Letters to the Editor for Nov. 22
Bagel shop improper for entrance to historic Sch’dy neighborhood
I’m responding to Joyce Wachala’s Nov. 14 Viewpoint [“Gillette House is legally barred from becoming a bagel shop”] regarding John McDonald’s variance to change the Gillette House from a three-family home to a “fast-food restaurant.”
I consider myself a progressive thinker. I’m a former board member of the Stockade Association, founder of its Historic Quarter Cultural League, a member of its Riverside Park Conservancy and Stockade Soire committees, and I was chairperson of the this year’s Secret Garden Tour. Furthermore, I fully support the city’s plans for a dock in Riverside Park.
However, the Gillette House sits at the only (very costly) formal entryway into the Stockade historic district, and I believe that any reasonable person interested in maintaining the historic integrity of our treasured neighborhood would have to seriously consider the potential long-term negative implications brought about by allowing a “fast-food restaurant” to open there.
Others have pointed out the benefits of the proposed project, for instance, like structurally preserving the Gillette House for future generations. Conversely, looking at Mr. McDonald’s plan from an ethical point of view, we must ask ourselves, does it respect the historical and aesthetic value of the quarter?
Moreover, another crucial question to ponder is the morning rush hour traffic flow. Currently, the corner in question — one of the busiest on both Erie Boulevard and Union Street — offers no left-turn signal lights. Therefore, traffic is often backed up there, and many unsafe turns occur.
The Stockade Association, representing approximately 240 members, approved the idea. Although I didn’t attend that meeting, I’m told there were only 20 or so members present for the vote.
Stockade residents and visitors alike relish the uncommon quality of life within our “little village.” So will a “fast-food restaurant,” placed smack at the entrance of a notable neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places, add or subtract to our general well-being?
I believe that’s a question worth asking.
Obama’s trip to Asia an ugly comedy of errors
President Obama just completed his Asian trip, purported to be the largest, most expensive excursion of any U.S. president at a time when the United States is suffering dire economic circumstances.
The president’s amateurish actions included:
u a speech to the Indian parliament in which he was guided by his infamous teleprompters, the first use of teleprompters in the Indian parliament;
u a condemnation of China’s use of monetary policy to support its exports, at a time when the Federal Reserve has undertaken a policy of printing dollars to buy up U.S. debt and cheapen the dollar and ultimately our exports;
u announcing that he would attempt to get the START treaty passed by a lame-duck Senate, a treaty which would weaken our defensive capabilities;
u criticism of Israel for building settlements in Judea and Samaria, which have had a Jewish presence since the time of Abraham, while in an Islamic country.
Furthermore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stuck another knife in the back of Israel by announcing a $150 million gift from the U.S. taxpayers to the Palestinian authorities [Nov. 15 Gazette], funds which could end up in the hands of
Hezbellah or Hamas.
This is not the hope and change the American electorate had in mind in 2008.
Timothy J. Gaffney Sr.
Religious bullying is anything but funny
Religious bullying is not OK. It is a form of violence often covertly embedded in what is disguised as and misunderstood as humor. Because of our shared humanity, our human solidarity, whenever one person or one group of people is being ridiculed and stereotyped, we are all hurt.
Religious jokes at the expense of another, name-calling, negative innuendo, ignorant religious profiling has no place in our homes, our schools or in our neighborhoods. In a world where religious literacy is crucial, we need to model for each other what it means to love our neighbor — to do unto others what we would want done to us.
I love teenagers. I work with teenagers. I am energized and hopeful because of teenagers. So, when I hear about teenagers using religion to bully a peer, I cannot remain silent.
Quite succinctly, religious bullying is not funny. Stop it now.
Kathleen K. Duff
The writer is co-chair of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese’s Jewish-Roman Catholic Dialogue Committee, Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs.
Even one state holiday tree is one too many
Re: Nov. 13 article, “State to have just one holiday tree”: In my opinion, no federal, state or other municipality should be involved in obtaining, putting up, lighting, taking down, etc. of a holiday tree or any other symbol celebrating a religious holiday.
The First Amendment to the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” commonly referred to as separation of church and state.
If the citizens want a holiday tree, they should do it all by themselves, on private property.
Mary Jo Venditti