Letters to the Editor for Saturday, Nov.30

first_imgI write in response to the Nov. 19 editorial titled, “Serving on two boards is a bad idea.”I appreciate that the editors conclude that I have the “extensive experience, energy and dedication to the community” to serve both the Niskayuna Town Board and school board for the six months during which the terms overlap, and acknowledge that serving both boards is legally permissible.The editors just think it’s a “bad idea” because the positions have “inherent conflicts.”That is false. The true experts in the offices of the State’s Attorney General and Comptroller have opined that such dual service is statutorily permissible, and the positions are compatible. I owe that service to the voters, whose views matter most.I’m known for doing my homework, so I know that there are no conflicts to prevent my service and I can ethically and effectively serve out my school board term at a time when experience matters.I am the most senior school board member on a “young” board.Soon we will decide on a $20M+ capital project and school configurations which will affect generations to come.As a child of immigrants, my life was transformed by education.I want to ensure that all of Niskayuna’s students have transformational opportunities, too.It would be easier not to serve my remaining six months on the school board.But I remain committed to helping, have the energy and enthusiasm for it, and know that quitting is the real “bad idea.”Rosemarie Perez JaquithNiskayunaAmerica is better under Donald TrumpHe is alive. He goes by the name of Adam Schiff.You may have seen him on TV lately, conducting the phony scam of the impeachment inquiry.It’s so apparent, first he says he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is, but he won’t allow a witness to answer questions which might lead to finding out who he is.Not one of the witnesses accused our 45th president, Donald J. Trump, of anything. It was all assumptions on their part. No collusion, bribery, quid pro quo, etc. Minor leaguers who think they can run the government better. People whose feelings were hurt because their opinion wasn’t sought.This is not democracy It’s like a trial you’d expect in Russia or Cuba. Only the geek and his cohorts made up the unfair rules. Would you like to be tried under these conditions? Look at some of the insane things these people have suggested.Medicare for all (including undocumented immigrants), government-sponsored healthcare on the backs of American taxpayers, free college tuition, repayment of tuition, climate change solutions using trillions of dollars (Everybody would have a government job but no planes, cars, etc.), and slave reparations.I don’t want to live in a social or communist state. I want to live like an American, which I was proud to be again when Donald J. Trump was elected. I suffered under eight years of Obama. By the wa,  maybe some of you could tell me what Obama ever did for this country.Edward HedlundClifton Park Trump have no respect for rule of lawRepublican leaders are claiming that the current impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump is unfair because he did release the military funding to Ukraine. Yes, Trump did release the aid, but only after the whistleblower complaint became public and the House decided to launch investigations into the Ukrainian “affair.”Apparently, the Republicans believe that it is appropriate to defend Trump because his efforts to bribe the Ukrainian government were thwarted.Sorry, if you attempt to bribe an official, but are prevented from doing so because someone discovered your intent and “blew the whistle,” you are still guilty of committing a crime.This type of flawed defense was also used by Republicans in the wake of the release of the Mueller Report, which identified a number of acts by Trump which could qualify as obstruction of justice.For example: Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller and then asked McGahn to lie about the order. McGahn refused to comply with Trump’s demands and eventually resigned.Republicans then argued that there was no obstruction because McGahn did not fire Mueller, nor did he lie about Trump’s request.The Republican leadership was defending Trump because his efforts to force McGahn to break the law were thwarted.As a businessman, Trump often skirted and flouted the law for personl gain, and now, as president, he is doing the same. Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he has no respect for our laws and, therefore, has exhibited behavior worthy of impeachment.Don SteinerSchenectadyEditorial on dual seats unnecessaryI was very disappointed to read the Nov. 19 editorial attacking our newly elected Niskayuna Town Board member, Rosemarie Perez Jaquith.I have every confidence that Perez Jaquith is committed to and capable. Why undercut her efforts before she gets started?The Editorial Board appears to have gone to extraordinary lengths to praise Rosemarie, citing her extensive experience, energy and dedication to the community prior to the election. All of which is valid and none of which has changed.Previously noted as well was her dual service on the school board and town board as legally permitted, and for a short six-month overlap. What has changed?The suggested special election would be costly and unnecessary.The last time we had a school board member quit before their term was up, it cost $17,000, attracting criticism by some for their efforts. An extra election would be similarly expensive. In six months, a newly elected member would need to campaign again to retain the seat in June. We can certainly find a better use for $17,000, and the Editorial Board can also find more productive topics to write about.Mary Beth ArcidiaconoNiskayuna Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionNothing wrong with serving on 2 boardscenter_img Liberal Dems have made America weakerAccording to Connie Cartwright’s Nov. 9 letter, “No good Democrat is supportive of Trump.”I am a good Democrat, not a liberal like you must be. You liberals are hurting this country. I am one of the good Democrats that is left in this good country.The Democrats started to hurt this country with Lyndon Johnson when he took our Social Security money and gave it to some other countries.Also, Jimmy Carter gave undocumented immigrants our Social Security money when they turned 65, even though they never put a dime into it. Look it up. They are all liberals.The Democratic liberals are trying to put everyone on Medicare. When you work, you pay for Social Security and Medicare out of your pay. You liberals want it for free. That’s absurd. Our governor is killing babies and sponsoring efforts to legalize dope. The only good Democrats were Roosevelt, Truman, Stratton, O’Brien and a few more. You listen to the liberal news that knocks Trump. It’s all fake news, which is badly twisted. He doesn’t need any money. He loves this country and is trying to protect us. This country was weak when he took over. Wake up you liberals and look at what he is trying to do. Just let him do what he said he would do if he got elected. Remember, freedom is not free. God bless us all if he doesn’t win in 2020.Vincent BelardoAlbanyDems are working while GOP obstructsWhenever I read a letter to the Daily Gazette that begins with the sentence ”Here we go again,” I know it’s a FOX News viewer preparing to attack the Democrats for not doing their job. The truth is that the House Democrats are doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to passing legislation, while investigating a corrupt president. Comrade Trump’s behaviors have required constant vigilance by the Democrats, because the gutless Republicans are more concerned with their re-election than the future of our democracy.It’s abundantly obvious that Trump used his presidential powers to coerce a foreign ally to “investigate” his political rival for his own personal gain.In addition to their investigations, the House Democrats have been passing bills at a rapid rate.So far this year, the Democratic House has passed 100 bills that never made it to the Senate floor because Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has not allowed any of these bills to reach the floor for debate.Some of the bills passed by the House that have died in the Senate include the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Cost Act, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, the Veterans Access to Child Care Act, and many more.When you look at the real facts, it is the Democrats who are protecting our democracy while trying to pass middle class legislation.Robert KarandyBurnt HillsPlenty of evidence of Trump’s illegal actsIn his Nov. 14 letter, Jeffrey Falace asks: “What crimes did Trump commit that are provable.”How about the fraudulent Trump University that swindled thousands of working class students out of their hard-earned dollars?Then there’s the Trump Foundation that was, according to a Chicago Tribune report, “riddled with graft.”Both are now closed after Trump paid substantial fines for fraud in civil court settlements. That leaves the criminal charges.Trump remains an unindicted co-conspirator (Individual-1) in the money laundering case that sent his personal attorney to prison for a campaign law violation involving Trump’s hush money payments to the porn star and the Playboy centerfold he had affairs with.The Mueller report also cites several instances where Trump obstructed justice.More recently, Trump admitted to asking the president of foreign powers, the Ukraine and China, to interfere in our democratic elections. That in itself is illegal.But Trump also put our national security at risk and apparently committed bribery by withholding military aid appropriated by Congress until Ukraine’s president did him a political favor by investigating Joe Biden.Trump has managed to avoid criminal charges thanks to a Justice Department policy that says a sitting president can’t be indicted for a crime.But when Trump leaves office he’ll no longer be free to violate the law with impunity unless Americans buy into Trump’s claim that Article II of the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants.Bill ScheuermanScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Business parks

