Pope deserved better play than Yogi Berra
I wish to point out what I consider is poor judgment on proper placing in the Sept. 24 Gazette.
The holy father’s visit to the United States (a first) was shuttled to the “Local” section of the paper — the “C” section.
Meanwhile, a very likable sports fellow — the demise of one Yogi Berra — was placed on Page 1.
As I mentioned, the late Yogi Berra was a sports legend and quite admired by all. But really, did he head 1 billion people in the world and their souls, their dreams, their wants and needs?
The “kick-eroo” was this: As I exited my local market on Sept. 24, I passed the area where newspapers are sold. Guess who was on the front page of The New York Times — Pope Francis.
Ask Republicans why truth is out of fashion
Re Sept. 21 letter, “Is telling the truth now old-fashioned?”: Duane Watkins wanted to know if telling the truth is now old-fashioned.
Duane, maybe you should ask Dick Cheney that question, since he is still not telling the truth. His lies took this country to war, killing and injuring thousands of Americans. His war added trillions to our national debt. His lies caused the mess this world is in in the Middle East.
So Duane, to answer your question, is telling the truth old-fashioned? Ask the Republican Party, specifically Dick Cheney.
Raising wage to have unseen consequences
I have no problem with a modest increase in the minimum wage, nor did I oppose the recent increase to $9 per hour.
However, a dramatic increase to $15 per hour is a bad idea. It will drive up the cost of living for everyone. Goods and services will skyrocket. The average family, already overburdened, will suffer, as well as needy seniors who sacrifice to meet daily expenses.
Ironically, the recipients of this added income will also be dishing out more money for their purchases. Let the market drive the pay scale, not government and Albany policy makers.
Let’s take a peek into the future of this legislation should it become law:
Unemployment will increase; one worker will make $15 per hour instead of two. Small businesses will be forced to close or downsize. Reduced productivity will create a supply problem. Nonprofits and community-based organizations will be crippled, and they are among the largest employers in New York state. Why? They will need to seek more funding from state (and the federal government) to offset their labor costs.
Oh, and keep in mind, most of the grants that fund these services come from your tax dollars. The trail of agencies/nonprofits is endless — hospitals, schools, human service agencies, health care organizations, etc., will need to offset the increase in minimum wage.
To add insult to injury, the corporate giants will not suffer; they will “adjust” their prices. And no need to worry about Common Core — young people may even be discouraged from going to college.
Our forefathers said it best: Keep government out of business. Wake up my fellow New Yorkers, the nightmare is about to begin. Otherwise, I urge you to contact your state legislators, because this is a looming economic threat to all. It is the quintessential dog chasing the tail.
New chief must back community policing
Re Sept. 22 article, “Chief Kilcullen to leave Schenectady Police Department”: Schenectady is looking for a new police chief. As I have read, Mayor Gary McCarthy is sure about two things in his search for a new one: The top cop must live in the city and be a disciple of data-driven policing or crime mapping.
As to whether the chief or any officer of the Schenectady Police Department should live within the city limits, I have no opinion. Since the end of World War II, people have been encouraged to move out of cities and enjoy the amenities of suburban life. Why should cops be different?
In any event, when it comes to data-driven policing, it is high time to put this fetish in perspective. Data-driven policing came to prominence in 1994 when then- and current New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton initiated it in the Big Apple under the name CompStat.
In the two decades since, this practice has gone viral all over the nation. The result has been that in communities large and small, numbers-driven policing has become the norm. Bratton himself has, with the support of his coterie of media savvy cronies, marketed this concept as a global brand of policing. The state of New York got on board with the Pataki-era program Operation IMPACT that pumped state money into neighborhoods defined by their crime statistics. Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued this under a new name.
What has been forgotten is that we live in communities, not video games, in which the numbers mean everything.
And there was, in the pre-Bratton era, a flourishing movement toward community policing that has been stifled and suppressed by Bratton-style policing.
All across the nation this past year-and-a-half, communities of color have erupted in protest over policing tactics that derive from Bratton’s data-driven policing. In New York City, we have seen protest over his stop-and-frisk and his broken windows policies that have created a never-ending reign of harassment against young men of color. Bratton himself has been getting away with the rankest form of insubordination, as he has manipulated and defied the mayor who foolishly appointed him. Bratton has manipulated Mayor de Blasio to break his campaign promise to rein in heavy-handed policing tactics.
Now, Bratton is impatient with a City Council that continues the effort to lighten the heavy hand of the New York Police Department. This man has no respect for the people’s elected representatives or for the sensibilities of the communities he polices.
If Mayor McCarthy and Schenectady’s city fathers want to do right by the people of Schenectady, especially citizens of color, they will not go looking for a Bratton-style police chief. They will look for someone committed to the concept of community policing — someone, perhaps, in the mold of the late Charlie Mills.
The writer is the director of The Constantine Institute, Inc.
Agree with reviewer about noisy concert
Re Sept. 26 article, “Electronic performer probes vibrations, rhythms”: Geraldine Freedman wrote a very informative and respectful review of an EMPAC [Experimental Media and Performance Arts Center] event at RPI that featured a vast variety of electronic noise.
I was at this performance in which there were created electronic sounds that “squawked, peeped, squealed, piped, throbbed or rang from soft to loud levels,” according to Ms. Freedman.
In my opinion, an apt headline for the review would have been: “Fifty Shades of Noise.” The handing out of ear
plugs prior to the event fits right in with the implications of that headline.
The deadline for letters related to the Nov. 3 general election is 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Letters will be published through Saturday, Oct. 31.