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posticon Editorial - Albany Mandates We Pay To Be Less Safe

Opinions | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Dan Veaner Print
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Editorial

I have long abhorred state mandates, especially the unfunded kind.  I understand that each level of government wants to have some influence on its sphere of jurisdiction, but the farther away from local a government gets, the more clueless it is about how local communities work.  Albany is especially fond of dictating what localities must do.  Many of the mandates require reports and data, which, I suppose is fine.  But when Albany mandates that a local community must do something, it rarely attaches funding to do it.  And unfunded mandates mean higher property taxes, which I am definitely opposed to.

Tuesday I had the pleasure and pain of interviewing Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne and Undersheriff Jenn Olin about a new unfunded mandate that Albany will begin imposing in January.  The pleasure was in talking to two fine public servants.  The pain came from the frightening thing they told me.  In a nutshell, Albany is mandating that cash bail be eliminated for almost all misdemeanors and even some felonies, and that law enforcement officers and prosecutors will have a maximum of 15 days to gather the proof needed to arrest somebody.  Instead of being arrested most offenders will be issued appearance tickets, effectively releasing them into their own custody.  And the police will have to chase them down to get them to appear in court if they don't show up themselves.  These 'reforms' are clearly weighted toward protecting the rights of the accused at the expense of the victims, law enforcement, district attorneys... and taxpayers.

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posticon Thoughts - Facial Emotion Recognition and Impeachment

Opinions | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Casey Stevens Print
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Caseythoughts I really do wish I could find a way to veer from the politics and potential impeachment story, but intriguing stories and thoughts keep popping up like a game of political whack-a-mole. Bear with me on this one as I try another 'connection' of totally disconnected (at first blush) news stories.

You've heard a lot about the technology called facial recognition, and it is being touted as (pick one): a) another version of 1984, b) another denigration of our right to privacy (OK, Boomer) or c) a great leap forward for untrammeled artificial intelligence.

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posticon Letters - Commit the Crime? You Won't Have To Do the Time or Pay the Fine

Opinions | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By New York State Senator Pam Helming Print
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mailmanHave you visited a store or shopping mall recently? If so, you have probably noticed seasonal displays and holiday music filling the air. Every now and then the cheerful music is interrupted by a friendly voice reminding us there are less than 45 shopping days left. Before we know it, the holidays will be over and we will be ringing in the New Year!

If you follow state government, you know the New Year means the start of a new legislative session. This year, it also means the time to implement our state's new criminal justice laws is upon us.

These 'reforms' were passed by elected officials focused entirely on downstate politics. They include dramatic changes to our current criminal justice system. Cash bail and pretrial detention will now be eliminated for nearly all misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses. If a person is charged with manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, criminally negligent homicide, criminal sexual acts in the third degree, unlawful imprisonment, rape in the third degree, arson in the third and fourth degrees, criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds, promoting or possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, failing to register as a sex offender, making a terrorist threat, burglary in the second degree, robbery in the second degree, or aggravated cruelty to animals, he or she will be released back into the public pending trial. Under current law, a judge has discretion to require an individual to post bail or hold such individual in custody, pending trial.

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posticon Letters - Clarification of Village's Climate Smart Communities Quotes

Opinions | Friday, November 15, 2019 | By Ronny Hardaway Print
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mailmanThe November 8, 2019 Lansing Star article, "Village Votes to Become Climate Smart Community," includes a quote that a casual reader might misinterpret. The quote attributed to me was "The rest of it's just gravy. So yeah, that way we can forget about spelling out greenhouse gasses. That's acceptable to me."

At face value, a reader might mistakenly believe me to not take the NYS Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program or greenhouse gases seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. I introduced the Village's consideration of joining CSC and tailored the Village's resolution that was presented at the Trustees meeting on November 4.

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