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

How could Gazette editorial overlook Niskayuna Co-op?

How could Gazette editorial overlook Niskayuna Co-op?

*How could Gazette editorial overlook Niskayuna Co-op? *Tornado warning not taken seriously enough *

How could Gazette editorial overlook Niskayuna Co-op?

I was amazed when I opened my June 18 Gazette to see your staff editorial claiming that Schenectady needs a good co-op to supply local products.

Where has that person been the past 70 years? How could any knowledgeable person in this area not know about the Niskayuna Co-op?

As one of the Gazette’s largest advertisers that supports our local newspaper, you would think that the paper might show a little support for its true local co-op. We not only support over 130 local vendors, we are an incubator for the Greenmarket. We encourage all its vendors to sell their products at our co-op with no strings attached — no slotting fees, no shelf placement fees, no cost to the vendor whatsoever.

While we support a new co-op on Erie Boulevard and hope it succeeds, it is a direct copy of what we have been building for the past nine years. People who are in the know are aware that Niskayuna Co-op has a huge assortment of local products, including grass-fed beef, fresh and frozen, bakery products, cheeses, yogurts and produce.

In fact, Schenectady does have a very active market for local foods, at very reasonable prices.

Donald C. Bisgrove

Niskayuna

The writer is the co-op’s general manager.

Tornado warning not taken seriously enough

On May 29, we sat at the Mohonasen High School award ceremony. Smartphones began chirping alarms. As everyone read their message from the National Weather Bureau, “tornado warning,” people looked around shocked and frightened in disbelief.

The ceremony, however, continued despite the interruptions of people taking phone calls and shuffling in and out to the corridor as they spoke to loved ones on their phones. The administration was informed, and after about 15 minutes, the warning was addressed, saying that there were people “keeping an eye on the situation.”

Despite my instincts from having lived through a few tornadoes myself, I remained seated, as did the others, except for a few. After all, those in authority must know more than we did about keeping us safe. I received a text message from my daughter attending a concert at Schalmont, saying they had been moved to an interior room, away from all windows. At the same warning, those attending a function at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school were heeding the warning and put into lockdown.

After riding through the Rotterdam area, witnessing the wrath of the two tornadoes that touched down, it raises the question of who or what would be a source of higher authority and knowledge of safety to the people in Rotterdam and area schools. Obviously, the National Weather Bureau was not the choice at Mohonasen.

I am very disappointed and frightened at the complacency of those in charge of our children. Disasters and tragedies happen, as those in Oklahoma and Sandy Hook can verify.

Time to take responsibility and wake up.

Ruth Ann Thayer

Rotterdam

Niskayuna school district aimed to bust union

The June 15 story concerning the privatization of bus drivers in Niskayuna had an interesting quote from Superintendent Susan Kay Salvaggio.

She said that the district had done “everything we could possibly do to get a deal done.” In fact, the district did everything it could do to make sure that a deal did not get done. A 12.5 percent pay cut for bus drivers ensured that the proposed “deal” would be turned down so the district could do what it has wanted to do for months — privatize its transportation system to save money.

The district’s priorities were pretty clear when it issued its RFP [request for proposal] seeking bids. The evaluation criteria for cost factors accounted for up to 45 percent of the score while issues related to safety for students were only worth up to 15 percent of the score.

A cynic might say that the administration views saving money as three times more important than student safety. But after looking at the actions of this administration over the past several weeks, why would anyone be cynical?

Jim Wood

Niskayuna

Too easy to scam the food stamp program

Re the June 15 article, “Proposed food stamp cut a worry.” I understand funding for food stamps needs to be cut. For the people who truly need help and are not abusing and scamming the system, it is going to make it very difficult.

New York state really needs to change the food stamp program. Somehow, some way, New York needs to crack down on all the abuse and scamming going on.

I think it is total abuse when a person goes to the market only to purchase $300-$400 worth of soda, not cheap brands but name brands, maxes their benefit card out, then sells the soda in their little corner store.

I was in a local market the other day and watched three women purchase almost $500 worth of food. At two different points, they asked for subtotals.

At the end of the order, one woman paid all the groceries on her food stamp card while the other two women turned around and handed her cash for their portion of the groceries. The one woman who paid for all the groceries with her food stamp card turned around with some of the cash she just collected and purchased lottery tickets. I wish the state would give me money to play the lottery.

Give help to the people who are truly in need, such as the seniors. In this country, food stamps were and are still supposed to be a supplement, not a career.

Joseph Fredenburg

Schenectady

Taxes not the enemy of business, but the friend

The June 7 letter from Galway criticizing the governor’s “tax-cut plan to create new business” presents a convincing argument. The governor appears to adhere to the fallacy that “taxes are the evil that keeps business from growing.”

The governor’s plan relates to business taxes that are part of the operating expenses for all businesses, but it promotes the popular belief that taxes are an unnecessary burden on business.

The truth is that taxes provide for an environment to help business survive. They provide the infrastructure, the educated workers and the agencies necessary for the complex free-market business enterprise system to operate, as well as sustain a nation that is the envy of the world.

Taxes are not just paid by businesses, they are paid by everyone; and they are mainly paid on a portion of the business profits and on personal income that is above a basic cost-of-living allowance.

If there is corruption or inefficiency, correct this malfunction; but don’t try to change the system with political schemes that cut needed jobs and services and result in massive government debt.

Gene Whitney

Niskayuna

‘A man, a plan, a canal Nicaragua’ didn’t fit

The AP article in the June 14 Gazette [“Nicaragua OKs canal project”] reporting the proposal to build a canal across Nicaragua recalls the competition between Panama and Nicaragua for the route almost a century ago.

In 1902, Congress was considering the site for a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Panama had its advocates in Congress, as did Nicaragua. One of the arguments in favor of the Panama route was that there were active volcanoes in Nicaragua.

When Nicaragua argued that there were no active volcanoes in Nicaragua despite reports of an eruption of the Momotombo volcano in 1902, an advocate for the Panama route purchased a 1900 series Nicaraguan postage stamp featuring the volcano with smoke being vented from its top from a stamp dealer and sent them to all members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Needless to say, Panama was selected.

Harvey Randall

Niskayuna

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