LICH in the balance. Nine proposals presented at St. Francis College this evening.

25 Mar

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As was announced during our March meeting (last night, post to come), concerned residents of Brooklyn can visit St. Francis College tonight (180 Remsen Street) for a public presentation of the 9 proposals for Long Island College Hospital LICH). The session is slated to begin at 6 pm and is being run by 7 community organizations including the Cobble Hill Association and CGNA.

Many of our Brownstone members have supported the legal fight vs. approaches of NY State all along, and certainly will attend — as this issue is essentially ‘life or death’ to many 100,000s of residents, visitors and workers across Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Red Hook and Brownstone Brooklyn. Our hospital has been here for 150 years, and ahead of the Bridge – and Brooklyn itself was designed with it as a foundation. It’s a vital part of our community and its well-being/healthcare, and was a ‘teaching hospital’ until beset by NY State mismanagement (recently). Baby boomers getting older is fact of American life. We will lose untold neighbors of LICH is allowed to fall to the highest bidder. The community wants a FULL SERVICE HOSPITAL — like what had existed before State agencies began managing LICH into the ground, seemingly in order to capitalize on its real estate.

Even with the $8 BILLION that’s come back to NYC for the health of our hospitals — NY State had chosen to sell the real estate in Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill last year — instead of looking for a suitor to run it as a full service hospital. The New York Times has taken the bait, and supported the NY Governor’s and SUNY’s management claims – without exposing the truths that any one of a million Brooklyn residents, here can relay. Now, we are on the clock for the “best” proposal.

Our statewide elected officials (Democrats we won’t name, here) are selling out of People — and this “achilles heel” may the best hope of Rob Astorino to win the Governorship. Thus far he has been silent — most probably because our Party has overlooked the impact of a MILLION RESIDENTS/visitors/drivers on the BQE living each day within the region served by LICH. Add that many 100s of jobs (union jobs, at that), our local economy, the lives of our residents — all are ignored/belittled, despite the rhetoric of the Democratic Party.

Elected officials (of our One Party System) that had been increasingly emboldened throughout 2013 — have been awkwardly more silent, now that the standard bearers of City Hall and Albany have reached an accord on how to streamline the process of sale? It’s been our collective position for well over a year, that NY State has sought to close the 150-year old hospital — employing private security to BLOCK the emergency room entrance, turn away ambulances (!), using State agencies to bleed funds for years and actually ferry patients out in the middle of the night, on their beds.

This is an issue that shaped the NYC Mayoral race last year when the Public Advocate (that hadn’t a record to run on, in four years and scant as a career politician) was able to gain traction by being arrested (on camera) while joining what many believed was his first rally to save the hospital in mid-July, 2013. He soared from 7% polling figures. Candidates Liu and Weiner were also present, and were lost to history. They hadn’t seized the moment.

http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/13/dtg-lich-proposals-revealed-2014-03-28-bk_37_13.html

Always remember, that late as 2012… fully 100,000 patients were treated through the Emergency Rooms of LICH.. and that the total population of Albany is only 98,000.

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Crimea river! As “Bracket Obama” strikes again on ESPN.

19 Mar

Hey, Putin.. You’re taking Crimea, but who you taking in the Final Four?

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When history looks back at the Russian approaches to Crimea, figuratively appropriate during this month of March — you can bet U.S. history doesn’t include a day-by-day account of what our President Obama was doing? March Madness for sure. Experts say that Putin was winging this strategy – to see what the USA would do, each step. Our President was vacationing in Florida one weekend, black tie events at the White House du jour, fundraisers in NoCal, buying sweaters in a Manhattan GAP store before more NYC fundraisers. (But, who will be reminded of all that?)

Today, there are intelligent discussions on and across NPR — about what actions the USA is taking or should take, as Russia seems to be claiming the Crimea in a show of international disregard for the West and the Ukraine. Our news is flooded with events of yesterday, today and results of aggressive action. (But, President Obama has Michigan State to win it all. He picked the favorites again — “chalky picks” is the name for it for basketball circles for simply taking no risks, and selecting just the colleges that the media/experts have already chosen across the last few days.) These days, because the White House is seeking ways to promote “ObamaCare” — they can always wash this as an excuse for signing-up young adults. In fact, here’s the actual WHITE HOUSE web-page promoting his picks.

