Questionable savings from charter change

first_imgRe Oct. 15 letter, “Kelly supports better Spa City government”: Jeff Altamari, the architect of the Saratoga Springs Charter Commission’s misleading financial analysis of the proposed charter, may know Wall Street, but he doesn’t know Main Street. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Mr. Altamari’s confidence in the savings he claims will accrue from a change to a city manager form depends heavily on the elimination of the four existing commissioners and the five full-time deputies.This assumption is especially stunning, since for all the interviewing, they like to say they did, the commission never talked to the deputies to find out what they do. Curiously, they haven’t actually eliminated these positions in the charter, but provided that the deputies will “serve at the pleasure of the City Manager.” (Section 8.09.)Mr. Altamari displays no understanding of how civil service and public employee unions figure into the elimination and reconfiguration of work responsibilities. City Hall isn’t the corporate world, where jobs are eliminated and employees assigned new responsibilities at the discretion of the boss.He and the Charter Commission and their supporters may find they are in for sticker shock when the true value of the work the deputies do is assigned to a new and more expensive civil service positions by the new city manager.Jane WeiheSaratoga Springscenter_img More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Democrats in Congress showed their true colors

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionNow we all finally know what the elected Democratic officials in Washington stand for — absolutely nothing. The mention of supporting our vets, supporting those in the military now, police and fireman putting their lives on the line for them, lowering drug costs, making our nation more safe for everyone and putting a end to the illegal gangs that are killing innocent Americans keeps our elected Democrats in their seats with sour looks on their faces. I know for sure that the average Democrat does not feel this way. They all want to feel safe, they do care about our vets and those putting their lives on the line for us every day, including police, fire and border patrol. But if you watched the State of the Union address on Jan. 30, all you saw were angry, hate-filled supposed representatives of our fellow Americans. I guess that this is their plan, to stand for nothing and hope the lack of any plan will not be noticed thanks to the help of the very distorted left-wing media. I truly feel sorry for these elected officials because they have no vision, no policy and no respect for the average American. They are the true example of hatred, division and stupidity for everyone to see that night. Thanks for letting us see your true colors.Denise CrisciScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

WRGB, Sinclair and honest journalism

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionIn today’s media climate, the smoke around any one story gets cleared in record time reducing already short public attention spans and curtailing demand and opportunity for thoughtful contemplation.This writer, holding a postgraduate degree on the relationship between government and mass media, could not be expected to resist the opportunity to comment on the controversy that arose last month involving Sinclair Broadcast Group and WRGB channel 6, its local media property.    All this gives the impression that Sinclair and WRGB are trying to deceive viewers into watching “product” they want to push.Sinclair protests that its editorial simply endorsed responsible journalism and warned against false and biased reporting, a universally shared concern. But the issue was never the message itself, rather the opaque and faithless way Sinclair chose to deliver it.  Newspapers reserve space for viewpoints that disagree with their editorial opinions. To restore faith with its viewers, perhaps Sinclair and WRGB should do the same.John Figliozzi is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes The central issue is whether and to what extent media owners and journalists have a responsibility to differentiate dispassionate reporting from editorial opinion for their readers, listeners and viewers.  POWER AND RESPONSIBILITYThe First Amendment recognizes and protects the unique influence that “the fourth estate” can wield as an independent source of information and check on government power.Indeed, the term itself springs from recognition of the news media as an integral part of the political system, but separate from the government itself.  A.J. Liebling, the noted war correspondent and longtime writer for The New Yorker magazine once pithily noted that, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those that own one.”His point was that opportunities to “own one” are limited, making for a two-edged sword.  While some might point to general access to the Internet and social media as counterweights, there is an important distinction to be made between freedom of speech there and freedom of the press. The former is primarily individual and fleeting in nature, regardless of how “viral” a tweet or posting becomes. The latter is institutional and more established.    It is the print and electronic news media that have proven capacity to influence public opinion by either amplifying speech or restricting it.Fortunately, most media outlets respect that responsibility. But some seek to exploit it.It’s the latter that sparked the Sinclair controversy.  MISLEADING INTENT?There is no denying that Sinclair “owns” a press — in the form of 193 broadcast television stations nationwide — and has the constitutional right to use it to express its own opinions.Like newspapers, television station owners have always delivered clearly stamped editorials themselves.Instead, Sinclair issued a script to be read by the principal news anchor(s) on all its stations, apparently intending it to appear locally sourced.  Greg Floyd and Liz Bishop did so at WRGB.The online sports and news blogger Deadspin noticed a distinct pattern and produced a split screen video showing the identical text being delivered at dozens of Sinclair stations. The resulting ridicule was immediate, caustic and deserved.The political satirist John Oliver observed, “Nothing says we value independent media like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message … like members of a brainwashed cult.”Ironically, Sinclair’s act served as a pertinent example of the dodgy practices its editorial sought to criticize.  It also tainted the trust that local anchors painstakingly win through earnest journalism — like Floyd’s “You Paid for It” state government report segments and Bishop’s peer honored four decade career in local news — by using them as mere corporate mouthpieces.  If only an isolated incident, it could be excused as a rare atypical error.But Sinclair has a track record – from refusing to run CBS’s roll call tribute to fallen soldiers during the Iraq War, seeing it as implied criticism of the Bush policy, to instructing its stations to broadcast a highly questionable critique of candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam service just two weeks before the 2004 election. More recently, it had a dubious one-sided agreement with the Trump campaign securing exclusive interviews with the candidate and has since hired only declared Trump partisans as “commentators” for airing during its stations’ ostensibly local newscasts.Locally, WRGB-6 has given viewers more reason for doubt by using national report segments from Sinclair-owned Circa in its local newscasts and inserting another Sinclair program, Full Measure, halfway through Sunday morning’s CBS Face the Nation hour, confusingly moving the CBS program’s second half hour to another owned station without any notice to the viewer.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, Feb. 3

