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Taxpayers empower governor to raise pay

Taxpayers empower governor to raise pay

*Taxpayers empower governor to raise pay *Revised rope course adds insult to injury *Let Gulf states

Taxpayers empower governor to raise pay

I just want to give a quick shout-out to our governor for his brave decision to award a pay raise to those New York state employees under the $15 minimum wage pay rate.

As a taxpayer, I’m just glad I was here to make this decision easier for him.

Mike Aragosa

Scotia

Revised rope course adds insult to injury

Re the article, “Revised park design raises old concerns”: I have been contemplating the concept of democracy. To me it implies the voice of all may be heard in the conversations surrounding social and political issues. Sadly, I feel that the democratic process in the town of Glenville is flawed.

Over the course of the past year, I have been active in a group opposed to developing our town with an adventure park. Long story short: Our voice of opposition was ignored by the Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, and the project was approved.

Short story long, the applicant was allowed to begin his application process without a survey, presented the park as a community-based enterprise and then touted it as a better draw for residents from Saratoga and Clifton Park as supported by demographic data.

There was never an actual course element design submitted.

The final insult came with unanimous board approval just moments following the closing of a heated public hearing. Where was the conversation? The decision read aloud that night was so rich in legaleze it didn’t even pretend not to be predetermined. Slapped on at the end were conditions requiring Mr. Michael Cellini to obtain a survey and submit a plan for the course elements after the project is complete.

What? After months of opposing the project through petitions, signage, letters to the editor and meeting attendance, our collective voice was essentially silenced before we even walked in the door of that public hearing. The zoning board’s pre-written determination before the conversation was held, to me, is not what democracy is all about.

And now, adding insult to injury, before the park has even been built Mr. Cellini (adventure park applicant and town resident) has submitted his request to expand the course size almost threefold and to subdivide his property.

This, to me, is ironic since Mr. Cellini repeatedly reassured his neighbors and the board that he had no interest in any future expansion of the proposed adventure course, as one can see by reviewing the taped sessions of the Town Board meetings.

Please, enough is enough. To approve this expansion would not only be a disservice to the residents of West Glenville, it would irrevocably diminish the rural character of our town.

Jill Morley-Olsen

Scotia

Let Gulf states take lead to stabilize area

As many nations in the world struggle to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and the spread of ISIS, it is important to consider what the wealthy Arab Gulf states are doing in the context of these two internationally important issues.

As noted below, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) have contributed substantial financial support, but have done little else to deal with these problems.

With regard to the refugee problem, countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have collectively taken in over 1 million refugees.

Moreover, many refugees are currently seeking asylum in European countries such as Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. While the Gulf states have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian relief for the refugees, they have admitted hardly any refugees, despite similarities of language, religion and culture.

In their defense, these countries note that they are not legally obligated to take in refugees, since they never signed the 1951 U.N. treaty on refugees. Therefore, victims of the Syrian war would have to meet the same standards as anyone else seeking a visa, implying a long and involved process.

In the context of fighting ISIS, the Arab Gulf states have contributed funding and even flown a few aerial sorties. However, they have, thus far, refused to place their troops in harm's way, while at the same time encouraging Western nations to do so. The combined military strength of theses countries is significant and they have modern weapons sold to them by the Western powers.

Moreover, many of these very countries have for decades supported terrorism with their petrodollars. Now they want Western troops to serve as their “mercenaries” in the battle against ISIS. The United States and Europe should not place “boots on the ground.”

The Arab Gulf states have the resources to resettle Syrian refugees and to fight ISIS. Thus far, they have looked to other nations to deal with these problems. It is time for the Gulf states to take full responsibility for bringing stability to their region.

Don Steiner

Niskayuna

Gun owners unfairly viewed in a poor light

Let’s set the record straight. The gun homicide rates for nations per 100,000 persons are as follows, as per (it pains me to say it) the United Nations WHO-UN Office of Drugs and Crimes:

Columbia 49.52; Honduras 30.57; El Salvador 22.46; South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, Guatemala, Jamaica, Ecuador Philippines, Panama, Paraguay, Haiti, Mexico 05.11; Albania, Dominican Republic, United States 03.92 (down from almost 07.0 in 1993).

So much for the argument that gun homicide has increased during that period of time. It is amusing to me that the arguments used to paint firearms owners in a bad light alwaysfudge just a bit on their numbers. Recently, an anti-gun response tried to paint the United States as No. 3 in gun homicides. As can be seen above, we are nowhere near No. 3.

I believe that there is one area of criminal homicide that the United States does lead in is also the No. 1 form of criminal homicide in the United States — driving while intoxicated. Imagine if we got as serious about DWI as the anti-gun lobby is about firearms. With long prison sentences and loss of driving privileges for life after one offense, we could save a larger number of lives than the so called (un)Safe Act.And if Hillary could get her way, we could also include suing the manufacturers of alcohol products for unsafe distribution of their product.

Michael Sheedy

Schenectady

We need to direct our outrage to right place

Where is the outrage and the protesters screaming for justice?

A 6-year-old, unarmed, autistic boy has been gunned down while still strapped in his car seat.

Where are the marchers headed for the police department or City Hall calling for heads to roll?

Where were they when the New York City police officer was murdered while trying to catch a man who should never have been let out of prison?

How about when two officers were murdered in their patrol car?

It seems like there is outrage only when someone dies while trying to run from the police (Albany).

Or when a man pulls a strong-arm robbery and then punches the police officer in the face who is trying to arrest him (Ferguson, Mo.).

Better yet, trying to make a bad situation worse by saying you saw something on a video that no one else sees.

If there are going to be protests and calls for justice, please pick a case worth being outraged about.

Kenneth Kimball

Schenectady

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