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Letter to the editor: Don't give away city assets to developer

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Don’t overstep with short-term rental laws

The recent short-term rental legislation that the Lake George region is considering is very concerning for property owners. Property owners in the area have operated as small business owners for decades. I can only imagine how many property owners rely on the income from property rentals.

What defines a short-term rental exactly? A quick look at short-term rental websites locally would indicate this has been a cottage industry for decades. What makes a short-term property renter different than a long-term property renter, and is someone inclined to be disruptive if they are using a property for a shorter duration?

The comments about how short-term rentals detract from local businesses are untrue. As someone who recently purchased a home in the area, I can assure you that the seller, inspector, the bank, handyman, trash company, local home improvement store, cleaning company, landscapers all received and will continue to receive business that drives the local economy. As someone who recently watched Lake George have one of their busiest winters in years, I am left to wonder: “Why do we want to ruin a good thing?”

The local economy appears to be better than it ever has and hotel occupancy is even up YTD in Warren County. Why? Because finally visitors are finding comfortable and somewhat affordable accommodations that draw them to the area.

Why haven’t the towns and villages in the region considered monetizing the short-term rental and share economy movement by taxing it in a manner that provides income to the local municipalities in order to fund realistic protections that can be put into place for residents and visitors? Before local politicians make decisions based on unsubstantiated complaints from neighbors being printed in this newspaper, they should consider the economic downturn that will happen.

Graig Cortelyou, Fort Ann

Concerned about Saratoga Biochar

Have you heard about the proposed sewage sludge-burning plant that Saratoga Biochar wants to build in the Moreau Industrial Park? It has the potential to affect residents on both sides of the Hudson River.

I am a part of a small group of Moreau residents who are concerned about the negative effects this may cause on the health and quality of life for residents of Moreau, Hudson Falls, Fort Edward, Glens Falls, other communities along the Hudson River. There is potential we will have to live with the stench of sewage sludge processing and burning, emissions, environmental pollution, factory noise, heavy truck traffic past homes. It is sad how few people know about this and how many may be affected.

We have written 90 officials from the surrounding communities to let them know that there is a potential that their residents could be impacted. We hope they will review our information on our Facebook “Not Moreau” page and we offered to help with questions. We hope they will step up and speak out for your communities by writing the NY DEC when their review of this facility is complete and they open their public comment period. We will let you know on “Not Moreau” when the DEC public comment period opens. Please let them know how you feel about this proposal. Every comment is important.

At full build-out, Saratoga Biochar plans to truck 720 tons of municipal sewage sludge daily into the Moreau Industrial Park. That amounts to 15% of New York state’s total annual municipal sewage sludge. The sludge will be combined with woodchips which will be ground on site and then heated to high enough temperatures to create Biochar fertilizer.

“Not Moreau” on Facebook has a lot of information. We regularly post updates.

Gina LeClair, Moreau

Some sunshine filters in among the gloomIn Kansas, it was a victory for women’s reproductive rights — the vote 60% to 40% in a very conservative state. But it was more than that. It was independent people refusing to allow fundamentalist religion, right-wing Republican legislatures (created through gerrymandering and dark money), an extreme ideological Supreme Court, and bullies threatening and using their power to control our lives.

The majority of people do not want the overturning of Roe v. Wade, want EPA to regulate toxins in air and water, want to raise the minimum wage, want lower prescription drug costs and Medicare to negotiate prices, want to ban military-style assault weapons and raise the age for purchase to 21; want child tax credit and paid family leave (as every other democracy has), good public education; want the wealthy (the outrageous inequality between rich and poor increasing with the Republican tax cut) to pay their fair share of taxes. They want a sustainable and resilient Earth for their children.

How was this extreme right-wing minority able to enforce their will on the majority? Through misinformation and lies of a “stolen election,” corporate money, voter suppression, threats of violence, through fabricated and manipulated fear of “invasion,” “grooming,” “pedophiles,” “critical race theory” and a “communist Democratic conspiracy.”

There are real fears: Kentucky has devastating floods, destroying homes and lives, uncontrollable wildfires devastate California and New Mexico, droughts threaten farmers and the availability of drinking water. There is a climate crisis. Our democracy is threatened. People are tired of a tyrant (Trump) waving his hand endorsing candidates who are totally loyal to his lie of a stolen election and his clear desire for autocratic control, surrounding himself with worshippers like Stefanik, who, for power, has pledged total allegiance to him, betraying her constituents, our democracy, and our livable earth.

