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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/20/2017

City manager will work better than commissioners

City manager will work better than commissioners

City manager will work better than commissioners More people might pay taxes if they were lower Patr

City manager will work better than commissioners

At long last, an initiative to change Saratoga’s form of government to city manager/council will be on the ballot in November.

Thanks to Saratoga Citizen, a group of civic-minded Saratogians, voters will be able to vote for the form of government they want. A city council/manager form would mean Saratogians would no longer have to bow and scrape before the mayor and commissioners during public comment time at city meetings, but would actually elect four city councilors whose job would be to address their concerns.

I attended a number of meetings sponsored by Saratoga Citizen over the past few years and learned that the proposed change to a city manager form of government would [keep] the vast majority of the city’s charter intact. The major changes would be the replacement of the four commissioners with four city councilors who would focus on legislative priorities and constituent issues; and the hiring of a city manager, by the mayor and city council, who would supervise the various departments and the day-to-day operation of the city.

I was impressed by the presentations by a few city managers that Saratoga Citizen invited to speak at some of their meetings. They were from cities comparable to Saratoga and were very positive about how removing politics from city management made government much more efficient.

Since the deputy commissioners’ positions would be eliminated, the money saved would more than offset the cost of the city manager and a few key administrative positions. Also, because of reduced responsibilities, the combined salaries of the city councilors would be less than the current commissioners.

A new form of government would help Saratoga Springs in terms of efficiency, accountability and responsiveness to the people. If Saratoga Springs is to get its budget under control, and ready itself for future challenges, it will need a much more professionally-run government.

In November, Saratogians will have a chance to choose one.

Barbara Trypaluk

Saratoga Springs

More people might pay taxes if they were lower

Re the Sept. 26 article on the city of Schenectady being downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service: I read with amusement Mayor Gary McCarthy’s response to the credit downgrading of our city.

He stated that “if everybody paid their taxes, we wouldn’t have an issue” — basically admitting the city hadn’t collected $12 million in taxes.

This made me think of how promoters would try to fill a half-filled stadium. They would lower ticket prices.

Is it possible the city could collect more money if the bill was lowered?

Peter Butryn

Schenectady

Patrick Henry quote just one made up by Barton

At the end of the Sept. 21 letter by Jeff Horn, he cited a quotation allegedly made by Patrick Henry, which said, “This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians. Not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason people of other faiths are afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom to worship here.”

Just one problem: Patrick Henry never uttered or wrote those words. After very little research, I found the unmistakable fingerprints of pseudo-historian David Barton all over this spurious quote.

David Barton is a darling of right-wing extremists and other Christians who have been duped into believing every word he says and writes. Barton has a BA degree from Oral Roberts University and apparently took the same distorted history courses that [Rep.] Michele Bachmann did. Oral Roberts University professors teach that the United States was founded as a theocracy and should become one again. Hmm... I don’t like the sound of that!

Barton insists that our country is a Christian nation (it isn’t); that the Founding Fathers were devout Christians (they weren’t); that separation of church and state is a myth (it’s real); and that the U.S. Constitution was founded on biblical principles (it’s a purely secular document).

Barton has a habit of misquoting the Founding Fathers, and in the case of Patrick Henry’s above quote, as well as a completely made-up quote of John Adams, Barton has had to publicly retract his allegations as to the veracity of these quotes, saying that he “can’t confirm them.” Of course they can’t, they’re not true.

The bottom line: Take David Barton’s revisionist books with a huge dose of salt. He is not to be trusted.

Cynthia Swanson

Niskayuna

Story sold physical therapists short

Re Sept. 24 article, “Woman with CP makes big strides with trainer’s help”: While I applaud Kerry Wiley for taking control of her life to try to eliminate the functional limitations caused by her spastic cerebral palsy, I want to clarify and correct two facts relating to physical therapy.

First, while there “is a difference between a physical therapist and a trainer,” it is important to note that the difference between the two is that physical therapists are medical professionals with three to five years of specialized medical post-graduate education at an accredited college or university, as well as being licensed by the state in which they practice. And the care they provide is a covered benefit under government and commercial health insurance plans.

Personal trainers, on the other hand, have no mandated education or formal training requirements, nor are they subject to state licensure or accreditation.

Second, the statement that “PT focuses on a body part that has an injury, malfunction or deficiency” is misleading. While physical therapists may focus care on a specific region of the body “that has an injury, malfunction or deficiency,” such as helping patients recover from knee, hip or shoulder surgery, they are trained and licensed to look at the entire body and, through a process of examination, evaluation, diagnosis and intervention, identify the sources of functional limitations and develop a treatment plan to treat the whole person, not “just a body part” to help restore motion and mobility.

Matthew R. Hyland

Valhalla

The writer is president or the New York Physical Therapy Association.

Sure, Romney is wealthy; so what’s the big deal?

Why do Obama supporters and the liberal media continue to vilify Mitt Romney because of his financial status? He has enjoyed success in the business world and, as a result of that, he has accumulated wealth. Isn’t that supposed to be part of the American dream? Why should this be viewed as a negative? Would we rather have someone who has failed in their endeavors running our country?

And much attention has been given to the fact that he paid a 14 percent tax rate on his income taxes. Capital gains are taxed at a 10 percent rate, so obviously his overall rate is going to be skewed because of that.

We all pay the same rate on capital gains. He did not set the IRS rates, so why should he be criticized for paying the amount required by law? Are there people who voluntarily pay extra tax because they feel their rate is too low?

Has Barack Obama sent a few extra thousand dollars to the IRS when filing his taxes each year? I doubt it.

Bob Bradley

Glenville

Who are Koch brothers? Moyers tells all tonight

For those readers who might like to hear more about the Koch brothers and their role in this presidential election, please tune in to Bill Moyers at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30, on PBS (WMHT).

He will devote the entire program to these two billionaire oil magnates and their influence on where this country is going.

Lillian Stern

Schenectady

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