Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, Oct. 30

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Lady Liberty needs to return home

Joyce Cockerham’s letter in the Oct. 26 Gazette (“Return Lady Liberty and clean her up”) is another example of what bad siting it still is.
When Mayor McCarthy was a city councilman, he looked the other way when valid complaints were made of the seedy conditions at the former Liberty Park.
Go down to Lady Liberty’s former site at Washington Avenue and State Street now, where she’d be noticed and more protected and appreciated and further off the street.
This past winter, she was almost knocked off her crude concrete block base after a plow hit it. Nothing got done until concerned citizens told the city, and it still took all winter to repair her base.
Myriad letters more than two years after Liberty’s siting is testament about its misplaced siting amongst unkempt grounds and several utility poles, contrary of the mayor’s statement as a “right decision.”
Lady’s former circle is awaiting her return in a beautifully rehabbed park setting. The Oct. 24 Gazette article (“They want her ‘back’”) pointed out as well that Assemblyman Phil Steck secured funding for a new statue in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Gillette. I’ll bet he won’t blindly place her where utility poles are in the way and can’t be enjoyed. As The Gazette wrote just after Lady Liberty’s July 2019 placing; mayor, give it ‘another try.’
Gerald Plante
Schenectady

Amsterdam board committed to kids

The Greater Amsterdam School District highlights local board members for their commitment to Amsterdam and its children.
The role of school board members is to ensure that our schools help every child to learn and to achieve their utmost potential.
Their goal is also inclusive of the health and welfare of all of our students and staff, especially during the covid crisis.
It takes a strong school to build a strong community. Board members devote many hours to make sure that our schools are helping every child learn at a high level.
The members of the Board of Education need to make tough decisions every month and spend many hours getting acclimated to educational issues, policies and regulations in order to provide accountability to our citizens.
The work of school boards is critical when addressing: accountability for student achievement; develop a budget that aligns district resources to improve student achievement; and, provide a healthy physical environment to keep staff and students safe.
School board members take our role very seriously. We know that our main mission is for our students to be the highest and most important priority.
The Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education members are Dr. Nellie A. Bush, president, Curtis Peninger, vice president, JoMarie DiTata, Mark Kowalczyk, Rev. Kent McHeard, Gavin Murdoch, and Michael Villa.
Dr. Nellie A. Bush
Amsterdam

 

 

 

Don’t stick with the status quo in Nisky

Niskayuna, we have the opportunity to vote for change or the status quo; I would suggest voting for the status quo is not the right move. In fact, it is irresponsible and detrimental to the town of Niskayuna and its residents.
There are four contested spots: supervisor and three board positions. The two incumbents running are Denise McGraw and John Della Ratta. McGraw is running for her fourth term and Della Ratta his third. Both have been the subject of recent negative headlines and articles. McGraw has been named in several ethics’ complaints, allegedly in the middle of the Officer Stevens and Paul Sebesta controversies and is the party boss of the Niskayuna Democratic Party. Della Ratta has been a longtime ally of McGraw and was recently arrested for DWI and several motor vehicle infractions.
Newcomers Jessica Brennan and Jamie Puccioni are Democrats hand selected by McGraw. Brennan referred to McGraw as “famous” in a recent Facebook post and Puccioni’s posts routinely include McGraw and Della Ratta. The best I can tell the foursome’s platform is dog size separation and a fish pond.
The choice is clear: Vote to return honor back to Niskayuna – Faizy, Moskowitz, Walker and Feiden.
Stephen Benton
Niskayuna

National issues have a local matter impact

Both former Saratoga Mayor AC Dake and current Mayor Meg Kelly have recently made statements that the actions of national parties and politicians are not important in local elections. Despite my respect for both of these women, I strongly disagree.
Donald Trump has declared the recent presidential election to be riddled with fraud and that the election was stolen from him, calling the integrity of the electoral process into question. A large number of Republicans have agreed with him.
It is incumbent upon any Republican-endorsed candidate to state where they stand on this issue. I want to know if they agree the election was stolen. What evidence do they have to that effect? If they do not believe the election was stolen, when have they publicly stood up for our electoral process? Black Lives Matter and appropriate police oversight is another national and local issue. Where do candidates of all parties stand? What power should citizen review boards have? Should military vehicles and weaponry be used by local police?
Protesters have accused each other of bringing violence into peaceful protests. How should police be counseled so their response targets the correct people?
Bernard O’Neil
Saratoga Springs

