Low water levels offer opportunities
It was with some disappointment I read the article in the June 28 edition of the Gazette (“Low river level costs businesses”) that lamented the absence of water in the Mohawk River this summer.
The article focused on a kayaking business near the river that was missing the presence of copious quantities of water.
The reason for my disappointment in this article was I had just spent a lovely afternoon this past week paddling and drifting with the current from Lock 10 down to Lock 9.
Having lived in the Mohawk Valley almost all of my life, this summer’s absence of water provides a unique opportunity to see what the river must have once been like before it was converted into a commercial waterway.
I enjoyed seeing the river in its natural state and was able to observe a variety of wildlife in the air, on the land and in the water as I made my way down the river.
It also was a pleasure to navigate the river without the interference of powerboat wakes.
I recognize that the local powerboat owners are looking forward to getting back on the Mohawk, but I encourage anyone with a kayak, canoe or other small craft to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If you do decide to try an adventure on this wild version of the Mohawk River, please do it safely and portage around the lock structures you encounter.
Curb extensions big help to pedestrians
I was so pleased to see the picture in the June 26 issue of The Gazette (“Streetscape rehab”) showing the work that is going on along Union Street in the Stockade. These curb extensions (also known as “bump outs”) are designed to make our streets safer for pedestrians.
The curb extensions slow down traffic by narrowing the road at intersections and shortening the crossing distance, give pedestrians a safe zone in which to wait to cross the street and eliminate illegal parking encroachment at intersections. No legal parking spaces will be lost.
This is an excellent example of a city/neighborhood partnership to achieve a common goal.
By constructing the curb extensions, the city has implemented a significant aspect of the Stockade’s Comprehensive Streetscape Plan.
The plan was sponsored by the Stockade Association with support from the Schenectady Foundation and the Wright Family Foundation and prepared with the help of consultants Planning4Places.
Many thanks to the mayor, city council and engineering department for making this possible.
Suzanne S. Unger
The writer is president of the Stockade Association.
Iraq invasion shows not all lives matter
All lives matter. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. Unborn lives matter. In 2003, Iraqi lives didn’t matter one bit. God bless the USA.
Keep the past in the past, look to future
This letter is from a concerned citizen who has seen his country going downhill fast on the division of people movement. Letting color divide us. Letting past actions of others become the focus of disastrous behavior from others.
Tearing things down or renaming them does not change history.
We need to mature, not be immature-minded when it comes to things which have already happened and cannot be changed or made right by what is going on today. You can rewrite the history books to your liking, but it will not rewrite what really happened.
Let’s try and work towards what is known as brotherly love. Looking at each other in light of that. Look at the heart of a person, not their nationality. Work on understanding one another to the best of our ability. But that takes work and words which need to be spoken.
I am writing this letter because I am saddened by the behavior of a few, which have ignited the emotions of the many. Let’s keep the past where it belongs and strive towards new dawns of victorious actions which help bind us together with thoughts of love towards one another. God Bless.
Be proactive in addressing racism
It was quite disturbing to read the headline in the June 17 Gazette (“Supervisor: Appointed town official alleged in blackface”) “appointed official” suspended, investigation launched. It is quite apparent that racism knows no boundaries and can be found in all communities across this country. Even the town of Niskayuna is not immune.
In conjunction with the outside investigation that has been called for by the town supervisor, now would be the time to convene a task force to examine and reform current policing procedures, town hiring practices, etc. I would like to see the town and its board pledge to cooperate fully with the task force with a written policy requiring department heads and the town attorney staff to help the task force gather policies, make personnel and documents available, etc.
Our school district has hired a chief equity officer; perhaps it is time for the town to follow suit and do the same?
Taking a proactive approach and utilizing Niskayuna residents, along with all local and national resources, is what the residents of this town deserve.
As a white woman living in a privileged community, I cannot pretend to know the effects of systemic racism. As a human being, I can challenge myself every day to learn and act as a better person, and I would commit myself to do anything I can to help support this effort.
Judy Smith Tomisman
Give Trump help to do an even better job
Regarding former President Obama’s nasty rants about President Trump’s “poor” handling of the COVID-19 crisis: Well, luckily for him, we didn’t have to go through the former president’s handling of the virus, so he shouldn’t comment about the way our president is handling it. Not many were around the last time America had to deal with such a catastrophe. The whole situation is of course a learning experience for all of us.