What else, what else.. Oh, the economy? Laser focus on jobs? Nah.

Wait, there’s also a jet airliner missing in South Asia (along with hundreds of people including Americans and Chinese nationals) – reports today are people in the Maldives reported seeing a jet flying low four hours west of where it was last reported to be about 10 days ago. Israel believes this plane can be weaponized, fitted with a nuke and readies for a worst-case scenario. The pilot’s home flight simulator included 5 landing sites — including the very airstrip in the Maldives in question? Someone turned off the transponder during that infamous flight — and thus contact in the cockpit, before it was “lost”.  Was this all intentional? It’s a global mystery. But, there’s also the NCAA college basketball tournament! (And this WH never misses a chance for easy national media coverage.)

Our President has done this for 6 years in a row, to be fair (that’s 5 prior to this year’s excuse of promoting ObamaCare). It’s part of his legacy? And it doesn’t matter to the teams that he picks “against” either, polls show they voted for him anyway. A Fundie-guy all the way, this President can work in a good time — no matter what the costs. No matter what Russia or China or Mitt Romney thinks, nor families longing for their loved ones in Malaysia.

Crimea river…

Here’s the Huffington Post account of Obama Brackets — submitted without mention of all there’s to do, aside from the NCAAs (click). 

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What “Vision Zero” may reveal – is a Mayor with Zero Vision.

21 Feb

Stop at stop signs? Drive responsibly? Maybe for the rest of us, but not for a Limousine Liberal in a hurry. DownloadedFile (Just so happens that CBS-2 reporter Marcia Kramer was following the Mayor’s 2-limo motorcade.) NOTE: the original CBS video was pulled/blocked some weeks following this posting, and we’ve replaced it with this (click) and this (click).

Just days after NYC Mayor proposed lowering speed limits across the city — he is in the front seat and part of breaking many of the existing laws. The hypocrisy wasn’t missed. But did the Mayor request the speeding or blowing stop signs? Was he aware? To his defense, he was probably texting or tweeting the whole time… When questioned, our Mayor claims that driving through Stop Signs, and speeding is a NYPD sanctioned way of protecting him. This rings more like an excuse (after being caught, naturally) as sirens usually are used as a warning to all, in cases of police breaking lights and needing to quickly move themselves or VIPs through traffic, etc.

VISION ZERO

While Brownstone has long wanted tougher laws and enforcement on reckless drivers — we’d ask people/media to more closely examine what’s behind the Mayor’s new program.

If the issue is pedestrian safety, then why on Earth aren’t high-speed cyclists part of the discussion? 

Firstly, we believe cars should be legally akin to loaded guns when it comes to hitting people, running them over (particularly in crosswalks where pedestrian Right of Way is often ignored). However, our new Mayor isn’t creating a program with the name “Vision Zero” — he’s simply following the lead of the Bike Lobby. Attached to this “safe streets” measure is EXACTLY NO RESTRICTIONS nor nary a mention of high-speed cyclists barreling through intersections, riding on sidewalks or not slowing at red lights. So, why would the NYC Dept. of Transportation promote to the NYC City Council or adopt it, with a myopic view of cars/autos? Do we have yet another example of this Tale of Two Cities (harsher for drivers)?

Case in point, just Google the website of foremost Bike Lobby in our city: “Transportation Alternatives’ Vision Zero NYC calls upon the Mayor’s Office to rally City agencies to develop a comprehensive plan..” 

Policy is supposed to be equal.  City Hall is promoting it by saying it comes “from Sweden” — but whether its adopted there or San Francisco isn’t the matter, more than the Bike Lobby that driving this latest measure of wanting to eliminate cars. Did our Mayor simply take the bait/hook from his advisors that are most likely active Members of Transportation Alternatives (NY’s most active anti-car lobby) and doubtless pushing quite proactively for more bike lanes, within all of this (hello Verrazano Bridge?).

