Stop the senseless cutting of trees, especially in historic districts
Schenectady, and especially its historic districts, are fortunate to have so many large trees along our streets. Cutting them down when it is not necessary is a terrible waste that makes our city less beautiful, inviting and healthy.
Therefore, it is most important that a tree preservation policy be adopted and implemented for Schenectady so trees in the city’s right of way (between the curb and sidewalk, and in the medians) are preserved unless an individual tree is dead, dying or dangerous. That means alternatives to tree removal must be considered and employed, except where there is no viable alternative.
The Schenectady streets have many old beautiful trees which took years or centuries to grow. The city should not be able to remove them merely to repair a sidewalk and homeowners should not be able to have them removed for frivolous reasons.
There should be no excuse to cut down a healthy tree because it causes litter to the homeowner. Trees not only bring shade to our homes but beauty to our landscape.
I remember many years ago when North Street had many beautiful large healthy trees that were cut down. The street has some small trees which will never replace the huge trees. The street looks naked without those gorgeous trees.
North Ferry Street was so beautiful with their large trees but they were all cut down to replace the sidewalks. Fortunately, St. George’s Church property has some gorgeous, huge trees.
Walking on Washington Avenue, it is a delight that the large trees were not eliminated because of the outcry of the residents there. I would rather “watch my step” on uneven sidewalks than walk down a street without the shade and beauty of those large trees.
Both the Historic District Commission and the Planning Commission may initiate a study or make recommendations for new policy, laws or regulations and it should do so, even if not specifically requested by the mayor or City Council.
If you would like to preserve our Schenectady trees, email Chuck Thorne at Cthorne@schenectadyny.gov and he will distribute your letter to the mayor and City Council on your behalf. Or write: Chuck Thorne, City Clerk at City Hall, Jay Street, Schenectady, NY. 12305.
Public hearing on refusing body search
The Albany County Legislature has recently introduced “Local Law E for 2016” which will potentially affect not only citizens of Albany County, but alsor passengers from the entire area who choose to fly from the Albany International Airport. The law is being co-sponsored by Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso and Republican Minority Leader Frank Mauriello.
This proposal is intended to be a model plan for other airports. “This is a bipartisan, commonsense plan that will strengthen security at Albany International Airport by discouraging those who wish to harm us from coming here in the first place,” according to Commisso.
In short, the law proposes that if an airline passenger is pulled aside for a TSA [Transportation Security Administration] body search, and the passenger decides that rather than being searched, they would prefer not to fly, Albany County law enforcement will have the right to arrest and handcuff the person, impose a fine of up to $1,000 and imprison the “violator” for up to one year.
I believe that the implications of this potential law are far-reaching and dangerous.
Should this proposed law be implemented, consider the effect it could have on a “normal-looking” autistic person who could react negatively to being touched or others with mental health issues. Consider that a survivor of rape may well be re-traumatized by a body search.
Consider the effect on survivors of domestic abuse and the effect on pubescent children. Consider how a visitor from another country with limited English proficiency may be traumatized by a body search. Consider how a transgender person who is in the midst of transformation surgery may react to an invasion of their privacy.
This proposed legislation will surely not make us safer from a possible terrorist attack. There will be a public hearing at the Albany County Courthouse on May 24, at 7:15 p.m. Prior to this hearing, please voice your disapproval of this law to Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Sheriff Craig Apple as well as Frank Commisso and Frank Mauriello.
The writer is a national board member of The Interfaith Alliance, Washington, D.C.
Teens’ quick thinking helped to avoid tragedy
I want to thank and praise two teenage boys. While I was walking with my dog recently on the Zim Smith Trail that ends in the village of Ballston Spa, they cared enough and took the time to warn me that police were searching for someone in the area.
My dog was staring into the woods, and I could hear crashing sounds. The boys came by on bicycles, and I jokingly said “it’s a person, not a bear.” They came back after passing by and told me about the lockdown at their school and that there had been a police helicopter in the area, as well as a police car going along the trail just a short time before.
While standing there with me, they, too, saw the man running through the woods. One boy pulled out his cell phone and called 911 to report what we saw. Within minutes, the man was apprehended. Thanks to those boys, I was not in the middle of this.
I hate to criticize law enforcement because I know they have a very difficult job, but I wonder why they let people use the trail when they believed the man to be in that area. There were quite a few bicyclists and another woman walking that day.