Democrats have to answer questions

first_imgI’m tired about hearing about Russia. Anyone with any intelligence already know who they were going to vote for. I never got an email from Russia saying who to vote for. Why would anyone with any sense listen to another country’s opinion anyway? I don’t understand how Russia could influence we Americans. We’re not that stupid.I’m a Republican and I vote for the candidate I think is best for the job, whether Democrat or Republican. They have been investigating Hillary Clinton, and just reopened another investigation. Why isn’t the FBI investigating Hillary about her using her own server, which was illegal?No matter who President Trump nominates for a position in government, the Democrats won’t accept it, no matter how much he or she would be fit for the job. They just want a Democrat so they can control the country. Just how many of those accusing President Trump are Democrats? How come Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and rest of the Democrats didn’t ask Bill Clinton to resign for his behavior in the White House with Monica Lewinski?James MaxfieldScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusSchenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Many good reasons to leave New York

first_imgI read with interest Jonathan Rosen’s Jan. 24 letter, “People aren’t leaving NY because of taxes,” and I need to respond.   In 2014, I became a Florida resident after living and working in the Saratoga Springs area for over 30 years.  Florida has an $83 billion annual budget. New York’s 2017 budget of close to $163 billion is obscene. More people live in Florida than New York.  They tax you half as much down here. Gas is typically 20 cents a gallon lower (taxes). No state income tax. I have yet to hit a pot hole. My property taxes in southwest Florida are 25 percent of what I paid in New York and I have all the services that a municipality would typically provide.  There’s a huge building boom going on down here as the Baby Boomers are retiring and they are fleeing the high-tax freezing cold northern states. Yes, New York City is gaining population and I love New York City as much as anybody. That’s not happening in upstate New York.  When my daughter graduated college, I told her to leave this state and she is happily living in Colorado. What does upstate New York offer a young person out of college? High taxes? Cold weather? Cloudy dreary days most of the time? Crumbling infrastructure? No thanks. Florida is not perfect and it has its problems. But in my mind, it is a definite upgrade from this place.Keith A. AvellinoFort Myers, Fla.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Op-ed: Cuomo says he’s a ‘real’ progressive. Is he?

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionDuring a recent radio conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a claim that anyone who has observed his long career in government knows he never would have made eight, four or even two years ago.He called himself a “progressive.”.  He also went on to assert that among the records of his fellow Democrats in the state legislature, the Congress and the dozen or more announced presidential candidates; his was the record of a “real” progressive.   It wouldn’t be Cuomo if there weren’t at least a hint of criticism in that remark.As veiled but obvious payback for the rebuke he received over his proposed plans with Amazon in New York City, he was calling out the progressive credentials of those opposing that plan more self-styled than substantive. Aspiring to things is all well and good, he argued; but what really counts is a record of accomplishment.   To his detractors, this particular reticence proves that Cuomo is no true progressive, but rather an opportunist whose political beliefs change to conform to emerging and then prevailing trends.To be a true progressive, must a leader possess a Quixote-like quality that openly and willingly tilts at windmills, as it were?Or can a leader who coldly assesses what is within the realm of possibility and then acts accordingly also be a true progressive?Politics at its core might be best described as the art of achieving the aspirational through a keen ability to pragmatically perceive — and then skillfully utilize — timing and opportunity.    Idealists are apt to discount this as a skill at all and argue that the mark of true leadership is both the willingness and ability to create the circumstances necessary for achieving the aspirational, even against long odds.Are idealism and pragmatism opposing values?Is this just another regrettable example of Democratic infighting — the party’s proverbial “circular firing squad” where perfect is made the enemy of good?   What do the terms we breezily cast about today — “liberal,” “progressive,” “socialist,” “centrist,” “conservative,” “nationalist,” “populist” — really mean anyway? There’s no universal agreement over how each are defined. Cuomo and his critics are perfect exemplars.Far from nailing things down, blithely placing labels on ideas, policies and people are just efforts at buttonholing them in a way that only serves the intentions of those applying the tags.  They mean whatever anyone wants them to mean. It’s lazy shorthand designed to defeat and replace deeper thought and reflection. Political tacticians know this better than anyone. “Branding” and “redefining” may be clever strategy, but they’re just forms of political propaganda.  You say pot(ay)to and I say pot(ah)to. Maybe we need more than labels to tell us who our leaders really are.Is Cuomo a “real” progressive?  You tell me.John Figliozzi is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?center_img He does have one.During his tenure, the governor has advocated, presided over and helped enact a number of policies and initiatives generally acknowledged as “progressive.”And the list is not a short one — marriage equality and protection of LBGTQ rights; gun control; a graduated minimum wage increase to $15; a free tuition plan at state universities; promoting a host of environmental-protection strategies including the banning of fracking; supporting and enacting criminal justice reforms involving use of bail, treatment of juvenile offenders and the closure of over a dozen prisons; infrastructure projects such as overdue replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge; rigorous opposition to Trump federal tax and immigration policies; and new laws to increase voting rights and better regulate campaign financing.    His critics, though, decry his treatment of the teacher unions, his embrace of charter schools to the detriment of the public education system, his strong ties to Wall Street and his open feud with Bill deBlasio, the more outwardly liberal mayor of New York City.   They say that, for decades, he and other “establishment” Democrats turned their collective backs on the principles of the New Deal and accepted the Reagan dictum that government should shrink from engineering solutions to societal problems and embrace the agenda of corporate and commercial interests.They contend that he waits to determine the direction of the political wind and then acts only when compelled.They complain that many of the progressive reforms over which he has presided could have been enacted earlier, were it not for his unwillingness to confront the Senate Democrats that allied with Republicans during his first two terms and prevented the progressive Democratic majority from taking control of the chamber.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Friday, Aug. 30

