Schenectady’s police review board has lost its credibility

Friday, December 27, 2013
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Schenectady’s police review board has lost its credibility

Oversight of the Schenectady Police Department is too important to be left up to not-for-profits [Dec. 23 Gazette].

It is the responsibility of all Schenectady residents to be aware of how their police department is performing. If the police department is not providing the level and manner of public safety the citizens require, the citizens need to take their complaints to people who can do something about it.

Who can do something about it? The police chief, public safety commissioner, mayor, City Council, New York Civil Liberties Union or U.S. Department of Justice.

Any not-for-profit that accepts Community Development Block Grant [CDBG] funding has a conflict of interest with the Schenectady Police Department because they both compete for [this] funding. It would be very simple for the city administration to quietly influence the behavior of the CDBG-dependent not-for-profit to attack the Schenectady Police Department at union contract time, or to ease up when a big grant is in the offing.

There are many questions that need to be answered. Who investigates the not-for-profits to see if they are viable, providing a profit to the community rather than themselves? Isn’t social justice far too important to be left to a handful of corporations, which meet in secret or cyberspace? Who spearheaded the anti-marriage and anti-neighborhood association campaign, which left the police review board lacking a quorum? (Editor’s Note: The writer and her husband, both former members, were forced off the police review board because of familial concerns.)

The citizens of Schenectady and the police department deserve better review of citizen complaints, not just the furthering of special-interest political agendas, furthering of political careers and special-interest philosophical points of view.

Ten years ago, the review board was formed because the Schenectady Police Department was the problem; citizens of the city lost faith in the justice system. Now, in 2013, the Civilian Police Review Board has lost the faith of the citizens.

Darlene Lee


The writer is vice president of the Hamilton Hill Association and a former CPRB board member.

Where did Democrat defender get his ‘facts’?

Richard Moody Jr. uses supposed facts to back up his Dec. 18 letter about how the Democrats may spend more but don’t give money to the rich. This is wrong on so many levels.

But first let me dispute some on his assertions: One is that President G. W. Bush ran up higher deficits in eight years than FDR did in 12 years. According to my source,, this is totally false. And Mr. Moody neglects to say that President Obama has ran up higher deficits in five years than all previous presidents in history, leading to an increase in debt that exceeds all previous presidents combined.

Another of Mr. Moody’s assertions is that “in my lifetime (1964), every Democratic president has left office with a smaller deficit than he inherited, and every Republican president, except Nixon, left office with a larger deficit than he inherited.” Except for President Clinton, all Democrat presidents during this span have had higher deficits at the end [of their terms].

It is completely laughable that President Obama has run up deficits trying to help the “middle class.” (I put “middle class” in quotes because that is a completely communist term.) President Obama has run up huge deficits paying off his political supporters, doling out billions of dollars to failed so-called green industry companies like Solyndra and Fisker Motors.

He has allowed large banks to reap huge profits through Federal Reserve policies of keeping the interest rates to banks at dirt-cheap lows. He has not done a single thing to help the “middle class” or the poor. The real wages of working people have actually declined under him.

I am not a Republican, although I am registered as one for convenience. I am a Libertarian, so I have no special love for Republicans. They do things to help their supporters and allies, too. This is the problem we have in this country. Both parties are in it for their own power and enrichment. For the most part, except for a very few, they don’t care about the people. What is needed is to get rid of political parties’ influence and have nonpartisan elections.

John Gaetani


Reviewer needs to get off her high horse

Re Dec. 22 theater review, “Performers shackled by dated, offensive ‘Rat Pack’”: Having attended the show, which was terrific, with wonderful performances by the cast and musicians, I was taken aback by Amy Durant’s review. She comes off appearing sanctimonious at best.

If she reviewed “Gone With The Wind,” would it have gone something like this: “The theme song was great, the acting very good and the story compelling, but did it have to include the slavery part and the war, which in the 21st century is offensive?

In both cases, of course, there were things that make us uncomfortable; they are period pieces. Should we alter history to make Ms. Durant comfortable?

If one were to attend a Las Vegas show now, would the costumes worn be more revealing than in the ‘60s? And what about F-bombs? I heard none during the Rat Pack performance.

Robert J. Olwert


Noonan’s idea of hunting nothing to brag about

On Dec. 19, I read [columnist] Ed Noonan’s Outdoor Journal, in which he described a recent deer “hunt” on a ranch in Texas. I am not a hunter, but I’m not a hypocrite, either. I eat meat and I have never objected to deer-hunting as long as the hunter uses the meat.

The “hunt” occurred on a ranch where captive deer are lured to feeding stations while hunters hide in weather-protected shelters and train the sights of their high-powered rifles on the feeding troughs.

From the comfort of his shelter, Mr. Noonan slaughtered an eight-point buck. I’m glad to say such a slaughter could not have happened in New York, where luring deer to feeding troughs or salt licks is illegal.

When friends come over to admire the slaughtered buck’s rack (or perhaps head) on Mr. Noonan’s wall, I wonder if he’ll embellish the story of his “hunt,” as sportsmen are sometimes inclined to do. Perhaps he’ll say the seat cushions in the shelter were lumpy, or maybe the cable was out.

Emerson Van Patten


Bill Koch’s story an embarrassment of riches

Billionaire Bill Koch tells “CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood” he’s spent more than $4.5 million on fake wines and has spent upwards of $25 million in lawsuits fighting the people who sold him fake goods! What’s wrong with this picture?

Aside from the crime itself, and it is indeed a crime, does it bother anyone that there is one person out there with over $30 million to spend on fake wines? He stores these, and his “real” wines, in a wine cellar of “Olive Garden” style and proportion.

The man has a restaurant in his basement! And if that’s his wine budget, the artwork in his home, assuming it’s not fake, has to be much more. The museum to house these treasures, aka his home(s), would have to be on a scale of proper proportion.

How much is enough, Bill? How many homes must you acquire? How many fabulous bottles of wine must you serve? How does one get an invite to dinner, and do you have a take-out window?

Kathy Stanley


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December 27, 2013
7:16 a.m.
+3 votes
wmarincic says...

Kathy Stanley, it is the money that he earned so I would say he can spend it any way he wants. Why has success become a bad word? Maybe that is why we have half the population on some form of government assistance. I would watch that show with my kid and tell them with brains, drive and ambition they too could have riches. That has always been the American dream, well, before Obama it was anyways.

December 27, 2013
5:37 p.m.
+1 votes
jjhehir says...

It is not how much the rich have earned, it is the taxes they pay on their earnings. The rich invest in municipal bonds and pay no taxes on those returns. They also invest in equities and pay a low capital gains tax (20%) on their gains. Wage earners on the other hand pay a graduated income tax up to as high as about 40% on their wages.

December 28, 2013
6:18 a.m.
+1 votes
wmarincic says...

So who's fault is it that the tax laws are what they are? The top ten percent still pay 70% of the taxes in America and the bottom 30% pay zero.


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