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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 16

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Why let Cuomo off the hook on masks

All the mainstream press dumps on the vice president and the president for not wearing masks. Yet our (your) governor has never been seen wearing one.
Is it possible that this preferential treatment by you and the networks has to do with him being a liberal Democrat? I eagerly await your response.  
Robert Grimm
Town of Florida

Don’t normalize dictatorial powers

The May 10 Sunday Gazette front page is dominated by a photo: “WEAR A MASK IT’S THE LAW!” A law written by a state governor.
Until 60 years ago, laws were written, as the constitutions required, by a legislative body signed by the executive, judged by the judicial.
Today almost all laws are written by employees of the bureaucracies, enforced under “guilty unless proven innocent” terms by these bureaucrats, and judged by these same bureaucrats. Those laws not from the bureaucracies mostly come from executives like Mr. Cuomo assuming dictatorial powers.
Newspaper front pages like this effectively propagandize this unfortunate shift, making it all seem the norm. I learned the power of propaganda during World War II watching my classmates join the armed forces as soon as they turned 17 to go off to kill other young men.
One-fourth of them died horrible deaths in that war. You can do better for your readers.
Clyde Maughan
Schenectady

Crisis offers us a chance to improve

The glass can be looked at as half empty or half full. This corona crisis has given us change, pain and challenges, but it also offers opportunities to make choices. Many people who have been preparing for a crisis like this (called preppers) had a stocked pantry and had sacrificed other items like fashions, high-tech, new vehicles, etc.
Many people who had been educating their children from home and often also running a business had learned how to balance these responsibilities.
I find it bizarre that stores selling liquor and CBD products are open, yet libraries and bookstores are closed. Reading could be helpful in offering positive information and healthy recreation.
So many of us are trying to help one another by volunteering, encouraging others and sharing food and resources when we can safely do so.
If you have an addiction, get help. Don’t use this crisis as a reason to stay addicted.
Use the time to pray, meditate, learn and care about nature and others. Listen to one another instead of yelling at one another.
We must make this nation and our world a better place one moment at a time.
My heart goes out to single parents trying to survive or with little ones in a small apartment or the elderly all alone, which is why we must pray and help one another and be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Please wear your masks (and cover your nose).
This too shall pass.
Arlene Shako
Schoharie

   

Grateful for work of mental health staffs

As the executive director of the Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties, I have the privilege of working with so many amazing women and men every day. This has not been ever more apparent than now.
I say that because we are an agency that provides residential services in Montgomery County through community residences, an apartment treatment program, and supported housing.
Our community residences (five in total) require staff to be on-site, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, another category of an essential worker. They are there every day supporting, mentoring and caring for the people we serve, and although our other residential programs are not on site with our participants, they are on-call every day, all day, still seeing people and assisting them as they always have.
I know MHA is not the only residential provider that has terrific dedicated residential staff, so I also want to thank all of those staff at Lexington, Catholic Charities, Liberty, Fulton Friendship House and Family Counseling Center’s Domestic Violence Shelter for their work.
Our community is so fortunate to have you all. Stay well.
Janine Dykeman
Johnstown

Draft was wrong to ignore Catino, Kirsch

Having played my high school basketball at Bishop Gibbons back in the mid 70’s, I was extremely disappointed to see two locals (one a player and the other a coach) that you left out of your fantasy draft article on May 10 (“Gazette’s Siena hoops fantasy draft.”). Your “sports department – with some help from friends,” as you called yourselves in the Sunday’s sports section, missed out on the two people responsible for Siena’s early success in Division I: Mike Catino, a Linton grad who starred for the then-Indians from 1976-80, on that first Division I team, and his head coach, Bill Kirsch.
Catino finished his four-year career with 1,238 points, as well as the only player in program history to score 40 or more points in multiple games doing it in back to back games 41 vs. St. Francis (Brooklyn) and 42 vs. Drexel. He ended his career with a 14.9 ppg average.
Kirsch, who also played at Siena and made the winning basket against Iona at the original Madison Square Garden in 1954 from a distance well past half-court, a record that has never been broken at the new Garden, was the head coach and athletic director at Siena for 20 years leading the then Indians into the Division I era. He set the stage for the national recognition the entire institution has received over the past several decades as a result. Sorry, but those are the first two picks in my fantasy draft, bar none.
Dave Gonzalez
Canajoharie
The writer is director of athletics at SUNY SCCC and former head basketball coach.

Did Dems and media really learn a lesson?