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Why was DeBlasio unprepared for a snow storm? (spoiler alert: yesterday was a holiday)

21 Jan

(This blog-post was added/edited after this date – to include bits for news coverage, this underscored the credible reaction/criticism and response of City Hall. Brownstone Republican Club believes the reason was simple – yesterday was MLK Jr. Day. Maybe “City Hall” took yesterday and last night, off?)

Tuesday the snow fell heavily on New York City as it does each winter, and as it has steadily this year. Throughout this day, our news media was alerted to distress calls abounding through the day. It became national news and the subject of 100s of guesses as to how NYC can be crippled considering its resources and expertise, in clearing snow — ranging from vindictiveness of DeBlasio’s leadership (as per NJ’s Gov. Christie’s attention with the George Washington Bridge lane closings last year), to outright incompetence which is closer to the answer. (We have no evidence either wasn’t the case, but would offer the most simple answer that seemed never mentioned by our NYC media.)

new-york-post-shambles

A Sanitation Department plow operator confirmed that officials were blindsided when the snow began falling in the heart of the morning rush instead of 11 a.m. or noon, as had been forecast.”

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day — a holiday across all NYC agencies. Is it possible that the Sanit.-workers just hadn’t fit the trucks with plows across the morning? That the decision-makers at City Hall weren’t reachable by SDNY brass/communications — since Sanitation with their track record, should be given the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the double overtime pay-scale (or more?) wasn’t approved by City Hall? Even as the news/weather reporters indicated that the major snow storm was bearing down on our City, our Mayor and City officials seemed to posture that it caught them off-guard?..

(Now that NYC is essentially run by one political party, across all arms of government – and no one wants to upset the Mayor this early in his first term — can we expect this story to fade? will anyone in the City Council wonder if City workers/SDNY were out in too large a number to cope with early snowfall?) NYC was caught unprepared. It seemed the snow plows, Sanitation trucks weren’t deployed until well into the afternoon.

This sparked reaction and attacks that all this had been premeditated somehow, that DeBlasio’s “home” areas of Park Slope did see streets cleared while other areas — like Manhattan’s Upper East Side didn’t see any plowing into the evening. Reports were City buses took 3 hours to travel one block. Parents and nannies headed to City buses stalled in traffic, in the direction of uptown toward Harlem — and had the time to remove their children, because of the huge delays. 5630a911-3e5c-48de-bb58-3f66ea6b6d1d_BelpYdmIMAAErl_

Accidents everywhere, matched the number of excuses and double-speak from City Hall.

It became national news, as Yahoo News and many TV, web news sites ran the story. They seemed to relish in the class-bashing angle, that the “tale of two cities” had seen its tables turned. (Overlooking the dangers of the FDR being stalled, massive tie-ups across midtown, the UES its transportation arteries, like the 59th Street bridge and Queens Midtown Tunnel.) We can’t expect national news to resist that Manhattan was no longer the priority, it was now Brooklyn. But, we live here and know better. 

We believe it was just a holiday, yesterday — and City Hall had its first day “off”. 

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Martin Luther King Jr. remembered.

20 Jan

Celebrating an American icon on his National Holiday. Here’s the “I Have a Dream” speech (courtesy of YouTube).

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And as media does reflect on MLK Jr. Day, there’s a good chance it will neglect to mention how it came to be a Federal holiday across the America. Thanks to President Reagan, here’s why it is a day of remembrance (YouTube video).

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President Obama Depicts Himself – in the Place of Icons.

5 Dec

Nelson Mandela passed. The saddening news came late this afternoon. Mandela was a global inspirational icon — a symbol of perseverance and overcoming South Africa’s apartheid. Mandela inspired hope and of a post-colonial Africa. His life-story is one of privilege, natural-born leadership across 4 generations, education, sacrifice, being  re-born as a statesman, of self-reflection, ultimately becoming President of South Africa and an incredibly calm, intelligent and measured global voice.

