Capital Region

Letters to the Editors Sunday, May 28 – Nine, from readers in Schenectady, Rotterdam, Burnt Hills, elsewhere

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Upstate NY should welcome new workers

Regarding upstate counties taking preemptive measures as displaced migrants are moved upstate from New York City: I am embarrassed that Saratoga County has declared this state of emergency.
Saratoga is a growing community, and we need workers. I welcome people who have traveled from distant parts of the globe to our shores.
I would hope that all upstate counties embrace our new neighbors, if for no other reason than population growth. We have plenty of depopulated towns that could use a jolt of energy, diversity and great cooking.
Michael King
Saratoga Springs

Teaching of history has been flawed

I want to applaud Nicholas Goldberg’s essay in the May 21 Gazette, (“It’s important that kids learn history and civics,”) on the woeful state of history and civics education in this country.
Most Americans were taught history as though it were nothing but a sequence of facts: “kings, wars and dates.”
That’s why politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are able to deceive gullible, uninformed people into believing schools are brainwashing kids with “woke ideology” by teaching historical events that cast America in a bad light or make students ashamed of their ancestors.
Had Americans been taught history properly, DeSantis and his allies couldn’t get away with that nonsense.
But, given the poor quality of history instruction in our schools, that’s what we can expect.
In science and math classes, we challenge students with problems to solve.
Yet we present history as a straight factual narrative of past events rather than a platform for debates about them.
For example, instead of teaching students that America was founded on the precepts of Christianity as though that were settled historical fact — an idea cherished by Christian nationalists — students should be asked to answer the question, “How Christian were the Founding Fathers?”
Students would then be required to examine the religious ideas of the Founding Fathers and come to their own conclusions.
Until that happens, Americans will remain ignorant about the real nature of historical thinking.
Adults disagree – often vehemently – about the American past.
Why should we pretend otherwise when children are in the room?
Fred Como
Burnt Hills

Public owed the truth about state EFC grant

Rotterdam’s residents deserve accurate and truthful information about state grants.
The town of Rotterdam applied for a $5 million grant through the state Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC) to help offset the cost of a $34 million bond the Town Board approved on Sept. 14, 2022, to pay for Water District 5’s infrastructure upgrades.
Supervisor Mollie Collins stated in a Jan. 9 Gazette article (“Town still hoping to secure water infrastructure funding,”) that the Town’s $5 million grant application, dated Sept. 9, 2022, “was deemed acceptable, but they [the state] ran out of funding.” False!
Curious, I filed several Freedom of Information Law requests to find out why the EFC rejected Rotterdam’s grant request. Public records confirm the town submitted an incomplete application. The lack of funding was not for the reason Collins stated. I approached Collins and the Town Board about my findings and asked for clarity, but they ignored my inquiry.
Why was the application incomplete? Because the town applied for the grant before the Town Board even approved the bond.
The state notified Collins of this discrepancy in earnest, so she knew her statement was incorrect.
Some may find this issue benign, but I wholeheartedly disagree. And many of my friends and neighbors share my sentiments.
At the very least, town taxpayers deserve accurate and truthful information from their electives, especially Rotterdam’s supervisor and CFO. That was not the case in this matter.
Please, the truth, madam.
Frank Natalie

What are excuses for denying immigrants?

Two-thousand years ago, a pregnant woman and father were looking for a place to sleep after a long journey.
At each door the answer was “there is no room here.” They finally found a place to sleep in a manger with the livestock keeping them warm.
Whether you believe their newborn child was God’s son or not, it cannot be denied that the child did change the world.
In 2001, Schenectady’s mayor welcomed immigrants from Guyana to the city. They bought run-down houses, fixed them up, started businesses and have been a part of Schenectady’s rebirth. A study of the effect of the Guyanese influx showed that homeownership and small business start-ups have helped the economy of the city.
Utica also experienced the positive influence of immigrants in their city. An article in 2022 stated that immigrants over 40 years have been an economic engine for the city.
Vietnamese, Russians and Bosnians were grateful for a safe place to live and grow their families.
No one can state that their ancestors didn’t come from some other country at some time.
They came here to escape poverty, starvation, war, discrimination or lack of opportunity. Fortunately for them, there were fewer restrictions, fewer hoops to jump through to prove that they deserve to be let in.
Our ancestors sought the same things that these new immigrants are seeking. Is there really “no room at the inn?” Or are we just unwilling to recognize the humanity of all and reach out a hand?
Christine Pesses



