Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 02.11.21

The Un-Silenced Majority

Many of us watched in disbelief 4 + years ago when former President Trump won the election. I remember feeling sick to my stomach, unable to sleep. We accepted the loss and started organizing. Children were separated from their parents, and then put in cages. Solid science and facts were erased from the EPA regarding the biggest threat facing humans, Climate Change and Global Warming. The endless lying from Trump, and the blatant cozying up to the “many good people” on the White Supremacy fringes continued. I walked in countless marches in support of Racial Justice, which off 92% were peaceful country wide. The people I met at these events and formed deep friendships with are some of the most decent people I have ever met. I remember BLM organizers rushing to help two young (white) teenagers that where near fainting in the hot sun on a march in Saratoga Springs while the police on their scared horses chatted with people wanting to drive into us in their pickup trucks. These are real experiences. My grand father dug up his hunting rifle, put on his skis and joined his friends in the mountains of Norway helping to blow up Nazi storage depots and sink war ships in the fjords during 2nd world war. He saw friends; artist, work mates and journalists shipped off to German “work camps” and understood deeply that Fascism is real and can happen anywhere, anytime. Black Lives Matter is about fighting Fascism in America. The assault on the Capital was about installing it. The mob’s message was clear. Dragging their Confederate flags and displaying their Holocaust denying shirts is a fact. The Right has some major soul searching to do. They are now in bed with these guys. We all need to educate ourselves. The election was won fair and square. Now the real work beings. Much is to be done to secure a livable future for all.

Line Henriksen, Averill Park

Poestenkill – Vote NO on the Blank Check Taxing District, Part 3

So, what do Councilman Van Slyke, Councilman Wollheber and Supervisor Hammond want to do with our money in an additional taxing district?

They don’t know. Really. They don’t know.

From the Town’s website:

“Those voting yes – will create a new ambulance district and direct the Town Board to begin negotiating a budget and scope of services to which will be submitted to the voters for final approval.”

Wait. What? We’re being asked to give additional taxing authority for something that has not even been negotiated?

It really is a blank check.

Please vote no on the blank check ambulance district vote on March 30, 2021, from Noon – 8PM at the Sullivan-Jones VFW in Poestenkill.

Dave Hass, Councilman, Town of Poestenkill

Rensselaer County Leadership Exposes Seniors to Additional Risks

Rensselaer County recently provided those over age sixty-five the ability to register for a limited supply of COVID vaccines. This came in the form of a link (which crashed), and then a phone number (which quickly overwhelmed the Department of the Aging). The most recent method, a Gmail account, creates another issue for those already frustrated: identity theft. By providing your personally identifiable and sensitive information to an unsecured email address, you have become a significant target for bad actors and cyber criminals seeking to benefit from the misfortune of vulnerable groups. How will that data be safeguarded? Who is monitoring a mailbox that numerous employees have access to? With the rapid changes in how the county asked you to provide that information, what was their review process for this decision? A responsive leadership would have spent time preparing for the vaccination process and planning a proactive approach that did not include pointing fingers or causing further distress among residents likely to rely on family, friends, or neighbors to assist them with technology. The County’s failure to embrace and understand modern technology means you and your family will end up working even harder towards goals with simple solutions. There is no need for the County to actively make the situation worse by adding cyber intrusions and identity theft to already overwhelmed seniors. I recommend that readers visit https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft and https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft for useful information on preventing and detecting identity theft.

Justan Foster is a resident of North Greenbush in Rensselaer County and is a graduate of Albany Law School’s Cybersecurity & Data Privacy program.https://www.linkedin.com/in/complianceinnovator

Why Your Email for a Vaccine Has Yet to be Answered 

Traditionally, organizations and businesses establish a chain that links customers, employees, and supervisors in an orderly fashion. This concept has eluded Rensselaer County when it is needed most. During a press conference on February 2, officials noted that people were upset that their emails (sent to an unsecured Gmail account) had yet to be acknowledged. Residents were told that “we’re trying to set [auto-replies] up right now…this was quick, we had to do something…you’re gonna get an automatic response.” Why has a task that takes five minutes or less not been accomplished since January 27? To further complicate this, an eight-minute, poorly advertised, “public hearing” held January 21 via Facebook invited residents to ask questions or voice concerns about amendments to the County Charter. One proposed amendment would move “Information and Technology Services” (which does not exist) under Central Services. While described as “not a big deal,” this move would eliminate dedicated and effective IT and data resource management. It is worth noting that the Bureau of Research and Information Services (which does exist), has no listed director, and the phone number provided leads to a full voicemail box for an employee who has not drawn on their $106,912 salary since 2018. There might be no reply to your vaccination email because the office that would have taken care of this has no one at the helm, and what is left of IT is being consolidated under those who lack the necessary understanding of technology.

Justan Foster, North Greenbush

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