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Think Before You Sign

To the Editor:

Having read “Put to the Test” [Newsfront, June 21], I hope that many more folks will seek to influence Governor Spitzer and the state Assembly to at least amend the portion of the pending bill that will allow non-convicted persons to be subjected to forced HIV blood testing.

Nowadays, with consciousness-altering pharmaceuticals like Rohypnol, even self-knowledge of rape has been occasionally compromised. So, the citizenry at-large should be well-educated that in the event of known or suspected rape, victims should immediately seek sexually-transmitted- disease (STD) blood testing and emergency post-exposure prophylaxis treatment; as the latter can essentially kill the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) before it takes hold in the body.

Finally, if the state legislature really wants to help rape victims, let them pass a bill that allows for the above-mentioned education and allows for rape victims to get free STD blood testing and emergency post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.

Ivan Smason, Ph.D., J.D. Santa Monica, Calif.

By Any Other Name

To the Editor:

This is in response to Ann Morrow’s review of the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer [“Power Off,” Cinema, June 21]. While I have no problem with her panning the film—it’s her job to give an opinion—I rather wish she had paid enough attention to the proceedings to get the characters’ names right. The leader of the Fantastic Four is not “Richard Reed,” it’s Reed Richards. Most anyone who has actually looked at a comic book in the last 46 years knows that. You might do better with reviews of this kind of picture to assign someone who actually has a background in the source material.

My own review of the film appears this week at

J.A. Fludd


A Decent Fellow

To the Editor:

I enjoyed your piece on Dominick Calsolaro [“2009: A Mayoral Odyssey,” June 14], but felt it fell short by nearly exclusively quoting other politicians on their views of him. The best way to understand why Dominick’s so popular—and why he could make such a great mayor—is to talk to his constituents. Living in the Mansion neighborhood, I’m always struck by the combination of his big vision and his practical, serve-the-people approach to his work. Whether he’s attending our neighborhood meetings, or replying to emails about the most unglamorous of issues (parking tickets, zoning, assessments), he embodies the role of public servant: humble, straightforward, and eager to make government more accessible, more understandable, and especially more accountable to the people. I’m not (yet) a local political junkie, but I find myself becoming a Calsolaro fan by watching him in action. The citizens of Albany would be lucky to have him run for higher office.

Marshall Miller


An Interest in History

To the Editor:

“Albany is a wonderful city.” Miriam Axel-Lute is completely correct in that statement [“You Gotta Believe,” Looking Up, June 14] and I agree with her in that the majority of Albanians have a very negative view on our “wonderful city.” But at Historic Albany Foundation’s Walkabout Wednesday tour on May 23rd, there were 56 people who openly appreciate Albany so much so that they wanted to learn more about the Historic South End.

The tour that I remember on May 23rd, consisted of tour goers who had “an increasing hunger” [“Albany History, Semester 1,” Scenery, June 7] for information on the history and architecture of the South End. The crowd “huddled close . . . at the corner of Catherine and Clinton streets” not for any reason other than they were completely fascinated in the tour given by Tony Opalka and wanted to hear every bit of information offered. And “men placed protective hands on the shoulders of the women with them” because unfortunately the South End doesn’t have the best sidewalks; it can be quite dangerous meandering uneven pavement while trying to keep your attention on Mr. Opalka’s outstanding walking tours.

We at Historic Albany Foundation constantly work towards protecting and preserving Albany’s architecture. This is not purely for aesthetic reasons but because our built environment is the window to our past and the door to our future. This can not be more relevant than in the South End.

Historic Albany Foundation is part of the South End Action Committee, which has just completed the Capital South Plan. A planning template, the Capital South Plan strives to eliminate such neighborhood challenges as widespread abandonment, derelict buildings and crime by improving the stability, physical condition and economic condition of the South End.

