News That Matters

Editorial Roundup: New York

PlattsburAlbany Times Union. October 17, 2022.

Editorial: Check’s in the mail, again

Consider the humble government relief check. Honest and hard-working, a blue-tinged scrap of warm, fuzzy free money, brightening people’s days and easing their burdens. But here’s where it gets weird: Someone keeps scheduling elections for shortly after these payments go out.

It’s happening right now: Empire State Child Credit and Earned Income Credit checks should be in the mailboxes of eligible New Yorkers by the end of October – $475 million worth in all. And then you flip the calendar – and there’s the general election just stuck to the top of November like gum on a hand railing.

Political Cartoons

It’s not the first time it’s happened, either. In 2018, property tax relief credit checks – which had previously gone out in the fall – instead were released around Labor Day, thanks to what the state described as a flurry of efficiency. But lurking right around the corner was the Sept. 13 primary between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon. Or think back to last June: Homeowner tax rebate checks went out several months earlier than planned, because the state said it wanted to get people their money faster. (Thanks, guys!) And surprise: There was a June 28 primary for Assembly, governor, and other statewide races.

There’s something funny about all this, we think.

People say it’s just the way the calendar works out. But how is it that elections keep following rebate checks around and making them look suspicious, as if someone was trying to sweeten the pot before Election Day?

Frankly, it’s unfair. Rebate checks deserve better.

Finally: The Norlite aggregate plant in Cohoes, which city and state officials have called a “serial violator” of environmental regulations, is the target of a civil suit brought by the state attorney general’s office and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos cited a “willful disregard” for law and public health at the facility, the source of contaminant-filled dust that has bedeviled nearby residents.

We’ve been glad to see DEC, in recent years, taking more aggressive stances against polluters, after years of laissez-faire enforcement that, in effect if not in intent, prioritized the needs of corporations over the needs of vulnerable people.

New Yorkers need and deserve a watchdog with teeth. We hope this lawsuit augurs strong future action – namely, denying Norlite’s permit renewals. It’s time to shut this polluter down.

A man made firearm parts on a 3D printer and then turned them in at an August gun buyback in Utica, scoring himself $21,000 in gift cards.

The person, who would not give The Associated Press his real name, says he did it to make a point that gun buybacks are futile and “ridiculously stupid.” Well, we’ll believe that after he sends back the gift cards he fraudulently received, now that the state has tightened up the program rules in response to his little stunt.

Here’s what this self-styled Second Amendment champion is really doing: He’s draining the resources of a valuable program that gets actual dangerous weapons off the street. He’s enriching himself while he tries to own the libs — and who pays for this game? Our communities.

No wonder the guy wants to remain anonymous. What he did was reprehensible.

Auburn Citizen. October 19, 2022.

Editorial: Discussing crime better than shouting about it

In a welcome departure from the half-truths and exaggerations about crime and punishment thrown around during campaign season, a panel of judges, social workers and juvenile justice officials met at Syracuse University last week for a frank public discussion about New York state’s Raise the Age law, a 2017 initiative that keeps most teenagers out of the adult criminal justice system.

During a series of panels, some praised the law for successfully steering teenagers into the Family Court system rather than sending young people to adult jails. Others point to a rise in youth gun crime as evidence that the law has failed to help keep communities safe. And while some argued that the state has been lax at properly funding programs aimed at getting youth the help they need, a state official listed several new new programs now in place to help with intervention, counseling and therapy to help young people learn how to change their behavior.

At the end of the day, there appeared to be widespread agreement that the overall goal of providing more services to troubled teens was a laudable one, while strong arguments were made that the reforms may have gone too far, especially with regard to the treatment of young people caught with firearms.

The forum offered quite a juxtaposition with the campaign trail, where criminal justice reforms are often too simplistically tied to an increase in violent crime. The real story, as it turns out, is that there are a lot of factors at work and the change has been both good and bad.

Hearing from people on the front lines of juvenile justice is important, and we encourage even more public discussion of all the pros and cons of Raise the Age as means of finding meaningful ways to improve the law.

New York Post. October 19, 2022.

Editorial: Hochul’s most insulting bid to buy your vote with your own money

We’ve made a big deal of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s near-$1 billion slush fund, since it’s so unprecedented that a single politician have so much taxpayer cash to spend at her sole discretion. But it may not be the most insulting way she’s trying to buy votes with the voters’ own money.

We’re not even talking about other pork-barrel spending like offering $6 billion in subsidies for the Micron chip plant in Syracuse or similar “economic development” schemes — which inevitably are net losers for all but the direct beneficiaries.

No, the biggest insult is the nearly $2 million in taxpayer-funded income-tax “rebate” checks (about $270 apiece) set to arrive in voters’ mailboxes just ahead of Oct. 29, when early voting starts.

These follow the homeowner “tax rebate” checks that arrived in the mail a few weeks before the gov’s primary in June. They came with a short note: “Gov. Hochul and the New York State Legislature are providing you this.”

No, they’re not. The taxpayers — you — are.

Don’t let Hochul buy your vote with your own money. Teach Kat a lesson, and cast your ballot for Lee Zeldin.

Plattsburgh Press-Republican. October 15, 2022.

Editorial: Advertising for doomed product

The push is on to do away with gasoline-powered cars, because the burning of fossil fuels is now just about unanimously frowned upon as a danger to our planet and its inhabitants.

Gas has been a menace known to science since at least the 1920s, when automobiles were developed and had to use the refined crude oil. Crude oil is virtually useless on its own, according to sources from the Library of Congress, so it has long been transformed into petroleum products that will heat homes, run cars and make petrochemical plastics.

Gasoline companies used to advertise their products until the industry was forced to recognize that their products were more or less all the same, and customers, though stuck with having to use it, came to view gas the way they viewed cigarettes: desired but eventually way too harmful.

So you no longer see much in the way of advertising for gasolines and their producers.

There was a time, though, when gas ads were as frequent and familiar as ads for medicines are today.

In the 1940s and ’50s, the legendary comedian Fred Allen had a show on radio sponsored by Texaco, one of the premier gasoline makers and distributors. Check this ad read by Allen’s announcer, Larry Wallington on February 26, 1941:

“I like things flexible, only I go for flexible power. The kind you get with Sky Chief. And you’re geared up for flexible power with Sky Chief, Texaco’s different premium gasoline.

“Call for a quick start and an instant surge to rush your engine into action. Ease off, and Sky Chief power idles down to a confident murmur. Open up out on the highway, and you flow along. Give it the gun at the base of a steep hill, and you float right up. That’s flexible power for you.

“Sky Chief responds every minute you’re at the throttle. Yes, there’s a real lift and thrill in flying the highways with Sky chief, your Texaco dealer’s luxury gasoline for those who want the best.”

Gas stations in the ’50s came to realize that all brands of gas were just about the same, so they developed different ways to attract customers.

Back then, most gas stations serviced cars, long before car engines became electronic and out of the hands of traditional mechanics.

That era saw the introduction of credit cards to cement loyalty. The stations, themselves, offered free road maps, car washing and dinnerware.

One of these days, we’ll all be driving electric vehicles, so Mobil, Shell and Gulf will have to rely on new ways to make money. Gasoline will no longer poison our lungs and pollute the planet.

And we will never again be subjected to claims that one brand or another will float us up a hill or idle to a confident murmur.

Gasoline will be like cigarettes: something practically all of us wish we could eliminate altogether.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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