Teamwork in evidence this time with Sandy, and more is needed
There have been a couple of major accomplishments recently pertaining to flood control, namely the cooperation of New York City Department of Environmental Protection and New York Power Authority with respect to lowering the water levels in both the Gilboa Dam and the Power Authority’s lower reservoir in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
This about-face was undoubtedly brought about by a concerted effort by both elected representatives and concerned citizens. While it is true we dodged the bullet with respect to flooding, we must also be mindful that the storm did not bring significant rainfall to the area.
It’s imperative that both agencies, going forward, continue to assist in preparation for any future high-water events, but it does not end there. The Schoharie Creek still remains a threat, as well as tributaries, as far as overflow is concerned. The concept of dredging the creek to carry more volume has been truly controversial, but there may be other alternatives to lessen the potential for flooding in the future.
I have petitioned all levels of government pertaining to the creation of wetlands along the creek itself all the way to the Mohawk [River], something that nature itself provides in many areas of the country’s waterways. These relief points would collect overflow and lessen the pressure in the creek itself. They would also represent irrigation points for our farmers, lessening the flow of water downstream during high-water events. Representatives from Soil and Water as well as county planning are presently taking a hard look at this concept. Also showing interest is our Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Sen. Jim Seward.
I remain hopeful that a team effort will find an answer to address the flooding experienced in our valley for decades. Where there is a will by elected officials to address the health and safety of those they represent, there is surely a way.
The writer is town supervisor.
Article, editorial unfair to City Council Democrats
I am compelled to respond to the Oct. 30 article, “Democrats mull axing Bennett;” an article that was at a minimum misguided and even bordering on slanderous and the Nov. 1 editorial, “Budget ends don’t justify council’s means.”
I rarely choose to respond to the press but inflammatory misrepresentation of the Democratic members of the Schenectady City Council in these two pieces could not be left to fester.
In spite of reporter Kathleen Moore’s insinuation, the Oct. 29 caucus was far from a secret meeting. Secret, to me, means that no one knew about it, and we were hoping no one would find out. Hardly the case when you announce it in front of the media and you sit in City Hall with lights ablaze. Secret meeting brings the picture of slimy people slinking through dark alleys to remain undetected.
What we had was a caucus of the Democratic Party, an opportunity to brainstorm and discuss ideas in an effort to come to consensus about our recommendations for the budget. Ms. Moore’s suggestion that there were underhanded goings-on ignores the fact that the caucus process is common and practiced by all political parties.
To set the record straight, Councilman Vince Riggi had been part of every open budget meeting and was also part of the final open budget meeting, where he, along with the rest of us, put forth his suggestions for the final budget. Why is it that no one reported that we had open meetings every weeknight, but they slam us for having one caucus to come to consensus on our recommendations and that Mr. Riggi had every opportunity to offer his? How was it exactly that he was left out of this process?
As for the editorial, I found it interesting that it focused on the diabolical Democrats and the cuts made to the budget but made no mention of the fact that we wouldn’t agree with Mr. Riggi’s suggestion of cutting that much deeper into the safety fund we set up in case our calculations were incorrect. Why not balance the article with: “Thankfully, the rest of the council didn’t allow Mr. Riggi to continue to cut as was his wish. We should all thank them for having the good sense to set up a safety fund reserve.” Based on the Gazette’s own opinion, thank God we didn’t agree with the depth of his cuts.
In the end, six people worked dozens of hours to cut $2.2 million out of the budget and five of us are evil? Ultimately, when Mr. Riggi was asked to make his recommendations in hopes of coming to consensus, all of his suggestions concurred with ours. He just wanted deeper cuts.
Mind you, I don’t expect to have everyone agree with my choices, nor always like the way I vote. What I would like is fair, unbiased representation of the council’s efforts.
Rare chance to see top 100 films of all time
It was with some trepidation that I ventured down to the GE Theater at Proctors a few weeks ago for a screening of one of my all-time favorite movies, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with James Cagney. After all, the film is 70 years old; what kind of shape could it be in? Well, I need not have worried. The picture was crisp, the sound superb. In fact, I heard dialogue that I had missed in previous TV showings.
Come to find out, this film is part of a series of the 100 top movies of all time as determined by the American Film Institute. For the next couple of years, all 100 films will be shown on most Mondays, either on the Proctors mainstage or the GE Theatre. The cost is only $5 per movie, or you can purchase tickets to all 100 moves for $100.
Unfortunately, as of yet there has been virtually no publicity for this epic series (I stumbled across it by accident on the Proctors website).
If you are a classic movie buff, this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see some great movies on the big screen.
Positive energy over batteries during Sandy
After hearing all the news about [Hurricane] Sandy, [I] went to Price Chopper to get extra batteries for my flashlights. They were sold out, as were three other stores.
My last chance was the new Target [in Glenville]. I asked a salesperson who was arranging Halloween decorations, and she told me that they had no “D” batteries, but added, “stay right here and let me check out something.”
She disappeared into a back room, and soon this kind salesperson emerged with a package of 12 “D” batteries, more than I needed.
I walked to the checkout, and saw a despondent man. “Are you looking for batteries?” I asked.
“Yes.” [He answered].
“Would you like to share these?” I said, showing him my dozen batteries.
“Oh, thank you, that would be wonderful,” he gratefully answered.
We went to the checkout and I started to get out my wallet, when he said, “No, no, let me get it, you saved my life.”
I wanted to give him money, but he wouldn’t take it. I asked him if I could buy him a cup of coffee but he declined.
What a happy experience during Sandy.
A lot of red tape to opt out of yard waste fee
With regard to the need to go through the notarization process to opt out of the Niskayuna yard waste fee, I believe [Supervisor] Joe Landry is being disingenuous when he states the reason for it is to ensure that it is the residents themselves who are opting out [Oct. 30 Gazette].
Does he really believe that anyone would go around filing forms to deny the service to a neighbor? And if someone did, wouldn’t it become apparent right away to whoever was duped?
The real reason is, as Town Board member Jonathan McKinney stated, it makes “it harder for residents to opt out.” If Landry was really interested in making things easier for residents to opt out, he should at least mention that Town Hall is full of notaries, so people could save a trip to a bank and/or a stamp by doing everything there.
Also, why is a notarized signature needed every year when the form is filed for the same property as the previous year?
Election Day a turning point for pols’ promises
With Election Day here, after all the positive and negative ads in the news, I am reminded of my beloved mother-in-law’s comment about the event.
“Election Day is the day that the promises cease, and the excuses begin.”
In L.D. Davidson’s oped column of Nov. 4, a word was mistakenly left out after an editing change. The word was “million,” and the sentence it was contained in should should have read, “On the local level, if we really believe the wild claim that Union College produces several hundred million for the local economy, then I guess we might really also believe that Santa Claus is alive and well and living at the North Pole.”