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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 30

Thursday, August 30, 2012
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Economy didn’t tank overnight, will take bipartisan effort to fix

Re Vito Spinelli’s Aug. 24 letter criticizing the current administration’s handling of our economic problems, I look at it this way: In dieting, if it only took one week to put on 40 pounds, then by all means, it should only take one week to take 40 pounds off.

If it had only taken four years to create the situation we find our country’s economy in today, then by all means it should have only taken four years to fix it, right?

Maybe we should all take a look back at recent history to realize that this situation has been brewing for the past 15-20 years. Before everyone jumps on the partisan bandwagon in response, the time period covers both Republican and Democratic administrations.

What is really stalling the recovery effort is the refusal by both parties to work together on a solution. We are kidding ourselves if we think any of our elected representatives really has our best interests at heart. It is all about who wields more power.

This election is not about who will be the best for our country, but who will win the fight on the playground!

Bobbie Hlat

Scotia

Yes, develop Mohawk islands, but use a plan

In last week’s announcement of the proposed sale of the Isle of the Mohawks, and the Aug. 24 editorial listing possible uses for the island, we have an opportunity. The opportunity, though, is not simply to find a use for the island. Instead, the opportunity is to come up with a plan for the island and the entire riverfront.

Thirty years ago, a group in Beloit, Wisc. decided the river would be the basis for the revitalization of the city by creating Lake Beloit in the area between two bridges over the Rock River. Twenty years ago, I introduced the idea of Lake Schenectady, in which I envisioned a bike path that went along the Mohawk, past the Union College boathouse and Stockade; over the Western Gateway Bridge to Scotia; along the Scotia side of the Mohawk to Freemans Bridge; over Freemans Bridge to Schenectady; and past a revitalized, attractive ALCO site. Last year, during the mayoral campaign, I floated the idea again.

Pieces of the Lake Schenectady plan are slowly taking hold, and the Isle of the Mohawks fits into that plan. However, let’s make sure we have a plan, not a series of independent decisions that may, or may not, make sense.

Sometimes it is better to take ideas from elsewhere, rather than to try to reinvent the wheel. Lake Beloit worked in Wisconsin. It can work here.

ROGER HULL

Schenectady

The writer was the Alliance Party candidate for mayor last November and served as president of Beloit College in the 1980s.

Government should come to the rescue

Have you ever heard of a church that owns a helicopter? I haven’t, and I’ve been to a number of churches in various places. Governments, (local, state, federal) own helicopters, not churches. Some private entities own helicopters. Some businesses own helicopters.

Yet, as we remember the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we need to remember people perched on rooftops waiting for rescues that never got to them.

The response of the Bush administration was that the government wasn’t really tasked for this type of work, the faith-based community was supposed to take care of it. And they did: In the aftermath of the hurricane, churches marshaled resources to provide relief in New Orleans.

Also, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, worked admirably during the Clinton administration. Under Bush, FEMA was “administered” by Brownie, some horse guy who “W” said was doing a heckuva job.

However, good church work does not let government off the hook. Taxpayers paid for helicopters of the Coast Guard, National Guard and other components of government. We expect government to appropriately use our resources that we paid for with our tax dollars to assist our citizens.

The same concept applies to all levels of government, like automobiles owned by the city of Schenectady — paid for by taxpayers. We expect our resources to be used to serve the public, the people who paid for them.

Andrew J. DiLiddo Jr.

Schenectady

Sch’dy County ahead of the FDA’s curve on BPA

As a mother, I was happy to read that the FDA finally decided to ban BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups [July 18 Gazette].

It’s nice to see them take this stand to protect the health and well-being of our kids. The risk of future health issues related to BPA and kids has been around for years; it is unfortunate it took the FDA so long to do this. Who knows how many kids were exposed to this dangerous chemical while the FDA dragged its feet?

