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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Feb. 22

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Feb. 22

Your Voice

Trump acts similar to Sen. McCarthy

One of the goals of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) (1938-1975) was to root out communism from our country, a big concern of Americans soon after World War II.
It was assumed that Russia was secretly trying to take over the country by the spreading of communism. Once people were on the list, or blacklisted, their lives were greatly affected, including their employment.  
Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who chaired HUAC, died in 1957.
Now, our president is doing the blacklisting of those who tell the truth about him. People with the integrity to express their thoughts about the president’s actions, in spite of doing their jobs well, are being fired today, in 2020.
The lesson that the “Red Scare” reminded me of was about fair-mindedness and moral rightness.
Our president is perhaps more dangerous to our way of life than Sen. McCarthy was during the days of the “Red Scare.” Our question is, what are we going to do about it?
Sen. Mitt Romney is an example of how Americans could speak out against a person in high office who has the power to undermine the operation of the government as we know it.
Bill Shapiro

Rethink closing of Ellis surgical center

Closing is a benefit? I am very disturbed about the decision that Ellis has made to close the ambulatory surgical center on McClellan Street. This center has been a profitable area for the hospital for the past 12 years.
Hospital administration stated that the closure would better benefit patients and consolidate services. That is what was said about the closure of St. Clare’s, and the people of this area were left hanging for medical care that they depended on. Not to mention the pension fiasco.
Neither Bellevue nor Ellis can accommodate the type and number of procedures that are being performed at this facility. So, what happens? Many of our experienced and highly respected physicians are leaving Schenectady County.
This is just another little publicized healthcare travesty imposed upon the citizens. Who are the watchdogs we need to protect us?
Sandra Sankowski

Politicians putting themselves first

Regarding the Feb. 15 editorial (“Medicaid shift is no solution”) and Mike and Diane Stiles’ letter (“Costly taxation is driving people away”), Schenectady County legislative leader Gary Hughes the other day expressed concerns about the governor’s stance on the county’s taking over Medicaid even more.
Yet, Mr. Hughes and all of his fellow Democratic legislators voted themselves an obscene 35% pay raise for part-time work last December. My former committeewoman on our neighborhood, Stockade Democratic Committee Peggy King, is not property owner-friendly, since she helped to pass this regressive pay raise into law.
It’s people like her throughout New York state that rake it in on the public dole. And the rest of us suffer or flee New York state altogether. The truth hurts, but it hurts those of us who pay for all the social ills that they heap on us expecting more and more all the time. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, forget about giving us more regressive taxes. You pay for it.
Gerald Plante

Amsterdam grateful to Tonko for his help

In response to Peter Struzzi’s Feb. 3 letter (“Tonko votes against helping economy,”) Mr. Struzzi, you were very critical of Amsterdam for no apparent reason and for someone who doesn’t live here, I thought your statements to be unfounded.
“[N]owhere” and “nothing” is how you refer to the parts of our community that surround our nationally acclaimed Mohawk Valley Overlook Bridge. You write, “[i]f you have driven through the city recently, it’s obvious that any positive impact has not been felt.”
Firstly, I hardly expect you to perceive any benefit from the confines of your vehicle. Secondly, you were misinformed that the money earmarked for the MVGO could have been redirected for “more needy projects” in our community.
Mr. Struzzi, I Invite you to visit our waterfront. We will entertain you with endless free live music, festivals, water-skiing shows, bocce, fireworks, cycling, jogging, movies and kayaking, just to name a few.
Dine in our many specialty restaurants, north, south and waterfront dining. Our waterfront enriches our lives, together, with art, history and the sheer magnificence of nature. It does so more and more every summer.
The MVGO has brought our community together like never before, in times of tragedy and joyfulness.
You may not be eternally grateful to Rep. Paul Tonko for his unending commitment to making the lives and communities of his constituents better but together, we in Amsterdam most certainly do and we love him for it.
Pamela Swart
The writer is president of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation

