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Don't compare county library and nursing home in same breath

Friday, November 23, 2012
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Don't compare county library and nursing home in same breath

In the Nov. 18 article, "Counties priced out of the nursing home business," Schenectady County spokesman Joe McQueen made a very misleading correlation between the nursing home losses at Glendale and the costs of maintaining the Schenectady County library system.

The library does not "lose" money, as he suggested. In fact, the library system is the greatest bargain for taxpayer dollars in the county, if not the whole state. The library does not receive a per-client reimbursement from the federal or state government, as does the nursing home.

The county budget for the library has been static for more than five years, at $5.5 million to operate the central library and nine branches scattered throughout the county.

In comparison, the Clifton Park-Halfmoon library (one building) has an annual budget of over $4 million.

Ask Mr. McQueen why the Schenectady library has been able to keep a level budget, even with costs of everything going up. The only answer can be that there have been drastic cuts in staff over the past five or more years. The library has lost eight professional librarian positions, several senior clerks and numerous other clerks who have not been replaced.

The new director and assistant director have not been replaced as they assumed their new duties, and they are doing their old jobs on top of the new responsibilities. Volunteers and substitutes are doing a wonderful job of supplementing the overburdened staff to keep the Schenectady libraries providing the best services and materials in the area.

The library budget will be cut (by the county manager) over $520,000 for 2013, and a half-million the following year and for who knows how many years. How long before we have no library in Schenectady? Ask Mr. McQueen and the county manager he works for.

John Karl

Niskayuna

The writer a member of the Friends of the Schenectady County Public Library.

Do Palestinians love their children any less?

The Israeli situation can be summed up this way: Israelis say they do not want their children to have to wake up to the sounds of falling bombs and air raid sirens going off, but rather the sounds of innocence and a life of joy, because they love them.

Palestinians fire rockets from their children's schoolyards because they do not.

Please pray that the love of God Almighty would prevail in their hearts.

John Gentile

Duanesburg

Give cash gifts to kids, teach them something

I'm writing to plead with all grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends and even parents to give the children on their holiday lists cash instead of gift cards.

I wholeheartedly believe that this generation is living in a plastic financial world and has very little sense of what money is, where it comes from, and how it works. By providing children with cash, you are instantly providing choices that teach valuable lessons in finances.

A $20 gift card to Target, a $30 gift card to Walmart and a $10 movie pass inevitably adds up to $60 of being told where to spend your money. A child's question is, "What am I going to buy?" Please note that saving is not an option. In fact, on the "versatile" pre-paid Visa, monthly maintenance fees are charged, slowly reducing the balance available and, therefore, charging a child for being patient about purchasing.

These financial lessons taught with cash include the power of choice. Not which toy (that will be deemed useless in two days) should I buy, but real choices. How do I want to spend this money? Can I choose to donate this money? Can I save this money? Can I pool my money to have more purchasing power? Can I spend this money on a non-tangible item like drum lessons?

The gift card business is a multibillion-dollar industry. It is estimated that 10 percent of the almost $60 billion in gift cards purchased this year won't be used. Ten percent! Imagine what that $6 billion "windfall of easy profit" could do in children's saving accounts all over the country.

Cash is a gift. It is a gift that teaches children their money decisions matter. It is a gift that goes beyond the instant gratification of a material possession. If you are choosing to give the people you love a gift card, I would ask you to think again and choose to give the gift of cash.

Jennifer Clift

Schenectady

GOP not to blame, it was the media's fault

I read with annoyance Marie Grace Hewitt's Nov. 19 letter regarding the reasons Mitt Romney lost his bid for the presidency.

For the past few weeks, the mainstream media has been telling us that Republicans need to "get with it" and come to the realization that the nation's demographics are changing. Ms. Hewitt stated that the Republican ticket focused only on the "middle-aged, straight, white male population," and their "completely prejudiced patriarchal society."

Many on the left seem to believe that if you vote Republican, you are closed-minded, misogynistic, racist or worse. They don't seem able to fathom that anyone could disagree with their opinions , and in fact have become the "haters" that they had always implored the rest of us to condemn.

In reality, the Romney/Ryan ticket offered a restoration of international respect (especially in the Middle East), a return to prosperity, fiscal solvency, entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance.

It's a simple fact that government dependency equals government control. During Mr. Obama's first term, almost 17 million Americans have been added to the food stamp program. Our deficit has more than doubled. Unemployment has been at or near 8 percent every month. These aren't just Republican talking points, these are facts.

I had hoped that more voters (not just middle-aged, straight, white males) wanted to reverse these trends. Unfortunately, liberal politicians and the media convinced millions of that we could accept all of this, as long as free contraceptives are readily available.

Now that the election is over, the major networks are asking questions about the murdered Americans in Benghazi, exploding violence in the Middle East, as well as reporting on massive layoffs in various industries here at home. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost the election for one reason only: The mainstream media didn't want them to win.

Mike Carroll

Rotterdam

Don't believe what gov't says about war

My sincerest gratitude to Daniel T. Weaver on his Nov. 18 Viewpoint on the immorality of the Afghan war, and more importantly, on revealing the propaganda perpetuated on the American people by the military and government.

I have long held that our troops are not fighting for our freedom but for oil and self-interests. I'm offended by anyone trying to get us to believe otherwise. I'm even more offended and saddened by sending our young American men and women to die in this hellhole with little relief in sight.

Too many lives have been lost, too many lives have been changed irreparably, forever. There is no argument that can make me believe differently. The war is immoral and the American people have to stop mindlessly believing that the troops are "fighting for our freedom." No, they are not.

I applaud Mr. Weaver for his condemnation of this war, and I, too, wonder why there are no protests, as there were during the Vietnam War.

I agree with his reasoning as to why not. As a lifetime dove from that era, I protest the war in Afghanistan and sadly mourn our fallen troops. It's a travesty.

Diane Bollinger

Ballston Spa

Do Palestinians love their children any less?

The Israeli situation can be summed up this way: Israelis say they do not want their children to have to wake up to the sounds of falling bombs and air raid sirens going off, but rather the sounds of innocence and a life of joy, because they love them.

Palestinians fire rockets from their children's schoolyards because they do not.

Please pray that the love of God Almighty would prevail in their hearts.

John Gentile

Duanesburg

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comments

November 25, 2012
12:01 p.m.
tonijean613 says...

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have done the complete opposite of protecting our Freedoms- Has anyone tried to visit Canada or been through an Airport lately? Americans (including mothers and their small children with sippy cups are now treated like criminals) - the surveilance state is hardly freedom- we lost our freedom with the so called Patriot Act. Now everyone is a boogyman ..."terrorist"-
War is just "terrorism" on a bigger budget. the criminals that hyjacked planes to hit the world trade center- actually did win- we have turned into a fearmongering police state. How sad is that?

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