ST resident discovers discrepancy in veteran law, helps change it

Nov27 Vets Jerry

Vet Jerry Alperstein

By Sabina Mollot

On November 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill benefiting veterans that was written by a Stuyvesant Town resident.

While he doesn’t work in politics, the resident, Jerry Alperstein, is a Korean war vet and also the New York Department Legislative Committee Chair of the Jewish War Veterans group.

He’d been researching veteran-related legislation in 2010, when he discovered a discrepancy in a 2005 law that left some city employees who’d left their jobs for military duty ineligible for an existing pension credit.

The discrepancy in the 2005 law came from most – but not all – city employees called to active military service between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2005 being able to get the pension credit.

This was tied into a benefit program that allowed city employees called to active military service to continue receiving their full salary and benefits, including pension benefits, as long as they paid back their military pay or city pay (whichever was less) when returning to their city jobs.

However, city employees who elected not to receive their city pay while on active duty were not covered by the 2005 law. Alperstein said this wound up being 60-70 people.

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 4

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

First comes ‘de-calendaring,’ then demolition

On Tuesday, State Senator Brad Hoylman sent a letter to New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan in response to the proposed LPC “de-calendaring” of potential landmarks:

Dear Chair Srinivasan:

I write to express my serious concern over the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC) proposed “de-calendaring” of potential landmark sites throughout the city, including 14 sites in my Senate District, and strongly urge that the LPC reconsider this course of action.

I do not believe that the LPC has allowed for sufficient public input on such a drastic action and I fear that removing properties from the calendar may place many vulnerable potential landmarks at risk. Last year, after receiving notification that a former automobile showroom designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at 430 Park Avenue in my district was under consideration as a landmark, the owners soon thereafter demolished the property literally in the middle of the night, thereby robbing New Yorkers of an important part of our city’s historic and cultural heritage.

I am concerned that once LPC removes the proposed properties from the calendar, thus removing the protections that this preliminary designation imparts, the same fate will befall these properties and they, too, will be demolished with absolutely no recourse provided to the public.

Instead, the LPC should hold public hearings on the properties and carefully and deliberately consider each one on the merits of the proposed landmark, rather than on the length of time it has been on the LPC’s calendar.

It would be an indelible stain on New York City’s collective conscience for these historic properties to have survived so long, only to be lost to an administrative “clearing out” of longstanding calendared properties. The Commission should delay the scheduled December 9 vote and review each property through the normal landmark process to allow preservationists, community members and property owners time to review and comment on proposed actions.

Sincerely,

Brad Hoylman
State Senator,
27th District

Continue reading