Gillibrand office not open to protesters
On March 28, five citizens tried to address the situation of migrant children being separated from their families when they come to the United States requesting asylum. This is our experience in attempting to work with our government.
We tried twice to set up a meeting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to ask what was being done to stop this. We never received a return call. We went to the Leo O’Brien federal building to ask in person to meet with her staff.
Because we did not have an appointment, for "safety reasons" we were not allowed up to Gillibrand’s office, even though we had just gone through the security checkpoint.
A staff member spoke with us in the lobby. She assured us that Gillibrand was indeed as concerned with this issue "as if these were her own children." She promised to contact us. None of us have heard back from her.
When four of us refused to leave, we were arrested and charged with a violation.
We were sent notices to appear on May 14 at the federal courthouse. The notices were postmarked April 15. When we arrived, court personnel informed us that there were no court proceedings for that day; the case had been dismissed on April 9.
None of us was notified, including our attorney, who had been in contact twice with the court. This is the "right of the people to peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances" in our government today.
Take advantage of programs for seniors
As a senior, aged 97, living alone, I have found comfort and companionship in senior lunch programs. Jewish Community Center, Catholic Charities on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, with food at the J.C.C. and bus transportation by Catholic Charities. These are both offered at reasonable cost for a round-trip ride, door to door. Members who live with family or an aide are welcome to bring them.
Also, there’s an excellent lunch program at the Niskayuna Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with bus rides by the town of Niskayuna. Most of the program activities are similar at those sites and include physical exercise, Bridge, Mah Jong, theater, day trips, museum trips and more.
Seniors, please join us to change your surroundings, make new friends and socialize with women and men in similar situations.
Lay off the iPad and cell phone for awhile and have fun with your peers in an enjoyable atmosphere.
Editor’s note: For a full listing of senior activities see The Daily Gazette Saturday edition.
Women should have the right to choose
With all these states passing legislation to limit or ban abortions, all women should be worried what other restrictions the governments will be putting on what women do.
The focus is on women having an abortion. But what the focus should be on is a woman’s right to choose. As a woman, I want the ability to say, "I’m going to have this child. I want any medical procedure that will ensure this child is born healthy."
Or : "I will have this child and since I don’t feel I can care for it and bring it up the way it deserves, I will give him or her up for adoption."
Or: "I chose to terminate this pregnancy."
Having the ability to choose allows a woman to make a decision based on her needs and her beliefs. Any woman in this situation should be given all the options, all the consequences.
Those passing these laws do not know a woman’s circumstances. These laws are a giant step backwards in women’s rights.
Put the focus back on a woman’s right to choose.
OTB rewards casino at expense of others
A recent article, "OTB to offer better payout at Casino," explained how the casino gained special demonstration project status and thus could waive the 5 percent surcharge that is collected on winnings at other OTB parlors and outlets.
Outlets, by the way, are non-OTB parlors such as bars that have OTB betting machines on premises. It stimulates business for these local establishments and helps them survive.
The one that comes to my mind immediately is Boulevard Bowl, located on Erie Boulevard, a mere half mile down the road from the casino. I understand that its three OTB horse betting machines generate enough revenue to make it one of the area’s largest non-OTB parlors in operation.
Other than being punitive in nature, I don’t understand the thinking of OTB officials. Why would they want to penalize a local business, one that has supported OTB for years, just because it’s down the road from the casino?
In fact, why would they want to penalize any of the other non-parlors either?
Modify tax system to promote equality
It may not come as a surprise to find out that racial inequality is a major issue in this country. However, it’s to some degree even worse in the Capital Region than in the country as a whole.
For instance, 69 percent of white people living in the Capital Region own a house, while only 27 percent of African-Americans do.
Considering the fact that on a national scale, 48 percent of African-Americans own a house, it seems clear that the situation is already worse here. Many of the African-Americans living here don’t have access to as nearly as many opportunities as Caucasians or Asians do.
One of the underlying reasons behind these disparities is the quality of education each community receives.
