Letters to the Editor Saturday, Oct. 29 – 25 letters from around the region

Gun Rights

Foes of democracy cannot be trusted

We’ve seen the Jan. 6 committee show how Trump and his team tried to overturn the election he lost, destroy our republic and make America a dictatorship.
They created a Big Lie, and did everything they could to keep Biden from taking office, including inciting a cop-killing insurrection.
But they couldn’t have done this without local Republicans’ help.
Did you know that the Saratoga County GOP helped send busloads last Jan. 6 to help Trump’s attempted coup?
Yet not a single local GOP leader spoke out in opposition.
Tedisco, Walsh, Heggen and Joy are all accomplices to this crime against democracy. Zeldin and Stefanik even voted against certifying Biden’s election.
If they think trying to overturn an election is OK, can we trust them to represent us?
If we lose our democracy, our government will be completely controlled by oligarchs from Moscow to Wall Street, and our families, our communities and our concerns will mean nothing.
That’s why I’m voting for Kathy Hochul, Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, Andy McAdoo, Michelle Ostrelich and Michael Phillips. And to send a message that New York should work for us, not billionaire oligarchs, I’ll be voting on the Working Families line.
Joe Seeman
Ballston Spa

Find a place for unwanted clothes

I read “The Morning Briefing” in the Oct. 15 the New York Times website, which had a long discussion about cleaning closets.
Cleaning out closets is so hard to contemplate and initiate. Finally, my front hall closet became so packed that I could find nothing easily. Taking it all out and dumping everything on a nearby bed was my first step.
Next, I put the hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, coats and pants in separate piles. The ‘keepers’ went back into the closet, the questionable on top of a tote, and the unusable into my trash bin.
I located a used clothing box in the new parking lot across from the Niskayuna Co-Op and the ‘wearables’ went there. Success — only two more closets to go.
Bill Poppino

Santabarbara is a champion for people

During my time as a Schenectady County legislator in the city of Schenectady, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has been a friend and a source of mentorship, guidance and personal leadership for me. What I admire most about Angelo is that he’s a hands-on representative who listens to his constituents and finds ways to solve problems.
He’s all about doing whatever he can to improve quality of life in our upstate communities and his record shows it. He’s delivered time and time again.
Earlier this year, we worked together to get the gas tax suspended at the state and local levels and he continues to find new ways to save our communities money. Whether it’s funding for infrastructure, schools, health care  or legislation to help people with disabilities, Angelo is a fighter and a champion for the people he represents.
Richard Ruzzo
The writer is the Schenectady County Legislator for District 1.

Kolbe shows she gets the job done

The November election is less than two weeks away, and I would like you to consider the Montgomery County Clerk race.
Brittany Kolbe has been our county clerk for nearly four years. She has continually demonstrated her ability to get the job done and move our county forward through technology and customer service.
Brittany is dependable, consistent and a leader in her community. She has improved the county clerk’s office and DMV in several areas, such as creating an appointment system, remote online searching of records, and Fast Lane at DMV for quick transactions.
What has impressed the most is that she was able to follow through on the promises she made during a global pandemic and in her first term in office. I believe the right vote on Nov. 8 is Brittany Kolbe for country clerk.
Jay Summerson
Fort Plain

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Clear thinkers can only vote for Tonko

Regarding Michael Glenn’s Sept. 28 letter (“Liz Joy will reflect values of district.”), Liz Joy will never reflect my values!
Glenn apparently thinks that we should support cruelty to people whose livelihoods our policies and greed have already destroyed and continuing those policies until the entire planet is uninhabitable.
Any claim that President Biden and Speaker Pelosi are responsible for inflation or crime is a ridiculous lie perpetrated by fascists who wish to take away our rights.
Furthermore, Joy is so narcissistic that she can’t believe anyone would oppose her without being paid to do so. The only clear-thinking response is to cast your vote in support of Paul Tonko.
Joyce M. Cockerham

