Someone’s got to keep greedy corporations in check, why not nanny?
In her Nov. 14 column, Sara Foss discussed efforts by various branches of government to ban the manufacture, sale or purchase of items that some have determined to be unhealthy, including large sugary drinks, trans fats, and Styrofoam takeout food containers. These government efforts are sometimes seen as evidence of the growing “nanny state.”
Critics of the “nanny state” assert that people are capable of making decisions for themselves and government should butt out. However, the issue is complicated. For example, for decades, corporations such as McDonald’s have spent billions of dollars successfully and heavily advertising to children and toddlers, enticing them and their parents to purchase foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
Unlike 50 years ago, the United States has a major obesity problem today. Seeing as many corporations behave like predators, and government seems incapable of regulating advertising to children, perhaps the best way to protect children from unhealthy products is to limit or ban their sale. Who but government can do it?
How many readers are aware that every child born in the United States today contains at least trace amounts of dozens — some have hundreds — of synthetic chemicals, many of which can cause cancer or birth defects. A 100 years ago these chemicals did not exist. The corporations that manufacture these poisons, often in giant quantities, have no intention of removing them from commerce. How can we assure these poisons will not be present in the bodies of yet-to-be-born children other than by identifying and banning their manufacture and importation?
We continue to repeat the past errors but with escalating consequences. Many of the new synthetic products are far smaller than their predecessors. Some nanotech products are 10 billionths of a meter in length — difficult to detect, tiny enough to pass through the skin, inhaled deep into the lungs, and passed on to developing fetuses.
Instead of requiring the creators of synthetic products to prove their inventions are harmless or almost certainly harmless prior to introducing them into commerce, corporations operating in the United States can often manufacture whatever they can create, put it in thousands of products, including foods and skin products, without labels or warnings and without first proving the new materials are safe.
This is an idiotic policy. Where is our collective wisdom? Do we not care about health?
State must help school districts cover pensions
The Niskayuna Board of Education is discussing the closing of one of its schools to mitigate the ever-increasing cost of employee benefits, which they are obligated to pay for each year [Dec. 3 Gazette].
From the 2008-2009 school budget to the 2013-2014 school budget, employee benefits (pensions and health insurance) in the district have increased 43 percent, from approximately $12.9 million to $18.4 million. Over the same five years, there have been similar increases in other school districts.
I believe that the bulk of the increase is due to pensions, which are determined by laws passed by the Legislature.Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Legislature, not school boards, to pay for it.
Everyone should write their legislators to fund the pensions they made possible.
Joseph J. Hehir
Good news for Glenville: a nice, new restaurant
Re Ms. Nancy Michela’s Nov. 19 letter [“Chain restaurant not best but better than nothing”]: I would like to share some good news.
Socha Management is building a new state-of-the-art mixed-use building in Glenville. The 60,000-square-foot building, at 115 Saratoga Rd., will complement our existing Socha Plaza facilities and perfectly illustrate our “live, work, play” theme.
The first floor will host retail and a beautiful restaurant. A recent survey conducted by the Glenville Local Development Corp. showed overwhelming support for a family restaurant. We are pleased to announce that we are currently in the design phase with a local restaurateur. We plan to announce details on the restaurant in the new year.
The restaurant will offer a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere that will feed the body and soul. Its mission is to serve fresh food — local when possible and cooked to order. It’ll be the perfect complement to our mixed-use facility.
So to all of you who have longed for a new local restaurant in Glenville, you have only a few months before you can call in your reservation!
William J. Socha
The writer is president of Socha Management.
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