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Regardless of one’s political views, the fact that so much newsprint and airtime “Breaking News” blare at us, there is little opportunity to discuss issues needing good solutions to problems facing the majority of American citizenry, such as: the disappearance of the traditional American “nuclear-family," less-than-optimal salaries for our children’s teachers, including child care workers, health care costs for all citizens, the need for Congressional term-limits, huge amounts of FEMA money paid to reimburse owners of oceanfront homes, destroyed by our more frequent hurricanes, yet permissively-built because of too-lenient building codes.

Contributing citizens need to have real, in-depth discussions about major problems affecting us all — to discuss, not be side-lined by societal minutia. The concise book by Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny”, gives citizen encouragement for apolitical discussion of issues important to our country’s future.

The sheer volume of their manipulation is relentless. Here is just a recent example: In the April 30 O-D on page B6, the headline “Trump Finally Hosts African Leader” is at the top of the page. There is no content in the article that makes it evident that inviting an African leader one year and four months into your first term is unusually late as the headline implies. In fact, when I google "President Obama African leaders," an article from the New York Times comes up. One year and seven months into President Obama’s first term, the headline reads “White House Party for Africa Leaves Out Leaders."

In the article, we are reminded that one year ago Claudia Tenney clapped and smiled and took selfies in the Rose Garden as President Trump came to celebrate with some of his congressional colleagues on the passage of the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This repeal, of course, never happened since the Senate did not vote for it.

But for Tenney (who has her own health care plan as do all members of Congress and who therefore does not have to worry about how to pay for doctors and hospital care) to enthuse publicly about this attempt to take affordable health care away from her constituents makes me realize just how little she cares about the daily lives of the people she is supposed to serve.

It would be nice to get some straight answers out of Tenney about why she chooses to vote the way she does and to blindly back the president on everything he does. But all we get from her spokesperson, Raychel Renna (whose attack- dog approach surely must have received approval from her boss), are rants about the respected pollster John Zogby, whom she calls "a low-ranking, Democratic political hack who is a Brindisi donor and deemed "the worst pollster in the world " (as quoted in an article about Brindisi leading Tenney in the polls in the O-D, 5/2/18).

Utica is the only major upstate city which does not have a teaching hospital. Locals with means often travel to other upstate cities to get specialized care at other upstate cities’ teaching hospitals. They will continue to do so, absent significant changes in the trajectory of local care. Even rural Bassett Hospital maintains a physician teaching program with Columbia University.

The current dialogue around whether Utica should displace local businesses downtown to construct new hospital building is limited and problematic. Connecting the region’s care to the Aud Authority will not improve care and it is not in the best interest of local public health. Local leaders must show greater thinking.

Evolving SUNY Poly’s College of Nursing to a Medical School, creating a SUNY Poly Medical School partnership with MVHS, and linking local healthcare to profound advances that are occurring at the crossroads of healthcare and technology is what the region needs. The downtown debate is simply the wrong discussion.