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Withhold taxes to show disgust with Albany corruption

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
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Withhold taxes to show disgust with Albany corruption

As most readers know, the new Moreland Commission established by Gov. Cuomo in 2012 presented a recommendation that legislators, most of whom are attorneys, reveal their sources of outside income as well as the name of clients who are serviced by law firms to which the legislators are related and from which they receive salaries of up to $450,000 annually, as does Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The legislators are “part time” with a base salary of almost $80,000, plus perks and pensions that easily double that figure.

The Sept. 21 article in the Gazette makes several points, as follows: First, corruption is rampant; 30 state and local officials have been indicted, convicted or identified in investigations during the last seven years.

Second, legislators have refused to divulge this information many times in the past, citing the attorney-client relationship — although information on specific cases or the particulars of litigation has never been sought, only financial information.

Third, the New York Bar Association has recently declared that the Moreland Commission’s recommendation in no way violates attorney-client privacy obligations.

Lastly, in a united front, legislators of both parties have hired attorneys to support their refusal to supply the requested information, which is necessary to provide transparency to the voting, taxpaying public. The Moreland Commission states that this action is “ethically repugnant!”

This defiance is absurd, disgusting, and insults the taxpayers, who have had little control of the state government for years because of overt and covert corruption which has purchased the hearts of the legislators in many ways. We would be wasting postage if we wrote critical letters to “our” so-called legislators. Patiently waiting to vote out these defiant individuals would be massive self-deception. Also, proposing recalls is impractical and probably impossible. Nonviolent protests on the Capitol steps would be met with laughter by the ensconced and arrogant politicians.

What is left to effect transparency and control corruption? Perhaps a groundswell protest to delay payment of taxes until the Legislature agrees to meet the demands of the Moreland Commission will break this impasse and bring this corrupt, uncontrollable and dysfunctional government to its knees. Events of the past several weeks demonstrate how a previously unthinkable solution will be necessary to bring the government, which is presently not “ours,” back to civility, sanity and legitimacy. We should not pay for a government that does not function on behalf of the majority of its taxpayers.

Lyle W. Barlyn

Niskayuna

Who should watch out for whom on the road?

Re Mr. Peter Frank’s letter in the Sept. 19 paper. I realize it is an opinion section, so free to any thought, but this lacks any facts or legitimate complaint.

Now if he wanted to write about how he is not going to watch for motorcycles because they have loud pipes, or some of them ride like idiots, so be it. However, his reason is that he is in a larger, safer vehicle? How would he feel if he was ran off the road by a large truck because that driver felt it was Mr. Frank’s job to watch for him?

This is just complete ignorance and justification for everyone to put up “Watch for motorcycles” signs.

Kyle Dykeman

Fultonville

Song rationalizing rape clearly crosses the line

It was called the anthem of the summer and I, like many others, hoped that it would end there. Unfortunately, Robin Thicke’s song, “Blurred Lines,” is currently No. 2 on the iTunes top 100 songs chart and is still being played on many local radio stations.

While most people who listen to the radio on a regular basis are used to hearing the same song played over and over until we have grown sick of the song that we now know every word of, “Blurred Lines” makes me sick for a different reason.

With lyrics such as, “I hate these blurred lines. I know you want it,” and “the way you grab me, must wanna get nasty,” Thicke makes it clear that his song is about the so-called blurred lines between sex and rape, exemplifying the fact that pop culture is not only embracing but also encouraging rape culture.

The fact that so many people love this song despite its more than questionable lyrics is upsetting. The lines are not blurred — it is one extremely defined line called consent.

Janie Frank

Schenectady

Speedy cyclists need to slow down on bike path

I am a bicyclist who rides over 5,000 miles each year, and a lot of that is on the bike path. Over the years, I have seen thousands of riders and walkers. I need to respond to the Sept. 21 letter from Gina Robinson complaining about speeding, unannounced bicyclists.

She is absolutely 100 percent correct.

I know stereotypes can be terribly unfair, but they exist because there is a kernel of truth (and sometimes more) behind them. I certainly did not see the incident Ms. Robinson described, but I can make a good guess about the cyclist: The cyclist was a younger male, well-educated, dressed in Spandex of numerous bright colors, probably wearing dark sunglasses, and ignoring everybody as he came down the path.

If one of these guys flew by you [and] you were able to stop him and actually get him to speak to you (they do ignore you when you call out them on their behavior), he’d probably claim he was “in the zone.” He would also likely be thinking, “You are in my way. Buzz off.”

The words that come to mind are “arrogant,” “irresponsible,” “sense of entitlement.” and “self-centered.” But I really doubt they care what you and I think. After all, it’s their bike path, right?

But someday, they may injure someone and then they will find that, at a minimum, they can be held civilly liable and perhaps criminally liable as well.

And to all those bicyclists with good manners, we all thank you, and I apologize for lumping in you with those jerks.

James Fogarty

Schenectady

For minorities, chess may be opening to STEM

One of the ways that minorities can get more involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is to achieve supremacy in an intellectual activity to give them the confidence to tackle these challenging disciplines.

A decade ago, I rotated into a clique comprising African-American chess players. In the first game, I crushed one of these kids because I am a specialist in the opening and caught him in an opening trap. The second game he drew. The third he won, and after that I got crushed.

Chess is incredibly cheap to implement and it is my belief that once African-American youth discover that they excel at chess, it will give them the confidence to tackle the difficult disciplines of STEM.

The U.S. Chess Federation, I feel certain, would be thrilled to negotiate with a suite of school districts to get cheap memberships in their organization and access to chess sets and boards at cost.

Richard Moody Jr.

Schoharie

Which comes first, the gun or the massacre?

The Sept. 18 Opinion page cartoon, “Forever stamp/Forever headline” says it all.

The headline in the [fictional] “USA Daily News” says, “Gun massacre,” with “gun” in a much larger, bolder, more in-your-face type than “massacre.”

I felt it appropriate since it’s obvious to me from the actions of our government that getting rid of guns is a higher priority on the political agenda than getting rid of massacres.

Gregory P. Hovak

Delanson

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