Parents must serve as good role models
To all parents of babies and young children: Think long and hard about what kind of a person you hope to grow (thinking, intelligent, compassionate, assertive, open-minded, self-sufficient, innovative, etc.), and act and teach accordingly.
Remember that by doing so, you can create a better world.
Marilyn B. Guidarelli
Assessor responds to letter from taxpayer
In response to Mr. Steve Jones' July 8 letter, "Taxpayer upset with way his taxes were determined," please inform your readers of the following facts.
Mr. Jones' property has had the same assessed value since the city's 2009 revaluation of all city properties. There were no assessment grievances filed until 2014, when as a result of building permits and physical improvements to the property, the assessed value was adjusted slightly upward.
Mr. Jones indeed did call the Assessment Bureau and discussed his assessment with the assessor. What we could not get him to understand was the difference between "market value" and "equalized assessed value."
The city is assessing property at 123 percent of market value. This is the "uniform percentage of value" as determined by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance's Office of Real Property Tax Services.
The equalization rate does not increase your property taxes.
Market value and assessed value are not the same, unless a municipality is assessing at a 100 percent uniform percentage of value. We suggested that Mr. Jones take his grievance to the Board of Assessment Review, which he did. They denied his grievance based on facts.
Mr. Jones has one more remedy to his complaint, which is to file for Small Claims Assessment Review, where a court-appointed hearing officer would be assigned to his grievance.
We understand and empathize with Mr. Jones' frustration and can dismiss his accusatory remarks as a frustrated taxpayer. The common misconception of the public is that assessors administer property taxes, which is not the case.
The assessor merely places a value on your property, which is a basis for tax rates, developed by the legislative body of the municipality.
Nicholas C. Barber
The writer is the acting assessor for the city of Schenectady.
Take baskets, coolers to reduce plastic bags
While watching the Channel 13 news recently, there was quite a lengthy discussion about banning plastic bags. They are handy, but not good for the environment. Banning may be difficult to enforce.
Alternatives such as using cloth bags have helped somewhat, but one needs to remember to bring them along.
What has worked well for us for many years is to keep three same-sized laundry baskets stacked in the car. Load the baskets directly from the cart. This also keeps groceries from rolling around loose.
Also a good idea for hot weather is to keep an empty cooler in the car for the freezer items. Hope this works as well for others.
Wonderful memories of Hoffman’s Playland
Re July 9 article, "Playland's last ride set for September": This letter is addressing the story about Hoffman's Playland.
Why this place has not been snatched up to keep this historic fun park alive is beyond my comprehension. To tear it down to make more living space is ridiculous. Even to make room for more retail stores is just as ridiculous.
We need more local spots where a family can come just to have some fun, instead of having to drive an hour and spend a week's salary in one day just to be entertained. Our families need to just be able to let loose at times and have a jolly old laugh.
Hoffman's is just that place. I was there a few times when my children were young and we had a blast. It is small; there is not an hour wait to get on the rides. All enjoyed something about it to talk about on the way back home. I see that it was offered to some of the other spots like Great Escape. I am glad they turned it down, for I believe that would have taken away the personality of this wonderful family recreation place.
If I had the money, I would grab it in a heartbeat. It does not matter if it makes someone rich; it is the laughter of the children that is profit enough.
Public shouldn’t have to fund contraception
What follows are my comments about Cynthia Swanson's July 7 letter ["Far right, courts, lawmakers waging a war on women"]. The assertion that the Hobby Lobby decision represents discrimination makes as much sense as the assertion that the general public should fund my interest in photography -- none.
I see no reason why one adult's choice of recreation is another adult's responsibility to fund. In my view, your right to choose accompanies your acceptance of the consequences of your choice; any other arrangement is exploitive. An example of this point is the argument that the choice to give birth is the mother's, while the cost of this choice is to be borne by the father and those who pay school taxes is a demonstration of the exploitive nature of rights without responsibilities.
The letter writer has reached the correct conclusion, albeit by faulty reasoning, that a woman's judgment is not respected. If it were, rape prevention would be dealt with by issuing a Derringer to all women for self-protection. The irony of this policy of gun control is that it is very popular with women.
Get old TVs off town streets in Glenville
Each year, for some time now, we have a bulk pick-up in Glenville. What is, and what is not, included, is clearly expressed in the paper and through Town Hall.
The one exception is old TVs and CRTs (computer screens). These eyesores are not picked up and continue to sit by the street, long after everything else is gone. Hey folks, go hide them back in the garage, shed, cellar, etc. Perhaps a fine would get the job done. Nobody wants them or, least of all, to look at them.
Failure to enact tort reform costs billions
Re July 4 editorial ["Big money follows the powerful"]: Kudos to the Daily Gazette editorial team for exposing the potential corruption behind Speaker Sheldon Silver's questionable salary from Weitz & Luxenberg. While Speaker Silver is undoubtedly the major player preventing common-sense reforms to our civil justice system, it is not costing New Yorkers $100 million annually. In fact, the tab is running much higher.
The Institute for Legal Reform estimates that the state of New York could save up to $4.3 billion in tort costs and create between 74,000 and 201,000 new jobs by improving its legal environment. And according to a study by the Rockefeller Institute at the University at Albany, our state's failure to reform the "Scaffold Law" alone is costing taxpayers $785 million in public costs every year.
Gov. Cuomo was recently quoted saying that "the trial lawyers are the single-most powerful force in Albany," and that they were the special interest preventing real reform.
We urge the governor to take on the trial lawyers and fight for real reform to our legal system. New York has no future as the lawsuit capital of the world.
Phoebe E. Stonbely
The writer is an analyst for Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.