Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart

Friday, September 28, 2012
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Commission form of government isn’t very democratic, or smart

There have been complaints among old-time Saratoga residents opposing the new charter that we would lose our democratic government. I have to sadly point out to them that the current commission government is not a democracy.

Our counties, states and country are not democracies. We live with various forms of representative government. Under the commission form of government, we elect five commissioners who are responsible for separate functions of the city government. We elect commissioners based on background in his/her area — like law enforcement, city maintenance and finance. This limits the available pool of candidates.

The position of mayor does not seem to need any requirements. The part-time commissioners appoint a deputy to actually run the day-to-day operations. There are no qualification or approval requirements for deputies other than that the commissioner likes/wants them. How many citizens know who these deputies are and their qualifications?

Recently, Mayor Scott Johnson stated a concern that under the new charter, the mayor’s appointments to the various city commissions will have to be approved by the City Council.

As opposed to the current practice of appointing your buddies regardless of qualifications, the selection and appointment of a city manager would be an open, national search based on qualifications. Yes, a national search! Do we believe that Saratoga has a lock on the best qualified people for city manager or superintendent of schools?

Yes, both the commissioner form of city government developed by Galveston [Texas] and the city manager form of government were initiated in the early 1900s. Over the years, many cities have moved to the city manager government, but how many cities are moving to the commissioner government? Even Galveston adopted a city manager!

Are we so smart and everyone else so dumb? Or visa versa?

Don Colosimo

Saratoga Springs

Vets could be part of the pet problem solution

Things need to change! The story about the three abandoned puppies [Sept. 26 Gazette] was heartbreaking. It’s happening more and more often.

If the veterinarians throughout the area would get together and run monthly clinics on a rotating basis for basic health issues and low- or no-cost spay and neuter, there would be far fewer neglected and abused pets.

One of the reasons people are giving up their pets is they can’t afford to keep them healthy and to stop reproducing. We have low-cost clinics for people, why not pets?

It’s a comfort and a privilege to own a pet; they give us so much in return for very little.

Some of you well-paid DVMs [doctors of veterinary medicine] need to step up to the plate and support your local communities!

Marty Shanty


Making fun of religion should be outlawed

Two wrongs don’t make a right. What I mean by this is that no one has the right to make fun of anyone’s religion in any way, shape or form.

In our country, we have freedom of religion that is in the Constitution. Anyone who [makes fun of someone’s religion] should be stopped before it starts.

A company or person that does something like this should be put out of business and fined big time, or go to jail.

Americans and others are being killed by Muslims all over the world [because] of some movie about their god that was not in good taste. This is not right. It is also not right for Muslims to blow themselves up and kill others because of this movie.

The time has come to respect all religions all over the world. There is nothing worse than a religious war; let’s try to stop it if we can. Too many innocent people are being killed over this.

Sid Gordon


Don’t allow cigarettes to be sold near schools

A recent study by the RTI Public Health Policy Research Program highlighted how low-income smokers spend 25 percent of their earnings on tobacco products. Sadly, this disturbing news doesn’t surprise me. There are more tobacco retailers in low-income communities, many of them within walking distance of schools.

The most recent surgeon general’s report showed a direct link between young people being exposed to tobacco marketing and using tobacco products. Bottom line: The more tobacco marketing youth see, the more likely they are to smoke. Faced with those facts, imagine how difficult it is to grow up tobacco-free.

Place matters when it comes to our health. Having access to healthy foods, safe streets and places to play impacts our health behaviors. We owe it to our children to develop and maintain healthy places to live, work and play. One way we can do this is to decrease the amount of tobacco marketing our children see and limit where tobacco is sold.

Judy Rightmyer

Burnt Hills

Numbers don’t add up for any incumbents

When is America going to wake up?

Under this administration, we have thousands collecting unemployment insurance, plus we still have thousands of unemployed not collecting insurance.

Where do they get this 8-plus percent out of work? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. We are now over $14 trillion in debt. Guess who is going to pay it off? Our kids, grandchildren, and so on.