New pool closing times inconvenient

This is in response to Suzanne Brooksby’s Oct. 23 letter (“Thanks to McGraw for dedication to pool.”), I, too, have fond memories of the Wild Turkeys Swim and Dive Team.
My daughter was on the team from 1991 to 1998. I have a long history with the town pool. It was during this time the name “Wild Turkeys” was born. The kids chose that name because of all the turkeys they saw during early morning practice.
This summer was not a good summer for the people who wanted to use the pool after 6:30 p.m., which was the new closing time. In the past, the pool closed at 7:45 p.m. in June and July and at 6:45 p.m. in August. These times were good for working families. I believe the new closing time for this past summer was to accommodate the Star Fish Swim Club.
Rose Wertman
Niskayuna

Dems should stick to issues in Saratoga

As a lifelong Democrat and former chair of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, I am dismayed by the tactics being used by Democrats in this year’s city elections. In mailings and lawn signs, Democratic candidates are suggesting falsely that democracy in Saratoga will be threatened if Republicans win City Council seats. This tactic is offensive and divisive.
Nearly half the registered voters in Saratoga Springs are Republicans. They are our neighbors and our friends. Many of the candidates have lived in Saratoga all their lives and have served the city in many capacities, including elected office.
The Democratic candidates should address the local issues in which they may legitimately disagree with the Republicans. A commitment to democracy is not one of those.
Jane Weihe
Saratoga Springs

 

Schumann-McGhee best for Family Court

Bethany Schumann-McGhee a must for Montgomery County Family Court Judge.
I met Bethany Schumann as her teacher at Fonda-Fultonville High.
She impressed me as a young woman as she was intensely interested in her education, a leader in her school and the Montgomery County community. She was then and is now an excellent role model for youth and women, exhibiting her leadership qualities in our community.
Thirty years later, we are still in regular contact, serving together as Trustees for FMCC, where she is vice chair. She has a great capacity for problem solving by considering all sides before making decisions.
I trust her as my personal attorney. She and her husband make ample time to raise three culturally aware and delightful young children. She brings them with her to many diverse community events, offering them opportunities to engage with, learn from and serve others.
Bethany is intelligent, respectful and a good listener, attributes critical to the office of Family Court judge. She will help families in need to have those problems recognized and assisted. Please vote for Bethany Schumann-McGhee. You will be glad that you did.
Jennifer Gardella
Amsterdam

Moskowicz will bring dedication to Nisky

I am writing to show my support of Jason Moskowicz for Niskayuna Town Board.
I knew Jason from his days dispatching emergency services for Niskayuna police. He was always very helpful and competent with every interaction we had.
When the unified communications center opened and I found myself working side by side with him, I saw the true side of him. His leadership, dedication, caring, sympathy for callers and total competence with our profession were amazing. He also transferred this same passion to volunteer firefighting with the Niskayuna fire department.
I cannot think of a more dedicated and capable person to sit on the Niskayuna Town Board. Please take the time to meet this man and you will see what I saw in him. I have since retired from that position, but remember our working days fondly.
If you give him the chance, I know you will not be disappointed.
David W. Gallup
Scotia

Jeram will make Clifton Park a priority

As a new resident of Clifton Park, I want to encourage my neighbors to vote for Jennifer Jeram for town justice. While I can’t speak on Clifton Park needing a change, what I can say is that since I reached out to Jennifer, she has been incredibly welcoming and forthright with her qualifications for the position. I believe her character speaks for itself.
If character is not enough, Jennifer makes giving back to the community a priority. She is constantly working to help those most in need in our communities. Jennifer has represented victims of domestic abuse on a pro bono basis. She started as a volunteer with Saratoga Center for the Family working to combat child abuse in Saratoga County and now sits on their board.
She sits on the Arongen PTA and chairs the Partners in Reading program, securing grants from Stewart’s the last two years.
Jennifer clearly never hesitates to find opportunities to give back to the families of our town, and that is exactly the type of person that we need serving as our town justice. Vote for her on Nov. 2 or vote early.
Colleen Ryan
Clifton Park

