Let Him Off the Hook?
comes as no surprise that the folks at Joe’s Osborne Street
Garage [“Body in Tow,” Newsfront, March 8] are up to ever
more egregious antics. I have never forgotten our run-in with
When our son was first driving, he parked his old car in a
lot whose No Parking signs were obscured by snow. In towing
the car, the Osborne Street driver did hundreds of dollars
worth of damage to it, leaving it in such bad shape that it
had to be junked. But when our son arrived to claim the car,
the clerk absolutely would not let him see the car until after
he had signed a release.
It took us days to finally speak to Joe himself, and when
he learned how his people had scammed a teenager, he literally
laughed in our faces. Appeals to city officials, the Better
Business Bureau, and even the attorney general’s office went
nowhere, because that fraudulently acquired signature indemnified
If all of Joe’s victims meet that fate, what is there to stop
his employees from perpetuating outrages such as the one described
in your article? And how can one not assume that Joe is protected
by someone in high places?
I read Nicole Klaas’ article about the Schenectady Police
Department [“Under the Gun,” March 8], I simply could not
recognize the agency I remember from the morning of Nov. 18,
On that memorable morning, the people of the Hamilton Hill
neighborhood awoke to find a huge drug raid going on around
them involving some 500 state troopers, county deputies and
city cops, a helicopter and two truckloads of mobile response
teams in battle gear.
Within a few hours, over 110 drug dealers had been rounded
up and carted away, beginning a period of decreased crime
for the whole of Schenectady County that was to last for almost
The reaction of the people? Reporter Tim McGlone of the Daily
Gazette wrote: “They cheered from their porches and shouted
out windows. They ran into the street wearing bathrobes and
in their stocking feet, shaking the hands of police officers
who arrived before dawn to take away suspected drug dealers.
‘This is excellent. This is the best. This is one of the best
things I’ve seen in Schenectady.’ ”
This operation had the long-lasting effect it had because
it was a well-planned, strategically conceived initiative.
It employed the resources, not only of the Schenectady Police
Department, but of all the agencies that had something to
offer to hit the drug activity in the neighborhood in a way
that would set it back big-time. It also showed the people
of Hamilton Hill—and the drug dealers—the full extent of the
resources available to protect that neighborhood and the will
to use them.
The explanations that are now being offered by Mayor Stratton
and Chief Geraci for the abysmal conditions that have been
allowed to return to Hamilton Hill simply don’t hold water.
For one thing, they should not be letting the state off the
hook. The Pataki administration’s premier program of local
assistance to law enforcement, known as Operation IMPACT,
is an unimaginative, statistics-driven mess that doesn’t even
merit being called a strategy. It is, by and large, a subsidy
for police overtime that encourages a focus on penny-ante
drug busts that, in turn, take officers off the street for
hours at a time. It does not buy an iota of increased public
Gov. Spitzer would do well to scrap this program and go back
to the drawing board. Instead of making wan excuses, Mayor
Stratton and Chief Geraci should be loudly calling upon him
to do so.
the precursor to modern stand-up comedy, is one of the oldest
art forms known to humankind, and yet every year Metroland
readers never see Best Local Comedy Club or Best Local Comedian
or Best Local Alternative Comedy Venue in the Best Of or Readers’
Poll. As a Capital Region native and professional stand-up
comedian, I am frustrated and perplexed by what seems to be
an obvious omission. Stand-up comedy is a legitimate art form
practiced by a number of dedicated, gifted, and talented performers
who call the Capital Region home. Our area boasts about a
half dozen thriving comedy clubs that actively support homegrown
talent as well as nationally known comedians. I see no reason
why Metroland should ignore the Capital Region’s thriving
comedy scene in its Best Of and Readers’ Polls. Please give
readers an opportunity to vote on their favorite comedians
and comedy clubs. Stand-up comedy is as much an art form as
music, poetry, and classical arts like dance, painting, and
sculpture. Let Metroland readers stand up for stand-up!
thanks to the fine Metroland readers for writing us
into the top spot for “Best Acoustic Duo” in the ”Best Add
Your Own Category” category in the Reader’s Picks 2007
[March 8] (and to Metroland for undertaking such an
This came as a total surprise to us and we are humbled by
Maybe next year this will be an official catagory in the poll,
but in the meantime, we’ll gladly bask in the glow of your
“vote” of confidence for the next 12 months.
Fletcher and Peter Pashoukos
cheers for Miriam Axel-Lute’s “Marriage Isn’t Enough” [“Looking
Up”, Feb. 22]. The column was imaginative, insightful and
honest. Axel-Lute is clearly thinking about the best way to
support a society in which all people have a chance at reaching
their full potential. We need more voices like this.
months ago, your front page carried the story of George Sarris
[“A Wing and a Prayer,” Dec. 14, 2006], a state and federally
licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Clifton Park, fighting
to maintain his wildlife sanctuary. George’s backyard sanctuary
is now silent. No longer does one hear the flap of wings,
the sporadic quacking of ducks or honking of geese. There
are no birds for a neighbor to take potshots at with his BB
gun, except for the occasional wild ducks or geese who land
there, ignorant of the fact that the New York State Appellate
Court ruled last week that this land is not zoned for them.
My children don’t understand why the land is not zoned for
these birds, either. They want to know how George can do his
voluntary job if he can’t have the birds on his land or pond.
“That’s the law, kids. You can’t have wild birds on land zoned
Land Conservation unless you have the required number of acres,
or something like that.” They still don’t understand.
I did not bring my children with me on Sunday, when over 30
of us gathered to capture the birds and send them to new homes,
or to their deaths. Relief spread through us whenever George
handed a flapping bird to a volunteer, with instructions about
its new home. Our hearts constricted when he handed a beautiful
bird to another volunteer, intoning the word “euthanasia.”
There is starvation in the world. There is hunger, genocide,
and war. A backyard sanctuary seems small compared to these
heinous things, there is no question. On a lesser scale, it
is still an issue of respect for life, and quality of life,
a microcosm of larger issues. In the world of Clifton Park,
this backyard sanctuary is important. It is a treasure that
should be valued and celebrated in a place rushing forward
with growth, construction, congestion, and traffic. It is
a place to sit back, relax, and reflect on what is important
in life. Well, it was. When George Sarris lost the court case,
he is not the only one who lost.
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