Judge Versaci is wise and knowledgeable

Judge Vincent Versaci is a proven judge we can trust. I first appeared before Judge Versaci in 2009 while he was a Schenectady City Court judge.
Since that time, as both of our positions have changed, I have continued making regular appearances before him. As Schenectady County Surrogate Court judge, he has regularly presided over complicated legal matters such as the probate of wills, the administration of estates after death, the guardianship of adults, and adoptions. I’ve always found Judge Versaci to be level-headed, compassionate, and fair. He makes both the lawyers and litigants feel welcome in his courtroom, and he decides cases carefully, using the law as his road map and guide.
In addition, Judge Versaci has served as an acting Family Court judge and an acting Supreme Court judge, where he has presided over several difficult cases I’ve handled.
His wisdom and impressive knowledge of the law has enabled him to adapt and serve his community in a variety of unique judicial roles. I believe Judge Versaci will make an excellent Supreme Court judge. I would encourage voters in the town of Glenville, Schenectady County and the entire 4th Judicial District to join me in voting for Judge Vincent Versaci.
Michael Godlewski
The writer is a Glenville town councilman.

Ostrelich will support women’s rights

Jim Tedisco has a 40-year record of voting against reproductive rights. I want a state senator, like Michelle Ostrelich, who will stand up for me and women everywhere and who supports the full range of reproductive healthcare.
We cannot continue to go backwards — we must allow women to have a choice and not be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy or resort to unsafe abortions. In New York, we have those protections in place, but only because we have had a Democratic Legislature and governor who has stood up for us. Michelle Ostrelich will stand up for reproductive access and abortion rights and she has my vote. We’ve been on Tedisco’s team long enough. Time for a positive change.
Katherine Robinson

Zeldin, Stefanik, Joy show fealty to Trump

To me, certain choices are very simple. The GOP candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, and congressional candidates Liz Joy and Elise Stefanik all make no bones about the fact they worship at the altar of Donald Trump.
If we did not know that Trump was the biggest liar and huckster when he first ran for president, everyone should now recognize that he presented a clear and present danger to our country and our democracy while in office.
Notwithstanding, Congressman Zeldin voted against certifying Biden’s 2020 election and recently made a pilgrimage to Trump’s New Jersey golf course to secure Trump’s endorsement for governor.
Joy enthusiastically supported Trump’s reelection in losing to Paul Tonko and followed up with a trip to D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, to protest certifying Biden’s election, a day which now lives in infamy.
As to Stefanik, she long ago abandoned any semblance of ethics or principles we believed she possessed. She joined in lock step with the right wing leadership in Congress and was rewarded with the number three position when Liz Cheney was ousted for voting her conscience in supporting the election. Enough said.
Robert K. Corliss

Tedisco no friend of blue collar workers

As a union carpenter, I believe elected officials in Albany should put the interests of working people ahead of the interests of their big corporate donors. That’s why I think it’s time for a change from Sen. James Tedisco.
Time and time again, Sen. Tedisco has failed to show up for blue collar workers. Over the past decade, he has voted against legislation that would require prompt payment of employees on private construction work (2009 worker protection bill); he has repeatedly opposed prevailing wage laws that ensure middle class wages for construction workers (including 2020 public work bill); he voted against a bill cracking down on corrupt contractors that cheat workers out of wages they’ve earned (2021 wage theft bill); and just this year he opposed a bill that would make it harder for those corrupt contractors to escape accountability (2022 contractor registration bill).
Sen. Tedisco loves to show up for ribbon cuttings, but he doesn’t support hard-working men and women when it counts. Blue collar workers in Schenectady County deserve better, which is why I’ll be voting for Michelle Ostrelich for state Senate next month.
Charlie Sgroi
The writer is a member of Local 291 North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters.

Castelli will restore pride and decency

Vote for Matt Castelli. The representative election of the 21st District is very important for democracy and true fullness.
Trump led our country into a period of extreme division, hatred and lies. He led a rebellion that violated the principles on which the country was founded.
Stefanik has abandoned righteousness to support his lies and actions. Voting for Matt Castelli will restore decency, pride, integrity and preserve the fundamental principles of the Constitution.
Thomas Porter
Saratoga Springs

Is Tedisco really nice, and is he effective?

