Is the Board of Elections a Job Program?

The New York City Board of Elections has some 700 days to prepare for the 2016 presidential balloting. Based on my experience in these past two election cycles, I expect the BOE to gum it up again, unless some basic changes are made.
This year I was a poll worker at the side of a very dear man who was incapable of doing his job. Let’s call him Fred. A veteran with ten years service in the Army, he participated in the Reagan invasion of Granada and was discharged after suffering seizures. Fred radiated sweetness and a near-total incompetence that was recognized by all.
Five minutes after the polls opened our supervisor called for replacements for four workers who had been identified as problematic and was told that replacements were in a cab on their way to us. However, by 11 p.m. when we went home after an 18 hour day (minus two hours worth of breaks), no reinforcements had arrived.
In the meantime we managed. Fred’s unending good will melted my stony heart and together we figured out how he could tear the paper ballots from the pad without ripping them. We decided that would be his job while I signed in voters and answered questions about the ballot and the scanner, which some 80 percent distrust.
At least Fred remained calm throughout. Last year during the mayoral primary I worked in Greenwich Village. Early in the morning a worker at the next table spied Sarah Jessica Parker. My colleague started shrieking her name and ran up to talk to her in what became a brief commotion with flashing cell phone cameras. Whether SJP now casts an absentee ballot or comes to polling places in disguise I cannot say for I transferred to my own election district uptown where I found Fred.
He told me that he had worked at this very polling place two years ago. I recall the place in 2012 as a scene of complete ineptitude, exponentially aggravated by a high turnout for the presidential election. Voters stood on line up and down the street for more than an hour, and once inside were directed to the wrong tables, misinformed about how to fill out paper ballots, and subjected to broken scanners. I think I remember Fred himself misinforming me while impervious to my snarls. The chaos created by the workers themselves inspired me to enlist as a poll worker to try to understand why the BOE operates as it does. (enter  Poll Worker in the search box above to read about last year’s experience).
To a certain extent, I then became part of the problem because of my lack of experience and sketchy knowledge, which are compounded by the fact that procedures change a bit each year. Many workers and nearly all supervisors know balloting procedures cold and do their best, but they can’t be with each of us simultaneously to correct mistakes during the day or when we close the polls at night’s end. They manage to do a credible job only when turnout is low. I passed tests this August, but had forgotten some key elements by November. Those who not pass are encouraged to take the training over and over until they do. Some ultimately accomplish this with the help of instructors, which may explain how my new friend Fred managed to qualify.
Here’s an idea: maybe those who cannot pass the open book test at the end of training should not be allowed to try again. The failure of this simple test, which does have a few questions that seem tricky, indicates that the job is not for them.

Last summer a Rob Lowe look-alike helped supervise my training. He told me that he takes a leave of absence from his job each year because he feels that Republicans like himself should get more involved and not leave it to registered Democrats. Thinking we were simpatico I asked, unwisely, if he thought that Republicans did not volunteer because they did not believe in government. He said they did not volunteer because Republicans tended to have jobs. Well, maybe there is something to that. Poll workers in New York earn about $10 an hour for a day that goes from 5 am to some time after 9 pm when the polls close. That money will be a godsend to many, including Fred.
Capable citizens are as much to blame for the alarming performance of the Board of Education as anyone. Friends and neighbors who saw me at work gave me patronizing smiles. Many people who say they care about voting have the free time and stamina to do this work and should sign up to do so, at least once.

On election night, a poll monitor thanked me for working with Fred. He said they knew he should not work again. I asked if the Board of Elections was about voting or make-work. The monitor mumbled, backing away, that it was a little of both. If so, the Board of Elections might seek new poll workers at unemployment offices, veterans groups, houses of worship, Facebook and Twitter where able-bodied, able-minded long-term unemployed people can be found. Those recruits might not be as pleasant or deserving as Fred, who made for better company than many world-beaters I know, but they might be able to do the job.

Should the BOE be a job program? What has been your voting experience? Please scroll down to the “Leave a reply” box

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Remember the Alamo, Rizzoli Bookstore, and Jim’s Shoe Repair

Rizzoli Bookstore is still expected to close and Subway Inn was shuttered, but Jim’s Shoe Repair at 50 E. 59th has been given a new lease!!

See Present in the City blog of Feb. 17, 2015 for details as well as this fine ABC News New York story with an appearance by me.

