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Council, not city hall, need updating
The lightning strike on Saratoga Springs City Hall this August has certainly made a mess of things in our city’s historic landmark (Gazette Nov. 28).  But it’s nothing like the leadership mess that has been created by the incumbent City Council.
The council’s prize creation this year was a package of changes to the City Charter that were resoundingly rejected by the voters on Nov. 7. The package would have preserved the basics of the dysfunctional elected commissioner system and added two members to the council as non-administrative watchers. The “Charter Commission” that drew up the package was comprised entirely of elected commissioners and their political appointees. 
To their credit, the voters saw through the political insider trading. 
Now, the council has followed this exhibit of self-dealing with a binge of impulse buying to kick off the holiday season: an $11 million renovation of City Hall.
The expense will be covered by only $4 million from insurance for the lightning damage, thus requiring $7 million of borrowing.
The borrowing is required because the building appears to have been under-insured, the extensive renovation was not planned and no money was set aside.
How many members of the council, let alone taxpayers, have insured their homes for only one-third of replacement value? 
Seven million dollars of unplanned taxpayer debt will inevitably prevent planned capital projects from moving ahead. 
Which plans for recreation, parks, streets, equipment and traffic safety will be deferred? 
The modernization in City Hall that is most needed is reform of our governmental structure. We need professional management, not impulse government by self-interested politicians. 
Raymond Watkin
Saratoga Springs
The writer was mayor of Saratoga Springs from 1974 to 1980.
 
 
Much more to do for the environment
Thank you for Hugh Nevin’s Nov. 30 letter, “Make an effort to help save the planet.” I agree with him.
I would like to remind people that there are at least a few ways, by reducing the stresses they place on it, that they can “become engaged in restoring the environment.”
Does that restroom use paper towels? Use your hair and face to dry your hands to cut down on your paper towel use.
Do you want fries with that? Use a French fry to stir your coffee. I myself do both of these many times each week.
Anyone can do these and other things. Democrats can do this to save Mother Earth. Republicans can do this to help out businesses.
Yes, please, spread the word of this as well.
Joel Nelson
Schenectady
 
 
Invasion at border must be stopped
This invasion on our border has to be stopped at all costs. 
These people have demonstrated their violence on the Mexican border.
They’re not escaping a violent problem; they are the problem, and they will create more chaos for us. I can’t believe Mexico didn’t take action on its border to turn these people back. This isn’t a humanitarian problem we’re facing; it’s much more than that. 
The Democratic Party is trying to work on our emotions because we always come to the rescue of the poor. Don’t let your emotions get ahead of your brain or we’ll pay dearly in many ways. 
Charity starts at home to take care of your family and make sure that they’re safe and secure. 
In order to preserve our safety and security, we have to abide by the Constitution and the laws of this nation.
These judges who try to defy the president of the United States should be charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting of the immigration law-breakers. 
Governors who have sanctuary cities should be charged. These aren’t covered under our laws or rights because these people weren’t using the proper procedure to get here.
Our president has to draw the line somewhere or we’re going to be overrun with violent people and we’ll lose our sovereignty and rights. We have to get rid of these liberal judges who are appointed and replace them with judges that support our Constitution and our laws.
Claude Rizzicone, Jr.
Schenectady
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