In response to G. V. Marmusack’s May 10 letter (“Media, Dems learned from Kavanaugh”), I ask one question. In regard to Justice Kavanaugh, can you please cite when and where the Democrats and the media said they were ashamed and learned their lesson?
Bruce Reisner
Schenectady

Santabarbara votes against human life

It’s sickening to see Assemblyman Santabarbara pander for votes from Catholics, Italians, veterans, and engineers.
Like Santabarbara, my family is also Catholic. My in-laws are Italian-American, and my father is a professional engineer and Vietnam veteran. Unlike Santabarbara, my family doesn’t believe in killing babies.
When my father served as combat leader in Vietnam, he witnessed the atrocities of war. He witnessed brutal disrespect for human life in a tangible way. This experience taught my father that true leaders protect the lives of the most vulnerable.
Santabarbara didn’t learn this lesson. His votes show he doesn’t respect human life. He voted for abortion expansion that allows babies to be killed on their birthday. He took the legal physician away from babies who survive abortion to hasten their death.
While being Catholic, Italian, a veteran and an engineer are admirable qualities, they aren’t what is the most important.
The most important quality is how we treat the smallest and most vulnerable of human beings and the respect we show to human life.
Jennifer Richards
Burnt Hills

Don’t let down guard on covid reopening

Ben Franklin’s quote, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” should be at the forefront of every citizen’s mind as our society begins to open up. Even well-meaning people and businesses may become complacent. Local town supervisors, mayors and county executives would do well to have a more visible police presence to politely and respectfully enforce what is the only weapon we currently have to eradicate COVID-19.
Paul Reo
Schenectady

Ignore Trump advice on herd immunity

President Trump hopes to reopen the economy “as soon as possible.” Although he has not used the term, “herd immunity,” it does appear that herd immunity is his goal, as reflected by his comment, “some people will be affected badly.” Affected badly” is a euphemism for “die.”
What would COVID-19 herd immunity imply for our country? Experts have suggested that this level of immunity would require anywhere from 50-80% of the population to be infected. Let’s take the most optimistic view and assume that 50% would be sufficient, yielding about 160 million cases.
A recent study suggests that the U.S. death rate is about 1.3% of all cases. Using this number, 160 million cases would yield about 2.1 million deaths. For comparison, deaths from all causes in the United States last year was about 2.8 million.
The prospect for 2.1 million deaths from COVID-19 is clearly unacceptable, and states would be forced back into lockdown mode once the infection rates started to rapidly escalate.
Hopefully, most Americans will not buy into Trump’s deadly advice. The White House has issued guidelines for reopening the country. However, Trump is suggesting an approach which violates his own guidelines.
Don Steiner
Schenectady

Try garlic, hydrogen peroxide for health

I would like to recommend two things with regard to COVID-19, i.e., garlic and hydrogen peroxide. These are in addition to social distance and a mask, and definitely not in place of them.
Garlic: Take one and remove the coverings from all the cloves. Cut each clove into small pieces and place in a jar with a lid, such as a Ball jar. Cover the pieces with raw honey and cap the jar. Allow it to ferment for at least three days.
Then take one teaspoonful once or twice daily.
H2O2: Make a saline solution by adding one teaspoonful of table salt to one pint (16 ounces) of water. Then add 1/4 cup (4 ounces) of 3% hydrogen peroxide, available at any grocery store. Place this mixture in a mist diffuser and run it during the night in your bedroom.
There is no evidence from studies to show that either of these will treat or prevent COVID-19, but they might, so why not give them a try, since they are both healthy. I have not heard of anyone being allergic to either of the main ingredients, but I suppose that is a possibility. I repeat. This is in addition to social distance and a mask, not in place of.
Jack Underwood
Schenectady

Congratulations to young fisherman

A shout out to Ryley Holt and his catch of that huge Striper, which was pictured in the Saturday, May 9 Gazette. And a double shout out that after battling the monster fish for what was probably the longest and most exciting ten minutes of his young life, he released it back into the Hudson, respecting its beauty, fighting spirit and life. What a fish. What a fine young man. What a super photo that captures all the pride, drama, and joy of his great adventure. A tip of the hat to you young man.
Joseph Nial
Clifton Park

