Council Hopeful Rallies At Hospital
David Rosasco, Democratic candidate for the 26th City Council District seat, joined hundreds of protestors at a rally in front of St. John's Queens Hospital in Elmhurst on Jan. 24 calling for the medical center to remain open.
As noted, Rosasco voiced his support for continuing the hospital's operations after it was formally announced that the medical center was considering filing for bankruptcy.
Together with other politicians from throughout the borough, Rosasco spoke about the challenges facing the entire community and its health care infrastructure if St. John's were to collapse.
"Let us brace ourselves to the enormity of the consequences the closure of St. John's Hospital would have on the lives of the 3,000 employees and the tens of thousands of residents who would be immediately and directly affected," Rosasco said. "We call on the leadership of the hospital to be filled with wisdom to explore other methods of refinancing, and for our government at the city and state level to consider public mechanisms that could assist in preserving and maintaining this critical institution."
Rosasco is seeking the 26th District Seat, which represents parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Woodside. The seat will be up for grabs in the November general election as the incumbent, Eric Gioia, is running for public advocate.
Want Commission To Be More 'Public'
Assemblyman Michael Gianaris joined a coalition of more than 40 senior, environmental, consumer protection, labor, media access and community groups in calling on Gov. David Paterson to open up the process of appointing commissioners to the Public Services Commission (PSC).
In the Jan. 29 announcement, the coalition—New Yorkers for Fair and Affordable Utility Service— and the legislator also urged the governor to appoint members to the PSC committed to preserving the environment, protecting consumers, promoting media access and advancing conservation and clean renewable energy in the state.
"This is a simple matter of effective governance and accountabili- ty," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/New York. "Governor Paterson should introduce his nominees to the public and allow New Yorkers to learn about their qualifications and positions. New York cannot afford a continuation of the PSC's 'asleep at the switch' approach to energy, utility, and telecommunications regulation and policy."
Assemblyman Gianaris also announced that he sent a letter earlier in the week to Paterson urging him to appoint PSC commissioners based on qualifications rather than connections.
"The Public Service Commission has become little more than an industry rubber-stamp that abets utility malfeasance rather than policing it," said Gianaris. "The governor has a golden opportunity to demonstrate that his appointments are based on merit and not political considerations by appointing commissioners experienced in the field and committed to the public interest, rather than coddling the industry."
The coalition released a letter they delivered to Paterson last Thursday morning, urging the governor to commit to an open appointment process for filling PSC vacancies and recommends he adopt "proposed qualifications" for potential nominees.
Among the organizations that signed the letter included: American Lung Association in New York; Broadcast Media Review Group of Central NY; BronxNet; Brooklyn- Wide Interagency Council of the Aging Center for Independence of the Disabled; Empire Justice Center; Empire State Consumer Project; National Hispanic Media Coalition—New York Chapter; New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG); Public Utility Law Project; Urban Justice Center and Community Development Project.
Pol Hails Passage Of Recovery Act
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Joint Economic Committee, praised the House of Representatives' approval of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last Wednesday, Jan. 28.
"The current conomic crisis requires bold solutions that address the enormity of our economic woes, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will do just that," Maloney said in a statement. "It will blunt the effects of the recession, help families in need, create millions of jobs and make key infrastructure investments in our future."
Maloney observed that the stimulus package would be "especially helpful" to New York, providing funding for a coordinated range of benefits and projects. She noted that an estimated $20 billion would be brought into the Empire State, including:
• $1.2 billion for education modernization, renovation and repair of public schools and an additional $400 million for higher education renovations;
• $3.6 billion of highway, bridge, mass transit and clean water infrastructure capital investment;
• more than $12 billion in aid to hospitals and health care providers in increased Medicaid funding over the next 2 1/4 years; and,
• nearly $4 billion for two years to help prevent education cutbacks.
According to Maloney, the package will also help millions of New Yorkers "cope in these troubled times." She included the following estimates:
• over six million working families would receive "Make Work Pay" tax credits;
• approximately 390,000 jobs would be saved or created by the end of 2010;
• over 800,000 children would be covered by the Child Tax Credit;
• approximately 460,000 college students will receive increased Pell grants, and almost 300,000 more students will get Higher Education Tax Credits;
• over 175,000 people will be helped by additional unemployment benefits; and,
• about 2.1 million New Yorkers will receive increased food stamps.
"This bill, once passed by the Senate and signed by the president, has the chance to deflect the disastrous impact of the financial meltdown we're experiencing," Maloney added.
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