Sunday, May 18, 2008

Muhlenberg rally - May 16 - the good, the bad and the useful

I attended the Muhlenberg rally on Saturday. 100 people gathered in downtown Plainfield to march and hear speakers discuss the problems we face at our hospital.

I give much credit to the POP organization - Peoples Organization for Progress. They have skillfully organized and help sustain the grassroots movement to save Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. It turned ugly for me when the rally was hijacked by Assemblyman Jerry Green for the purpose of promoting his slate of Plainfield Council candidates. I hope POP and any local organizers will not let themselves be used to advocate for an agenda other than fighting for the hospital,the people who need its medical care and the employees who work there.

City Council does not have direct jurisdiction on decisions concerning Muhlenbergs Certificate of Need or sale. What local elected officials can do is advocate for the hospital and for people in the greater Plainfield area who need its services so very much.

Such advocacy must be pro-active. Otherwise we will be in the same place as today: desperate measures, finger pointing and losing control to forces outside our community.

An example of pro-active advocacy would be for the Plainfield City Council to pass a resolution in support of State Senator Vitale's Universal Health care bill. This would be a step beyond just begging the state for more Charity Care money. This would provide health insurance for preventative and acute medical care. We would reduce the wasteful, inhumane and expensive use of the emergency room for non-emergency care. It would increase hospital revenues and make for a healthier hospital for our children and grandchildren.

I will be asking my council colleagues to co-sponsor this resolution. Senator Vitale's office has indicated willingness to work with Plainfield to push this bill forward. Some of my colleagues are saying "not now, the Democratic leadership is not ready". I repeat the famous saying "if not now, when?"

Yes it will cost money and Governor Corzine has said he is reluctant to support it at this time. But then again small towns organized to fight cuts to their state aid and they won. Is our cause less important? Why can't Plainfield fight this good fight? We are a mostly Democratic town. We are a town that gave a huge plurality in the last elections to the Governor and our three state legislators. We helped them. Whats in it for us?


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Councilman Storch. I was at the rally and the politicking was offensive as Assemblyman Green started picking on perceived enemies to exploit the the hospital crisis for political gain. Those of us who have begged him to have the governor come to Plainfield have gotten no satisfaction. It is angering to me as a P.O.P. person to see him using the hospital in this way. I have lived in Plainfield all my life and my parents who now live in Scotch Plains were at the rally with me. They didn't know who the local politicians were but they thought what he did stunk. My mother said he reminded her of Nixon with his paranoia.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "exploit the hospital for political gain" has anyone seen the signs from Olive Lynch? She is exploiting the hospital issue even worse than Green with her signs for "Buy Muhlenberg" as if she is selling the hospital herself. As a longtime advocate for the hospital I see her trying to take credit for the work being done by longtime community activists. I signed up and supported the community initiative to buy the hospital but it bothers me to see that it is nothing more than a political ploy for her. When Iasked about it her people got mad as if I was committing sacrilege by even asking about it. She should be ashamed and I am going to ask P.O.P. to ask her not to use those signs. She is implying that she is the only person who cares about our hospital. This is exploiting it and that is shameful.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh!

Jerry doesn't like it when "team members" get uppity. Who will he propose when Cory's term ends?

Anonymous said...

You are right, the Council should be proactive. Although Council members claim that it has gone on record that Muhlenberg should be saved I do not rember any such document. We must hope that a white knight that knows how to operate a hospital shows up. He will need total area support, not words.