Saturday, September 13, 2008

Muhlenberg Hospital: How Politics and Help (and Hurt) - Part 1

Before dealing with the real and only important issue here, the future of Muhlenberg, I need to put to rest some local political silliness. Assemblyman Green, in his blog, uses Dottie Gutenkauf to attack me for "abstaining" from the Council vote to support the Mayors recent legal action regarding Muhlenberg Hospital. The Mayors action was to serve notice of appeal on NJ Health Commissioner Howard's decision on the closing of the hospital.

You should have called me Dottie. Or checked with any Councilperson. Then you would have known that I left the meeting (personal business) before it came up in public. Being absent is not "abstaining". I was present for part of the discussion in executive session. When the minutes and audio tape are made available, you will be able to note my saying to the Mayor that her action has given the Council more time to adequately address the Commissioners decision. You will also be able to hear that I was unhappy that the Mayor filed her notice of appeal without telling the Council, not even telling the Council's committee on Muhlenberg Hospital. We first heard this the day of that Council meeting.

So much for strength in unity. Lucky for the Mayor that the Council got past this oversight and supported the legal action. I was not ready to do so on such short notice. I needed time to understand if this was a serious step or just a political gesture. Given a few days, I decided that I would join the rest of the Council in supporting the Mayors appeal.

Notice of appeal is a step but it does not solve the long term challenge of providing medical services for Plainfielders. That is a tricky subject. When Assemblyman Green first mentioned "Plan B" to anticipate the hospital closing by bolstering services, he was attacked for giving up on Muhlenberg. Actually he was doing the right thing, but saying it in public was bad timing. Likewise, when I told Dottie Gutenkauf that, should Muhlenberg close, the financial health of neighboring hospitals such as JFK in Edison would be important to our residents health and safety.

I am very upset with the Solaris decision to close Muhlenberg. I am even more upset with our Governor, who disregarded the recommendations of his own NJ Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources. This blue ribbon panel recommended that essential hospitals that are financially stressed be given state support to remain open. I could ventilate about state legislators also who did not come to the rescue of our hospital (and who accept contributions from hospital systems). Maybe some other time.

Unfortunately, health care decisions in New Jersey are political, not rational. And we Dems are in charge. The heat is on, especially for those elected officials who are running in next years June primary (the Mayor, the Assemblyman, to name a few).

Citizens, you will have to carefully analyze our actions to see if we are just posturing, avoiding blame by pointing fingers at others, or if we are doing whatever we can to solve the problem of providing good health care in Plainfield. More on that in part 2.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's very telling that Assemblyman Green does NOT allow for comments on his blog. Throws out mud, but he obviously doesn't want it coming back at him.

Take a ride to Linden and check out 1148-1154 St. George Avenue which Green sold to the Union County Improvement Authority for $745,000. You will be amazed.

While Mr. Green is critical of properties in Plainfield being sold to non-for-profit entities, he has done the very SAME thing.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that Councilman Storch admitting to VOLUNTARILY leaving this meeting of DIRE IMPORTANCE.. the EXCUSE 'personal business' does not suffice in my book.. his PERSONAL BUSINESS was that of the issues on the table for MUHLENBERG..

secondly.. I will attest to the fact that Assm. Green allows both positive and negative comments.. however, negative comments that a articulated are welcomed..

Anonymous said...

Assemblyman Green is at it again attacking you, claiming you have accepted campaign contributions from an engineering firm which recently pled guilty to bribery. That very same engineering company did work for the County of Union and, I assume, made donations to various Union County politicians.

The FACT of the matter is that while Green has been in the Assembly for years, he has not crafted any bills to take any steps to reform campaign contributions nor has he addressed ethics reform.

I've checked some of Green's own election reports and low and behold, Disgraced Senator now INMATE, JOHN LYNCH, has contibuted to Green Green's campaign funds on numerous ocassions. There are a horde of politically connected attorneys/ law firms who also contribute to Green who receive lucrative contracts through the County. There is also at least one donation to Green from the Bergen County law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck, ... the one that employees the Bergen County Democratic Chairman, Joseph Ferriero, which was RAIDED by the FBI. Ferriero was recently INDICTED.

Green's blog has become nothing more than a weapon for him to unleash outrageous and one-sided attackes. Reading his blog one can only be embarrassed these kinds of things are being posted by a "statesman" no less.

Anonymous said...

In Assemblyman Green's "Connecting the Dots" post on his blog, he makes numerous false statements. The very first sentence is false. It is NOT the State of NJ who is cracking down on corruption, it is the FEDERAL GOVERMENT! The State of NJ has and continues to do virtually nothing about this rampant problem. It was the US Attorney, as usual, who nabbed this engineering firm, not Annie "Got No Guns" Milgrim.

Mr. Green then goes on to say that he was PLEASED to read the article on the founder of a leading engineering corporation in our state being found guilty of soliciting funds to two city officials. How an elected official can be "pleased" when something like that happens defies all logic. I, for one, am sickened when I read articles like that. Surely, there are many more companies who do the same thing who haven't been caught. Mr. Green never says what city those two officials were from ... thereby leaving the reader to guess or, perhaps, leaving the impression that the officials are from Plainfield, which is NOT the case.

Mr. Green goes on to say the same organization donated to councilman Storch and members of the prior administration. Mr. Green never mentions that his own running mate, Linda Stender, received campaign donations from that very organization. And with all the wheeling of campaign money, how do we know if that engineering firm's money never found its way into Mr. Green's campaign??

Mr. Green is very selective in what he shares. Being selective equals being deceitful in my book. Mr. Green himself has accepted moneys from Ex-Sentator Lynch, who now sits in prison. That same engineering firm did hundreds of thousands of dollars of work for the County as well as the Union County Improvement Authority, the same Authority which paid Mr. Green $745,000 for his property in Linden. Does that behoove Mr. Green as well?

The time for a play-to-pay ban is long overdue. Let's include any type of Union from making campaign contributions. That's the other beast that needs to be included in campaign reform.

ResearcherAnonymous said...

thats sound research in regards to the assm's elec reports.. and if you read his blog, it DID say to research his, AND the blog also ADMITTED that he was guilty of such payforplay gains...

how about you read and assimilate ALL of the message before you read what you like and cut what you like from it...

storch, i think you are a good councilman