Not voting for Dems in Nisky this year

I have been consistently voting Democrat in local elections, but I will not be doing so in the upcoming Niskayuna Town Board election. The current Town Board is a mess. They have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars “investigating” various employees, all clearly directed at getting rid of them.
Councilwoman McGraw, Councilman DellaRatta and Councilman McPartlon have all secured jobs for their family members and friends, making those folks beholden to them and sending a clear message to town employees. Councilwoman McGraw decides who gets hired at the pool and their pay rate. Ethics complaints aren’t investigated because Councilwoman McGraw has the Ethics Committee (like all the other committees) staffed with her friends. Councilwoman McGraw’s husband (and her other friends) serve on the Board of Assessment Review. They consider whether your residential taxes can be adjusted. Talk about wielding power!
All the key town employees are beholden to Councilwoman McGraw. There is nowhere for employees to turn to receive fair treatment and certainly nowhere for town residents to go to receive a fair shake. Niskayuna isn’t Councilwoman McGraw’s kingdom to control. Regardless of party affiliation, we must hold our elected officials accountable.
Noney Grier
Niskayuna

West will be a leader as Saratoga mayor

Let’s remember the real Ron Kim.
When he was commissioner of Public Safety, Ron Kim proposed spending millions to build a 30,000-square foot palace for the police.
Plus, he petulantly stomped out of an ongoing City Council meeting after our other city leaders refused to follow him down this needless and expensive hole. I know this is true: I was in the City Hall conference room attending this meeting when this happened.
We need someone who will actually provide steady leadership and can solve problems. We need Heidi West for mayor.
Bonnie Sellers
Saratoga Springs

Zlotnick keeping his promises in Milton

To work in government or even run for office, one must have respect for the job. Benny Zlotnick has demonstrated his respect for the job and the residents he serves.
Scott Ostrander didn’t.
Scott Ostrander treated the job of supervisor as a joke. He laughed at the buckets collecting rainwater on his desk. Angry that he lost the election, office computers were wiped clean during his final days in office. He forced village residents to pay full Milton taxes and prevented residents from renting out their properties.
Benny Zlotnick not only led the town through the pandemic, he began finally addressing the deteriorating town hall. He has kept town meetings open via Zoom and reached out to whole neighborhoods to address local concerns.
So far, the GOP has accused Benny of wanting to defund the police; Milton does not even have a police department, proving that the hype that works in New York City won’t fly here. We don’t need a bully back in power. We need a level-headed leader in Milton. That person is Benny Zlotnick.
Polly Windels
Milton

Ostrander will get job done in Milton

A leopard like Supervisor Benny Zlotnick never changes spots in an election year, only party affiliation.
Amid the constant bombardment of political season, reason gets lost. If we’re to flourish in Milton, reason must be our focus.
The Milton Democrats have, in a metaphorical sense, bought a candidate for supervisor – one the Republican committee fairly interviewed and found unqualified. The purchase of an incumbency versus fielding a candidate while lobbing stones at the rule followers.
Shame on them. It shows a total lack of regard for the voters of this community, seniors, veterans and lifelong residents they think would not notice this amoral fact.
The time for voting is near, the smoke screen must come down, and the question comes down to how do we want to be represented?
Do we want a self-interested supervisor who has achieved nothing, sets up public drama, won’t answer direct questions and craves power? Or do we want a proven candidate, one respected by town employees and is fiscally responsible?
Join me in making the right choice. Vote for Scott Ostrander and his team on row B or C and let’s end the theatrics. Bring reason back to Milton town government on Nov. 2.
Doug Bennett
Ballston Spa

McGraw looks to the future in Niskayuna

Recently I learned Niskayuna has attracted state grants to put in place an electric vehicle charging station infrastructure throughout our parks, as well as the library, to add to the charger already at the town hall. As an electric vehicle owner, I wanted to learn more about how this forward looking initiative came about. Well, it was no surprise to find out Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw got this done for our community. I am proud to live in a town that makes sustainability a priority and I thank Councilwoman McGraw for her commitment to our future. We need more elected officials like Denise.
Bill Duffy
Niskayuna

