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The freshman! Vito Lopez retires — and returns!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Assemblyman Vito Lopez retires on Dec. 31 after 13 newsmaking years as “the” power broker of North Brooklyn.

Don’t worry, Brooklyn — Lopez will be back on the job on Jan. 1.

Don’t understand his eye-blink retirement? You would if you were an accountant — or a fellow senior citizen lawmaker.

Thanks to Albany rules — written by Albany hacks, remember — old legislators can “retire” for one day at the end of a given term and then be sworn in the next day to their new two-year stint. The one-day retirement allows said lawmakers to collect their retirement pensions — in Lopez’s case, that’s $88,000 on top of his $92,000 salary.

Many people call that “double-dipping.” We won’t go there, but there is one term that we will start using in 2011 — “freshman,” as in “Freshman Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) is pushing a bill that would …”

So for now, we created this handy photo spread of how Lopez might have looked — for one day, at least. Enjoy.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Katie from Park Slope says:
Sorry, but another story about this? Gersh Kuntzman is so obsessed with Vito Lopez that, even though he has published about six articles related to this issue in the last two weeks, and even though nothing has changed since the first article to make any of the following articles newsworthy, he publishes another article written, not by one of his staff writers, but by himself.

Well, the question I have is, who edits the editor in chief when he writes an article? Your snarky attempt at a humor piece states that "Assemblyman Vito Lopez retires on Dec. 31 after 13 newsmaking years as “the” power broker of North Brooklyn." 13 years? Were you in that much of a rush Mr. Kuntzman? Didn't anyone fact check this simple little article? Did this make the print edition?

Lopez was first elected in 1986, and has served continuously since 1986, which means he has been in office for twenty five years as of this new year. Where did I find this? Wikipedia. Here's the link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vito_Lopez

Really, I do think that this obsession has affected the level of journalism at this paper. You may not agree with Lopez on this, but he has worked in the Assembly for twenty five years, he has paid into the pension system during this time, and this is all entirely legal. Instead of writing article after article about the very same thing, why not place some focus on all of the other issues effecting Brooklyn residents that never seem to get any time in your paper? Why not have a ten worst landlord list like the Voice, but Brooklyn focused?

I know this paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and many of these articles have to be suitable for the NY Post, but you guys aren't kept from writing about subjects that might offend the NY Post's rabidly conservative readership are you?
Dec. 30, 2010, 8:46 am
ABD from Slope says:
Beating a dead horse, no?
Dec. 30, 2010, 9:45 am
Craig from Bushwick says:
The problem runs deeper than a single Assemblymember who takes advantage of the design of system that then entire state legislature and executive branch are responsible for maintaining.

If people keep electing folks who will do nothing to change the system and, as part of the two parties, the leadership, not individual legislators control this, nothing will change.

People should start taking other party candidates seriously, whether Libertarian (for those who believe in small gov't) or Green (for those who believe in grassroots democratic control of gov't).

You get what you vote for. Even if you limit yourself to insurgents in the primaries at best you wind up with well intentioned officials controlled by their party leadership.

The public MUST take responsibility for who they put on the ballot and who they vote for. If you want change, VOTE FOR IT.
Dec. 30, 2010, 10:24 am
iNsiDeR says:
Seemingly, this paper is obsessed with Vito Lopez. I can't believe that with the CityTime Scandal, the lack of management during this snowstorm, and a variety of issues plaguing Brooklyn (from youth services to affordable housing), this paper still writes about Mr. Lopez on a weekly basis.

Let's move on and report on newsworthy material. Don't we think that if Mr. Lopez were committing a crime, he'd be indicted rapidly?
Dec. 30, 2010, 10:40 am
iNsiDeR says:
Seemingly, this paper is obsessed with Vito Lopez. I can't believe that with the CityTime Scandal, the lack of management during this snowstorm, and a variety of issues plaguing Brooklyn (from youth services to affordable housing), this paper still writes about Mr. Lopez on a weekly basis.

Let's move on and report on newsworthy material. Don't we think that if Mr. Lopez were committing a crime, he'd be indicted rapidly?
Dec. 30, 2010, 10:40 am
iNsiDeR says:
Seemingly, this paper is obsessed with Vito Lopez. It's amazing how there are various elected officials across this city and borough that are engaging in shady activities yet this paper focuses on Vito Lopez.

How about we focus on this CityTime scandal, or the fact that my street still has not been plowed, or how about talking about the issues plaguing Brooklyn (i.e. lack of youth services and affordable housing).