Bernice Mennis, West Fort Ann

We’ll see who we are when we vote Nov. 8

What happened to Elise Stefanik?

Many of us in New York state’s 21st Congressional District have watched with disdain as our representative, Elise Stefanik, has transformed from a sensible Republican who cut her political teeth under the Bush administration into an emotional, conspiracy fueled member of the House. A growing number of us are concerned that her thirst for ambition and power has supplanted her traditional Republican values.

We prefer promoting ourselves on our accomplishments and disdain achieving our goals by casting dispersions on the reputations of others. Rhetoric, debate, facts and persuasive arguments are the things we hold dear in government, not the rantings of what could easily come from a spoiled 8-year-old child.

Her behavior might be due to her fealty to Trump despite evidence exposing the former president’s self-serving behavior. One cannot help but to wonder if Stefanik thinks we’ll follow her wherever she leads. That would be a mistake.

Some of her constituents are reconsidering their options this November. The determining factor will be the Democratic pick. And with the House seating another 434 representatives, a vote against Stefanik doesn’t move the needle on the control of the House and so may not necessarily be viewed as a vote for the Democrats.

Any representative’s behavior is a reflection of the constituency. If we observe hysteria, instability and irrationality in Stefanik, it is because we are emotional, uneducated and volatile. If we are not, we can correct that perception every two years. So, the question is: Are we devoid of logic, lacking in critical thinking, and unable to control our base emotions? If that answer is “yes,” Stefanik is the one for you. If not, it’s time for a Plan B. At any rate, we’ll see who we are on Nov. 8th.

Mark Smith, Johnsburg

Be sure to peruse the Vote Smart websiteI am writing this letter to encourage all voters to peruse the site “Vote Smart Facts Matter” to check out the voting records of local candidates for office, in particular, Elise Stefanik. My curiosity was piqued by a story in the Lake George Mirror on June 24, 2022. It reported that Ms. Stefanik, the Lake George region’s representative, voted against a bill that would provide $1.4 billion to habitat conservation and wildlife. This bill was supported by the Adirondack Council and ultimately passed the House by a vote of 231 to 190.

I wondered why she would vote “no” when a portion of this bill would have benefited her 21st Congressional District. Editor Anthony Hall was also curious about this vote and asked that both of her offices respond to his inquiry. As of today, July 25, he has not received an answer to this or any previous inquiries.

On July 22, 2022, Stefanik voted “no” on A Right to Use Contraceptives bill that also passed, 228-175. This time she defended her position by saying she could not vote for a bill that allows for non-FDA approved drugs or “... sends taxpayer funds to far left abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”

For 100 years, PP has provided a variety of other lifesaving health services, including birth control, pre-natal care and cancer detection to women of all political parties, economic means and religious or non-religious persuasions. Now, she dismisses everything they have accomplished by characterizing them as a radical organization.

A self-declared MAGA Republican, she voted on these two occasions against bills that would aid her district and her gender. Check out her other positions on “Vote Smart Facts Matter” to see if she reflects your values.

Suzanne Merrill, Glens Falls

Don’t give away city assets to developer

I, for one, like the idea of adding to the vitality of our downtown. I do not like that the Glens Falls city government may give away prime centrally located downtown parking land, at the corner of South and Elm, to a private developer. The current plan seems to be that the developer will erect a building in the South Street parking lot, and then use other downtown parking for the building’s tenants.

This parking lot land giveaway is being pursued at the same time City Hall is conducting a downtown parking study to help them decide if there is a shortage of parking.

I suggest that the developer and associates build a below-ground parking garage on South Street as they did for their 14 Hudson St. apartment building. Also, the developer, as part of the deal, should be required to fund a significant part of the cost of building a parking garage on the Elm Street north side of their new building.

Yes, I believe in adding to our residential population in downtown. However, we should not appear desperate. In past years, Glens Falls has been depicted by developers as being hat-in-hand desperate, and that we should be grateful that they even think about building in Glens Falls.

We currently have wonderful developers in Glens Falls. These developers have not and do not ask us to give away our public assets. Please, City Hall, do not, as in the past, give away our public assets for private profit.

Bill Loeb, Glens Falls

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