Wednesday, June 25, 2014

7 million $lush fund reasons why VOCAL-NY, CPR community groups no longer pressing for NYPD reforms

VOCAL-NY amongst CPR community groups receiving over $7 million in FY15 City Council slush funds

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) Logo photo CommunitiesUnitedforPoliceReformCPRLogo_zpsf0892575.png

Despite cheap "progressive" talk from mayor and new Council speaker, New York City Council is still disbursing speaker slush funds, even as one sitting Councilmember's funding had to be supervised due to pending corruption charges.


New York City Council Divvies Up $50 Million in Speaker Slush Funds (The Wall Street Journal)

Queens Councilman Ruben Wills arrested by Attorney General’s office in corruption probe (UPDATE) (Metro New York)

MMV Slush Funds Report For Fiscal Year 2015 Adopted Expense : Budget Adjustment Summary / Schedule C (New York

Slush funds allocated to VOCAL-NY include $25,000 for anti-Stop-and-Frisk workshops, even though Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned to end the "Stop-and-Frisk" era in NYPD policing.

Following the Veal Pen Workshop for police reform at the Left Forum 2014, some of the member groups belonging to a coalition known as Communities United for Police Reform, or CPR, were shown to have influence over the stalled social movement to press the New York City government to deliver police reforms. When one of the stalling member groups in the CPR coalition, VOCAL-NY, was pressed about their role in deliberately deescalating public pressure for police reforms, a VOCAL-NY director, Jennifer Flynn Walker, had a meltdown on Twitter after activists pressed whether City Council slush funds played a role in CPR easing off pressure on the de Blasio-Mark-Viverito administration.

"Professional" activists like Ms. Walker get a "seat at the table" next to powerholders, precisely because these "professional" activists accept government funding from the very politicians, who grassroots activists are targeting for legal reforms. Those government funding allocations come with implicit strings attached to not embarrass the politicians publicly, to not create any "scandals," and to settle for the low-bar "politics of the possible" that politicians, like Mayor Bill de Blasio, can deliver without upsetting his big money campaign donors.

Some police reform activists believe that the mayor announced his controversial pick for NYPD commissioner to placate nervous billionaire real estate developers, who want to keep seeing escalating New York City real estate prices. The only way real estate prices can keep spiraling up out of control is by keeping all the youths and people of color either locked up in school or locked up in jail.

Making do by accepting Mayor de Blasio's appointment of William Bratton as the new commissioner of the New York Police Department means that the City Council has to keep funding community programs to deal with police brutality and the violation of innocent people's rights.

Indeed, the slush funds allocated to VOCAL-NY include $25,000 that are intended to "provide Know Your Rights workshops to inform people of their legal rights during police encounters (including stop, question and frisk) and role play de-escalation strategies in order to stay safe and calm." (Emphasis Added)

VOCAL-NY FY15 MMV City Council Slush Funds - Including for anti-Stop-and-Frisk Work photo VOCAL-NYFY15MMVCityCouncilSlushFunds-Includingforanti-Stop-and-FriskWork_zpsb820b109.png

CPR member groups receiving FY15 slush funds are :

  -  Bronx Defenders : $1,636,000

  -  Legal Aid Society : $5,865,750

  -  New York City Anti-Violence Project : $186,755

  -  Streetwise & Safe : $10,000

  -  VOCAL-NY : $62,000

  -  Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice : $24,000

The controversial City Council practise of doling out slush funds was a hallmark issue in last year's mayoral campaign, and the slush fund allocations were used as an accusation of corruption against former Council Speaker Christine Quinn. According to her campaign promises, the new Council speaker, Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, promised to bring reforms to the City Council never made possible under former Speaker Quinn's leadership. Alas, Speaker Mark-Viverito is using the shady distribution of slush funds to control strategic community groups for political reasons, which is no different from the motivations of her her predecessor.

It's not known why VOCAL-NY still needs $25,000 for workshops that will train people how to deal with police use of "Stop-and-Frisk," if Mayor de Blasio campaigned to end the "Stop-and-Frisk" era at the NYPD. The right thing for VOCAL-NY to do is to come forward to press the mayor to deliver the full range of reforms at the NYPD that he supposedly gave lip service to in last year's mayoral election.

Unless, of course, some of the CPR community groups are afraid to pressure the de Blasio-Mark-Viverito administration for the full range of legal reforms needed to end police brutality, violations of the Handschu Agreement, and other infringements of civil liberties and civil rights of innocent New Yorkers. For years, activist have wondered how could the City Council fund, on the one hand, police procedures that violate the Civil Rights Act protections of it citizens, at the same time when, on the other hand, the City Council is funding community groups for protection from police brutality ? What kind of duplicitous City Council budget are elected officials adopting ?