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Rating proposals attacked by RICS

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Life in the slow lane

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Garden blooming

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Benchmark shares plummet after 16% NAV fall

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Warner closes on ‘Project Clay’

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Planning recommended for Stock Exchange revamp

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Desperate workers to hold mass rallies against job creation bill despite pandemic

first_imgDarsih is one of 40 FBLP members whose source of income evaporated as a result of the pandemic, joining more than a million others nationwide. Weeks ago, she was still able to run her mobile café, serving coffee and tea to workers at public facilities and malls around North Jakarta on her motorcycle. Now, she can no longer do that because of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed by the government in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.She and other union members who lost their jobs have set up a small home industry to produce fabric face masks in order to survive, as they have had little luck with social aid programs.FBLP is not alone in the struggle to support dismissed workers and their families on a daily basis. Other labor unions, including an alliance of the country’s three biggest groups, who all supported President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo – the Workers Union Confederation (KSPI), the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) and the Indonesia Welfare Labor Confederation (KSBSI) – face the same problems.Desperation has fueled anger about the government’s insistence on continuing to deliberate the omnibus bill on job creation at a time when people have been told to stay at home.Now workers may be bold enough to risk catching COVID-19. They plan to stage massive rallies in front of executive and legislative offices nationwide on April 30.“The option is either to die from the coronavirus for joining a rally or die of starvation for having nothing to eat,” FBLP chairwoman Jumisih said on Monday.Read also: Workers blast lawmakers with messages opposing omnibus bill on job creationCome rain or shine: Workers from the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FSPM) participate in the People’s Meeting held by the Mobile People’s Alliance (ARB) at the junction at Jl. Gejayan in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on March 9. Workers have widely opposed the omnibus bill on job creation for impinging upon labor rights. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)Rallies at the House complex were initially planned by the big-three unions at the end of March, but the police urged them to postpone and obey the state-led stay-at-home order.They were also briefly persuaded that progress on the bill would be delayed after several political leaders, including House speaker Puan Maharani of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), questioned the need to rush the process.Much to their surprise, lawmakers moved to proceed with the bill’s deliberation, a decision announced by House Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin, a Golkar Party lawmaker, during a House plenary session earlier this month. Azis claims the President himself gave the green light for the discussions.“We urge lawmakers to stop the deliberation [process]. President Jokowi must immediately retract the bill from the House,” said KSPSI chairman Andi Ghani Nuwa Wea. “Our members nationwide are getting ready to rally, and I can assure you that they are prepared to die.”Read also: PDI-P, NasDem call to remove labor provisions from omnibus jobs billThe insistence of politicians from the ruling coalition on continuing the talks in private has raised concerns about the motivation behind the omnibus bill.Lawmakers and officials have argued that the bill is required to boost investment, but labor unions consider that the hasty political horse trade occurring behind the curtain of physical distancing serves a single purpose: to provide companies a way out of honoring their responsibilities to their workers.The leaders of several progressive labor unions, including FBLP, KSPSI and the Congress Alliance of Indonesian Labor Unions (KASBI) said that both officials and lawmakers were using the COVID-19 crisis to “legitimize the exploitation of workers”.“While we are hard at work pushing firms to hand over severance pay to workers already laid off, the government and lawmakers are working fast to pass a bill that allows them to easily lay off even more people,” said KASBI chair Nining Elitos.According to Manpower Ministry data, more than a million workers have been laid off or furloughed since the COVID-19 outbreak took hold in the country. An estimated 5.2 million more workers could still lose their jobs.Read also: Millions to lose jobs, fall into poverty as Indonesia braces for recessionThe bill has been criticized for its pro-business bent, which would make it harder for laborers to negotiate on equal footing.“It promotes the spirit of individualism by restricting the role of unions in negotiations. It involves pitting [individual] workers against entire companies, so how can you expect a fair fight?” Jumisih said.Responding to mounting protests, leaders of the House Legislation Body (Baleg) tasked with negotiating the bill have pledged to remain transparent and accountable, with promises to broadcast all the meetings publicly on the legislature’s television channel and its social media accounts.“We also promise to invite the unions to participate in the meetings, whether virtually or face-to-face,” said Baleg chairman Supratman Andi Atgas of the Gerindra Party.However, backroom talks remain unsupervised.Read also: Backroom bargain: House holds closed meeting on job creation billBaleg kicked off the bill’s virtual deliberation process on April 7, having made only the last few minutes of the meeting accessible to the public.Another meeting on April 14 was broadcast for the first 30 minutes before it was switched with a parallel program led by Golkar’s Azis detailing solutions that firms have come up with.Topics : Darsih, a 41-year-old single mother of two, spent more than a year fighting for her right to severance pay after she was laid off in October 2018. At the time, she was working for a South Korean garment factory operating in North Jakarta. She was one of hundreds of workers who were laid off for the sake of cost efficiency.Even after months of battling it out through legal channels with the help of the Inter-Factory Laborers Federation (FBLP), Darsih still lost her appeal.But her focus held steady on the struggle. She was well aware of what little chance factory workers had to win a battle for rights against corporations. The fact that the government has moved in favor of investment has made the fight that much harder.Read also: Key points of labor reform in omnibus bill on job creation“Winning is just a reward,” Darsih said. “I have learned a lot about the labor movement, including the hard work and commitment needed to fight for my right as a worker,” she told The Jakarta Post last weekend.Now with the COVID-19 outbreak looming over her struggle, Darsih said the sense of community she gained from joining the FBLP had been crucial for her survival, since there were few opportunities for someone like her to get a formal education.last_img read more

