Dropping of A-bomb helped vet to long life
The Aug. 19 column, “U.S. shouldn’t have to apologize for dropping the bomb,” by Richard Cohen hit home. I agree 100 percent.
Just as World War II ended, I turned 18 and was drafted into the Army. If the bomb wasn’t dropped, I would have been fodder for the invasion of Japan.
As it turned out, I served a couple of years. My five children, five grandchildren, my one great-grandchild and myself wish to thank Harry Truman for a long life.
Slow drivers, texters should stay off roads
I have a half hour drive to work in the morning. Two-thirds of that drive is on a 45 mph road. When I’m behind people driving a steady 34 mph, it can make me late.
If you can’t obtain and maintain the speed limit for a road, please find an alternate route that you can handle. I really don’t want to add yet another half hour to my drive time daily because you’re afraid of the road you’re on.
And you texters? We all know who you are. The people staring at their laps, accelerating and decelerating at random speeds, weaving between the white and yellow lines, tailgating people and not even watching the road.
Why don’t you do us all a favor and just stay home?
Use water as tool to boost downtowns
One characteristic of the typical Third World country is a reliance on a commodity to support its economy — say oil or gold. But big money men see this as a losing proposition without supplemental manufacturing and commerce to support their economies. Inevitably these countries have their pockets picked by cagey, deep-pocketed multi-nationals.
This seems to be the problem with both Amsterdam and Gloversville. The former has been selling its abundance of water to neighboring towns (such as that housing the Route 30 shopping malls) at a small premium. Gloversville is proposing to do the same to provide water for an industrial park. Its leaders bought into the sale because of some added tax revenue which, oddly, must be approved by the state Legislature.
The entire idea of industrial parks, as well as shopping centers, is strange for these two once-independent and prosperous cities. Both were once nationally renowned manufacturing centers, which may explain why both early on ensured each would have adequate water supplies and treatment plants. Then, the industry and jobs left town because of lower wages and taxes, and with congressional approval.
Both once had vibrant downtowns with local merchants. Now, just to eat, you have to drive up the highways. Ditto for clothes and most essentials. Left are high-priced convenience stores and used-clothing shops.
These tragedies could be reversed if leaders were to lure consumer stores back into the cities with tax incentives. Gloversville, unlike Amsterdam, has an in-town Price Chopper for this reason. Also, instead of aiding industrial parks to be built, they could offer the same incentives for manufacturers that build in the cities. Having a water and sewage system available might be attractive to some company out west which is enduring lasting drought. Throw in cheap housing and good schools and you might get lucky.
A critic would argue: “If you let them in tax free, where will the taxes come from?” I’d answer, from the jobs and added income to support the real estate. As well, sales tax income from stores and the industrialists would accrue. If you plant the appropriate seed, something might grow and even blossom.
Then again, Gloversville could just sell its water department to the county and pay down its debts. But would the county care to take over the maintenance of Gloversville’s decaying water system? Would Montgomery County dare do the same for Amsterdam? Yet, neither of these county governments could afford to build its own water system so as to supply all of its outlying towns, meaning the two cities are in control.
Both cities are sitting on gold mines of water and should sell more dearly. They should also bring industry back within their borders, which are now becoming deserted and overgrown with abandoned buildings.
Meaning of redlining was misunderstood
John Gaetani on Aug. 1 wrote what a white person thinks redlining was/is in this United States. If he was African-American, he would know what it really means.
In 1934, Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The FHA insured private mortgages, causing a drop in interest rates and a decline in the size of the downpayment required to buy a house meant only for white people. The FHA had adopted a system of maps that rated neighborhoods according to their perceived stability.
On the maps, green areas rated “A” indicated “in demand” neighborhoods that, as one appraiser put it, “lacked a single foreigner or Negro.” These neighborhoods were considered excellent prospects for insurance. Neighborhoods where black people lived were rated “D” and were considered ineligible for FHA backing. They were colored in red. Neither the credit risk, as John Gaetani incorrectly wrote, nor the percent of blacks living there mattered. Black people were considered a disease.
Redlining went beyond FHA-backed loans and spread to the entire mortgage industry, which was already rife with racism, excluding black Americans from mostly legitimate means of obtaining a mortgage. Even the “Negro men” who fought in World War II defending this country were denied the G.I. Bill that every returning white soldier was able to use to purchase a home. Did you know that, Mr. Gaetani?
In 1943, a National Association of Real Estate Board brochure specified that such potential undesirables might include madams, bootleggers, gangsters and a “colored man of means who was giving his children a college education and thought they were entitled to live among whites.” The federal government concurred.
It was the Homeowners Loan Corp, not a private trade assocation, that pioneered the practice of redlining, selectively granting loans and insisting that any property it insured be covered by a restrictive covenant — a clause in the deed forbidding the sale of property to anyone other than whites. Redlining was not officially outlawed until 1968, but by then the damage to blacks trying to obtain the same American dream afforded to whites was done.
Lending to blacks or ACORN protesting banks not lending to blacks had little to do with our economic collapse in 2008, Mr. Gaetani. Eight years of Republican failed policies, wars we should not have been in costing this country trillions, not to mention thousands of dead Americans, is why our economy was on life support Dec. 31, 2008, Mr. Gaetani.
I recommend you read the article, “Powerful case for reparations” that was in last year’s Atlantic magazine. It was written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. That is where my quotes came from. You will meet face-to-face what “real redlining” is.
Schenectady groups helping with housing
Re Aug. 20 article, “Schumer in Schenectady to knock home funding cuts,” and Aug. 23 article, “Fight to keep funding for housing programs”: From recent coverage in The Daily Gazette, one would think that there is only one non-profit housing agency in Schenectady.
However, there are several organizations that provide housing for residents of modest means in our city that would be impacted by a reduction in federal funding. In particular, two of the biggest agencies are the Schenectady Municipal Housing Authority (MHA), which provides quality, sustainable housing for more than 2,500 families every day, and Better Neighborhoods, Inc. (BNI), which has helped nearly 400 low-income families experience homeownership in beautifully renovated homes over the past 10 years alone. (The agency is 49 years old this year.) The families that were assisted have become good neighbors and community members.
Furthermore, these non-profit organizations are part of the community. Schenectady MHA and BNI are there for their clientele after housing or home ownership is provided. Both agencies are examples of grassroots neighborhood revitalization at its finest.
Hopefully in the future, the media coverage will be more aware of all the housing agencies that assist our fellow Schenectadians.
John M. Polimeni
The writer is a member of the Board of Commissioners Schenectady MHA and vice-president of Better Neighborhoods, Inc.