Upstate will never succeed with so many layers of government
The Gazette has run some meaningful articles on economic development upstate, the most recent being L.D. Davidson’s May 26 Viewpoint, that development funding “should go to small, start-up business.” But as with the others, L.D. fails to address the greatest impediment to development in general throughout upstate, the terrible structure of government up here.
We have “small cities” that since World War II have seen their commercial and cultural energy gradually dwindle with the growth of surrounding townships. So now, instead of having one municipality deciding on the course of a “community at large,” we have two or more political subdivisions.
Where cities had exclusivity on lacking in vision, focus and management, that same condition is now being generously shared with towns and counties.
So before we spend much more in public or private economic development funds, let’s figure out how to best deal with the structural deficiencies resulting from too much government — so that instead of just spending money, we invest in sustainable, job-creating projects.
Perhaps the state needs to do more to incentivize the consolidation of New York’s small cities with surrounding townships. For sure, the award of any public development funds needs to be tied to projects that are priority initiatives, founded in a strategic economic development master plan, formally endorsed by multiple cooperating municipalities — so, whether we invest in “small, start-up businesses” or big business, those investments have the very best chance to succeed.
Energy use habits won’t change as we warm up
Americans will do nothing different significantly about energy consumption unless cheaper new energy technologies magically appear in the next 50 years or sea level rises at least six inches.
Humanity is poised to burn more fossil fuels in the next century than has been consumed until now. A new billion Indian, Chinese and Third World middle-class consumers, high energy-consumption individuals, will want the “American Dream.” America’s answer to their desire for “cheap” energy will be to provide natural gas and coal.
Recent studies by NASA’s Langley Research Center demonstrating that CO2 [carbon dioxide] can absorb and re-radiate the sun’s energy back into space will be used, incorrectly, to challenge the consensus view of global warming.
What they didn’t point out was that although 26 terawatt hours of energy were absorbed and re-radiated by CO2 and nitric oxide, during the same three-day period the Earth received over 6,000 terawatt hours of energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists were too alarmist: Global warming will occur, but [more slowly] than the highest estimates.
Richard Moody Jr.
Johns deserved to have their mugs in paper, too
The May 18 Daily Gazette covered news of the Schenectady Police Department’s crackdown on prostitution by publishing the mugshots of women arrested for prostitution.
But when the men who pay for the women’s sexual favors were arrested [May 25], The Daily Gazette did not publish their photographs.
Is there a reasonable and fair explanation for this difference in reporting of the same criminal activity?
Rev. Valerie Mapstone Ackerman
Gun shows too lucrative for Spa City to pass up
Michael O’Dunne’s May 7 letter suggested that the Saratoga Springs City Center was, “not the right venue for [a] gun show.” Mr. O’Dunne objects to gun shows because it “feels like a contradiction of purpose.”
He asserts that “Many of us who are against gun shows at the City Center simply feel that gun shows do not belong at a tax-funded city exhibition center — a family cultural center.”
Michael overlooks that in January several thousand people, hundreds of families, attended the show because guns and gun shows are part of their cultural tradition. They come to see antique firearms, target and hunting rifles and shotguns. None of these objects meet the New Oxford American Dictionary’s definition of a “weapon: a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage.”
The cultural events that matter to Mr. O’Donnue — spelling bees, art exhibits, poetry readings symposiums, etc. — are in fact subsidized by the taxpayers. They do not bring in much income to the city.
Gun shows, by contrast, bring in (in addition to the rent paid by the New East Coast Arms Collectors Associates) several — sometimes tens — of thousands of dollars in sales tax to the city. Dozens of exhibitors seek lodging and meals, shop and buy fuel in the city. Several thousand patrons visit the show and also spend money in Saratoga Springs.
How will the city raise the lost revenues? Who will make up the income lost by local businesses? As a taxpayer in Saratoga Springs, I do not choose to pay increased taxes to salve Michael’s sensibilities. Perhaps Mr. O’Dunne et al. will offer to make the city whole.
Legislators wrong to close Hill library branch
It seems only right on Memorial Day that we look back and remember the people who fought and died in the Civil War.
My ancestor, Erastus Pickett from New York, did just that at the Battle of Winchester.
Cynthia Leonard, mother of the first president of the Schenectady County Republican Women’s Club, raised money so freed men would have schools to obtain an education.
In the time of slavery, it was illegal for slaves to own books. The slave owners knew that if the slaves had books, they could liberate themselves. Just prior to World War II, in Germany, they had large bonfires to eliminate any books that might conflict with the views of the government.
Is history repeating itself right here, right now, in Schenectady? The county Legislature just voted to close the satellite branch of the county library on Hamilton Hill, without consulting the residents. When families move from one place to another, books are the last thing they worry about. Many households do not have one book.
I understand that children are not allowed to bring their textbooks home from school. Books work even during a power failure and, once in hand, can educate, inspire and inform without any additional energy other than the human mind.
If anyone had come here to walk from Hamilton Hill to the Duane Branch on State Street or the Mont Pleasant Branch, they would know that our families/children will not be going the distance with either option. In one stroke of the pen, the county Legislature created a literacy desert. Nothing says helpless, hopeless and abandoned, more than the closing of our satellite library.
If Erastus Pickett and Cynthia Leonard were here today, would they think we were honoring their sacrifice?
The writer is vice president of the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association and president of the Schenectady County Republican Women’s Club.
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