Letters to the Editor, Oct. 24

Hoylman: Santacon, please, curb your drunks

The following is an open letter from State Senator Brad Hoylman to the organizers of the annual pub crawl SantaCon.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to express my concerns regarding SantaCon and the effects it has on the  communities it visits. Each year local elected officials, community boards and local precincts are besieged by complaints as SantaCon passes through their neighborhoods.

While SantaCon may be a short-term boon to a select group of local businesses, the many adverse impacts it wreaks, such as vomiting in the streets, public urination, vandalism and littering, disrupt community members’ quality of life. I recognize that at any large event, a few bad actors may disrupt an otherwise orderly affair, but at previous SantaCons bad actors have hardly been the exception. As such, significantly more must be done to combat the neighborhood scourge SantaCon has become.

Further, no matter the behavior of the participants, the event has grown large enough to completely overwhelm sidewalks and public spaces, creating a public safety hazard for all.

I strongly urge you to work with the New York City Police Department in order to come up with a strong and effective plan to combat public intoxication and to ensure all participants are respectful of the neighborhoods they visit, as well as handling the overwhelming crowds associated with an event this size. In addition, I urge you make this plan available to the affected local Community Boards well in advance of your event so that they have time to comment and help shape it.

The problem with the laundry rooms

Sunday, a day of rest. Not! For me and other weekday workers Sunday is often a day of household  chores, including laundry. Imagine my disgust when I entered my laundry room to find four washers and two dryers out of order – all with signs on them – and several people waiting for machines.  I called Mac-Gray immediately and was told that a service request would be put in. When I asked if someone would be there that day (Sunday) to repair the machines, I was told “No.”  (Glad it’s a day of rest for someone.)

The woman who answered the phone at Mac-Gray told me this was the first report of the broken machines and that it would take 2-3 business days to get them repaired.  It should be noted that at least one of the machines has been out of order for several weeks! Here’s the bottom line…there is no preventive maintenance and putting an Out of Service sticker on a machine is akin to the tree crashing in the forest and no one there to hear it.

Repair personnel only visit a location when MacGray receives a call to report non-functioning equipment. Several years ago Mac-Gray announced, with much fanfare, the introduction of LaundryView, which allowed residents to sit in the comfort of their apartments, go online and see if there were available machines in their laundry room.  I don’t know anyone who uses this feature.

But here’s an idea… how about if Mac-Gray figures out how to monitor their equipment from the comfort of their offices and becomes proactive when it comes to repairs.

Jo-Ann Polise, ST

How the Affordable Health Care Act works

Re: “Who does what for whom?”, letter, T&V, Oct. 3

To the Editor,

A letter in your Oct. 3 issue confuses the question of whether the Affordable Health Care Act results in young people subsidizing older people. I will clarify.

The amount of health insurance claims the average 20 year old will file in a year is much less than the amount the average 70-year-old will file. If a 20-year-old and a 70-year-old both buy identical insurance policies from the same company, is the 20-year-old subsidizing the 70-year-old?  It depends on the amount each one pays for their policy.

In the free enterprise insurance market, (i.e., before the Affordable Health Care Act and various laws imposed by some states) health insurance policies were priced based on how high the risk of claims was from each person insured. The price each person paid was directly correlated to the amount of claim risk that person represented. People with lower risk, such as the young and the healthy, paid lower prices. People with higher risk, such as the old and the unhealthy, paid higher prices. Since a 70-year-old is expected to make substantially higher health insurance claims than a 20-year-old, a 70-year-old paid a substantially higher price for health insurance than the 20-year-old. Because the price each person paid was based on the risk of claims from that person, the 20-year-old did not subsidize the 70-year-old. Each person paid the full cost of the amount of risk that person represented.

The free enterprise health insurance market also sold group health insurance to defined groups of people, primarily employees of a business. Each group was priced separately, based on the risks presented by the people in that group. A 20-year-old would be calculated into the total price for the group at the price for a 20-year-old individual, and a 70-year-old would be included at the price for a 70-year-old individual. The total price for all members in the group would be converted to an average price per person, and all members would pay this same average price. The 20-year-old and the 70-year-old would pay the same price, The 20-year-old, therefore, paid more than what his own cost would have been as an individual, and the 70-year-old paid less than what his own cost would have been as an individual. Thus, the 20-year-old subsidized the 70-year-old. (Contributions by the employer helped reduce the impact of this subsidy.)

The Affordable Health Care Act is a form of group insurance. Policies are priced based on the average risk of the group. Each person in a group pays the same price. Young, healthy people pay the same price as older, less healthy people. Thus, the young and healthy pay more than the cost of the risk they present and the old and less healthy pay less than the cost of the risk they represent.

Therefore, the young subsidize the old. Affordable Health Care will not work if the young and healthier people don’t enroll to provide this subsidy. This is why Washington is pushing to get the young to enroll. The fact of this subsidy, and the need for it, are written into the Act where it seeks to force the young and healthy to enroll by imposing a monetary penalty if they don’t.

Floyd Smith, PCV   

One thought on “Letters to the Editor, Oct. 24

  1. Re: the laundry machines. I use Laundryview (which is very inaccurate, unfortunately) to report any out of order machines (and get a refund when I’ve been a victim of one of those awful things) and MacGray usually gets the repairman out in a couple of days or less. Sometimes the repair gets done on the same day. I would recommend using the Laundryview “Report a Problem” app., which is basically all that Laundryview is good for, rather than calling MacGray. Unfortunately, the same machines seem to constantly break down and the weekends are a dead zone as far as getting repairs done. We really need some new, larger, sturdier and more efficient laundry equipment, especially considering what a huge population we now have because of all the shares, transients, etc. Someone in the RE management business told me that she went to an industry trade fair and was told that the machines we have were the first off the production line and had not been tried and tested before MacGray marketed them. Of course, incompetent, parsimonious Tishman Speyer bought them cheap and that’s why we are where we are today. Bottom of the line equipment purchased (they didn’t even have the gumption to lease them) by a bottom of the line property owner. I wish our current management would step up to the plate and rectify the situation.

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