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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 04/24/2017

Spa Co. Prosperity Partnership would boost development

Spa Co. Prosperity Partnership would boost development

*Spa Co. Prosperity Partnership would boost development *SAFE Act provisions are unconstitutional *N

Spa Co. Prosperity Partnership would boost development

Winston Churchill once said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors is taking badly needed steps to reorganize our county's traditional approach to economic development. A more competitive environment statewide and even within the Capital Region demands that we rethink the old ways of doing things.

We agree wholeheartedly with a sentiment expressed in The Gazette's April 18 editorial -- that businesses looking to locate here don't want to shop through an "alphabet soup" of economic development agencies with duplicative or competing efforts. That is precisely why we are creating the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.

Currently, there are dozens of organizations in Saratoga County that touch economic development in some manner, and they work more or less independently with divided responsibilities and fragmented resources. The goal of the Prosperity Partnership is to organize all these organizations under one umbrella, unifying them around common goals and collaborative efforts. The Prosperity Partnership isn't about complicating what's already here; it's about making what's already here work better.

The county is organizing a local development corporation (LDC) to serve as the nucleus of the Prosperity Partnership. It will be an inclusive forum that brings groups together to oversee specific projects from start to finish.

The LDC will be accountable to taxpayers, responsive to the public, and represent all businesses and entities equally. Its guiding principles are fortifying the key sectors of our local economy and attracting new target industries that will enhance our already strong "quality of place." Goals include expanding workforce training in manufacturing technology, recapturing commuting workers to "work local," improving strategic infrastructure, aggressively strengthening our marketing and outreach initiatives, and building a support network for entrepreneurs.

The Prosperity Partnership will advance exciting catalyst projects that are currently stalled or simply have never been attempted, including developing the Luther Forest Technology Campus, leveraging the START-UP NY program to spur advanced manufacturing, enhancing our natural gas infrastructure and forming a small business concierge service.

This forward-looking partnership is exactly what we need to improve our local economy and quality of life.

Paul J. Sausville

John E. Lawler

Malta

The writers are, respectively, chairman of the Board of Supervisors and Economic Development chairman.

SAFE Act provisions are unconstitutional

The Gazette's April 13 editorial on the New York SAFE Act presumes, because the right to bear arms is not "unlimited," that the ban on sale of certain firearms labeled "assault weapons" and magazines exceeding some arbitrary capacity limit is permissible, consistent with the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

This is in error, because the court has long held that firearms "in common usage" cannot be banned. There are, as your editorial stated, a million privately (and previously legally) possessed "assault weapons" in New York and many, many millions of similar firearms in the United States. It seems incredible that anyone would argue that these firearms are not in common use.

Further, by banning or significantly limiting the sale of property, any property legally possessed when the law was passed, the state has taken (devalued) property without compensation. Such a "taking" is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.

With respect to the "straw man" searches for illegally held firearms, there is nothing in the SAFE Act that prohibits them. Police can and should, with a warrant, search a home for illegal and presumed dangerous property. If they can search for marijuana, they can search for " ... weapons so dangerous not to register and regulate." Thus, the "straw man" appears to be of the Gazette's own construction.

The Gazette's final argument, that 63 percent of New York registered voters support the SAFE Act, is irrelevant except to politicians in Democratic districts. The Bill of Rights prevails over even a unanimous opinion among New York's voters. Unless and until three-fourths of state legislatures approve a repeal of the Second Amendment, the New York SAFE Act is unconstitutional. Given the Supreme Court's current construction and recent decisions, it will find the law to be unconstitutional. Until such time, it is the right and responsibility of patriotic citizens to oppose and ignore such legislation.

In the mid-19th century, fugitive slaves, captured in the North, were freed (sometimes with force) in the face of the Fugitive Slave Act. More recently, the Freedom Riders opposed and exposed the heresy of segregation. After all, in the '50s, segregation would have garnered even more approval (among registered voters in the South) than has the odious legislation enacted in New York.

Art Henningson

Rotterdam

No need to opt out of brush fee yearly

I live in Rotterdam and I was one of those who elected to opt out of the $50 fee for leaf/grass pickup.

If you opt out, I don't understand why you have to do that every year. If you do it once, that should be good until you decide to opt in at a later time.

It seems to me that they want you to either forget or get fed up with the yearly aggravation of a notarized documented form.

It looks to me that it is all about the money.

Melvin Cater

Rotterdam

Bag fees another government grab

According to World Population Statistics, New York City currently holds 8,337,000 residents. The Gazette's April 11 editorial, "One fee fits plastic, paper," takes on a financial view of the burden of shopping bag disposal.

It states that it costs New York City $10 million each year for shopping bag disposal. Calculated per person, that amounts to $1.20 per person annually.

I cannot for the life of me find where a 10-cent-per-bag fee would be justified to offset this expense. This ruse is nothing more than another cash-raising scheme, hidden in a seemingly low-cost fee.

A fair number of bags is five per person per week. At that rate, 10 cents per bag calculates out to $216,762,000 per year in new revenue; more than 2,000 percent above the actual cost!

I propose that if money is truly needed to offset disposal costs, it would be much fairer to the population to simply add an additional levy of $1.20 per person to existing systems.

This putrid rape of the American public's wallet needs to stop.

James Bell

Stillwater

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