To the editor,
You recently reported on the saving of Victory Memorial Hospital (“Victory wins!” July 1). While it is good news that SUNY Downstate will continue to provide some health care services for our community as a walk-in clinic or urgent care center, we still will not have an emergency room or access to the full range of services that once existed at this location.
I have lived in Bay Ridge all my life and know that Victory Memorial Hospital has faced its fair share of challenges in the past. However, over the past several years, the facility did make significant progress in improving its services and reputation, including through having a new and improved Board of Directors. In addition, for many in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge, including myself, it was always comforting to know that in the case of a health emergency, a hospital with an ER was only a few minutes away.
The negative repercussions of the loss of Victory Hospital and the ER are already being felt. In fact, you wrote about a car accident right in front of the hospital where the closed ER prevented hospital personnel from treating the victims (“Victory docs can’t help car wreck victims,” June 21). Instead they had to wait for an ambulance to transport the victims to Beth Israel Hospital in Flatbush.
State Sen. Marty Golden, Rep. Vito Fossella, and Councilman Vincent Gentile worked together in fighting to keep Victory open, including filing a lawsuit and presenting data to the state Department of Health that demonstrated that other area hospitals would be overburdened by the closure of Victory.
Unfortunately, our Assemblyman, Alec Brook-Krasny, whose district includes not only Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge but also Victory Hospital itself, was not part of these efforts. Significantly, Democratic party leaders in Albany controlled the final process that closed Victory, so Brook-Krasny was in the best position to exert the most pressure where it mattered most. Yet he turned out to be missing in action when he was most needed. Whether he didn’t try hard enough or simply was not effective does not matter — either way it was a failure of leadership on one of the most important issues facing our community and his district. This is symbolic of how the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights section of the 46th Assembly District is an afterthought to our current Assemblyman.
I would never sit idly by as our community gets the shaft from leaders in Albany.Bob Capano, Bay Ridge
The writer is a candidate to replace Assemblyman Brook-Krasny in the 46th Assembly District.
Editor’s note: The Brooklyn Paper asked Assemblyman Brook-Krasny for a rebuttal to this letter. Here is his response:
To the editor:
Bob Capano is in a bad situation. He is working his last days in the office of a congressman who has been proven to be dishonest, he is in need of a new job, and fast. Bob is desperate. He has no other means of getting his name out to the public, and has resorted to tabloid fodder as his only means of campaigning. Bob seems to think that “mudslinging” and “dirty politics” is the route to take.
I, however, am not a fan of these tactics and refuse to step down to his level. However, I do have quite a few things to say to my constituency in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
My very first meeting as the Assemblyman-elect was, in fact, a meeting with the Board of Directors of Victory Memorial Hospital.
It was on that day that I was informed that Victory Memorial would be closing. This decision was made in response to former Gov. Pataki’s commission’s report. The commission recommended closing Victory. I was also made aware that there were over 100 lawsuits against the doctors of the facility, and that the hospital was $86.6 million in debt and filing for federal bankruptcy protection.
Victory Memorial had virtually no chance of survival after its recent troubles and years of mismanagement, but I can say that I fought alongside my colleagues in government to try and save it.
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights are extremely important to my administration. I have worked diligently to help the many great local organizations, including many health care and social service groups that stand committed to embrace transparency, accountability, and integrity.
Alec Brook-Krasny, Seagate
The writer is an Assemblyman representing parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Coney Island
To the editor,
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear an appeal on the Atlantic Yards case (“Supremes sing the blues to Yards foes,” June 28), it’s more important than ever for New York to enact laws that will help safeguard our homes and communities from irresponsible development — and developers.
Two bills that passed during the final days of the 2008 legislative session create standards for new development projects in the state. These bills are of particular significance to neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and it is now up to Gov. Paterson to sign them.
The first bill, S. 8612/A.7335, directs state agencies and public authorities to utilize “smart growth” principles when funding future policies and programs. Smart growth principles include plans that minimize direct and indirect public costs of new development; traffic congestion and automobile pollution mitigation; energy efficiency; intergovernmental partnerships; community participation; affordability for all income levels; and environmental/open space protection issues, among others.
The other bill, S.8717/A.11768, brings brownfield redevelopment tax credits in line with the cost of cleaning up a brownfield site by increasing and capping the amount of the credit. (The cleanup tax is increased from a maximum of 22 percent to a maximum of 50 percent of the total cost. In addition, the redevelopment credit is now the lesser of $35 million or three times the cleanup cost for most projects.)
Velmanette Montgomery, Fort Greene
The writer is a state Senator.