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Amazing reunion story

January 19, 2011 1:55:24 PM PST
A remarkable story unfolding tonight in the Bronx, where a 23-year-old woman, stolen from a hospital room in Harlem when she was just three weeks old, tonight is with her parents.

Her name is Carlina White, although she was raised as Nejdra Nance in Bridgeport, Connecticut. How she finally found her parents is an amazing story, an emotional journal that started when Carlina, doubting her connection to the people who raised her, searched the web and found a picture of a missing little girl that looked just like she did in the pictures her supposed parents had taken of her when she was a baby.

She then contacted a national missing children's group, and earlier this month the connection with the parents was made. They met for the first time this past weekend. And tonight, she's coming home. Finally, after 23 years. As for the people who took her, they're looking for them. And what of the people who raised her? And how did they get her? No formal charges have been filed. Yet. Jim Dolan is on this goose-bump kinda story, at 11.

Also at 11, if you listened to or read Mayor Bloomberg's State of the City address today, there were times where you'd think he had just been elected Mayor of New York. Why else would he wait nine years to talk about reforming the City's system of worker pensions?

For those old enough to remember the good old days of companies funding defined pension plans, it was quite a bargain. Work, retire, and then enjoy a fully loaded pension and health care package.

Most companies abandoned the plans because they were so costly. It's what helped drive General Motors into bankruptcy two years ago. Warren Buffett called the once-biggest company in the world a health care and pension company with a car-making component.

Those defined benefits pension plans were replaced by the employee-contribution 401-k plans. It's a fraction of what workers used to get, but it's not driving corporations into bankruptcy.

These days just about the only peeps who get the old-fashioned plans are public employees. For some, especially those who are underpaid like big-city cops and teachers ? it's the redeeming value for a job that pays a fairly low wage.

For others, though, it's become a welfare-state benefit. And the bitter irony is that taxpayers who are either overtaxed or out of work are picking up the tab. Pension costs have risen from $1.5 billion in 2001, to $7 billion this year which means taxpayers are paying $2,400 more each year to cover public employee pensions in New York City.

In fact, the Mayor made this calculation: If all consumer prices had gone up at the same rate as the price of City pensions, the subway fare would be $7.05 this year, and $8.39 next year.

He wants the City to negotiate pension funds with unions; right now the state sets pension benefits.

The Mayor made two proposals: Use former Mayor Ed Koch to spearhead the pension reform effort, and a promise that he wouldn't sign any salary increase unless it was also accompanied by a benefit reform package.

Mr. Bloomberg pledged no new taxes, but mentioned nothing about rescinding the income tax increase the City got last year. He also said nothing about the controversy over the way the City handled last month's blizzard, a situation that saw the Mayor's ratings plummet.

We'll have reaction to the Mayor's address, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're on Long Island, where DNA tests have identified one of the four bodies unearthed on Gilgo Beach last month. She is a prostitute from Maine, last seen at a hotel in Hauppauge.

Authorities say the ID's of the other three skeletal remains will be made soon. The bigger question remains, who killed these people?

And for those who buy into the weight-loss mania that is especially heated this time of year, Consumer Reports sheds some light on which big-name diet plan is more effective: Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem? The group already looked into Weight Watchers.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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