School districts that consist of a population that has more disposable income will generally receive more funding than those in areas with poorer populations. As a result, you end up with drastic differences in the quality of education given to young students.
One of the most effective ways to provide more equal educational opportunities is to reorganize our tax system so that there is equal funding of education across the entire region.
This will offer better opportunities for those growing up in the lower-income communities in this region and improve equality amongst races.
Use fair trade deal to support FEMA efforts
All relationships are built on the foundation of compromise. Happily married couples will confirm this fact.
However, we are now engaged in another dubious bully pulpit.
The current presidential administration needs to negotiate a compromise trade deal with China that will ultimately benefit both nations.
Our legislative body should collectively put its shoulders to the wheel and place that pot of trade savings into the inundated FEMA budget. FEMA is dealing with historical flooding, wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes nationwide.
Help those devastated communities and individuals most in need.
Schoharie holds on to too much tax money
Why is the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors seemingly so unconcerned that County Administrator Steve Wilson has supported charging taxpayers millions more in property taxes than is needed to fund county government operations?
As county treasurer, I recently issued a report that revealed that Wilson has been increasing tax rates while at the same time accumulating an unwarranted, bloated fund balance.
Given our $80 million annual budget, the appropriate amount for Schoharie County to have in reserve is $10 million. That target threshold meets the state comptroller guidelines and has been sanctioned by numerous independent audits during my 24 years in office.
But Wilson has surreptitiously squirreled away millions more than is necessary.
By steadily raising tax rates, Wilson has now amassed a $20 million hoard of taxpayer money, with no plan in place as to how it should be used.
In a brazen attempt to defend himself against my charges of poor fiscal management, Wilson hijacked the contents of my financial analysis as his own.
With a straight face and a few misleading PowerPoint slides, he recently tried to convince the Board of Supervisors that the county actually needs even more money socked away. Incredibly, he implied that a fund balance of $40 million might be perfectly reasonable.
No supervisor cared enough to publicly question Wilson’s logic or to investigate further.
As county treasurer, I have always been a strong advocate for adequate, but not excessive, reserves. The latter is an unnecessary and irresponsible burden on taxpayers.
The writer is the Schoharie County Treasurer.
Grateful for care from Ellis Hospital CI floor
I want to thank Ellis Hospital, the CI Floor, for taking such good care of me during the Easter week.
The three shifts of nurses, both women and young men, were always in my room when I rang. They said I was part of the family and it made me feel special. I’m home with my family now.
Thank you all for such special care.
Writer got Mother Jones review correct
Kudos to Bill Buell on his writeup of "Mother Jones In Heaven."
His piece in the May 16 Ticket accurately described the quality musical that was performed at the Cohoes Music Hall by Vivian Nesbitt that evening. It accurately portrayed the story of Mother Jones, whom one judge tabbed, "the most dangerous woman in America."
Carol and Steve Zahurak
Newborns surviving abortions deserve care
The highest levels of government and greatest legal minds debate the far=reaching ramifications of our New York Reproductive Health Act.
The Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House repeatedly vote down legislation that would require doctors to provide medical care to babies born alive after botched abortion.
The Democratic Party at the state and national levels coordinate efforts to deny medical care to these newborns. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act repealed New York Public Health Law section 4164 that specifically required doctors to provide medical care to newborn babies who survive abortion. The former law stated: "When an abortion is to be performed after the twentieth week of pregnancy, a physician other than the physician performing the abortion shall be in attendance to take control of and to provide immediate medical care for any live birth that is the result of the abortion."
Gov. Cuomo effectively deleted this law. New York no longer requires doctors to provide basic medical care for newborns who survive abortion. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would support this measure. Why remove laws protecting abortion survivors? What is their motive?
The cold truth is that Democrats want every abortion guaranteed. Whether the baby is killed in utero by successful abortion, or taken out of the mother and denied medical care, the abortionist will complete the job. We, as Americans, have sunk to a new level of depravity. We must demand Cuomo protect all newborns and change this law.
