Writers should rely on facts for views
The Aug. 13 letter by Vincent Belardo made some statements about President Obama and the national debt that are not true and need to be set straight.
First, Mr. Belardo wrote that George W. Bush left office with a debt of $5 trillion. The fact is the debt was $5.7 trillion when he entered office -- when he left, it was $10.6 trillion. He nearly doubled it in his eight years in office. Just search "national debt" online and check these figures yourself.
This makes his claim that Obama has more than tripled the debt grossly untrue. And much of the spending that increased the debt since Obama took office was to bail out the country from the economic collapse that began in September 2008 -- two months before he was even elected.
Another chunk of the debt under Obama was spent paying for the two wars Mr. Bush started us in, as the writer mentioned. Mr. Obama would not have had us in Iraq had we not been there already.
Also regarding a letter by Lynn Latham on the same day, she suggests someone should not be relying on the newspaper for their facts. Where does she suggest we get our news -- from the wide variety of sources on the Internet?
Most of these employ few or no true journalists and are openly more partisan. And TV news is no better than newspapers, which are generally one of the best sources for people to turn to when they want to learn the real news, especially if reading sources from both left and right. More people should be reading these, not less.
The fellow she names is willing to form his opinions from the news and weigh them against other opinions from both sides -- a commendable approach, if done with an open mind. And buy or hold onto and consult an encyclopedia, a source much less likely subject to the kind of revisionist history exemplified above, whether it be unintentional or otherwise.
Ask: What would you do if you were Israel?
Israel is in a tough spot -- what to do or not do. There is an old saying: Don't judge another's actions until you walk in their shoes. It's never good to kill anyone. What do you do if someone is firing rockets at you anytime they want to or when someone says we want to destroy all of you and push your country off the face of the Earth?
Yes, there are humanitarian laws. How do you keep these laws in place when no matter what you do, they fail to bring peace to your land? The land in this part of the world has been in turmoil for thousands of years.
Most people agree that Israel has a right to defend itself. With that said, we know it's not right to kill women and children. The question is, how do you avoid this? We read that weeks and days before Israel strikes an area, thousands of leaflets are dropped in that area many times to tell people to get out of the area -- it's going to be bombed.
It's not easy to leave your home; we know this. In fact, these people are told by the leaders in these areas they can't leave their homes. They are also told to stand on the rooftops and streets and wave their hands, that Israel would not bomb them. It has also been said in some areas these poor people would be shot if they leave -- what a choice.
What we must remember is that we are dealing with tribal leaders and a way of life that goes back thousands of years. You read in the papers almost every week what these tribes do to each other. The killings and beheadings of people are a way of life with them. No one can understand this in our world, but these people don't live in our world. They have their own world that only they understand. It's a way of life for them, not for us. They have their own beliefs that are thousands of years old.
At best a solution is not easy. I am not saying who is right and who is wrong. What would you do if you were in Israel's place?
Small Claims Court is not doing job well
I am wondering if any of your readers have experience with appealing decisions of Small Claims Court judges.
I decided some time ago that when a judge's court behavior or decision-making violates case law, I will appeal the case. At this point, I have appealed several cases, and in every instance the courts of appeal have defended the judge's behavior with statements such as, "Substantial justice has been done according to the rules and principles of substantive law."
In one case, a property manager was being sued. In court, the judge made me the defendant instead, and then refused to allow me to testify on my behalf. In another case, I sued a tenant for non-payment of rent and the judge refused to let me question the defendant. In another non-payment-of-rent case, a judge ruled that one property deficiency, mold by a shower, was sufficient for rent to be free, a violation of case law on his part. In another case, the judge got the facts of the case wrong in his decision and attributed statements made by one party to another party. He even got the basis of my lawsuit wrong. In every one of these instances, the courts of appeal have defended the judge's behavior.
Another astonishing thing to me is that the Small Claims Court judges are not even part of the appeals process. They are kept in the dark.
Writer mistaken over location of cat shelter
I'm writing in response to the Aug. 28 letter from Peg Lapo regarding her experience adopting a cat from where she believes was the Schenectady Animal Control holding facility, which is located at the sewage treatment plant on Anthony Street.
I'd like to point out that it's unlikely Ms. Lapo visited the facility because, as per the Schenectady Police Department, there are no visitors allowed. In addition, Schenectady Animal Control does not house cats, nor does it have an adoption program.
Ms. Lapo was likely at The Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville or another facility. I wanted to set the record straight.
Polk has community at heart in judge race
As a licensed clinical social worker, I have seen firsthand the emotional challenges parents and children face when dealing with Family Court issues. Uncertainty and frustration over delay can be overwhelming. Having a Family Court judge who recognizes these issues is essential.
I will, therefore, be voting for Jill Polk in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 9. Jill is not only the most qualified candidate, she is also the most community-oriented candidate. Jill has served as an active board member for the Law, Order and Justice Center, Northeast Parent and Child Society and in other community organizations. This is the type of community understanding and involvement we need in our next Family Court judge.
Jill has 20 years of Family Court experience and represented children for 14 years, She was an assistant public defender practicing in Family Court; she has represented adults in Family Court in private practice; she has prosecuted judges for violating their ethical obligations; she has sat on the bench making decisions as an appointed special referee in Family Court; and she has been a senior court attorney for a sitting Family Court judge.
Her experience and community involvement is unmatched. I will be voting for Jill Polk on Sept. 9, and I urge you to vote for her as well.
National news should be on the front page
I'm looking at the Aug. 28 paper and on the front page are three local articles. On page A3 is national news of Syria.
It seems to me that national news should make the front page (OK, along with some local news) and that local news should be in the C section called "Local News." Am I alone in this opinion?
Thorne best qualified for 49th Senate Dist.
I encourage everyone in the 49th New York State Senate District to vote for Madelyn Thorne. Madelyn is a hardworking and intelligent person who will do her best to represent her constituents' interests, whether they are individuals or businesses. She will strike a balance between the needs of the few and the many.
She is very aware of the challenges to accomplish this, but is extremely motivated to make New York a better place to live. Bringing more jobs to upstate, creating equitable aid for school districts, supporting efforts to bring more prosperity to the lower and middle classes and passing the Women's Equality Act with all 10 points are important goals of Madelyn's.
She has been involved with our community for many years. She has served as a board member of many organizations such as the Upper Union Street Business Improvement Association, Habitat For Humanity and Friends of the Library. Madelyn will bring enthusiasm to her representation and is a very tough person who will work to accomplish her goals.
Having known Madelyn since childhood, I have seen her exhibit all of the attributes I have expressed. She cares for her community and all members in it, faces challenges successfully and is secure in her ideas. She is the best choice to get an active representative for the 49th.