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWho are the actual criminals in the U.S. The Trump Administration and his followers believe that immigrants and the poor people looking for a better life are going to ruin America and are criminals. Do you think the family that owns Walmart, which makes $100 million a day and pays its employees $12-$15 an hour, or $96-$124 a day, is fair? Are you happy that you can barely pay your bills, feed your family, working two jobs and once a month you can go out to some fast-food joint for that big night out? I wonder where the real crime is.Jeff MurtaghDuanesburgCuomo just wants to take our moneyI don`t wish to downplay the seriousness of world events. However, there is a much more pressing issue. Some highway signs in New York state left off the “M” in regard to Mario M. Cuomo`s middle initial on the now so-called, “Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.” I think it will forever be called the Tappan Zee, but what do I know? I do know that no one calls our own Twin Bridges by the real name, the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge. Heck, many can’t even pronounce it. So I certainly don’t understand the issue of the M. Can we get on to an actual issue? It’s the Tappan Zee. No one cares if it’s the Mario Cuomo (without the M) Bridge, or the Mario M. Cuomo (with the M) Bridge. But we’ll all pay for that M, that’s for sure.I do also look forward to being able to pay for new and rather dull-looking license plates soon. I propose a new design. Picture for New York License plates an enlarged $100 bill with Cuomo’s face on it, and a new motto as well: “If you make it, we’ll take it.” I think it would be splendid. Thank you, Andrew M. Cuomo. Oh, and that “ M “ everyone is so concerned about, well that should really stand for Move.Brian BaldwinBurnt HillsUse renewables to help the communityA recent news article about residents and government officials in Schenectady, Rotterdam and Niskayuna participating in public hearings about the state Public Service Commission’s Community Choice Aggregate energy policy is interesting.  There are millions of state grant monies available for expansion of renewable energy resource development in communities.Nearly a year ago, a Gazette article indicated General Electric plans to buy energy storage batteries from top manufacturers for its reservoir at GE’s Global Research headquarters. Therefore, I hope other businesses will expand their interest in renewable energy resources for the benefit of our ecological well-being. I think growth of people’s interest for renewable energy technology will assist county emergency services managers to install renewable energy micro-grid systems to implement their County Hazard Mitigation Plan.With appropriately skilled workers,  renewable energy sources coupled with energy storage units at emergency operations centers, community priority facilities and community emergency shelters can sustain services during extreme weather events and blackouts.Michael McGlynnWatervlietMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img

