Letters to the Editor

About Governor’s Unlimited Emergency Powers

To the Editor,

State Senator James Skoufis recently called for the New York State Legislature to revoke the unlimited emergency powers it granted to King Cuomo to fight the Covid-19 pandemic over His Majesty’s misreporting of Covid death numbers in nursing homes. While some may applaud the Senator’s stance, Skoufis would rather you not know that he in fact voted to give Cuomo these unlimited executive powers that have wrought havoc across this state, particularly in the Hudson Valley. 

That’s right. Skoufis voted with fellow Democrats and Republicans to abdicate his responsibility as a legislator, a job that pays six-figures, well above the average salary of state residents, and give King Cuomo unlimited powers. Skoufis is responsible for the permanent closure of many businesses and the destruction of thousands of livelihoods throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond. He along with his fellow lawmakers are responsible for the ever-growing exodus of residents to states that don’t have the draconian restrictions that not only failed to stop the spread of Covid but also plunged the state further towards economic ruin. Yes, Skoufis does achieve small victories for his district, but he backstabs us when we need him most, like when he went to the bathroom during a vote to raise His Majesty’s salary.

While Skoufis calls for the revocation of Cuomo’s unlimited powers, we should make sure he’s not riding some moral high horse by demanding answers as to why he voted to give Cuomo these powers in the first place.

Pietro S. Geraci

Chair, Orange County New York Libertarian Party

To The Editor:

Governor Cuomo has been carved and delivered to the public on a skewer this week for his “incorrect/gray area” reporting of COVID deaths at nursing homes.  Don’t get me wrong, there are things he has done that deserve some skewering (allowing false bias lawsuits, bad fracking plans, and utility processes). And yes, there was a big problem in the COVID reporting.  But let’s be honest. In the first place, New York’s nursing/Covid death numbers are about the same as other states….in the vicinity of 1/3.  Especially during the beginning of the Pandemic there were emergencies left and right. None of us knew what we were doing until we got partway up the learning curve. And any semi-accurate count of deaths at hospitals that may or may have not been COVID related is a statistical nightmare.. just about impossible.. to determine accurately. And at the same time they were trying to determine what was from what with dozens of states of emergencies coming in from all over the place (counties, towns, federal international).  So if Grandma was moved to a hospital because they “thought” her cough and fever might be COVID (tests were hard to come by) ……and she also had a serious heart condition and diabetes, or even cancer and then she died, ” Was her death due to COVID or the cancer?” Multiply that by thousands.  Just because someone 80 or 90 had a COVID diagnosis at some point does NOT mean that’s what they died from, or more likely it was ONE of the things causing the death.

As to the other question, I defer to the experts, and yes Commissioner Zucker should have appeared before the committee and been honest.  When Cuomo was grilled about sending elderly patients who had recovered from what they thought was COVID back to their nursing home, he said that he was following CDC guidelines, and essentially had no choice, particularly since there was no “extra” facility to send the former covid infected at the time.  If he was not deluged by a million other things he might have thought “Gee, we better find someplace immediately to isolate these people, and if it requires changing the state law, let’s do it.  But on the other hand, statistics are suggesting that much of the spread was not from recovered or recovering patients at al, but rather from staff, who have plenty of other interactions after they leave at the end of the day. Very soon facilities did what they could to isolate those residents and their staff.

So let’s criticize Governor Cuomo for where he has come short, but continue to praise him for much good he has done.  And instead of complaining, let’s do better for the future, and if you think you can do better…. go ahead and run for office.

Susie Cottonwood
New Windsor

If You See Something, Say Something

Letter to Editor

At the end of January, my husband and I went for a ride up North to the Adirondacks. We stopped at the Mohawk Service Area on the NYS Thruway.  The conditions inside the rest area were unacceptable, especially given the Covid Pandemic raging across America.

The ladies room trash receptacle was overflowing on the floor and I had to step over a pile of trash just to reach the stall. I was dismayed when I reached the sink area to find that ALL of the soap dispensers were not funtioning and there was no hand santizer in sight.

I immediately went to the counter of the McDonalds and asked to speak with the manager who politely informed me that the soap dispensers were ‘not empty’ but that they were ‘frozen’.   I told her that I didn’t believe that to be the case and if it were, then they should ‘turn up the heat!’

I also observed several employees wearing masks improperly – slung low below their noses – while serving food to customers.

My husband and I felt compelled to report the incidences to the Top Dog and went directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Less than one week passed and the Governor responded,

“Thank you for your recent correspondence and for bringing your concerns to my attention. To build a stronger, competent government in New York, we need the participation of people like you to spotlight problems and areas in need of improvement. Your input is invaluable to our mission to create a government that works for its people, and I appreciate you taking the time to write to me.”

See something, say something. It’s up to all of us to spot areas that need improvement and take them up with those individuals in charge. I know for a fact that this did not end with the response from the Governor. I was contacted on numerous occasions from separate individuals representing different organizations that were held accountable for the conditions of that rest area on that particular day.  The Gov did not let me down and apparently tore into some folks who were supposed to guarantee the safety and protection of people utilizing that rest area. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt restored faith in my NYS government officials who took my complaints as seriously as I did.

It’s up to all of us and we have a choice:  We can either sit back and complain about why things are the way they are or we can speak up and hold people accountable.

I hope you choose to speak up the next time you see something that isn’t right. Especially if there is someone in a position who can make it better for all of us.

Michele (shelly) Starkey