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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 08/20/2017

Poor aren’t the only law-breakers, so don’t give them all the blame

Poor aren’t the only law-breakers, so don’t give them all the blame

*Poor aren’t the only law-breakers, so don’t give them all the blame *Several mitigating factors war

Poor aren’t the only law-breakers, so don’t give them all the blame

Bob Sponable [Oct. 17 letter] bemoans the lack of respect for the rule of law, but he focuses entirely on the poor.

He complains about pedestrians walking in active traffic lanes. Motorists are little better. For example, you only need to look as far as Barbara Saglimbeni’s letter in that edition, “Motorists must be mindful in crosswalks.” I’ll bet it’s been years since Mr. Sponable had to walk anywhere.

Politicians have a lot more to say about welfare fraud than they do about illegal income tax evasion. Aggressive drug sweeps are carried out in ghetto neighborhoods, but not on college campuses.

Mr. Sponable places the blame for unruly urban youth squarely on their parents. Never mind that unethical financial wheeler-dealers nearly wrecked the economy back in 2008, breaking many laws in the process, and almost none of them had to pay fines out of their own pockets or go to jail.

The breakdown in respect for the law is a complex sociological problem. A simplistic punitive policy aimed at the poor won’t solve it. We’ve been there, done that. The prison population has skyrocketed in the last 20 years.

Prison already is a place nobody wants to be. When I drove the Homeless Action Committee’s Outreach van in Albany, I found out that life on the street varies from extremely unpleasant to life-threatening. But I never met a client who didn’t think that life in jail would be worse.

We’ll never restore respect for the law with a two-tier approach on punishment. We must have fair enforcement of all laws, including the one that rich and middle-class people tend to disregard, including traffic laws, tax laws and corporate laws.

Robert Priest

Albany

Several mitigating factors warrant Prop 5 approval

Re David Gibson’s Oct. 18 letter, “Prop 5 environmentally unsound, so vote no”: I believe that a vote “yes” to Proposition 5 is a reasonable approach to the environment.

The Adirondack Forest Preserve will gain 1,500 acres and lose 200 acres. Sounds like a great environmental trade to me, with the Forest Preserve gaining 1,300 additional acres. Let’s cut the fear-mongering and look at the facts.

NYCO Minerals Inc. mines wollastonite, a safe substitute for asbestos, and is the largest employer in the North Country. If Proposition 5 is approved, New York state would provide longtime Adirondack business NYCO Minerals Inc. with access to 200 acres of Forest Preserve land that immediately adjoins NYCO’s wollastonite mine in the town of Lewis, Essex County.

Providing this access will allow NYCO to continue its operations at the site for an additional eight to 10 years, helping sustain 100 jobs in this rural community. At the conclusion of this period, NYCO would reclaim and replant the 200 acres and donate the land back to the Forest Preserve.

Mr. Gibson alleges that NYCO has another nearby property from which it can obtain wollastonite rather than using the land known as “Lot 8.” The fact that NYCO has a permitted mine site at nearby Oak Hill is well-known.

NYCO has also fully explained that the wollastonite there is buried much more deeply in the ground, making it far more costly to remove than at the adjacent “Lot 8” site. Operating there today would pose serious competitive challenges to NYCO as the company fights to compete in the global wollastonite market.

I think NYCO is being more than reasonable, and Lot 8 is not an old-growth forest by state definition.

Join me in voting “yes” to Proposition 5 and we can all enjoy this additional 1,300 acres of Forest Preserve together. It’s a win/win for all stakeholders.

Dave Rakvica

Mayfield

Sch’dy kids of yesterday rivaled those of today

Re Oct. 23 article, “Police get tough outside school”: I need to commend the police department’s measured response, as well as its straightforward communication about its juvenile offender policies. Great effort. Thank you.

At one time, Forest Road’s two schools, Pleasant Valley and Mont Pleasant High, could have served as backdrop for the movie “Blackboard Jungle.”

We had ethnic diversity, rival gangs, under- and over-achievers, shaved duck-tail haircuts, Lucky Strike packs rolled up in T-shirt sleeves, poodle skirts and crinolines. Not everyone got along. Some of us made out quite well. Some didn’t.

I just want my fellow baby boomers and senior citizen taxpayers to remember that we, too, had our moments.

Jim O’Connor

Schenectady

Election letters

The deadline for election letters is Tuesday, Oct. 29. We will continue to run selected letters on local races through Thursday, Oct. 31 in the online edition.

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