Knows us. Fights for us. ALL of us.

Statement on the Reported Imminent Closure of Beth Israel Hospital

 

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UPDATE May 14:  Executives at Mt. Sinai have responded that they have no intent of shutting down the Beth Israel campus.  I sincerely hope this is true.  In the meantime, it is vital that we hold them accountable to their mission.  The State Legislature and the Governor should inform Mt. Sinai that any changes to the Certificate of Need will be opposed.  Likewise, the City Council and Mayor should inform them that any deed or zoning changes at the site which endanger the health of New Yorkers will be blocked.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 13, 2016

Contact: Paul Newell

 

While plans for closing Mt. Sinai Beth Israel have yet to be confirmed, it seems evident from reporting in The Villager and elsewhere that closure plans are well underway.  Lower Manhattan is a vibrant community; our own Assembly district has 150,000 men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds, who work hard to support their families and make their communities a great place.

 

For most of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel is the shortest ambulance ride away.  In such emergencies, the extra minutes in NYC traffic can mean life or death.  Furthermore, if Mt. Sinai Beth Israel hospital closes, we will be even more dependent on hospitals in Flood Zone 1.  The reality is that our community was among the hardest-hit by Superstorm Sandy.  We are the largest city in the US, and among the premier cities of the world.  For us to have so few flood-protected hospitals for the millions of residents and workers in central and Lower Manhattan, and only one remaining hospital (NY Presbyterian) serving Lower Manhattan, is not only outrageous, it's callous, short-sighted and extremely poor urban planning.

 

In 2010, I co-founded the Coalition for a New Village Hospital in response to the threatened closure of St. Vincent's Hospital.  We fought for years, but eventually that 161-year-old community's lifeline was cut.  In 2013, I fought with our neighbors against the closure of the Long Island College Hospital, and that hospital was closed as well.  Now it seems that they're ready to cut one of our final lifelines, which is not only an affront to hundreds of thousands, it's an abject threat.

 

Healthcare in a city of 8.5 million needs to be about resource allocation based on need, not on real estate prices or the corporate bottom line.  How would this area survive a disaster like September 11th with no local hospital?  Clearly, the people making the decisions aren't the same people who will be left without a hospital.

 

I want to take this moment to state my strong support for SEIU 1199 & the New York State Nurses' Association's efforts to prevent Certificate of Need regulations from being tampered with by corporations.  Decisions like removing hospital service literally impact who lives and who dies, and the proper way to make them is not by informing the staff and then putting a gag on them.  It's by involving the community that will be impacted, not to mention the workers of the hospital, in a collaborative needs assessment.

 

I call on the Board of Mt. Sinai to reconsider their decision immediately, and on the powers that be in New York City to make very clear that this decision is at best premature, and at worst incredibly dangerous.  I will be following this story as it develops, and reaching out to partners in healthcare advocacy and throughout our communities so we can make sure our needs for healthcare are addressed, regardless of the corporate bottom line.

 

 

 


Statement on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 May 3, 2016

Contact: Paul Newell

 

Statement from Paul Newell on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver

 

Today, the era of Sheldon Silver is over.  A federal judge sentenced Silver to serve 12 years in prison for fraud, extortion and money laundering.  While this is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York, it also presents an opportunity for change.

Now the real work of ending Albany’s culture of corruption can begin.  Our goal should be not to purge a few bad actors, but to end it – for good. Political graft like that which Silver was convicted of is not just a personal failure; it impoverishes us all. The costs of corruption are higher rents, higher taxes, underfunded schools, and crumbling subways.

Fortunately, we have a rare opportunity for real change.  The convictions of Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver mean that for the first time in a generation, we have a chance to build an Albany that listens to everyday New Yorkers.  In Lower Manhattan and across New York State, people are ready for a new kind of leadership.  Our neighborhoods need real infrastructure investment, stronger tenant protections, more and better schools, and an honest voice in Albany.

We will never get there with a politics dominated by big money and political bosses, be they Glenwood Management, Sheldon Silver, or Joe Crowley.  Lower Manhattan and the state of New York can and must do better than that.

And on September 13th, we will.  I am running for New York State Assembly to bring our neighborhoods’ voice to Albany – and to fight for an Albany that can hear us.