first_imgGrateful to woman for buying groceriesWhile checking out at the self-checkout lane at Price Chopper on Altamont Avenue on Jan. 23, a clerk came over to me and said that a lady wanted to thank me for my service to our country and wanted to pay for my groceries (which she already did). I asked the clerk “who” or “where” is she? After giving the clerk the money, she left the store immediately and did not want to be seen by me. I had my Navy baseball cap on.By the time I got to my car, I was in thankful tears. I told my wife, who was waiting for me in the car, that something wonderful just happened to me. We immediately went to prayer and asked God to bless her and her family. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others, and that day, I was truly blessed by her. To God be the glory! Thank you kind and grateful lady again.Bruce CapraRotterdam Democrats are not putting America firstFor everyone who thinks open borders are a good idea, I suggest you try this at home. Keep all the doors to your home unlocked and put a big sign on your lawn to announce the fact and that you’re offering a free meal and place to sleep for as long as they like to anyone who walks in.A few years ago, Schumer, Pelosi, Clinton, even Obama, all supported border security, including a wall. Why do they oppose it now? One word: politics. Back then, labor unions were concerned that cheap foreign labor would hurt their membership base. Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCuomo will have to face wrath on abortionI wish I could be present when Gov. Andrew Cuomo stands before God and has to explain to Him why he made it legal to murder an unborn baby at any time of his/her gestation.I would suggest to our governor to watch an ultrasound of an unborn baby as it fights for survival as the instrument is inserted to end his/her life.Linda KnightesSchenectady That’s no longer a concern. But Democrats have a huge voter base among low income people, and they increase it by importing more of them illegally from poor foreign nations. They just can’t stand to see Trump win, to fulfill any of his campaign promises that would actually benefit our nation. As far as the government shutdown, I don’t care that people can’t go to public parks or museums. I care about those who are being murdered, raped and robbed by immigrants in the country illegally. Democrats, instead of being available in D.C. to negotiate a solution, were vacationing in Hawaii or Puerto Rico. They won’t give Trump $5 billion for a wall, but they will willingly spend five times that much for aid to Latin America. Meanwhile, we have poor people suffering right here in America. Does Appalachia ring a bell? That’s what Trump means by putting America first, a sentiment with which I strongly agree.James HomanGlenville Grateful for Glenville highway chief, crewI’m a resident in Glenville residing in the Woodhaven neighborhood. Over Jan. 19 and 20, we received 18 to 20 inches of snow. During this major storm my mailbox was damaged by a town snow plow. I reported the incident to the Highway Department. The very next day, Highway Superintendent Tom Coppola delivered a brand-new mailbox, and the following day, a town employee installed the box. Now that’s service. Oh, in addition our roads were kept clear and safe by a dedicated Highway Department. Job well done.Richard NeboliniGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineGov. 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 homeslast_img read more

Industrial Spaced out

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Hermes PUT spends £21m for stake in City landmarks

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The number crunchers

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Turning Safestore from a property business into a retail success

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World has ‘window of opportunity’ to halt virus spread: WHO chief

