Recycling TVs should be free in Clifton Park
Have you heard that our Clifton Park transfer station now charges for taking the older TVs and related equipment? I took three 27-inch TVs down and they told me it would cost $25 per unit.
I found, from a friend, that the Salvation Army locations have been designated to take this equipment for free. Why were we being asked to pay an outside company to do this?
By the way, the Salvation Army tells me they are recycling and restoring where possible.
Vernon E. Estes
Schenectady must respect its heritage
I am writing to mourn the potential loss of yet another important element of my native city’s history.
How is it possible that the Nicholaus building is in danger of collapse? The lack of adequate attention to the stability of this iconic Schenectady structure is inexcusable, on every level. I can’t imagine any new development on the site of the demolished buildings next door that could compensate the city for the loss of this landmark.
I enjoyed several memorable meals there when it was still Nicholaus’ Restaurant, and had hundreds (maybe more than a thousand) of wonderful lunches there in later years, when Maurice’s occupied the building. I also enjoyed several Thai meals there.
My Buffalonian grandfather told me he used to catch the early train to New York when traveling on business so he could lay over in Schenectady to have lunch at Nicholaus’. The building has incredible ambiance. The original murals, with their German sayings, are an irreplaceable document of the influx of German immigrants to the city in the 19th century.
It is also inconceivable that this building that embodies the city’s evolution from a river port, to a bustling canal town, to an industrial giant, to its recent decline and nascent revival, has not been included in the National Register of Historic Places. The destruction of the entire complement of the early GE buildings and the obliteration of all but a few of the Alco structures strike me as a complete denial of the city’s industrial heritage. Where was the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation?
I sold Gazette newspapers at Alco’s front gate as a boy. The men who worked there were incredibly generous and gracious to me. Are their contributions the city and their tremendous accomplishments to be forgotten? The Alco Museum has relocated to Amsterdam. I worked at GE during my college years. The GE story is half told at the Schenectady Museum and at the Edison Tech Center. The wonderful people I worked with there are forgotten or dismissed, too.
What are the city’s politicians thinking? Who is minding Schenectady’s store? The powers that be in the city are entirely too focused on a fluffy, fairy tale future that is destroying the soul of the city.
I can accept the idea that the city has to change and adapt to the future. I can’t accept the cavalier attitude towards our past that this most recent catastrophe embodies, or the short-sighted overall attitude that has resulted in the wholesale obliteration of our industrial heritage.
GOP establishment brought this on itself
The so-called Republican Establishment is currently panicked by the possibility that its leading contender for the presidency will become its nominee.
Many of its members believe that Mr. Trump is unfit for the job (I do as well) and would like to derail his bid. They are concerned that he will not win the presidential election and his defeat will cause the GOP to lose, among other things, control of the Senate. If that occurs, the party will surely be unable to retain its former ideological advantage in the Supreme Court for many years after a new justice is confirmed.
It is hard to be sympathetic to the Establishment. Its hollowness has become apparent in that it promises much and delivers little. It, in fact, serves primarily the moneyed elites, not the working middle class. In addition, it has allowed the party to evolve into one with severe internal conflicts as well as one that is unable to constructively participate in governing the nation for the benefit of the American people.
Following Obama’s 2008 election, the party’s focus became that of thwarting the president. It has been reasonably successful in that endeavor but that strategy has resulted in a more polarized nation, a dysfunctional federal government, and public disgust with what is going on in Washington, The obviousness of that disgust is evident in the approximately 13 percent approval rating of Congress and the ascendency of a divider and phony like Trump.
I find both parties to blame for the polarization that exists, but I don’t want to fall into the blame game swamp in this letter. Polarization is a political disease for any nation because it supports dissention, promotes violence and impedes accomplishment. As Abraham Lincoln remarked when America was polarized over the issue of slavery before the Civil War, a nation divided cannot stand. America sure needs another Lincoln.
I see the role of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government in terms of James Reston’s sail-anchor theory. He postulated that the president is the sail of the ship of state and the Congress its anchor. What polarization has wrought is a nation in which the anchor is sinking the ship.
Finally, I note that contrary to Mr. Trump’s savior sloganeering (making America great again) America is, in fact, still a great nation because its people are hard working, free and creative. Mr. Trump has no positive program for the future of America. Just trust me, he says. I see him as a vulgar, authoritarian demagogue who will further divide the nation and promote its decline.
And I won’t believe Mr. Trump is a business genius until I see his tax returns. I’d also like to see his college grades.
Taxpayers need own big-money lobbyists
I, like many Americans, am captivated by the side-show of American politics. Bernie is appealing to the college students and the entitled by promising to give away the store. Hillary is looking and acting very presidential and saying all the right things. And of course, Trump is vowing to make us great again while insulting anyone who disagrees with him. It’s all a great show, but how will it benefit us, the tax-paying middle-class of America?
Unfortunately, no matter who wins the election, Democrat, Republican or independent, we stand little chance of bending their ears when competing with the likes of Big Pharm, the NRA, the oil companies and any of the thousands of corporations who have lobbyists in D.C. And this includes Mr. Trump, whose fortune is paltry compared to these big corporations.
Congress has been bought and paid for by the big corporations, and so a new president will not be able to help us no matter what he or she promises. We’ll continue to pay whatever they want us to pay at the pumps and like it. We’ll continue to have massacres by nut cases using automatic weapons because “It’s their right to own such weapons.”
And the sick will continue to pay outlandish prices for drugs because the pharmaceutical industry “needs to cover the cost of research.”
The current corporate trend, with impunity, is to drop retiree health benefits promised to employees when they were hired. Is our next president going to stop them when they decide to do the same with our pensions? Not with this Congress.
I do care who becomes president because I think that Trump is very dangerous. Other than that, it doesn’t make a difference because our new president will not be paying Congress and so will not be able to help us. The only way the hard-working, middle-class bill payers will catch a break is if we also organize ourselves and pay to be heard in Washington. The adage: “If you can’t beat them, join them,” rings true. It’s a sad thing to say, but this is what big business, our politicians and the Supreme Court have done to our founders’ dream of a democratic society.
So, we can get by with any of the candidates, except Trump. But if we want more than just getting by, then what we really need is an individual who has the vision, the smarts and the gumption to organize the hard-working, tax-paying, middle-class Americans, hire lobbyists for us, and proceed to “buy” our votes on legislation that will benefit us.
I’ll be first in line to join. And although I think I may already have paid my dues, I will gladly pay again. If you know of one, please, let us all know.