Friday, October 25, 2013

Muhlenberg Commentary Part 2

After reading the few negative comments about what I have done to try and help our city deal with the Muhlenberg Campus I am responding with what I have done, not just in the last 5 years but the 4 years prior to the Muhlenberg Campus closing.

4 years before Muhlenberg closed I was able to secure millions of dollars in grant money from the state to keep the facility open. That grant money was unfortunately cut from the budget, without that grant money Muhlenberg may have closed 9 years ago.

Also when we were in the process of building the nursing school a private donor gave 8 million dollars; I was able to raise an additional 4 million so that the nursing school could be built with no financial problems.

So I like to feel that for the last 10 years I have played a major part in getting the nursing school built and keeping the hospital open. From the 5 years before it closed and to this day I haven’t stopped trying to bring the best medical services to the campus.

I have worked with Community Healthcare Associates LLC a real estate development firm that that works specifically on healthcare facilities to reintroduce healthcare facilities that offer a wide range of medical services. They previously worked on Kessler Medical Arts Complex and Barnert Medical Arts Complex; they have a history with facilities similar to Muhlenberg. They have worked closely with me on my bill A3043 that I previously mentioned the Governor vetoed and continue to help me push for a way the state can help us.

I live in this city and like every other citizen you never know when you may need to go to the hospital so instead of having a 5 minute trip to the hospital we now have almost a 30 minute drive. And that long of a trip can be the difference between life and death.

So I am just as concerned and will continue to fight so that the campus can give the best medical services for Plainfield and the surrounding area.

Unfortunately there are a handful of people who will never acknowledge the time and effort I have put into working on the Muhlenberg issue I promise I will continue to put in that same time and effort to make sure that the property will be used to help the city. This has been a decade long battle and I am not going to stop now. I will continue to reach out to people to make sure the site benefits all of us here in Plainfield.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Commentary on the Muhlenberg Campus

I have been very busy as the new Democratic Party Chairman trying to move the Union County Democratic Party in a direction that all of Union County can be proud of. I have not spent much time dealing with issues locally that I have no control in making decisions over.

When I read some of the blogs and misinformation put out to the public I try not to respond but unfortunately sometimes when you don’t respond people don’t know whether its true or not. I have no respect for people who anonymously spread lies and rumors. But I can’t sit back and not respond to these lies.

I feel that unless you have a solution to this problem being critical for the sake of being critical isn’t productive and doesn’t serve to help Plainfield.

I am going to be very short and to the point, I have not been critical of anyone when dealing with the Muhlenberg Property. I am in support of what is best for the City of Plainfield. For over a year I have been meeting with people in the medical field people who deal with properties like Muhlenberg and have listened to their recommendations on what the best course of action should be.

I have been working with people with a background in reopening hospitals in urban communities all over the country. Their recommendation was that if the right funding was in place we would be able to offer medical services on the Muhlenberg campus. The key was to get the right financing to accomplish this.

The primary issue is the 20 million dollar debt that comes with the campus that has been one of the main factors. Also there are environmental issues with some of the buildings on the campus that would cost an additional 5 million dollars to correct. With the right financing in place we could offset this debt to create something to better serve the Plainfield community.

I sponsored a bill A3043 just in case anyone would like to go read the bill to see what I was trying to accomplish. It would have “Allowed corporation business tax or gross income tax credits to developers for certain capital investments for repurposing qualified health care facilities.”

This would have given companies the ability to use these dollars to redevelop hospitals like Muhlenberg and others around the state in a similar financial situation as Muhlenberg.

My bill was included in the largest economic development package in our states history the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. The bill passed out of both the Assembly and Senate with Bi-Partisan support. The Governor, knowing how desperately communities like Plainfield needed this portion of the bill vetoed it without giving a reason.

I hope that this answers any questions about my position on the Muhlenberg Campus and what I am trying to help accomplish; which is bringing the best medical services to our community in difficult economic times.

When I am Re-Elected this November I will not stop. The people of Plainfield deserve the best. I would also like to add I support the hiring of someone to look at what’s the best use of the site.

I’m hoping that in the future people will stop being so critical and give suggestions so we don’t end up with an empty lot like Irvington. In Irvington they talked for years and did nothing only for the community to suffer and bring property values in Irvington to an all-time low.

My understanding is that my opponent John Campbell has begun telling people he has found a buyer for the property but has not yet released to the public or City Council who the buyer is. I will be the first person to work with him if such a buyer exists because this is not a political issue. After five years to say you have a buyer I think it’s only fair that you tell the public who this buyer is so that the city won’t have to spend money on a study.

I have just explained what I’m doing to help our community; unfortunately Mr. Campbell hasn’t said what he’s doing or what his plan is. As I drive around town I see giant pictures of Mr. Campbell but he hasn’t said what he has done for Plainfield or what he would do as a Republican member of the Assembly.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gusciora: History Will Be Made in NJ on Monday

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages to begin on Monday by denying the Christie administration’s request for a stay while the court continues to decide the case:
“History will be made in New Jersey on Monday.
“Equality has won out once again and I thank the Supreme Court for ruling on the side of justice.”
“I hope the Christie administration will quickly get its act in gear to give towns the guidance they need to begin making this dream a reality for the thousands of gay couples who have waited too long to be treated equally.”

Speaker Oliver: Marriage Equality Ruling Yet Another Win for Equal Rights

Despite Christie Efforts, Monday will be a Great Day for N.J.

(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) released the following statement Friday after the Supreme Court rejected Gov. Christie’s latest attempt to block marriage equality in New Jersey:

“I praise this decision - and I welcome marriage equality to New Jersey starting on Monday. It’s yet another win for equal protection under the law.
“It’s a shame it took this long to get to this point and that it took a court fight for same-sex couples to gain equal rights. New Jersey could have had marriage equality already if it wasn’t for Gov. Christie, who has done everything he could to prevent this from happening, including wasting money and time continuing this court battle.
“Justice has won out, and New Jersey will be a better state for it.
“Monday will be a historic day for New Jersey, and day of great joy and happiness for many of our citizens who have long deserved it.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Speaker Oliver Applauds Latest Marriage Equality Ruling; Urges Christie to Drop Appeal Effort

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) released the following statement Thursday on Assignment Judge Mary C. Jacobson’s order denying a request by Gov. Chris Christie to prevent marriage equality starting Oct. 21:

“I applaud this sound decision that supports equality for all New Jerseyans.
“Gov. Christie needs to finally get the message and stop doing everything he can to stand in the way of civil rights. I sincerely hope he now drops his effort to prevent all loving couples from receiving equal treatment under the law.
“Enough is enough, governor. Do the right thing. Let Oct. 21 be a day of celebration across our state.”