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Providing free tuition for prisoners in N.Y. unsound and unfair

Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Providing free tuition for prisoners in N.Y. unsound and unfair

How can the Gazette support and advocate for New York state to cover tuition costs for people incarcerated [Feb. 20 editorial]?

We have a crisis in New York where an education at a SUNY school is now out of reach for many. The cost of an undergraduate degree (including books and living on campus) is in excess of $80,000! Tuition for private schools is even higher.

Should I tell my son to get himself arrested so he can graduate debt-free? Wouldn’t a better proposal be supporting lower tuition for people that have not committed a criminal offense resulting in jail or prison? I would think that if more people could access a higher education, there would be less pull to turn to crime as a method of financial support.

According to the Gazette’s supporting argument, the $5,000 investment per year to educate a criminal is a better investment than the $60,000 it costs to have someone incarcerated for a year. My math is a little different. I see the added cost of educating criminals increasing the cost of incarceration from $60,000 to $65,000. Where’s the savings? Would we be lowering the rate of recidivism and re-incarceration or just creating smarter crooks that don’t get caught?

Does it make sense to reward criminal behavior with a college degree when we have so many law-abiding kids either not able to afford a higher education or graduating saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt?

Don Cooper

Burnt Hills

For better film fare at Bow Tie in Schenectady

Let me add to the clamor for good-quality “thinking person’s” movies at Schenectady’s Bow Tie Cinema [Jan. 30 editorial].

This Movieland company has let us down, violated and broken their promises to us!

I realize that it’s all about the money and box-office receipts, with a large market for films like “Frankenstein,” “Legos,” “Vampire Academy” — mayhem, violence, gunfights, murder and the like; but why not intersperse with those similar to “Gravity,” “Philomena,” “Nebraska” and others?

I dislike driving to Albany County (Crossgates, Colonie Center and Spectrum) to see Hollywood’s Oscar selections.

Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, please tell Bow Tie to stop driving us out of town for entertainment.

Ted Vinick

Niskayuna

Proctors produces for the handicapped

My husband was a COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary] patient, on oxygen and regularly used a wheelchair. We found it very difficult to shop or dine in downtown Schenectady. So when we needed to shop or wanted to go out to dinner, we would drive into Albany.

However, please give credit where it is due. Proctors was always the one place in Schenectady where we could go and see a wonderful show without facing any problems or feeling out of place.

They are truly the “North Star” of Schenectady with regard to the handicapped, and other businesses would do well to follow their lead.

Nancy E. Straight

Pattersonville

Poor are being twice victimized on bedbugs

Re the Feb. 9 article “Bedbugs have Schenectady tenants, landlords at odds”: I’m writing concerning the bedbug epidemic within our community. This has plagued the very poor on a large scale, bringing financial hardship to this part of our community.

Recently our government has found health problems with the pesticides used. Consequently, they stop the use without putting anything else in its place, thus causing further devastation to indigent homes. And also causing some people to jump to negative conclusions of blame, with consequences of penalty against an already deprived and forgotten part of our community.

Deborah Rembert

Schenectady

The writer is president of S.T.A.M.P. [Schenectady Tenants Association Meeting Program].

Why the platform for oil industry shills?

The Gazette did a disservice to its readers when it disguised oil industry propaganda for the Keystone Pipeline as an “opinion” column from McClatchy Newspapers [Feb. 16 Gazette].

Only when I turned the page and read to the end was it revealed that one author heads a petroleum “institute.” The other author’s employment as a former board member for Chevron Oil was not mentioned at all.

These two oil profiteers touted Keystone’s benefits, but somehow omitted the following fact. Investments in renewable energy produce much bigger economic and security benefits than the equivalent amount invested in fossil fuel development. Anyone doubting this statement should enter it in a computer search.

The trillions of dollars being printed to shore up the corruptions of Wall Street should obviously be used instead to build an energy system that doesn’t pollute, doesn’t explode, and doesn’t jack up prices with every manipulation or disruption of fuel supplies. Renewable energy systems, especially solar, make far more technical, environmental, and economic sense.

I challenge those with contrary views to provide facts, rather than slogans.

Glenn Sanders

Schoharie

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