Public Employee Press
Political Action 2006
Social problems, Political solutions
DC 37 activists
join Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens (third from right) at the 31st annual Legislative
DC 37 Research
Dept. staffer Moira Dolan (third from right) invites members to express their
ideas at workshop.
activists gear up at Legislative Conference
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Keeping the political pressure on, DC 37 grassroots activists geared up Oct.
28 to defend funds for public hospitals, protect the electorate from voting machines
that are easy to tamper with and achieve fiscal equity for city schools.
Addressing the unions 31st annual legislative conference, Political Director
Wanda Williams said the unions message is No to charter schools, no
to closing public hospitals, and no to electronic voting machines that leave no
paper trail and open the door to fraud.
Medicaid funding issues and the Save Our Safety Net campaign launched to protect
the city Health and Hospitals Corp. from the governors effort to fold 20,000
hospital and nursing home beds.
Our focus is to protect the Medicaid
funds the city gets, said Sally Tyler, an economist from AFSCME. She joined
health care advocate Judy Wessler and HHC Vice President LaRay Brown on a panel
that discussed a program to use $1.5 billion in Medicaid funds to resuscitate
the states ailing health care system. The problem, they agreed, is that
the outgoing Pataki administration tied the funds to its hospital closing plan.
DC 37 is discussing the matter with Governor-elect Spitzers transition team.
Wessler urged the group to fend off efforts to use public hospital
funds to pay private hospital debts.
Education experts Patricia
Warren and Jan Atwell charged that charter schools siphon funds from public schools
and fail to improve education.
DC 37 must continue to lead the
way as one of the most powerful institutions in this country, said state
Senator Malcolm Smith, the conferences guest speaker.
led by DC 37 Political Action Committee Chair Lenny Allen, included workshops
led by DC 37 child care advocate Moira Dolan, Safety Director Lee Clarke, pension
expert Dennis Deahn, Retirees President Stuart Leibowitz, and Santos Crespo, vice
president of Dept. of Education Local 372, and question-and-answer sessions. The
information will aid members when they lobby City Hall and Albany.
is the time to do what we do best, was the message from DC 37 Executive
Director Lillian Roberts. Its time to advocate, educate and mobilize
members to lobby legislators and win the equity we have been seeking for so long.