Ellis neighborhood parking problem bad, and getting worse
I live near Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. Every day I come home from work to find someone from Ellis has parked right in front of my house. I end up parking down the street and when I get up to go to work the next day, there is someone else from Ellis parking in front of my house, getting out of their car, wearing their Ellis ID badge and walking toward the hospital.
Calls to Ellis about this problem prove to be almost as frustrating as the problem itself. They say they will “look into it” but people keep parking on my street, where no private parking is available for taxpaying residents, who end up having to find somewhere else to go. Calls to the city reveal there are currently no ordinances for this situation. There should be some rules for businesses so that commercial parking does not overrun residential parking areas.
I have heard that the new Golub building going up has affected the parking and shut down a shuttle service Ellis used to have for employees in a previously vacant lot.
Why won’t Ellis Hospital talk to the owners of Sheridan Plaza and run the shuttles from there for employees. There is no reason a large organization such as Ellis should have a policy, or lack thereof, that causes its workers or clients to become a nuisance to surrounding neighborhoods. I am sure if I drove to Ellis and parked in the doctors’ spaces, or any of the administrators’ spaces, on a daily basis my car would be towed away.
What we need here is a show of mutual respect. Ellis Hospital, please manage your parking in a way that does not pawn off the problem on taxpaying residents in your area.
Clifton Park Wildwood big believer
in background checks
A June 21 Viewpoint column [“Ousting officials will not improve care for the disabled”] made reference to the importance of background checks for direct-care staff working with people with disabilities.
All of us who work at Wildwood Programs firmly believe in the value of criminal background checks and we conduct them on every candidate for a direct-care position of employment. Since April 2005 the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities has required a criminal background check conducted by state Department of Criminal Justice Services and the FBI. However, even before that regulation was implemented, Wildwood Programs conducted background checks on potential direct-care workers.
In addition to being Wildwood’s CEO, I am the mother of a 22-year-old son who has autism and very limited communication skills. I personally strongly support the use of criminal background checks for people working in our field, to ensure the highest, safest and happiest quality of life for our loved ones with developmental disabilities.
Mary Ann D. Allen
Cash for junk cars, but not at expense of troops
I was very interested in the cash for clunkers article, until I read the money is coming out of funds for our troops [April 12 Gazette].
I am a registered Democrat and not a fan of the wars, especially Iraq. I am a fan of our young people who put their life on the line for us. As an ex-Army enlisted person, I have a question for all of us. Is $4,000 for a car more important than supplies for our troops?
The idea of cash for junk cars, to stimulate the economy, is a good one. I don't think Sen. Schumer, or anyone else, should eliminate one bulletproof vest for this purpose. I, for one, can do without a new car if this is the cost.
New anti-smoking law will make a difference
Re June 15 editorial, “Washington finally takes aim at Big Tobacco”: The Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition joins the Gazette editorial board in applauding passage of legislation granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products.
The bill, signed into law by President Obama, will prevent tobacco companies from marketing their deadly and addictive products to children, deceiving consumers about the harm their products cause, and making changes to their products without disclosing them (such as secretly increasing nicotine levels in cigarette smoke, as studies have shown). This is a truly historic victory that, in the president’s own words, “will save American lives and make Americans healthier.”
FDA regulation is expected to reduce the number of young people who start smoking and increase the number of smokers who quit — a clear win for community health. Regulation, however, has its limitations and is not a guarantee of safety.
There is not now nor will there be under FDA regulation any such thing as a “safe” smoke. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. For help clearing your lungs, call 866-NY-QUITS (866-697-8487).
To help clear the air for all Capital Region residents, visit www.SmokeFreeCapital.org.
The writer is project coordinator for the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition.
Why one longtime GOP voter is giving it up
This is difficult for me to write, as I have been a Republican since I first registered to vote 64 years ago. However, I have become disillusioned over the direction that the Republican Party has taken both nationally and statewide.
To call what has taken place in New York — all the Republicans and two very suspect Democrats — a coalition is a travesty. Please!
As for the sudden, "We are now going to change the broken system in Albany; people first, politics last." Where have you been the last 40 years? Certainly not passing legislation that polls have shown the people wanted, i.e., campaign fiance reform; budgets enacted by the Legislature, not three men; a system where one man cannot keep a bill from reaching the floor; no last-minute passing of bills that don't even get read; sincere ethics legislation. So many opportunities to make New York a model of state government and such feeble and pathetic excuses and petty bickering that is the antithesis of good government.
Where have all the statesmen gone? They are certainly not in Albany!
No, I am not going to become a Democrat, but will register as an independent, hoping that someday there will emerge a strong third party that will force the others to pay more attention to the needs and wishes of the people and not to special interests and/or their own selfish agendas.
I do not believe this so-called coalition is aimed at better government, but rather is an effort by the Republicans to keep their committee chairmanships, fancier offices and extra perks afforded to the party in power.
Which brings up the point. Why should the party in power be better treated? All the legislators should receive the same pay, the same levels of accommodations and staffing. Less opulence would save the taxpayers money and, oh yes, has anyone heard the Legislature talking about cutting their part of the budget? I guess not.
Arthur R. Wargo
Not so fast with crown for Michael Jackson
Too bad about Michael Jackson [June 26 Gazette]. But he was not the king of pop. A pervert, yes. Strange and weird, yes. Talented, yes. King of pop, not!
Mary Jo Venditti
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