a half not a single American soldier was killed because they knew if one was that President Trump would annihilate them. If President Trump were in charge we would’ve gotten our weapons and equipment out along with all of our Afghani partners and American citizens then we would’ve withdrawn our troops not before. Biden‘s plan was to leave in the middle of the night and leave everything behind which created the collapse of Afghanistan, you can’t put that on Trump, it’s Biden’s failure. If you read the newspapers from around the world they’re not blaming President Trump they’re blaming President Biden for this failure and they’re blaming him hard. When the French are sending in special forces and getting their people out and we are not what does that tell you? The first two words I learned in French class where I surrender, but it looks like President Biden is surrender in chief.


Only what they want to hear, only what they want to see, only the way they want to be, nothing else matters, nothing.


Lou, you are the exact same way. You will hear nothing but liberal insanity and defend it to your death. How are you one bit different in reference to “Only what they want to hear, only what they want to see, only the way they want to be, nothing else matters, nothing” ? How are you different? Oh wait – liberal – do as I say, not as I do. Right. Ok.


So sad. As Biden continues to fiancé the Federal government with printed money he will be popular. At least until the inflation and foreign ownership of “American’ business adjust to the surplus of money provided by the Feds

Q: How many American owned utilities are regulated by the PSC?
A: One!

Would you rather American companies be able to move their businesses overseas to access cheap labor markets so they can sell American consumers goods for less, or would you rather these companies stay in America, hire American workers for more than the say, $1.50/hour they pay in China, and sell us those goods for way more? You have to pick one because you can’t have both.

Trump’s first national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said Pompeo “signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban” and traced Afghanistan’s collapse “back to the capitulation agreement of 2020.” Lisa Curtis, an Afghanistan expert on Trump’s National Security Council, told The Associated Press “the Doha agreement was a very weak agreement” that gave the Taliban too much — including 5,000 released prisoners — and seriously weakened the Afghan government.

Trump’s defense secretary during the Taliban negotiations, Mark Esper, told CNN Wednesday that Trump “undermined” his own deal by publicly pushing to withdraw all U.S. troops even if the Taliban didn’t live up to its side of the treaty. Christopher Miller, Esper’s successor, told Defense One that Trump never planned to withdraw U.S. troops and considered the treaty a “play” to get Afghanistan’s president to negotiate a power-sharing deal with the Taliban.

“In many ways, this is an overdue conversation,” Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post. “Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban weren’t huge news outside foreign policy circles because the war wasn’t front-of-mind at the time,” mostly. Still, he said, “it’s striking” that so many “people who served in high-ranking foreign policy roles in the Trump administration seem to recognize the rise of the Taliban isn’t going to make Trump’s decision look like a great idea.”


“Trump would annihilate them.” Perfect. Perhaps a nuclear weapon with the capability of differentiating the Taliban from innocent Afghani citizens. If not, it seams that wouldn’t make any difference to you.

I’m starting to think Zach’s monologues are meant to sung to some tune. We’ve seen the phraseology many times before which tells me they’re singing these around a campfire, or something.
“The first two words I learned in French class where (sic) I surrender”. That’s right out of the early 2000’s era of “Freedom Fries” and “Freedom toast” and “appeasement”. It needs a tune to really enjoy it, and a portrait of George W. Bush of course!.

Harriet Tubman was a badass who deserves recognition. After the Underground Railroad, she led a regiment that freed more than 700 from slavery.


In 2014, 9-year old girl sent a letter to President Obama that launch the process to replace slave owner Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20, with that of Harrriet Tubman. The new design was initially scheduled for 2020, but stalled under President Trump. Imagine that.

“Ms. Tubman who was born into slavery was an American abolitionist and political activist. Tubman escaped (slavery) and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.”

Apparently replacing Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with Tubman’s is a slow process. There was a 20 year timeline beginning in 2014, we’ll see what happens.

I am 100 percent in favor of this happening. Yes jclark, she was a “badass” woman that should be recognized for her great achievements. A true role model!

Fred, perhaps you should make an appointment with a cardiologist in anticipation of having a heart attack after realizing a black former enslaved woman will replace Jackson in the $20 bill.


With the advent of cash credit cards and checking accounts we are well on our way to a cashless society. But thanks for your concern.


You’re welcome Fred. Kind of like the first responders who are helping the trump-thumping anti-vaxxers who end up on ventilator’s begging for the vaccine, I would help you if you went into cardiac arrest after the shock realizing a former Black slave was recognized for her greatness. If it comes to that, let’s just hope the cardiologist isn’t be a black woman, that in all likelihood would be the final nail in your coffin.