Here’s the original post on the subject from May 2, 2014:

Jim’s Shoe Repair on Manhattan’s at 50 East 59th Street has been in business for 82 years. Now the adjacent Duane Reade chain wants its space, reportedly so it can sell frozen foods. Duane Reade, which Walgreen purchased in 2010 for $618 million dollars, is forcing the family-owned artisanal service to shut its doors.

Now is the time and here is the place for New Yorkers to take a stand if they are alarmed by seeing productive businesses destroyed by the combination of out-of-control generic big box stores, New York real estate interests, and the complicit Giuliani and Bloomberg Administrations. Maybe Jim’s Shoe Repair Store can be the place where the de Blasio Administration steps in to help small businesses and preserve what is left of commercial diversity in Manhattan. Surely small businesses are as worthy of salvation as carriage horses, even if their supporters are less organized.

Without a public outcry against Duane Reade and Walgreen ($72 billion in sales in fiscal 2013) and landlord SL Green Realty, Jim’s Shoe Repair will join the famed Rizzoli’s Bookstore, and the less iconic Nemati rug and tapestry store on Third Avenue and Vacesi Hardware on East 23rd, along with hundreds of other successful or promising small businesses that have been victims of predatory real estate interests.

Two Duane Reades, two Walgreens and a CVS all operate in a 1.5 block radius of my apartment, and most Manhattanites below 96th Street can say much the same of these interchangeable outlets. We do not need more of them and we do not need them to be bigger than they are. They should not gobble up more space and they should not destroy more productive businesses. Jim’s is trying to get redress through the Landmarks Commission, which ignored it in the past, but here’s a plan for the rest of us:

  1. Patronize Jim’s Shoe Repair at 50 East 59th Street near the Fifth Avenue N,R,Q subway. This support will help it to pay its legal bills to fight these greedy businesses that prey on the spirit of New York. In addition, you will also see what expert shoe repair looks like.

  2. Sign an electronic petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-jims-shoe-repair   or this site.

  3. Phone Customer Relations at Duane Reade (and why is this office not in New York City where it could hire the city residents who patronize these stores?)
    Here are two numbers – 800-925-4733, which I obtained from a company source, and 866-375-6925, which is on the website. Provide Jim’s address – 50 East 59th Street — and 625 Madison Avenue, the address of the building that houses it and the rapacious Duane Reade that is gobbling up its business.

  4. Phone Walgreen at 800-925-4733

  5. Call SL Green Realty, ask for the leasing agent of 625 Madison Avenue, and tell them that they should renew Jim’s lease. They will give you a polite runaround. Probably SL Green thrives on bad will, but perhaps it would like to generate good publicity by doing something decent.

  6. Contact REBNY – the Real Estate Board of New York. Its website says that questions about the commercial Brokerage Division should be directed to Desiree Jones at (212) 616-5226 or djones@rebny.com

Taking these actions would be constructive use of smartphones. On a personal note, without Jim’s to repair my shoes, I may have to use them less. Certainly if Walgreen and Duane Reade takes Jim’s down, I will never again walk into one of these outfits again. Drugstore.com* is looking good – and it sells cheaper branded contact lens solution too.

*Correction: In a demonstration of the importance of a family business, after this blog was posted my nephew David, a business grad student, informed me that drugstore.com is owned by Walgreen. One of us has made me proud.

Coupon Power! Is The Right To Sue More Important Than Jobs?

Why can the American public not save jobs, stop the sell-off of public property at bargain rates to private interests, protect our private records, halt the sale of Uzies for recreational purposes, or have traffic laws enforced?

We did win one fight. We managed to make General Mills, with its nearly $18 billion in annual sales, back down after it changed its coupon policies, so let’s find a way to use the power of public opinion for greater good. Please use the reply box at the bottom of this blog to provide suggestions – you won’t forego any rights if you do.

A bit of background, if necessary: General Mills established a new requirement that disputes from those using its “benefits,” including coupons, would have to be submitted to binding arbitration rather than the courts, but after four days of backlash, the company behind brands like Cheerios, Wheaties and Pillsbury, was so scared that it will allow us to sue it again, as Stephanie Strom of the N.Y. Times reported.

If the public is able to weigh in with such force to maintain its right to be litigious — a right most of us will never use — how can we use the weight of public opinion to persuade corporations, and even our problematic local, state and federal governments, to take measures more likely to be of greater worth to us, like promoting job growth and a reliable banking system?