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Paul Newell is a community organizer, tenant activist and lifelong resident of the Lower Manhattan.  A leading voice for ethics reform in Albany, Newell has been the elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District since 2009.  In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger's campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.  More information on Paul Newell can be found at NewellNYC.org.


Why Passover is my Favorite Holiday

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Passover has always been my favorite holiday.  Not just because I love food, family, tradition, and wine.  But because I know of no other holiday that so explicitly celebrates the struggle for freedom and economic justice.  One of the reasons I am so proud to be Jewish, is our history of fighting injustice.  In Lower Manhattan, we know that story well.  Clara Lemlich, Lillian Wald, Meyer London, Margaret Sanger, Sidney Hillman, Bessie Abramowitz, Miriam Friedlander, and so many more. 

The Passover story is the origin of this strain of Jewish thought.  Our very identity as a people was forged in a revolt of the working class.  So even when we lose our way for 40-years or so (be it in the desert or in the Assembly), every year we repeat the story of standing up to oppression – complete with ritualized tears, mortar, and sympathy for our enemies.  It is a beautiful holiday and a beautiful tradition.  I am proud to be celebrating it.

So, gut yuntif, chag sameach, a zisn pesach, and a happy Passover to all who celebrate, and all who stand up for what is right.  The struggle continues.


Statement on the Special Election in the 65th AD

I congratulate Alice Cancel on her election to the New York State Assembly for the remaining months of Sheldon Silver’s term.  I hope that during her term in office, she will do her best to represent the interests of Lower Manhattan, not the political bosses who have driven the Special Election process from its inception.

Fortunately, on September 13th, the 65th Assembly District will be presented with a real choice.  I will be a candidate in that election - and look forward to asking for your vote.

Today we also saw “Boss” Joe Crowley and the Queens machine's politics of big money and personal attacks fail. Their candidate, Ms. Niou, outspent her opponent more than 50 to 1 - dumping hundreds of thousands of special interest dollars on vicious and misleading attack ads. Despite this, she was unable to overcome her lack of connection to Lower Manhattan.

In a flawed, interim election, Lower Manhattan chose a machine candidate from our neighborhood over a machine candidate from another borough.  On September 13th, we’ll have the chance to elect an Assembly Member who is independent of Joe Crowley, Sheldon Silver, or any other boss.

I have spent my career fighting for honest, progressive government for our neighborhoods and our state.  I look forward to asking for your support on September 13th.

Tomorrow, that campaign begins.  Please visit my website, NewellNYC.org, for more information.  Thank you.


Healthcare Deadline: January 31st

The deadline for most of us to apply for new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ObamaCare”) is Sunday, January 31st.  If you already have insurance through the ACA, Jan. 31st is also the deadline to switch plans this year.

This is not the last day anyone can sign-up for ObamaCare. It’s the last day for “open enrollment” this year.  If you have a qualifying “life event” that requires you to change your coverage you will be able to sign up later.

But for most of us, now is the time to act.  If you’re uninsured or want to change your plan in New York, sign up today athttps://NYStateOfHealth.ny.gov/.  If you’re not in NY, start your search at HealthCare.gov.  You’ll be surprised at how affordable many of the plans are.  The vast majority of New Yorkers who apply are eligible for state-funded Medicaid plans or significant federal subsidies.  On the flip-side, many people will be subject to tax penalties if they remain uninsured.

Read more

Season’s Greetings from Lower Manhattan

Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and a joyous, healthy and prosperous new year.

Next year will be an important one for the future of our neighborhoods, and I look forward to working and celebrating with you in 2016 and beyond.

Peace and Justice on Earth,

Paul

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Photo by Lower East Side photographer, Vivienne Gucwa. Check out her work at nythroughthelens.com.


STATEMENT ON THE CONVICTION OF SHELDON SILVER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 30, 2015
Contact: Paul Newell
347-351-7285 or Paul@NewellNYC.org

STATEMENT ON THE CONVICTION OF SHELDON SILVER

“This is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York.  Today’s verdict proves it is up to us to reclaim our government.  No court will end Albany’s culture of corruption and cronyism.  If we, as voters and citizens, continue to accept a government that favors those who buy power and influence, then that will be the government we get. But, if we want a government that is fair, transparent, and works for all of us, we must reclaim it ourselves. We can and must do better. The time for us to act is now.”