first_imgTedros said the WHO was sending masks, gloves, respirators and 18,000 protective isolation gowns to 24 countries, as well as 250,000 test kits to speed up the process of diagnose carriers of the virus.He also reiterated his call for countries not to impose travel and trade restrictions because of the virus.”Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit,” he said, adding that 22 countries had so far informed WHO they were implementing such measures.”Where such measures have been implemented, we urge that they are short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks, and are reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves,” he said. Topics : “Some high-income countries are well behind in sharing this vital data with WHO. I don’t think it’s because they lack capacity,” he said.”Without better data, it’s very hard for us to assess how the outbreak is evolving, or what impact it could have, and to ensure we are providing the most appropriate recommendations,” he said.More than 20,400 cases of the virus have been confirmed in China since the virus was first detected on December 31.The toll in mainland China has soared to 425 and more than 20 countries have now confirmed cases of the virus, which the WHO has declared a global health emergency.center_img The dramatic measures taken by China to rein in the deadly new coronavirus outbreak have prevented significant spread abroad, providing a “window of opportunity” to halt transmission, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.But the UN health agency’s chief also called for greater solidarity, accusing some governments of wealthy countries of being “well behind” in sharing data on virus cases.”While 99 percent of cases are in China, in the rest of the world we only have 176 cases,” Tedros said in a technical briefing to the WHO’s Executive Board in Geneva.”That doesn’t mean that it won’t get worse. But for sure we have a window of opportunity to act… Let’s not miss this window of opportunity,” he said.Tedros said the WHO had received complete case report forms for only 38 percent of the cases outside China.last_img read more

Turkey-Russia tensions soar after deadly Syria strike

first_imgHumanitarian crisis At emergency talks on Friday, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council that Moscow was “ready to de-escalate with anyone who wants to” in Idlib.The UN has repeatedly warned that the fighting in Idlib could potentially create the most serious humanitarian crisis since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world body was planning to send a humanitarian mission there.Diplomats said the mission to Idlib could start next week and include representatives of major UN agencies.”The most pressing need is an immediate ceasefire before the situation gets entirely out of control,” Guterres told reporters.But Russian vetoes, often backed by China, have chronically crippled UN action.Turkey again called on the international community to establish a no-fly zone over Idlib, where Islamist fighters backed by Ankara pose the biggest obstacle to Assad seizing back control over all of Syria.On Thursday, jihadists and Turkish-backed rebels had re-entered Saraqeb, a key Idlib crossroads town they had lost earlier in February — reversing one of the main gains of the government’s devastating offensive. Thirty-three Turkish troops were killed late Thursday in the air strike in the northwestern province of Idlib, in the biggest single loss of life by the Turkish military in years.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone and looked to scale down tensions, with the Kremlin saying the two expressed “serious concern” about the situation.”There is always room for dialogue,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.He said the two leaders spoke of “the necessity to do everything” to implement a 2018 ceasefire that has since collapsed between the two countries in Idlib. Topics : The leaders of Russia and Turkey held crisis talks Friday after 33 Turkish soldiers died in an air strike in Syria, as Ankara ramped up pressure on Europe by threatening to flood in migrants.The United States and United Nations urged an end to the Russian-backed Syrian offensive against rebel holdouts, but Turkey appeared intent on easing tensions with Moscow by pinning the blame squarely on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.The flare-up raised fresh concerns for civilians caught up in the escalation of the horrific eight-year civil war, with the UN saying nearly a million people — half of them children — have been displaced in the bitter cold by the fighting since December. Gates open to migrantsErdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun accused Assad on Twitter of “conducting ethnic cleansing” to drive millions out of Idlib, but said Turkey does not have the resources to accept more refugees.Turkey has already taken in around four million Syrians and is wary of more arrivals in the face of growing popular discontent about their presence.In a move seen as putting pressure on the West, Turkey threatened to go back on a deal with the EU and open the way for refugees to go into Europe.”We will no longer keep the doors closed for refugees who want to go to Europe,” a Turkish official told AFP.In response, both Bulgaria and Greece said they were tightening border security as groups of migrants moved westwards across Turkey.Greek border guards blocked hundreds of migrants from entering the country at the Kastanies border crossing in the northeast of the country as army trucks loaded with barbed wire raced past.The EU called on Ankara to uphold its side of the 2016 migrant pact, in which the Europeans offered six billion euros in exchange for Turkey stemming the flow of migrants who had triggered a major backlash in the country. Erdogan may travel next week to Moscow for talks, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Before the killing of troops, Erdogan spoke of a meeting with Putin on March 5 but said it would also include the leaders of France and Germany. US condemnationUS President Donald Trump condemned the attack on Turkish troops in a call with Erdogan and again urged Russia and Syria to halt the Idlib operation, the White House said.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attack “despicable and brazen” and said the US was looking at ways to support Turkey, a NATO ally that has recently drifted from the West.A senior US official, while acknowledging that Turkey had blamed the Assad regime for the strike, said that Russia closely planned all operations with Syria.”Russia is responsible for this offensive — period,” the official said in Washington on condition of anonymity.The idea of the “pathetic, keelhauled, draftee Assad military forces fighting the Turks and some of the opposition forces… is laughable,” he said.Turkey said it retaliated by hitting more than 200 regime targets in drone and artillery bombardments.The reprisals killed 45 Syrian soldiers in Idlib, according to a monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no confirmation from the Syrian government.Rebel and Turkish fire also killed 10 fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group backed by Iran that is supporting Assad, the Observatory said, adding that Russian strikes killed seven civilians.Adding to the tensions, Moscow said two of its warships were transiting through the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul in plain sight of the city.last_img read more