A promise to work hard for 121st District

As we start a new year and swear in new leadership for the 121st Assembly District, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who supported me in this past election; for those who did not, I hope to gain your trust through hard work, accountability and service.

As we head into the 2019 legislative session, I look forward to working with my fellow legislators, regardless of their political affiliation, to further the interests of our communities and our great state.

There are going to be issues requiring strong debate and advocacy from upstate representatives, and it is my promise that I will work tirelessly for the betterment of our towns, villages and cities. The interests and concerns of the citizens of the 121st Assembly District will always remain my top priority.

I would also like to thank outgoing Assemblyman Bill Magee for his decades of service to our community and hope that I may be able to fulfill the responsibilities that he so admirably realized.

As I said during the campaign, I cannot do this alone. I will need the ideas and the energy of the constituents who have given me the honor to serve, and I will always be there for them.

After all, I work for you.

John Salka, Assemblyman-elect, R-Brookfield


Proctor ROTC students an awesome group

One of the reasons I am proud to live in the City of Utica is the wonderful group of students that I have the pleasure to meet at many of our local parades, dedications and other events honoring our military veterans, and that is our Proctor High School Junior Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps — the ROTC.

These individuals are dedicated professionals who are well-trained, coordinated and organized in everything they do. 

At a recent dedication ceremony to one of our own on Dec. 7 for Gerald "Bob" Magee, who was from Utica and perished on the USS Arizona on that fateful day in 1941, our Proctor ROTC was there, and they did an outstanding job, as always.

Please get an opportunity to see these students in action. Their dedication is part of what makes this community great.

Bill True, Utica


Downtown hospital will cost taxpayers

The new evidence that those who planned and decided on the downtown hospital project away from public scrutiny in 2015 insured how it became "a done deal."

In this case, it would appear that Steve DiMeo steered a hospital site study so the downtown site was a certain selection. Think we can't do things like Albany? The hospital group, including politicos and business people, have steamrolled this project despite the lack of public support. Your Dec. 16 editorial should have, as a minimum, suggested that sites should be re-evaluated.

During this year's term limit petitioning, if Uticans were to talk about another issue, downtown hospital was it, and over 90 percent were against that site. Why? Because information like the ultimate cost to Utica taxpayers has been deliberately withheld. This includes the parking garage, the relocated police station and possibly, the City Court. Further, all those “in lieu of tax" agreements of relocated buildings on the site should be included.

Except for the parking garage, all the other items would not be facing Uticans if the hospital were on the St. Luke's site. How we could go this far without exposing the impact on taxpayers is criminal. Your silence on this is beyond disappointing.

Louis Critelli, Utica


A few suggestions for Rep. Brindisi

I want to remind Congressman Brindisi, D-Utica, that he was elected by the slimmest of margins.

Here is what I think he should take away from that as a lesson: The pendulum swings, and in 2020 it can easily swing the other way.

In the 2018 election, not every American citizen in the 22nd District voted. The congressman's Democrats came out and were much better organized than the Republicans were for Congresswoman Tenney.

Here's what the congressman should do if he wants to be taking the oath of office again in 2021:

1. Represent the interest of the citizens of the 22nd District, not the interests of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer!

2. Avoid the "resist" and "impeach Trump" movements; regardless of their outcome, they will not further Congressman Brindisi's political career!

3. Remember that governing is the art of compromise!

4. The voters of the 22nd District will be watching because government is accountable to the voters!

Good luck and I wish the congressman success in his congressional career.

Richard E. Baranowski, Rome


'41' wasn't the saint some made him out to be

A reader from Syracuse recently wrote a breathtaking appraisal of our late president, George H.W. Bush.

What he failed to mention, just as the mainstream media has neglected to, was his nefarious role in the 1989 invasion of Panama, and the first invasion of Iraq that left over 100,000 people dead with much of the most advanced country in the Middle East reduced to rubble. Also, too often hidden from public view was his role in the Iran-Contra, arms sale scandal that made countless millions for his wealthy cohorts at the expense of the American people.

No, George H.W was not the saint he has been depicted as— not by a long shot.

Tony De Bella, Westmoreland