Friday, April 18, 2014

Senator Squadron 6th Annual Community Convention - 4/27

Each year, local State Senator Dan Squadron hosts a community convention seeking input from his constituents on nearly evEry category under the sun. This year he'll have sections devoted to arts and culture, zoning & neighborhood preservation, civil rights / economic & social justice, parks, transportation, campaign finance, public & affordable housing, economic development, education, disaster relief, hospitals and healthcare, and more. In addition, the Sixth Annual 26th Senate District Community Convention featuring keynote speaker Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Come out and make your voice heard on all of the legislative and community priorities that shape our district and our state.

Sixth Annual 26th Senate District Community Convention
Sunday, April 27, 2014
2:00PM to 5:00PM

Seward Park Educational Campus
350 Grand Street (between Ludlow and Essex Streets)
New York, NY 10002

RSVP at the link below.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Vote this weekend - Participatory Budgeting

Our area's City Councilman, Brad Lander, sent out the below reminder that this is a big weekend to help decide which of many great ideas should get funding prioritization from his office.

This is the big weekend for Participatory Budgeting, and we want you to take part by voting on how $1 million of City funds will be spent in this neighborhood. Voting is Saturday and Sunday.
Vote Dates
Saturday, April 6, 10 AM - 7 PM
Carroll Gardens Library
396 Clinton St (at Union St)
PS 230 Lower School425 McDonald Ave
(between Church Ave & Albemarle Rd)
Old Stone House
336 3rd St (Washington Park)
Sunday, April 7, 10 AM - 5 PM
Beth Jacob Day Care 
1363 46th St (at 14th Ave)
Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace
1224 Prospect Ave
(at Vanderbilt St)
Park Slope Armory YMCA
361 15th Street
(between 7th and 8th Ave)
Carroll Park House
Carroll St and Smith St
Any district resident can vote, ages 16 and up.

There are 13 items on the ballot – read and watch videos about all of them here – covering many of the needs of our neighborhoods. You can vote on improvements for district schools, upgrades to our parks and projects to green our environment and make it easier and safer to get around the district.

We just wrapped up early voting at my office. It’s been very exciting to watch people stream in, sit down with their ballots, and consider carefully what they want to vote for.

Participatory budgeting truly is a community driven process and we are about to complete the third year. From the start, your neighbors have taken ownership of participatory budgeting, coming to brainstorming meetings, joining participatory budgeting committees, and helping spread the word about the vote. They did so much more than our office ever could have—and it is satisfying to know that the winning projects truly reflect the community's needs and interests.

Now it is your turn to get involved. Participating is important, but it's also easy and fun.

Hope to see you at the vote.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reminder: Tuesday, 3/25 - Presentation of LICH Proposals

The Cobble Hill Association is still reviewing the responses to SUNY's RFP, but encourages everyone to read the recent articles published in the papers, and linked to below.
Brooklyn Eagle
DNA Info
Crain's NY Business
Additionally, we invite everyone to join us Tuesday night to hear about the proposals on the table in more detail. Full details are in the flyer posted below.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

With eyes on Vision Zero, Traffic Enforcement Rises in the 76th

It's now been over a month since Mayor DeBlasio unveiled his 63 point plan called Vision Zero, a comprehensive multi-agency approached aimed at reducing traffic fatalities to zero within ten years. Immediate action has already begun with City Council hearings and community wide forums on the topic taking place, as well as ramped up police enforcement targeting the most deadly traffic violations.

With dangerous corridors like Atlantic Avenue in our neighborhood, the Cobble Hill Association is well aware that its residents frequently have pedestrian safety issues in mind. We are glad to see a renewed focus on safety by many agencies under Vision Zero and want to thank our own officers in the 76th precinct who have increased enforcement by 186%.  As mapped by WNYC, in February of 2013, they distributed a combined 22 tickets for speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians and failure to stop at traffic signal. This year that total went up to 63 tickets.
Many are delighted by this sea change in enforcement and hope it will continue each month. Others raise the concern that it is still not nearly as widespread as it ought to be, with observable violations far outweighing the number of tickets issued. In fact, some precincts have even given out fewer tickets than they did in the same month of 2013.