Mr. Mandela was 95 and had been hospitalized for quite some time. During a promotional trip to Africa this summer, Mandela’s family politely refused the visit of Pres. Obama to his bedside — maybe anticipating the usage of that moment by the American White House?

obama-mandela-cell

Immediately today, the White House “tweeted” Pres. Obama’s heartfelt comments — but also released a photo of President Obama at one of the jail cells where Nelson Mandela was isolated for 27 years. The Obama First Family which had been touring Africa (at a cost of $100 million to taxpayers) is depicted, listening to tour guides, possibly about how Mandela was allowed to send but 1 (one) letter per 6 months to his own family — wife, children, grandchildren. Odd today, that exalting, celebratory or triumphant photos of Nelson Mandela at our White House could not be used to appreciate his life and significance? His life and significance.

The White House had just received national criticism just 4 days ago — on the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ bold and pivotal defiance to take ‘her place’ in the back of a Montgomery bus. It had handled a historical event not with her iconic picture, but his prepared image? This was immediately reported on by media nationwide.

obama-rosa-parks

Their online story highlighted that Pres. Obama’s WH had done the exact same thing, a year prior: “As we reported last year, the picture of Obama sitting in the bus was taken during a fundraising trip last April at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, where the vehicle currently sits.” And also furthered an issue that rankles news media for how Obama’s image is controlled: “At the time the photo was taken, White House press corps photographers were kept on the sidelines, ABC News reported.”

Rosa-Parks

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In an era of the “selfie” — where self-focus is increasing — we have a President that seems essentially interested in how he looks, putting himself in as subject matter, how it appears (as propaganda or using the news?) and how the importance of a greater event reflects on him? Critics refer to narcissism.

We believe there should be more critics.

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New Jersey and Connecticut poaching NYC (already?)

20 Nov

Chris Christie

Across the NY Post and CBS, news websites — our two neighboring states of NJ and Connecticut seem to be salivating. Preparing

They’re set on capitalizing on NYC’s electing a new Mayor that seems less “business friendly” (as per his disdain for keeping 2,000 jobs from moving to NJ, considering his rhetoric regarding Fresh Direct being kept in the Bronx by Mayor Bloomberg). The ‘progressive’ talk of taxing the rich and the mass-appeal of free “universal pre-school” paid for by increasing taxes — has alerted New Yorkers that new taxes of all sorts may be just on the horizon?

Clearly, the offices of our neighboring Mayors and Governors in CT and NJ were watching. However, here… after a day of this from Chris Christie and a week of TV commercials by CT’s Governor — there’s NO RESPONSE prepared in defense (or offense) from either Mario Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, nor Mayor-Elect Bill DeBlasio. We may be seeing a renewed war on NYC businesses, whether NYC wants to fight or not.

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New York Post:

“You see taxes being increased there,” Christie said. “You have a new mayor in New York who is aggressively talking about increasing taxes in New York City. While I feel badly for New Yorkers, come to New Jersey.

Christie is not the only politician encouraging New Yorkers to move out of state.

Tom Foley, the GOP candidate for governor in Connecticut, released ads this week encouraging New Yorkers to move to Connecticut.

“Enjoy one more year in your city and then come join us in Connecticut,” Foley says in a TV spot.

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New Jersey and Connecticut have grown rich on the back of the economic engine that’s New York City — and built overall per capita income to the USA’s highest levels. Because essentially, they are mainland suburbs of NYC. For the most part they have drawn NYC businesses away by promising more space, less taxes and easier transportation costs (for goods and workers). There’s less “crime” and “better schools” — a euphemism that speaks to people seeking homogenous neighborhoods and towns. When COOs and CEOs and Owners move, they bring their offices/business with them — so that they need not ride in cars stuck in traffic (especially over bridges/tunnels) and in commuter trains. For 20-25 years, NJ has also targeted Seniors and retirees to “over 55 communities” — many sell homes, build a bank account and spend on goods/services in the NJ economy. NYC of late, mostly seems to focus on the young, new professional (bike lanes, Silicon Alley business incubators, etc.) and seems not to discourage turn-over (which means Real Estate revenues/taxes raised).

