Not all unions are created equal

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In reference to Frank Coleman’s March 6 letter, there are unions and there are unions. Private-sector unions are and have been badly needed over the years, i.e., to counter the enormous profit pressure on company management. Public-sector unions serve little legitimate purpose, since bureaucrat management is not under similar pressure to control costs. You simply gradually and quietly increase taxes as salaries go up and employees are added.Books have been written arguing the various pros and cons of the above, but fundamentally cost pressure is the issue.Over time, the impact has become huge. For example, the area surrounding the seat of federal government (Washington, D.C.) is by far the richest locale of the nation. Local public-sector workers may manipulate the bureaucratic system and retire on pensions several times that of similar private-sector workers. A private-sector worker can be terminated almost at will; public-sector workers almost cannot be terminated. Now I recognize this is a highly charged, controversial issue. But private and public unions are extremely different in purpose and impact; it could be argued that they should not even be grouped under the same word, union.Clyde MaughanSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positionsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopSchenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%last_img read more

Foss: Lowering the BAC a good idea

first_imgThe reason for this is simple: I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to get home, or wonder what my blood alcohol concentration is. I don’t have to call a taxi, or an Uber, or take the bus. In a perfect world, people intent on drinking alcohol wouldn’t drive to bars and restaurants. They’d use public transportation instead, or enlist a member of their party to serve as a designated driver, or be prepared to summon a driver. Perhaps they’d restrict their bar-hopping and dining to restaurants and bars in their neighborhood. We don’t live in a perfect world, which goes a long way toward explaining why more than 10,000 people are killed by alcohol-impaired drivers each year in the U.S. Despite countless campaigns highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving, a lot of people persist in getting behind the wheel when they’ve had a few too many. As a result, there’s now a movement to lower the blood alcohol level for drunk driving from .08 to .05. In New York, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has introduced a bill that would make this lower BAC threshold the law of the land. Lowering the BAC isn’t popular — it faces fierce opposition from the alcohol, bar and restaurant industries, for one thing — but it’s a good idea that would save lives. At least, that’s what the National Traffic Safety Board and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have concluded, and these conclusions are rooted in science.  Of course, it isn’t enough to lower the drunken driving threshold. If we’re serious about getting drunk drivers off the roads, we need to improve our public transportation networks and create walkable communities. We need to promote the idea that walking to a bar is normal, and that every drinker should have a way to get home that doesn’t involve driving themselves. In short, we need to make it easy for people to get where they want to go without using a car. In my experience, drinking is more fun when you take driving out of the equation.If we lower the BAC, I suspect more people will discover the joys of drinking and not driving. Reach Sara Foss at sfoss@dailygazette.net. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.More from The Daily Gazette:Motorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashLow-income students and students of color twice as likely to attend school remotelySchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcySchenectady County warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Schenectady restaurant, Rotterdam barCapital Region COVID-19 Tracker for Friday, Oct. 16, by county A number of studies have shown that an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle begins to deteriorate at lower levels of blood alcohol concentration. These drivers might not be as drunk as people who blow a .08 or higher on a breathalyzer test, but they can still cause problems on the road. According to a study on the effectiveness of a 0.05 BAC limit for driving from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The risk of being involved in a crash increases significantly at 0.05 BAC and above.” The study also notes that in most industrialized countries the BAC limit is 0.05, and that countries that lowered their illegal blood concentration limit from .08 to .05 saw a corresponding decline in traffic fatalities. Those opposed to lowering the legal believe it would unnecessarily punish casual drinkers who aren’t much of a risk, while doing nothing to crackdown on heavier drinkers who are far more dangerous. Unfortunately, the research suggests that these casual drinkers do pose a risk, and are much more likely to cause a crash than non-drinkers. According to the NCBI study, the “relative risk of being killed in a single-vehicle crash with BACs of 0.05-0.079 is seven to 21 times higher than for drivers with a BAC of zero.” center_img Categories: Opinion, Schenectady CountyMy favorite bars are the ones I can walk to. last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Oct. 17

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTrump’s Syria action a show of bad faithPresident Trump advised Turkey that its impending, and now ongoing, invasion of the Kurds in Northern Syria was not a good idea.In fact his callous and unthinking abandonment of our Kurdish allies is not a good idea. In fact it is a bad idea.The Kurdish people in Syria suffered 11,000 deaths in support of our efforts to rid Syria of ISIS fighters. To now turn our backs on these people is unconscionable.The message that we send to the rest of the world by this action only further demonstrates how far the United States has abandoned the hope for peace in the Middle East.To say that we have no role there or that we have no vested interest there is naive at best, dangerous at worst. A resurgent ISIS is just one of many threats to the region and world peace.Certainly the adults in Washington understand this. It is time for them to stand up and be counted.By the way where is the Palestinian/Israeli peace plan the great deal maker promised?Bruce CastkaCobleskillDon’t chastise youth for climate fearsI make no distinction between the irrationality of climate change deniers and those who sincerely believe the earth is flat.But it still disturbs me when I read Arthur Salvatore’s Oct. 10 letter (“Climate change is kids’ new religion”) in which he rails against young people who rightfully fear the consequences of increasingly rapid climate change.He recommends Bible studies and reverence for the Founding Fathers as an antidote to the new religion of global warming.He neglected to mention that those old, white, male slave owners wallowed in Christian righteousness while treating other humans like farm animals as a means of wealth creation.He seems to believe that was a more decent world than one in which people fear for the health of their planet.George MilnerMechanicvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

A lesson in practical planning

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Niche market

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Talk of the towns

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Sainsbury’s sets sights on Southwark return

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Offices: Window on the West End

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The funding conundrum

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An equitable distribution

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