Find alternatives to landfilling our junk
Once or twice a year, residents of Scotia-Glenville put their unwanted items on the curb. Much of it truly is garbage. But a lot of it is useful, such as furniture, kitchenware, clothing, shoes, blankets and books, all in decent condition, just no longer wanted by the resident.
For some years, many of the usable items are picked up and brought to new homes. In other years, the weather does not cooperate, and our neighborhoods are littered with once-perfectly good items that are warping, rotting and molding, and now unusable by anyone.
Many of us worry about climate change and do our best to recycle. But we don’t often consider the effects of ‘big garbage day,’ other than the relief of finally clearing out the basement.
Yet, I think we can do better. For example, the town and village boards could coordinate a ‘swap meet’ day, like the village coordinates the village-wide garage sale. It would require more effort and commitment than hauling things out to the curb, but it is an idea worth talking about.
I suggest this not because our neighborhoods become unsightly for a period of time, and not only because our friends and neighbors may need our usable discards. That wet and warped chest of drawers cannot be recycled; it will go to a landfill. But that cannot be counted on. We are looking at a landfill crisis in the not-too-distant future. The last municipal landfill on Long Island will close when it reaches capacity in 2024. There will not be a new one. Where will all the garbage go?
Honor contributions of scientists as well
The juxtaposition of the articles on Madison VanDenburg and Bob King on page E1 of the May 19 Sunday Gazette brings to mind a powerful message I heard from the speakers at the Science Talent Search finals banquet sponsored by Regeneron in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
The gist of the message was that as much as we applaud and enjoy the performances of young students like Ms. VanDenburg, the real superstars of the next generation will be the students of science who will go on to solve great problems the world faces today. Many like Bob King did not enjoy the celebrity of the great performers of their generation, but their contributions to society will continue well into the future.
In a day when science is questioned or ignored both by our political leaders and some citizens, it’s important for all to remember the benefits we enjoy because of the work of scientists of all disciplines of the past. And it’s important we honor those young scientists in our schools today who will become the scientists, doctors and engineers who contribute to the betterment of humankind in the future.
My special thanks to all at Regeneron for providing the opportunity for me to attend the Science Talent Search awards banquet this year, albeit by lucky coincidence and a thoughtful son.
Madigan has the best experience for Finance
Want to know who to support for Saratoga Springs city finance commissioner in the June 25 Democratic primary? Simply decide on who you can trust to keep Saratoga Springs financially healthy and a great place to live.
Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan has seven-plus years of experience proving she can: develop and manage a $48 million general operating budget, a daunting task for a financial neophyte; manage several other city budgets; increase rainy-day reserves by another $1.2 million just this year; save over $300,000 yearly by negotiating health care costs (without reducing benefits to our city employees); increase already-high bond ratings by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s; work with all of our elected officials to smartly allocate funds to deliver needed city services; and keep our taxes level for her eight budgets after years of increases under previous commissioners of finance.
Let’s not risk the city’s financial well-being by giving this pivotal responsibility over to an inexperienced financial newcomer.
Let’s be smart and let’s be safe. On June 25, vote in the Democratic primary to keep Commissioner Madigan at the financial helm of our city.
Scotia needs to crack down on business
The weather is finally warming. My wife and I would now like to open our sunroom windows or sit on our front porch in relative peace. Unfortunately this isn’t possible most days.
It seems our neighbor is allowed by the village to operate a yard-care and equipment-repair business from his garage. So virtually every day including Sundays, we are subjected to equipment motors running, the rattling of a commercial-size trailers coming and going several times a day, as well as other businesses’ equipment being dropped off and picked up. No days off on Riverside Avenue.
I have written letters of complaint to several village officers, including the mayor, regarding this issue. To date, no action has been taken.
It was suggested that we petition other neighbors to possibly have some action taken. I found this to be an unreasonable requirement. As a resident of a neighborhood zoned for residential use only, I have reported this. It seems that the village should now enforce its own zoning restrictions.
So with the village of Scotia unable or unwilling to enforce its zoning and with an arrogance of knowing nothing will be done, the business continues and our windows remain closed.