Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Sunday, Nov. 28


Niskayuna needs to be more transparent

The Gazette’s Nov. 19 editorial (“Ethics cases should be transparent”) on Niskayuna Ethics Committee and the Nov. 20 article on the permanent police chief’s position (“Kochan permanent police chief”) demonstrate that transparency and accountability are lacking in the town government.
When an ethics complaint is made public by an employee or resident, the community has the right to know if the complaint has merit.
The Ethics Committee is not window dressing for town government. It should be autonomous from the town board. Its spokesperson shouldn’t be the town attorney.
Some town officials didn’t hesitate to make public their investigations of employees and to publicly discuss their findings.
Why the change in rules for the Ethics Committee?
After two months, the police chief’s position was made permanent.
The decision to do so wasn’t discussed at the Public Safety Committee, nor was the board member chair involved in the decision.
Kudos to Bill McPartlon for voting no because it demonstrated that he has the best interest of the police chief, the department and the community at heart.
The rationale for doing this was disingenuous. Supervisor Yasmine Syed referred to former Chief Daniel McManus, stating his probationary period was four months.
She left out that he served as deputy police chief for six months before becoming chief and in addition, he had a four month probation period.
The current chief has no administrative experience. Also, McManus served in the department for 21 years. There’s no comparison.
Why the rush to make this position permanent? Only the two outgoing board members and supervisor can answer that question.
Linda Rizzo


Not all share views on politics, religion

Thank you for publishing letters from Anthony J. Santo (“Americans must stop worshipping idols”) and Gerard F. Havasy (“The faithful must stand up against left”) in the Nov. 20 Gazette.
Both letters inspired me to submit my views on the subjects, a Minority Report if you will.
In my humble (and tiny minority among Christians) opinion, God did NOT (sorry, Mr. Santo) send COVID-19 to Americans to punish them for idolatry and following false gods.
For one, the golden calf-like statue of Trump did not appear until Feb. 2021, about a year after COVID-19 did.
No one puts sugar into the gas tank of a car they have built and loved as a child, no matter how much it misbehaves.
Also, in my humble opinion, the Catholics and Christians who voted for Biden did NOT (sorry, Mr. Havasy) make a serious mistake against their own religious convictions.
Both religions are equally divided between those who voted for Trump and those who voted for Biden.
Just as the religious people who in the past opposed faith people such as Peter, Paul, John and Jesus were divided into Pharisees and Sadducees, so are today’s religious people who oppose faith people divided into Republicans and Democrats.
As a faith person living by New Testament faith in Jesus, I get opposition from both religious groups.
Well, those are my thoughts.
I do hope that I have shown respect for Mr. Santo and Mr. Havasy, for both are worthy of it, having gotten published by The Gazette for one.
Joel Nelson



System is too easy on repeat offenders

It’s beyond belief what’s going on.
These elected officials should be arrested for negligence. They are responsible for caring more about the criminals than they care about the civilians, than they care about you, me and everyone else.
People are being arrested again and again and allowed back into the streets. What does that do to law enforcement? What does that do to the rest of us? They are pathetic. It is shameful. It is disgusting what is going on.
The suspect in the holiday parade massacre in Wisconsin had a lengthy criminal record and was out on $1,000 bail. Think of all those people who were murdered by that individual.
Do you know who’s responsible? The DA should be arrested. People wake up. We need law and order.
Sherrill Smith


Online letters

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

CYNTHIA SWANSON November 28, 2021
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Re the Establishment Clause: our educated founding fathers were well aware of the horrors of the Inquisition. Yet one more reason for church-state to remain separate. Try telling that to the Council of Bishops, who do not recognize it.

Florida2015 November 28, 2021
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ChuckD and Guy, Reporting you guys, isn’t that kinda like the Republican strategy now? Red States passing laws and re redistricting so voters who won’t agree with there versions of what they believe to be fact and truth will go away. Never mind what it really is.

/. Red States passing laws and redistricting to eleimate voters who speak and vote aginst them.