Learn the science of climate change

Yes, CO2 is critical for plants, people, and our planet. In his May 17 letter, Bill Whipple wants to “Keep government out of our business.” Specifically, stop the oppressive government from trying to control our lives by limiting carbon emissions. If CO2 is good for plants, why control it?
Yes, CO2 is good for plants. I remember, while working in a chemical research lab in California, sharing coffee breaks with Melvin Calvin, a consultant to our lab, who was the 1961 winner of the Nobel for Chemistry for his discovery of the chemical pathways of photosynthesis. CO2 is a crucial component of this pathway. Humans would not exist without this.
But CO2 has many ways it affects us. Life is complicated, so CO2 also traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. This basic discovery was first expressed by a female scientist, Eunice Foote, in 1819, over 200 years ago. We call this the greenhouse effect. This is what fossil fuels promote.
The Mauna Loa Observatory monitors atmospheric CO2 levels and plots the Keeling Curve. Records start in 1958 at 315 ppm and have risen today to 422.5 ppm. These are numbers that impact each of us. There is no Planet B.
What can we do? Learn the science of climate change. Understand how our actions and choices impact our world. Reduce our carbon footprint.
An excellent source of science based information is via courses from major universities worldwide thru Coursera. Examples can be viewed at Learn, and help our planet.
Don Cooper

Store group wants action on vaping

In response to the May 18 editorial, “Step up efforts to stop kids from vaping,” NYACS appreciates the Editorial Board’s support of increased enforcement regarding illicit vape sales to youth.
However, the characterization that NYACS has a “selfish motive” only underscores the real lack of understanding of the problem. Unlike the cannabis retailers, NYACS stores are not in competition with stores selling these flavored vape products illegally. We do not and will not sell these flavored vape products, sales of which have been illegal since 2019.
NYACS represents nearly 8,000 stores and over 127,000 employees who are on the front lines of preventing youth smoking. Our members make safe, legal sales a priority and many require automatic ID checks.
NYACS also provides state-approved responsible tobacco sales training, which teaches employees who to check for identification and how to refuse sales using appropriate customer service skills.
If our actions are selfish it’s because we’re tired of being blamed for the actions of criminal and illicit market actors, which if not addressed could lead to extreme illness or death as was recently the case in Alabama, where a young girl died of a fentanyl overdose after using a vape.
State leaders need to take immediate action to protect children from the dangers of illegal disposable vapor products in kid-friendly flavors.
We continue to stand by and are prepared to work with them if ever get serious about taking action.
Kent Sopris
The writer is president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.

Fewer ads, more proofreading please

The publication of your newspaper has finally broken me. I have been a 20-year subscriber until recently when I downsized to Sunday only. The main reason was cost versus content.
The paper has become nothing more than advertisements. I do look forward to the Sunday edition with my morning coffee.
Well, this past Sunday I got to see another example of your papers unprofessionalism and lack of proofreading your product.
How can you print an article in the opinion section titled “Is Congress capable of freight rail safety” continued on page 3. Well page 3 has no continuation of the story. The railroad runs behind our house, and we have been fighting with town officials because they park garbage trains behind the residents of West Street, so it piqued my interest. Is it that difficult to take pride in your work?
Paul Bastian

Supporters of event helped local children

The Christ Child Society of Albany would like to extend our grateful appreciation to all those who supported our “Red Wagon” luncheon and fashion show on April 29 at the Italian American Community Center.
“Nothing is Ever Too Much to Do for a Child” are the words of Mary Virginia Merrick, servant of God and the founder of the National Christ Child Society.
Everything we do is to help children, and we thank you for helping us support our mission. Christ Child Society of Albany covers all counties of the Albany Diocese and beyond.
We are currently delivering layettes, comfort bags and books as far north as Warren County and as far south as Columbia County. There is always so much to do, so many requests for help and we are expanding services as much as possible to better serve children.
We always welcome new members. If you would like to know more about our Albany Chapter, please contact Carol Kelly at [email protected] or 518-698-6633.
Shirley Unser
The writer is Christ Child Society of Albany publicist.