(Last time this effort was reported in the media — was directly after 9-11 attacks when they urged businesses to install back-office and digital files away from the ‘danger’ of NYC terrorist attacks). No matter how it feels from NYC’s perspective, it happens. Wealth leaves. Wall St. back-office and trading firms have jumped across the Hudson River. Look at how Jersey City has grown a SKYLINE since 9-11-2001.

Let’s hope its not a mass migration — and that the Mayor-Elect has some answers.

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President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – 150 years ago, today

19 Nov

In the words of President Lincoln:
“It’s altogether fitting that we do this.”

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(click for official Gettysburg website)

Today at the site of the Gettysburg battlefield some of America will reflect on Civil War sacrifices that were of utmost importance to American history.

President Lincoln travelled to the site, six months after the horrific fighting to speak of the honor of BOTH the soldiers lost to North and South armies. His brief but watershed speech named the Gettysburg Address is one of the most important in USA history. Today’s events will be broadcast live to over 70,000 colleges and universities, K-12 schools, public libraries, and museums. Hopefully, it will be “covered” by our media, or even mentioned in passing by NYC school teachers.

America was still a young nation, and a experiment apart from monarchy. Many were living enslaved for generations, and 1863 was merely 5-6 years apart from the Dred Scott decision that ensured by law that those enslaved were not U.S. citizens – but property. No matter how we learn from the Civil War, and understand its onset and reasons and States’ Rights et. al. — what cannot be extracted from its role in American history is President Lincoln. He’s born from the Abolitionists, and from a then young Republican Party that was set on ending Slavery. It was Brooklyn’s Henry Ward Beecher and Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights that brings Lincoln to New York (he was set to speak at Plymouth Church, when weather necessitated the change of venue to Cooper Union). As we express in local meetings of BRC, there’s a reason why Beecher’s statue stands facing Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Although our President Obama had famously used Springfield, Illinois for candidacy-launching public events, and the “Lincoln bible” for two inauguration ceremonies (2009, 2012) — this White House has for the most part overlooked the significance of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln presidency, Lincoln’s 200th birthday and 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. (All might have been unifying, teaching moments after extremely divisive tactics of the Obama election year campaigns.) It’s no surprise it follows, that President Obama today would neglect to make an appointment to read the Address or participate at today’s ceremony.. even by Skype? Or, to restore and update Americans and millions of school-children nationwide how “those here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

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The Gettysburg Address, as delivered Nov. 19, 1863:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

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ADDENDUM:

The White House released a 272-word statement by President Obama after 8 pm on their website. (Presumably, although its been Valerie Jarret that’s done this late-day fixing before for major national moments overlooked by the WH team – like adding a press release on the WH website in the late-day/evening of the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination earless this year). Pres. Obama writes longhand here, guess to “prove” these are his thoughts? about how he reflects on Lincoln, late nights.. when Michelle and the kids are sleeping etc. etc. And the WH ‘tweeted’ that he may have gone to Gettysburg today.. but he was working on the ObamaCare website fix. (Sure he was.)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/barack-obama-gettysburg-address_n_4305615.html

Bill DeBlasio Wins in a Landslide.

5 Nov

“He will lead this city with courage, empathy and vision…” — says the new First Lady-to be in introducing her husband, Bill DeBlasio for his acceptance speech. We hope so, too. Because the election is over.

He’s been a politician for decades. Now, he’s our Mayor.

Mr. DeBlasio’s first words: “All of our work is really just beginning… and we have no illusions about the work that’s ahead. Tackling inequality is never easy. It won’t be solved overnight. But make it clear that the people of this City has chosen a Progressive path.” Yes, it certainly has, no matter what pundits say about the Bloomberg Backlash for that 3rd term that put DeBlasio in citywide office 4 years ago and helped him now in a tidal wave.

