This has been the topic of conversation lately on social media due to seeing a group of Republican Male Politicians cheer and celebrate ripping away affordable healthcare for millions of families. Seeing that has to be one of the most painful videos I have ever seen. How could anyone celebrates someone’s sorrow? This affirmed my belief in how a for profit healthcare system promotes entropic uprising.
No mother should have to see her child suffer and no person should have to see their loved one’s die due to lack of resources. God created life. Life is majestic. We should be agents of life. We should put our efforts into creating solutions that save people. The harsh reality is this legislation put us backwards. While we know success and progress aren’t a straight line, we need to stand up together in Unity.
It is wrong to be the only developed nation in the world that has a for profit healthcare sector. It is wrong that due to their lack of performance in the markets that they lobbied our elected officials to strip families of dignity. A nation of compassion protects its most vulnerable. I believe one day we will have a socialized healthcare sector where all people are treated with dignity and we will have a politics of love and not profits.
We need a new kind of politics. A politics of compassion. The United States of America has the highest rates of incarceration in the world. We incarcerate the majority of all women incarcerated in the world. When you look at statistics there are correlations between poverty and jail. While we need security and protection for our society, we focus energy on jailing people for nonviolent offenses like drug use or stealing vs. taking on ideologies of other developed nations who have been successful at addressing these nonviolent offenses. This isn’t a politics of justice as it was intended to be but this is a politics enforcing fear. A vulnerable citizen trying to survive has to live in fear that they will end up in jail due to lack of resources and skills.
Justice reform is certainly needed. We need to rethink how we view those who are poor and create solutions that inspire them to grow in the law abiding citizens who can contribute to our society. When we see the light in people they will see the light in themselves. I believe that when we change our views on the justice system we will begin to work towards a better and brighter future for everyone.
This topic has been discussed at various town halls in Dutchess County. The Poughkeepsie High School to prison pipeline has been a talking point and so has the fact that majority of those incarcerated are black when African Americans make up less than 10% of Dutchess County Residents. It pains me to even think of modern day institutionalize slavery and even worse the fact that some want to blindly ignore the problem and spread their ignorance.
We can have a politics of compassion. One where we learn from our mistakes and grow. I went to a Beacon Town Hall Meeting in June 2016. Where I challenged current practices and the financial validity of the “tax savings” the county had been promoting in the local news papers. The county factored in their Jail Expansion costs to be.
Unfortunately, the replacement of Dutchess County’s Jail has been approved, along with a new sheriff’s complex. The expansion was justified, Republicans said, because it will improve inmates’ living standards while saving taxpayers money.
The harsh reality is that the county has vastly underestimated the cost. Since understanding the relationship between your tax dollars and the bond market is a prerequisite for a legitimate conversation about the jail, let’s explore that.
County Executive Molinaro held a dozen Town Hall meetings to address such concerns, presenting us with a seemingly airtight solution in the form of a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN).
A ‘BAN’ works for small governments the way that taking out a line of credit works for a homeowner. Let’s say you’re a parent responsible for your child’s college tuition. That’s a big bill. As a homeowner, you can use your home equity, say $100,000 in a line of credit to pay it. But you only pay interest on the amount you’ve drawn down until your repayment period begins. That amount then converts to a loan, where you are responsible for both the principal and interest. BANs work the same way; the County’s note would be converted into a larger bond after five years.
At Beacon’s Forum, Molinaro said his BAN would save taxpayers’ money by paying “low interest” for five years and would then convert to a bond at a rate of 2.4%. The latter rate (after bonding) would ensure, he said, that Dutchess County taxpayers would see savings of $5.3 million a year following 2021, even including debt service. This is a great idea if it were true, but with current markets, this bond rate is highly unrealistic. The latest trends are showing a steady climb in bond interest rates.
In five years’ time, when Dutchess County’s new issues go through the primary market, the interest rate for investors will have to be attractive and competitive. The S&P 500 U.S. Aggregate Bond Index on Nov. 30th, 2016 was yielding about 5.66%, while the S&P Muni Investment Grade Index was yielding about 3.40%. Municipal Bond Market expectations are strongly suggesting 4% to 6% in 2021.
