Bail reforms make New Yorkers unsafe
Everyone is shaking their heads over the new criminal justice standards for New York. Certainly, with the people we have now in the state Legislature with our feckless governor and mayor of New York, citizens are now in fear. No bail, no jail, no crime. Feel free to strike anyone who annoys you. Feel free to steal anything you want. Feel free to rob banks. Feel free to not spend any time in jail, pay any penalty and go about your wrongful life.
Am I the only one who sees a similarity to Nazi Germany in the early 30s? — crimes against people and in those cases encouraged by the government. I am sure from their misguided actions, de Blasio and Cuomo would love their own brown shirts.
Jaquith shouldn’t be on multiple boards
In Niskayuna, we will have a town board member serving on three boards: the town, school and the IDA. In 2019, The Gazette had an editorial questioning the wisdom of being on both the town and school boards. I also question this, and I believe that Ms. Jaquith is exercising very poor judgment.
While on the school board, she supported a five-year contract for the superintendent, giving him a salary over $200,000. He has no residency requirement, commuting from Herkimer. This was another poor decision.
Also, she never informed the voters that it was her intent to remain on the school board.
Transparency does not appear to be her main priority. She cites that it is legal despite the fact that being legal doesn’t mean ethical.
There are enough examples of this throughout history. In my opinion, this is simply political greed. The town and taxpayers will not be served well by this decision.
Observe disrespect violence in schools
Kudos to Theresa Doty.
Her Jan. 5 letter (“Need major effort to stop school violence”) thankfully addressed the unruliness that has existed in the hallways of Schenectady High School.
Definitely address all gang-related issues. However, I think the violent and disrespectful behaviors that have occurred are the real culprits in the high school.
I implore every school board member to conduct unannounced visits to the school and just walk the halls. I’m sure you will see what Theresa Doty’s children and others see who attend these schools. I would hope the school board members will listen carefully to parents like Theresa Doty and observe for themselves the behaviors that exist in the halls of Schenectady High School.
Schenectady must fix broken sidewalks
All this talk about sidewalks not being cleared after a snowfall, as I understand, is the responsibility of the homeowner. But whose responsibility is it for those ghost houses and rental units?
The biggest problem we have in our neighborhood is the sidewalks themselves. They are uneven, broken and a hazard to walk on to begin with. When is Schenectady going to fix them so people can actually use them?
Right now, it is almost impossible to push a stroller on the sidewalk. If it doesn’t wake the baby, the stroller wheels get caught on the uneven edges. It is time for Schenectady to do something about the sidewalks so they are usable.
To patients, families: Rally for St. Clare’s
The New Year is here. Time for the supporters of the St Clare’s pensioners to stand up, shout out, get angry and be heard.
As former caregivers at your now-lost community hospital, we deserve what we were promised and what we are owed.
We call on those whose families we cared for from birth through death to stand beside us. Please make your voices heard in our support. Please call or write your local lawmakers and the Catholic Diocese and demand to be heard on our behalf.
We cared for you and yours now please care for us. Every voice counts. Thank you.
Question U.S. rank on healthcare lists
Don Steiner wrote in the Jan. 3 Gazette an interesting letter on the sustainability of our healthcare system. He pointed out rightly that administrative costs, cost of drugs, defensive medicine, and wages and staffing are driving up healthcare costs everywhere.
Few people would take issue with any of those points.
However, in his next to last paragraph, he indicated that the World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in healthcare and the Commonwealth Fund placed the United States last among the top 11 industrial countries in overall healthcare.
I believe most Americans would be hard-pressed to name 36 countries, never mind 36 with better healthcare than the United States.
Even the ranking of 11th in industrialized countries by The Commonwealth Fund seems questionable. There are a few, but what country would you pick to provide your healthcare?
Gerard F. Havasy
Return Lady Liberty to her historic home
First, I want to say that I agree with James A. Wilson’s Jan. 1 letter (“Put Lady Liberty back where she belongs.”) It’s called Liberty Park for several reasons.
The statue was there first for 50 years. Hmm, no respect for the original monument dedication. How do you explain to your grandchildren that what once was a historical site has no more meaning or room there for her anymore in the new colorful park?
I do love the new, improved park. But I’m still looking for the Lady that intrigued my interest in exploring the history. Now that history and interest is gone.
The new place where she lies is disgraceful, sad, no color, no meaning, and not real safe to explore with children. It was just put there to save face. Mayor McCarthy, you have done wrong by your constituents who have asked for it to be put back in its original place.
Colleen K. Lodge
We must stand up to hate in all its forms
In light of the recent anti-Semitic attacks across the county, we stand against hate. And we remind each other that “never again” is now.
Sometimes, hate is clear. Hate is burning a cross or attacking a synagogue. Hate is separating families or locking children in cages. Hate is mass incarceration or voter suppression. In fact, it’s easy to be against these kinds of hate.
But hate is bigger than all that, because it’s so much smaller.
Hate is the small bits of bigotry and intolerance that we all see every day. There is hate in the names that we call each other when we are mad. There is hate in telling an inappropriate joke. Or not saying anything when you hear one.
There is hate in spreading gossip about a neighbor, an enemy or a political candidate. There is hate in inflammatory postcards and divisive lawn signs that come out two days before an election.
Hate isn’t just the big stuff. It’s also the small stuff.
Hate is destroying our community. We must all take stock of our thoughts and actions. We must call out hate in all its forms. And take responsibility to stop it.
Know what goes into the products you buy
We can all fight climate change one step at a time. First, we can commit to buy less, reduce, reuse and recycle. And when we do buy items, we can do the research and buy products that are environmentally safe for our homes and the planet.
