Painting over of graffiti not related to future casino
I would like to offer important clarification with regard to Mr. Whitehouse's July 4 letter, which referenced the covering of graffiti on Erie Boulevard and that it was merely done because of the proposed casino.
The proposal for the casino and the covering of the graffiti on Erie Boulevard had absolutely nothing to do with each other.
Last fall, I piloted "Give Graffiti the Brush," a program in which the city of Schenectady, the Center for Juvenile Justice and Home Depot work in conjunction to cover the graffiti in the city. The program is funded by the Schenectady IDA and is at no cost to the participants or the taxpayers. This spring, the program resumed in May and will continue through October.
Every other weekend, I compile a list of properties with the help of the city. Every other Friday night, my boyfriend, Vince, and I drive my Dodge Caliber to Home Depot and load it with supplies. (Our record is 49 gallons of paint, plus two 30-gallon tubs of supplies.)
On Saturday morning, we drop off two teams' worth of supplies and a list of locations. The teams go all over the city and cover graffiti. On Saturday afternoon, we deliver pizza when they have finished, pick up the supplies, inventory them and store them in Vince's rented garage. Two weeks later, we start all over again.
The youth, under the guidance of their probation officers, have worked in Hamilton Hill, Mont Pleasant, Woodlawn, the Stockade, Bellevue and Goose Hill. The buildings and walls on Erie were identified last fall, but we were only recently able to gain access to the property. It was a proud moment for our teens to cover one of the worst eyesores in the city and one that made me believe that all our efforts just might be making a bit of a difference.
The probation officers are now reporting that the teams are excited when locations stay clean and are disappointed when they get retagged. Unfortunately, the Erie location did get retagged and we will be going back today (July 12) to recover it.
Please don't diminish the value of this program by guessing what has taken place or why. As for the overpasses, unfortunately our hands are tied in certain situations like the railroad bridges, overpasses and the cement work along the highways. They are railroad and Department of Transportation property. There is a lot of red tape involved in gaining access.
Regardless, we care and we are working hard, including giving up personal time and resources to better the city I love. If you would like to participate to move the process along, we can always use an extra hand.
The writer is a councilwoman.
Gas tax no solution to pay for roadwork
Re July 5 editorial, "Better roads, bridges for a dollar a week": A billion here a billion there -- who cares? It's just money.
A couple billion for illegal alien kids encouraged by the administration to come here. A couple billion to arm Syrian rebels that we really don't know. On and on it goes.
" ... Democrats believe that jobs just evolve from millions of years of stimulus packages," said Wyatt Cenac, a former correspondent and writer on The Daily Show.
The July 6 editorial favors multiple gas-tax increases to replenish the "Highway Trust Fund." Well, you may recall the "stimulus package" was a trillion or so dollars for "shovel-ready projects." That trillion disappeared into many pockets. Quite a few were rich Democrats' pockets. The repairs were few.
Let's get an actual budget through Congress before approving any new taxes or spending. A budget is required, but all we get year after year is an extension of "continuing resolutions."
Let us take the road construction/repair money from all other spending, a little from foreign aid, a little from each of the executive departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Labor, Education, etc. I'm sure there could be enough savings to cover the amount needed in gas-tax increases.
Then use it for its intended purpose. Don't fritter it away on solar energy or ways to stop the fictional human-caused climate change. Spend Highway Trust Fund money on actual highway maintenance.
Column off mark on changes to climate
Each year just before summer, some organization comes out with wild predictions of the climate being out of control. Richard Cohen's July 5 column, "Politics, not science, holds back GOP on climate change," is wild in that respect.
His own eyes are seeing rising ocean levels, Arctic ice cap melting, massive beach erosion, homes toppling into the sea and 11,000 to 36,000 people dying from extreme heat in the Southeast. It's enough to suggest there might be a little validity to some of it, but he's out to blame someone. Wow.
Has he missed the fact that Antarctica ice has expanded more than the size of Greenland or that the Great Lakes rose more than a foot because of the cold winter or the fact that there has been no discernible rise in the Earth's temperature in the past 17 years, and the fact that former Vice President Al Gore was so confident of no near-term ocean-rise that he built his current mansion right on the Pacific Ocean?
A column like this belies facts and is not up to Richard Cohen's capability. Maybe he went on vacation without reviewing this column.
Gerard F. Havasy
Stop big-boxes by not shopping there
Re July 5 letter, "No need for big-box store in Ballston Spa": This is in response to Andrea Manion and her efforts to keep big-box stores out of her neighborhood.
I understand her frustration and I have come to the conclusion the only way to fight them is in the pocketbook. If you refuse to shop in their store, I think they would think twice about locating there. I am only one person and Andrea is only one person; but for the past three years, I have not and will never shop in two locations where I opposed the building of an unwanted store.
What Andrea needs to do is to gather all the people who oppose this big-box store to make the same pledge. Whatever is being built will be selling the same merchandise you can purchase at another location.
Picket with signs that say something like,"You Can Build It But We Won't Shop In It," or "We Can't Stop You From Building It, But You Can't Make Us Buy In It."
These stores rely on local shoppers and know their store can't succeed without them. If your community will pledge not to shop, you might just get them to stop building. Since all other efforts are failing, it is worth a try.
Bonnie L. Jorgensen
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