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Photos show old bridge wasn’t place for sightseeing, either

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
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Photos show old bridge wasn’t place for sightseeing, either

The recent spate of letters concerning the railing of the Western Gateway Bridge (the 2013 edition) has now culminated in a Gazette [Sept. 12] editorial. Unfortunately, most of these communications are either based on a profound lack of (historical) information or come from those enamored of looking elsewhere while driving, a practice to be avoided, in my humble opinion.

Regarding the historical part, I have found several photos of the old Western Gateway Bridge (before the last edition) taken by my father on several occasions during the 1950s. Two things are noticable from these photos.

First, the new railing, while not a perfect match for the old bridge, is a much better rendition of the historical form than either the recent bridge railing, or any conceivable railing design that purports to allow a fine view of the Mohawk River.

Second, although there were certainly spaces/gaps in the old railing, they were hardly amenable to taking a good view of the river, considering their size, spacing, and the thickness of the concrete wall.

I daresay that the old bridge designers knew what they were doing: it’s not a particularly good idea to sightsee from a car on a bridge.

One additional insight might be taken from these photos. Even without the vantage point of the roof of the Van Curler (now SCCC), it is possible to get a very fine view of the river (including ice jams) from the bank of the river. One can only pity those who cannot find the time to stop, park (pretty easily done), and walk over to the riverbank to take in a leisurely view. You don’t even have to be particularly fit (and certainly not an athlete) to do this.

For those who want the real experience, I suggest that a gentle stroll onto the bridge would be far more rewarding than the view from a moving car.

The mayor of Scotia should know better!

George H. Shaw

Schenectady

By defying law, sheriffs upholding Constitution

Re Sept. 13 editorial, “What’s Cuomo going to do about sheriffs’ defiance?”: One important oath taken by the sheriffs, which the Gazette seems not to have considered, is their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Interestingly, the state’s legislators take the same oath. Some have honored their oath; those who voted for the SAFE Act did not.

Gov. Cuomo demonstrated his disdain for the Constitution with his thinly veiled attempt to redirect the attention of the state’s citizens with his emotional but irrelevant statement “no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.” I expect that if the governor were to re-read the Constitution, he would be surprised to discover that it is not about hunting.

For those who wish to better understand the sheriffs’ position and truly understand what this nation is about, I suggest reading the Federalist Papers and the majority opinion of the Supreme Court on D.C. vs. Heller, as a start.

Also, there have been historically significant events that support the sheriffs’ actions. The northern states’ nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is one that comes to mind.

The Gazette editorial states that the governor had been “publicly” silent on this matter until now; but he certainly hasn’t been silent. In May of this year he held a meeting with the sheriffs under the pretense of discussing changes to the SAFE Act. His real agenda for the meeting was to tell the sheriffs to keep quiet. The governor attempted to hide this action behind closed doors, his preferred method for conducting business. Thus, Cuomo demonstrated his disdain for the First Amendment as well. It seems that the sheriffs are not the ones setting a “dangerous and frightening precedent.”

The sheriffs’ defiance and disrespect for this law is indicative of their sincere respect for this country. In my opinion, the only law enforcement officers fully executing their duties in regard to the SAFE Act are Sheriff Thomas Lorey and the other sheriffs that are standing by his side.

Don Steciak

Schenectady

Wealth gap widening, thanks to gov’t policies

On Sept. 11, the Gazette editors buried on the Business Page a story that should have been on the front page.

The article I am referring to was, “Top 1% took record share of 2012 income.” It indicated that the richest 1 percent of Americans collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012. That was higher than the previous high of 18.7 percent of household income taken by the 1 percent in 1927 and represents a steady widening of the gap in wealth between the 1 percent and the rest of us, the 99 percent. That is front-page news that the public should be reminded of, because inequality of wealth is one of the most serious problems that our nation faces.

This issue should be a decisive factor in making laws that affect our economy. For example, reducing the amount of income through Social Security would only exacerbate this situation by providing less money for those in need. Also, as reporters such as Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele have pointed out in their book, “The Betrayal Of The American Dream,” it is primarily government policies and laws that have favored corporations and the very rich, who have highly paid lobbyists, that led to this wide gap in prosperity.

The voting public has to be alert to such laws and speak out against them, as well as oppose changes in the tax code that will enhance the 1 percent and increase the inequality in our country.

Tom Schottman

Burnt Hills

Cheating that is not only costly but dangerous

I read the Sept. 14 article about the overspending, underachieving National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its massive ineffectiveness and gigantic ($16 billion) waste of taxpayer money (mostly employing private contractors), resulting in unbelievable security risks to the nation.

Before that, I had read the article directly across about people receiving $1.3 billion in improper disability payments from Social Security. It seemed almost inconsequential, compared to the NNSA’s waste.

The amount of money wasted on these incompetent private contractors to maintain and secure our nuclear facilities is twelvefold the amount the less than 1 percent of Americans received improperly.

I can imagine some being outraged that their fellow human beings might be cheating the system and bilking the government and taxpayers. But read the NNSA article and realize how much more these nuclear programs and arms are bilking all of us, putting the country, the planet and future generations at grave risk of self-destruction.

When will we ever learn?

Terri Roben

Glenville

Outlaw pit bulls to end their abuse, exploitation

Every day, I get emails from rescue groups looking for people to adopt a dog. Nine times out of 10 it’s homeless pit bulls.

I love all breeds, but we need to put an end to the abuse and abandonment of these poor dogs, who are often used for dog fighting. I personally think the breed should be outlawed. Just look at some of the violent sections of Schenectady. When was the last time you drove down State Street and saw someone walking their poodle?

We all know that pit bulls have the reputation of being mean and violent. Take a closer look at the owner to find out this is not necessarily the case. Mean people can breed mean animals. Let’s put an end to their suffering.

Linda Knightes

Rotterdam

Right to life is not one that gov’t can take away

Re Mishka Luft’s Sept. 6 letter, “Government never gets it right when it intervenes on abortion”: The framers of the U.S. Constitution said governments are instituted to secure the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That makes us citizens unique; [the] government doesn’t give us the right to life — that is a natural right. “One is innocent until proven guilty,” that applies to everyone, not just unborn human life. I don’t think Patricia Flint [Sept. 1 letter] needs a social history lesson, especially when the countries Ms. Luft mentioned were communist nations.

Communist China has murdered millions of its own poor innocent citizens during its history. It is also correct that no government should preach population control through abortion.

A very small percentage of pregnancies are a result of rape or incest; in those cases, however, the innate inborn natural law must take precedence to find a solution.

An unwanted and unplanned pregnancy must be very hard to face. But the real choice in this dilemma is the one the woman makes before becoming pregnant.

Nora Bennett

Ballston Spa

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