2012-03-07 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

MSHQ Expansion Funds

A copy of this letter was received at the Gazette
State Senator Michael Gianaris
Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney City
Council Speaker Christine Quinn
Assemblymember Cathy Nolan
Congressmember Joseph Crowley
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall
Assemblymember Aravella Simota
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.
February 15, 2012
The Honorable Nirav R. Shah, MD
Commissioner
New York State Department of Health
Empire Plaza
Corning Tower
Albany, NY 12224
Re: Mount Sinai Queens
Certificate of Need #11236
Dear Commissioner Shah:

We are writing to you to convey our strong support for the Certificate of Need (CON) application recently submitted by Mount Sinai Queens (MSQ) to construct a new hospital building that will modernize and expand its Queens campus. This expansion is desperately needed in Western Queens, and we urge you to approve it.

If this application is approved, MSQ proposes to add a four-story, 95,000 square foot addition to the existing hospital. It will provide significant and urgently needed improvements to MSQ’s inpatient services, outpatient network, and create a Center for Excellence for inpatient surgical care. The expansion will triple the size of the Emergency Department, provide a new ambulance bay and triage area, expand the number of single-bedded ICU/universal rooms, and will create additional operating rooms, new surgical support facilities, six new elevators, and other support space.

Founded in 1852, the mission of Mount Sinai Medical Center (Mount Sinai) is to provide every patient with the best possible experience and outcome in a safe, supportive environment, while serving all with compassion, competence and respect. MSQ originally opened in 1892 as Astoria Hospital and over the years became the principal hospital for residents of Western Queens. It was acquired by Mount Sinai in 1999 and is the only community hospital to bear the Mount Sinai name. Today, MSQ is a 235-bed facility, which treated nearly 50,000 emergency room patients and 63,500 outpatient visitors in 2010. MSQ is also one of the largest employers in Queens with 1,300 employees. The proposal will provide significant and urgently needed improvements to its programs for emergency services, surgical care, intensive care and other patient and staff support capabilities.

We understand that MSQ’s proposed expansion will also create 160 new permanent jobs, 463 construction jobs, and an additional 606 jobs due to spin off, resulting in an additional $222 million

Sincerely,
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress
Joseph Crowley
Member of Congress
Christine Quinn
City Council Speaker
Helen Marshall
Queens Borough President
Michael Gianaris
State Senator
Catherine T. Nolan
Member of Assembly
Aravella Simotas
Member of Assembly
Jimmy Van Bramer
City Council Member
Peter Vallone Jr., City Council MemberCBM/cp
cc: Brad Beckstrom, Director of Community and
Government Affairs, Mount Sinai Medical
Center
Rick Cook, Deputy Commissioner, NYS
Department of Health
James Introne, Deputy Secretary, Governor
Cuomo’s Office

Unconstitutional Control

To The Editor:

Disagreement on definitions and ignorance of history has resulted in incoherent political debates and conversations. Notwithstanding party affiliations, most Americans to one degree or another are receptive to or inclined towards socialism or government control of our economy—those who favor redistribution in the name of “the poor” or “tax breaks” for the rich, food stamps and Earned Income Tax Credits or bailouts for failing institutions.

Both parties are authoritarian with diverse inclinations and a common tendency to exert their power over the individual by coercive means. The precepts of the Constitution have been replaced with mandates for “social justice” and redistribution of wealth. Both concepts are antithetical to individual and property rights.

Either man’s rights are inalienable, or they are not. When you begin making conditions, reservations and exceptions, you admit that there is something or someone above man’s rights, who may violate them at his discretion. Who? For what reason? Who decides when rights should be violated? There is an unspeakable moral corruption in saying that government coercion and violation of individual rights can be justified by a good or unselfish motive. A “good dictatorship” is a contradiction of terms. You cannot say that a man has inalienable rights except in cold weather and on every second Tuesday, just as you cannot say that man has inalienable rights except in an emergency.

It is time to choose sides. You are either an authoritarian or you are against authoritarianism, for the rule of men or the rule of law. We are not only on the verge of an apocalyptic economic collapse but in danger of forfeiting our liberties to politicians of whom it has been said that upon seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, will go out and buy some more tunnel. Ed Konecnik Flushing

Banks Too Big

To The Editor:

Dear Glass-Steagall Act (GSA), where are you now when we need you?…and so badly. In 1933 Senator Carter Glass (D-VA) and Senator Henry Steagall (D-AL) introduced the legislation which bears their name. Due largely to unregulated bank market speculation, we suffered the Great Crash of 1929. The GSA legislation limited the conflicts of interest created when banks are permitted to underwrite stocks or bonds and it established the FDIC. In 1956 the Act was further strengthened in order to prosecute banks engaging in non-banking activity. It also disallowed them to buy banks in another state.

From that time on it has been the lobbyists’ field day and their efforts were not in vain for they had begun the dilution of the Glass-Steagall Act. In the 1960s banks were allowed to enter the municipal bond market and in the 1970s they were allowed money market accounts, allow check writing and offer credit and debit cards. In the 1980s, with the help of Alan “Deregulation” Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Board, they allowed banks to underwrite businesses’ mortgage backed securities and allowed, beginning with Travelers and Citibank, the merging of banks, security firms and insurance companies creating the huge financial conglomerates which we have today bringing about the “Too Big To Fail” dilemma.

There were numerous other neuterings of the GSA but the death knell came in Oct. 22, 1999. After 12 tries in 25 years of a nonstop lobbying blitz spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Glass-Steagall or what was left of it, was repealed placing our trusted banks in the same position they were in precipitating the Great Crash of 1929. Clichés such as, “History repeats itself” and “The more things change, the more they stay the same” are certainly apt. Although it was two Democrats with foresight back in 1933 who realized the danger in allowing banks to set the rules by which they play, the repeal was jointly agreed upon by both parties as well as President Clinton. On November 4 the final version of the bill was passed by the House: 362-57 and the Senate: 90-8 and was signed into law by President Clinton on November 12 as the toothless Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act (GLBA) of 1999 (Phil Gramm R-TX, Jim Leach R-IA). Although, not surprisingly, it was the Democrats who initialed bank control and Republicans that gave the control back to the banks. There is enough blame to go around. They jointly repealed GSA.

If we do not regulate and control the banksters, they will control us. Diametrically opposed, both Gingrich (R) and Clinton (D) now say it was a mistake to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act. Indeed it was, and we are witnessing and living that mistake. Nicholas Zizelis Bayside, NY

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