Beware of sudden resignation of Navy Adm. Fallon
Adm. William J. Fallon’s sudden departure as combatant commander for the Southwest Asia Theater [March 12 Gazette] may not be an issue high on people’s radar screen, especially considering everything else that is happening in New York, but it should be.
I knew of Adm. Fallon when I was on active duty. He had an outstanding reputation. It has always been my impression that he was everything you would expect from a naval officer and senior commander overseas. His position as commander of U.S. Central Command could be considered as important as Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s and Adm. Chester Nimitz’s from WWII, considering he managed two theaters of sustained combat operations (Iraq and Afghanistan), plus low-level skirmishes in and around the central command’s area of responsibility (Somalia, etc).
His abrupt resignation in the absence of scandal or substantial loss can only be viewed as a political decision by the Bush administration. He absolutely was not a “yes” man, and I strongly suspect this is what ended his tour and career.
John F. Van Patten
The writer is a retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Medical Service Corps.
Put residents’ concerns ahead of institutions’
The city of Schenectady has expended much effort and money developing its comprehensive plan. During the public hearing regarding the comprehensive plan, I, along with other city residents, expressed concerns over the plan’s implementation of institutional zoning. These concerns are justified by personal experience with the institutions within our neighborhoods.
As I stated during the public hearing, my concerns arise from my interactions with St. Clare’s Hospital and its demolition of five houses on Bradley and McClellan streets for a 50-space, $1 million parking lot. The sight of these houses being demolished was fearful and tragic. One of the houses had an Italian tile roof, while another had a great oak staircase and stained glass windows. But these houses are forever lost — while the hospital as a separate institution is also gone.
Zoning Officer Steve Strichman has tried to allay our concerns by saying that the Planning Commission will consider the impact of changes being requested by the institutions in the neighborhood. Not to discredit Mr. Strichman, but from personal experience, I have witnessed how the interests of the institutions outweigh the impact on residents’ quality of life.
To allow institutions, such as Ellis Hospital and Union College, carte blanche within their “footprint” is to disenfranchise residents who live near these institutions. The city needs to prioritize its residents’ quality of life before catering to the whims of its institutions by incorporating wording into the plan to protect the interests of its residents.
In addition, the city should establish a citizens’ committee, perhaps consisting of delegates from neighborhood associations, to ensure that residents’ interests are implemented in the comprehensive plan.
Linda L. Crandall
Embrace random drug testing in schools
One of the most serious problems facing our region, and nation, is youth drug and alcohol use. Substance abuse is destroying the next generation and future of the human race.
Voluntary random drug testing programs, which can be administered in our schools, are one of the best methods to prevent youth substance abuse, or to detect it early enough so that students and their parents can get help to overcome youth addition and avert its consequences of severe illness, brain damage and death.
Recent ads in area newspapers have promoted untrue claims about these programs. To dispel misinformation, here are the facts:
u Random drug testing is not an infringement of the Fourth Amendment. It does not violate this and other individual rights, since students and their parents voluntarily sign agreements for the students to be tested.
u The test is safe and non-invasive. It consists of a harmless, painless urine sample to determine the presence of drugs in the student’s body.
u The test is very accurate. If a student tests positive, a second test, with 99.9 percent accuracy, is taken from the same sample to determine if there was a false positive.
u The program is overseen by a highly respected medical doctor, a pediatrician who has expertise in youth drug prevention, whom we are fortunate to have in our area..
u The program is administered by a very reputable, credentialed laboratory in our region.
u The program provides students with the best support possible to say “no” to peer pressure and drug dealers, and gives parents the truth, so help can be obtained.
u There is no cost to taxpayers, since the program operates on donations.
u Confidentiality of names is protected.
We have the power to reverse this dangerous epidemic of substance abuse for our children and grandchildren. Please contact your local school officials and ask that a voluntary random drug testing program be put into operation, or restarted if it has been discontinued, as soon as possible.
Freda Gates Pozefsky
The writer is a member of Peaceful Solutions.
Gasoline Alley, RIP
On March 10, I searched for Gasoline Alley in the comics section. The next day, I did the same.
Perhaps, the series’ obituary should be placed on the obituary page for a couple days so that folks will know the whole family has died en masse?
I, for one, will miss this comic series — a lot more than just on Sundays. I bet lots of others will miss them also. After all, 80-odd years of Gasoline Alley is a lifetime of their (mis?)adventures!
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