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Voters shouldn’t care what Eliot Spitzer did in his private life

Friday, July 19, 2013
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Voters shouldn’t care what Eliot Spitzer did in his private life

Recently, you have published some letters from some of our more prudish citizens, in which they opined that it was too soon to forgive the sexual indiscretions of Eliot Spitzer, if indeed they can ever be forgiven by these individuals, whose lives were so personally and negatively affected.

I am not excusing Mr. Spitzer. However, I do see these faults as character flaws which in no way diminish his competence to hold and execute the duties of public office.

What he did is something that no caring father or husband should do. However, those most injured by his behavior have the same last name — he was not elected to be either father or parent.

The use of prostitutes is legal in almost all European, Asian and African and South American countries. Yes, it’s against the law in our backward, puritanical society, but except for use as political fodder, it is rarely prosecuted except, occasionally, for women. We can throw Heidi Fleiss in jail, but not all the Hollywood stars and politicians who paid for and used the services she provided.

During my 73 years, I have experienced politics in many parts of this country. Eliot Spitzer is the only state attorney general I ever heard of who used his office to actively be involved in so many high-profile legal matters — matters that were of benefit not only to New Yorkers, but to other Americans whose attorney generals were not as dedicated or aggressive. His office went after price-fixing in the computer chip market, investment banking stock price-fixing, predatory lending practices of mortgage lenders, AIG fraud and mutual fund scandals. That is visible competence.

I know from the people elected to office over and over that competence is not high on the list of voter priorities, which is why we as a nation are on a very slippery slope with regard to our economic future.

I do not know Mr. Spitzer, but have often heard it said that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. Based on that, Mr. Spitzer owes me no apology. I owe him no forgiveness. That is properly the concern of his family.

As a voter, competence has always impressed me and always will.

Frank Elfland

Charlton

Zimmerman verdict affirmed justice system

George Zimmerman was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Trayvon Martin, and many groups and individuals — instead of celebrating our jury system that could protect them — castigate the process and the defendant, a neighborhood watchman who did not wait for the police to arrive.

I do not know precisely what the law is in Florida, but I do know that the prosecution has the absolute duty to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury says they did not.

I know that the public and the media decided that the defendant, an American of Hispanic descent, was guilty of killing what has been described as an unarmed African-American 17-year-old. I know that local law enforcement chose not to prosecute, but public outcry forced arrest and trial.

I have also heard that this “innocent child” was a troublemaker in school, an in-your-face antagonist who was suspended from school numerous times for misconduct, three times last year alone for fighting and drugs, but that, too, is irrelevant. This case cannot help but remind me of Tawana Brawley, and the public outcry until the facts came out.

As Americans, we are guaranteed innocence until proven guilty. As one who presided over numerous jury trials, I can tell you that the system works. I did not watch the entire Zimmerman trial, although it was televised. The jury did. And it rendered a verdict. Perhaps we all should avoid the media bytes and consider all the facts before making anything a cause celebre.

We all should celebrate our system of justice.

Bruce S. Trachtenberg

Niskayuna

The writer is a former town justice.

Bike path barriers a hazard to cyclists

[In the] late afternoon June 17, a day after celebrating her 62nd birthday, Kathy Botelho and her friend Mel Kincel decided to go on a short bike ride from Kiwanis Park in Lower Rotterdam Junction, heading east on the Mohawk-Hudson bike path. It was to be her last bike ride.

About 500 feet down the path, she had to navigate between three dangerous [motor vehicle barricade] posts. As she tried to go between those barriers, she caught her handlebar on one of them. Her friend, Mel, biking behind her, says he can still see her flying over the handlebars. She landed about 15 feet down the path, and about eight feet down the right embankment. The next morning, that’s where I found her keys that had been in her pocket.

Kathy was taken by ambulance to Ellis Hospital, where they found she had ruptured her liver and lost much blood. She went into a coma and was transferred to Albany Med, and then had a stroke. She was brain dead when she died nine days later.

We miss Kathy, and we hear many stories about people having hit these posts, or fallen because of near-misses, including myself. Are these posts really necessary for safety reasons? Could warning signs relay the same message?

Kathy would have been better off meeting a car on the bike path.

Donald Patneaude

Rotterdam Junction

NYRA has sold Spa track out to scalpers

I am not a big-time bettor, but love racing for its history and the horses.

A sad development is happening at Saratoga. For many years, my family has attended a couple times a season and it has become increasingly difficult to acquire grandstand tickets.

The “lottery” is a joke! The secondary market and promotion companies get priority to purchase seats. The New York Racing Association (NYRA), in partnership with an entertainment company, now sells access at a hugely inflated price. The rest of us get the worst seats, limited track-side viewing access, remote parking, no access to the Balcony Bar, and are wait-listed for Breakfast at the Track.