I have known Jim Tedisco for years, in those years I have found him to be a genuine, nice guy. His legislative achievements however are slim to none.
I guess he hands out a few dollars to fire departments and VFW groups; I would imagine any state senator would do that as for helping his district. I really can’t see what he has accomplished in his many years in the Legislature. However, as I said he is a nice guy, and many people vote for nice guys. Recently I’ve begun to wonder about the nice guy label. I wish I could decide if he is a nice guy or not? Perhaps I’ll ask Daphne Jordan to help me decide.
Joseph Kaczynski

GOP dreams are the public’s nightmares

Republican dreams:
Firearms carried by anyone anywhere; establish Christianity as the American religion; almost total ban on abortions; ending all but “normal” marriages; using every last ounce of fossils fuels; selling off public lands and parks; control of school curricula; removing environmental regulations; allowing police unlimited powers; intimidate or remove election officials; restrict voting places and times; contest lost elections as “rigged;” sunset Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid payments; stop federal money going to disaster relief, infrastructure repair, and Amtrak; pack the Supreme Court; reduce taxes on the 1%; allow wannabe dictator Trump to operate unfettered; support attempted coup (Elise and Liz Joy); bring fracking into New York; deregulate banks; interfere with public health measures against pandemics; offer no concrete solutions to inflation, immigration, or crime.
If that sounds more like Conservative policy, yes it is. Alas, the Grand Old Party has been hijacked by the billionaires who detest government regulations and “socialism” interfering with their greed.
They don’t care about us. Their dreams are our nightmares. Please use your precious voting power to make them go away.
Bill Shaw
Ballston Spa

Tedisco has gone too far to stay in Senate

This letter is in support of Michelle Ostrelich. Throughout my years of voting, I have always tried to choose the best candidate, regardless of their party.
I have voted for Jim Tedisco because I always felt he would work with both sides of the aisle and listen to his constituents. However, Sen. Tedisco’s support of Elise Stefanik was a step too far.
The fact that he chooses to align himself with a 45 supporter who espouses the Big Lie and wants women to have no control over their body just goes against everything I stand for. Please, please, for the sake of democracy in this country, vote for Michelle and let Sen. Tedisco know he crossed the line into the dark side.
Barbara J. Kerr

Question McGuirl’s aptitude for judge

On Nov. 8, the voters in the city of Schenectady will vote for a city court judge. The candidates are Mr. Healy and Ms. McGuirl.
In The Gazette article (“Board nullifies ViaPort lease deal”) on Aug. 5 concerning the contract with Via Port, current Rotterdam Town Councilman Christou stated, he relied on the town attorney, “Kate Mc Guirl, whom he accused of misleading him.” He went on to say, “A challenge as a part-time government official is that you rely on your full-time six figure employees to be doing the right thing for you.”
I had a similar situation in 2012 regarding the tax agreement with the GE Co. As a council member, I was not given the agreement until the hour before the vote. On several occasions I had asked Ms. McGuirl about it, and she implied she had no knowledge of it. Months later, I found documentation that she knew about it. Under attorney-client privilege, she was required to give me the information. I do not know Mr. Healy, but I do know Ms. McGuirl.
On Nov. 8, ask yourself which candidate has the best aptitude and attitude.
Robert Godlewski
The writer is a former Rotterdam council member.

Muller shows no favoritism as judge

For those of your readers who may wonder what it takes for a Supreme Court judge seeking re-election to be nominated by both the Democratic Party and the Conservative Party, I’d like to offer my insight into the qualifications of Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller.
When Robert Muller was a trial attorney decades ago, I had the opportunity to represent clients where he represented the opposing side. Attorney Muller was tenacious, but also an ethical, trial attorney. He certainly knows his way around the courtroom. For this reason, not only attorneys who are members of all political parties, but also a multitude of organizations, have stepped forward to publicly support his re-election as Supreme Court Justice covering eleven local counties.
Who you are or what organization you represent means nothing to Judge Muller when it comes to guaranteeing a fair and competent resolution of any dispute in which you may be involved. I truly believe that our community would be best served by retaining Judge Muller on the bench. Hopefully, you will consider his background and experience by joining me to vote for his re-election on Nov. 8.
William Nikas
Hudson Falls

