Today’s news:

Before a Hospital Closes

In an effort to help other communities in the state avoid the crisis that has confronted Jamaica and its surrounding communities, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and state Sen. Shirley Huntley have sponsored a bill that would establish a process that must be followed before a hospital is allowed to close.

The governor signed the Hospital Closure Planning Act Friday. The two political leaders know the painful situation created when Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst were closed last year.

The bill, which passed in the state Legislature, requires the state Department of Health to meet with residents at least 30 days before a hospital’s closing. The department would then come back with a report on the state of the health care following the closure and plans on how to meet the community’s needs.

This bill makes sense. The hospitals may be privately owned, but every hospital serves a public role and almost all, if not all, make use of public funds. It is a sad day when a hospital closes. If that has to happen, there should be an orderly procedure in place to protect the needs of the community.

Paladino Unfit to Govern

On Wednesday of last week, the Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino, accused his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, of cheating on then-wife Kerry Kennedy.

This is a serious accusation. That night, a reporter questioned Paladino about the remarks after a speech in Buffalo. In a verbally violent confrontation, Paladino waved his finger in the face of the reporter and threatened to have him “taken out.”

Paladino’s press person, who should have been doing damage control, instead told the New York Post reporter that the campaign was going to cut him off. No press releases or invitation to Paladino events.

The behavior of Paladino and his flak is inexcusable and a threat to freedom of the press. The reporter was doing his job.

Paladino is not just another candidate. In November, he will be at the top of the Republican and Conservative tickets. It is only fair to ask other candidates on those tickets to make it clear how they feel about his hateful language and threatening behavior.

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