Who is worried about our economy? Obviously not our president or Congress, who are more worried about the votes with false promises.

To all of you who are voting this year, think twice before you leap. This is an important step for America.

James Maxfield


Most police stations will be taking old drugs

I would like to thank Steve Cook for his Sept. 25 article calling attention to the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day taking place this Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the nation.

Unfortunately, the article [only noted a Website readers could consult] to find out where to take their drugs. In Schenectady County, the city of Schenectady, towns of Glenville, Niskayuna and Rotterdam and the village of Scotia are collecting the prescription drugs at their police stations.

The Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department is collecting the expired or unneeded drugs at Duanesburg Town Hall. If you are not a county resident, you can find out if your local police department is participating and where the closest dropoff is located at: Click on “search for a collection site near you,” or call 1-800-882-9539.

I encourage everyone to participate and help manage disposal of these medications properly for the sake of the environment and to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Jeff Edwards


The writer is the Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste coordinator for Schenectady County.

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September 28, 2012
4:51 a.m.
janesjoys says...

to James Mmaxwell - I guess I would rather be paying to help a family survive than a another tax break for Mr. Romney and Co.

September 28, 2012
6:55 a.m.
muggy says...

The "movie" has NOTHING to do with the attacks by al qaeda around the world. It especially had nothing to do with the Libyan, Sept. 11th coordinated attack. Those rioters knew nothing about the movie.

The suggestion that we should outlaw speech directly contradicts the 1st amendment protection of free speech.

How ridiculous.

September 28, 2012
7:43 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Sid Gordon

I will not be bullied by any religion or fools to give up my RIGHT to free speech. What next, against the law to talk about the government? Europe has laws like that and look what is happening there.

September 28, 2012
12:31 p.m.
newyorker65 says...

I'm tired of hearing about "free speech!" Go ahead and shout fire in a crowded theater... that's free speech... but you can't do that can you?... why?... because it's against the LAW! I may not agree 100% with Mr. Gordon, but I agree with the concept of what he's saying. There's no way of knowing if ALL of the people who participated in the riots on Sept. 11th knew or didn't know about the movie... all it takes is one to start a riot! I think people get away with way too much under the auspices of "free speech." Movie-makers thought it was cute to make fun of another's religion and look what it cost us! Don't all people have the right of religious freedom without persecution? What do you think that movie was all about?... persecution, that's what!

September 28, 2012
1:58 p.m.
wmarincic says...

I never heard any complaints from the government about the crucifix that is submerged in urine and hanging in a museum paid for with government funds and titled Piss Christ. I guess anyone can denigrate any religion except Muslims. It is against the law to yell fire in a crowded theater because that is not free speech that is inciting a panic, two totally different things. In Europe you can go to jail for saying someone is stupid and France is enacting a 75% tax.... liberals....

September 28, 2012
2:10 p.m.
newyorker65 says...

wmarincic... we don't live in Europe and we don't live in France... but did you know that you can get a ticket in NYC for honking your car horn?... or throwing your cigarette butt out the window? I understand why you can't yell fire in a crowded theater, because it would incite a riot... much like that movie did, so what's the difference? BTW... did you mean to call me a liberal?... because I am most definitely not!

September 28, 2012
7:27 p.m.
wmarincic says...

No we are not in Europe but our current President and liberals in general are turning America into Europe.

September 28, 2012
9:12 p.m.
myshortpencil says...

People don't respect the freedom of speech because the public schools that "educate" them teach them that the government can punish all kinds of speech PLUS they do practically nothing to teach students about why the freedom of speech is a fundamental human right that no government has the right to infringe. That our own courts have repeatedly failed to protect the freedom of speech is not just reprehensible but traitorous.

By the way, the metaphor is that you can't FALSELY shout fire in a theater. But that's clearly not true, since "FIRE!" has been shouted in theaters around the world when there was none. See, e.g.,

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