The American government is failing

Politicians care more about how they look than what they do.

They care most about their next election and the amount of donations they receive from special interest groups.

Seats are not won in elections... they are bought and paid for by lobbyists for special interests.

Governance is done by opinion polls and not by what is best for the citizens of this nation.

It is time to start over.

1. Cut the number of senators and representatives in half.

2. Cut their salaries in half.

3. Limit the amount to be spent on campaigns for any federal office to $ 100,000

4. Outlaw political donations from all corporations and special interests... campaign money will be provided by a minimal surcharge on federal income tax.

5. Disband political parties and allow candidates to run on their own merit not party ideology.

Not perfect. But it is a start.

John Metallo, Slingerlands


State should lift ban on fracking

New England is buying natural gas from Russia because Gov. Cuomo banned pipelines as well as fracking in upstate New York.

The rest of the country is enjoying an energy boom due to fracking technology. A recent article by Walter Russell Mead extolled the fracking boom in the U.S as “… a key instrument of American foreign policy" including energy independence.

Closer to home, if Cuomo was truly concerned about upstate, he would lift the ban on fracking, which was imposed with no justification. Energy production provides high paying jobs, royalties to property owners and stimulates economic growth. Upstate New York is one of the poorest sections in our country and is denied these benefits because of Progressive intransigence over using fossil fuels. Moreover, our natural gas prices are nearly the highest in the country. We've got the worst of both worlds, low economic activity and high energy costs.

Russia actively supports the anti-fracking movement here. At least the Russians have a good reason. The anti-frackers reject all reason.

David B. Goldenson, New Hartford


Program expands opportunity for poor

Utica is one of 16 New York state cities trying to attack its high poverty rate – 25 percent. The Utica-ESPRI Program, as described by the O-D’s Amy Neff Roth on March 3, will provide $900,000 to any qualifying non-profit organization for providing full-day child care, 7 days a week.

This program of the United Way would greatly expand the opportunity of poor parents to become employed at any job during day or night, knowing that their child (6 weeks to 12 years old) is competently cared for. As of today, child care is not fully available for all ages of children; wages for these workers being much less than the salaries of teachers in the public-school system. This proposal would encourage “non-profits” to partner with a child care provider to pay for scholarships where needed and for appropriate program expansion to achieve the desired 24/7 status.

This part of our society should greatly benefit from this “infra-structural” improvement in its education, but community involvement is needed.

Dr. Tom and Sally Clark, New Hartford


Utica DPW deserves to be commended

Many departments get criticized by the public on many occasions. But the job that the staff of the Utica DPW did not only on last year's Stella Strom but again with this past March 2 storm was outstanding.

Some residents don't understand when the storm starts in the very early hours before the morning commute, when the storm hits hard just before people head to work, it is a no-win situation for the department. But under the guidance of Commissioner Dave Short, they got the job done.

Short is an outstanding department head that is wearing many hats in a thankless job. He is always on the job with a smile and a solution to any problems that arise.

So next time you see Short or any of the guys working hard during these difficult situations, let them know how much appreciation you have for them. Thank you, Dave, and all the DPW staff.

Dominic N. Longo, Utica


News coverage skewed against Trump

I have learned that it is necessary to get national news stories from several sources, hoping that would increase the likelihood that I would get a fair and truthful account of the issues. So I usually check news daily on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, and via print in the O-D.

I generally find that 3 of those sources report the stories in a similar way while the other often has a very different view. So 3 vs. 1 would suggest that I should be skeptical of that lone source. But I am finding (right or wrong) that I trust that one source more than the other three most of the time. When I actually see a news story as it happens and then later see the media coverage I am amazed at the way the facts are so often mis-stated or simply not completely presented so as to affect the readers/viewers impression of what had happened.

Some recent examples demonstrating this are coverage of the shooting in Florida and Trump's tax plan. For 3 of the 4 news sources it seems that hurting Trump is the common theme of their news coverage.

Tom Young, Waterville