The most straightforward way that we work towards protecting and preserving Albany’s architecture is by conducting neighborhood tours. This is our chance to educate those on the architecture and history of our city, to help them understand its current problems and to create the dialogue for solutions.

Not only were we interested in learning about the neighborhood, but the residents of the South End were interested in what we were doing. One little boy rode his bike up to a coworker, wanting to know what was going on. She told him that we were looking at the historic buildings, at the architecture, to which he said, “architecture, I like that word, I’m gonna start using it.” He turned his head to his friends and yelled “they’re looking at the architecture” and rode off.

Christiana Limniatis

Communications Coordinator, Historic Albany Foundation


Name Callers

To the Editor:

A big “thank you” to everyone involved in the preparation, writing and publishing of “Hello, Nurse?” [June 7]. It takes courage to speak out about nursing-home failures these days. And sadly, this important topic is not being adequately reported in the area’s major dailies. I hope Metroland will continue its practice of reporting on issues of local importance ignored by these other papers. I hope too that Albany County Legislator Shawn Morse will continue to speak out on behalf of those unable or too fearful to do so.

The County Executive and the Nursing Home Director deserve a big “shame on you” for their standard, inadequate responses to questions posed to them regarding nursing home placement for county residents now that no new admissions are being permitted to our county operated home. Having to travel to other counties or states to visit and care for elderly family members is absurd and incredibly unfair. This is particularly true while many other area nursing homes continue to refuse to accept those on Medicaid or with high needs such as dementia, wound care, or ventilator-dependence.

I wonder how our county executive might handle things with his own family. Would he be able to provide “care at home” given his busy schedule? Or, might he find he had to employ private caregivers for his loved ones even in a “good” facility? Rather than pontificating about unavailable/unreliable care-at-home or pushing downsizing, how about assuring county residents of a reasonable safety net—especially for its less fortunate.

I am astonished that a nursing-home director would still use a pejorative like referring to someone’s grandmother as “Granny.” I wonder how much this contributes to the sort of care problems referenced in the article, and why too, the ACNH has not been able to meet its own direct-care staffing needs.

County nursing homes may be finding themselves in financial difficulty in part because the state and its county governments have been forced by the feds to end certain long-standing “creative” billing in which both the state and counties benefited at the expense of their county-operated nursing homes. This clever bookkeeping technique—pioneered by New York and a few other savvy states—had the plug pulled by Congress. Now counties have less financial incentive to operate their own facilities and are scurrying to stop providing the costly traditional safety net of a county-operated nursing home. Is it about “rightsizing” and “care-at-home”—or just rats running for a hole?

Our innocent, helpless aged deserve better. Let officials know they have to do more than offer tired platitudes. Let them know you expect and demand that our elders receive proper respect and adequate protection in their later years. No one should have to travel to another state for long-term care, which we in New York are perfectly capable of providing. And tell the governor to stop trying to balance budgets on the very tired and worn backs of our parents. Nursing homes need to exist until other models are proven to work. And until then, they must be run in a safe and appropriate manner. Think his parents will wind up at Albany County, or any other nursing home? Yeah, right.

Harry Kornblau


Heard It

To the Editor:

I would like to comment on a statement made in the article “No Soldier Left Behind” [Newsfront, May 31] that was made by Leland Lakritz of the Saratoga Peace Alliance. He said that he did not believe that the president would leave the troops in Iraq without funding. With all due respect, Mr. Lakritz: Believe it! Dubya is just that arrogant, pigheaded, and, in my opinion, maybe even sadistic. Even without funding, he’d never withdraw the troops and end the war. He’d keep them there without the proper protection to be maimed slaughtered and then turn around and blame congress in general (and the Democrats in particular) for the carnage. As a matter of fact, he even said as much (not in so many words) quite a few times in the days leading up to his veto of the first bill (the one with the withdrawal schedule in it). Please understand, I wasn’t happy about Kirsten voting for the funding either, but I understand why she felt she had to.

Jill Hayes


Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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