Could we use our power to persuade Sallie Mae, the student loan firm, to bring ALL its jobs back to the U.S. and hire the students and parents who are its customers and wealth source? Could consumers target a corporation that announces job layoffs at the same time it increases executive salaries exponentially? Would our politicians and the interests that own them take note that the natives are finally restless?

Surely part of the reason why we do not recognize and claim our public clout for greater good is a lack of focus – unemployment is a more complex issue than the right to sue, and the corporate-government alliance that has decimated U.S. manufacturing is murkier and more diffuse than one corporation, even the mega-sized General Mills. As is the case with General Mills, it would have to be one corporation at a time and we would have to protest layoffs that don’t involve ourselves.

To be fair to processed food companies, they are struggling in the courts. Strom pointed out in her earlier story that General Mills has been plagued by suits – like the one it settled in late 2012 when it had to take the world “strawberry” off the label for its Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups because the product did not contain strawberries.

Even now the Supreme Court is considering arguments over whether Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid brand misled consumers when it put only traces of pomegranate and blueberry in its pomegranate-blueberry blend. Coke’s lawyer said the public was too sophisticated to be misled by its label. After Justice Anthony Kennedy told her that he himself had thought it was pomegranate juice, Justice Antonin Scalia opined that Justice Kennedy “sometimes doesn’t read closely enough.” It sounded like a rare day of fun for the justices.

Would Americans be galvanized to action if what sophisticated writers call “the hallowing out of the middle class” involved saving fifty cents off a box of cereal or provoking some laughs? As it is, thanks to General Mills’ capitulation we should be able to sue processed food companies for some time and the good will generated by Poppin’ Fresh, better known as the Pillsbury Doughboy, has been restored.

Latest Unemployment Figures Are Dire — A Jump of 3 Points

The lead N.Y. Times editorial for Saturday, March 8 takes a detailed and alarming look at what new unemployment figures really mean. If 5.7 million Americans who are waiting for jobs were included in the count, the actual national unemployment rate would have been 10 percent instead of 6.7 percent — more than 3 points higher. The Times calls for “long-run investments. ” More immediately, however, customer service jobs (see  March 6 post) should be brought back to the U.S. Not everyone can work construction. Along with helping a wide range of the jobless, repatriated customer service would bring honor and good will to banks and corporations that have exported the well-being of the U.S. along with the paychecks of one-time tax payers.

The employment population ratio of 58.8 percent was unchanged, according to figures for February announced March 7.

“Afrulals” and “Concessions” With The Chase Debit Card

Full disclosure: I am not sure that the Chase Banking customer service representative in the Philippines said “afrulal” on the telephone last Sunday. I am not really sure what those syllables were, although she repeated them several times. I do know that she never said “Withdrawal” clearly. After I guessed right, she confirmed that was what she meant, so I repeated my question about the charge for withdrawing currency from ATMs abroad using my Chase debit card. She said it would be $5 for each ATM withdrawal and then three percent on the difference between the currencies. Call me dumb, if you can pronounce it so I can understand the observation, but I had to ask her how that worked. She couldn’t explain, so I thanked her (?), hung up and called Chase Banking again.

Additional examples of garbled and useless offshore customer service are numerous and tedious, so I will cut to the point: consumers must complain to U.S. companies, through the offices of their leaders, about this. The U.S. is said to be a service economy, but service jobs are melting away like a polar icecap. Service now is largely unacceptable and customer satisfaction is low. So are U.S. employment numbers. In 2013, the employment-population ratio, the proportion of working age people who are employed, stood at 58.6, down from a high of 63.3 in 2007. In New York State, the e-p ratio is 56.8.

Americans who speak clear English, even if it is not their first language, should have all customer service jobs. We are supposed to believe that exporting jobs keeps our bills down (have they been dropping?) because hard-working foreign employees earn a fraction of what U.S. workers do. But why should the American worker, who has direct and multiple value to the U.S. economy, pay this price? Jamie Dimon, chair and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., earned $18,670,000 in fiscal 2012 alone and a lot more since. Time Warner Cable’s brand new chair and CEO Robert D. Marcus, earned $9,968,326 as president and COO even before his promotion this January.* Verizon’s Lowell C. McAdam earned $13,835,632 (salaries are total compensation for fiscal 2012 and source is salary.com). Such purported leaders place the reputations of their companies in the hands of people who, try though they might, provide poor service. If imperial executive compensation were reduced to the salaries of kings, perhaps more American citizens could be hired. These bottom-rung employees would pay taxes on their salaries instead of collecting unemployment benefits.