Check the facts, then support Ostrelich

I am responding to the Oct. 20 Gazette front page article (“Schenectady County Dems file ethics complaint”) regarding a complaint by the Schenectady County Democratic Committee against the Kennedy Project, a political group of anonymous individuals funded by unknown sources.
This group has disseminated on social media blatant lies and distortions about Michelle Ostrelich, the Democratic candidate for New York Senate in the 44th District.
I encourage voters to either ignore political accusations coming from anonymous sources or to thoroughly check the facts before believing any of them. I can verify from personal experience on the Schenectady Coalition for Healthcare Access that Michelle has worked diligently and openly to maintain access to reproductive and gender-related health care for all citizens of Schenectady County, focusing especially on those who would have difficulty traveling to Albany Medical Center if these services become unavailable due to Ellis Medicine merging with St. Peter’s Hospital.
Any suggestion that Michelle supports abortion bans is absurd.
However Jim Tedisco twice voted against the Reproductive Health Act; this is public information for anyone who wants to check the facts. Voters who consider this to be an important issue have a clear choice.
Paul Dworkin, MD

Santabarbara always there for Rotterdam

As a past member of the Rotterdam Town Board and now as town clerk, over the years, I’ve worked with many people, and know great partners for our town when I see them. I’m proud to say Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is one of them.
Anyone who lives in Rotterdam knows that Angelo is always there for us. He’s delivered important funding to support our sheriff, police and fire departments, consistently supported our schools, and made needed investments in our roads and bridges.
Angelo is a husband and a father, and he’s delivered real results that’s helping families keep more of their hard-earned money.
Among them, he passed a bill to remove state taxes on gasoline and delivered property tax rebate checks for homeowners in our town. And when it comes to helping those with disabilities, he’s a champion. He’s authored and passed important legislation that helps kids with special needs and supports people with disabilities.
Most importantly, wherever you see Angelo in our community, whether it’s at the grocery store or at a town event, he always makes time for us. He cares about his hometown of Rotterdam. That’s why I’m happy to endorse Angelo Santabarbara’s re-election as Rotterdam’s assemblyman.
Diane Marco

Vote in anyone other than Elise Stefanik

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives once said, “All politics are local.” Consequently we cannot change what they do in Texas or California, but we do have a say here in New York.
Elise Stefanik has shown she should not represent any American who supports and defends our Constitution. This is due to her association with Donald Trump, her vote to reject the 2020 election and her support for the Jan. 6 rioters.
There are many excellent candidates. Vote for any other candidate such as Matt Castelli or write-in state Sen. Jim Tedisco, former Congressman Chris Gibson or even Assemblywoman Marybeth Walsh.  These are honest, dedicated and accomplished Americans who would represent us far better than those who would destroy our democracy and country.
John Van Patten

Kupferman has best attributes of a judge

As a retired Supreme Court Justice and former colleague of Judge Richard Kupferman, I make my recommendation to vote for him for state Supreme Court justice without reservation. Judge Kupferman has the proven attributes to be an excellent Supreme Court justice.
He has served as a judge in the Surrogate Court for over 10 years and as an acting Supreme Court justice for over eight years. He has 30-plus years of varied legal experience. Judge Kupferman has a track record of applying the law fairly with a dose of common sense.
As an acting Supreme Court justice, he has demonstrated knowledge, compassion and dedication as he addressed the needs of all who appear before him. He issues timely and clearly written decisions.
Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Kupferman was the judge I asked to cover my chambers when I was unavailable. Please cast your vote for Judge Kupferman on Nov. 8.
Ann C. Crowell, J.S.C. (retired)

For better supervisor candidates, raise pay

I’m proud that I voted for Supervisor Jaime Puccioni. As soon as she took office, she started to assert her independence.
She worked quickly to remove politics from Town Hall. Puccioni solved a pension issue in the police department that was kicked around like a political football for over a decade. She hired a professional outside human resources firm.
She standardized processes from how summer employees are hired and paid to ensuring that all of the town’s sports programs are treated the same. She is a leader, and she takes action.
I didn’t know that the town supervisor is paid only $53,800 until recently, and then I thought I had heard it wrong. This means that she earns half the salary (or less) of the department heads she manages.
Puccioni is paid the same $53,800 as Luke Smith, who had her job nearly 20 years ago. It’s curious that these comparisons aren’t the ones being publicized.
Keeping the salary of the supervisor artificially low controls who takes the job. I like independent people, and I agree with Puccioni that the salary has been kept artificially low to exclude most people from being able to consider the job. I hope Puccioni runs and wins again, but if you want the next supervisor to be qualified and independent, raise the salary substantially.
Erin Cassady-Dorion