2014-05-31 Veal Pen (Left Forum) Contact Sheet (Twitter Handles) (FINAL)(2014-06-25 FY15 Schedule C Slush F... by Connaissable

Monday, June 16, 2014

Healthcare workers plan protest against healthcare and jobs cuts Wednesday on Staten Island

Nurses and caregivers will picket at Staten Island hospitals on Wednesday


Nurses and caregivers will picket at Staten Island hospitals on Wednesday (Staten Island Live)

NY WFP, on the brink of doing the right thing, apparently folds to Cuomo (Daily Kos)

On Wednesday, healthcare workers are promising to protest healthcare and job cuts being imposed by the chief executive officers of various New York City-area healthcare corporations, according to a report in Staten Isalnd Live.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Thousands of nurses and caregivers -- including many at Staten Island University Hospital and Richmond University Medical Center -- will be holding protests for quality care and good jobs at over 100 facilities throughout the New York City area.

The "informational picket lines" at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other facilities mark the launch of an effort to educate patients and the public about healthcare CEOs "who are severely threatening the quality of healthcare services and jobs for New Yorkers," said 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, which represents over 250,000 healthcare workers in New York State, and more than 400,000 total members throughout the East Coast, in a written statement.

It's unknown what impact the protests and pickets will accomplish. Even as 1199 protests the job losses and healthcare cuts by healthcare CEO's, note that 1199 helped to strong-arm the Working Families Party to endorse the re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose very own Medicaid Redesign Team implimented large-scale healthcare cuts, including the outsourcing to Stephen Berger the effort to keep closing city hospitals that have resulted in still yet further healthcare union job losses, not including the negative impact to public health.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Demand A Hospital : NYTimes LICH Report Back

From Demand A Hospital :

Dear All :

Two articles of interest to many :

(i) For de Blasio, Deals, Drama and (Maybe) Progress (The New York Times)

On Tuesday, activists gathered in Borough Hall to grieve over the fate of Long Island College Hospital, which is to be converted into a condominium site with some sort of health care facility, though it is uncertain how much of one. The hospital effectively closed last month, leaving residents in surrounding areas worried about curtailed services, in particular the prospect of waiting a dangerously long time for an ambulance. On May 31, a man in Red Hook did die after what was reported to be a long wait, and though it was unclear whether a direct connection existed, the episode served as a dramatic confirmation of the community’s apprehension.

That a certain amount of anger over the hospital is now directed at Bill de Blasio is hardly surprising, given how much theater he mined from his efforts to save it during the mayoral race last summer, at one point even getting arrested during a protest. Although the mayor’s office has been working to bring the state university system, which owns the hospital, developers and community members to an accord and thus preserve health care, the sense that Mr. de Blasio exploited the issue, declared victory in the face of a loss and then moved on has clearly taken hold.


(ii) New York City Street Homelessness Rises 6% (The Wall Street Journal)

At a City Council hearing on Friday, several council members urged Mr. de Blasio’s budget director, Dean Fuleihan, to increase city resources to prevent homelessness. Mr. de Blasio pledged during the campaign and since he has taken office to make reducing homelessness a top priority, but some advocates and elected officials have said they don’t believe the administration is doing enough.


As Jay Kallio commented on The New York Times column, "Government only works when we remain vigilant, and continue the fight long after the election results are in. Start calling and demonstrating today. The job of civic engagement never ends."

Thank you for all that you do.

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Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop closing our hospitals. Call 311 for the mayor and 1 (518) 474-8390 for the governor.

You can also tweet your concerns to : @BilldeBlasio -and- @NYGovCuomo

Friday, June 6, 2014

Did BdB use LICH just to get elected ?

From Demand A Hospital :

Dear All :

Two hospital-related stories in the news this week :

By : Liza Featherstone, amNewYork

There are signs de Blasio is willing to fight for ordinary New Yorkers. Additional paid sick leave and universal pre-K are nothing to dismiss. But when the interests of ordinary New Yorkers conflict with those of the real estate industry, which donated heavily to de Blasio's campaign, is Mayor 99 Percent setting aside his protest placards? Many in Cobble Hill think so.


By : Tara Palmeri, The New York Post

Lenox Hill Hospital — which boasts a luxury maternity wing that has catered to celebrities such as BeyoncĂ© — was among the stingiest of the group, according to the records. While it took in revenue totaling $744.8 million in 2012, it administered just $4.12 million — or 0.57 percent — in free care, according to the data.

Michael Dowling, the president of North Shore-LIJ Health System, which oversees Lenox Hill and 15 other area hospitals, earned well over half of what was paid out in free aid that year ($2.83 million).


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Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop closing our hospitals. Call 311 for the mayor and 1 (518) 474-8390 for the governor.

You can also tweet your concerns to : @BilldeBlasio -and- @NYGovCuomo