Jo Anne Simon
I recently highlighted Yetta Kurland's City Council run and the issues (in Manhattan) related to the closing of hospitals without clear understanding of the real dynamics of healthcare in the US. Well my friend Jo Anne Simon, a Democratic Party District Leader in Brooklyn, is addressing similar issues in Brooklyn.
Here is what I said about the Manhattan situation:
...let's remember that closing of St. Vincent's coupled with the closing of NYU's Tisch Hospital, Bellevue Hospital and the VA hospital meant that emergency room coverage was critically low in Manhattan for some time after Sandy. In fact the NYU Medical Center's emergency room remains down today, though I believe their Urgent Care center is now open.
Sadly few people have been championing keeping hospitals open. The dynamic is a complex one. Hospitals almost all run at a loss. This is not because of mismanagement usually but because the cost of care in emergency rooms and ICUs is so hugely expensive that it tends to lose money at a huge rate...in order to save lives. The more people who don't have health insurance, the more people who have to depend on emergency rooms for basic care...and the more money it costs the hospitals. Reduce the number of uninsured people and spread emergency visits over more hospitals and the burden on each hospital is reduced. But leave lots of uninsured and close hospitals and each remaining hospital gets an even higher burden on their emergency rooms...driving them deeper into a financial hole.
Closing St. Vincent's just increased the burden on every other hospital. Of course Healthcare reform is a key way to improve the financial strength of our hospitals, but closing hospitals really isn't. Yetta Kurland gets that.
Well similar ill conceived crap is going on in Brooklyn as well and Jo Anne Simon is on top of it. From a recent email she sent:
Last week, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report showing that SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Long Island College Hospital were teetering on the brink and that closing LICH has been discussed by its board.
Tomorrow, January 25th at 11 AM, join federal, state and local elected officials in the little park across the street from LICH (339 Hicks Street) for a rally to call attention to this situation and call upon the state and the hospital to find a way to retain medical services at LICH, an all important teaching hospital in an area with an increasing number of families needing its services!
Again, let me emphasize that the closing of these hospitals is largely due specifically to the costs they bear taking care of uninsured Americans, and each hospital that closes increases the burden on EVERY OTHER HOSPITAL in the area because all those uninsured Americans will have to now either die or go to the next nearest hospital. Thanks to Yetta Kurland and Jo Anne Simon for realizing the importance of this issue. People who try to just apply some imagined "business model" seem to ignore the larger dynamics. Single payer could solve a LOT of this. But until then, we have to protect our hospitals from closing because when hospitals close, people die AND other hospitals have to take on the expensive burden of caring for the uninsured. WE ARE NOT DEALING WITH THIS, and these closings really will mean the difference between life and death for New Yorkers who have to be rushed to the hospital. This is a key reason to support both Yetta Kurland and Jo Anne Simon. It is an issue we all can ignore until we are in an ambulance and the closest hospital is further than we can survive. THAT is becoming the situation. We can fight it or accept it and pray (not my strong point) that we never end up in that ambulance.
And by the way, Bloomberg's closing of firehouses creates the same problem if you have a fire in your building or a neighboring building. Right now you are less likely to have your home survive a fire thanks to the closing of firehouses. When we cut back on teachers, nurses, firehouses and hospitals, EVERYONE gets fucked. Sadly, not too many people are talking about this. Jo Anne Simon IS talking about it and Yetta Kurland is making it the focus of her run for City Council. More power to both of them.
More from Jo Anne Simon... read more »
Tonight was the first Brooklyn Democratic County Committee meeting my wife and I felt accomplished anything.
Our first County Committee meeting (sounds so romantic!) was Clarence Norman's last meeting before he went to jail. We were recruited by a friend and had little warning of what we were in for. My wife was 2 weeks overdue in giving birth to our son (his fault, not hers...he refused to get into position...kind of gave us a sense of his personality right there!). We wondered if his birth might upstage Clarence Norman's last stand...but he held on and was born later.
But the meeting was a farce. A circus. It was literally scripted from start to finish and was as uninviting and undemocratic as could be. The only saving grace was Ken Diamondstone's determined effort to stand up to the farce and at least SHOW that it was a farce. I wish we had been warned in advance. We might have been able to help Ken in showing what a farce the official Democratic Party was in Brooklyn.