The 76th precinct holds it's monthly community council meeting the first Tuesday of each month at the precinct at 7:30 P.M. We encourage our community to visit the officers and Captain Justin Lenz to hear more about how the Vision Zero platform will be adopted by our local precinct.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SUNY/LICH Community Health Forum Presentation

Last weekend, neighborhood groups including the Boerum Hill Association, Brooklyn Heights Association, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Cobble Hill Association, Riverside Tenants Association and the Wyckoff Gardens Association coalesced for a SUNY/LICH Community Health Forum Presentation. Together, the below information was distributed.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A sad goodbye to a longtime resident

The Cobble Hill Association has learned that just a few short weeks ago, it's oldest resident passed away. Rebecca Mutchnik lived for an impressive 106 years and leaves behind loved ones whom include her daughter Laurie Maurer, also a well respected and community oriented Cobble Hill resident. Our thoughts go out to the family for their loss with gratitude for the century of livelihood Rebecca helped bring to the neighborhood.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

LICH settlement: Electeds' Statements today, CHA statement tomorrow

Big updates on the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) settlement have been floating around news desks today. Below are statement excerpts from elected officials. The official Cobble Hill Association will come tomorrow, Friday, February 21st.

Our most steadfast supporters, local electeds Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Councilmembers Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Carlos Menchaca jointly released the following statement:
We've long urged SUNY and the State to agree to a new, more open RFP process for LICH, to make sure our community and all of Brooklyn have the best possible healthcare outcome.  And, finally, SUNY has come to agreement with the community and healthcare providers on a process that achieves this basic goal, while offering added transparency and community input. Now, it's critical that the process moves forward in good faith and in a timely way, with meaningful community participation from the many neighborhoods that LICH serves. We will continue to work with SUNY, the community, and our colleagues to ensure that LICH continues to provide care, and play the role that Brooklyn needs.
An excerpt of Mayor Bill DeBlasio's statement is as follows. 
For months, we were told the free-fall closure of Long Island College Hospital was inevitable. We fought back. We went to court to keep the padlocks off the doors. We fought shoulder to shoulder with this community and used all the tools of city government to press for a better outcome. And now, we have a resolution that finally puts people's health first.
His full statement is available here

An excerpt of Governor Cuomo's follows below.
Today’s agreement is a victory for all parties involved and paves the way for putting a long-term, sustainable health care facility in place for the residents of Brooklyn,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are in the midst of a health care transformation here in New York State, and the reality is that yesterday’s costly, inefficient models of delivering service are no longer viable options for tomorrow. Under the terms of today’s agreement, SUNY is reopening the solicitation process to find a new operator for LICH that will guide the facility as it modernizes and continues its important mission of serving New Yorkers.
His full statement is available here. 

Tomorrow, we will post the official Cobble Hill Association response to the close of litigation and the start of improved health care for our community.

Monday, February 3, 2014



The LICH community expects the future LICH to change but not to change from a hospital into something that cannot be called a hospital. The number of certified beds at LICH has been higher than the number of staffed beds for over a decade: that is one area where change would be welcome. When politicians talk of 'transforming' LICH while carefully avoiding the word 'hospital', the community begins to doubt their intentions.

Last summer I went to jail alongside Bill de Blasio fighting to keep LICH open as a hospital. I was proud to support candidate de Blasio's call for a moratorium on hospital closings. But let's be clear: when a hospital becomes something that is not a hospital, that means a hospital has closed. The H in LICH stands for Hospital. It doesn't stand for Band-Aid Central or for a bogus 'free-standing' ER.

When SUNY and Governor Cuomo say there's a surplus of hospital beds in Brooklyn, they're using false numbers based on a bogus counting methodology. The trick of relying on certified beds versus staffed beds exaggerates the number of actual beds. This has been proven by the report of the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU Healthcare and has been widely reported by the media. (See links at bottom.)

The six community groups in the LICH litigation have crafted an RFP counter-proposal that is workable, careful, and positive. Even if in the end no hospital operator comes forward, it is the best shot  to save lives. Intsead of reading our counter-proposal, SUNY announced last week that it was still restricting consideration to its favored respondents from the first round of its rigged RFP.

We stand with our courageous elected officials in calling for a new, untainted RFP process to determine LICH's future: Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Council Members Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Carlos Menchaca.

Commissioner Shah's statement today that LICH would not be eligible for funds from the $10 billion Medicaid waiver proves his bad faith. His argument that LICH lacks a plan to reduce admissions flies in the face of the State's argument that LICH is an empty hospital that no one goes to. Either LICH has too many admissions or too few: the State cannot argue both at the same time.

