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Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Aug. 22

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Aug. 22

Your Voice

Endangered Species Act must not be cut

I’m writing in support of the Endangered Species Act, and in opposition to efforts by some in Congress and Interior Secretary Bernhardt to weaken it.
As a scientist, I’m concerned about the loss of plants, fish and animals because we need to save as much of our biodiversity as possible if ecological systems on which we depend are to survive. 
Protecting and saving species is essential to ensure that future generations experience the world as we do now. The Endangered Species Act is a safety net for living things with which we share this planet.
Since President Nixon signed the law in 1973, hundreds of species, including the bald eagle and whooping crane, have been saved from disappearing forever, and many more are on their way to recovery. 
In New York, the Endangered Species Act protects the roseate tern, bog turtle and other plants and animals from extinction.
But today, some members of Congress and the administration are attacking the Endangered Species Act to benefit developers and the oil-and-gas and mining industries. Their proposed policies have no scientific basis and would make it harder to protect important habitat for imperiled wildlife. I hope and expect that Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand will vigorously defend the Endangered Species Act.
We have a responsibility to future generations to be good stewards of the natural world and protect endangered species and the special places they call home.
Wally Elton
Saratoga Springs


Charter change will be good for citizens 

 Thank you for calling attention to the citizens’ initiative for charter reform in Saratoga Springs in the Aug. 11 Sunday Gazette.
Our petition effort is demonstrating the growing support for reform here, where an antique form of government has contributed to chronic unsolved problems, self-dealing among elected officials and an inability for democratic norms to provide accountability at the ballot box. 
From 2016-17, I served on the mayoral appointed commission that proposed a City Council to set budgets and policy, with a professional manager to bring order to the executive functions that are now divided among five “stovepipes” each headed by a different elected politician.
The most striking finding we discovered, from a rigorous survey of the city workforce, was that employees were spending 30% - 50% of their time navigating the stovepipes. Confusion and impediments are not the sole experience of everyday taxpayers; even the professionals are stymied by the current form of government. 
That proposal came only 10 votes short of passing, out of more than 9,000 cast. In Saratoga Springs, we are ready for this change.
In the coming 15 months, we will educate and advocate, aiming for wide participation in a November 2020 referendum.
The new proposal features professional, unified management, mayoral leadership, and six City Council wards, so that each of the city’s neighborhoods will feel engaged with the democratic norms of representation and accountability, instead of feeling left out.
That can only be good for our neighborhoods and for the taxpayer.
Gordon Boyd
Saratoga Springs

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