U.S. banks, particularly before they brought down the U.S. economy with the help of lax regulators, proudly say they are global operations. However, when they cause disaster to themselves and the world, it is the citizens of the U.S. who are called upon to bail them out both through tax money and through the loss of their jobs. Americans must demand these companies provide jobs to Americans. We cannot rely on elected officials to do this for us. They have not so far.

To return to the story of Chase debit card consumer service: My second rep, also in the Philippines, said he was ready to explain my “concession.” After a long pause I confirmed that he was talking about “transactions” and our call continued to conclusion. I had agreed to take a satisfaction survey after each of my inadvertent calls to the Philippines, but in the middle of each survey, in which I gave low marks for everything but politeness, the lines went dead and the survey was cut off. Did Chase record me as satisfied or unwilling to take a survey? I was neither. Would I have been cut off if the computer systems sensed I was happy with the service?
One final recent example: Every few months my Time Warner Cable goes funky in the evening hours, when I watch tv. My calls for service go to Costa Rica where the inevitably-male service rep tells me to reset the cable box. That tedious procedure did not work a few weeks ago (static on my Verizon line compounded other communication problems) so the next morning I called Time Warner Cable service again and I reached a native-born middle-age American woman working in the U.S. She instantly knew that I had to type in new settings. During our twenty-some minutes on the phone I mentioned that I was happy that an American had a job at Time Warner Cable. She told me, her voice dropping, that she doubted she would have it for long. Guess she doesn’t think she’ll make the cut if the Comcast $5 billion (read five Billion dollar) acquisition of Time Warner Cable goes through. If history is an example, Time Warner Cable executives will receive golden parachutes so they can continue to enjoy multiple unused mansions and she will be eligible for shrinking unemployment benefits before she depletes her savings.

Saddest of all is that the American consumer deserves exactly what we are getting because we have accepted poor service and the off-shoring/exporting of jobs without protest. [Maybe unions had an important purpose after all and NAFTA and succeeding trade agreements were not so good for us.] We grumble among ourselves, perhaps, but we do not protest. Our elected officials have proven themselves to be largely unwilling to save U.S. jobs, so if we don’t like the service we are paying for, it is time to take time to complain directly to the offices of the CEOs of faithless companies. Starting jobs like consumer service used to be career ladders to future advancement. At present, routine annoyances indicate a systemic problem to our economic security and one that seems too tedious for us to deal with.

——

* A few weeks after this posting Robert D. Marcus agreed to receive $80 million dollars for six weeks of “work” in selling Time-Warner Cable to Comcast.

Biking with de Blasio – End the Cold War Against Pedestrians

The other evening a 40ish delivery man artfully rode his bicycle between another woman and myself who were walking on a Lexington Avenue sidewalk. The cyclist frightened us both but did not physically injure us. He was breaking the law that forbids anyone over the age of 14 from riding on the sidewalks, but no matter. The police were elsewhere — frisking doctors, lawyers, job-seekers and others who are guilty of having too much pigment in poorer neighborhoods. Even if the police department decided to make its presence visible in “safe” neighborhoods, police don’t enforce N.Y. ADC. LAW 19-176. Through the years on those rare occasions when I have seen uniformed policemen walking through Manhattan’s East Side, I have seen adult cyclists weave around them. The police have never broken stride.

Terrorizing pedestrians in New York City is not regarded as serious if the person doing the terrorizing is on a bicycle and does not seem to be an Arab. It doesn’t seem to matter much that cyclists cause serious injury to pedestrians. Each year more than 500 NYC residents are injured badly enough to be treated in area hospitals, according to data collected between 2007 and 2010.

The Stuart C. Gruskin Family Foundation is working on this, partly because Stuart C. Gruskin was slain in an incident involving a cyclist riding the wrong way up a Midtown street. (Could this indicate that cyclists disobeying laws are a threat to public safety?) The foundation works to promote safety for cyclists and pedestrians and as well. In fact all of us, whether we are walking, riding a bicycle or operating a motor vehicle are supposed to obey the law. The cyclists have defeated me: I now stop on red. When I have the right of way I for one feel safer in the path of an approaching truck than I do in the path of a bicycle. Opinions can differ, but I have learned that the trucker will at least try to stop.

