“George, hey George, Bill de Blasio here. I just wanted to offer my condolences. I heard the very sad news and just feel bad for you and want to let you to know I am thinking of you and admire you and admire your spirit and just hope you are hanging in and if I can help in any way please call upon me.”
I only discovered this phone message 38 days after Maggie died. I knew he had called but so much has gone on, so much.
It is nice to know that I will have a mayor who knows my name, but Bill de Blasio cannot restore a hospital to the West Village. The State Health Commissioner, the City and just about everybody who is in the medical business now accepts that old fashioned hospitals are not the right way to provide every day walk-in walk-out medicine. It is too expensive, especially since they serve people who can’t or don’t pay.
Hospitals are totally out of fashion and we will see more drugstore doctors, doc-in-a-box store front offices, and urgent care facilities like North Shore LIJ building on 7th Avenue and 12th Street. In fact, when asked about a West Village hospital, Bill de Blasio made a remark to the effect that, “First we have to get the NSLIJ urgent care center open.” De Blasio kept the Brooklyn Long Island College Hospital open by court order but it appears to be in a fiscal coma with many of its services eliminated awaiting the plug-pulling.
So, what is the real world when Bill eases himself into the mayor’s chair on January 1, 2014? He has to negotiate pay increase contracts with 152 unions with many, like the teachers union, hanging for two years or more; and we are talking about a $4-6 billion budget increase and right now, the budget is $69 billion.
Don’t forget, de Blasio wants to start with my absolute favorite program, universal Pre-K, but offers to increase the tax on the over $500,000 with an increase in taxes which could mean as much as an $800 increase. I think this will face some resistance. I mean, one fifth of your income in city tax and you still have to pay state and federal?
Education is the biggest segment of the budget at 29% and yet according to the union, we pay 25% less for our teachers than do the suburbs and 40% less for older skilled teachers which is the reason we have so many barely qualified teachers and why so many leave school barely educated.
Bloomberg, with $31 billion, is the richest mayor in history and he encouraged billionaire developers to build for the rich and super rich as a simple formula for moving the economy. Naturally, building 60,000 units of affordable housing does not have the same pay off as building an $80 million condo for a Russian oligarch.
I say all this to explain why I don’t think my email to Bill asking him to build a hospital for the West Village is going to catch his immediate attention; if I were him, I would pretend I never received it.
No, securing a hospital is my job, which I very much would like to share with you – yes, you reading this.
As readers of WestView know, I have proposed building a mix-use complex on the 3-block long St. John terminal building and in the September issue we read that our Education Editor, Sara Hendrickson, wants to put a school in as well – great.
The problem is that St. John’s is now owned by three real estate investment firms, Fortress Investing, Westbrook Partners, and Atlas Capital Group who take pension money to invest but only make their profit, 25%, when the property sells at a profit (they have $600 plus millions in St. John’s right now, which is significant, even for a property of this size).
They have long term plans for building its worth that will take five to six years and they do not want to talk to George Capsis of WestView News. They simply do not come to the phone and they never return a call or an email and yet, Mike Novogratz of Fortress Investing is the Head of the Friends of Hudson River Park and his kids play on Pier 40.
I think it appropriate that this last large 3-block site be returned to the West Village for use as a for real hospital, a school, and a medical research center to be paid for by selling apartments in three high rise towers.
I know at the right time and when the balance is just about ready to be tipped, I can call Bill in answer to his offer, “If I can help in any way please call upon me.”