Letters to the Editor for Oct. 12
With water, property owners’ rights, safety should come first
I must commend your coverage of the recent flooding due to [Hurricane] Irene. I hope that you will continue to cover the recovery in progress.
As a resident of the Catskill region for many years, it is quite clear that some of those currently in office have been working with the environmental agencies acquiring grants and promoting studies that have proved to be ineffective; they have only postponed important stream repairs that need to be made.
Having trusted that the decisions made by those elected have been in our best interest, I now fear that we know little about the property owners’ rights that have been signed away.
The very nature of this recent flooding proves to me that the environmental agencies have long been giving priority to water quality and fish at the expense of the rights and safety of local property owners. I would like those seeking election to be aware that in the future we will vote into office representatives who make the safety and preservation of our communities their priority.
Now is the time for all of the communities living within and impacted by the watershed to unite. We need to be one loud voice that says that we will not allow our communities to become yet more real estate in the city reservoir. It is clear that this is where we are headed.
If Hurricane Irene taught us anything, it is that we need to take our towns back and take steps to ensure the safety of the watershed communities. Prattsville and Phoenicia are facing bureaucratic roadblocks at every turn, but are steadfast in their resolve to prevail and rebuild. This should be our wake-up call.
Does it disturb you that history has been lost? Back in the days before the state Department of Environmental Conservation and New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the farmers knew how to keep the water in check. They maintained the creeks by making small, annual corrections; that is why so much of history, which has now been lost, was preserved.
Does it concern you that as property owners and taxpayers, the environmental agencies rule over our land? Regulations hinder local stream management and introduce prohibitive costs in implementing approved maintenance.
Is it possible that we may lose our communities to the city watershed by eminent domain? We need to take the time and effort to attend town meetings, and demand that our future be protected and our way of life assured. I urge everyone with these same concerns to voice them to their elected officials.
I hope that you would expand your coverage to include the issues regarding the watershed regulations imposed, which helped contribute to the magnitude of the flooding.
Rampant self-interest root of world’s woes
Combine the greed and indifference with the lack of accountability by the politicians, world leaders and top-ranking corporation executives, and you need not look further as to why the world is in such a sad state of affairs — hooray for me, and to hell with the rest!
Good luck to PEF workers finding as good a job
Re Sept. 28 AP article, “PEF rejects pact; Cuomo says reconsider”: A bit of friendly advice for the state PEF [Public Employee Federation] union workers: If you were unhappy with the proposal, you would have been in a much safer position if you’d voted yes, then begun searching for a job elsewhere.
You would have had a steady income and benefits, and you also wouldn’t have been competing with several thousand equally qualified applicants. Most important, you wouldn’t be a burden on the folks who are thankful to have a middle-income job.
For those of you who haven’t been in the private sector in a while, here’s what you’ll find in most jobs with pay equal to those you voted yourself out of: two weeks’ vacation (after a year), five holidays, no accrued days off each month, no guaranteed raises or yearly cost-of-living increases. Seniority doesn’t matter; when cuts need to be made, [it’s] based on performance. You’ll pay half of your health benefits — and get a pay cut every time the premiums go up. My retirement is a 401k profit-sharing plan — count on setting up your own retirement fund to supplement.
And yet, I’m thankful every day for my job.
You will find it extremely tough to find a job that earns what you were making — most of you will be taking a much deeper cut than the governor was proposing. It will also likely take most of you over a year (possibly several) to find an equal-paying job to the one you just gave up.
The reality is, the state is nearly broke. Cuts have to be made, and you were given a choice to make concessions or lose your job. You voted for the latter — stop blaming the governor. Shame on you and your foolish pride — and good luck, because you’ll definitely need it!
Police were too quick to use deadly force
Re Oct. 9 article, “Police shoot man at Gazette”: As an almost lifelong resident of Schenectady, I am once again embarrassed and angered over the actions of the Schenectady Police Department. The latest incident involves the shooting of a man at The Daily Gazette’s main office.
I spent 10 years in the U.S. Navy, both active duty and reserves, and while I certainly wasn’t a SEAL, I was taught physical security and “escalation of force.” Basically, this means you must react to threats at the same level they are encountered.
When Mr. Elvis Norwood came at police officers with a knife, there was indeed a threat, but to resort to deadly force was not the appropriate response to that threat. Simply using pepper spray or a Taser would’ve been able to disarm him from a distance. Or, if the officers had been trained in hand-to-hand combat, they could have disarmed the man without resulting to deadly force.
That the officers resorted to firing not just one, but four shots at close range leads me to believe these officers were poorly trained on escalation of force. It sets a very dangerous precedent that the Schenectady police will resort to deadly force so readily.
If the officers were simply following their training, then the training itself needs to be changed. You don’t bring a gun to a knife fight and neither should the police.
Hull improved Sch’dy while leading colleg
I have lived in the College Park neighborhood for 11 years and have witnessed positive changes in both Schenectady and my neighborhood in particular. This was in large part due to Roger Hull’s vision and leadership.
I moved from Niskayuna to Schenectady’s College Park neighborhood because there was an incentive program to increase owner-occupied homes. Under the program, I had to live in my house for five years, be part of the neighborhood association, and keep up my house. A benefit of the program was that my son [Tom] attended and graduated from Union College, tuition-free. Tom flourished at Union and received a high-quality education. We are very grateful, but Roger Hull’s plan went well beyond this incentive.
Roger Hull’s vision and the implementation of his plan brought Union College students beyond the school’s stone walls and encouraged them to take an interest in my neighborhood and our city of Schenectady. Some of the initiatives started under his leadership include 45 rehabilitated houses and the Ramada Inn converted to student housing. This increased student presence has improved [the] city and college security and law enforcement in the area.
Union College-affiliated programs have been expanded as well to include tax preparation in the Kenney Center and an after-school program run by Union students for neighborhood children. Two years ago a student applied and was given a grant to improve the neighborhood playground. The students are now a welcome part of our community.
How do you make a difference in a community? It takes each of us. How do you change Schenectady? It starts with each vote. We have an opportunity here to elect a man of vision and proven leadership. Please join me in voting for change in Schenectady, voting for Roger Hull and the Alliance Party.
The real problem is Congress, not Wall St.
The demonstrations should be before Congress, not Wall Street. To prevent the demonstrations from getting out of control, should the local governments reduce the size of the police force and give a tax break to the leaders of the demonstration to increase the demonstration and hope for the best?
Take a look at the big picture. The government has helped Big Business to produce more supply than consumers are capable of buying and we have a problem. To solve the problem, Congress wants to reduce the size of government and the regulations on Big Business and continue the tax breaks for Big Business to encourage Big Business to expand and produce more supply. Same logic, same faulty solution.
President Obama has presented a plan to invest in America and provide consumer funds to buy the surplus and restore the economy. Demonstrators should be in front of Congress pushing for the passage of the president’s plan. The people responsible for Big Business greed are in Congress, not on Wall Street.
How many of the people in Congress are receiving the tax break that is supposed to stimulate economic growth? How many people in Congress have been asked to pay just a little toward their free health insurance and retirement plans? How much has the size of Congress been reduced? How many intelligent voters are supporting this?
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