McCarthy wrong: It’s best for Police Review Board to stay neutral
At the Schenectady City Council meeting Jan. 28, Mayor Gary McCarthy suggested that the time may have arrived for the Civilian Police Review Board to become an advocate for the city’s police department, rather than an adversary.
In fact, a properly functioning civilian review board should be neither advocate nor adversary. It should be an honest broker, an impartial reviewer of disputed circumstances that occur between the public and its police department. It should have serious investigative powers and enough staff to plot and measure instances of unprofessional conduct that may identify particular officers who need retraining or more serious discipline.
If Schenectady’s review board had been granted such powers in the past, it might have helped the city avoid the shame and disruption caused by deeply criminal police behavior.
We all hope those days are past and that today’s department will be a model of rectitude and professionalism. Nothing, however, could cause the public to lose faith in its police department more quickly than if the Civilian Police Review Board were to become a shill for the department, rather than a powerful, but neutral, arbiter.
The writer is director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Politics drove Cuomo push for Safe Act
The New York Safe Act, enacted Jan. 15, made gun control much stricter in New York. The name of the law is an acronym for Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.
The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Martin Golden, was written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed the bill 30 minutes after it passed, described it as the toughest gun control law in the United States.
But this so-called “Safe Act” is doing no good for New Yorkers; and if that wasn’t enough, it’s angering them.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
How can Gov. Cuomo take away a right protected in the Constitution? How can the people of New York not fight back? I believe that if we do not challenge acts such as this, we can, and will, lose many of the freedoms we have today. If Mr. Cuomo can take away our right to bear arms, what’s next?
Cuomo just wanted to get there first for his own [political] good. You can be sure he knows that this act will not stop any of these violent acts from being committed.
If a criminal if going to buy a fully automatic weapon with a large clip, he/she is not going to do it legally in the first place. All this act does it take away rights from respectable gun owners.
Reaching 65 doesn’t mean you’re ‘old’
While watching a recent local TV newscast, I was disturbed to hear the reporter during a feature on dealing with the dangers of frostbite and below-zero temperatures say that “this condition is hardest on children under 12 and elderly people over 65.”
Over 65? Elderly? Gadzooks, what could this young whippersnapper ever be thinking? As one who recently celebrated his 66th year of stomping around on this planet, I am appalled at the notion that someone would think of me as “elderly.”
The implication is that I am now unable to dress myself with enough warm clothing to combat the wintry elements, or to have enough common sense to come in out of the cold. Geewillikers, I still run in 5K races, roll the bowling ball, smack the golf ball off the tee and can even mow my own grass, rake my own leaves and shovel my own snow.
On behalf of my fellow and female over-65ers, I say to those who would call us “elderly”: We’re not old!
Now, I am going to send this letter to the Gazette’s editorial page ... if I can remember where the darned “send” button is on the computer!
Two men, three centuries apart, on U.S. work ethic
I would like to share two quotes. The first is from one of our nation’s founders, Thomas Jefferson, the latter [contemporary], by [Southern Baptist minister] Adrian Rogers.
These quotes basically express the same belief that our democracy is threatened very dangerously from within if we continue down the path we are now following.
“The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” — Thomas Jefferson.
“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” — Adrian Rogers.
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