No way should the public pay for Joe Bruno’s legal fees
Re March 8 article, “State denies Bruno’s $2M request”: Republicans like to blame trial lawyers for a host of ills, so it is especially galling to see lawyers representing a Republican politician [former state Senate Majority Leader] Joseph Bruno, make a bald-faced attempt to get already hard-pressed taxpayers to foot a highly questionable $2 million premium for their services.
A regular person facing serious charges could never afford or obtain such expensive counsel, unless those services were largely pro bono or otherwise donated. Why the Bruno team can’t “get by” on the $1.2 million-plus in Bruno campaign funds and other donations apparently goes unquestioned and unanswered. That the law may allow it is immaterial.
The fact is that Bruno strayed far too close to the line between legal and illegal activity — a line loosely and liberally drawn by legislators to already favor legislators. Then they wrote a law that allows them to seek almost limitless reimbursement of legal fees if the charges don’t result in a conviction, without regard to the reasonableness and efficacy of the state’s case or the technical nature of the acquittal or dismissal.
In Bruno’s case, the charges were brought in part under a legal theory that was revised by the U.S. Supreme Court literally in midstream — in essence, a technicality of almost epic proportions. To apply for reimbursement under such circumstances, and before the matter has been conclusively decided, is the height of arrogance.
If a politician can’t operate within New York’s already loose ethics laws, then frankly they deserve no consideration for such reimbursement whatsoever unless they can show that the state’s case was prejudicially pursued or devoid of merit.
This law should be rewritten and the attorney general should use his discretion to deny applications of this type until it is. This is one taxpayer who has no stomach for paying such bills.
John A. Figliozzi
Niskayuna is a town, not a country club
Re the “recreational facility” that the Niskayuna Town Board committed to building at Blatnick Park (March 8 article): I have been a homeowner in Niskayuna for almost 25 years, and I am on the verge of being taxed out of my very modest house.
The town claims poverty when it comes to picking up yard waste, and now, incredibly, they want to dump a huge amount of money into a recreational facility that will service only a minuscule percentage of residents.
From the way this entire fiasco has been handled, i.e. no public notification or discussions before soliciting bids, attempting to alienate parkland, etc., it is obvious that certain Town Board members have their own personal agenda, with no regard for the majority of the taxpaying residents.
I have seen absolutely no information regarding projected operating and maintenance costs, projected income, scheduling or anything proactive or informative. The Town Board’s recklessness with taxpayers’ hard-earned money is negligent. Niskayuna is not their private fiefdom; they were elected to serve all the taxpayers, not just an elite few.
It may come as a surprise to them, but not all Niskayuna residents have six- or seven-figure incomes, or live in a McMansion (try crossing to the other side of Balltown Road once in a while). So many of us are already bowed by the burden of taxes from this town.
The arrogance with which they’ve treated the taxpayers is reprehensible. This is a town, not a country club.
Drivers must stop for school buses, and wait
I want to remind drivers that when they see red flashing lights on a school bus, by law they must stop! Failure to do so will result in a fine and possible points on your license.
Apparently some drivers in our community do not know that children ride buses. A great example would be my preschool twin boys: It is mandatory that they are in car seats. This can take a few minutes. A parent may need to quickly talk with the bus driver or aide on the bus about significant medical issues as well.
So, please, remember to keep patient and obey the law, because everyone is not the same!
Issue isn’t contraception so much as who’s paying
Re March 9 letter [“Contraception foe’s analogy not quite apt”] from Dr. Barry Lindenberg: There is a misconception that opponents of the law requiring companies to provide contraception free of charge want to deny people their rights. This is not true.
A woman has the right to use any contraception method she wishes. But if an organization is fundamentally opposed to it, they should not have to provide it.
Contraception, as well as conception, is the responsibility of the woman and man involved.
Problem with unfunded mandates nothing new
Teddi Smith’s March 8 letter, “Schools must denounce unfunded mandates,” reveals frustration that a lot of overburdened taxpayers feel. All I can say is, “good luck” in getting the governor and state legislators to act on this unfunded burden on taxpayers, school districts and county officials.
When an unfunded school mandate requires one special ed kindergarten student to be bused from a small community in the Adirondacks all the way to Schenectady every day, at taxpayer expense, something is out of whack somewhere when it comes to unfunded mandates.
The supervisors in Fulton County have been screaming about unfunded state mandates for years, yet it has fallen on the deaf ears of any governor at the time and also Fulton County’s Republican state Sen. Hugh Farley.
Despite the state not funding its various unfunded mandates and helping out school districts, taxpayers and county officials, the state will surely come up with enough money to build casinos all over the place for those who gamble, if a constitutional amendment is passed by voters.
Thank you, Teddi Smith, for being someone concerned enough to speak out about this unfunded mandate issue.
Betty L. Younglove
No mercy for abuser of 7-week-old
If [Glens Falls resident] David Cook brutalized sexually and physically a seven-week-old baby, as charged, he is a monster — and the reason we need the death penalty.
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