So here’s how we get to Bill de Blasio, who happily is New York City’s incumbent Mayor and who has promised to look out for people who have felt ignored for the last dozen years or so. He has said that if elected he would expand bike lanes and the bike sharing CitiBike program, with a goal of raising the percentage of city trips taken by bike to 6 percent by 2020. Fine, but he has another shoe to drop before it is knocked off by a speeding cyclist.  In addition, Mayor de Blasio, working with the City Council, needs to insure that all cyclists are subject to laws that govern commercial cyclists and he needs to insist that those laws are enforced.  He also must see that even non-commercial cyclists are licensed.

Cyclists should be required to wear  “a jacket, vest, or other wearing apparel” with a number printed in large type by which they can be identified. This number needs to link to CitiBike or to city records. If Citibank marketers have to create jobs and hire New Yorkers to issue licenses at their blue racks, so be it. Most cyclists already wear helmets, so let them sport license numbers as well. Motor vehicle drivers and dog owners need to buy licenses – why shouldn’t cyclists? Why does a toy poodle need to wear identification and not a human racing through red lights and over sidewalks? Such identification would help to apprehend those who do not properly follow city laws and it might even remind cyclists that they have responsibilities to others as well as to themselves. They seem to believe they are saving the planet…how about sparing pedestrians as well?

Outgoing Bloomberg Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, known to some as Bicycle Woman, spent tax dollars on education programs for cyclists – although you would think everyone everywhere knows that a red stop light or sign means stop and that enforcement of laws might have been the way to go. The next Transportation Commissioner, or whoever is supposed to be in charge, needs to put energy into making the privileged class that is cyclists responsible citizens as well. There is more to being responsible than donning a helmet for one’s own protection. No mention of bike lanes was made in this post — they have been good for CitiBike and Citibank, but I don’t see how they have helped pedestrians who use fewer public resources than cyclists when they are allowed to walk in safety.

Confessions of A Poll Worker

I volunteered to work the polls to improve voting in New York City. Instead I became part of the challenge. If you meet me Nov. 5 I will do my best, but now we are using optical-scanning machines. I have not so much as seen one since I was trained on August 19 when 12 hours of training were crammed into six because we had to learn the scanner as well as the lever machine for the primary. My section never discussed write-in voting, but no matter. That wasn’t on the test.
Don’t despair. Assisting the first few voters on Election Day might enable me to get the hang of it, and I may have the guidance of a more experienced poll worker. I myself voted on a scanner last year when the confusion at my polling place during the presidential election inspired me to volunteer with the Board of Elections so I can help you this year.
You might remember me from the primary election, if you are one of the 22 percent of registered Democrats and 13 percent of registered Republicans who bothered to vote. Less likely, you encountered me at the Public Advocate run-off when only 6.7 percent of registered Democrats appeared. On that day to break the afternoon lull we poll workers broke into spontaneous applause when voters showed up. They must have known they were special because when they departed, they waved good-by in the grand manner of the British royal family.
Do you wonder what motivates us poll workers? Some believe in civic duty. Most are in it for the pay, which works out to about $13 an hour for a sixteen-hour day with two hours of breaks that are not always honored. We start at 5 a.m., sometimes far from home. One colleague, a social worker, told me that he volunteered after receiving a notice to tell his clients to sign up to be poll workers and earn extra cash.
Meanwhile, here’s a peek at a few things we’d rather you did not know: on primary day, one of the two coordinators at my election site whom we will call Susie told us to forget what we had learned in training. She observed that everything we were doing was irrelevant because “things are being decided at a very high level.” Whether her problem was corruption or medication levels, I will never know. However, detecting certain mood swings and her lack of interest my colleagues and I turned to the other coordinator, whom we’ll call Mary, who had conducted trainings and insisted on doing everything “by the book.” When the polls closed, Mary announced that as a result of working with Susie, she would never work the polls again. She may have meant it because when we returned a few weeks later for the runoff for Public Advocate, Susie was the only coordinator on site and she managed alone.
Also, the closing of the polls, when tallies and back-ups are recorded, gets a bit slapdash because we are all eager to leave. On primary night I ended up as chairman of my election district because no one else wanted to sign the time sheets and tallies. After hurried hubbub or retrieving forms, I signed and sealed support materials and gave them to a police officer who signed a receipt. But then Susie discovered I had left out something important. No matter. I snatched the package away from the surprised officer, peeled off the seals, inserted the missing item, and sealed it up again. Work done! A few weeks later on the night of the runoff Susie hurried me even more, herself pressured by the menacing woman collecting our blunt-end scissors who was ready to go.
If you don’t like our methods, you could demand that the New York City Board of Elections do a better job of training and recruitment, possibly calling for volunteers at places of worship, libraries and through public service announcements. Possibly outreach should be less about a payday for good people who need money and more about voting. However, what matters most is better training and improved management. You could write officials to demand a more organized process and back that up by actually turning out to vote yourself.
I swear it does matter. When I was a teenager in the segregated South people died fighting to claim the right to vote. Partly because of them, I saw candidates elected throughout the country who expanded possibilities for millions of Americans and for the mandate for peace. Then officials were elected who put the brake on those expansions. So that’s why I get a little serious about voting. Often I don’t like the candidates, so I write one in, which reminds me to check my manual to learn how you can do that too.

