Dear Mr. DiNapoli:
It is with both a sense of shock and outrage that I read your address to the NYS and Local Employees’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) participants printed in The Update Fall 2009 publication. In this newsletter, you wrote referring to the retirement fund investments, “… our diversification and long-term investment strategies helped us weather the storm better than most, (investors) and our pensioners’ benefits remain safe and secure.” You gave the NYS Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) participants a great deal of comfort by this statement. You also subjected most NYS residents, who have watched our IRA and 401(k) investment values cut in half, to be envious of your investment prowess and successful commitment to the NYSTRS fund pensions. Why I feel compelled to write and to provide full and honest transparency for all New York residents to understand is NYSTRS participant investments are never at true risk of loss like the rest of us and that your investment strategies for the NYS Common Retirement Fund lost $44 billion or 26 percent of its value last year (Governance & Accountability Institute’s Insights Edge, June 2009).
How is it the Fund lost $44 billion last year and the pensioners’ benefits are safe and secure? How is it that this same Fund in which you are the sole trustee for investment management does not have risk of investment losses like the rest of us? Comptroller DiNapoli, isn’t it time to tell everyone the real truth; the NYS Teachers retirement fund is not at true risk because the NYS Mandate to every NYS school district of November 2009 requires a contribution in some cases equal to or greater than 1 percent of the annual school district’s budget for two years to make up for the shortfall. Your investment losses must be shared by every New York State resident who pays local school district taxes. By the way, this is not the first time New Yorkers have had to bail out the NYSTRS Fund. Comptroller Carl McCall did it during his tenure as NYS Comptroller.
Long Island taxpayers are being crippled by soaring school taxes, cuts by Albany of NYS subsidies and now required/demanded to pay for your poorly advised investment management. As a private citizen, community organizer and overtaxed homeowner I am appalled at reading that teachers should be grateful to your office for the safety of their retirements when all of us have to pay for it. In an election year, all of us will be more conscious of politicians who do not give us full disclosure; of politicians who are adding to and not relieving our local tax burdens.
The heartbreaking news of the catastrophic earthquake that hit the small island nation of Haiti on Jan. 12 has caught the attention of people the world over. The great melting pot that is New York has a large Haitian community and many of our neighbors are suffering in heart and soul along with their friends and relatives on the devastated island. Many people with no personal connection other than a concern for their fellow man are looking to aid the victims of this enormous natural disaster.
The Red Cross has announced that monetary donations are what is most immediately needed. I would ask all who would like to help to contact one of the following organizations, which are established and responsible, to make a donation:
The American Red Cross: From a cell phone, text the word HAITI to the address 90999 to make a $10 donation or call 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767).
Doctors Without Borders: http:// doctorswithoutborders.org
The Clinton Foundation: http://www. clintonfoundation.org/haitiearthquake
MercyCorps: https://donate.mercycorps. org
Thank you all in advance for your generosity.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention that my term on the IDA had expired on Dec. 31, 2009. Mayor Suozzi decided not to renew my term on the board. Obviously I was saddened by his decision. Sitting on the board of the IDA has been thoroughly gratifying and rewarding, knowing I was part of the decision making process for the future of our city. I wish the IDA and its members success in the future and hope that they always think first about Glen Cove’s sustainability for the future. I am sincerely proud to have had the opportunity to sit on the IDA for almost four years.
I hope your readers will not interpret the following to be a “kinder, softer and gentler me” as it pertains to my on-going relationships with Assemblyman Charles Lavine.
I say this because I thought your readers might be interested in knowing I actually had a “face to face” meeting on Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. with Assemblyman Lavine and his communications director, Carla Santella. For those who know me, such an event would be historically and traditionally out of character. But, in fact it did happen.
2010! The beginning of a new decade is a time to look with optimism toward the future. It is a time to savor the joy of spending the holidays with our family and friends, and to remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves. For me, it is also a time to reflect on the progress we have made toward making Glen Cove an even better place to live and work, and to look forward to continuing that progress in the coming year.
I have never been more proud of the Glen Cove City Court system than I am today. I’d like to thank all the court employees who, by working hand in hand with the Glen Cove City Police Department, help provide a safe, secure community for all of us to raise our families. We pledge, as always, to ensure that every citizen is treated with respect and fairness in our courtroom.
On behalf of myself and New York Blood Services I would like to extend my thanks to Pastor Simpson and the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove for allotting their time and space for the Dec. 28 blood drive.
Although the turnout was less than expected, every drop counts in the lives of blood donor recipients. Many thanks again to the church and those who came out to donate their time and blood for those in need.
This Christmas, among other ones, will remain near and dear to my heart. The reason this Christmas was so very special was because the tree that was donated as the city’s Christmas tree was my very own. When I was born, my grandmother Michelina planted it for me. I am now 20 years old and so was my tree. Always being a symbolic memory of my late grandmother, it was important to my heart.
I would like to sincerely thank all our neighbors who looked into their hearts and closets and donated to the Coats for Kids project through my office.
It must be really nice to give yourself a raise. (Town of Oyster Bay Board Votes to Increase Salaries, Dec. 31 issue).
“Tis the Season” has an entirely different meaning for victims/survivors of drunk-driving crashes.
Traditionally a time of celebration, the holidays may be exceptionally hard for families who have endured the devastating effect of a drunk-driving crash. Their coping skills may be tested and the need for additional support is crucial.
During times of crisis such as a drunk-driving crash, individuals often do not know where to turn for additional support and guidance. Mothers Against Drunk Driving Long Island (MADD LI) has many services available.
If you or someone you know is a victim of a drunk-driving crash, please contact MADD LI so that we can of assistance.
The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.
MADD LI offers a variety of services at no charge to victims of drunk-driving crashes, including literature, guidance through the legal system, peer support, court accompaniment, victim support groups, assistance with the crime victim’s compensation process and referrals to support services.
Please contact MADD LI at (631) 547-6233 or for more information visit our website at www.LongIslandMADD.org.
We wish you a safe holiday season.
Victim Advocate, MADD LI
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