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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart

Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart

Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart Vets could be part of the pet problem

Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart

There have been complaints among old-time Saratoga residents opposing the new charter that we would lose our democratic government. I have to sadly point out to them that the current commission government is not a democracy.

Our counties, states and country are not democracies. We live with various forms of representative government. Under the commission form of government, we elect five commissioners who are responsible for separate functions of the city government. We elect commissioners based on background in his/her area — like law enforcement, city maintenance and finance. This limits the available pool of candidates.

The position of mayor does not seem to need any requirements. The part-time commissioners appoint a deputy to actually run the day-to-day operations. There are no qualification or approval requirements for deputies other than that the commissioner likes/wants them. How many citizens know who these deputies are and their qualifications?

Recently, Mayor Scott Johnson stated a concern that under the new charter, the mayor’s appointments to the various city commissions will have to be approved by the City Council.

As opposed to the current practice of appointing your buddies regardless of qualifications, the selection and appointment of a city manager would be an open, national search based on qualifications. Yes, a national search! Do we believe that Saratoga has a lock on the best qualified people for city manager or superintendent of schools?

Yes, both the commissioner form of city government developed by Galveston [Texas] and the city manager form of government were initiated in the early 1900s. Over the years, many cities have moved to the city manager government, but how many cities are moving to the commissioner government? Even Galveston adopted a city manager!

Are we so smart and everyone else so dumb? Or visa versa?

Don Colosimo

Saratoga Springs

Vets could be part of the pet problem solution

Things need to change! The story about the three abandoned puppies [Sept. 26 Gazette] was heartbreaking. It’s happening more and more often.

If the veterinarians throughout the area would get together and run monthly clinics on a rotating basis for basic health issues and low- or no-cost spay and neuter, there would be far fewer neglected and abused pets.

One of the reasons people are giving up their pets is they can’t afford to keep them healthy and to stop reproducing. We have low-cost clinics for people, why not pets?

It’s a comfort and a privilege to own a pet; they give us so much in return for very little.

Some of you well-paid DVMs [doctors of veterinary medicine] need to step up to the plate and support your local communities!

Marty Shanty

Charlton

Making fun of religion should be outlawed

Two wrongs don’t make a right. What I mean by this is that no one has the right to make fun of anyone’s religion in any way, shape or form.

In our country, we have freedom of religion that is in the Constitution. Anyone who [makes fun of someone’s religion] should be stopped before it starts.

A company or person that does something like this should be put out of business and fined big time, or go to jail.

Americans and others are being killed by Muslims all over the world [because] of some movie about their god that was not in good taste. This is not right. It is also not right for Muslims to blow themselves up and kill others because of this movie.

The time has come to respect all religions all over the world. There is nothing worse than a religious war; let’s try to stop it if we can. Too many innocent people are being killed over this.

Sid Gordon

Saratoga

Don’t allow cigarettes to be sold near schools

A recent study by the RTI Public Health Policy Research Program highlighted how low-income smokers spend 25 percent of their earnings on tobacco products. Sadly, this disturbing news doesn’t surprise me. There are more tobacco retailers in low-income communities, many of them within walking distance of schools.

The most recent surgeon general’s report showed a direct link between young people being exposed to tobacco marketing and using tobacco products. Bottom line: The more tobacco marketing youth see, the more likely they are to smoke. Faced with those facts, imagine how difficult it is to grow up tobacco-free.

Place matters when it comes to our health. Having access to healthy foods, safe streets and places to play impacts our health behaviors. We owe it to our children to develop and maintain healthy places to live, work and play. One way we can do this is to decrease the amount of tobacco marketing our children see and limit where tobacco is sold.

Judy Rightmyer

Burnt Hills

Numbers don’t add up for any incumbents

When is America going to wake up?

Under this administration, we have thousands collecting unemployment insurance, plus we still have thousands of unemployed not collecting insurance.

Where do they get this 8-plus percent out of work? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. We are now over $14 trillion in debt. Guess who is going to pay it off? Our kids, grandchildren, and so on.

Who is worried about our economy? Obviously not our president or Congress, who are more worried about the votes with false promises.

To all of you who are voting this year, think twice before you leap. This is an important step for America.

James Maxfield

Scotia

Most police stations will be taking old drugs

I would like to thank Steve Cook for his Sept. 25 article calling attention to the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day taking place this Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the nation.

Unfortunately, the article [only noted a Website readers could consult] to find out where to take their drugs. In Schenectady County, the city of Schenectady, towns of Glenville, Niskayuna and Rotterdam and the village of Scotia are collecting the prescription drugs at their police stations.

The Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department is collecting the expired or unneeded drugs at Duanesburg Town Hall. If you are not a county resident, you can find out if your local police department is participating and where the closest dropoff is located at: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/. Click on “search for a collection site near you,” or call 1-800-882-9539.

I encourage everyone to participate and help manage disposal of these medications properly for the sake of the environment and to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Jeff Edwards

Schenectady

The writer is the Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste coordinator for Schenectady County.

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