Rich gain at expense of state, local gov’ts

I found two separate articles that The Gazette published on May 6 from the New York Times Service (“Virus whistleblower: White House steered contracts to cronies” and “Administration to phase out coronavirus task force”) interesting.
This whistleblower was removed from DHHS for questioning contracts awarded to a drug company with ties to a friend of Jared Kushner and that Kushner will help oversee a group pushing for a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19.
As many of us struggle to make ends meet, our government is handing out billions to those in favor.
U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez voted against the $484 billion relief package because she found it to be far too generous to large corporations — making less money available to local government, small businesses and citizens who are struggling on a daily basis.
Sandra Sankowski
Scotia

NY helped country overreact to crisis

History will be the judge, but perhaps the other parts of our country overreacted to COVID-19 based on the dire situation in New York City.
Gov. Cuomo told the country that he needed 110,000 hospital beds for COVID patients — twice as many that were available in the state. He also stated that this would break the medical system. Thus, in record time, the federal government sent the USNS Comfort, had the Javits Center converted, plus temporary hospitals constructed in the park.
As it turned out, all those extra beds were hardly used. He also rang the alarm over the lack of ventilators. Again, the federal government stepped in to help. As it turned out, Cuomo said he needed 40,000 ventilators. The reality was about 20%-30% of his request. No one who needed a ventilator did not get one. In fact, he gave ventilators to other states.
The latest is that many hospitals in the state are closing and doctors and nurses are being laid off. With that, I think Gov. Cuomo did try his best based on the information he used for forecasting. Unfortunately, he caused panic in the rest of the country by saying what is happening in New York will spread across the nation and it is only a matter of time.
As a result, the economic crisis is here and will have a devastating effect on all Americans for years. If only China had been truthful about person to person transmission, this whole disaster could have been avoided.
Michael R. Van Patten
Mechanicville

Trump inaction made crisis much worse

A May 6 letter (“Trump quick action saved many lives”) caught my eye. I thought surely that’s a mistake, so I read the letter submitted by Mr. Claude Rizzicone, Jr.
The title matched what was written, but I was shocked. It said, in part, “President Trump jumped right on [the virus] to save lives and did a very good job to contain it. President Trump should be praised for his work because it could have been worse.”
Really? Trump started by ignoring the problem, said it was nothing (like the common flu), said it will disappear quickly, and failed to ramp up testing immediately. In spite of expert advice, he frittered away a month and then continued to play catch-up. He was never out in front of the problem.
Mr. Rizzicone said, “it could have been worse.”
It is worse – worse than Trump could admit. And it’s not over yet. And now Trump says it’s time to ignore the advice of medical experts and resume the economy. What part of this danger do you not understand?
Blind allegiance to this president is dangerous. Please, listen to what the experts are saying.
And no, I am not a Democrat.
Jerry Boehm
Albany

Don’t ignore impact of climate change

The young boys and girls should start fighting for climate change before it’s too late.
The big oil and gas companies are polluting our air with carbon monoxide. All they care for is lining their pockets with greedy money.
Look out west, where they are having so many hurricanes and rain and drought. Help wake our country up and demand for more cleaner air.
The president wants to loosen control on the polluters with gas and oil emissions. Also, why aren’t they going after Biden like they did with Judge Kavanaugh? We have too much corruption in the government. Who can you trust? I know a lot of people are hurting. If we open up the state too soon, we will have the virus on fire again. Wear your mask and keep your distance.
James Maxfield
Scotia

Some questions on our covid response

Covid questions that need answers:
1. Why are more people dying at home from Covid?
2. Why were the models so wrong about Covid?
3. Why wasn’t Cuomo and New York more prepared for this crisis?
4. Why did Cuomo send Covid patients to nursing homes?
5. How come no one called out DeBlasio when he wanted to round up Jews for attending a funeral?
6. We bent the Covid curve. Why are we still in lockdown?
7. When are Pelosi and Schumer going to investigate Cuomo for his response to Covid?
8. Why doesn’t Cuomo wear a face mask?
9. What good is a face mask when sending Covid patients to a nursing home?
10. Is it healthy breathing all day with a face mask on? Breathing the same garbage air?
11. Most importantly, when is Cuomo going to apologize to families for sending Covid patients to nursing homes?
Where does the government find these experts? Covid experts got it as wrong as the experts that got us into Vietnam and Iraq.
Al Zanger
Schenectady

