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LETTERS: Public vs. private sector jobs, saving horse racing

Public sector vs. private sector

"Teacher salaries are not the problem" [Letters, Dec. 21] stated that teacher salaries should be comparable to those in the private sector. I agree. It also stated that teaching is competitive. I disagree. How can a profession with tenure, where those in place are not removed when they no longer perform to the standard, and young, talented graduates are unable to enter the profession, be viewed as competitive?

The writer also suggested that the public get more involved. I agree. But how do we address the real issue: Teacher pensions and benefits that are not comparable to the private sector?

Today, most private sector employees don't have pensions, and those that do don't come close to the percent of salary that public-sector employees enjoy. Private-sector employees also pay more for less generous medical benefits, which are limited to their time of employment. And private-sector employees do not have an option that guarantees 8-percent-plus returns on their 401(k) plans.

Public sector salaries should be competitive with those in the private sector - but so should everything else.

Robert Biancardi

Valley Stream

No doubt that this is a tough time of the year to lose a job ["Mangano foes among fired workers," News, Dec. 23]. After hearing for years about the salary sacrifices made by employees who work in the public sector for the benefits they will reap when they retire, I have no doubt that these capable appointees will land plum jobs in the private sector with better salaries.

Bill Harrison

Franklin SquareGet the VLTs going

I am not surprised that Charles Hayward, New York Racing Association president, has said that NYRA may not be able to have the Belmont Stakes in 2010 ["Holding its horses?" News, Dec. 22].

The installation of video lottery terminals at Aqueduct was approved 10 years ago. The bids for the operator were due in early May of this year. Still, no VLT operator has been chosen, plus the bids were reopened to ensure New York $200 million within a month of the decision. This upfront payment could keep NYRA afloat until VLTs are built.

According to the 2009 Jockey Club report, the number of mares bred in New York decreased 15 percent and the number bred in a neighboring state with better breeder awards increased 29 percent. In 2003, this neighboring state had VLTs up and running within one year of their being proposed.

Still New York's power brokers procrastinate, despite knowing VLT revenue will reduce the state budget deficit and knowing the destructive effect of their indecision on breeders, farm owners and workers, and racetrack and veterinary staff.

Carol Swenson

Lake GroveEditor's note: The writer is a thoroughbred breeder and owner.