POLITICS
10/16/2012 05:26 pm ET Updated Oct 18, 2012

New York Issues: Fracking, Developers And Acid Rain

As part of today's series on New York State, we're asking readers which issues they're concerned about in their communities. We're hearing a wide variety of answers, everything from pollution to the economy to towns upstate still reeling from last year's hurricane.

We've published some of the responses below, and as with the other New York posts, we'll be updating this one throughout the day. Be sure to check back to see more reader concerns.

If you'd like to share your thoughts, you can use the green "Add Photos" button below; e-mail us at firsthand@huffingtonpost.com; or send us a note on Facebook or Twitter.

The environment

Nick Alpha of New York City writes, “Many of these beautiful waters are suffering from drastic pH swings due to pollution stacking up in the clouds against the mountains and causing acid rain. Many favorite small lakes are now so acidic that they cannot support life!” You can see Nick's photo of the Cranberry Wilderness in the slideshow below.

Susan Gateley of Wolcott writes, "The sustainable use of water is not being covered by ANYONE in the debate. We need water to produce energy. Lake Ontario is home to 16 nuclear power plants. They can't operate without its water. We need water for commerce and navigation. We need it for recreation and tourism. Some people think we need it to produce natural gas.(Not the best way to use water.) And we need it for LIFE." See below for Susan's picture of Lake Ontario.

Valaura Quimby of Milton writes, "I want to preserve the beauty and safety of all of upstate NY. One issue that neither candidate has mentioned is fracking. I want to know where the candidates stand on this controversial issue." You can see Valaura's photo of Milton below.

The economy

Jim Carroll of Fulton writes, “Fulton is a community that has lost many manufacturing jobs in the last 30 years. The local economy has slowly been improving in the last year.” See below for Jim’s photo of the Oswego River.

Gregory Fries writes, "I took this photo of an employee of a supermarket in East New York, Brooklyn, as part of a tour of different sites where workers were organizing for better conditions. The business owners whose work sites visited on this tour have been accused by their workers of offering painfully low wages, little to no health benefits, and just generally treating with workers disrespectfully. Workers at Farm Country allege that they are non-consistently paid for their overtime hours, and are often paid well below minimum wage." Greg's photo can be seen in the collection below.

Cleveland Oakes of Brooklyn writes, “I am a working father living in Brooklyn, New York. In the current economy it is extremely hard to raise a family. You can only imagine that living in New York where things are so expensive it is even harder. I'm concerned that things are not going to get better, and that my children's prosperity and chances to have a successful career and family will fall to the wayside.” You can see Cleveland, his children and his grand-niece below.

Health care

Sarah Gowrie of Manhattan writes, "Our mental health system is in crisis ... I had a first hand experience where we could not get my dad the help he needed at the VA hospital. The mental health system needs to be reformed, especially for veterans."

The towns

Helen Lomupo of Conesville writes, “I would like to know why [southern Schoharie County and Delaware County], which were devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee August 2011, have not received publicity, funds or more assistance to rebuild? If it weren't for good old sweat and tears, the Town of Prattsville, in particular, would be no more! But up here, neighbors take care of neighbors and the Town is rebuilding ‘One Neighbor at a Time.’” You can see some of Helen’s pictures of the storm damage below.

Amy Levine Murray of Manhattan writes, “The park where two Worlds Fairs had been held is now being turned into a soccer stadium and a shopping mall, displacing many families and local sports teams who use the park regularly. The park is in a largely immigrant area of Queens and many use this park for family gatherings, sporting events and parties. It is what is best about NYC -- on any given day there you can see a cricket game, soccer match, a game of rugby or even Hong Kong Boat racing. This is NYC -- being taken over by developers.” See below for a photo of Amy's kids and their friend at Flushing Meadows.

The farms

Susan Ayer of Canajoharie writes, "I am not a farmer, but I deal with many local farmers in my role as Town Clerk and Tax Collector, and I can tell you they are not the mega-farms vilified in discussions of the Farm Bill. Neither do they want a handout -- these are by and large very self-sufficient, not to mention conservative, people. What they do want is a fair price for their product ... If they can't make a living, they will go the way of so many other people in our beautiful part of New York-- sell out and leave. 'No Farms, No Food' is not just a slogan, it's a real danger." You can see Susan's photo of the Mohawk Valley region below.

Education

Gregory Fries writes, "On May 2, a group of Brooklyn College students gathered on campus to demand an end to the recent tuition hikes. Students proceeded to drop a large banner, followed by a march to the college President's office. The president refused to meet with the group, and in response, a number of students sat down and locked arms in protest. Police were called in to break up the protest, and during the incident, a disabled student was injured." Greg's photo of the protest is included in the slideshow below.

Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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