The war is over, go in peace.
Paul Donahue

Given Biden’s poor handling of our retreat the war is not over but rather will be moved else where. The war’s evacuation failures will be remembered by the voters and our enemies.

How can you call it a failure when the mission hasn’t been completed? If, god willing, the US gets all of its citizens and troops out unharmed, I’d call that a success. Sure it’s messy and chaotic, but leaving a place you’ve been entrenched in for 20 years was always going to result in chaos. And voters won’t care come election season, half of them don’t care that terrorists stormed the Capitol six months ago to try and overthrow our democracy.


Biden left military equipment in basis that were left in haste. By the way as a nonracist I would like to see all of those who helped us brought to safety.

Joseph Vendetti

We should be concerned about Taliban forces having the best and most sophisticated weapons in the world. Tanks, Humvees, night vision, radar detection, air defense (Helos, Black Hawks, missle defense), RPGs, etc, etc.

Last things we need are those weapons coming back at us over the Southern Border.


You think they are NOT? Oh my good sweet lord. You have not a single clue. OF COURSE they are coming in over the southern ‘border’! How stupid can you be?


If you can read what happened to some of our most sophisticated weapons as we invaded Iraq especially in those harsh environments.
Most importunately if they have to get repair and maintenance for these weapons they probably can’t afford it, especially if from the original purchaser and pay our defense department prices.
They never benefited much from what the Soviets left behind, but who knows. they do carry some mean looking held held weapons.

I was tempted to paste this entire interview to encourage reading it, but this a good sampling. Highly recommended read. The American “60 Minutes” has nothing on the Aussie version. They’re (both) very good.

Putting aside the raw brutality of this religious movement, I was struck by the similarities between the way Suhail Shaheen brushed off Taliban transgressions and what we hear daily from our own religious warriors, the Republican Party and their sycophants. For them, it’s all lies!
The Australian edition of 60 Minutes aired a fraught interview on Sunday between a reporter and a spokesperson for the Taliban. Co-host Sarah Abo pushed back on points Suhail Shaheen made about the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
“Listening to their official spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, you would think Kabul was in the midst of celebrations,” narrated Abo. “If there was not the support of the people of Afghanistan, we would not have been able to put an end to the occupation,” Shaheen told Abo. “They supported us with their sons and also they supported us with their money.”
“You expect the rest of the world to believe that the Taliban has swept to power off the back of the support of the Afghan people,” asked Abo.
“Yes, yes,” replied Shaheen. “That’s true.”
“It’s not true,” refuted Abo.
Shaheen argued, “If it was not the support of the people, how we can fight 54 countries of the world? Is it possible?”
“You’ve swept to power in Afghanistan because of the brutality and the barbarity of your regime, because you’ve swept through regions across the country killing people,” said Abo.
“No, no, no” said Shaheen.
“There are very few choices in that country. It’s either surrender or be killed,” said Abo as Shaheen kept saying “no.”
“No, no, you are, you are speaking the narrative of our opponents like their spokesman,” said Shaheen.

Joseph Vendetti


When we over funded and militarized the Afghan war vs the Soviets to bust the banks of the USSR, some of those weapons ended up in the 1990’s in parts of Columbia, Mexico as part of sales of heroin between Afghan, Pakistan and the cartels.

So yes it has happened before and I’m sure it will happen again.

As for age, maintenance, etc – are you surprised that many of the weapons ISIS, Taliban, AlQueda have come into possession are from the afghan/soviet wars – those RPGs are pushing 40.

All I know is I wouldn’t want to be taking off in a commercial jet from Turkey because the stinger that they used to shoot down and kill 22 SEALs was an RPG stinger type weapon that has a ceiling of 1,800 Meters.

Great letter Ms. Rizzo! Niskayuna is in a spiral and if anyone watched the recent Town Board meeting ( from 8/24, I’m sure you will agree. I suppose it’s one thing if council members want to go after each other due to partisan politics, but it’s unacceptable to talk down to community residents, especially those like Libbie Cococcia or Linda Rizzo…both of whom made legitimate points during their comments. This Board needs a full housecleaning, they all need to go…another prime example of why term limits are needed. Further, the supervisor is not heading up this Board or Town, but rather its the multiple term council woman who also chairs the Democratic party and owns the majority…so every appointment, every new candidate, every termination, etc. she controls. It’s time to hold them accountable and vote for change.

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