Skip Erie Boulevard roundabout, fix city streets instead
I hate roundabouts [July 17 Gazette]! I used to live in New England, and even they learned that these impediments to traffic were not a safe way to control traffic, and have removed them from their highways.
Anyone who has traveled Route 67 at the I-87 interchange near Route 9 has experienced the nightmare of traveling through the “loop de loops” there.
Now some idiots want to waste $14 million to add a “loop de loop” to Erie Boulevard in Schenectady. Ain’t that great? — the only block of street in the city that is open and smooth enough to drive on, except Victory Avenue and half of Glenwood Boulevard. How about the millions of dollars spent to rebuild those areas?
Schenectady streets are in deplorable condition. You can’t drive on Erie Boulevard north of State Street without blowing a shock absorber. How about coming off I-890 at Broadway and turning right to go to Proctors? Welcome to Schenectady. Maybe turn right onto Millard, Veeder, and Nott Terrace to go to the new Hampton Inn, or to Union College. Perhaps you could travel on Albany Street or even Union Street, Van Vranken Avenue or Lenox Road, only to name a few.
Fourteen million might not fix all the streets in Schenectady, but it certainly would do a lot more good than the proposed changes to lower Erie Boulevard. Smoother streets can mean a better ride, a safer ride, with less damage to vehicles. It also can mean a quieter neighborhood, as residents don’t have to listen to all the racket caused by cars, trucks and buses bouncing over all the bumps and potholes. Life is bumpy enough without having to face the bumps of Schenectady streets! This could also improve gas mileage.
I ask the city council to consider this “loop de loop” proposal in light of the condition of our city streets in general. Do you really want to spend this much money this way? Even if the $14 million can’t be redirected to the city streets, do you really want show the citizens of your city that you can waste so much money on such a ridiculous project?
Workers’ Comp office closing bad for workers
The July 11 article, “Workers’ comp office will close,” which represented that closing the Schenectady Workers’ Compensation office would benefit everyone involved — including injured workers and New York state taxpayers — was not based on fact.
I have represented injured workers for over 30 years and have attended tens of thousands of hearings. Based on my experience as a participant in the workers’ compensation process, it is clear to me that closing the Schenectady Workers’ Compensation office will be detrimental to many injured workers. Contrary to the article, the Schenectady hearing point hears no appeals. Rather, it holds hearings that impact the injured worker on a daily basis — such as payment of weekly benefits, coverage of medical bills, entitlement to treatment, permanency of injury and many other issues — but no appeals.
The Schenectady hearing point holds thousands of hearings per year. All those injured workers will now have to travel to Utica, Oneonta, Queensbury or Albany to attend hearings at which many decisions that affect their lives will be made.
Many injured workers have great difficulty making ends meet. With rising gas costs, along with the increased costs of groceries, utilities and all other necessities, they will simply not be able to travel 100 miles or more to attend their hearings. There is no mileage allowance. The insurance carriers will, as required by law, have representation at every hearing, putting the injured worker who is unrepresented and unable to attend at a serious disadvantage.
The savings are not significant. The funds for the Workers’ Compensation budget come from assessments against insurance carriers, not taxpayer monies. The savings over a 10-year period will amount to approximately one-fourth of 1 percent.
The proposed closings were not the result of public debate among those who participate in the administration of the hearings; they were simply announced as though they were inconsequential. Injured workers in New York have received sub-par benefits for years. Closing the Schenectady office only adds to their exasperation.
By unilaterally making the decision to close the, the state Workers’ Compensation Board is placing most, if not all, of the burden of cutting administrative costs on individuals who can least afford it.
The system is here to provide relief and benefit to injured workers; the injured workers are not here to relieve burdens for the state Workers’ Compensation Board. They call it “workers’” compensation for a reason.
Writer misinformed about global warming
Misinformation in Don Cazer’s July 14 letter, “Democrats’ carbon tax plan will suffocate American economy,” needs to be addressed. His statement that “overwhelming scientific data” shows that global warming does not correlate with the world’s use of hydrocarbons is flat out wrong. His understanding of the reasons and goals of the “cap and trade” bill is also lacking.
Does he understand implementing full-cost accounting? Perhaps he doesn’t believe in the efficiency of free markets? Sen. James Inhofe, whom Mr. Cazer quotes, is an extremely conservative senator who has compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo, and has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the energy and natural resources sector. He’s an objective scientific observer?
As in many discussions that involve the environment and our relationship as humans to it, Mr. Cazer’s incorrect and simplified claims require solid information, readily available, to be properly discredited. I’d like to suggest “Limits to Growth: a 30-year update,” by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Eric Tapley; “Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth,” by Lester Brown; and “Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development,” by Herman E. Daly. All three books address the issue of how we treat the environment: as part of the economy, or the economy as part of the environment.
This is not just an ivory tower question, but impacts directly how we manage and care for our planet.
Argument against guns in national parks flawed
The July 10 letter, “Don’t let guns into our national parks,” about guns in national parks, is full of deception, as is the rule with most liberal opinions expressed in our nation’s newspapers. She [Julia Stokes] also is obviously a Bush hater with an agenda, since she states the Bush administration is to blame!
First off, this is a bill by Congress to permit law-abiding citizens to possess guns legally while in the parks — which should be a privilege afforded all of the country’s citizens. Many RVers and park visitors who have the right to be armed in their home states and the states in which the parks are located, become criminals by this discriminatory position of the National Park Service.
Stokes also implies that somehow her daughter is endangered by the proposal to change the law, citing statistical information that would let us believe that national park officers would suffer a higher mortality rate because of the change! This is pure drama, since there is no data showing that legally armed citizens would be responsible for killing law enforcement officers. She should go to a library and see the tremendous amount of source material that supports that armed citizens are, in fact, a deterrent to crime.
She should feel safer knowing that, should she become endangered by an armed criminal, terrorist or carjacker while she visits here and there, she or her officer daughter would likely appreciate help from an armed citizen, which is what the Second Amendment authors intended.
Walter S. Marchewka
Strock is the one who needs medication
Re July 15 Carl Strock column, “Dogs, off the menu, look for their meds”: I have thought for some time there was something wrong with Carl’s mind — his opinion on Muslims, Christians and now dogs.
Do you suppose some Prozac could help him?
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