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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Aug. 24

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Aug. 24

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Where is outrage over police actions? 

Where is the outrage? I saw two pictures on the local news that should shame us all.
In Galveston, Texas, a black man with handcuffs behind his back was attached to a rope on each wrist held by two officers on horseback, who were leading him down a road.
In Troy, two policemen were on top of a man who was on the ground and a third officer with a police dog picked up the dog and set it on the man on the ground. It was then said the dog bit the man.
Peg Lapo
Delanson


‘Dangerousness’ in bail is discriminatory

Let’s set the facts straight: New York’s bail law has never included “dangerousness” and for good reason. (Editorial: Fix bail laws to give judges more discretion with violent offenders). “Dangerousness” measures have been proven to openly discriminate against black and brown defendants. 
They present the false promise that judges can accurately predict whether a person will commit a crime in the future based upon simple accusations when the evidence shows that they can’t. 
In 1969, when New York’s current bail law was being negotiated, the Legislature specifically rejected adding dangerousness to the statute based on concern that such determinations would be too speculative and would disproportionately harm low-income communities of color. The same is true today.
Adding “dangerousness” to New York’s bail statute would invite judges to indulge negative racial stereotypes about who is “dangerous,” which is why advocates, legal experts and elected leaders rightfully fought to keep it out of the new bail law.
A 2008 study found that black defendants with more than one prior conviction are 28 percent more likely to be considered “dangerous” than white defendants with similar records. The author concluded that “assessments of dangerousness and culpability are linked to race and ethnicity, even after offense seriousness and prior record are controlled.”
Bail isn’t a tool for incarceration, nor was it ever meant to be. 
The goal of bail reform is to end mass jailing and create a more equitable pretrial system. The new bail law is an important step toward that vision.
Clyanna Lightbourn
Troy


Outrage over racism raises questions

In regard to Gerard Havasy’s August 16 letter (“Not everyone who disagrees is a racist”) about the people he grew up with who did not like people of color and President Trump all not being racists: to paraphrase William Shakespeare “Me thinks the gentleman doth protest too much.”
Lyn Kucij
Schenectady


St. Clare’s workers just want fair share

On Aug. 8, I called into the Paul Vandenburgh radio program. 
I felt that as co-chair of the St. Clare’s Pensioners Committee, I had to set the record straight. 
Paul said that he felt that the pensioners would readily take money from the state to fund their pension. He stated that the governor was only saying that he did not know anything about our issues. It sounded like Paul was supporting the governor and that hurt. We are 1,100-plus good, hardworking people who were guaranteed our pension in writing by St. Clare’s Hospital in Prudential letterhead every single year. 
We don’t know what happened and we are definitely not looking for a “handout.” We are asking for help from the bishop and the governor as our leaders. Thank God for Letitia James, the new state attorney general. Her forensic investigation will reveal the real story. I only hope it is soon.
Mary Hartshorne 
Ballston Lake

 

Doubt all church sex abuse claims are legit

We are off to the races folks, and the finish line is the coffers of the Roman Catholic Church.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislation virtually removing the time limit on filing claims of childhood sexual abuse, while well-intentioned, has opened the floodgates making anyone in a Roman collar fair game for a lawsuit and hence a monetary award for the accuser.
And, playing into this fiasco, the proliferation of ads featuring law firms licensed to practice in New York (quite obviously looking to make a handsome fee) has become a disgrace to the profession.
While Cuomo’s law has given an opportunity for many victims who had been afraid for decades to finally come forward and get the justice they so rightfully deserve, the sheer numbers and the list of clergy that seems to grow each day makes one question the veracity of some allegations.
It seems that anyone who has ever been in a Catholic church, school, rectory, camp or any edifice, enterprise or activity that was even tangentially a part of the Catholic Church has already declared or will soon reveal that a priest, deacon or brother abused them. 
While I’m positively, absolutely,certain there are legitimate complaints, as someone who spent his entire childhood, adolescence and adulthood immersed in the church and its institutions, I am equally, positively, absolutely, certain that abuse was not universal. 
Frank J. Ciervo
Niskayuna


State must address health care taxes/fees

A recent letter to the editor in The Gazette wrote about a 2002 initiated 6.8 percent “luxury tax” on the costs to be a nursing home patient. With rates that reach $15,000 per month, this extra tax is an obscene affront to the ailing and elderly.
I wrote to my state senator and assemblywoman many months ago about an extra New York tax/surcharge on my medical bills for necessary surgery, stating that I was appalled that patients would be considered a target for the state to rake in more revenue.
Do state politicians see something here that needs repealing? 
Let’s have our legislators move on from feel-good photo opportunities and get to some really important legislative activity. Years ago, Sen, Jim Tedisco (then assemblyman) had alleged that the state had a spending problem, which he then watered down to a “spending-priority” problem to appease liberals in the district. Well, New York simply has a spending problem, amplified by high-taxed residents moving out to more efficiently run states. 
For a start, I and many others would love to see something done about these health care taxes/fees/surcharges. They should be gone.
Christine DeMaria
Clifton Park


