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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Don’t blame cats for killing birds, blame the cats’ owners

Don’t blame cats for killing birds, blame the cats’ owners

*Don’t blame cats for killing birds, blame the cats’ owners *Let‘s end ‘rich get richer, poor get po

Don’t blame cats for killing birds, blame the cats’ owners

I was relieved by the March 12 letter by Nancy Castillo from Wild Birds Unlimited, that birds are indeed around where it is safe. Like many, I love birds and all of nature and wildlife.

However, being an owner of pets, including cats, I must come to the defense of felines and provide some insight to educate those who are unaware of a few facts about cats.

Dogs have been domesticated in our country for thousands of years longer than cats. Felines are much closer to their “wild” roots and, therefore they possess a stronger innate tendency to hunt for survival. They are not mean, just doing what nature is driving them to do.

The killing and hunting of birds from a human’s birdfeeder by cats can be directly blamed on another human — not the cat. Other animal predators that visit bird feeders are also doing what they were intended to do — survive.

Irresponsible and ignorant humans, who let their cats roam freely these days, are totally to blame whenever a homeowner sees unwanted cats at their feeders. My cats go outdoors, I don’t deprive them of their love of sunshine and fresh air, but they are contained in a totally secure and comfortable fenced in area, where they are not able to trespass onto my neighbors’ property and are safe themselves from peril.

Far worse are humans who just “throw away” that cute little kitten who grew older, was never spayed or neutered and is now either spraying, pregnant, or worse, has produced a litter of kittens.

These domesticated thrown-away felines revert to their wild nature to survive, and although most people may not know this, preying on bird feeders is not their first choice of food, it is their last. They much prefer to have a food source such as a human’s leftover food, a Dumpster behind a restaurant or supermarket, or small rodents they are able to catch.

I have worked for seven years with SCRUFF, Inc., a group of unpaid volunteers and veterinarians whose goal is to decrease the feral cat overpopulation, which is directly linked to human beings acting inhumane by dumping living creatures like they would garbage.

To date, Scruff has spayed/neutered close to 4,000 cats in the Capital Region (at zero cost to taxpayers) and that is only scratching the surface.

Whether you like cats or dislike them, please don’t blame them for preying on your bird feeders, blame the ignorant homo sapiens who mistreat and misunderstand them. And, please encourage and support efforts to spay/neuter all domestic pets.

Frances Bartholomew

Albany

Let’s end ‘rich get richer, poor get poorer’

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

I would like to add that a nation that supports a political party that unabashedly puts the interests of corporations and the extremely wealthy ahead of the most vulnerable men, women and children is approaching spiritual doom. Budgeting is about establishing priorities, allocating funds for things we truly believe in — we can afford to support all the things that mean the most to us.

Cutting health care benefits for the poor and elderly, education, child care programs, Social Security and other critical social welfare programs, while maintaining preferential tax rates and tax avoidance strategies for corporations and the richest people in our country, clearly demonstrates what the Republican Party cares most about.

Hedge fund managers who make $10 million a week and pay a lower tax rate than teachers or secretaries; corporations like Facebook, which made $1.1 billion in profit last year and is receiving a $439 million tax refund; Microsoft, which has $66 billion in cash reserves; or Google, with more than $100 billion: Corporate profits are at an all-time high.

I am sure that many programs can be run more effectively and efficiently, and cuts should be made based on that happening. But such cuts should be based on the traditional philosophy of “doing the least harm.”

How can anyone think that denying needy people access to health care or cutting Head Start programs will do less harm than increasing a hedge fund manager’s tax rate back to where it was in the 1990s — 37.5 percent — which would cut his/her after-tax income from $8.5 million per week to $6.3 million per week?

How long will the majority of Americans stand for this obviously inhumane, spiritually empty approach to governing?

Nick Coupas

West Glenville

Illinois fracking law is good model for N.Y.

The March 8 AP article [“Illinois fracking agreement near; could be a model”] offers some example for New York. But what lessons should we take?

New York has inserted itself in the usual role of soliciting information, from anyone, on its environmental impact statement (EIS) and regulations. These will inform executive agency, and possibly legislative decisions. This is a many-to-one (the state) relation, not the many-to-many relation, or industry-environmentalist relation emphasized in the article on Illinois. But will the outcome be any different?

The Illinois process comes down to accepting fracking but with provisions for liability and disclosure on the part of those who will profit in the gas/petroleum industry.

In submissions to the New York process, on both the EIS and regulations, I have repeated that no one is certain what the impacts of fracking will be on individual water supplies. The object of fracking is to fracture substrata, intended to increase flow into the gas/oil wells. But given that natural seeps of gas and oil into water tables already occurs, it follows that the process will also increase this seepage, including of the “proprietary” chemicals used in the fracturing.

The industry simply discounts this risk. Fine, but then it is expected that they reveal what they are putting into the ground for detection purposes and take liability for any damage. If those conditions are not accepted, no one should be permitted to run off with profits without accountability.

What is the role of the state? Those of us who have been active in litigation about plans and environmental damage know that whether it is the state or industry, the burden of proof and costs falls on the damaged citizens. This was always true for state highway or urban renewal projects.

I was also active on the Crossgates Mall permitting process when the executive (in the form of the environmental conservation agency) overturned the finding of damage by its own administrative judge, based on our citizen battle.

So, New York state, show us you are serious about identifying and enforcing liability, on behalf of citizens and the environment, and we will have achieved as much or more than Illinois has. If the state does not take an active role in monitoring, and does not establish prima facie (presumed) liability when fracking chemicals are found in water supplies, or pollution occurs after fracking, then fracking should not be done here.

Gary G. Nelson

Troy

NYC soda ban ended up where it belonged

I was glad to read (March 12 Gazette) that state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling has struck down New York City’s ban on big drinks.

I hope this serves to remind Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his crew that New York City is yet a part of the United States, a freedom-loving nation.

If the United States still has too much freedom for Mr. Bloomberg, I recommend that he move to some other nation.

Mr. Bloomberg is quoted as saying: “One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is no joke.” News flash: People were “dying every day” in Bloomberg’s city long before the invention of soda.

The real joke is the (fortunately failed) attempt to ban big drinks.

Joel Nelson

Schenectady

Homeland Security arms itself to the teeth

Why has the Department of Homeland Security purchased over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, over 2,000 AR-15s, thousands of 30-round magazines, and possibly over 2,000 MRAPs (mine-resistant armored personnel carriers)?

And why are none of the major news agencies, other than Forbes, asking these questions?

What kind of war is the Department of Homeland Security planning for?

Bob Semp

Altamont

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Letters Policy

The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.

There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.

Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.

For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.

For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.

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