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Compassion—or a Boot in the Ass?

To the Editor:

I just read the article “You Can’t Come Here Anymore” [Nov. 29] and was left with such great sadness that I felt the need to respond. I must say that I’m very happy that the city of Troy is experiencing a bit of revitalization. It’s great. Unfortunately it appears that this is being done without taking into consideration the needs of all the city’s residents.

I laughed when I read the statement of Ms. Pfeil’s saying “all the stars are aligned.” For whom are these stars aligned? They are certainly not aligned for those residents of Troy who are homeless and currently sleeping in the more remote city parks because there is no room in local shelters. They are not aligned for the people attempting to get food from the Roarke pantry only to be told that the shelves are empty. They are not aligned for the residents who are being forced to leave their modest housing in order for gentrification to occur. They are not aligned for the folks who are being forced out of the public park in order to improve the view for the privileged.

This all seems to me to be a symptom of the big sad picture of this country. What about taking the time to get to know each other? What about offering up some of those beautiful, newly renovated condos and apartments as income-adjusted rentals? How about asking the folks who use the park for their ideas about how to remodel it? What about asking how people can be helped instead of how we can make them disappear? Do we all realize that these ‘idlers’ who use this park are our relatives—our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our parents and grandparents? Is it so hard to look at their reality that we need to force them to cluster elsewhere so that we won’t have to see them? This will never change anything. It will only cause hurt and anger and more divisiveness. Is this really how Troy wants to be known? Seems like we could do so much better than this. The need is not for more ‘upscale’ housing and shopping places. The need is for more compassion and genuine care for all. That is what will make us proud of our city of Troy.

Beth Ruland, Johnsonville

To the Editor:

I am writing to you about Chet Hardin’s recent article that tried to pit “the homeless” against those who are making Troy a livable city again.

Having grown up in Troy in the 1960s and ’70s, I know the Stanley’s/Pigeon Park area very well. Since when, however, Mr. Hardin, do the public urinators get the right to defend their lifestyle and a voice in public policy? There are different kinds of poor, and this article focused on a group of shiftless bums who need to get off the dole, off the bench, off the bottle, and get on the deal. If not, they deserve a boot in the ass, not a nice neighborhood to live in and an article in their defense.

My grandparents raised 12 kids in North Albany on a butcher’s salary and they worked around the clock to do right. Even though they had nothing, they were clean, had dignity, and took pride in providing what little they could. They were poor, but they weren’t part of the problem.

If you are poor, that’s fine. But being a filthy, public menace is unacceptable. Apparently Metroland doesn’t know the difference.

Susan Petrie, Albany

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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419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210


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