Here's the key. I despise corruption. It puts the self interest of a handful of powerful folks over the actual governance of our country, our state, our city. I cannot stand when people put their own self interest so blatantly and completely ahead of the community. That is what Republicans do these days. When I was a kid even Republicans didn't do that so much.
I spend a great deal of time fighting Republican corruption. So when I realized that the head of the Democratic Party in my own area, Clarence Norman, was going to jail, it kind of made me feel sick. Seeing County Committee in action made me realize the corruption went deeper than Clarence Norman.
From then on I got to watch the Vito Lopez machine replace the Clarence Norman machine. I saw no real change. No recognition that the corruption in the Brooklyn Democratic Party was an embarrassment to the Democratic Party in general and was potential ammunition for the Republican Party. I predicted early on that this would mean we would start losing to the Republicans here in Brooklyn because the local Democratic Party was more dedicated to perpetuating the power of a handful of corrupt sleazebags than actually electing Democrats in contested elections.
Now, though the dynamics are more complicated than this, having in many ways to do with developments within a segment of the Jewish community that puts intolerance before community-interest, but the Democratic Party in Brooklyn has indeed been falling apart. We are losing contested elections like crazy. The number of contested elections are still small, but the dynamics are changing and the slack and corrupt attitude that I have seen locally in the Brooklyn Democratic Party has meant that we will continue to lose unless we start changing how we do business.
THAT is the most important thing to learn from the last 8 years as well as from tonight's meeting. And in tonight's meeting SOME people got it and, really, really sadly, some didn't.
more below read more »
Over the years I have cataloged the decline and then recovery of corrupt Party Boss Vito Lopez. His big ticket judicial candidates (e.g. both Surrogate Judge positions) lost to candidates backed by the reform movement that seeks to be Vito's nemesis, though probably is usually more of a nuisance to Vito because it serves as its own nemesis. Vito's prominent judicial race losses seemed to signify a decline in his fortunes. That decline seemed halted last year when self-nemesising reformers basically handed Vito one of their city council seats right in the heart of reform territory. Vito's boy Steve Levin seemed to lead a Vito comeback. Of course behind the smiles at Levin's win for the corrupt side was Vito's big loss when he tried to take out former ally turned independent-minded woman Diana Reyna. He lost that one and I bet it still rankles. His hatred for his former ally was so great he even endorsed the WFP candidate over the Democratic candidate (Reyna) even though he is SUPPOSED to be the Democratic Party leader. His hatred for Reyna was even so great he began to threaten other allies who didn't follow his lead against Reyna (like Lew Fidler) with challenges. read more »
Last night Jo Anne Simon, my District Leader and unsuccessful candidate for City Council for the 33rd City Council district, had a party for the sole purpose of thanking those who supported her during her run for City Council.
I have been to victory parties on election day. They are kick ass.
I have been to parties on election day for candidates who lost. They are not so kick ass.
I have never been invited to a thank you party AFTER the fact where a candidate just plain wants to express appreciation of those who helped her out. Jo Anne Simon is a classy person who appreciates it when people help her out.
The race for the 33rd City Council district was a tough race. Several solid progressive reformers were running against one conservative and one corrupt candidate. In the end the corrupt candidate won and Brooklyn's supposedly most reform district has to face up to the fact that they just elected one of the most corrupt candidates around. And the reformers have to deal with the fact that they, quite classically, split the vote a thousand ways, sacrificing the good on the altar of the pure. read more »
Next to the 39th City Council district, the 33rd district is also among the most closely contested races in the city. I personally know all the candidates in the 39th. In the 33rd I know some very well, have met another, and with one, Isaac Abraham, have only heard him speak, not actually met him. I want to discuss this race based on my own experiences with the candidates. This race is a critical one in the fight against corruption in Brooklyn, as outlined in the Village Voice. Brooklyn Party Boss Vito Lopez is trying hard to take this seat and reformers are divided. Here's what the Village Voice has to say about this race:
Power Plays by Party Boss Vito Lopez
The Lord of Brooklyn, a Democratic powerbroker who is flexing his
political muscles these days like a gym rat pumping the free weights
By Tom Robbins - September 01, 2009 - The Village Voice
Say this for Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic powerbroker who is
flexing his political muscles these days like a gym rat pumping the
free weights: He is not one to let a few silly scandals knock him off read more »