I think it's time to move on and leave the investigative work to real journalists not some tabloid owned by Rubert Murdoch and the real estate industry.
Dec. 30, 2010, 10:44 am
Hallelujah!! says:
Thank God! Hallelujah. Now that this paper considers Vito Lopez a freshman maybe it'll focus on more senior legislators and leave him alone. Enough is enough
Dec. 30, 2010, 11:23 am
Hallelujah!! says:
Thank God! Hallelujah. Now that this paper considers Vito Lopez a freshman maybe it'll focus on more senior legislators and leave him alone. Enough is enough
Dec. 30, 2010, 11:23 am
Hallelujah!! says:
Thank God! Hallelujah. Now that this paper considers Vito Lopez a freshman maybe it'll focus on more senior legislators and leave him alone. Enough is enough
Dec. 30, 2010, 11:23 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
This policy has already been changed. Its only available for certain politicians elected before 1990. The New York State Constitution makes it illegal to retroactively change benefits already vested. It was changed prospectively in the 1990's. Vito could have been collecting it for a long time. His pension is so high because of the number of years of service(its 1/50until you reach 20 years than its 1/40, up to a maximum of 3/4s but you can earn more after 45 years- for every year of service of the highest average salary(based on three years).
He can legally collect social security too(that should be thanks to Ronald Reagan who made that change)
Dec. 30, 2010, 12:07 pm
Tom from Bushwick says:
Its interesting, at the sidebar by Similar Stories, there is six not Similar stories, but SAME stories, ALL 6 stories are about the pension of Vito Lopez, did this story occur 6 times (now 7)?

this paper's bias is so obvious and so ridiculous its mind boggling and absurd.

Objective Journalism, PLEASE!!!
Dec. 30, 2010, 12:09 pm
Judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
WTF how does this happened? At a time when everythings gets cut, (firemen, Stanti, teacher's etc,,). We are about this foot $180grand so that this thief can steal more on top of it. That's it, I'm quitting my jobs, & running for office.
Let's have dinner Vito. I'm sure we can help each other.
Dec. 30, 2010, 12:39 pm
Judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
PS if you Vito lovers can't see something stinks here, then you aught to shut your pie holes about all that's ill in this city. You know what really pisses me off as a person of color. There are always some pimps who come around to exploit there own. Long as they give out some free cheese & frozen turkeys on Thankgiving. But you know what, just like h**kers we have love for the our pimps. This guy is a "Poverty Pimp".
Dec. 30, 2010, 12:45 pm
Addison from Clinton Hill says:
Thank god for gersh and the brooklyn paper. At least gersh has the balls to bring to light the corruption and misdeeds. Isnt that what a paper that serves the public suppose to do? gesrh keep up the good work . dont you ever weaken
Dec. 30, 2010, 6:01 pm
badillo from williamsburg says:
Vito its your fault that my car is snowed in ,my car is buried after a sanitation plow passed to close vito if you would have been the driver I would not have snow on my car
Dec. 30, 2010, 11:34 pm
iNsiDer says:
Judahspechal, there is a difference between a "Poverty Pimp" and someone who genuinely cares about their constituents and looks out for the best interest of the community. And I am sure you know that Vito Lopez is the latter an not the former. As a person of color, it really pisses me off when people of color use their color as a way to beat someone up. There is nothing more distracting than bringing up the race card to speak of something that has nothing to do with race.

Vito Lopez has done more than any other elected officials to help out Latino, Asian, and African-American New Yorkers. He has been a champion for working-class and middle-class people and has ensured that everyone has a chance to live in affordable housing in order to achieve their piece of the American Dream.
Dec. 31, 2010, 12:07 pm
Yousuck says:
Mucho huevos for you insider. Taste good huh?
Dec. 31, 2010, 12:18 pm
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
iNsiDer give me a F' breaking. Does it pisses you off when these same "Poverty Pimps" preach the "us against them speeches you & I both know take place behind close doors? Don't stamp me me with the divide and conquer label. Look in the mirror. Let's see what exactly have our so call leaders done for their people. Are we still gunning each other down in the street, pedaling drugs to each other. Are our kids falling further & further behind in education? Did Mr. Lopez turn over the Broadway Triangle to the benefit of his people? iNsiDer, I'm an outsider, so I don't know how to fall in line when the Pimps says to. At a time when teachers, Sanitation, Police & Fire are facing cuts, when the poor & disabled are facing cuts in services, a so called leader who does great thing for his people should not be double dipping in the empty cookie jar.
I have seen the enemy iNsiDer, & it's our so called leaders including those who double dip on the CIA payroll. But don't you worry, as Mr. Lopez gut continues to grow you would soon become an oUtsiDer. The room ain't that big. So hold the label, you'll soon need it.
Dec. 31, 2010, 1:37 pm
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
PS iNsiDer, make sure you hold that label high above your head, so I'll be able to send that rope down to rescue your clueless **s!
Dec. 31, 2010, 1:43 pm
NeitherDividingNorConquering from Bushwick says:
FYI, Vito is of Italian descent, not Latino. His surname is from a grandfather from Spain.
Jan. 2, 2011, 4:14 pm
Katie is Steve Levin says:
I don't think Gersh is the one obsessed with Vito. "Katie" is always there to comment the moment a negative Vito story breaks, and to point fingers at everyone else.

Well "Katie," every time you point a finger there are three pointing back at you.
Jan. 2, 2011, 11:28 pm

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