Thank you for publishing a beautiful article about our sister, Victoria Ruvolo [“Turkey toss victim dies,” News, March 28]. Thank you also for your excellent reporting of her remarkable story years ago. By conveying the generosity of her beautiful spirit to the public, Newsday and other media helped her to profoundly inspire untold thousands of people.
Victoria’s generosity was more than just a story, and very far from one off in a courtroom. She made countless speeches after her recovery from the serious injuries she suffered when a turkey was thrown at her moving car in 2004.
She encouraged others to find forgiveness in their hearts. She spoke to groups of young people, her amazing impact evidenced by their hundreds of heartfelt letters. Week after week, she engaged with offenders in the Suffolk County probation department’s TASTE program — Thinking errors, Anger management, Social skills, Talking and Empathy — the project she particpated in with psychologist Robert Goldman. As the proxy victim in the room, she enabled offenders to feel the consequences of their actions. She became passionate about restorative justice, and she and Goldman co-wrote the book “No Room for Vengeance.” This was a highlight of her life.
We hope the TASTE program can continue. May Victoria’s untimely death remind people of the fine example she set and that programs like TASTE have a place in public life.
Jo Marie Brennan,
Talk of miscarriage could help others
My heart goes out to Hilaria Baldwin, wife of actor Alec Baldwin. She said on social media she might be having a miscarriage. If I could come up with the words to bring comfort, I would. Instead, I would like to address a reader who thought it was wise to tell Baldwin to limit what she posts on social media, and that we really don’t need to know [“Please, it’s too much information,” Letters, April 8].
It was brave of Baldwin to tell of her personal tragedy. If talking about it brings her some sort of meaning, whether it be cathartic closure or otherwise, who are we to say keep it to yourself? We should also keep in mind that her statement lets other victims of loss know that it’s OK to reach out for help.
After reassessment: Give voters a voice
It is a sad commentary when Nassau County Executive Laura Curran threatens to veto a countywide referendum on whether the assessor should be elected or appointed [“Panel: Vote for assessor,” News, April 9].
Curran appointed an assessor who, based on his resume and errors he has made in the property reassessment process, doesn’t seem to be qualified. Is the county executive afraid to let voters voice their opinion, and is she worried about a reassessment fiasco that seems to be filled with inaccuracies, inequities and inconsistencies?
Some legislators are concerned that some Nassau County taxpayers will have to pay large increases caused by the recent tax reassessment process. This reassessment was aimed at bringing all taxpayers with similar properties back to fair market value that is not distorted by successful grievances that were granted in past years.
My question is this: Why weren’t the same legislators concerned in the past about the higher taxes paid by some who did not successfully grieve their assessments? Those who complain now about their tax increases were not complaining when they paid less than their fair share.
What’s fair is fair. Everyone should pay the taxes that have been calculated under the reassessment process.
John R. Volpe,
Nassau County says on its website that assessed property values cannot be increased by more than 6 percent in any year, and not by more than 20 percent in five years. However, in its ongoing reassessment, the county changed the definition of assessed value by changing the percentage applied to the fair market value from 0.25 percent to 0.1 percent. This let it raise a property’s fair market value while lowering the assessed value used to calculate taxes.
How much a homeowner’s taxes will rise or fall will depend upon the new assessed value and tax rate. All of us who thought we were protected by the 6 percent increase law have been duped. For example: at 0.25 percent, a $100,000 home has an assessed value of 250. If the new fair market assessment is 200,000, at 0.1 percent the new assessed value would be 200. How can the fair market value double and the assessed value be less? This is how they have manipulated the math to disallow the 6 percent annual increase protection.
Anyone who grieved his or her taxes as allowed by law could be in for a major tax increase. Perhaps the county should refund the costs we paid to outside firms to grieve our assessments.
Paul J. Schrader,