Grateful to carriers, public for donations

I would like to sincerely thank the letter carriers of Johnstown and the residents who so generously donated to their recent food drive.
The number of needy continues to grow in our small community, and the food pantry at 26 N. Market St., served 475 people last month alone, including 151 children and 65 seniors.
Please know that food donations can be dropped off at the pantry on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Alternatively, financial donations or gift cards can be mailed to P. O. Box 395, Johnstown, NY 12095.
Each and every one of you is so appreciated and helps us continue our mission to provide nutritious and sustaining food.
Mary L. Gilmour
Caroga Lake
The writer is the Johnstown Food Pantry director.

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion, Opinion, Rotterdam, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Scotia Glenville


Thank you, Fred Como for your excellent letter reminding us that serious differences of opinion and meaningful debate ought to be encouraged in history classes; Christine Pesses for your thoughtful letter defending immigration and reminding us that so many of our ancestors emigrated to America in search of a better life; and Don Cooper for your scientific proof pointing out that climate change is real, a product of human activities, and the need to reduce our carbon footprint.

christophe Stalka

MR Santo the letters you cite are excellent.
Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge President Bidens and sen Mccarthy leadership in averting the debt crisis I’m betting a lot of phone calls are coming out of trumps Florida to try to tank the agreement.

Re: Don Cooper’s excellent letter, he is, unfortunately, preaching to the choir. We liberals are already convinced that climate change is real and it’s caused by human activity. Why? Because we read – a lot – and we accept the word of scientists because, by virtue of their methodology, they are the greatest skeptics of climate change. That’s how science works. There are no appeals to authority, only peer reviews.

Climate-change deniers, on the other hand, are by and large not readers. They get their information from TV and social media. If they are referred to a book, article, or web site that requires prolonged concentration and reflective thought, they are unlikely to read it. They would rather hear someone they trust (i.e., supports their biased opinions) hold forth on the subject. Consequently, if the likes of Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson tell them climate change is a hoax or that Covid vaccines are useless, they take their word at face value. God forbid they should consult a web site they think is written by liberal scientists who preach climate change to enhance their careers.

Interesting fact in this regard: the percentage of people receiving the polio vaccine in the mid-fifties rose from 1% to 80% virtually overnight after Elvis Presley spoke out in favor of it.

Another belief of MAGA people that puzzles me is that they accuse progressives and liberals of being elitists and believe Trump, DeSantis, the Koch brothers, Rudy Giuliani et. al. are fighting for the general population. Explain that one.

My guess is that MAGATs hate elites because they promote equality for marginalized groups, e.g., African-Americans, Muslims, Asians, Jews, non-heterosexuals, transsexuals, or anyone who doesn’t fit the white Christian mold.

Donald Trump, in my opinion, didn’t create MAGATs. He found them sitting on the sidelines ready to be mobilized. Actually, it was Roger Stone who deserves the credit, according to personal sources. Trump merely gave voice to these malcontents, kind of like chicks in the nest that learn to sing their distinctive songs by hearing their parents. Now DeSantis and others are hoping to imitate Trump’s song.

You would never see these morons show the same allegiance to Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney or Liz Cheney, for example, even though they are conservative Republicans to the core.

Blowhard Lindsey Graham keeps pretending he is a tough guy. What a pathetic phony.

“I want to raise the debt ceiling; it’d be irresponsible not to do it. And I know you can’t get the perfect, but what I will not do is adopt the Biden defense budget and call it a success.

“Kevin said that the defense is fully funded. If we adopt the Biden defense budget, it increases defense spending below inflation. 3.2% increase in defense is below inflation.”

“I like Kevin a lot, but don’t tell me that the Biden defense budget fully funds the military. So I look forward to the details, but if you send me the Biden defense budget to the United States Senate and declare it to the people of the United States, you will have a hard time with me.

“If you ask me now to swallow it because of the debt ceiling, you can forget it. In 2011, my good friend Mitch McConnell negotiated to deal with Joe Biden that virtually destroyed the Defense Department in the name of raising the debt ceiling.

“Another round of sequestration, not only will I vote no, I will not be intimidated by June 5th.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, this morning on Fox. Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen has said that the US will run out of money on June 5th.

I just wish jerks like Lindsey would stop seeking national recognition and retire quietly to their home towns and restrict their political activism to fighting for local bans against lgbtq literature and drag queens, pretending that they are not who they are.

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