Rally to save Cobble Hill hospital delivers petition with 7,000 signatures

Fifteeen arrested for protesting LICH closure in front of SUNY office

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Fifteen protestors, including Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio and Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg), were arrested July 10 for disorderly conduct at a midtown Manhattan rally to save Cobble Hill’s Long Island College Hospital.

Levin presented a petition with 7,000 signatures to Leydi Zapata, the director of strategic engagement and branding at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, which runs the hospital. Zapata was representing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

The petition, started by Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), demands that the state follow a temporary restraining order issued by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes that requires it to keep the institution operational and adequately staffed. The petition also called for the state to lift a controversial June 19 decision to divert ambulances from the hospital’s emergency room.

DeBlasio then announced that they wouldn’t leave until immediate action was taken.

“We are going to lose a vital community hospital in a matter of weeks unless something changes,” DeBlasio said in a written statement. “This is a moment for all New Yorkers to stand up and fight, and I’m proud to do my part.”

Police arrested the 15 protesters and took them to Midtown South Precinct after warning the throng that anyone who didn’t step back would be detained.

“By getting arrested, we are sending a message that we will not tolerate SUNY’s disturbing disregard of the court’s orders,” Levin said in a written statement. “LICH provides vital healthcare to our community and must be kept open for care.”

In addition to DeBlasio and Levin, the protestors arrested included New York State Nurses Association Executive director Jill Furillo; president-elect Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez; Jess Stravone, a member of the Cobble Hill Association; and nine hospital employees. All 15 were released hours after the arrests.

And the protestors said it was worth it to them to get locked up.

“If this is going to help the hospital stay open I’ll do it again, and again, and again,” said nurse Leonicha Williams after she was released.

The rally was attended by approximately 200 people, according to union spokeswoman Eliza Bates. It was held in front of the site of the state’s first vote to close the hospital in February – Zimpher’s office at the School of Optometry on W. 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The rally was organized by the nurses association and 1199 Service Employees International Union, a healthcare workers union.

“Today, 15 of us were arrested for standing up for our patients,” Furillo said in a written statement. “But, perhaps law enforcement should have detained SUNY executives, who have put greedy real estate deals before the needs of our community, who have flouted court orders, and who have failed to make good faith efforts to find a new operator for LICH.”

Updated 10:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ken from Greenpoint says:
hope its going on his records as last time for not paying is parking tickets etc.
July 11, 2013, 12:07 pm
RG from Greenpoint says:
When are we going to wise up and finally abolish the
Public Advocate position?
July 11, 2013, 3:57 pm
jl from lich says:
Thank you for reporting WHY 12 nurses and a member of the community, standing up for their patients and community and supported by their elected officials, were arrested - for protesting SUNY's unlawful actions that are putting Brooklyn lives at risk. THAT is the issue & THAT is where the focus should be. It is really unacceptable that it took drastic measures such as this for NYC major media, the mayor & the governor to notice that there is a public healthcare crisis being manufactured in Brooklyn. Thank you Bill de Blasio, Councilman Stephen Levin, Jeff Strabone, 1199, NYSNA and the very brave LICH nurses.
July 11, 2013, 11:28 pm
Joseph Niederman from Williamsburg says:

Dear Stephen,
I'm a member of the Satmar community in Williamsburg
It is no secret that for the past 4 years until present you're here on a mission to hurt us and fight our community, just like your boss Vito Lopez, who was expelled with shame from the Assembly for his appalling and horrible acts against his employees.

We're now finding out that you're also involved in the disgraceful act to steal our holy synagogue located at 540 Bedford Ave. to a 3rd party sham company named BCR riddled with fraud thru and thru.

Since DAY #1 you came into office you started fighting us day and night. Why?

Are you not representing our community?

When there's an issue over a measles outbreak in Williamsburg, you didn't even bother to notify thousands of our community's children of the imminent disease of your constituents? Is this how you treat children?

It is already almost 4 years (since you were elected) that you're not even picking up the phone when we call. Is our community not living in your district?

· You know full well, that the Kahan faction is the same as BCR. – They act together, they play together, and you are aware of the whole time.
· You know full well that David Niederman from UJO and his son are leaders within the Kahan Faction. You lied to authorities saying that BCR has nothing with the Congregation.

· You know very well that we are in possession of it, we’re using all the years, and we have storage there all along.

· You know that we are the initial permit holders from the DOB to this shul.

· You know that we invested millions of dollars in construction costs in this shul!

· You know that the Congregation is not in default, and that the Congregation is exclusively in possession for the past 18 years.

· You know that our members invested millions of dollars by buying seats in this shul for close to 8 million dollars.

· You know very well that the Kahan faction doesn't need this shul at all. They have their Synagogue on Rodney St. which they struggle to fill up. Everyone knows that they only need it so our side shouldn't have it.

· You also know that the fraudsters (Kahan/BCR) went to the a Nassau County court (Judge Murphy), with a similar trick to steal this shul, and the Judge rebuked them.

· You also must know that the Kahan faction tried to steal the Satmar Camps in Ulster County (Judge Gilpatric), and the Judge rebuked them for their fraudulent act.

How dare you have a hand and taking away a 50 million dollar building from the Congregation which is a religious entity and belongs to the members, for a fraudulent scheme of the Kahan Faction under the mask of a so called mortgage by BCR?
We ask you respectfully: How can you have a hand in such a shameful act of stealing our Synagogue, where we invested millions of dollars for the Kahan faction against the ruling the Court of Appeals of the State of New York and all other courts that no one can get involved in this dispute, and ONLY a Rabbinical Court can decide such matters.

You know that our community here in Williamsburg has over 5800 Members, 8,000 kids in the school and 1500 Yeshiva boys. It is therefore hard to believe that you're not learning from the mistakes of your boss the disgraceful groper and predator Vito Lopez, and you're continuing in this ugly direction which will lead you exactly where Vito has reached.

We would like you to tell to father and son David and Joseph Niederman and the rest of the Kahan faction like all other politicians are saying: "Please keep me out of your filthy work", and please fix your mess first!

The situation we have now with the Shul is a matter of time. We struggled in the past with worse situations than this, but the fact has been proven over and over that whoever is hurting so many people paid their price just like your Boss Vito Lopez.
We hope you understand our peaceful and respectful request, and we await you to react in the same manner, and tell the DOB only the real truth about the fraudulent conspiracy between BCR & the Kahan Faction, and the DOB should NOT get involved.
July 15, 2013, 3:58 pm

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