It is realistic, then, that the jail bond will be around 4.7%. $192 million (the maximum that could be bonded), with an annual debt service of $9 million over 30 years equates to an interest rate of 2.413%. Put simply, the supposed cost savings for the jail was based on a rate significantly below those trading with, like Dutchess, an AA credit rating. According to Morgan Stanley’s Bond Monthly Report dated November 16th, 2016, 30 year AA Muni Bonds are currently yielding 3.29%. That is also 87 basis points higher than what Dutchess County calculated for its repayment period.
So, based on current market trends, the cost is roughly $600,000 more a year than what was presented to taxpayers. Using conservative market assumptions for 2021, costs are $3 million more annually than what is budgeted. That halves the “savings” to $2.3 million dollars, however, with an expected 15% growth in the number of inmates per year, that $2.3 million disappears quickly.
Republican county government has enslaved our tax dollars to decades of high interest payments. This certainly benefits investors, and the private contractors who build and supply the new facilities as they will see plenty of profits but taxpayers will not.
If we wanted to be truly revolutionary, we could have followed the models used by The Netherlands, Iceland and Finland which have created cost effective methods to reduce jail populations, lower recidivism and crime.
Dutchess County didn’t “Think Differently” this time. Stand with me and my commitment to effect real and meaningful change. Let’s inject sensibility and compassion in to our Justice System!
So let’s create standards for a new kind of politics – a politics of conscience. One where tax breaks are given to working families who are fighting to thrive. Those working towards attaining the American Dream. We have those families here in Wappingers Falls. In early stages of my career in investments, I worked in Wappingers Falls and Fishkill. I have sat with many people who envision a politics of conscience. One that takes care of the vulnerable. We often forget as we age we become vulnerable. Our memories begin to fade, our bodies begin to ache and our resources begin to diminish.
Through my time working in my field, I have seen this play out time and time again. I can’t help but seeing myself in others. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to protect our seniors. Taxes is one of those ways. When the town board raised their wages by 18% when they are funded by taxpayers, they didn’t have our vulnerable citizens in mind. I believe they could do better and make better decisions.
I am running for the town board because I believe that I can lead this change for the better. Let’s avoid wasteful spending by indexing the town board wage increases to social security COLA. This connection is vital to ensure public officials advocate for you. It takes courage to stand up for the vulnerable. I am ready to be that leader. My heart is aligned with those who I know are often over looked. I ask for your support so that I can protect you and your families.
Show your support through contributing money or time so we can win this campaign. Let’s make the Town of Wappinger the leader in protecting our resident’s tax money.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
We should support a politics that cares for the environment. A politics of gratitude. One where we value the earth for what she gives us. Our actions should serve our environment. I believe in acts of serve being the highest form of gratitude. I believe that we serve God by caring for the earth that was given to us for without the gifts of food and water, our survival as a species would not exist.
We can help in many little ways and those actions will make a big difference. I myself ran in to a situation in 2015. It was about 4PM and I was on a conference call at work which is pretty usual for my job role. As I am listening to the call and energy portfolio was coming out for investors to invest money in to. At first I thought it was going to be about clean energy as logically innovation drives Capitalism as referenced by Adam Smith. I was mistaken, confused and began questioning a lot as I listened to this call.
The portfolio was called the Energy Renaissance Portfolio. It was comprised of fossil fuels. What was more alarming is it was going to be funding a pipeline that would go through North Dakota. It was what became known as the North Dakota Access Pipeline. It was going to be built through a Native American Reservation. At a live training I went to on this portfolio, I challenged senior management and my peers on selling this portfolio.
I specifically stated, “How can we sell this to clients at the expense of Native American Citizens? How is this even ethical or legal? How come we don’t have to disclose this to investors? How can our analyst predict 9% annual returns on this portfolio with this level of political risk?” Our Product Specialist then told me, my views were wrong. Many of my peers agreed, stating that I didn’t have enough experience in the industry to understand oil production and its profitability.
