Listen to all views on global warming, then take action

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
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Listen to all views on global warming, then take action

Prompted by recent letters to the editor regarding global warming, I see the controversy is alive and well. Unfortunately, I’m not alarmed or surprised. My first thought after reading Mr. Gerard Havasy’s Jan. 16 letter was to fire off a letter telling him what I think of his opinion based on his life’s experience with weather. But I procrastinated, thank goodness. To do so would have only succeeded in exposing my own ignorance.

After reading Mr. Louis Restifo’s Jan. 20 letter, I felt somewhat vindicated, as his opinion is more in line with mine. Then along comes Mr. Daniel Hill’s Jan. 23 letter, long on undisputed scientific facts and short on sentimental opinion. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Rather than drawing a line in the sand and shouting meaningless labels at each other, as people with dissenting viewpoints have been known to do, we would all be better served by welcoming differences of opinions so that we can discuss them intelligently and work productively to solve the many problems we are all facing as inhabitants of this beautiful planet.

There is little doubt in my mind that anyone with an opinion on this subject is genuinely and equally serious about preserving our only planet’s health and longevity for future generations. The real issue seems to be, when do we really need to start worrying about mankind’s effect on our planet? The believers think the time is now, and the nonbelievers think it is later, much later.

To those of you who don’t know who or what to believe, expand your search and Google 350.org to read up on more of the scientific facts behind the theory that man-made hydrocarbons are causing warming of the planet at an exponential rate. Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. Thank you for all your letters.

Don Jefts

Scotia

Rotterdam police too rough with boy on bus

Injury to a teenager Rotterdam police were attempting to escort off a special needs school bus probably could have avoided if the situation had been handled differently [Feb. 2 Gazette]. It was noted that the police were aware that this was a special needs boy who suffered from emotional disabilities and was having a “mental incident.”

I viewed the video several times as the incident played out on television. As the two policemen were attempting to escort the teenager off the bus, it showed the policeman on the left put his left arm over the teenager’s arm and yanked the teenager’s arm straight up behind his back — almost reaching his neck. The policeman on the right can be heard telling the other officer that he had broken the teenager’s arm, and you can actually hear the arm break.

The policemen stated that they were attempting to handcuff the teenager. If this is so, why was the teenager’s arm twisted well up his back with the policeman using his left arm as leverage in a way that caused further injury?

It is worrisome to read Rotterdam Police Chief Jim Hamilton quoted as saying that the officers followed department protocol and procedures.

I would recommend CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) to the police chief, which is used nationwide in incidents involving people with mental health problems. However, it takes a special person to be trained in the CIT, and I have to wonder if it would be of value to someone such as the policeman who apparently acted so aggressively.

The CIT program has proven to cut down on injuries to police, the public and persons being pursued.

Flora Ramonowski

Schenectady

The writer is the former president and vice president of NAMI/Schenectady, Inc., National Alliance on Mental Illness-Schenectady.

Tax cap? No problem Just call it a fee

During Gov. Cuomo’s tenure, he and the state Legislature capped property tax increases at no more than 2 percent per year.

To get around this, the Democrat-controlled Rotterdam Town Board is now proposing to add mandatory fees of $50 each on water and brush removal. Note their use of the word fee — not tax. Regardless of what word you use to describe it, this proposal increases the amount Rotterdam town property owners are obliged to pay. For an average home owner with property assessed at $150,000, that’s a whopping 16 percent!

Clever way to get around the property tax cap. I don’t buy it, do you? Voice your opinion about this unjustified new tax/fee at the public hearing on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at Rotterdam Town Hall.

George Van Schaick

Rotterdam

Schools being shorted, businesses courted

Public education today has really taken the back seat too many unsuccessful, inefficient entities in our government. Funding our schools is getting more and more political. That is really a sad thing.

On Jan. 30, I attended a forum at Colonie High School, titled “New York Schools Still in Peril.” It was a two-hour meeting in a packed auditorium discussing the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). This is a dysfunctional process where schools receive state reimbursement. What I am hearing is how inconsistent and underfunded the schools really are — $387 million of promised aid withheld in the last four years, to be exact.

If things don’t change, parents will be forced to pay for classes that the school is not required to provide, and disadvantaged kids will not get the help they need to be career- ready.

I will confess that I am a parent and probably if this were a few years ago, I wouldn’t be expressing my concern, like many others. I am lucky to be in a smaller district with very dedicated administrators and teachers. Many parents are busy with their lives and have little time to see what’s going on.

The real problem is that many municipalities around the Capital Region are finding their senior population growing and the local tax base shrinking. Our state and local governments refuse [to] find ways to become more efficient, while schools and teachers are being told to do more with less. The worst is yet to come if the state stays on this course. Yes, I agree parents need to play a role, now more than ever.

As the TV commercial says, New York is now open for business. If you live here now, you’re “screwed!” If you want to move to New York and want to set up shop, welcome, and we will screw you later!

Bob Burgess

Rotterdam

Cavalier comment re Nisky school saving

I read with interest your Jan. 30 article on the Niskayuna school board postponing the vote on school closings.

One particular comment by board member Patricia Lanotte caught my attention. “There is no way I wrap myself around this for $415,000.” It must be nice to have this type of money be considered “chump change.”

I wonder what she, and probably most of the board, considers to be real money. Oops, I forgot, it’s not their money.

Jim Vincent

Niskayuna

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