Letters to the Editor for Friday, Jan. 3

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCurrent healthcare is not sustainableHealthcare costs in the United States have been increasing at an alarming rate. Last year, these costs reached over $3.6 trillion, exceeding the GDP of all but four countries. Per capita healthcare costs in the United States are about twice that of any other developed country.A number of studies have identified the major factors driving our very high healthcare costs as noted below.The No. 1 factor is the very high administrative costs of running our healthcare system. About one-quarter of healthcare cost in the United States is associated with administration, which is far higher than in any other developed country.Another major driver is the cost of drugs. In most countries, the government negotiates drug prices with the drug makers. Congress has denied Medicare the right to use its power to negotiate drug prices.The practice of defensive medicine also contributes to high costs. Doctors are afraid they will get sued, so they order multiple tests even when they are certain of the diagnosis.Wages and staffing also drive up costs in healthcare. Specialists command high reimbursements, and the over-utilization of specialists through the current process of referral decision-making drives health costs even higher.In spite of our expenditures, the World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th in healthcare systems, and The Commonwealth Fund placed the United States last among the top 11 industrialized countries in overall healthcare.We must urge our leaders to improve healthcare and reduce costs. We cannot sustain the current situation.Don SteinerSchenectadyTonko works hard to protect environmentI’m writing to address the Dec. 27 letter from Alfred Riccio about Paul Tonko being too far left to represent our district. Specifically, the complaint was about Mr. Tonko caring too much about the environment and that he’s siding with “radical leftist socialists.”Using such labels fails to adequately explain a person’s underlying thoughts on an issue. Mr. Tonko, fortunately, has had quite a bit of experience addressing issues related to the environment.Does this writer not care about the environment? I certainly do, and I would hope that every responsible citizen in Mr. Tonko’s district, whether or not he or she has children and grandchildren, will support and praise those who take action on protecting our tenuous environment.I’m very thankful that Mr. Tonko is well qualified to represent our district regarding the environment. He serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which happens to be one of the oldest standing committees in the House, created in 1795.Mr. Tonko was elected by his peers to chair the subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. He graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering. I appreciate anyone with the credentials, experience  and, most importantly, the commitment that Mr. Tonko has to represent my desire for environmental sustainability. I truly don’t understand why anyone would question the need for environmental action at this point in time. I wish Mr. Tonko my support and best wishes for his success with working on the critical environmental issues of today.Bill ShapiroSchenectadyThank you to Scotia officer for shovelingThis thank you is for the officer who stopped his patrol car, got out, took the shovel out of my hands and proceeded to open the entrance to my driveway. I didn’t get his name, but Scotia should be very proud of your officers.Elena IsabellaScotia Join in the fight to bring end to hatredIn light of the multiple anti-Semitic attacks over the past 10 days, members of the Schenectady Clergy Against Hate again write to assert our solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers.We believe that the visible example of unity among our members stands as a witness of the world we wish to achieve: one where differences in faith and belief are celebrated.Our anger and our lament challenge hatred with transformative love. Our coalition strives to model what change and transformation look like in our own settings and traditions.We encourage others to join us to push back against forces of evil and hatred in our own midst.Speak out against anti-Semitism. Challenge Islamaphobia and racist tropes. Push back against anti-immigrant and xenophobic ideology. Advocate for the disabled, the marginalized, the LGBTQ community and those facing socioeconomic injustice.Let the change begin with us right here, right now. The Schenectady Clergy Against Hate Coalition is grieved that yet another letter, another service of interfaith unity, another demonstration is necessary. Still, we will continue to show up in support of all who face hatred and bigotry as our faiths compel us. We invite all to a service of solidarity this Sunday evening, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. at Congregation Gates of Heaven. Join us in this sacred work to create a world where all are welcomed, affirmed, and celebrated.Rev. Kathy Gorman-CoombsScotiaGet the facts about Thruway toll planIn response to Assemblyman Santabarbara’s Dec. 28 letter (“Oppose new toll/tax on upstate drivers “), we’d like to make sure everyone is aware of the facts surrounding the Thruway’s Toll Adjustment Proposal.The proposal is fair and modest and puts New York drivers first.Under this proposal, drivers with a New York E-ZPass would see no toll increase.Thruway tolls have not increased since 2010 and the highway is fully operated and maintained by tolls, not taxpayer dollars. In the last 10 years, we have reinvested more than $6.6 billion into Thruway infrastructure. Our goal is simple – keep tolls as low as possible for our customers.This proposal ensures that New York E-ZPass customers would have their tolls frozen at current levels. For Thruway users who don’t yet have an E-ZPass, you have time to sign up, as this proposal would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2021. E-ZPass offers payment plans for everyone, regardless of how often you travel the Thruway. Customers can also conveniently get E-ZPass at more than 900 locations across the state, including more than two dozen locations in the assemblyman’s district.Even with this Toll Adjustment Proposal, Thruway toll rates will remain some of the lowest per-mile costs anywhere when compared to other major toll roads in the Northeast.We will be holding public hearings over the next year, and we look forward to working with the assemblyman and others to encourage people to sign up for E-ZPass and keep their tolls frozen at current levels.Matthew J. DriscollAlbanyThe writer is the Thruway Authority executive director.Thanks for column honoring nonprofitsA big thank you to Sara Foss for highlighting the work of nonprofits in her year-end column, “Celebrate Those Who Help the Electric City.”Reading about the various enterprises that provide serious resources and encouragement to those that could use a helping hand was enlightening; offering inspiration to take a step toward personal involvement in our city — that it be a more comfortable and inclusive place for all of us.  Carole deForestDuanesburgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Tenancy minefield

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Heron Tower inquiry: EH questions skyscraper

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CIT takes £307m retail plunge

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Occupiers’ Landlord of the Year

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Tricks of the traders

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