Christianity is alone in its ideology of love

The cultural divide among the East and West represents the breadth of ideas and sentiment among humanity.
Their origins date back thousands of years to a rudimentary way of life, but one nonetheless lacking the distractions and anxieties of modern progressivism.
It was on a mountaintop where Moses encountered the Burning Bush and, in the wilderness, that a voice cried out to prepare the way for the Lord.
Similarly, only through fasting and meditation in seclusion did Eastern monks contrive their philosophies.
It’s been reported that Buddha ate just a single grain of rice daily before proselytizing on his Eight-fold Path. Confucianism and Hinduism similarly taught a spirituality in China and India, respectively, that emphasized an acceptance of one’s place among nature.
Each ideology has been construed to meet the demands of contemporary society, whether it be unfettered (albeit God-given) freedom or a “social harmony” of superficial metrics.
Even the latter’s deeper historical roots are marred by an endless list of seemingly contradictory proverbs centered on personal gain.
But, without any outward orientation, they bear no claim to wisdom. Judaism and Islam also risk narcissistic and hedonistic predispositions toward reward in this life or the next. However, the calculated life of mere success or normalcy is one without love.
Jesus lived a radical life even for his time, not because of his miracles or death, but because he exulted the least of his brethren.
Today, Christianity is the religion that instructs to “love one another as I have loved you.”
Stephen Dansereau

Special veterans’ tax break a slippery slope

The obvious response from many people is going to be in favor of the slight increase in property taxes by giving veterans a reduction in their taxes.
The problem is when taxing authorities single out one group for a tax break, who will be next in line.?
The veterans have stated that they “paid their dues” and served protecting our country, obviously an admirable mission. I believe the draft was eliminated in 1973.
Therefore all who served after that time were, in fact, volunteers who joined not expecting a future tax benefit. If we start giving tax breaks for service, why not consider injured police officers or firefighters, or the many volunteers who serve our community in many ways. By the way, I am none of the aforementioned.
I urge the school board to think twice about one group at the expense of others.
Jim Brodie

Urge Stefanik to act on Greek-Turkey war

War is imminent between Greece and Turkey over gas off the coast of Cyprus. The gas belongs to Cypriots, not foreign governments.
Both countries have armies on the island and navies offshore.
The dispute could be settled by President Trump offering diplomatic recognition to the Turkish Cypriots in exchange for converting gas to commercial products like plastics and synthetics.
Greek and Turkish Cypriots would be employed to achieve common objectives.
That is how my grandfather, Asa K. Jennings, saved 1,250,000 lives and led the Turks to equal rights for women. Rep. Elise Stefanik should support preventing another war but shows no interest. Maybe she will when people of NYS-21 contact her.
Roger Jennings

Stefanik sells out for ambition. Vote Cobb

Unsurprisingly, the Senate recently chose not to convict Donald Trump. In the process, we learned something: how much Elise Stefanik loves Trump. Or pretends to.
Harvard-educated Stefanik is a very intelligent individual. When Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination, she said she would support the nominee but refused to utter his name. How did she move from this to “I’m all in for Trump”?
Was she won over by his command of policy issues, by his character or his major achievement: a big tax break for the rich?
Beyond intelligence, Stefanik is very ambitious. She sees which way the winds are blowing and sees opportunities far beyond the place we call home.
If she has to conceal her private disgust and put on a performance, she is up to the task. Following the Trump playbook of lies and attacks? No problem.
Fortunately we have a choice to be represented by someone with deep roots in our district, someone who considers decency and respect a requirement for public service, someone with common-sense and humane positions on issues like healthcare. That person is Tedra Cobb, and her sole ambition is to serve the needs and interests of the residents of our district.
Bill Doran

Thank veterans by supporting tax break

I attended the Schenectady School Board meeting on Feb. 5 in which discussion took place to urge the school board members to pass the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption. We had a good turnout of veterans who live in Schenectady and would benefit from this being passed.
My grandfather built the house I live in back in 1913, and since I was young I can remember going to different veteran organizations because my father, mother and uncles were actively involved. We were always doing things to thank or help a veteran.
I truly believe we do not do enough to thank or help our veterans. Remember the sacrifices they have made so that we can live in freedom.
Having retired in 2005 and am on a fixed income, I am proud to be able to say my family has been paying taxes in Schenectady for over 100 years. Paying an additional $12 or more a year on my school taxes would be a great way to say thank you and help our veterans who live in Schenectady.
Many of us, when we see a veteran, will thank them for their service, which is great. But now it is time to take action. Our veterans need your help. Please contact the Schenectady school board and tell them they you have no problem paying an additional fee on your school taxes and to pass the Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption. The veterans of Schenectady and I thank you.
Patty Montone
The writer is commander of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.

