2003-05-30 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Thompson Addresses Democratic Club
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Thompson Addresses Democratic Club

On Thursday, May 22, Comptroller William Thompson addressed a standing room only, overflow audience at the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways.

Comptroller Thompson is a life long resident of New York.  He is a product of the New York City Public Schools and a graduate of Tufts University.  He has had extensive experience in government. Upon graduation from College he joined the staff of a congressman and worked his way up to being the Chief of Staff.  In 1983, he was appointed Brooklyn’s youngest ever Deputy Borough President by the Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden. In 1994, Thompson became the Brooklyn member of the New York City Board of Education.  He was elected in 1996 to be the President of the Board and continued in that post for four consecutive terms.  Bill Thompson has an abiding interest in education.  During his term in office he was able to lead the Board of Education in instituting significant education reforms.  He realizes the importance of reaching each child and helping each child to strive for his/her potential. He recognizes the value of a strong educational system in providing a qualified work force. In order to retain and attract business we need to have a well-trained and prepared work force to fill the needs of the business community.  This improves our economy.

As the Comptroller, he is now the chief fiscal officer of New York City. His role is to ensure the fiscal health of our city.  He has proven to be a vigorous fiscal watchdog.  He is a leader in the fight for critical reforms in the financial arena.  In this year, he has gone after 88 companies in New York City who have shareholder resolutions to effectuate change in executive compensation and director elections.  He is leading a national crusade to force companies to put in place a mechanism to respond to shareholder proposals that win a majority of votes. 

As Comptroller, Bill Thompson certifies the budget and registers contracts to ensure that our dollars are being spent wisely.  His office sets and enforces the prevailing wage.  He is the chief investment officer on five pension boards. His office determines which investment services underwrite bonds.

In his presentation at the Club he emphasized that we are in the toughest fiscal times since the 1970’s.  This latest increase in the property taxes is the largest one time increase in our history.  The increases in sales tax and personal income tax are purported to be a three-year bridge.  He stressed the fact that it is important that when we are reviewing the budget we must look at New York City as one city and not look at it as a tale of two cities - Manhattan and the other four boroughs.  He notes that the current sanitation pick up proposal appears to divide the city.  As it is proposed Manhattan would continue to have its regular pick ups and the outer boroughs would go to one day a week.  In addition to this being unfair, it can also pose a health hazard as we go in the summer months.

Comptroller Thompson remains optimistic.  He feels that in our current fiscal crisis we are avoiding the mistakes of the past.  He notes that as the  quality of life in the city went up in the past, more people came and stayed in New York.  He is hopeful that as we move forward we will keep these things in mind and thereby continue to attract businesses and people.

Barbara Larkin, our effervescent, energetic and enthusiastic President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners addressed our meeting. Barbara informed us of the latest initiatives of the organization in keeping and maintaining our neighborhoods.  Barbara noted that at her last meeting the Captain of the 100th Precinct reviewed the efforts of our police force to maintain the quality of life in our community.

It is with mixed emotion that I wish Barbara Larkin well on her upcoming retirement. Barbara has had a very significant impact on the education of our children.  She has taught the third grade in P.S. 114 for many years.  She served as a UFT representative and on the school leadership team.  Since she loves education and is so effective with helping our children, I am disappointed to hear of her retirement.  However, I understand that she has other fish to fry. She will be able to devote more time to her family, to traveling and to the community.  Our gain is P.S. 114’s loss.  Barbara is having her retirement party at the Beach Club on Wednesday, June 4th. Be sure to make a reservation to attend the party. We are going to do that.

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