By Janet Gamble
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
I have been voting in New York City for nearly 30 years, and now I feel no need to vote here ever again.
As a voter, you put your hope and trust in the person you cast your ballot for and want so badly ... so very badly, that they will try to come through for you.
But now I see how stupid and naive I was. Now I see it is not the voters that some New York politicians are working for — its rich, real estate interests. They are the official owners of New York politics.
It's not hard to see the damage these people have caused the average New Yorker. Affordable housing is almost non-existent in every borough. Once-beautiful historic blocks of brownstone housing are now dotted with newly constructed houses that resemble ugly cereal boxes. The well-off New Yorker has their pick of luxury housing, which brings me to the reason I will no longer vote.
Long Island College Hospital (LICH) has just been sold to a developer who donated money to Gov. Cuomo. Several other companies were supposed to bid on running this hospital, but trumped up excuses were made against the first two bidders and they were passed over in favor of a company that donated the most money to the governor. This should be a scandal and fodder for whoever is running against the governor this year...but it won't be. Who is going to investigate this? No one... not when you've pretty much hired everyone who could investigate you.
Our current mayor got himself arrested last year, protesting the closing of this hospital, but I knew it was just a stunt to gain attention ... and it worked. I voted for him with the silly hope that he would at least try to save the hospital, and when he negotiated a deal for different companies to bid for running the hospital, I had hope again...silly, silly hope.
When the bidders were rejected under odd circumstances, I knew where this ship was heading and that Gov. Cuomo was at the helm. While I am not sure if the mayor knew how crooked this deal was, his silence was loud enough. In the old days of Hollywood movies, the good guys and bad guys were always clearly seen and most of the time, there was a happy ending. But in this movie, the people (politicians) who we thought were the good guys, turned out to be the bad guys... and there is no happy ending.
There are good politicians, on both sides, who do want to fight for us. But the rich control the rest, and they will not let anything good happen. There is this mix of emotion that I feel about this: anger, frustration, sadness and hopelessness. When you see thousands of good people losing their jobs and a community losing its hospital — knowing that the people you voted for are the cause of this ... knowing that they betrayed you, just because you were stupid enough to trust them — there is this gnawing ache … an ache of inferiority. Because I, and the average, non-rich, New Yorker, mean nothing to these people ... nothing.
I know there are those who will say that if I don't vote then I should not complain when nothing changes. Well I did vote...and I voted for term limits in New York City. I signed the petition to make it a law and voted for term limits, twice. Then I watched our former, rich mayor strong-arm the city council into overturning that law. No, no more. I will never put my faith in any of these people ever again.
Some people will also say, “Just find another hospital.” Why? My luck in picking hospitals is not that great! Nearly every hospital that was affiliated with the doctor I chose has closed. St. Mary's in Brooklyn, St. John’s in Queens and now, LICH. So, I think I'll be doing you hospitals a favor by not going to you at all!
I know now that I am invisible ... a nobody ... worthless... left to vent my anger in a letter that hardly anyone will see. LICH was nearly 160 years old. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and even the skyline of Manhattan did not exist when this hospital saw its first patient. How ironic to see it fall just because of the view that grew up before it. It was one of the first hospitals to use anesthesia. One of the first hospitals to use a dedicated ambulance corps. Every woman in this country should be angry because, the very first hospital that felt women need special care, too, gave us the first doctor of gynecology.
Soon, this will be gone, replaced with luxury condos that only the richest among us can afford. And when that first bulldozer comes to tear down this historic place, I will bury my voter's registration card in its rubble. Thank you, governor ... thank you, mayor ... for nothing.
Janet Gamble, AKA Nobody
Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn
Janet Gamble, a Crown Heights resident, was born in East New York and raised in Bed-Stuy. She has had two surgeries at LICH.