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Column and cartoon mocking Christie’s weight were outrageous

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
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Column and cartoon mocking Christie’s weight were outrageous

Re the Jan. 19 op-ed column syndicated by McClatchey Newspapers, “Christie scandal begs the question: Will politicians ever learn?”: My question: will writers and editors ever learn to stop judging people by their weight?

The opinion piece, by Dan Thomasson, couches the Chris Christie bridge debacle almost solely in terms of the New Jersey governor’s weight. Ironically, I stopped eating breakfast when I read “... Christie, who can’t seem to keep his weight in check despite tying off his stomach or some such business.” Mr. Thomasson, whom I suspect is not a medical authority, goes on to mention Christie’s “gastronomical urges,” as if that is somehow relevant to the situation. It is not.

When I saw the highly offensive cartoon, of an overweight Christie sitting on the bridge and it collapsing, I could read no further. If Thomasson is suggesting that being large is Christie’s choice and that it represents how he might govern, then the writer doesn’t know very much about human physiology.

It is bad enough that a journalist would be so insensitive, but that our local editors would choose to print not only the article, but the outrageous and unnecessary cartoon, is simply stunning.

Weight loss surgery saves lives, and it can cure diabetes in just days. I’ve seen it. And it does so in nearly 90 percent of the patients who go to one local program. Medical journals have been reporting on the fact and mechanism of weight loss surgery stabilizing blood sugar for years. Someday soon, the surgery will be offered to people of any weight to cure diabetes, because the cost of surgery pales beside the cost of a remaining lifetime of oral medications and insulin injections (people with severe Type 2 diabetes may inject insulin; the procedure does not help type 1). Bariatric surgery — yes, Mr. Thomasson, it has a name — is a life saver.

Why is the societal filter that shields us from ridiculing people because of the color of their skin, or their religion or lack thereof, or now even their sexual orientation, not applied to people with obesity? Especially given that so many of us are overweight and could someday be in their shoes? The Gazette had an opportunity to take such a stand by not printing this horrific column.

I’m a biologist and would be happy to contribute a piece on how bariatric surgery can cure obesity and diabetes and related medical conditions — but it isn’t opinion. It is medical fact.

Ricki Lewis

Glenville

Anti-casino drive is NIMBY all over again in Saratoga

I am not a gambler, or a big fan of same, but I believe the SAVE [Saratogians Against Vegas-Style Expansion] supporters are following the same mindset as the NIMBYs [not in my backyard] did over 30 years ago regarding development of the Route 50 corridor to Exit 15.

They protested against the mall, etc., and were successful in driving the retail development across the town line into Wilton. The result is, in hindsight, Wilton gets all the tax benefits, and Saratoga Springs just got the added infrastructure damage and traffic that the residents get to pay for, without the benefits.

I believe that the city would be better off with one, in-town, casino, run by people we are familiar with. The alternative is two casino operations, with the second just outside, run by out-of-town strangers with no vested interest in Saratoga. “The devil you know is less a threat than the devil you don’t know!” and the racino is not going away.

I live just over a block from the racino, just off Crescent Avenue, and the racino has not caused any problems. The traffic is more evenly distributed and less obtrusive than that of the flat track.

Peter Henningson

Saratoga Springs

Mayor Johnson was true to form with exit trick

Mayor Scott Johnson’s sneaky side got the best of him when he made those 20 appointments on the day he left office [Jan. 16 Gazette]. Trying to mess up incoming Mayor Joanne Yepsen, he got nailed for what he is by your Jan. 17 editorial and cartoon.

Known as the “Teflon Don” by City Hall regulars, he used a bagful of dirty tricks during his six years in office. Like the one he pulled on his opponent in 2011 when he sent a disgraceful, misleading smear brochure to every household in the city a couple of days before Election Day. His opponent, with no time to adequately respond, lost by a narrow margin.

A lawyer, Johnson spent a lot of time twisting the law but knew little about good government and governance, making it up as he went along. He got off to a slick start in his first term in 2008, when he appropriated a valuable, irreplaceable city-owned playing field as a “cheap” site for an indoor recreation center that continues to cause serious adverse neighborhood impacts. It was more of the same from there to his true-to-form exit.

Charles C. Morrison

Saratoga Springs

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