Utilities have not maintained lines

My thanks to the utility crews for their timeless efforts restoring power to all our homes.

That being said, I'm so frustrated at management and the owners of these utilities, namely NYSEG, for not maintaining the growth of the trees and limbs surrounding the power lines or poles.

Each company has a right-of-way so it can maintain the growth, but it's quite evident that it's been neglected. In a six-week period, we have lost our power twice for extended periods of time, all due to limbs falling on lines. Since the last one in late October, nothing has been cleared to prevent another occurrence. Lo and behold it happened again.

I know it's an act of nature as surely God would not put us all through this, but it's been a lack of maintenance that causes the problems.

This reminds me of the overgrowth of underbrush that caused so many devastating wildfires. Simply a lack of maintaining the areas has wreaked havoc on so many! Look at the cost we have incurred with the loss of food, income and time. Most of this was unnecessary.

Each month we pay a surcharge for the "maintenance of the power lines" to our utility company. Where is this money going? One employee told me it was cheaper to deal with the emergency than it was to maintain the lines. Is this the new concept in big business, screw the people, worry about it when it happens? Oh boy, are we headed for trouble.

I urge every resident to write their utility companies and state representatives about the concerns and frustrations we all have with these situations.

Something needs to be done to force these companies to live up to their agreements. You know what happens to us when we don't pay our bill!

Nora Manon

Gilboa

Religions shouldn't hinder gay rights

Sponsors of California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, are seeking to nullify thousands of marriages performed while such marriages were legal.

I must admit that I have nothing but disgust and contempt for religious organizations such as the Mormons, Christian fundamentalist groups and the Roman Catholic Church that actively promote discrimination against gay people. Proposition 8 is a clear example where Mormons poured money into pushing their bigoted religious views in order to bring about discriminatory legislation. Why do they keep their tax-exempt status? Does California really want Utah running its affairs?

The notion that these ideologues are really champions of marriage and the family is a perverse lie. They view homosexuality as some sort of moral failing, when in fact it is as natural as being left-handed or having a particular color skin or eyes. A full 10 percent of humanity is gay, and to deny them equal rights on the basis of some primitive and judgmental form of magical thinking is inappropriate in this modern age. It is anti-American to the core. It is also un-Christian.

I have no problem with people having their own religious delusions, as long as they don't use them to deprive others of their civil rights. Thomas Jefferson stated clearly that there must be an absolute wall of separation between church and state if we are to be truly free from religious intimidation. Democracy was not designed so that the majority could vote to give away the rights of a minority, even if that majority boasted the richest god.

Hopefully, the legal system will right this terrible wrong in which the money and influence of churches were used to deprive ordinary people of their rights.

Peter Johngren

Hartwick

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