In the heat of this conversation, I went on to say, “Capitalism is build on innovation, other developed nations like Germany have already moved towards having 75% of their energy resources coming from clean sources. Other than Americans, who are well selling oil too? I believe this portfolio will lose 25%.” The entire room laughed at me and called me a hippie liberal.
A year later, that portfolio lost 25% as I predicted and the NDA protest began. I never sold that portfolio to any client and advised clients on what I believed to be true. Any behaviors that promote entropy, we have to stand up and be that faces of change, even when we are pressured. It was in that moment that I felt like my integrity was being questioned. I am proud that I stood up for my values despite the reactions of others.
I began to study what holdings were inside of the portfolio and my heart sank even more. There was one specific holding that concerned me. It was Halliburton. I knew Halliburton to be a weapons company when I was in the Marine Corps. They branded the weapons we used. I was super alarmed when I saw it. I came to realize Halliburton was an oil company who won a bid to make weapons when Dick Cheney the Board of Director for Halliburton and also Vice President to George Bush. I went on to look at the top ten individual and institutional investors. They were JPM executives. I worked for JPM. It was then I realized why my firm took a position and a story line. The leadership in this organization was profiting off of entropy, the cardinal crime of the universe.
Follow your heart, your acts of bravery may go unnoticed by others but the universe will support you. Trust your relationship with the world around you. It will guide you, through the struggles you face and be the light in a world of darkness. Let your light shine, when no one else’s. It is through our acts of courage and gratitude that we will all be protectors of our environment in our own ways.
With Universal Love,
I’m not talking about blind optimism here – the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. The same goes for our antiquated educational system. A system that teaches our children to follow instead of lead. That should be of concern for us when God created us to manifest our visions. It requires leadership skills to manifest innovation. In order for innovation to flourish we must ensure our children have opportunity.
Our future relies on our children. We hope for a future where they solve problems we could’t. One where they have courage to challenge those in power for their lack of equity and compassion. They deserve a future where they see life as magical and playful. A place where they can see their purpose and why they are here.
I see my nephew, Xavier explore the world around him as if everything is a miracle. It is that worldview we should foster in our children, regardless of their racial, religious, gender or sexuality identity. We should encourage them to grow up knowing they are apart of this universal miracle and each one of them plays an important role in our journey.
Let’s build them in the leaders who will bring us closer to our ideals. I believe they have that potential inside of them. We deserve to give them that opportunity. Let’s work to create it for them.
Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.
Police Brutality & Hope to Pursue Dreams
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the values of the United States of America. I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. It hurts me to see the mothers of black males see their sons face a dreadful death in the face of a police officer. Often times when we think of police. We think of people who protect our community from danger. For a black mother to fear police to preserve her son’s life, that fear is a situation most people won’t ever think about. But often she will.
As a woman’s who’s father was a police officer and who witnessed our lives change by his tragic injury, I can understand and empathize with police officers when they react. One incident could forever change the life of your family at any second. Those heightened emotions can manifest deadly outcomes. As an aunt of 3 beautiful toddlers who bring so much joy to my life, I can empathize with the power of love and concern that any woman has for her children.
It is through my experience that I believe in the power of love to manifest a world where police brutality is non-existent. I envision a world where police officers let their lights shine and change the lives of everyone they come in contact with. I believe they have that power with in them, because I see that in my father. His undying love for me has brought out the best in me despite the mistakes I have made. I have grown from that love. I believe all police officers have that beautiful light in them, that often gets suppressed in the line of duty.
I encourage every police officer to let their light shine. Empower their community to gain the love and respect they deserve in return. I also believe that peaceful resistance to those police officers that allow their darkness to manifest should in fact be pursued by communities affected by their darkness. As Martin Luther King said, “Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that!” When people come together and let their love force to manifest we can change the hearts of those around us. I admire my sister’s Kristen’s courage to pursue her dreams despite coming from a background that has hindered her opportunities. She sings everyday and lets her voice send music through the universe. She lets her light shine so beautifully. I believe we all have that inside of us.
I ask that we affirm our standards in police interactions by manifesting love. It is through love that we can have change. We will have that. We need a revolution of love.