Paul Newell is a community organizer, tenant activist, a lifelong resident of the Lower Manhattan, and a leading voice for ethics reform in Albany. Since 2009, Newell has been the elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District.  (The district that was represented in the NYS Assembly by Sheldon Silver until his conviction on November 30, 2015.) In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger’s campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.

 

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Tell Congress: Renew the Zadroga Act now

By now it is not news that Congress is broken. But even by their low standards this is a disgrace.

Yesterday, Congress allowed the Zadroga Act to expire.  This actprovides health care for the tens of thousands of 9/11 first responders and area residents suffering from severe illnessesstemming from the 9/11 attacks.  Thanks to Republican opposition in 2010, the law contained a 5-year “sunset”. Yesterday, Congress failed to renew the bill.

In the past, Congress used the sacrifices of these 9/11 first responders as pretext to send more Americans to fight ill-conceived wars. But when these same people get sick, these Congressmembers are willing to let them fend for themselves.  Shame on them.

Fortunately, our local Congressmembers Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velazquez and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have been leading the fight. They’ve even been joined by a few Republicans, notably Rep. Peter King on Long Island.

But they’ve not yet been able to break through. Please join us in DEMANDING that Congress extend and make permanent the Zadroga Act immediately.  Please call outgoing House Speaker John Boehner at (202) 225-0600, his likely successor Kevin McCarthy at (202) 225-2915, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541 to demand action today.

It is already a disgrace that Congress is forcing American heroes to crawl to them every 5 years for renewal of their life-saving care.  Let’s not let them deny that basic request.

Thank you.

P.S. If you need any more convincing of why this is important, see this clip from our Downtown Manhattan neighbor Jon Stewart (perhaps the most important segment of his career).


Stand with Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood, one of our country’s most vital health care providers, is under attack.

An extreme group opposed to women’s right to control their own bodies has attacked Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses, and patients with false accusations. And once again, right wing extremists and their allies in Congress are seizing on these accusations as an excuse to push the same dangerous agenda — ban abortion, shut down health centers and cut women off from care.

Yesterday, the extremists stepped up their efforts by attacking Planned Parenthood’s website, denying over 200,000 women a day access to vital healthcare information and resources. It’s more important than ever that we tell Congress and the world that We Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Please take a moment today to send a message to Congress. You can also contribute to Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s efforts to fight back at http://ppact.io/helpfightback. I’ve worked to expand access to reproductive health my entire professional life. And I’m proud that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger right here in the Lower East Side – and still makes its home on Mott Street. Let’s stand up for our neighbor, and for women’s health around the country. Let’s Stand with Planned Parenthood.

Thank you.


Tenant Emergency: Don’t Panic. Do organize.

As you probably have heard, rent regulations are set to expire today if the NYS legislature does not come to a deal.  We are still pushing hard for stronger rent laws before midnight, but if Albany fails to do so, here’s some of what you need to know.

1)   If you are a rent stabilized tenant, do not panic.  Your current lease is still valid.  If your lease expires before September 13, 2015, you are entitled to a renewal under current laws.  Most likely a deal will be reached in the next few days that will cover any retroactive periods.  Do not move-out or vacate the apartment.

2)   If your landlord is harassing you, threatening to raise your rent, or invalidate or not renew your lease he or she is breaking the law.  Call 311 immediately to report the harassment.  You can also call theMet Council on Housing at 212-979-0611 or Public Advocate Letitia James at 212-669-7250 with any questions.

3)   If you are a rent controlled tenant (as opposed to stabilized) you are protected under NYC laws which do not expire until 2018.
Finally, while it is grossly irresponsible of Albany to put NYC tenants through this high-stakes stress – it is essential that we keep the pressure up.  Please call Governor Cuomo now at 518-474-8390 to demand stronger rent laws – including the full repeal of Vacancy Decontrol.  Then contact your Assembly members athttp://assembly.state.ny.us/mem and your State Senator athttp://www.nysenate.gov/senators to demand the same.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as this vital fight progresses.

 

UPDATE: The NYC Dept. of Housing, Preservation & Development has posted a useful “what you need to know” for tenants worried about the rent law expiration. – http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/tenants-rights.page

Paul Newell rallies to strengthen rent laws

 

Paul Newell speaks at rally to strengthen rent laws

Posted onJune 15, 2015

 



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