Home » Media Center » The Communicator » May 2017 – Letters to the Editor
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Letters to the editor

Jemma Hanson Retiring

To the Editor: On April 30th I will retire from PEF and state service. I started my journey with you in 2003 and since then it has been my greatest professional honor to serve as the regional coordinator of PEF Region 11, The Soul of New York. I appreciate the support that all of you have given me over the years and thank you for your participation in our events.

We are blessed with wonderful Executive Board members. Their dedication to the union and what is right for us, is what will keep our union strong. Please always keep your eye on what is best for the union. We are the highest governing body in the union and can do such great things together. I believe in our union and I know all of you will cor-rectly guide the future of this union. Keep the fight going and always fight from a strong position!

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I thank, our president, Wayne Spence, for allowing me to be your PS&T contract chair in the last negotiations. He has started the process of rebuilding our union and I hope all of you will support him in that.

I have asked President Spence to install Charles Roland as your acting Region 11 coordinator until an election is initiated in the region.

With great appreciation and love to my brothers and sisters of this union: Together we win!


Still supporting attacks on PPACA

To the Editor: My letter was published in the April issue of The Communicator. (In that letter, I commented on the March PEF Retirees column, which) accused President Donald Trump along with the new Congress, of attempting to systematically destroy Medicare. I objected to this accusation in my letter, stating it was untrue.

You wrote a rebuttal (Editor’s note), stating that “President Trump’s name does not appear in the story.” Such a detail is immaterial; it’s perfectly obvious that by use of the word president, the reference is to Trump. And again, you never addressed the fact that the previous occupant of the White House gutted Medicare by over $700 billion, an action which seems not to trouble you, as it was never mentioned.

It is also apparent to anyone who actually stays informed about current events that those who seek to repeal the disastrous, grotesquely misnamed Affordable Care Act plan to do so in coordination with the ACA’s replacement, so that coverage continues without interruption. (The retirees’) alarmist column never mentioned this, either.

And, lastly, I appreciate your enlightening me and other readers of The Communicator that (a columnist) as opposed to a journalist, is free to distort reality as he wishes (express personal opinions), evidently with the magazine’s full support.


Editor’s Note: Beginning in 2011, the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives voted repeatedly – at least nine times in 2011-13 — to entirely repeal and/or entirely defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while offering no replacement legislation. Only 

in 2017 have Republicans submitted a comprehensive health care bill to replace the PPACA. The replacement bill was withdrawn in March when it became clear that it would not pass. 

The PPACA expanded Medicare benefits and added at least 12 years to Medicare’s fiscal life expectancy. (See: https://www. medicare.gov/about-us/affordable-care-act/affordable-care-act.html for more information.)

Was glad to be in the Blitz

To the Editor: (I send) special thanks to PEF President Wayne Spence and Region 8 Coordinator Michael Blue for allowing me to participate in the Blitz training. Truth to Power!


Big tax bite from retro pay

To the Editor: I’d like to thank the PEF negotiating team for working so diligently and for the new PS&T contract.

I think I speak for many with regard to the recent retroactive raises when I say the net amount we receive on these is significantly minimal as we are being taxed on a large sum of money. Why should PEF members be penalized on a tax basis for not receiving our raises on time?

Ironically, the money is going back to the state. We should try to avoid these types of negotiations in the future.


More ways to economize

To the Editor: As stated by the PEF treasure in the April issue of The Communicator, he is taking a hard look at trimming the fat in the union.

But, let’s take this further. Additional cost savings can be acquired by:

  • The Executive Board could meet two or three times a year (instead of quarterly);
  • Tell people attending PEF Executive Board meetings, conferences and conventions they will have a roommate;
  • Hold PEF conventions at reasonably or cheaply priced locations, instead of high-end locations;
  • Reduce the delegate count for the convention to a more reasonable number (Not every division sends a full slate of delegates to the convention.);
  • Continue to consolidate services within the union;
  • Raise the dues to cover the cost of operating the union. (This last suggestion is only a nuclear option for use when all else fails.)

I know these six ideas are not fan favorites, but this is the hard reality in order to do the business of the people in PEF.


He’d rather pay for print copy

To the Editor: I’d like to weigh in on this topic of switching from a print to digital Communicator after seeing the many letters and emails in The Communicator. I have a computer, but I know many PEF retirees who don’t have one.

I read the printed Communicator for many years and now I’ve read a couple of the online Communicator issues.

I much prefer the printed version. For me, it’s easier to navigate, and by turning pages I sometimes see articles I wouldn’t ordinarily look for. With the online edition, where clicking and choosing is the norm, I read less than 50 percent of each issue, choosing not to click on items that seem to be of little interest to me.

To those who advise reading the magazine at a library, I ask, Is that a practical solution? I don’t live in the “boondocks”, yet my closest library is 10 minutes each way. It’s usually open four hours a day, six days per week, and it has one computer, for which I’d have to wait about 10-15 minutes to use. That’s 30 minutes of time spent just getting to and from The Communicator, which typically takes me 10-15 minutes to read. That is totally impractical, in my opinion. The next nearest library branch has several computers, usually no wait, and is open 8-12 hours per day, but it’s a 30 minute round trip. So, again, this is not a time-effective solution.

For several of my friends, who have no car, it’s a 90-minute round-trip bus ride, and the bus goes to the library only once per day, and returns once to pick them up nine hours later.

It costs hundreds of dollars or more to buy a computer, and in my area $40 per month for cable internet service. Sadly, that’s not within everyone’s financial reach, especially for retired folks.

Even though I have a computer, I’d prefer to pay $3 per year for the printed Communicator.

DON WIUR Stroudsburg

Constitutional Convention good

To the Editor: I am in favor of a state Constitutional Convention.

It is a disservice for PEF to join the Legislature in fear mongering. We can trust the New Yorkers we serve will never adopt changes to rob the elderly of pensions, chop down the Adirondack forest or eliminate public education. That would go against their New York values.

What we will lose by voting no on a convention is a chance to reform our dysfunctional government and make it more accountable to the people. If you want term limits, campaign finance reform, an independent ethics board, an impartial redistricting commission, merit appointment of judges, consolidation of our patchwork court system, elimination of our redundant state senate, early voting and mail voting, professional election boards, and provisions on civil rights, social issues and fiscal issues more in line with the 21st century, vote yes for a convention.

Surely PEF favors some of these reforms, but none of this will be accomplished by the politicians unless the people force the issue.


Editor’s Note: The state constitution can be altered by the amendment process and that has been done in the past. It doesn’t cost taxpayers anything to make such amendments. However, a constitutional convention costs hundreds of millions of dollars and most of that money goes to the career politicians and lobbyists who serve as delegates. After the last state constitutional convention, New York voters rejected every change the convention proposed. For more information go online to http://www.pef.org/constitutional-convention-toolkit/.

Doesn’t like Flashing ads

To the Editor: Is it necessary to have blinking ads (in the emails with links to the digital Communicator)? I find it very annoying and distracting.

I am likely to stop reading it. Too bad; I’ve enjoyed it for many years.


TheCOMMUNICATOR – May 2017 – Contents

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