Letters to the Editor for June 15

Friday, June 15, 2012
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If anything, U.S. should push natural gas to fuel vehicles

A June 11 Gazette editorial came out in support of the $4.4 million grant from New York State Energy and Research Authority (NYSERDA) to install 325 electric car-charging stations around the state.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are being promoted by the Obama administration as “green” cars because they do not use gasoline. The government has generous tax benefits to encourage the purchase of an EV.

The Gazette editorial points out that one impediment to folks buying EVs are the lack of charging stations when the car is away from home; a typical EV only can go 50 to 80 miles before it needs a battery charge. Thus, the plan is to have a government agency, NYSERDA, fund the stations.

So far, EV sales have failed to meet the government’s and manufacturers’ expectations. In 2011, only 18,000 EVs were sold in America — an insignificant part of all auto sales.

Price Chopper will receive $325,000 to install 12 charging stations in their parking lots. But as the Gazette also notes, the typical charging time for a EV is from three to eight hours, and most Price Chopper shoppers do not shop for that long. Thus this will not encourage many to jump into an EV. Is this another waste of taxpayer money on “green” activity?

A better alternative for green cars is a car powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). These cars are also limited by the lack of fueling stations. But CNG-powered cars can travel the same distance as gasoline-powered cars on one fill-up. Also, the fill-up is about half the cost of gasoline for equivalent miles.

CNG car emissions are also about 30 percent less than gasoline. If the government insists on subsidizing green cars, they should pay to install more CNG fueling stations.

We all know that nearly 50 percent of our electricity comes from coal. Thus EVs are cars that run primarily on coal. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is waging a war on coal. Remember Obama’s promise that under his energy plan, electricity costs would skyrocket and any new coal plant would go bankrupt? He plans to accomplish this by more emissions limits on coal plants.

Thus on one hand, the government wants us to run cars on coal while causing the cost of electricity from coal to skyrocket. Does anyone understand the logic? I don’t.

Don Cazer


Preserve Dutch history, but get the names right

Re June 3 Viewpoint, “Dutch destination”: Daniel Weaver suggests promoting Dutch tourism because of New York’s abundant Dutch heritage, especially in this area and along the Mohawk Valley.

He also correctly notes that to enhance this tourism, there must be an effort to identify and preserve Dutch historical sites in various familiar localities, such as Schenectady’s Stockade district. Amsterdam and Rotterdam have sister cities in Holland to promote ties, but unlike Amsterdam, Rotterdam has a connection in name only and little interest in preserving or correctly identifying its Dutch heritage.

As an example, the Cobblestone Reformed Church graveyard above Campbell Road contains burial plots of the Putman (pronounced Pootman in Holland) and Sager families, amongst the earliest Dutch settlers of the Mohawk Valley.

Johannes Putman arrived in New Amsterdam about 1665, came to the Schenectady Stockade, and was killed in the massacre of 1690. His sons and descendants settled in Rotterdam and further up the Mohawk Valley to Tribes Hill and Amsterdam (Fort Johnson), and received a land grant from Queen Anne of England for service in the French and Indian War. This included the area of Putman Hill, Putman Road and westward along the Mohawk Valley.

Oliver Putman married Catherine Mabee and bought a farm at Rotterdam Junction (the Mabee Farm site); these place names are correctly recorded on county maps until at least the 1920s.

Today, the Putman grave plot of the Cobblestone Church lies adjacent to “Putnam” Road and “Putnam” Hill signs. There are no “Putnams” buried in the graveyard plots. A sloppy reversal of two letters has erased the Dutch heritage and connection of the locality, a fact that has been pointed out to Rotterdam on several occasions.

Mr. Weaver himself lives in a house that may have once belonged to Clarissa Putman (1751–1833) of Tribes Hill, a witness and nurse during the (French and) Indian Wars of the valley, the American Revolution, and thereafter. She is buried in Vale Cemetery with other Putmans, and there are no misspellings.

George W. Putman

Saratoga Springs

A mostly positive experience biking to work

Kudos to the Gazette and reporter Kathleen Moore for publishing two articles on cycling in the city [June 9 Gazette]. What a nice story about Kathleen Moore taking up Zoning Officer Steven Strichman’s challenge to use only a bicycle to commute and get around for one week.

I’ve been commuting in Schenectady [via bike] for the past decade. From our home in the Upper Union Street neighborhood to my workplace on Maxon Road Extension is an easy ride on mostly back roads.

I have cycled through other parts of the city and agree that it can be a little scary out there, sharing the roads with much bigger vehicles. However, the benefits of exercise and $0 a gallon pedal power (as Kathleen Moore wrote) far outweigh the negatives.

If more people decided to get around on their bicycles, maybe there would be a demand for bike lanes where needed and a better acceptance of sharing the city roads with cyclists.

Peter Butryn


Disease main concern of Shen parents’ group

Your June 9 editorial mistakenly suggests that the parents challenging Shenendehowa’s existing sex ed curriculum (the Shen Parents Choice Coalition, SPCC) is a Catholic group. It is not.

Their main concern is the epidemic of STIs [sexually transmitted infections] among adolescents, which the Centers for Disease Control says affects one in four adolescent girls.

When I was a teenager there were only two common STIs (syphilis and gonorrhea), and they were not that common. You were far less likely to contract an STI from casual sex back then. But we don’t live in the 1970s anymore. Today with over 25 common STIs and high infection rates, any adolescent sex is dangerous and irresponsible, and teens need to know this.

Of course, teens should be taught about condoms and that they offer some protection, but they should not be given a false sense of security that condoms make sex safe. They do not. As a parent, I am concerned that the current sex education approach is giving teens a false sense of security.

We can agree or disagree with the specific approach that the SPCC is advocating, but it is promoting a needed and healthy debate over sex education strategy.

E. Todd Ryan

Clifton Park

SPAC patrons need to lighten up on litter

This is to all the patrons who attend the SPAC concert venues and to staff and management at SPAC.

Recently, while walking around Saratoga State Park, I enjoyed the beautiful Hall of Springs, the Avenue of the Pines and the Gideon Putnam Hotel. What I did not enjoy was dodging the large amounts of trash thrown on the ground by patrons heading to the concert.

I was brought up not to litter, and it saddens me to see people throw cups, bags, etc., on the marble walkways of the Hall of Springs. Please, people, can we respect this beautiful park and not litter?

Staff and management at the park: Is it possible to set up trash receptacles along the walkways into the park and throughout the Hall of Springs to cut down on this?

Lori LaSalvia

Ballston Spa

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June 15, 2012
3:56 p.m.
JLibertarian says...

Great letter Mr. Cazer! Why hasn't anyone else written about this? And why does such a rich company like Golub need to get any money from the government?

June 16, 2012
8:21 p.m.
robbump says...

I agree that the subsidy being given for the charging stations is TOO MUCH, but I also point out that while it might take 3 to 12 hours to FULLY charge the battery, it's not necessarily a full charge the user expects while shopping, but rather more just to "top it off".

Denmark is solving these problems by having the utility company own the car batteries, rather then the car owner. The drivers will pay (the utility company) for the miles driven. On long distance trips, drivers will pull into a battery replacement station, where robots will swap a depleted battery for a fully charged one. The age of the battery is of little concern, because again, it's the utility company that owns it.

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