the Right Thing
long overdue thank you, Metroland, for your
courage and perseverance in going beneath the surface of the
issues that really matter! As I reflected on my short five
years as a resident of Arbor Hill, your coverage of important
events has been a tremendous help in overcoming the challenges
in my neighborhood, but as Arbor Hill goes, so goes Albany.
Here are a few examples: Soon after I came to Albany, after
efforts to offer an alternative plan failed, I joined Aaron
Mair, Beverly Padgett and Eleanor Sanders in filing a suit
against the city of Albany to stop the proposed North Swan
Street project. The success of that suit led a cooperative
18-month process working with the city to develop the
current, excellent Arbor Hill Plan.
Next, the Social Capital Development Corporation (Isla Roona,
executive director) funded the four magnificent murals on
North Swan Street in collaboration with artist Yacob Williams
based on ideas from local students art contest. Another constant
reminder of what can be accomplished when people work together.
Then the work of the Community Accountability Board under
former Assistant District Attorney David Soares had a very
positive impact. I saw firsthand how David, former Albany
Police Cmdr. Christian D’Alessandro, officers under his command
and members of the community found creative solutions that
helped not only the offender, but the victims of their crimes.
How refreshing to see these community members decide the appropriate
response to illegal acts where everyone could benefit.
Last, but certainly not least, for the last nine months, Metroland
has faithfully informed the city about the issues before and
since the outrageous firing of Cmdr. D’Alessandro by its excellent,
in-depth coverage. Although he was responsible for only half
of the city (areas surrounding North and South stations),
the negative impact of this firing on the whole city is yet
unrealized. It has been my belief that Albany Police Chief
Jim Turley and Assistant Chief Tony Bruno would do right as
they told me they would. That is, after Chief Turley told
me recently that “Chris is an excellent police officer” and
Bruno agreed with that statement, they said they would use
their influence to reinstate him. In fact, shortly before
he was made Chief, Turley said if he were Chief he would make
Chris his deputy. That certainly seems a reality now since
the mayor has said that it is a Police Department matter.
It is interesting to me that in each of the examples that
I have given, the people involved have accomplished much because
they were doing what was right. As I bid a fond farewell to
Travis Durfee, again I say “thank you” to all those at Metroland
who have covered these stories and done what was right, too.
to Bernard Continelli [Letters, June 3], I finally understand
why Islamist fundamentalists attacked us on 9/11—“American
support of a Zionist Israel.” I applaud his simplistic approach
to a complex issue. Although I can overlook his calling Israel,
Zionist (like calling the United States, American), I do have
some problems with some of his other comments.
Why does he compare Israel to a fictitious Italian colonization
of Ethiopia? Israel was not colonized by Jews. Even after
Rome (Italy?) exiled most of the Jews, there has always been
a Jewish presence there. Modern Israel was founded on socialist
(not religious) principles by poor idealists fleeing Czarist
Russia. Its Jewish population grew dramatically with the influx
of refugees from the Holocaust and Jewish refugees who were
expelled from their homes in Arab countries. Is this a traditional
definition of colonialism?
American Jews, most of whom are not very religious, have little
in common with “Christian Zionists.” The majority of American
Jews support the goal of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank. By the way, so do most Israelis.
Contrary to Mr. Continelli’s suggestion, which I vehemently
resent, most American Jews consider themselves “Americans”
first. American Jewish support of Israel does not rely on
ancient religious texts. Most support a Jewish state in Israel
because it is the historic homeland of the Jews. I don’t understand
why Mr. Continelli, a self-professed, proud Italian-American,
cannot grasp the fact that almost all people of the world
have their own sovereign countries. Italians have Italy. The
French have France. Why shouldn’t the Jews have Israel? It’s
where they started.
If Mr. Continelli thinks that the entire Moslem world hates
the United States because of its support for Israel, then
how does he explain the fact that both Egypt and Jordan have
signed peace treaties with Israel? I wonder if the exploitation
of the Arab world by American “Big Oil” has anything to do
with it? If the Arab world really cared about the Palestinians,
then why didn’t Jordan and the other Arab countries create
an independent Palestine before Israel captured the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip in 1967? Jordan, for its part, didn’t relinquish
its claim to the West Bank until the late 1980s. Why hasn’t
the Arab world done anything to alleviate the situation in
Palestinian refugee camps? By the same token, why don’t the
oil-rich Arab countries do anything to alleviate the poverty
of their own people? Fomenting hatred of a foreign country
is a traditional political tool of monarchs and dictators.
Mr. Continelli’s conclusion doesn’t explain why the rest of
the world also hates the United States. Islamic fundamentalists
might express their hatred in violent ways, but few people
around the world really like Americans. If he doesn’t believe
me, then he should travel overseas. His conclusion also doesn’t
explain the Islamist terrorism in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria,
Morocco, the Philippines or Bali, which has nothing to do
with Israel or the United States.
I guess I just have problems with Mr. Continelli’s self-described
“principled, not anti-Semitic statement.”
the 2004 Summer Guide, distributed with the June 10 issue
of Metroland, the upcoming exhibits at the Albany Institute
of History & Art were listed incorrectly. The corrected
Institute of History & Art 125 Washington Ave., Albany,
Aug. 22: In the Garden. June 19-Aug. 22: Don Nice:
Hudson River Paintings. June 26-Aug. 29: Agricultural
Works, photographs by James Welling.
the article “Promise Unrealized” [June 10], a source was quoted
as saying that the Albany City School District has no truant
officers. In fact, there are four: two for the high school,
one for the middle schools and one for the elementary schools.
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