As for Fortis's offer of affordable housing at LICH, that is a trick that has been played one too many times in Brooklyn where we are still waiting for the affordable housing to be built at Atlantic Yards. Brooklyn will not be fooled by billionaires who dangle affordable housing promises in the face of our demands for health care.

Jeff Strabone
Cobble Hill Association

Link to the CIR report:

Reporting on bed counts:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Elected Officials Join the CHA's Condemnation of SUNY's "Transparent" RFP for LICH.

This press below press release was sent out this afternoon, adding a wide range of support to the Cobble Hill Association's own disappointment in SUNY's most recent actions regarding Long Island College Hospital.


BROOKLYN -- Today, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Councilmembers Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Carlos Menchaca sent the following letter to State University of New York (SUNY) Chairman Carl McCall regarding Long Island College Hospital (LICH):

February 1, 2014

H. Carl McCall, Chairman, Board of Trustees
The State University of New York
33 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Chairman McCall,

As federal, state and city elected officials representing the community impacted by Long Island College Hospital, we are deeply disappointed in the wide gap between your letter of January 30, which claims SUNY has embarked on a process that is “reopened and publicly transparent,” and your continued actions, which neither correct the deficiencies of the July Request for Proposals (RFP), nor add meaningful transparency. As we have told you collectively, SUNY's current path is not legal and will not lead to the best possible conclusion to address the community's needs. As such, we will not participate in this process.

For more than a year, each of us, along with community organizations and healthcare providers, have urged SUNY to adopt a truly fair and open process with the shared goal of preserving healthcare in Brooklyn. At every step, including at the meeting convened by Public Advocate James and referenced in your January 30 letter, we have been rebuffed. 

As we have expressed repeatedly, a good-faith effort to solve the crisis at LICH must include a fundamentally improved process, with healthcare focused priorities and significant community representation throughout. As you know, allotting the community merely one token representative per committee is deeply insufficient, as is the continuation of the same RFP process that has been rejected since July.

We have outlined a process to reach a reasonable conclusion. We again implore SUNY to engage it substantively. SUNY's unwillingness to meaningfully address our concerns needlessly risks extending the process indefinitely.


Nydia M. Velazquez, Member of Congress
Daniel Squadron, State Senator
Joan Millman, Assembly Member
Brad Lander, City Councilmember
Stephen T. Levin, City Councilmember
Carlos Menchaca, City Councilmember

Self guided walking tour of Cobble Hill treasures

The folks over at Curbed have published a small walking tour itinerary of some architecturally notable buildings in Cobble Hill. In this sunny weather, why not take a stroll through our historic district with an eye on these 9 noteworthy buildings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CHA Statement Regarding SUNY's Latest Action

News broke today that The State University of New York (SUNY) will allow respondents to its RFP process for LICH to modify their proposals. The Cobble Hill Association first heard this news from reporters. Below is the Cobble Hill Association's response to this news.

Without consultation or notice, SUNY today issued a press release announcing that the respondents to its rigged RFP process will be given the opportunity to modify their proposals. Make no mistake about it: SUNY has acted unilaterally with no forewarning, let alone consultation, to community stakeholders. They have made this announcement on a night when the nation's and the city's attention will be devoted to President Obama's State of the Union address.

SUNY has not reopened its RFP process: it has simply given its favored parties an opportunity to make their condo proposals look less repugnant. We affirm the words of our counsel Jim Walden of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher: "By acting unilaterally, SUNY assures only one thing: the Community will fight until hell freezes over, and then we will fight it out on the ice."

SUNY is still explicitly steering the RFP respondents away from hospitals and towards outcomes that are not hospitals. Witness the parameters suggested by SUNY today in its letter to the RFP respondents:
"some form of comprehensive health care at the LICH campus, including perhaps an off-campus hospital emergency department and/or a federally qualified health center or other clinic providing substantially the same services for self·pay or low pay patients".

Since there were no hospital operators among the respondents in the original rigged process, there will be none now.

How can the process be called "reopened" when SUNY narrows the scope of acceptable responses and utterly disregards community input?

The six community groups, with the support of our elected officials, submitted a proposal for a reformed RFP process to SUNY. Despite negotiations, SUNY has chosen to ignore our good faith offer and has acted in bad faith by releasing its unilateral plan to the press before the community and the elected officials.

There is only one word for SUNY's actions today: contempt.