28 May, 2011

Problems with the neighbors

{EAV_BLOG_VER:50d9bce121877b1b}

[EDIT 4 June 2011: Please ignore the first line of this post; I'm having to do some technical stuff with which you need not be concerned...]

I just faxed the following letter to the management company of the apartment building I've been living in for almost six months now:


I write to advise you of an incident that just occurred at my apartment door.

Approximately 15 minutes ago at around 2:45 a.m., a woman began banging on my door almost to the point of knocking it down. She complained that I was making too much noise.

For the first time since I moved into my apartment XX at XXX, a friend came over to help me unpack. As you are aware, I previously have been unable to unpack because the movers stacked everything from my previous apartment to the point where I was physically unable to move anything, due to my physical handicaps.

The woman complained that she’s sick and tired of me sliding things around back and forth and moving things around every morning, and that some people have to work. She stated that this has been going on every single day for months; when I attempted to advise her that this could not be possible as I haven’t even been staying in the apartment for that long, she told me I was “full of shit.”

I can honestly say that I do not know what she is talking about. The people above me and next to me move around at all hours of the day and night. Music will blare at all hours of the day well into the early morning. I do not complain, nor do I have a problem with this.

This is a three-day holiday weekend. As stated, this is the first time I have done any unpacking of boxes or moving of anything around. I don’t have anything to slide around or make any noise. I am not a heavy walker, although I do limp around in my apartment. I try to make as little as possible when moving around in my apartment.

As you are also aware, I tend to be nocturnal. The woman complained that every morning she is awakened by noises of things sliding around and banging going on allegedly emanating from my apartment. For hours she implied this to occur, I am usually asleep.

Additionally, I haven’t even been in my apartment that much, with the exception of the past month or so. Prior to that, family obligations kept me away from my apartment and I usually was staying either at my sister’s in Rye Brook or my mother’s in Hartford.

As my resources are limited, I have to take help when and where I can get it.

I was unable to get to the door to answer it as my friend had temporarily moved some items into the hallway, blocking entrance to the door, so we would work on getting my bedroom in order (I had access to the window with the fire escape in the event an evacuation needed to take place). The woman threatened to call the police if I didn’t stop being so disrespectful to her. I advised her that she should by all means do so if she thought I was that much of a problem, and I could explain my situation to the officers who might arrive at the scene to investigate and they could see for themselves the state of my apartment, what I was doing, and the injuries I sustained in my automobile accident in 2002 that have left me physically disabled.

I do not play music loudly, blast my television, or stomp around my apartment. I cannot help that the floors may creak when I walk on them; such is the nature of a hardwood floor. I usually don’t wear outside footware inside my home, so I’m not clonking around and making a lot of noise on the floors.

I do not know who the woman is. She refused to identify herself.

Should you have any questions, you may reach me at [redacted] or via e-mail at pcfrank73 at gmail.

Thank you for your time and courteous consideration.

Sincerely,

Peter C. Frank

cc: ...

23 May, 2011

Petition to have hate-filled legislation revoked in NYS & restore dignity to NYS Senators' offices

I just created a petition at Change.org to have NYS Senate Bill No. S5416 removed for consideration. Here's the text of the petition.