Rumor has it (I’ve yet to confirm by attending myself) that access to the clubhouse is also now limited to the customers of this entertainment company offering priority access to those who can afford their inflated prices.

Shame on the NYRA for dissing their longtime supporters.

Lori Bahamonde

Webster

Rotterdam Jct. gravel pit is becoming a lake

I am really concerned about a body of water that grows larger, deeper and wider each year. It is located in lower Rotterdam Junction. It borders the Mabie Lane area.

Years ago, it was a gravel pit with a few puddles; now it is a huge body of water. If the railroad bank that holds it is ever compromised, the entire village of upper Rotterdam Junction would be washed away.

It seems that Schenectady County does not feel responsible for checking the well-being of the area. They [county officials] say it is the responsibility of Rotterdam Highway Department.

I wish someone would take a look at what could be a potential disaster. With all the rain we have had, it resembles a small, very deep lake. The last thing Rotterdam Junction needs is more water.

Marty Shanty

Charlton

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comments

July 19, 2013
4:10 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Re Zimmerman - Yes, the verdict is in and the jury performed the duty as instructed by the judge. Yes, Neighborhood Watchman Zimmerman has been found not guilty. However, I hear many things, too! I hear Mr. Zimmerman targeted black males in is role of neighborhood watch. I hear you are supposed to report and wait for the police. I actually heard the defendent tell Sean Hannity that this was an act of God and he has no regrets. Have you made a judgement on "hearsay" and done just what the defense wanted the jury to do: turn the young victim, who was quite possibly "standing his ground", into the villian? Perhaps, these groups and individuals that you criticize have nothing to celebrate regarding a jury system that does little to protect them.

July 19, 2013
6:16 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

janesjoys, oh you "hear" the guy who had a black prom date and mentored minorities, targeted black males. Good you listen to other uniformed liberals for all your information. That way you can form an educated opinion. Yes all the "evidence" confirms your hypothesis that Martin was standing his ground. George simply walked up and shot him. Must be interesting living in a parallel universe. Never ever ever serve on a jury. It's bad enough that liberals vote, but jury duty.......

July 19, 2013
6:18 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

Yes Frank, we should only care about what Republicans do not liberals. Holding Democrats accountable for anything they do would just be wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

July 19, 2013
7:10 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I suppose janesjoy also believes that Zimmerman was a "white Hispanic". Maybe she should read again what the judge wrote above. A liberal elitist living off the public dole has it's responsibilities, right janesjoy?

July 19, 2013
8:23 a.m.
Niskyboy says...

"Voters shouldn’t care what Eliot Spitzer did in his private life." Really? The position of NYC Comptroller, the chief financial officer for the city, requires someone who shows good judgment and who is honest. Spitzer's private actions allow us to judge whether he has these essential qualities. His private actions actually tell us he is deficient in them. For example, in terms of judgment, he was willing to engage in activity that not only betrayed his wife and family, but if exposed could lead to their public humiliation. That is what happened.

And in terms of honesty, in the pursuit of his affair he paid cash. The prostitution ring was a $1 million+ operation. It didn't pay taxes. Spitzer, the former NYS Attorney General, would know this yet he went along with it. In other words, the former top prosecutor for the state paid money under the table to an operation whose managers later were convicted of money laundering charges, among others.

Mr. Elfland, I can understand you may feel prostitution is not a big deal but that is not the relevant discussion. The relevant discussion is, do Spitzer's private actions give us insight into whether he has the personal qualities that render him fit or unfit for public office. Yes, they do, and that is why we should look at them.

July 19, 2013
1 p.m.
janesjoys says...

Why should I bother? You guys never seem to get the point I am trying to make. If you know me so well, it should be evident.

July 19, 2013
5:52 p.m.
Phils2008 says...

janesjoys, I can read. I only know what you say not what you mean.
"Have you made a judgement on "hearsay" and done just what the defense wanted the jury to do" What hearsay did the defense present to the jury? Yes we make judgments frequently on hearsay. When I buy a car, go to a restaurant, not when I have power over a human life. What subliminal point are you trying to make that we apparently cant grasp? This jury protected an innocent man. That's what jury's do. You liberals just do not grasp that the Judge and Jury are not for your social engineering projects, but that's exactly what you want them for.

July 20, 2013
2:40 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Phils2008 - I am speechless!

July 20, 2013
5:50 p.m.
rcellup says...

Mr. Elfland you must be kidding, Mr Spitzer committed a crime and as the former chief prosecutor he prosecuted the very crime he committed. This has nothing to do with morality or being prudish.

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