Archive | June, 2013

Community starts to Question Cuomo’s War on LICH.

23 Jun


It was reported that each year 100,000 patients visited the Emergency Rooms of LICH or — more than the total population of Albany.

The communities surrounding Long Island College Hospital (LICH), a mainstay and safety net for 150 years — and starting to post signs wondering where (Governor) Cuomo has been hiding. State agencies like SUNY and Dept. of Health have been brutalizing this Brooklyn institution employing 2,000 and serving nearly 1 million residents and visitors. They both report to him. Many offers have been made by organization that want to keep it a working hospital.

And yet… no response from Gov. Cuomo for why the 10 offers to keep LICH open? How can a Governor not visit to our downtown streets and hold no press conferences to explain what he has in mind? Local elected officials — all Democrats — seemed reluctant to speak His Name across 2013, but lately our State Senator, Assemblyperson, City Councilmembers, U.S. Congresswomen… are shut-out themselves from communication with a Governor that doesn’t at all seem to be acting in the Public Interest.

At least 10,000 voicemails to Gov. Cuomo, letters, protests have all gone unanswered. This is an issue of great importance across our areas, from Red Hook through Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, Downtown, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill and around to the DUMBO area. Anyone can have a heart attack, get injured at any moment – what then?

PatrolsantiambLICHYet, as LICH is controlled by SUNY Downstate… its been crippled as a ‘teaching hospital’ over the past 4-5 months. The Emergency Rooms have been patrolled by a State-funded (?) private security army — in Black uniforms — that chase would-be patients away, according to many at rallies. They patrol, and keep ambulances from entering. It’s more absurd each day. Yet, the NY Times chooses not to interview or question the NY Governor — about what threatens the healthcare of any of 100,000s of residents? what of the asthmatic children in Red Hook and families with seniors that need constant care? where are their stories — put to the Governor?

It seems there’s a WAR ON LICH — an everyday assault on the hospital by SUNY (which means Gov. Cuomo). And a blind-eye turned from the NY State Dept. of Health (which means Gov. Cuomo).

The unions still seem to hold out hope that Gov. Cuomo will reverse his assault — for what many say is for the value of the real estate (large buildings in Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill) estimated at $1 billion. State Senator Squadron gamely asked aloud on the floor at Albany — if the sale goes through, would the revenue be dedicated for healthcare/budget in Brooklyn or NYC? Why is the real estate sale, more important people’s health? How has Gov. Cuomo been able to avoid outward criticism from NY Media (NY Times foremost) for openly putting so many middle and low income Brooklynites at risk? For over 6 months we believed that Gov. Cuomo is not only aware of the crisis — but has orchestrated it from behind the SUNY Board (as he’s appointed them, most notably its head, longtime Democrat Carl McCall).

When will he answer to New Yorkers, about the many that wanted to BUY and/or MANAGE LICH as a hospital? why isn’t all this in the Public Eye and open/transparent?

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June Meeting features David Storobin, Ballot Petitions and Results of our Mayoral poll.

13 Jun

Our June meeting switched gears from the Mayoral election, somewhat – as Brownstone welcomed Republican NYC Council candidate David Storobin (Brighton Beach, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay). He updated attendees on his campaign’s momentum, his views on issues facing his district including efforts post-Sandy – as well as his political history of winning a NY Senate seat only to be ‘redistricted’ out of office.


Mr. Storobin first visited BRC before he began his political life, a few years back. He’s a family man at 34 years old, recounts his childhood in Russia and the differences of life in the country of his birth vs. freedom and opportunity in America.  An attorney with offices nearby, he has great energy for representing his home area of southern Brooklyn. He has been targeted by media for his views, many outwardly conservative and “traditional”.  Mr. Storobin is unapologetic and believes that NYC government is better served by a representative that relays exactly how his community feels across issues. As a result, Mr. Storobin says he has the backing of the Conservative Party, the Brooklyn Conservative Party and communicates his appreciation of their active support of his campaign at events. (He had the endorsement of Conservatives as well as the Republican Party, in his 2012 for NY Senate.)

With only 3 or 4 Republicans in the 51-seat City Council, he knows that his perspectives will bring debate on many issues that are nearly rubber-stamped by its “One Party”-system. One example that was discussed was a bill currently considered for adding a mandatory 1-2 vacation weeks for restaurant employees — and Mr. Storobin feels its more of a “job killer”.

With every confidence in consideration of his winning track-record, Mr. Storobin is setting out in the petition-process and expanding his base of support. He hopes to get as many as 3-lines on the ballot, and doesn’t know if he’ll face any GOP primary opposition (as other candidates can possibly step forward).

The BRC board advanced the June meeting by two weeks in response to requests by many members — who wanted ample time to ‘get signatures’ (due in early July) and walk petitions for the candidate of their choice. Many had expressed that they’d only seen the ballots for John Catsimatidis — underscoring the independent nature of the Brownstone club — and had questions for how to handle ballots for other candidates like Joe Lhota, for example. Some had commented that they wouldn’t walk anyone’s ballot for pay, and wanted to know how they can walk any Lhota’s petitions as a volunteer. Advancing the meeting’s date however had its effect with quick notice just 2+ weeks after our May meeting — as turnout was 23 attendees.

Responsive to BRC members wanting Lhota:

Many BRC members hadn’t received petitions. With the signatures due within a month’s time, there were many requests to move the meeting up.

With the Kings County GOP endorsing John Catsimatidis for Mayor, and having visited (along with campaign managers) to bolster support/petition carrying for its candidate a few weeks ago during our May meeting — many BRC members and attendees asked for an independent process where they may select/choose to walk that of Joe Lhota. (There was no similar verbal support for McDonald). Responsive to this, the BRC reached out to the Lhota campaign to send a representative and (in equal time to what the Club experienced during the May meeting, impromtu) explain/express any options for those in Brownstone that wanted to walk petitions/support their campaign. Many members were pleased the option was presented to them.

Results of Brownstone poll for GOP Mayoral primary announced:

Across the last few months, the Brownstone club conducted an active survey — for member reaction to Mayoral candidates they have seen and hear from in person (being each has visited in 2013). While discussions have all been open, and active debates have been extraordinary during the April, May and June meetings particularly — many BRC members would not respond unless the polling was done anonymously. The voting was announced by email and email, with votes that were open to direct-response, or phone, or our Facebook page and naturally face to face, as expressed at meetings directly with Board members. The tally was kept active, cumulative and anyone was able to ‘change their votes’ at any time, if they felt swayed one way or another during or in-between any of our meetings. During the 2nd half of the meeting, the responses were announced:

68% would vote for Joe Lhota in the Sept. 10th primary
– 13% for John Catsimatidis
– 0% for candidate George McDonald (believing it a 2-horse race)
– 18% Undecided as of the June meeting

The results indicate a very strong support for the experience of Mr. Lhota. Under anonymity, many relayed the strengths and weaknesses and reasons for their choice (withheld for a future blog post). Some of the 18% Undecided sub-set, interestingly enough, communicated the strong-points of George McDonald (“passion, this guy would kick tail if he ever got in“) but did not ‘vote’ for him in the poll. Others naming themselves as “undecided” also expressed support for Adolpho Carrion, Jr. and Tom Allon… who they wished stayed in the race, particularly for his perspectives on public school education.

After the results were announced attendees (members) proposed to endorse the candidacy of Joe Lhota, based on the results of the poll. They openly voted by a show of hands to have the Brownstone Republican Club endorse him for Mayor. However, the independent nature of our membership and Club would allow any member to freely and actively support the candidate(s) of their choice.

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