Seniors can’t afford school tax burden 

I need to opt-out from paying my school taxes.
We are in our 70s on a very limited income. We try to live on Social Security and minimal pensions. I no longer can afford to pay for six-figure salaries, health and retirement benefits unheard of by many seniors.
The latest last straw has been to hear people cashing in on thousands of dollars of unused sick time. 
This is a vacation fund paid for by my tax dollars that I could use for my own health care costs and other monthly expenses. 
Each month, I must set aside money from my Social Security income to be sure I will have funds to pay taxes in September. I have been paying taxes for over 50 years and I feel I have done my part. I no longer can subsidize the ever-rising cost each year. I’m sure I speak for many seniors. 
Paul St. Onge
Charlton


We need reasonable  gun control policies

Dr. L. Barlyn’s August 14 letter ( “Media Coverage Spurs More Violence”), was a reasoned, sensible response to the hysteria which occurs after each tragic episode of gun violence. But I disagreed with his gun control solutions.
Panicked people run around like chickens with their heads chopped off demanding our pandering politicians do “something,” even if that “something” might be totally ineffective in reducing gun violence or even worsen the problem. 
Greatly diminishing rights of law-abiding gun owners is a worthless non-solution that our enemies must cheer. Gun registries should only contain the identities of people who should not own guns, similar to the “no fly” terrorist watch list. 
Gun registries that  reveal names of legal gun owners/buyers should be abolished; any such registry would be of great use to an enemy in the event (God forbid) of an attempted take-over. 
If these grieving, frightened people were familiar with world history, they would know that disarmed societies have wound up like sheep to be shorn and were enslaved or annihilated.
History is replete with examples: Stalin’s Russia, 3 million-10 million; Cambodia’s killing fields; Rwanda; etc. For those too lazy to study history, watch “The Magnificent Seven” on TCM. For those who think, “It can never happen here,” just look around at this beautiful, rich-in-natural-resources country and know there are tyrants (foreign and domestic) who would unleash a bloodbath to possess it. 
Fortunately, we have many courageous citizens, still armed with 300 million guns, who would make a tyrant think twice. 
Shelda Roerig
Ballston Lake


Don’t let Trump gut EPA’s protections

For much of the past year, drivers in Saratoga Springs had to detour around a construction site at the intersection of Excelsior and High Rock Avenues.
What looked like the expansion of a church parking lot and a little municipal groundskeeping was in fact a project to clean up polluted soil at the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Superfund site.
Federal Superfund sites are areas contaminated by toxic waste that the Environmental Protection Agency has designated top priorities for cleanup. There are dozens of federal Superfund sites in New York and two dozen more that have been successfully remediated and removed from the list of national priorities.
The Superfund program is only one way in which the EPA makes New York a safer and healthier place to live, and only one of many programs that are at risk under the Trump administration.
The White House has proposed a budget for 2020 that docks the Superfund budget by $116 million. 
The proposal also includes a vast array of cuts to the EPA that will make it easier for polluters to release toxic chemicals into our environment and harder for federal and state governments to hold them to account. 
With the upcoming budget negotiations, our senators have an opportunity to reject the president’s vision of a future in which industries are free to pollute with impunity. They can build, instead, an EPA that will outlast the current administration and continue to protect our communities far into the future.
Maude Emerson
Saratoga Springs


Don’t punish children who are unvaccinated 

I’m extremely disappointed in your Aug. 17 editorial calling for the house arrest of unvaccinated children. Who should be in charge of enforcing this? Will this be an expansion of police duties or a special officer from DOH? Do you suggest a new law where all children need to wear a badge stating their vaccination status? Why stop with children? Shouldn’t all people be required to carry their papers at all times? After all, plenty of adults are not up to date. Where does that end? 
Perhaps a better solution is to question school-aged children out and about during school hours. 
This would include home-schooled children who are vaccinated, but it’s all for a good cause as long as we target, harass, and bully unvaccinated children until they are afraid to leave their homes.
Do you see where this can lead? 
Think what you will about the parents making these decisions. Children will pay the price of the hysteria being stoked.
If this crisis were solely about measles, why is the entire vaccine schedule being enforced? Why not just a measles shot, separate from mumps and rubella? Why are students required to be vaccinated against hepatitis B, a blood-borne pathogen, if the problem is measles? 
Please consider the implications of vilifying unvaccinated children. 
Those who had religious exemptions represent less than 1 percent of the population, but editorials like yours would have people looking at all children as potential walking biohazards. Who does this constant fear serve? Certainly not the children.
Bronwyn Fackrell
Glenville


Epstein had wealth but had lost his soul

What a deplorable situation.
Jeffrey Epstein was a billionaire and he could have put his money to good use emulating Bill Gates.
I wish he had three sensible friends:
One psychiatrist who could have found the cause of seeking happiness through sex trafficking. 
Another doctor friend, who could have tested his hormonal levels, especially testosterone, and treated it to adjust them from bad to good. 
And a third friend, a pastor, who could have helped him to seek spiritual guidance.
What’s the use of winning the whole world and to lose the soul? He has taught a good lesson to boys and young men how to conduct themselves decently and not to become a prey to the devil, but to follow God’s principals.
Dr. Mercy Premseger
Glenville
 

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