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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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Hope for Garofalo’s to give it a go again
An open letter to Garofalo’s.
As one of your thousands of devoted customers, please know that you are sorely missed. As a devotee, I don’t need to know why, after more than 100 years of incredible service to our community, it became necessary for your family to come to the sad decision to close your store.
But, what I am certain of is that if you are becoming disenchanted with your decision and long for a new beginning for Garofalo’s, perhaps even in a new location, know that all of us out here who miss you terribly would be overjoyed, to say the least.
There are many locations in our fair city that would be delighted to welcome you back. I even have a suggestion for a great new location. Just know that, to be sure, if you do so, we will come. Many thanks.
Livia Carroll

Gov’t not protecting workers’ pensions
I’ve been reading much about the plight of St. Clare’s retirees who have been informed that their “earned” pension payments have been either significantly reduced or terminated. I’m a participant in a defined pension plan as well.
The public deserves an explanation of how these plans work. Defined pension plans are deferred wages. Employers and employees, or their representatives, agree to a reduction in wages to offset the cost of funding their pension benefits. It’s considered a contract. Each plan has different rules that determine how much a participant will earn in retirement based on factors such as years of service, hours worked, contributions, age and so forth. Trustees of the plan have a fiduciary duty to ensure it’s adequately funded and managed.
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual in America’s corrupt financial system for trustees to inform participants that their earned benefits have vanished. The bankrupting of St. Clare’s pension fund isn’t an isolated case, nor will it be the last pension fund to go bust. Laws have been changed weakening protections, making it even easier for employers to renege on pension payments. For example, Obama signed the 2014 omnibus bill that included legislation effectively turning back over 40 years of pension protections, allowing companies to renege on contractually agreed to pension payments retroactively.
In any case, the St. Clare’s pensioners have been ripped off and their hard-”earned” benefits stolen from them. It’s just that simple.
Frank Natalie

Back up criticism by taking in immigrants
All you do-gooders who don’t like President Donald Trump: If he stops this caravan of illegal immigrants (which I know you will go after him for doing), will you pay for their housing, medical expenses and welfare checks just for their votes? Better yet, are you willing to take a bunch of them to live with you in your home? There are over 1 million legal immigrants coming through the legal system. Why not give the legal status to become American citizens to them first? I’m all for people who come into this country legally to become legal citizens. I definitely feel sorry for the children. God help them.
On another subject, Remember Alexander West, the guy that killed the little girl in the boat accident on Lake George in 2016? Well guess what. He’s eligible for parole in four years. He should get life for taking the life of that little girl. I repeat, if you take a life, you should get life in prison.
James Maxfield

Children need to be taught selflessness
To add to Jim Vincent’s Nov. 26 letter, I believe that much of today’s society has little or no respect for themselves or one another. The schools do play a large part in this failure, but what about parents? Don’t they teach, too?
And that teaching begins when children are in diapers. Learn to play with one another and learn to share, even if you really don’t want to. Listen to what others have to say and accept others’ opinions, whether their beliefs are the same as yours or not. Accept the role of the individual trying to guide you in the right direction. And accept the fact that not everything is about you.
Virginia Graney

Support bill to curb carbon emissions
President Trump continues to keep his head in the sand, ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and extreme weather events that are becoming daily news.
Thankfully, a few courageous members of Congress from both parties (two Republicans, three Democrats) joined together on Nov. 27 to introduce new legislation — the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act,” H.R. 7173. This would be an important first step to addressing climate change. This law would put a fee on production of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. It starts low and grows over time.
It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options. The money collected from the carbon fee is distributed as a “dividend” in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. Low- and middle-income households would receive more as a dividend than they spend due to higher energy costs. The government would not keep any of the money from the carbon fee. If you care about the future of our country and our planet, please contact your local representative-elect in Congress (Paul Tonko, Elise Stefanik, Antonio Delgado) and urge their support of this and other measures to reduce carbon emissions in the coming year.
Bryan Swift

TSA agents don’t think way most do
After reading David Harsanyi’s excellent Dec. 2 column regarding the TSA, I can only assume that the tactics used are those that the inspectors who apparently aren’t given much of an interview would use.
Most TSA agents I encountered were brutish, thuggish, ill-mannered and not very bright. To assume a parent would smuggle drugs on a 10-year-old or that a handicapped person would also smuggle drugs belies the fact that most people don’t think in those terms. The agents do, however, because it would be their modus operandi.
Geraldine Krawitz
Saratoga Springs

Can Tonko help St. Clare’s employees?
It’s wonderful to see all the support the beleaguered former employees of St. Clare’s hospital are receiving. Many of our elected officials are doing what they can to remedy the injustice subjected upon the former employees. I do not however, recall Rep. Paul Tonko’s position on the loss of St. Clare’s employees’ pensions. Paul, can you help, too? You are a long-standing elected official of the political party that will soon be in power in the House of Representatives. All help is appreciated.
John Kost

Disappointed by library’s book choice
I followed with interest the vote for “One County, One Book,” held by the Schenectady County Public Library this fall. Having read three of the four nominated books before casting my vote, I was disappointed by the final choice, “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s letter to his son on what it means to be black in America today.
While the subject matter is important and timely, the writing is abstruse enough that it may be difficult for many people to read and understand. “Behold the Dreamers,” about a struggling immigrant family in New York City from Cameroon, would have been equally timely. It’s a much more accessible book, and it would have sparked discussions among a wider array of readers in Schenectady County. I urge people to read both books, but if you are put off by the style of the first, I guarantee you will be rewarded by the second.
Peg Reich

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