Councilman Missed Facts on Metroplex
I am writing in response to Councilman Riggi’s Dec. 5 letter [“Direct criticism where it rightly belongs”] claiming that Metroplex has been successful “in a two block area of downtown.” It is tiresome to hear this old and incorrect criticism of Metroplex. The fact is that we have successfully renovated or built new over 3 million square feet of job-producing, tax-base-producing real estate in Schenectady County outside of this two-block area.
The councilman’s letter goes on to say that three Metroplex projects were in his words “landmark failures.” Let’s check the facts. The Big House project that he refers to was finished by a new developer that successfully completed the renovations to 411 State St. without the loss of a single Metroplex dollar invested in the project.
The building used to house a vacant Dollar Store. It now is home to the Paul Mitchell School, the corporate headquarters of Railex and a business center on the top floor operated by an international company. The building is 100 percent occupied and is a major success in our new downtown.
Next, Mr. Riggi refers to Quirky. Again, we need to set the record straight. The Quirky business unit headquartered in Schenectady was sold to an international company called Flextronics. The operation continues here in Schenectady. It is part of the new $30 million Center City project which has resulted in new jobs and new tax base in Schenectady.
Finally, Mr. Riggi includes the GE Battery plant in his failure list when in fact that project brought $170 million in private investment and 450 new good-paying jobs to Schenectady.
We have no issue with valid criticism of our efforts to create jobs and attract investment to the city of Schenectady and Schenectady County, but we wanted to set the record straight for those readers who may have been confused by the councilman’s letter.
Bradley G. Lewis
The writer is vice chair of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.
Need to do more to boost voter turnout
Voter turnout for the Schenectady mayoral election this year was terrible and significantly worse than the previous election — 1,000 less voters out of 29,000 eligible.
We need to understand why eligible voters are not voting. Maybe they don’t feel it will make a difference. Is it just the political parties that encourage voter participation? Does anyone, like the Board of Elections, have responsibility for voter turnout?
Maybe something else is needed. How about the mayor and county leadership convene a non-partisan task force committee to study the question and recommend what can and should be done prior to the next election to encourage and improve voter turnout.
1) Study the geography of low voter turnout.
2) Survey the community and find out what is preventing people from voting.
3) Is voter apathy a serious roadblock?
4) Is the process too complex? Is reading a problem? Do people know the location of polling places, and are they visible and well signed?
5) Is better or more assistance needed at the polls?
6) Should we have a mobile public address system travel the streets at election time reminding people to get out and vote?
7) What role should the media play?
As a community, we need to do much better. With all that we have accomplished in Schenectady, to have such voter apathy is a kick in the butt.
Be thankful for those making lives better
With all the things that are negative in our lives, we still have people who are trying to do positive things to make our lives better.
I feel that it is time that we all came together to thank the following people, everyone coming to Safy're Terry’s aid: Stewarts, The Salvation Army, Melodies of Christmas, Christmas Wish and the members of the Armed Forces.
These are people who are our trying to make our lives better in this area. Just think what it would be without them.
Walter “Neal” Brazell
At least the National Anthem made sense
After watching the Republican debate on Dec. 15, I came to one conclusion.
The only one that appeared on stage who had a clue was Ayla Brown, who gave a splendid rendition of our National Anthem.
Singing of Christmas songs restores faith
On Dec. 11, I watched The Voice on Channel 13.
Much to my surprise, it was announced that the contestants had chosen to sing Christmas music as part of their competition. Not holiday music. Not seasonal music. Beautiful Christmas music.
Their choices brought tears to my eyes and a heightened sense of shared faith at this holy time of year. Maybe our country will be OK after all.
Merry Christmas to all.
Take action to ensure Trump doesn’t win
After World War II, many people wondered how the German people could allow Adolph Hitler to rise to power. It was easy. “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
The American people had better wake up to the threat of Donald Trump. God forbid that such a man could become president of the United States.
We should all recall the words of Thomas Jefferson: “I tremble for my country when we get the kind of leaders we deserve.”
Help our own people first, then refugees
I think I am confused. Our government wants to let thousands of refugees into America so they can lead a better life. I do feel sad for their situation.
On the other hand, the United States has armed guards on border patrol around the Mexican border to keep Mexican refugees from entering this country. Why is America saying we can feed, house and subsidize one group but not the other?
We have people in this country living in boxes and under bridges with nothing. Elderly people sometimes have to decide if they can afford food, heat or their medications. They can’t always afford them all.
I feel we should help our citizens first and if anything is left over, then help those refugees in some way.
Paul St. Onge