-By Roger Paradiso
I am writing this not just to the readership of WestView News, but to the contributors to the paper. Petitions work when they are popular. Why? Because if they address issues that people care about, it will not be hard to get signatures.
George Capsis, the publisher of WestView News, is an activist who tried to keep St. Vincent’s Hospital from closing. Since it was torn down, he has advocated for building a new hospital. I am asking you to help George on his quest. By contributing to WestView you are promoting the paper as a voice of the people, which it says on the front page. You are doing a good thing. Not just for yourself, but for your family, friends, and neighbors.
George and I are expecting our young reporters to get out on the streets and talk to people about our main concerns. One of the most urgent of these is: we need a hospital put back where St. Vincent’s had been but was never replaced. The Lower West Side has two hospital beds per 100,000 people. This matters. A new hospital will save lives. If you suffer a heart attack or a stroke you have minutes to save your life. Not hours.
And not to offend our friends on the Upper East Side, but they have defeated us. They have fought to get many hospitals in their neighborhood. So much so, that the area is called “Bed Pan Alley.” They have over 5,000 hospitals beds for 125,000 people. A bed for every 25 people!
Most people won’t read the actual petition. But they will respond to two major points if you have a chance to talk to them. The first is the need to build a new hospital to replace St. Vincent’s. The second is the disparity between the number of beds on the Lower West Side and the Upper East Side. You will get their attention. As they are signing and printing their names and addresses, you can emphasize again that we need to bring back a hospital to replace the great St. Vincent’s Hospital that has been closed since 2010.
Dear seniors, we do not go out at night with petitions or go door to door (except to neighbors). But we have seniors living in Westbeth and public housing, and we have many senior centers. Petitions can be posted in these places. And we can contact our family, friends, and neighbors.
I circulated a petition several years back in Montclair, New Jersey. They told me I was crazy. My son Anthony and I, along with a few neighbors, got 750 signatures in a six-block radius of our last remaining six acres of woods. We stopped condos from being built.
Politicians respond to petitions because every signature represents a vote. And in small districts every vote is important to their jobs.
Please help us help the community and maybe someone close to you. Maybe even you. Thank you.