OP-ED : Update on Community Effort to Create a Hospital to Replace St. Vincent's in the Lower West Side of Manhattan
When a deal was announced for the transfer of bankruptcy assets from the 501(c)(3) charity that was St. Vincent's Hospital to the private real estate developer tycoon William Rudin at values that may not fairly represent the full market value, the bankruptcy assets transfer was hailed as a health care miracle, because it would replace the Level 1 Trauma Center that was St. Vincent's with a first aid clinic.
But just a mere examination, at first blush, of the beneficial transfer of assets to insider creditors, the jobs that it would create, and the services it would provide, show that this deal is fraught with potential legal challenges.
The transfer of St. Vincent's principal assets -- its real estate -- to the Rudin family, who has always had an ''inside track'' on condo-conversion plans -- may be fraudulent, if the transfer does not happen at full market value prices. There is also community concern that the North Shore-LIJ landlord taking over the first aid clinic is going to hire only non-union employees for the 400 jobs that are expected to be created at the first aid clinic, and that the new clinic will forbid any efforts at collective-bargaining ; presently, only approximately 36 per cent of North Shore-LIJ employees receive union benefits. The services to be provided by the first aid clinic will not be able to treat ''women in labor, patients with severe trauma such as gunshot wounds or open fractures, or those requiring immediate surgery or cardiac interventions.'' In the face of the lack of life-saving services to be provided by the first aid clinic, and even the dishonest comparison of ambulance response times between 2008 and 2009 (even though St. Vincent's closed in 2010), predictably Deputy Mayor Christine Quinn can still be ''encouraged'' by the flimsy outpatient center.
Meanwhile, here is a video of a press conference outside Friday's appellate court hearing in connection with a freedom of information lawsuit.
As Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Christine Quinn try to destroy the social safety net by trying to close firehouses, shut down senior citizen centers, cut childcare, layoff teachers, pretend like votes don't go missing, build luxury condos on the hallowed ground of St. Vincent's Hospital, make money from government information, and end Progressive Era reforms, we are left to wonder. When will the focus of irresponsible real estate development at the expense of the middle class spark a voter backlash, that will lead to mass protests at the city's legislature, or a revolution of the likes that have been happening elsewhere ? What will be the spark that will trigger mass protests in New York ?
(Christine Quinn is Speaker of the New York City Council, but she has made her bed alongside Mayor Bloomberg on many controversial issues that often times she acts more and more like his Deputy Mayor than an independent voice for Democratic Party ideals.)