But whatever happens, I don’t think you have to worry about the accuracy of the vote unless it’s really close. Poll watchers from both parties and from all candidates check on us through the day and each writes down the final count at night. Checks and balances for an accurate count are in place, but they are above my level, which is not the level where I deal with you.

Here’s A Clue About Future Jobs in NYC For Politicians Who Wish To See Them

The city’s mayoral candidates are talking about job creation and rethinking workforce development programs, as well they should. The Stack, a new apartment building on Broadway and 204th Street in Manhattan, was largely pre-fabricated — meaning that it was built in a factory. That is a promising in a city where on-site construction in tight spaces, often under difficult weather conditions, is expensive and has adverse effects on surrounding blocks. After reading about The Stack last month on the  NY1 website I queried the broadcaster about where the factory was located. An executive was kind enough to reply that the factory was in Pennsylvania, but said via e-mail that he did not see why that mattered. Here’s why the location matters: We need jobs in New York!

Learning that the building wasn’t made in China or Canada but in the U.S.A. was a relief, but here’s the point: if this is the future of construction, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the city’s next mayor and its construction trades and unions need to be planning pre-fab construction in New York State and in the city — how about the Brooklyn Navy Yards and/or manufacturing areas that Bloomberg is turning residential? How about upstate? Here is a potential source of real jobs, hopefully ones that can support families and offer health care and advancement. Politicians we elect should not allow our jobs to be sent out of the city, much less out of the state and New Yorkers need to find ways to make sure that they don’t.

Link

Sallie Mae exports U.S. jobs to Asia, Where It Overcharges Our Military

Today brings the news that Sallie Mae may be bilking our military — the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will accuse the student lending firm of charging more than the 6 percent it is allowed, according to the N.Y. Times story.

But Sallie Mae has long been a bad citizen. For at least a decade, as U.S students and their parents labor under a high debt load (much of it to Sallie Mae) and suffer from a high unemployment rate, Sallie Mae has exported jobs to Asia. A decade ago it employed Indians as customer service representatives, now they is more likely to be Filipinos. Why not employ Americans who labor to pay off Sallie Mae? I think even organized crime understands the logic of this. Return Sallie Mae jobs to the U.S. and give them to young people and their parents. Hapless Americans are plagued by high unemployment, and are burdened by long-term debt to Sallie Mae. Western New York State would be an excellent place to set up call service centers.

I know about the reps because I was foolish enough to take out a Sallie Mae loan a dozen years ago to help finance graduate school. I have been dealing with their reps, many of them impossible to understand, especially when the discussion is about numbers, for years. I have written about this to New York Sen. Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, as well as to Sallie Mae CEO and president John F. Remondi. No response from any of them, although I first contacted the senators months ago. A garbled boiler plate response saying your-concerns-are-my-concerns from Schumer’s people might have been his reply. Impossible to tell. I recently sent a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who may be less beholden to Wall Street lobbyists. It’s time U.S. citizens received value from our debt. Cheap labor from Chad and Chloe in the Philippines is not helping Americans or its economy which has been sacrificed for multi-national corporations who own the ears and conscience of our politicians.