Ostrelich supports responsible gun laws

Nine days after a teenager killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and fewer than three weeks after another 18-year-old New Yorker killed 10 Black people in a racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, Jim Tedisco voted against three common-sense bills that could keep New Yorker’s safe from gun violence: (1) expanding the red flag law relating to potentially violent individuals; (2) prohibiting civilian purchase of bullet-resistant vests; and (3) requiring a license for the possession of semi-automatic firearm.
He cast these votes just a year after voting against increasing potential liability for gun manufacturers, even if the firearm was harmfully misused. He voted no to prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing firearms, to firearm buyback programs, and to prohibiting ghost guns.
It is no surprise that he receives an “A” rating from the NRA.
Voting against gun violence prevention measures like these is not just out of touch; it’s reckless. Tedisco’s challenger, Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich, is no stranger to the impact of gun violence in our communities.
As a responsible gun owner, Michelle is also intimately familiar with the obligations that entails.
Albany needs her informed, common sense leadership in the Senate.
Sarah Rogerson

Reject Mastroianni’s conspiracies, secrecy

Who is politician Joe Mastroianni? From what I can see he has almost no experience. He just ran for a 4-year term on the Rotterdam Town Board, and after only a few months on the job he decides he’s now running for state Assembly? Is he committed to serving the voters or himself?
The little we do know about him shows he believes George W. Bush was somehow responsible for an inside job on 9/11. As they often say in Seinfeld, “That’s Kooky talk.” A 9/11 conspiracy theorist is not what we need in these trying times.
And as if that’s not bad enough, I saw how “Water Meter Joe” voted no on holding an open and transparent public hearing on the secret water meter/tax plan they were cooking up in Rotterdam this past summer. He did, however, vote yes to hire his political ally and running mate for a high-paying, phony job at town hall as “COVID Compliance Officer.” He also voted for the town to borrow another $34 million. I don’t like his out-of-control spending or his wacky conspiracies.
Gerard Parisi

Look very closely at Stefanik’s bad record

Elise Stefanik boasts that she supports a lot of citizens’ issues, but here is the truth on her voting record:
Stefanik voted no on women’s reproductive freedom; she voted no on repairing roads and bridges; Stefanik voted no on lowering insulin prices; Stefanik voted no on Veteran’s Burn Pit Healthcare.
Remember this — Stefanik is Donald Trump’s favorite lackey. She did support the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.
Joe DeMarco

Santabarbara a vital education supporter

I write to commend Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara for his unwavering commitment to public education.
As teachers, fully funding Foundation Aid has been something we’ve fought to do for years and I’m so happy to see that we’re finally made it across the finish line with his help and partnership.
This funding is an investment in the future of public education, serving as the foundation to build upon as we strengthen public schools.
I’m also pleased to see that, once again, he is the only candidate for the 111th state Assembly District to carry the New York State Teachers endorsement, and that means something.
Now after years of taking on the many new academic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, our students, staff and teachers, we need representatives like Mr. Santabarbara more than ever before.
As both a parent and a legislator, Angelo has always served as an unwavering voice at our State Capital to strengthen public education, so our children have the tools and support they need to reach their full potential.
Mike Silvestri
The writer is the Schenectady Federation of Teachers President.

Stefanik shows colors as Trump supporter

How many witch hunts are Americans going to tolerate, and I believe that once again Elise Stefanik has shown her true colors.
For the time being, let’s put aside the lying, the cheating, the narcissism, the racism, the bigotry, the paying of porn stars, the double impeachment, the abysmal response to covid and the climate denial, etc.
What’s really scary is Jeanine Pirro, who so blatantly supports an obvious criminal like Donald Trump, and she’s a judge. My greatest hopes are, number one, people are finally starting to realize what a disgraceful character that Trump is. Number two is that if and when I commit my first felony, people are as forgiving of me as they are of Trump.
Mark Barkyoumb Sr.

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