Luckily, Schenectady County hasn’t had to worry. Thanks to Legislators Brian Gordon and Angelo Santabarbara, the county banned BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups in 2009. It is nice to see Schenectady County take a stand to protect our children well before the federal government.

That is how government is supposed to work: Local leaders saw an issue that could affect the health of children in their community, and did something about it.

Colleen Fitch

Schenectady

Free bus good way to keep peace in prisons

Re Eldean Johnson’s Aug. 20 letter on why we shouldn’t pay to bus inmates’ families with tax dollars:

Why should we pay correctional officers’ salaries and benefits in an over-bloated prison system?

Why should inmates pay higher fees for phone calls?

Why should inmates work for slave wages?

Why should inmates service the community with their labor?

For the sum of $1.5 million, it seems to be a bargain by keeping the peace and exploiting inmates for cheap labor.

Raymond Pickens

Schenectady

Letters Policy

The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.

There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

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comments

August 30, 2012
7:10 a.m.
Will1960 says...

@ Raymond Pickens

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. It's quite apparent you see the bigger picture of this issue. Many voters(and Bloggers on this website) only have limited capacity to grasp the broader ramafications that effects not just the prisoners, but their children, the prison staff and the community at large. Until our elected leaders delvelop some spine and are willing to take on the ubiquidous "get-tough" mentality, more of these stupid laws will be passed. This lack of leadership leads to so many wasteful and counterproductive policies. But you can count on hearing more of these emotional, feel good platitudes come election time.

I'm sure I'll get ripped as a bleeding heart for this posting. But show me the data that proves me wrong. Show me some proof other than the anicdotel evidence or your own experinces.

August 30, 2012
7:32 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Maybe we are not tough enough will1960... Three healthy meals per day, pay for some job in prison that they can use for commissary, clean clothing, heat in the winter, cable tv, movies. Believe it or not someof these prisoners live better in jail than they did on the street. If you can't do the time don't do the crime......

August 30, 2012
8:16 a.m.
Will1960 says...

@wmarincic,

Never mentioned anything about doing the time or committing the crime. You completely missed my point. My post praised Raymond Pickens for the reasons he articulated so well in his letter supporting the buses for prisoners' families. Stay on point.

Just because you may believe the bus service is a further codification of prisoners, doesn't negate the positve results that come from providing this service. It's a rare instance of the government spending money wisely. It's also an effective tool for the COs to maintain control of their prisoners since visiting privileges can be revoked if the prisoners get out of line. This program is a win/win except for those "get-tough-on-crime-at-any-cost" types who worry that prisoners might be enjoying living large in the big house.

August 30, 2012
8:29 a.m.
muggy says...

The FDA's decision to ban BPA (bisphenol-A) as an additive to plastic is junk science. It was an abomination when County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara pushed through legislation in 2009, citing it as a cause (unproven, of course) of autism.

BPA has been used in plastic as a hardening agent for over 50-years. Millions of children have safely consumed liquids from "sippy-cups."

There have been thousands of peer reviewed studies confirming the safety of BPA use in plastic.

I was told that the trial bar is looking for their next "asbestos money tree" and are shaking the BPA tree as an excuse for austism.

Years down the road, I suspect we'll hear that whatever replaced BPA in our plastics is causing harm to our bodies.

The BPA ban is another example of duplicitous politicians "caring for the children" by increasing the size of our nanny state.

Quite ridiculous.

August 30, 2012
11:47 a.m.
albright1 says...

Well stated Muggy........

August 30, 2012
1:41 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Autism is more likely caused by the floride in drinking water than BPA.

August 30, 2012
2:01 p.m.
ThePhilistine says...

Yea why should correction officers who risk their lives at work get paid, on with the free bus for the people who are bleeding the system dry!

August 30, 2012
3:07 p.m.
biwemple says...

The political response to BPA in our food supply may be a bit over zealous like a lot of things, but the FDA is still not done assessing whether its a real food safety threat or not. I don't think its 'junk science', it's just not done being studied yet. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHeal...

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