Strengthen existing Capital Region cities, don’t create new ones
Your provocative Jan. 6 editorial, “Where and where not to develop,” raises a big question on the future of our cities. Albany, Schenectady and Troy have seen a 30 percent population decline in the past 25 years. Meanwhile “small-town Malta,” which is surrounded by the urban centers of Saratoga Springs, Mechanicville and Ballston Spa. faces the possibility of morphing into yet another city just a few miles away from existing ones.
Downtown projects currently planned by developers call for three-, four- and five-story buildings, with one project having 330 apartment units on 10 acres of land. If each of the 30 suburban towns surrounding our cities planned a city-like downtown with densities of 33 housing per acres, then indeed we would take sprawl to a new level.
Malta planners got it right when they recognized that sprawl was a regional problem and smart local planning must be done in a regional context. They recognized that a city in Malta with high-density populations would further undermine the vitality of nearby urban centers where CDTA bus stops, paid fire department and police services already exist.
Malta’s master plan calls for a downtown that consists of a central retail and business center to serve the local residents and needs of GlobalFoundries and future businesses. It was not intended as another population center. Malta, Clifton Park, Wilton, Milton and Ballston already have a high population of commuting workers and more houses are approved and under construction. This is more than enough to meet our local share of 1,500 workers planned for GlobalFoundries. New high-density urban centers would simply amplify sprawl, adding to the imbalance between jobs and residents.
Malta’s downtown development plan is clear on this. It specifically calls for only 331 housing units in the downtown over the next 10 years. One developer has proposed to gobble up this allowance with 333 units of four- and five-story buildings on 10 acres of land. What will the other landowners say when they realized that the first developer in the door has consumed all the residential pie?
So how do we control sprawl? Well, the short answer is to honor existing urban centers and make them attractive places to live. The long answer — well, that is the subject of other articles.
Paul J. Sausville
The writer is the town supervisor.
Would Strock write more for same pay?
In regard to Carl Strock’s comment in his Jan. 5 column [“Saving state from collapse is major job”], that concessions from state workers were just as likely as the teachers’ union agreeing to work through the summer without extra pay, I would respond I would gladly agree to do so — as soon as Mr. Strock submits a column every day enlightening us to all the goings on in the surrounding region with no raise in his salary.
Aided by The Daily Gazette’s own search engine, I accessed the number of columns Mr. Strock published in the paper over the past 12 months. That number is a whopping 144. Yup — he produced something 144 out of 365 days in 2009!
Granted, teachers “only” work 189 days per year — plus some evenings correcting papers and weekends chaperoning events — and I do realize Mr. Strock needs time to “hie” himself to Family Court all the time to keep those evil Department of Social Services workers from stealing more children from poor, helpless, victimized parents, so let’s be fair.
How does this sound, loyal readers? If I agree to work over the summer, adding another 40 days and bringing my total of days worked to 229, with no increase in my base salary, then he will add another 40 columns to his current 144 with no raise in pay. I realize that would still leave him shy of the number of days I already work —but I am sure his job is much more demanding than teaching a room full of rambunctious 11-year-olds. What do you think, Carl — are you up for it? I am sure my superintendent could find something for me to do.
Charen not always wrong but she’s always nasty
Mona Charen is right on this one [Dec. 30 column, “No room for pregnant soldiers in Iraq”], but at it again with her antics! Beneath her contempt and condescension for the liberal left and apparently the National Organization for Women, she actually makes a viable argument as to why women serving in the armed forces should face a court martial (non-prison form) if they are discovered to be pregnant while deployed. This all came to light when Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo issued that exact order for soldiers serving under his command in Iraq. Once the media got hold of the story, a firestorm immediately erupted and the order was rescinded.
I have to agree with Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo when he said, “I am the one responsible for these 22,000 soldiers. The National Organization for Women is not. Critics are not.” Cucolo makes a strong point. After all, his combat force should be an “army of one.” If a female soldier gets pregnant accidentally or on purpose, she negatively affects each and every one of her fellow soldiers. One less soldier could very well increase the risk of every soldier in her company. Furthermore, Cucolo adds that a male soldier involved with the pregnancy is just as culpable and also subject to court martial. Conversely, I agree with Charen when she points out that it is “easier for a man to escape detection if the woman conceals his identity.”
One can attempt to make a counter-argument based on moral grounds, but when you voluntarily join the Army, you serve strictly as a soldier and not as a civilian. Your job is to obey commands from your superiors and perform your duties on the battlefield. Keep in mind that this regulation only pertained to soldiers serving under Cucolo’s direct command while deployed, and in the case of rape the regulation did not apply.
To summarize the rest of her column, Charen suggests that people of a different sentiment to her own make this world insane. She detests social welfare in the United States and the liberals who support it. She continually clouds her justifiable position with hate-mongering, which significantly hurts her general argument. However, she just can’t seem to help herself.
More money for gas means less for purchases
Well, here we go again. Every time oil goes up, gas prices rise immediately. When oil prices go down, gas stays up. Where are the businessmen and politicians? Why aren’t they doing something?
Didn’t they get the message last year when gas went up? People had a choice — get gas for work and food and heat for the family home. That meant no spending at the stores unless necessary. Therefore, no big-ticket items, including purchasing of new cars.
Maybe it’s time to clean house and vote for someone who is for the people’s interest. To you who own a business, I think you better get off your best intentions and get after the government.
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