Vote against Trump and his supporters

First, in spite of evidence to the contrary, melting polar ice caps, warming oceans, etc., Trump denies global warming.
Then, with COVID-19, victims being kept in refrigerated trucks in New York City and New Jersey because the morgues are overwhelmed, he denies that we have a problem. And recently, finally admitting that we do have a problem, he suggested that we take disinfectant internally to combat it.  
Do not do this. This idea is crazy. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And now, he’s suggested that the people who took guns to a demonstration at their state capitol are “good people.” Guns incite violence. “Good people” don’t incite violence. I’m a Republican, but I say, don’t use disinfectant internally, and don’t vote for Trump.  
If the Geico gecko were running against him, I would vote for the gecko. The gecko makes sense, is able to complete his sentences, and is also a heck of a lot cuter.
Also, please don’t vote for anyone who supports Trump in his ignorance — ignorance about global warming, the covid virus, water and air pollution, international relations, health care justice, etc.
Elise Stefanik supports him. Don’t vote for Trump, and don’t vote for Elise.
Jahnn Swanker-Gibson
Johnstown

Cuomo must do more to aid mental health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding of the challenges faced by those living with behavioral health conditions, as well as their loved ones.
It is also a time when we work as a community to help reduce the stigma so many New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions continue to experience.
To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, behavioral health and substance use disorder advocacy associations across New York are calling on Gov. Cuomo to continue his important efforts to improve access to care both during the pandemic and beyond — including encouraging those who need support to reach out for it and his waiving commercial insurance co-pays and deductibles for essential workers.
I applaud the governor; his actions demonstrate his understanding of the importance of being able to access care. But there is still more to do.
Gov. Cuomo needs to improve access to behavioral health care by making licensed practitioners such as family therapists and mental health counselors eligible care providers under New York’s Medicaid program and employer-based health plans.
I hope he will do so immediately to address the skyrocketing of known incidents of COVID-19-related domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, drug overdoses, death by suicide, anxiety, depression, and coping disorder as well as untold cases yet to be identified.
Denise McGraw
Schenectady

Trump is weakening tenets of democracy

Will American democracy survive? Our constitutional protections are being weakened, slowly and surely, one by one. The protection afforded by our system of separation of powers is under attack. Look at recent events. The prosecution of Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty twice, is stopped by Attorney General William Barr. Barr now functions as the president’s personal defense attorney rather than the head of the Department of Justice.
The House of Representatives is challenged in its pursuit of seeing the full Mueller report, again by the Department of Justice.
The U.S. Senate fails to override the president’s veto of a resolution limiting his ability to wage war against Iran without Congressional authorization. The Senate has become an arm of the Executive Branch with this abdication of reasonable oversight.
The White House blocks a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) document which provides guidelines for re-opening society. Prudence of Censorship?
All these blatant actions come after the exposure of inappropriate actions by this administration regarding the election.
Imagine what life in the United States will look like if Trump should be re-elected. This will be the most important election of our lifetime. Make sure you get out and vote.
Eleanor Aronstein
Schenectady

Governor has taken away our freedoms

Thank You, governor “Matilda’s son.” You managed to control the people of New York through negativity and meanness. Let me give three examples:
1) Fear – you might sick so stay home and hide.
2) Guilt – wear a mask and stay six feet away or other people will die because of you.
3) Sorrow – listen to me read these “non-checkable” stats and show gut-wrenching pictures of dead people.
You have used this state lockdown to control people and not give a darn about freedom of movement or choice. I have one question: Why have you never forced this kind of controlling of people before to other problems? SARS, Ebola, various kinds of flu viruses have been out in the public for years. No PPE was required then. I want my freedom back – my choice, my risk, my life.
It’s not my place to worry about people. Ask any corporate manager who furloughed hard-working employees but keep their own lifestyle. It’s my responsibility to take care of my family. Your lockdown cost me a job I liked and money to take care of my immediate family, including health insurance. You traded the many their hopes, dreams and freedom to pander to a small voting segment. We need a leader who wants to help, not control. I want my life back.
Scott Davis
Schenectady

Reopening drive-ins would be welcome

Recently, The Gazette printed an article about drive-in movie theaters, which prompted this letter.
I grew up in Rotterdam Junction, where my father was principal of Woestina School. We had a drive-in practically in our backyard. The kids in the neighborhood could sit on the drive-in’s patio and watch the movie for free. I enjoy attending drive-ins to this day.
I was thinking that opening drive-ins could be a way to help small businesses, while providing people with safe entertainment.
People are separated by their cars, they are out in the fresh air, and they having some fun.
Things like snacks and restroom visits that could affect social distancing could be arranged. Some simple precautions such as people bringing their own food, and possibly paying a higher entrance fee, or ordering from their car to have a snack delivered. Perhaps an attendant to limit people in the restrooms, etc. How about it? I would love to get out of the house.
Janet Testo Dunn
Schenectady

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