Eminent domain could be a weapon

Gov. Andrew Cuomo deserves high praise for his brilliant 2018 State of the State address.

His well-received speech included a host of accomplishments during his administration in partnership with state Legislatures. He also spelled out a multitude of admirable goals  for the 2018 NY state agenda — some in defense of the tax debacle visited upon the American middle class by the U.S. Congressional majority.

One weapon that our state leadership can possibly make use of to somewhat overcome this legislative attack against New York taxpayers is the eminent domain provisions  under the US Constitution, as well as our own state Constitution. The so-called "takings clause" of the U.S. 5th Amendment permits the government to takeover private property for public use.

The state Constitution’s Bill of Rights, Article lX, Section (e) provides that "Local governments shall have power to take by eminent domain private property within their boundaries for public use, etc.

Our state, or perhaps NY City, could seize the Trump  properties and convert them into housing for veterans, shelters for  the homeless and also space for our  overcrowded schools and health care facilitates. Maybe New York could set  an example for other states to follow.

 Tony De Bella, Rome


Tenney needs to prove 'death threats'

In her Jan. 2 interview with the Observer Dispatch, Claudia Tenney once again repeated her frequent claim that she has been “consistently” subjected to death threats. However, she offers no supporting evidence. After considerable research I was able to find just one demonstrated instance of such a threat. It came in the form of an anonymous e-mail following the shooting of Rep. Steve Scales earlier last spring - an e-mail which, although sent to Tenney, was of a somewhat general nature alluding to members of Congress as a group, not by individual name.

Since then Tenney has continued to cite not only that unfortunate incident but numerous other purported yet unspecified and, indeed, unsubstantiated supposed threats to explain why - with only one tightly managed exception - she has steadfastly refused to engage in public forums with any more than a select handful of constituents at a time.

The moment has long past for Tenney to put up - or you know what. Which is to say, show clear evidence, including FBI reports, of these alleged, supposedly ongoing and “consistent” death threats. Or, if unable to do so, cease using them as an excuse for not engaging in open public forums while citing them to garner what may well be undeserved public sympathy, trust and support.

Jerry Farnsworth, Camden


Term limits should be put to a vote

As a owner and taxpayer of multiple properties in the city of Utica, there is one thing that I have learned and that is that taxes go up just about every year regardless of who the mayor is (unless it is a election year, no mayor will raise taxes then because it would lessen their chances of re-election)

That being said, I am OK with all of that and really don't care who the mayor is. My issue is with term limits. If my memory serves me correctly, the people voted on this during the LaPolla administration and the outcome was a two-term limit which I completely agree with. In my opinion, a two-term limit keeps all mayors and the president of the United States for that matter from becoming to powerful and tyrannical. They are put there for that reason.

They are public service jobs and should not be permanent. New blood creates new ideas. So I ask, how could 5 common council members decide on term limits for the mayor. This should have been on the ballot in the last election. The last time I heard we live in a democracy with free election and the people should decide the outcome. This is not Russia. Put this out to vote.

Anthony Faccioli, Utica


Mueller resignation demands laughable

A Jan. 7 letter in the O-D suggesting that Special Counsel Mueller should consider resigning is laughable.

The writer didn’t even get Mueller’s title correct; it is Special Counsel, not Special Prosecutor. And, the writer’s statement that Mueller is being investigated for poor personnel selection and management is also incorrect.  Mueller was not "forced" to remove an FBI agent from the investigation; the agent was voluntarily removed by Mueller to assure that the Russia investigation could not be tainted by a public perception of personal bias by one of the agents.

The statement that further investigations by congressional committees will increase the pressure on Mueller to resign is pure folly. If anything, it has become obvious to the general public that the motives of some Republican members of the congressional committees are purely political, and  - worse yet - disregard the real problem and danger of  future Russian interference in our democratic election/voting processes.

So what’s left in the letter? Just a bunch of commas, loose words with no basis in fact and  pure nonsense.

Joseph M. Belmont, Frankfort