Israel’s coalition deal: Political stability with pitfalls

first_imgIsrael’s coalition deal between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz breaks a year-long deadlock but has pitfalls — from power sharing mechanisms to West Bank policy and the premier’s corruption charges.Monday’s agreement for a unity government, signed by Netanyahu and parliament speaker Gantz after three inconclusive elections in less than a year, seeks to give the Jewish state desperately-needed political stability as it confronts the coronavirus pandemic.  “After a year and a half of political stalemate and as the country endures one of the most severe economic crises in its history, it is high-time for Israel to have a functioning government,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute think-tank.  Implementing the deal will require majority support in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. That is likely to happen, assuming it is backed by Netanyahu’s unified right-wing bloc and most of Gantz’s supporters. Netanyahu will serve as prime minister through the first 18 months of the three-year deal. Gantz will first serve as “alternate prime minister,” a new position that must be created through an amendment of Israel’s so-called Basic Laws. Passing that amendment is a key part of the coalition deal.After 18 months, Gantz takes over as prime minister, with Netanyahu serving as his alternate. Through the first six months, the government will be defined as an “emergency” body focused primarily on containing the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating the economic devastation it has caused. Israel has more than 13,800 confirmed virus cases, including over 180 deaths, and a nationwide lockdown has left huge numbers of people without an income.Cabinet portfolios are split between the two camps. Key ministries assigned to Netanyahu’s side include finance and interior, while Gantz’s side will control the justice ministry and the position of foreign minister will rotate.The former army chief announced Tuesday evening he would serve as defense minister. Ministers can only be fired if there is agreement from both sides, and the prime minister cannot sack his alternate.  Power sharing  Topics : Netanyahu’s trial The prime minister was due to face trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust last month. The trial’s start date was postponed to May 24 because of the pandemic. Under Israeli law, a prime minister can continue to serve while under indictment, but a regular cabinet minister cannot. With his trial, including possible appeals, expected to last several years, the veteran premier did not want to be forced out of government when his term expired. His expected transition to alternate prime minister in 2021 likely solves that problem. Netanyahu’s Likud party also retained significant say over the appointment of judges and prosecutors, influence that could help the prime minister as his case moves forward. Legal cases have also been filed by non-government groups seeking to block an individual under indictment from serving as prime minister. Under the coalition deal, if Israel’s top court bars Netanyahu from serving, his agreement with Gantz is dissolved and another election will be called.  West Bank annexationsFor Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump’s plan for Middle East peace offered Israel an “historic” opportunity. The plan — rejected by the Palestinians and condemned by much of the international community — gave Israel the green light to annex Jewish settlements and other strategic territory in the occupied West Bank. Such annexations would violate international law and likely inflame tensions in the volatile region. Gantz had praised Trump’s controversial plan but was more cautious regarding its implementation. The coalition agreement says that any measures regarding Trump’s plan would be executed “in full agreement of the United States,” while maintaining “international dialogue” and “the need to maintain regional stability”.At the same time, with Gantz’s permission, Netanyahu can bring Trump’s annexation plan to cabinet and parliament for discussion and approval from July 1.Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday condemned the formation of an “Israeli annexation government,” saying it marked the end of the two-state solution. But he warned that the Netanyahu-Gantz deal risks creating a government “without a grand vision or clear goals” that would be vulnerable to being bogged down with “cumbersome political agreements.”Here are the main points of the deal:last_img read more