Recently I needed to replace a rug in my home. Having had an allergic reaction to synthetic carpet in the past, I was determined to avoid purchasing anything that would adversely affect the air quality where I live, and I wanted a Fair Trade item. I began by exploring natural fibers such as wool, sisal, jute, seagrass and organic cotton. I learned that while selecting a natural fiber was a good start, it was also imperative to know if the dye was plant-based and what chemicals (if any) were used in the production process. Chemicals that are stain-resistant, fireproof, etc., can be toxic for years to come. Some of this information can be found in the product description.
Another concern was the carpet backing. I wanted to avoid petroleum-based backing. I found that backings of hemp, cotton or natural latex were all options. If you need a rug pad, avoid the synthetic products and choose natural pads.
Websites such as Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), OEKO-TEX, and GREENGUARD Gold Certification and ecologycenter.org are invaluable. The GOTS site addresses Fair Trade issues too.
Natural products are sometimes more expensive, but there are deals to be found if you look for them.
Tonko doesn’t care about military vets
Regarding Bill Shapiro’s Jan. 3 letter (“Tonko works hard to protect environment”) praising Paul Tonko: How much did he pay you for writing this letter? Tonko is a liberal Democrat who will sit down with undocumented immigrants and says he will help them, but he will not sit with me and help me personally with my problem with the VA hospital. I am a 100% disabled World War II veteran.
You said he went to college at Clarkson University. Well, he had better go back, because he has not learned the difference between American veterans and undocumented immigrants. Anyone who praises and supports him is not a good American. Remember that on Election Day.
Do all we can to build up teacher diversity
The state Education Department’s recent report on teacher diversity (“State education report draws sharp focus on lagging teacher diversity in state”, Jan. 6) was hardly shocking.
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has been engaging with educators around the state to not just identify root causes of this issue, but also to find solutions.
Education policymakers must first consider how current education policies affect students’ school experiences. For example, when a state test mislabels an 8-year-old child as failing, that sends the wrong message about why working in a school as an adult will be positive.
Next, to create a pipeline of teachers of color, expanding the state programs focused on diversifying college teacher prep programs and addressing student debt is key.
For those pursuing teaching, mentorship is crucial, particularly for teachers of color. We see higher rates of attrition and burnout among teachers of color than for white teachers, with 22% leaving the profession. Expanding the state’s Mentor Teacher Internship Program is one step toward addressing that issue.
Mentoring that helps all early-career educators identify systemic injustice, an issue that strikes to the heart of the school experience issue, also is important. NYSUT, through a National Education Association grant, has established a mentoring program in Schenectady and Amsterdam to help these teachers be more mindful of bias and start addressing it.
As New York faces a teacher shortage across the board, any way we can improve rates of diversity is a boon to tackling the shortage as a whole.
Jolene T. DiBrango
The writer is executive vice president of New York State United Teachers.
Priesthood demands personal sacrifices
The priesthood exists as proof that Christ is the Word incarnate.
Though every vocation is a calling to emanate Jesus’ teachings, the ordained are tasked with answering the spiritual needs of His flock.
This duty is incompatible with commercial, professional or personal pursuits and instead requires a life of prayer, poverty and abstinence.
Recognizing this, Jesus told Peter to first set aside his net (Mt 4:19), then to lay down his sword (Mt 26:52), and finally to tend his flock (Jn 21:16). Peter’s yes to his closest friend was a sacrifice of his personal wants and an embrace of his God-given potential.
Oftentimes, the secularization of the church hinders its ability to minister to the faithful. We see this in the competition among parishes, clergy posturing to be bishop, and a preoccupation with institutional approaches. Past evidence dating back 1,000 years included married priests whose children would inherit church property, a practice that ended acceptance of married priests.
Today, Pope Francis’ desire to renege on that reversal rests on the current shortage of priests, especially in the Amazon and Pacific islands. The term “shortage” arbitrarily refers to the distribution of parishes and availability of sacraments. This inevitably leads to the fallacy of recruiting priests or loosening the requirements instead of working towards a culture of discernment. People could then live authentic lives according to their respective callings.
Find money to fix Stryker Rd. in Gilboa
Gov. Cuomo, I see in recent weeks you are able to come up with millions of dollars for miscellaneous projects in New York. How about looking at rebuilding Stryker Road in the town of Gilboa that was washed away back in 2011 by Hurricane Irene?
FEMA denied rebuilding it for approximately $8 million but approved the building of a covered bridge nearby in the town of Blenheim for approximately $7 million.
There are many local people and campers that are must follow detours because FEMA dropped the ball on this project. Please look into this project and maybe New York can be the hero for fixing the road.
Liberty statue serves as civic inspiration
To say I’m displeased with the long-in-coming relegation of our Lady Liberty to the corner of Erie Boulevard and Union Street is an understatement.
It’s an attempt to appease that was not obviously, in my opinion, given much thought. The location is downright obnoxious for the reasons stated in the Aug. 30 Daily Gazette editorial and by several other writers to the editor.
We should honor our heritage not relegate it to the trash bin of history. Our local, state and national symbols, supporting what it means to be an aspirational and active American citizen, need to be honored as well as displayed respectfully.
As our National Lady Liberty, in New York Harbor, stands at the Gateway to America, so should our communities Lady stand restored to our Gateway Park, aka Liberty Park, the Gateway to our county seat.
The city and county of Schenectady have a long and storied history starting in the 1600s. Schenectady was built and is still populated by generations of immigrants who are “Americans.”
Lady Liberty is a silent sentinel with a big message: “Liberty must be continually nurtured in every generation so as to keep it front and center – we ignore it at our peril.”
I was there as a young Boy Scout at our Lady’s dedication. I was learning about what it means to be a citizen, a significant step in my citizenship education.
On many occasions, over many years, I have spoken about it with pride to my fellow citizens, young and old alike.
Lance R. Jackson