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PEP Dec 2006
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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 Conference.


DC 37 Research Dept. staffer Moira Dolan (third from right) invites members to express their ideas at workshop.

Grassroots 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 union’s 31st annual legislative conference, Political Director Wanda Williams said the union’s 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.”

Participants revisited Medicaid funding issues and the Save Our Safety Net campaign launched to protect the city Health and Hospitals Corp. from the governor’s 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 state’s 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 Spitzer’s 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 conference’s guest speaker.

The conference, 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.

“Now is the time to do what we do best,” was the message from DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts. “It’s time to advocate, educate and mobilize members to lobby legislators and win the equity we have been seeking for so long.”

 

 

 

 
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