OVERVIEW 
New York State Senators Golden and Libous vulgarized the dignity of their offices by introducing hate-based legislation filled with lies and defended their actions to the press by insisting their constituents "don't really give a rat's ass" about social issues. By signing this petition, you will tell Senators Golden and Libous that you firmly insist on their respecting the dignity and purport of their offices, and insist they respect all New Yorkers and treat them with dignity. 
New York State Senators Martin Golden and Tom Libous introduced a "Defense of Marriage" bill in the NYS Senate that would prohibit New York State from recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state. Currently, pursuant to an Executive Order issued by then-governor Patterson, New York State recognizes all legally performed same-sex marriages. 
New York State confers over 1,300 rights and responsibilities to married couples. There are tens of thousands of gay and lesbian couples who have married out of state (or in such nations as Canada, where same-sex marriage is fully recognized) whose marriages are currently recognized by New York State pursuant to an executive order issued by then-Governor David Patterson. These couples would have their marriages stripped away by this hateful legislation. 
Additionally, the proposed legislation contains a number of factual innacuracies (to put it nicely). Here is the full text of the bill, which can be found at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S5416-2011 
S5416-2011 
Memo BILL NUMBER:S5416 
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to rendering the status of same sex marriage entered into outside of New York void under New York law 
PURPOSE: To affirm that the status of same sex man1age that is recognized, solem- nized or legal in another jurisdiction is considered void in New York. 
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None. 
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately. 
S5416-2011 
S T A T E    O F    N E W   Y O R K 
5416 2011-2012 Regular Sessions I N SENATE May 19, 2011  
Introduced by Sens. GOLDEN, LIBOUS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary  
AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to rendering the status of same sex marriage entered into outside of New York void under New York law  
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: 
Section 1. 
Section 6 of the domestic relations law is amended by adding a new subdivision 4 to read as follows: 
4. MARRIAGES CONTRACTED BETWEEN TWO PERSONS OF THE SAME SEX, REGARD LESS OF WHETHER SUCH MARRIAGE IS RECOGNIZED, SOLEMNIZED OR LEGAL IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION, SHALL BE CONSIDERED VOID IN NEW YORK.  
S 2. This act shall take effect immediately. 
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD11581-01-1 
As can be seen from the text above, they list "fiscal implications" as "none." In addition to voiding all currently-recognized same-sex marriages in New York State, the bill would prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages "in another jurisdiction," violating the Equal Protection and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the United States Constitution.
Senator Golden quietly announced this piece of legislation but when queried about it by the press, he responded that his constituents in the 22nd Senatorial District "don't give a rat's ass" about such social issues. Senator Libous has remained silent on why he has originated this piece of legislation. 
Let your voice be heard; tell Senators Golden and Libous that you DO give a damn and do not want to see this hate-filled piece of legislation enacted into law, and demand that he withdraw the legislation immediately. 
Demand that the New York State Senate revoke this repulsive piece of hate-inspired legislation based on lies and omissions, and immediately expunge it from its records.



21 May, 2011

Special Treatment for Gays by Business

The New York Times published an article yesterday (20 May 2011) entitled For Gay Employees, an Equalizer.

The article reports on the recent trend by a growing number of businesses across all sectors of "grossing up." Essentially, these businesses are reimbursing gay & lesbian employees for the extra tax they must if they add their partner (or their domestic partner's child(ren)) to their health insurance plan.

So, why are some employers creating this special privilege for their gay & lesbian employees--a right their straight employees aren't entitled to? Quite simply, it's because their straight employees aren't penalized with this extra tax burden when they add their spouse to their health insurance coverage. Federal law doesn't deem such health care benefits imputed income and, therefore, does not tax it.

There are a few things to consider:

First, not every employer offers health benefits to the partners of their gay & lesbian employees; in fact, only about 58% of Fortune 500 and a mere 40% of the Fortune 1000 do so (source: Human Rights Campaign).

Of those employers who do offer such health care benefits to the partners of their gay & lesbian employees, only 60 employers "gross up." (source: Human Rights Campaign).

What's more amazing is that these employers are doing this of their own free will and volition, especially since they, themselves, have to pay more in payroll taxes for employees who take advantage of these health care benefits. The federal government considers the healthcare benefits provided to a gay or lesbian employee's partner as income, thereby raising the amount of income deemed to have been paid out to such employee, thereby requiring the collection of increased payroll taxes (FICA, etc.)--again, something to which straight couples are not subjected.

For many gay & lesbian couples, however, what's more important to them than the reimbursement of this added expense for creating and maintaining their families is that their employers view them as with value, and equal to their straight employees in every aspect--even when having to level the playing field means having to pay a little bit more out of pocket.

This is just another area where marriage INequality is costing both employees and their employees needless extra expense because this legalized discrimination is allowed to continue. By allowing same-sex marriages and promoting marriage equality, the federal government would unilaterally eliminate this, and thousands of other inequities promulgated under the law by such marriage inequality.

Special rights aren't right; however, until the federal government can level the playing field, they are a necessary evil required to level the playing field in maintaining equal treatment under the law of all citizens of this great nation.

The New York Times is maintaining a list of employers who offer "grossing up" benefits, broken down by industry.