Tax break is least we can do for veterans

I’m writing of the recent appeal on behalf of all veterans and widows of veterans that we are hoping that we can help.
I’m speaking of the adoption of the veterans school tax exemption that we recently presented to the Schenectady city school board.
This law was passed by New York State to assist veterans with their school tax. This is not a benefit to veterans, but an entitlement that they deserve.
They are entitled to this exemption based on their military service.
They left their homes and families to serve an obligation that their country put on them. Their service is based on being away from family for years and then coming back to rebuild their lives. Some do not make it back.
Those that do have to make up years of family struggles with loss of pay, advancement in promotions, and savings.
We also have to consider the widows of veterans that no longer have a ‘’bread winner” to help pay the bills and taxes.
Bob Serotta, commander of DAV chapter 88, put together a great program of how this exemption would work and not be a big burden on non-veterans. The total amount of extra taxes could be less than $12 a year for non-veterans.
That is a small amount for the sacrifice that veterans paid to keep us free.
School board members should pass this request by March 1. Please do so and pay back a little of what we owe veterans.
James A. Wilson

Boards should be open to vets’ break

Over the centuries, men and women of Schenectady County have answered the call and proudly served in the armed forces to defend our nation. We are clearly a community that proudly recognizes and honors those among us who answered that call.
Over the years, Lt. Vibert 0. Fryer Chapter 88 of the Disabled American Veterans has seen and experienced the overwhelming generosity of our citizens in supporting our mission to assist disabled veterans and their families.
Our organization has been working with the local school districts to adopt the provisions in the recently amended state Real Property Law, that would provide some school tax relief for veterans.
To date, the Mohonasen, Niskayuna and Scotia-Glenville school districts, along with other local districts, are currently providing this benefit in appreciation to honor their veterans.
Last fall, local veteran organizations combined efforts to petition the Duanesburg, Schalmont and Schenectady city school districts, to extend this school tax relief to their veterans. More than 500 petitions were submitted to these three districts.
The Schenectady city school board and Superintendent Larry Spring have been extremely cordial and open to our request. We are hopeful and look forward to a positive outcome by the board.
On the other hand, we are extremely disappointed with the Duanesburg school board’s reaction in its refusal to consider the petitioned request of its citizens and veterans.
We are more concerned that the Schalmont school board and district leadership are unwilling to respond to the veterans’ numerous attempts to meet with them.
Robert J. Serotta
The writer is commander, Disabled American Veterans Lt. Vibert O. Fryer Chapter 88.

Keep pushing for an end to Trump’s reign

I don’t understand how one mentally flawed man can hold a country of over 300 million people hostage.
There have to be ways to remove him. If the only way is through impeachment, then impeach him again on other issues. He has certainly left plenty of fodder to use.
Is there a law somewhere that says you can only impeach the president once per term?  If so, we have learned from the Republican Senate that we can be selective about which laws we go by and those that we can disregard.
And it couldn’t be easier now that you no longer have to have witnesses or documents to support your claims. So, have at it guys. After all if you don’t succeed the first time, try try again.
Ed Rohrmeier, Sr.

Why don’t trash men wear safety belts?

When I was growing up in Schenectady in the ‘60s and ‘70s, one of the jobs I wanted to do when I grew up was to be a garbage man.
I thought that riding on the back of the garbage collection vehicle looked fun, and I would also be getting paid for it.
After more than 50 years, I’m surprised to see that safety belts or harnesses are not required in order to prevent the workers from falling off when the truck is moving or during inclement weather.
Is the city liable for their compensation?
Mitch Walsh
North Greenbush

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