Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20
Attitudes about gay billboards shows why they are needed
Re Jan. 11 article, “Critics urge removal of gay signs”: In Our Own Voices, the Capital Region’s only organization explicitly serving the needs of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people of color has been receiving negative media attention for an ad campaign focusing on increasing the visibility of gay men of color. The reaction of some members of the Schenectady community only reinforces the needs for such a campaign.
Apparently, showing gay men with their families, in church and on a basketball court is still considered “inappropriate” and somehow morally suspect.
Day-care provider Pamela Spicer is concerned that the billboards might raise questions for pre-schoolers on their way to the public library about “what gay means;” questions she doesn’t know how to answer.
Here is the answer, Pamela. First of all, if your pre-schoolers are able to read the words “I am gay,” the first thing to say is “great job reading.” Then you can simply explain that gay is when two people love each, like two women or two men.
If these images evoke community hostility and confusion, it only points to a greater need for increased state Department of Health funding, or else how will Pamela Spicer work with LGBT colleagues, or provide services to same-sex parents whose children attend the pre-school. I am concerned about what she will say when the child says, “My two moms love each other?”
I suggest that the In Our Own Voices ad campaign has proven our need for an expanded educational program so our Tri-City area becomes increasingly accepting of its diverse citizenry.
Arlene Istar Lev
GE can’t make products with `geniuses’ alone
Re Jan. 14 article, “GE ‘geniuses’ get their own special day”: GE’s recognition of its “geniuses,” including many from GE Global Research, is commendable. However, real genius is taking good ideas and inventions and turning them into new products that will grow GE’s businesses.
The small, applied research and development labs of GE’s manufacturing businesses were nuked by Jack Welch, but he opened research and development labs in China, India and Germany. Jeffrey Immelt, the current CEO, is opening a new lab in Brazil. The “genius” ideas from GE’s Global Research labs require manufacturing expertise to turn them to useful and profitable products. The expertise can only come from engineers and scientists who work and are located at the manufacturing sites to provide the daily technical support needed to introduce new products.
As the inventor of the high-voltage insulation systems used in GE’s generators and large motors, I can attest that the greatest challenges of any new product development come after the invention — solving manufacturing and quality glitches, determining the chemistry and variables that affect cure kinetics, mechanical and electrical properties. All these difficult problems have to be solved before a reproducible, reliable product could be manufactured.
New insulation systems were invented, developed and implemented for new generations of generators because GE Energy still had a lab in the Schenectady plant where its people had in-depth knowledge of materials and manufacturing know-how. The timing was also fortunate. It was just before the bureaucratic Six Sigma and incompetent Black Belt technical leaders created barriers.
GE needs more than “geniuses” in Global Research labs in four continents. GE needs manufacturing know-how that only knowledgeable engineers and scientists in product department labs can provide.
What Obama needs to hear in Schenectady
Suppose you had a brief encounter (say one minute) in a reception line to speak with President Barrack Obama on Friday in Schenectady. What would you say? Sixty seconds isn't much time, so I've thought long and hard.
Schenectady has long been recognized as the home of power generation. Mr. Obama has come here to see for himself the advances in energy technology like wind and battery, while also recognizing GE's large steam turbine department. Here is what I would say:
Presidents before you have faced challenges and made bold endeavors. America took over construction of the Panama Canal a hundred years ago, when France failed, and President Theodore Roosevelt made sure the effort succeeded.
In the 1950s, America needed a leader to push Congress to fund the construction of the interstate highway system and President Eisenhower met that challenge.
President Kennedy challenged America to beat the Soviets to the moon in the decade of the 1960s and we succeeded in July 1969.
The bold endeavor in the second decade of the 21st century should be for American energy independence. Be bold, Mr. President, and make it happen. Millions of jobs will surely follow.
Strock practices what he protests in column
Re Jan. 13 Carl Strock’s column: He chastised the Republicans/conservatives for criticizing and ridiculing the liberals and Democrats, when practically his entire column was used to vilify, defame, name-call, disparage and degrade Republicans/conservatives.
He contemptuously maligned Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Republicans/conservatives. He intimated that the recent Arizona shootings were the fault of the right wing, when anyone in their right mind knows that the shooter was mentally deranged and politics had nothing to do with the shooter’s actions.
Instead of his column being named “Angry Ones are deeply offended,” it should have been titled, “I hate Republicans/conservatives, and I don’t care who knows it.”
This column was full of spite and hate, undocumented and un-American!
Biblical quotes imperfect, but it doesn’t matter
Re Jan. 16 Carl Strock column, “How reliable are those Bible quotes?”: Carl Strock’s view on the reliability of biblical quotes brought to mind my own ability to recall important moments in my life.
I experienced a memorable, life-changing event in February 1975. About 30 years later, I wrote a memoir describing it and conveying the facts and feelings. Then, just this past October, I wrote a supplemental memoir, detailing one aspect of that event. When I compared the two writings, I found an older woman telling me something in the early version, while in the later one, a teen-aged boy told me. All of us were present at the event. Frankly, I forget who said what, but something of the sort certainly happened.
I must agree with Carl that the reliability of biblical quotations would not meet newsroom standards. However, the gist of that story and the salvific quality of “the Good News” come through, in spite of our overanalysis.
We need not rely on the details of a story for its truth to move us.
Link NYC rent control to property tax cap
I am writing in support of Gov. Cuomo’s proposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases. Property taxes are currently too high in New York and are rising at a much faster rate than 2 percent. We need to get upstate and Long Island taxes under control or more businesses will leave.
In the past, limiting property taxes has been blocked by state legislators from New York City, since New York City already has lower property taxes to support rent control. This June New York City rent control will expire. We need to demand that our upstate and Long Island state legislators link New York City rent control extension to the proposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases.
This will stop New York City’s state legislators from blocking the property tax cap.
Tap the rare minerals in the Sacandaga Basin
If you get to ask only one question to either President Obama or Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, ask them if they know of the tremendous ore reserves of lithium minerals and rare earth oxide minerals just 30 miles away in the Sacandaga Basin?
You may visit our Website: http://gsldeepening.com or search Great Sacandaga Lake Deepening Project for more details. If you would like our inaugural newsletter, which speaks directly to the strategic minerals found in the Sacandaga Basin, just ask.
Arthur Michael Ambrosino
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