Vote Row B for best leaders in Clifton Park

I appreciate being able to send Clifton Park residents my message regarding our current town of Clifton Park officials running for election or re-election Nov. 2.
I am a town employee and 30-year resident of Clifton Park. I have had the privilege of working in the capacity of executive secretary to Supervisor Phil Barrett, current privilege as deputy town clerk to Town Clerk Teresa Brobston and supporting our Town Board officials, highway superintendent, Clifton Park county supervisor and town justice. I bring respect and a genuine perspective in my commendation for these Republican candidates.
This experienced team of proven leadership is so very dedicated to serving our community 24/7. I personally witness their unending commitment in creating and maintaining the best possible and safest place for us to live and grow, in servicing our elderly with their needs, in effecting change expeditiously and in building and directing a strong team of employees to assist in deploying the necessary duties to properly serve this great town.
Please Vote Row B on Nov. 2 so that this qualified team may continue to provide the excellent management of Clifton Park that we have all have been accustomed to. Thank you.
Claudia Fitzgerald
Clifton Park

Reconsider how shots are delivered

Nursing 101 formerly taught to do all proper prep, including identifying the muscle for intramuscular injections.
After plunging the needle in, it was held still and steady while the plunger was gently pulled back (aspiration) to visibly check that the needle wasn’t in a vein by mistake.
I guess the United States and UK, and even WHO, says that is unnecessary and can even cause more pain. It takes more time, too.
Yet, there has been a well-designed study with mice and the mRNA ‘vaccine’ in a peer reviewed journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases on Aug. 18, that gave injections of the mRNA vaccine to mice both I.M. and I.V. A control group had simple saline both routes. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8436386/)
For mice, the vaccine that went into the bloodstream caused grossly visible damage and microscopic tissue damage to the heart, myopericarditis, etc.
The Brits so far have blown it off. Not the vaccine surely. Just an immune response. And rare.
But what harm would it do to ask for a more careful injection? Or even that the vastus lateralis (thigh muscle) be used to get the experimental substance to go less directly to the heart? These are not uneducated professionals who raise impassioned caveats in academic and peer reviewed journals.
Betty Pieper
Scotia

NIOSH addresses worker health rights

The Gazette Oct. 19 article, “U.S. labor unions are having a moment” provided opinions from academic professors and union officials about working conditions of employees, especially essential workers.
During the past decade, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) initiated the Total Worker Health (TWH) program and the Healthy Work Design and Well-Being Program.
NIOSH research develops concepts of public health rights for workers at their workplace.
There are two Centers of Excellence located in the Northeast seeking partnerships with state and municipal health departments, nonprofit organizations and labor unions.
The TWH program offers grants, (PA-20-297), “to address evolving challenges and opportunities related to worker safety, mental and physical health, and well-being.”
Do you think NIOSH’s standards and funding to improve essential public health workplace conditions will be considered and advocated in our communities?
Michael McGlynn
Watervliet

McGraw committed to making Nisky special

To know my daughter and me is to know we love the Niskayuna town pool and the Wild Turkeys Swim Team.
It is there we have found a real sense of belonging in our community. We also love Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw for her tireless efforts on behalf of both.
Denise spends every day over the summer volunteering her time at the pool making sure everyone feels welcome and that the children on the team have a safe space to compete, learn, grow and make friends in a fun, family atmosphere.
As someone living with multiple sclerosis, covid has presented significant challenges and concerns. However, for the past two summers, there has not been a single covid-related incident at the Pool. That speaks volumes about Denise’s care and professionalism. It’s even a family affair. During the first summer of the covid crisis, her teenage daughter helped develop all the protocols to keep the staff, team, and patrons safe and covid-free. Denise Murphy McGraw’s commitment to our town pool is one of the things that makes Niskayuna such a special place. My daughter and I are very grateful for all she does.
Michele Dollar
Niskayuna

