Before You Sign
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.
Smason, Ph.D., J.D. Santa Monica, Calif.
Any Other Name
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 www.ffplaza.com.
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.
Interest in History
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
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.
Coordinator, Historic Albany Foundation
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
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.
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.
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