Despite grants and benefits, Malta shouldn’t be considered for new AMD project
I was fascinated to read comments from Malta Town Supervisor Paul Sausville in the March 18 Capital District Business Review.
In the article, the supervisor discussed a wish-list for AMD [Advanced Micro Devices] in which he opined that Malta residents should be given preference in hiring at the proposed plant and establish a trust fund for local education. He said, “The whole idea is to build a community and prevent sprawl.”
Putting aside the possible legal implications of such a policy and the increasingly dim likelihood of AMD’s ability to obtain credit for this project in the current economic environment, I would like to raise the following points: If the object were to prevent urban sprawl, the AMD plant would never have been sited in Malta in the first place. I agree with Mr. Sausville that Malta is a poor choice for an industrial plant. AMD is receiving $650 million in grants and $256 million in Empire Zone benefits. Much of this money will flow to the tax districts in and around Malta. That is quite enough financing for the area to deal with their new “problems.” In addition, this financing will be coming from all state taxpayers — not just the few in Malta. If Mr. Sausville would like to assume the entire tax burden of the project, he would then perhaps have a better argument.
Lastly, a great many of these jobs will be for engineers, and will almost certainly be filled with people from out of the area, as the national talent pool for these specialists dwarfs what is available locally. This is precisely what the political muscle behind the project and their developer friends are counting on in order to provide them with a market for their planned housing developments.
Therefore, Mr. Sausville’s wishes are moot.
Budget cuts affecting maintenance of historic sites
The Capital Region is blessed with a wealth of state parks where we can enjoy the outdoors — swimming at scenic Grafton Lakes, taking in the breathtaking view from the heights of John Boyd Thacher, camping with friends and family at Moreau Lake. And, of course, there’s the elegant Saratoga Spa State Park, which not only offers a huge variety of outdoor activities, but the nationally known Saratoga Performing Arts Center [SPAC], the National Museum of Dance, the Gideon Putnam Hotel and the Roosevelt [mineral] Baths.
While these parks contribute to our quality of life and help draw tourists here, the state has not kept up with its obligation to keep our parks in good condition. Adjusted for inflation, the system’s capital budget in the last 15 years has shrunk by half. As a result, they face a huge backlog of projects necessary to ensure the high quality, safety and public access to these wonderful facilities.
Some $14.8 million to upgrade state parks and historic sites in the Saratoga-Capital Region has been proposed in the executive budget. Projects include making repairs to bathrooms, water lines and electrical systems at local campgrounds, fixing deteriorating dams, improving roads and parking lots, upgrading playgrounds, and renovating the exterior of SPAC.
This proposal is the first step in a long-term, comprehensive effort necessary to revitalize our state park system. I strongly urge the members of the state Senate and Assembly to take the next step and support the proposal to help keep our parks safe, beautiful and fun.
The writer is a commission member for the Saratoga-Capital District Region, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commission.
Strock’s viewpoint on Christianity based on worst examples
I lived in Schenectady until about a year ago, when I moved down to the Kingston area to pastor a church. I still attend school in Schenectady.
I purchased the March 18 paper and saw Carl Strock’s column, “Why Spitzer didn’t qualify as a gasbag.” I was intrigued, because I believe that everybody makes mistakes and ought not to be crucified. I was interested to see what Strock said. I was appalled to find that it was less about Spitzer and more about an opportunity to nail Christians to the fence.
I considered what he said, specifically the claims that “dishonesty is built into the fundamentalist Christian enterprise” and that “if you take the hypocrisy out of Christian fundamentalism, there isn’t much left...” After assessing those propositions, I’m ashamed to admit that many “Christian” churches are hypocritical in the way that he described. Not only is that a shame to me, but it is a blemish on the reputation of the God those churches claim to worship and serve.
However, I would like to make two points. First, it’s unfair to judge Christianity solely on the basis of hypocritical churches. Strock continually used as examples Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker. To judge an entire demographic based on the worst examples that demographic has to offer is deceptive. Christianity is not based on lies, and while hypocrites ought to be ashamed of themselves, Strock should not judge all of Fundamentalist Christianity by the hypocritical lives of some.
This brings me to my second point. I understand that when you get burned by fire, you tend to view fire as dangerous and stay away from it. I don’t know what kind of experience Strock has had with Christians, true Christians, but I’m guessing that it has only been with the hypocritical bunch. There are true, fundamentalist churches that believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, and who still love and reach out to the world, who do not judge and who desire only the best for their communities. I know, because I pastor just such a church. We are not perfect, but we love and serve God as well as others. That is the reason God saved us.
I would like to challenge Carl Strock to experience Christianity the way it should be. I would like him to join us for services for one month — if he’s willing — four Sundays. He’s free to meet with me, ask me anything and interact with the people in my church. They don’t know him. He will be just another visitor. Then, he will get to see what real, fundamentalist Christianity looks like.
Carl Strock, I know you are not a man who backs down from a challenge. I remember your debate over Evolution vs. Creationism a few years back. Our doors are open anytime. Don’t expect perfection (that would be hypocritical), but expect to see people who love each other, and expect to feel that love radiate to you also.
The writer is pastor for the Bible Baptist Church.