Vote for Zlotnick, regardless of party

The erroneous misconception amongst registered voters that they must vote for candidates of the same party that they are registered in is false.
As an educated voter, you must vote for the candidate that most resembles your ideals, values, opinions and concerns regarding issues that are going to best help your community and country that serves “we the people”, and not just a label of a party, but rather for the good of us all.
I never was a straight-across-the-row voter determinant of my registration; I gleaned candidates based on principles, truth and facts, and that they were sincere in working toward their promises and strategies toward favorable solutions.
I may presently be a registered Republican. But my vote for town of Milton Supervisor Benny Zlotnick becomes easy, as he (a non-GOP) has been easy to work with in “Moving Milton Forward,” and demonstrates his honesty and integrity while his opponent resorts to smear and damage tactics. Residents remember that it wasn’t so long ago that Scott Ostrander lost re-election, and so “lost” were town of Milton records. Fair campaigns, trust and integrity deserve to be rewarded. My vote goes for the re-election of Zlotnick no matter his party.
John D. Wood
Ballston Spa

Trump opposition separate from Biden

I would like to make it clear to Mr. Pagano, regarding his Oct. 22 letter (“It’s hard to explain and defend Biden”) and anyone else who may be interested, that my absolute revulsion vis-a-vis Donald Trump, and the travesty that the new Republican Party has become, has nothing to do with how I may or may not feel about the current president.
Debra Kenfield
Schenectady

Make Niskayuna residents proud again

Add me to the growing number of residents tired and embarrassed by the clown show that is Niskayuna town government and politics.
From the spectacle of the “investigation” and subsequent aborted hearing on the conduct of the recent police chief to the bungled handling of the town comptroller situation to the DWI/DWAI arrest of a town board member, Niskayuna has become a punchline.
Three police chiefs have been investigated, with one getting a no-confidence vote from those in uniform. Another chief, well-respected Chief Fran Wall, decided to retire from, in her words, the toxic workplace and without the support of the town board.
Niskayuna residents were sold a bill of goods with improvements to the sewage treatment plant that would result in thousands of dollars in outside revenue that has never materialized.
Couple all this with the shocking lack of transparency by the supervisor and town board, and residents are rightly concerned that our town has descended into Rotterdam-like dysfunction. We need to increase funding for our chronically-underfunded police force and boost the number of officers. The police need to conduct speed enforcement and not just rely on speed display signs; our neighborhoods have become drag strips with speed checks seldom if ever conducted.
The town needs to invest in recreation facilities by improving signage, mowing and fixing the disc golf park and establishing a skate park. Town residents want to be proud of Niskayuna once again.
Dennis J. Quinn
Niskayuna

 

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

4 Comments
Tiny October 31, 2021
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No, No and No

Florida2015 October 30, 2021
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Paragraph # 3 YES
Paragraph #4 Yes
Paragraph #5 and Yes

ChuckD October 30, 2021
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Not pertinent to any letters today (I couldn’t care less about Nisky politics except it looks like a hot mess from here), but I’m finding the machinations and gyrations the Democrats are going through to be fascinating stuff. This is history in the making. It really shows a sea-change within the party where the Progressives have reached a critical mass to effect an overdue evolution. They certainly should stand up to the Olde Guarde. They were promised votes on both the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, and they shouldn’t trust it will actually happen.

(It’s noteworthy that Biden did not press for an infrastructure vote before leaving for G20, and it’s got the establishment Dems in a real panic.)

This isn’t about “snatching defeat from the jaws of success” as the mainstream media and corporate Dems would have us believe. It’s also NOT about chaos in the party. This how negotiation and legislation gets done. The media wants to make money and drama sells, and if there isn’t any they invent some of their own. Expect the wild predictions of the collapse of the Democratic Party to continue ad nauseum.

This is about taking this rare opportunity to do real good for the working people of this country, to provide the support all other developed countries give their workers. For way too long it’s been about the corporate officers calling the shots while hiding behind the myth of “trickle down” economics and casting workers’ fate to government support. Meanwhile the wealth disparity has grown as the lifeboats paddle away from the Titanic (some with very luxurious appointments).

And it’s exposed the milquetoast “Liberal” fops who’ve dominated the party with their succession of royalty (no matter that better, more effective leaders and fighters already exist amongst them). No matter that the opposition, the Republican Party, has clearly shown they will not abide by the Constitution, nor the laws of the land. We need some spine right now to keep this republic together.
Progressives have what it takes to take the Democratic Party, and all of America, forward and provide for every American worker what has been withheld, and grow productivity. That’s why they’re called “Progressives”.