Subscriber login

Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 08/19/2017

Dem power brokers shouldn’t be dealing away taxpayer money

Dem power brokers shouldn’t be dealing away taxpayer money

*Dem power brokers shouldn’t be dealing away taxpayer money *Voting Rights Act needs restoration by

Dem power brokers shouldn’t be dealing away taxpayer money

“Working together works” is the rallying cry of the local Democratic machine. For those in the power structure, it does; for others, it clearly does not.

A case in point: The recent Schenectady City Council decision, orchestrated by Mayor Gary McCarthy, to give the Galesi Corp. $500,000 of taxpayer money to tear down the former Social Services building on Nott Street, fails the smell test [July 16 Gazette].

Galesi, which has done excellent work that has clearly improved the city, should never have been awarded the funds. With more competition, a grant would never have been proposed.

Besides, as only a few people in Schenectady know, Omni Development first came up with the idea of approaching the governor to help the city in the late 1990s, an idea that resulted in the creation of Metroplex and the revival of downtown. Why not include Omni and others in a bidding process to reduce costs? (By way of full disclosure, I received contributions from the heads of both corporations during my 2011 mayoral campaign.)

If things had progressed as planned in the mid-1990s, we would never have been burdened by this decision. At the time, the county had committed to sell the building to Union College for a dollar. The college, in turn, agreed to renovate the building at its expense, including its remediation (the building contained asbestos), and it suggested locating the then-proposed Schenectady High School International Baccalaureate program in the building and giving those students access to Union’s facilities. The transfer never happened. Why, I do not know.

As to whether Union was ever approached before the “sale” of the facility to Galesi, I also do not know.

What I do know is there is no justification for giving a private corporation $500,000 of public money. And what I also know is that if we had a city council with more members like Vince Riggi, more individuals independent of the political machine, more individuals whose political well-being was not tied to machine politicians like the mayor and Chris Gardner (the county attorney who runs the machine), we would not be financially burdened with indefensible decisions like this one.

If ever there was a time to rise up in opposition, to “vote the bums out,” this horrible, unjustifiable giveaway is it.

ROGER HULL

Schenectady

The writer founded the Alliance Party and was its unsuccessful candidate for mayor in 2011.

Voting Rights Act needs restoration by Congress

As the summer heat began to build in Washington, the Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision which gutted key components of the monumental Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965.

The decision in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years and opened the floodgates for a wave of attacks on voters. Only strong action from Congress can fix the court’s mistake.

Before the ink was even dry on the decision, several states rushed to implement racially discriminatory anti-voter laws, including several states where the League of Women Voters had previously succeeded in blocking voter restrictions in the courts and state legislatures. Sadly, this is only the beginning. Without a strong Voting Rights Act, our ability to fight off anti-voter legislation and keep our elections free, fair and accessible is significantly weakened.

As we approach the 48th anniversary of this historic civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act remains an essential protection against the thinly veiled discrimination that still threatens Americans’ right to vote. Congress needs to move swiftly to overcome this decision and restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act. The Shelby decision is a call to action for all who believe all Americans should have fair and equal access to the ballot.

Now is the time to contact your member of Congress and tell him or her to repair the VRA before any more damage is done.

Carol Furman

Niskayuna

The writer is the Steering Committee leader for the League of Women Voters of Schenectady.

Solar power a better deal for businesses

Dave Rakvica’s July 28 letter, “Great that Stewart’s is going solar, but the math doesn’t work,” stated a bunch of numbers he did not explain. They are very critical of solar and makes solar look like a bad deal for everyone.

The numbers he used are a $1.4 million cost for a system producing 620,000 kilowatts per year, and a $40,000 savings for going solar. I don’t know where he gets his electricity, but with National Grid and most other companies, for commercial use it can run as high as 29 cents per kilowatt to as low as maybe 16 cents. (These prices are from a commercial building I owned.)

At these prices, the saving would be between 0.29 times 620,000 (equaling $179,800) and 0.16 times 620,000 (equaling $99,200). The big swing in numbers is because commercial customers pay an on-demand rate that is a lot higher than residential and varies depending on the time of day.

With these numbers, you can see that the return would be between seven to 14 years — a much more reasonable time. Even in home rates, you pay eight cents for usage and six cents for delivery and then a tax on that which brings the average up to something like 15 to 18 cents a kilowatt.

If you want to figure your saving with solar, figure the saved cost. Do this by taking your total bill and divide it by the amount of kilowatts used. This will give you the real cost of your electricity. These numbers are from my experience with solar and electric companies.

I have no contact with Stewart’s; they are the ones who know what kind of deal they got.

James Donohue

Cobleskill

Young teens should have to set career goals

I recommend that parents and school advisers ask each teenager, at the age of 13, what job or career he or she would like when they become an adult. The reason is to assure that a maximum number of our teenagers have started or will start thinking at that age about their future into adulthood and citizenship.

Let us start, beginning at age 13, with formalizing a goal for each child to have a job or career when they become adults. The choice will be considered and reviewed by the child’s parents and school advisers, with the teenager, for practicality.

The child may ask, why pick a job or career? The response by parents (and/or advisers) should be, “when you grow up, you will need a job for food, clothes and a place to sleep!” Further response: “For higher-paying jobs, you will have money left for a new cellphone, an iPhone, a car, whatever.”

The school follows with a school curriculum that is compatible, as reasonable as possible, to the goal set by the child. At least once a year, parents and school advisers will review with the child whether they still have the same job goal. At age 18 or 19, the now-organized “student” graduates from high school and advances — whether to an immediate job, a job requiring additional training, or one requiring study in college.

The extent of achievement of worthy goals by our youth determines the future of America.

Healthy teenagers who refuse to set worthy goals and/or study within America’s school system should be separated from regular schools and disciplined accordingly.

Gerald R. Bosley

Schenectady

Western Gateway Bridge workers doing a good job

I travel through the construction on Western Gateway Bridge between Schenectady and Scotia daily.

I must admit that I dread the inconvenience, backups, the unhappy drivers trying to squeeze into a single lane and, generally, the thought that the bridge was defective.

It is still an ongoing, long-term project, but the switch to the other side of the bridge came this week. In the middle of it all, the bridge workers seem unaffected by the many difficult challenges they face daily, are very organized and have truly kept the project moving right along.

Congratulations!

Patti Ellis

Glenville

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.

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.

View Comments
Hide Comments
0 premium 1 premium 2 premium 3 premium 4 premium 5 premium 6 premium 7 premium article articles remaining SUBSCRIBE TODAY

You have reached your monthly premium content limit.

Continue to enjoy Daily Gazette premium content by becoming a subscriber.
Already a subscriber? Log In