The former president couldn’t endorse any candidate given the sorry group of so-called presidential candidates he was given, then picked Joe Biden. He probably picked the best of the bunch, but with all his problems, Joe needs a lot of help. I like Joe best of all those candidates. He seems like a nice guy, but we tried a nice guy. Remember President Carter? Not a job for nice guys.
President Trump built our country up before the virus hit. It isn’t publicized, but the president’s doing a fine job. Why not give him some help this time? Get rid of people like Schumer, Pelosi and Shiff wherever possible. The president’s humor is reported by the media as his policy, not his humor.
Investigate covid nursing home deaths
Instead of being a non-starter, Sen. Jim Tedisco’s proposal to create a task force to examine the staggering COVID-19 death toll in New York state nursing homes should be adopted immediately by both houses of the state Legislature. The plan calls for “bipartisan oversight of a nonpartisan review by independent medical experts (to determine) what went wrong and how to keep it from happening again.”
Sen. Tedisco’s well-crafted proposal includes three key terms that make rejecting it indefensible: bi-partisan oversight, nonpartisan review and independent medical experts. He should be applauded for his commonsense approach to investigating COVID-19 related issues that will truly add to the body of knowledge necessary and critical to the medical and public health communities.
The only plausible excuse for shutting it down (DOA) is Andrew Cuomo’s fear of being excoriated for negligence, sure to come about as a result of any reasonable person’s expectation of what such a detailed investigation would unearth.
Sadly, the frail elderly are not a voting bloc Andy needs to pay attention to. And his Democrat colluders in the state Senate and Assembly just fall in, lock-step, (party) line.
Frank J. Ciervo
Best wishes to Jeff Wilkin on retirement
Congratulations to Jeff Wilkin.
His reporting over a 42 year newspaper career has been commendable. I have enjoyed reading his work – especially his feature articles about local individuals and their stories – stories that may have been overlooked along the way but definitely were worth telling.
It was fascinating reading. All the best to Jeff Wilkin as he journeys down a new road.
Make a real effort to understand BLM
Pete Pidgeon’s June 25 letter (“If all lives really matter, don’t defund the police”) asked, “[A]ll lives matter. Don’t they?” The implication was that the Black Lives Matter movement was somehow saying that black lives matter more than others. Another letter from Mary Jo Garofalo-Venditti on June 29 (“Accept good people regardless of color”) said, “All lives matter and … certain people and the media are … singling out one race over others.”
I’ll confess that I had a similar “but all lives matter” reaction when I first heard about BLM in 2013. Then a few days later, I listened to the interview of an African-American protester who was asked about it. He sighed and said essentially, “Yeah, I wish they had simply added the word ‘too’ at the end. Because that’s what they meant.”
The proverbial light bulb went on in my head. I’ll admit that I can be rather dim sometimes, or even a lot of the time, according to my wife, and that was one of those times. I recently brought the issue up with my 10-year-old grandson to make sure he understood, leading with “Don’t all lives matter?” He said, “Yes, but they [BLM] just want Black lives to be equal to other lives because right now they’re not.” Hmm, pretty smart kid. Brighter than his grandfather, I’m proud to say.
Health crisis calls for a global response
A case of the coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December. By late January, there were confirmed cases in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the United States, Italy, France and several other European states. By mid-March, all 50 U.S. states had reported cases.
The current pandemic has made it abundantly clear: our fate is inextricably linked to that of the rest of the world. Our New York state senators have vocally supported protection of the International Affairs Budget, which allows us to work with other countries to form a global response to crises like this one. However, the pandemic demands U.S. leadership.
By early-April, the number of coronavirus cases in New York outnumbered the cases in every country besides the United States. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer should co-sponsor the Global Health Security Act, which increases U.S. investment in health infrastructure in developing countries and increases accountability in existing global health projects.
It is the responsibility of New York congressional leaders to push for a global response to the pandemic, to protect New Yorkers if not to protect the rest of the world.
Do research before displaying symbols
I was proud today when I saw the Black Lives Matter painting in front of City Hall in Schenectady and photographed the sight.
