Schenectady laws unfairly stacked against landlords

Sunday, October 21, 2012
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Schenectady laws unfairly stacked against landlords

Stop the insanity! In an eviction in Schenectady, you wouldn’t want to be the landlord. This long, dragged-out process heavily favors the tenant.

First of all, an eviction is the result of a tenant failing to abide by a signed contract. He has failed to pay his rent and, in many cases, is guilty of violating reasonable rules of conduct. Bottom line: It is the tenant’s irresponsibility that creates the need for an eviction.

During the eviction process — from legal notification, to court proceedings, to sheriff lockout — two, three or more months go by while [the] landlord’s expenses just keep piling up: No rent, required legal fees, sheriff’s fees and, most likely, eventual serious repair costs.

Then the final blow: If tenant possessions are left behind, the landlord is required to pack up, transport and (in Schenectady) store these belongings for six months — at his own expense!

Where is the rhyme or reason? Enough is enough! Why should a landlord be responsible for anything belonging to a deadbeat tenant after a lockout? It’s like rewarding the lawbreaker for breaking the law. Once the tenant is out, that should be it.

Legislation has to change. Attention, Schenectady lawmakers and Schenectady Landlords Influencing Change [SLIC], this should be your next project.

Chris Morris


The writer is co-founder and member of SLIC.

Saratoga’s 2005 scandal reason to vote yes

I wonder if many Saratoga voters remember when Erin Dreyer, one of the city’s deputy commissioners, was the object of a 2005 grand jury report recommending dismissal or discipline.

Council members considered the situation seriously detrimental to the city’s work force and asked the commissioner who’d hired Dreyer to request her resignation. They were unable to convince that commissioner [Thomas Curley] to act against the deputy. In desperation or exasperation, Mayor Valerie Keehn and three commissioners determined that their only option to was to de-fund the position from the city budget.

This is a critical problem in the commission form of government. With five co-equal members of City Council, it is very hard for council members to require cooperation of their fellow commissioners or the mayor, even in cases where there is a clear consensus that action is required. The council’s action to de-fund the position was a very unusual council action.

Saratogians should not have to fear arbitrary action or inaction by elected commissioners or the mayor if our charter is amended in November. The elected council will set the city policies. It will hire an experienced, qualified person to implement the policies of the city. I urge city voters to vote “yes” on the ballot question Nov. 6.

Margie H. Van Meter

Saratoga Springs

Don’t even think of charging ’Dacks hikers

Re Justin Mason’s Oct. 12 story, “Trail fee idea gets no takers”: I find the proposal to establish a fee for hiking public trails in the Adirondack Park shocking. Such a system is unlawful and would prevent lower-income families from accessing one of the few free recreational venues in the area.

As taxpaying citizens, we already contribute to the maintenance of the land, and should not have to fork over more money to gain access to what is rightfully ours.

There are a multitude of reasons why the fee system would be a poor choice, such as the inevitable negative effect on tourism and local communities. However, the most pervasive issue at hand is the unfairness of limiting the use of public Adirondack trails to those with an expendable income.

It is my duty as an avid hiker and financially struggling student to speak out against this injustice. Putting a price on our opportunity to access these trails places the disenfranchised in a further position of inequality and creates the perception that love and appreciation of nature is only reserved for those who can afford it.

Rather than establishing barriers for lower-income citizens to gain access to nature, we should be promoting and democratizing the accessibility of these public lands.

Lauren Markram

Saratoga Springs

Mud against Obama on religion won’t stick

As part of his campaign strategy, Mitt Romney has been using religion in a divisive manner.

For example, in order to garner Jewish votes, he has accused President Obama of “having thrown Israel under the bus.” This accusation not only implies that President Obama is not supportive of Israel’s security but also [implies] anti-Semitism on the president’s part.

Romney’s charge is so without merit that even conservative columnist George Will, a frequent critic of the president, has come to his defense in this matter. Will, on ABC’s “This Week,” characterized Romney’s accusation as unfair and went on to note that, while the president had a strained relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “the relationships between the U.S. military and the Israeli military, which is 98 percent of the point of this relationship, are quite good.”

As a further example of Romney’s malicious use of religion in his campaign, he has aired a 30-second ad called, “Be Not Afraid,” which begins with the question, “Who shares your values?” Then it goes on to say that “Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion.”

The basic assertion of the ad is that President Obama has forced faith groups into a corner on the issue of contraception. In fact, no religious groups have been forced into a corner on this issue. The Obama health care plan does not require individuals to employ contraceptives against their will, nor does it require that religious institutions themselves pay for contraceptive coverage. The health care plan simply implies that as long as religious institutions accept federal funds, they must also accept public policy rules.

Romney’s assertions that President Obama is anti-religion are despicable and suggest a character flaw unworthy of a presidential candidate.

Don Steiner


Mets deserve equal billing with Yankees

I applaud the person [Oct. 9 letter] who pointed out the coverage of the New York Yankees vs. the Mets. I, too, am a Mets fan, and it seems to me that whether they do well or poorly, it only makes the front page of Sports if the Yankees have nothing going on.

It saddens me that we only recognize one New York baseball team. The Mets might not have done as well as we wanted this season, but they did have two outstanding pitching records set, as well as David Wright setting his own personal record.

I really hope that next season, both teams get equal time on the front page of the Sports section.

Trish Harrington


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October 21, 2012
6:51 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Don Steiner,

There are 100s of facebook groups that are Jews against Obama and Israel for Romney. Who better than the Jewish people to weigh in on this. I don't know where you get you're numbers but according to a friend of mine Lynne Kessler Lechter the people of Israel feel unsafe with Obama in office. You arer welcome to google Lynne and see that she is in a position to know what she is talking about.

October 21, 2012
7:13 a.m.
MMRMIKE68 says...


October 21, 2012
8:11 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Don Steiner - nice to see some actual reasonable thoughts and truth not based on Fox news and malicious ads

October 21, 2012
10:40 a.m.
cfield says...

Chris Morris- actually things have become slightly better for landlords in Schenectady the past few years. The Schenectady law makers favor the tenants rights because they are a large block of voters who favor the Democratic party. I think you are on the right track forming a landlord coalition to turn these laws around. It is widely known fact in NYS that Schenectady has laws that favor deadbeat tenants. Time for a change!!

October 21, 2012
11:57 a.m.
seawitch1313 says...

Chris Morris,
I fully support your point on making evictions easier for landlords. Cant you legally turn off the electric, or something to make it intolerable for them to remain? Also,tenants leaving behind their belongings for landlords to deal with (If It's yours take it with you, storing their things should NOT be the landlords responsibility!

October 21, 2012
12:55 p.m.
Will1960 says...

Trish Harringtpn,

You are spot on with your sentiments regarding the media bias in the capital district that favors the Yankees while ignoring the Mets. Just because the Yankees have millions in payroll to blow to replaced injured or underperforming athletes with no limit didn't endear them to me. Nor does that fact that they win their division every year. Some other teams deserve to have the glory.

That fact that the media caters to their entitlement mentality of media coverage makes them more undesirable. No one was more gratified to see them crash and burn in the playoffs this year than I.

Next year things won't be so fortunate for the Hankies. However, you can count on this newspaper and the rest of them to continue their wall-to-wall Yankees coverage.

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