Guy Varoma November 28, 2021
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Another great interpretation of the Constitution by William…And wrong again ….Try reading about the “establishment clause” and what it’s intent means …The constitution doesn’t say you can drop your pants in the middle of Broadway and take a dump …But I’m pretty sure you can’t …and stop reporting me and being a snowflake

ANTHONY J SANTO November 28, 2021
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It isn’t easy to follow your reasoning William, but I think you are missing the goal of separation of church and state. That goal is to prevent the potential for control of the people if political and religious authority were combined or worked hand in hand. If the president were head of an American Christian Church or worked as an ally of such an institution it would enable control of people through coordinated efforts from the pulpit and the seat of government. Such power would be autocratic by nature or certainly evolve into an autocracy. The ensuing corruption would be a result of the combination of the power of political and religious institutions. The first amendment was not designed to prevent either institution from corrupting the other. By the way, it is the Trump sycophant and short-lived head of national security, I’m guessing one of your heroes, Mike Flynn who is calling for one national religion. I wonder why? Oh, I just explained why!

William Marincic November 28, 2021
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Anthony, really? Then why did Kamala Harris speak to hundreds of churches in Virginia for the recent governor elections? What she did was the exact reason that there is a separation of church and state it wasn’t that the church would corrupt the government but that the government would corrupt the church and that’s what we saw in Virginia.

‘Separation of church and state’ metaphor rooted in early American fears of government involvement
Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, was the first public official to use this metaphor. He opined that an authentic Christian church would be possible only if there was “a wall or hedge of separation” between the “wilderness of the world” and “the garden of the church.” Williams believed that any government involvement in the church would corrupt the church.

The most famous use of the metaphor was by Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. In it, Jefferson declared that when the American people adopted the establishment clause they built a “wall of separation between the church and state.”

Jefferson had earlier witnessed the turmoil of the American colonists as they struggled to combine governance with religious expression. Some colonies experimented with religious freedom while others strongly supported an established church.

ANTHONY J SANTO November 28, 2021
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William, I think when government does not support one religion over another and leaves religion up to individual Americans, that is called separation of church and state. In order to remain separate from the state, religious organizations must refrain from partisan politics. To support a political point of view or candidate when speaking as an official of a religious organization is not allowed. Certainly those of the cloth can express views on controversial topics such as abortion rights, climate change, and vaccinations but can not endorse party platforms or candidates as part of their official religious duties. The founding fathers rightly feared the control a powerful alliance between church and state would exercise over citizens of a democracy. Religions enjoy enormous privilege including tax-exemption. Therefore, they have no right to tell citizens for whom they should vote. My personal point of view is that we should eliminate tax-exemption for religion, allowing them the same charity write-offs the rest of us enjoy. Doesn’t the clergy use the roads, sewage and water systems provided at public expense. Why should non-religious people help shoulder the clergy’s share of those expenses?

William Marincic November 28, 2021
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Lou, wrong as usual, what that means is the government will not support one religion over another. They did that because of England and their politics were tied to the church of England and the monarchy. It says nothing about separating church and state from politics it just says that the government will not support any one religion. End of story.

Hooligans November 28, 2021
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The Constitution is a document based upon the great thinkers of the age of reason. It eschewed Religion as a governing principle and relied on scientific principles and rationality to arrive at solutions to national problems. Unfortunately the great hucksters of our age have made great inroads into the destruction of our secular democracy.

ANTHONY J SANTO November 28, 2021
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Louis, of course you are correct. I didn’t think anyone could miss the sarcasm. Don’t they remember the Christians blaming aids on gay people and claiming God was punishing them? Don’t they remember the same people blaming catastrophic storms on pro-choice people as punishment from God? I’ve always wondered why God didn’t jump in sooner to punish the Nazis so as to prevent millions of his chosen people from an unimaginably horrifying fate. Also I wish God had thought ahead and prevented the deaths of innocent hemophiliacs from aids. But, I guess as in war, collateral damage occurs in the divine scheme (more sarcasm). Looked at in this way, Joel Nelson’s points evaporate due to their lack of weight.

LOUIS RESTIFO November 28, 2021
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Joel Nelson, Two things in your letter I would like to point out or clarify:
Anthony J. Santo was being sarcastic when he said God sent COVID-19 to punish Americans. You totally missed his point.
Secondly, part of the first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” which is all about the separation of church and state. Religion should play no part in politics, without exception. Period, end of story.