I was unhappy to drive past Katie O’Byrnes restaurant right after and see the place decorated with many Blue Line flags. I had thought that flag stood in general as an expression of support for the police, and that was fine with me because generally I support the police. But a little research led to the conclusion that that’s not what it means at all.
Driving to a job in Albany a few weeks ago, I spotted Albany police vehicles decorated with a logo of two crossed police batons. It used to be common for police vehicles to be decorated with the slogan “To Protect and Serve.” The Albany city model of policing hasn’t been showing good results lately.
I’m nearly sure the owners of Katie’s have done their own research and are speaking straight from their hearts. But I can find other places to buy a good beer and dinner in downtown Schenectady.
Rhodes Scholars should return money
Please note that this letter is written with tongue in cheek. As we witness the destruction of American monuments and the destruction of businesses in our inner cities, I thought of recent recipients of Rhodes Scholarships. BLM and other groups target nationalism and colonialism. Cecil Rhodes was an exemplar of a nationalist and a colonialist. Among his many accomplishments was the appropriation, i.e., theft, of millions of dollars’ worth of diamonds from Africa.
For the last 15 years, there have been demonstrations in South Africa calling for the removal of Cecil Rhodes’ statue.
Nelson Mandela, however, opposed the tearing down or removal of Rhodes’ statue, believing that his legacy was not all exploitative and that historical markers serve an educational purpose.
Rhodes’ diamond booty underpins a large portion of the money awarded to Rhodes Scholars.
Among the recent American recipients are Corey Booker, Rachel Maddow, Susan Rice, Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim. Since these individuals won their scholarship partly because of their academic achievements,
I assume they knew the source of the scholarship funds they were awarded. I wonder, given present day condemnation of nationalism and colonialism, whether these award winners are planning to return the money they received, as well as to issue condemnations of the scholarships. Perhaps they will resign or be forced out of whatever employment they presently enjoy.
Richard A. Evans
State must address nursing home issue
In regard to Beverly Buddle’s June 26 letter (“Praise Cuomo except when it comes to nursing homes”), I am in total agreement.
My husband is also in a nursing home and all I get is the run-around when it comes to reopening to visitors. These residents are lonely, isolated and depressed. They need to have their loved ones allowed back in. I understand all about COVID-19 and how nursing homes were decimated by this. But the staff can now visit tanning salons, nail and hair salons, bars and restaurants and then go right back to work. What’s to prevent them from bringing it into the facility? Something has to be done before these people start dying of loneliness and depression. If anyone has an answer, I would love to hear it.
Writer stood up for fellow human being
Hats off to Mr. Della Ratta for bravely going where angels fear to tread. In these turbulent times, that place is on the record or in public to speak up for a fellow human being.
In today’s culture, by doing the right and honorable thing, Mr. Della Ratta had painted a bullseye on his own back. He’s definitely the kind of man you’d be blessed to have in a foxhole with you.
I am reminded of the poem “First They Came” by Martin Niemöller.
First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
God help us all.
Ability to hire foreign workers vital to area
Much has been discussed about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our local and national economy.
Lake George is affected adversely in many ways because of our seasonal nature. Many of our businesses have a much shorter window to operate, and our fear is many will not survive, regardless of the economic stimulus package and Payroll Protection Act. What is equally devastating is the government’s inaction concerning the J-1 International Student Program.
Each year the Lake George Region, and every resort in the United States, depends on students from all over the world to fill entry-level jobs. They work as chambermaids, busboys, dishwashers, restroom attendants and wait staff. They pay rent, purchase clothing, send gifts home, eat and drink in our restaurants, and ride our trolleys. Our students will even accept the jobs the J-1 students perform.
Not allowing these students to travel to the United States will seriously affect our local businesses during 2020.
Also, the additional $600 per week granted to those on unemployment has created another hurdle to get those positions filled.
Hopefully, all businesses will join us in writing to the federal government officials and Rep. Elise Stefanik in particular asking them to oppose extension of this unthinkable bonus rewarding some to stay out of work.
At the end of this bleak outlook, however, is the resilience of our business community, the natural beauty of Lake George and the determination that “American Premier Family Resort” will still be there to welcome you with open arms.
The writer is the mayor of Lake George.