And sure.. yes as well, after 5 years we have a U.S. President that’s been a non-stop Campaigner-in-Chief. But this is NYC – and criticism can come within seconds. A Mayor DeBlasio could be every bit the teleprompter office-holder we see in D.C.  But, he’s got a chance to unite now – and calm the rhetoric that got him elected. Clean slate. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope we have a Mayor like the one anticipated by a cheerleading NY-1 commentator, this evening — “he’s going to accomplish so much.”

Bill himself says tonight, that “the stakes are so high for every New Yorker”.

Onward to 2014. Good Luck, Mayor-Elect DeBlasio.

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Worst press endorsement in U.S. history? NY Daily News puts tail between its legs.

3 Nov

UFTDeblasioToday, the NY Daily News endorsed for NYC Mayor — the candidate without the managerial experience to be the City’s chief executive. Strangely, its written almost as if they didn’t really want to endorse him — but figured most of their readers are Democrats, union members, etc. — and just was playing to their audience? Read the endorsement yourself, which is as far from the cliche of “a ringing endorsement” as any, ever before. These are DIRECT QUOTES unless they edit vs. their printed version:

“We do so with worrying reservations”

“an often unrealistic platform”

“Republican rival Joe Lhota is a highly accomplished man.”

“he (DeBlasio) displayed a frightening ideological bent”

“with campaign rhetoric that ran counter to the best interests of the Office he will occupy”

“He will have to do a lot better to avoid becoming the Mayor who brought back murder” (!)

“hasn’t a prayer of succeeding on those scores”

“DeBlasio offered few realistic ideas for raising achievement” (on Education)

“although lacking management experience”

“willing to reverse course to suit political needs” 

“endorsement extended with trepidation”

Moreover, the real DeBlasio is hardly mentioned in this summary, as the NY Daily News does its readership a great disservice. Our guess its because he’s got the UFT and many other unions behind him, and that’s why no mention — or attention was paid to the many contracts due (and DeBlasio’s/Democrats reportedly signed a letter promising them goodies ahead of negotiations? like retro-pay maybe? who knows what back-door promises are being made?). The candidate that will say anything to get elected — isn’t grilled on what he’s been saying. But, all this is nothing new as there’s a public record — albeit also ignored. We’ve already seen how his constituents respond to the sticker-shock of the elected official vs. the one that campaigns — just isn’t news, to the NY Daily News.  In Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens Democrats wondered about his actions amid the Gowanus canal/Superfund discussions & special offers for $1 in property/zoning variances, Bruce Ratner paid for his 50th birthday party (!) — and “low income housing” is yet to be built, or even ground broken associated with the Barclay’s Center.

Can anyone actually “name 3 things” he’s done as Public Advocate? — although he’s celebrated his own joining the fight to save LICH/Long Island College Hospital on July 10th, 2013 (!!) when he was polling at 7% in the Democratic Primary. Brooklyn residents sent 10,000s of letters, voicemails, emails, protesting in the streets and at meetings for years — without getting the attention of the Public Advocate’s office vs. Gov. Cuomo/SUNY’s motives. Again, as BRC mentioned many times since — he’s YET to hold Gov. Cuomo’s feet to this issue, as he holds his hand (for mutual promotion/photo opportunities).

This is what the Daily News finds heroic?

The candidate that went to Nicaragua to help Sandinista rebels in his 20s (by the way, who paid for the trip?) and Cuba for his honeymoon. Despite published articles that show DeBlasio owns 2 million-dollar homes, didn’t report income for years, and charges market-rates for rents — it doesn’t expose his “tale of two cities” rhetoric.  endless duplicities in his character that demonstrate he’s a say anything/do nothing politician. Says one thing, does another. Two faces? Typical politician? Isn’t this exactly what most people abhor in politicians, elected “leaders” and bureaucrats?

“Trepidation”? At least in this Economy, talk is still cheap.

Let’s get a man that can lead this City in there… vote for Joe Lhota. 

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