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Campaign finance reform would help cut corporate influence

Thursday, June 6, 2013
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Campaign finance reform would help cut corporate influence

I know Sen. Hugh Farley thinks that citizen groups supporting campaign finance reform are unfairly targeting him. His only misconception is the unfairness part.

Let’s look at the problem. It begins with corporations. They don’t contribute money to politicians because of their integrity or good looks. That would be illegal. The law requires corporate management to make financial decisions that are in the best economic interests of their stockholders.

Therefore, they are obligated to expect a decent rate of return on any stockholder dollars donated to a candidate’s campaign. Although not as legally restricted, private wealth usually expects similar returns.

While Albany is a cesspool of special interest money, the overall problem is much bigger. Corporate green and the influence it buys infects all levels of government. Worse yet, studies have shown that the usual rate of return on large contributions is about $100 back for every $1 given.

An ongoing scandal in Florida demonstrates this very clearly. A company that contributed $440,000 to the governor’s campaign fund was just awarded a state contract worth $52 million! Yet, why should anybody be surprised?

Remember the billions in federal contracts that Halliburton received. If you think Halliburton contributed to the Bush-Cheney campaign because of the candidates’ honesty, or you believe that New York state politics is substantively different, better check what you are smoking.

It’s about the appearance of impropriety being as insidious as impropriety itself. It’s about the institutions that make our laws and legitimize our democracy being above suspicion. It’s about state senators standing in the doorway to block a vote from being taken, on legislation that would help to reform our broken government.

Albert Ormsby

Saratoga Springs

Let Sch’dy 2020 pick up where 2000 left off

Re May 26 Op-ed, Schenectady’s next vital step is to improve its neighborhoods, One thing about Schenectady that continues to inspire and engage me is that it’s large enough to feel like a real city but small enough that individuals can make a difference.

Many of the successes in the city started with, and continue to be, maintained by volunteer efforts, including Schenectady 2000, the Central Park Rose Garden, Roots and Wisdom, ReTree Schenectady, Schenectady Greenmarket, Bethesda House, the Central Park Disc Golf Course, and the many neighborhood associations, to name a few.

That’s why Roger Hull’s vision of residents working together to revitalize Schenectady neighborhoods in line with the city’s 2020 comprehensive plan is so powerful and so achievable.

Schenectady 2020 can and will make a difference. Anyone interested can e-mail us at Schenectady2020@gmail.com.

Betsy Henry

Schenectady

Dean, Gazette’s valued leader, will be missed

This Sunday [June 2], I was on the return leg of a motorcycle journey that started on May 30. Late in the afternoon I found myself sitting along the hot sidewalk of a Stewart’s store adjacent to Ellis Hospital. To the left of me was a beautiful Siberian husky. The deep blue eyes and seemingly knowing gaze of the dog inspired me to snap his picture. As the shutter snapped, the Siberian’s owner appeared and formally introduced me to the magnificent animal named Bailey.

After bidding Bailey goodbye, I returned to The Sunday Gazette, which was opened to Section B. My attention centered on the article, “Gazette loses valued leader”:

The article was captivating, and I could not help but read it to its conclusion.

I packed Section B of the Sunday Gazette in my knapsack, so as to remember to write this short essay. I was compelled to do so, not simply on the strength of the article, but [because] Irv Dean’s written words were also captivating and I simply needed to show my appreciation.

R. Michael Boyer

Gilboa

*

Re June 2 article, “Gazette loses valued leader”: Sad news, but a fine column as befits Irving Dean, newsman.

Of course, he was more, and [reporter] Bethany Bump did an outstanding job bringing together the essence, history and talents of the writer and editor most of us knew only from his published words.

She carefully, effortlessly wove the comments and insights of esteemed colleagues into a story, which also presented a history and tradition of the print industry which [gives] us daily news and food for thought.

Dean will be missed and the Gazette honored him in a way he would appreciate.

Betty Pieper

Scotia

Credit staffers with rise in Gazette readership

The hard-working people at The Daily Gazette are the ones who made last year’s increase in readership possible [May 17 Gazette].

When the Capital Region reads the Gazette, after your employees have done their jobs, we can see why there would be an increase.

My hat is off to your very dedicated staff — they all should be proud of themselves. It’s a great job well done by some pretty special people.

Walter “Neal” Brazell

Rotterdam

Response to storm in Bellevue was amazing

I am a resident of Bellevue and want to thank all those responsible for the immediate cleanup to open the entrances to Bellevue.

After the storm on May 29, Bellevue was landlocked. Compliments go to Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco, who coordinated the functions of the various city department heads, the mayor, city officials and most of all the volunteers of Neighborhood Watch and other volunteers who worked into the night and will not receive any compensation.

Not venturing out until Friday [May 31], I am amazed at how fast the roadways were cleared. Despite property damage and power loss, we should be thankful there were no lives lost.

Julia T. Lewis

Schenectady

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comments

June 7, 2013
8:30 p.m.
muggy says...

Give all the money you want to whomever you want for public office; corporation or citizen. One hitch: you must immediately disclose online how much was given and who donated.

Money is the mother's milk of politics. You MUST HAVE MONEY to win elections! To think otherwise is simply naive. Let anyone give any amount, to whomever they want. Freedom is a great thing. Just make sure there's sunshine so we know who's donating.

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