Ending hatred starts with each of us
On July 1, 2015, under President Obama’s watch, Kate Steinle was murdered while walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco by a five-time deported undocumented immigrant. The gun in question has an automatic safety on it and is almost impossible to fire unless you intend to. She cried out to her father on that pier and died two hours later.
A senseless death of a young woman enjoying a day with her dad.
That day, no businesses were trashed, no police were killed, no fires started, no innocent people lost their lives, no police cars burned, hardly any coverage on TV, her funeral was not televised, the undocumented immigrants did not get defunded, Hollywood didn’t care, Obama could care less and it almost went unnoticed.
What happened to George Floyd should have never happened, but what happened afterwards was even worse and a horrible reflection on the bias in this country.
We should be thankful for every police officer willing to put their lives at risk every day. To say that all police are bad because of a few is like saying every doctor is bad, every dentist is bad, every firefighter is bad, every teacher is bad, because of a few that do not do the right thing. Logic needs to be used here and now. All lives matter for everyone and every day. Hatred of all sorts needs to stop now, and it begins with you and me.
Palestinian children need our protection
With rising awareness of police mistreatment of African Americans, let’s note that one entity that provides guidance to our police departments, the state of Israel, has a record of its own in mistreating the Palestinians under its occupation.
The Anti-Defamation League, sponsor of the police partnership, boasts that since 2003, nearly 200 American police agencies — federal, state and local — have participated in its seminars in Israel on what it calls “resilience and counter-terrorism.”
Young boys of the West Bank, those most likely to be in the streets throwing rocks at their Israeli overlords, are especially vulnerable to Israel’s idea of proper policing.
Amnesty International reports that Israel has “tortured and otherwise ill-treated” detained Palestinian minors through “beating with batons, slapping, throttling, prolonged shackling, stress positions, sleep deprivation and threats.” Also, that “Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair rights and guarantees.”
This is facilitated by American aid of nearly $4 billion a year, even though U.S. law bars military aid to countries that commit gross violations of human rights.
A bill pending in Congress would put a stop to it by identifying Israel as such a country. It is HR-2407, sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota, who calls Israeli treatment of Palestinian minors “state-sponsored child abuse.”
We are finally owning up to the brutality inflicted on African Americans. Can we also own up to the brutality inflicted on Palestinian children with the help of our tax dollars?
Stop blaming Trump for nation’s problems
Mr. Quinn’s comments in his June 23 letter (“Change in federal leadership needed”) reflect a lack of facts often a symptom of a viewer of a DNC approved network.
The old tax cut for the rich is a sign of ignorance of basic math. If a person pays more taxes than someone else and they both get a 10% tax cut, the man that pays more will get a larger cut. Stop blaming Trump; it’s basic math.
Peaceful protests are fine. When they turn violent or to looting, the hammer should be put down. Perhaps Mr. Quinn can explain why when a Black man is killed by a white policeman, it’s OK to steal a flat-screen TV.
The Democrats have done nothing since President Trump was elected except impede our country’s growth. They have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to attempt to remove a duly elected president.
Unlike Obama, President Trump loves this country. He doesn’t need the job.
Get the real story on antifa’s true goals
One of the truly revolting aspects of the current chaos concerns the destructive mobs that call themselves “antifas,” the term being a blended word formed from “anti” and “fascist.”
Anyone who has studied the history of the events leading up to the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930s has read about Hitler’s “Brown Shirts.” They roamed cities smashing windows, setting fires and beating people, and today’s “antifas” are following the Brown Shirts’ playbook to the letter.
Far too many people today are obviously ignorant of Marxist philosophy and its consequent atrocities. In the Marxist world view, all politics are either Marxist or Fascist; there is nothing in the middle. Therefore, violence in the promotion of Marxism is always admirable but any and all opposition to it is “fascist oppression.” This is a stunningly simplistic and vicious world view.
Prior to World War II, Hitler and Stalin, the Nazi and the Communist, signed a non-aggression pact, so shocking many believing Marxists that they fled from Communist parties the world over. Many, such as the great Arthur Koestler, subsequently became passionately anti-Communist which resulted in their being branded as “fascists” by Marxists who stubbornly refused to admit that Communism and Nazism are two sides of the same coin.
No one should be deceived into believing that these so-called “antifas” are anything more than brutal totalitarian thugs, and forming an alliance with them has been a grotesque error on the part of the movement promoting racial equality in this country.