It should now be pretty clear from the e-mails previously posted that the idea of placing the new hospital Downtown originated with our local officials (elected and unelected): NOT Albany (the Governor's Upstate czar did not like the idea) and NOT the MVHS Board (they had to be "steered" to Downtown and cajoled with promises that Downtown would be made cost "neutral" compared to the St. Luke's site (i.e., Taxpayers would pay for any additional costs)). So how did we get to where we are now?
Governor Cuomo originally wanted to advance two new state of the art hospitals to demonstrate how health care could be streamlined: one Downstate in Brooklyn, one Upstate in Oneida County.
Mr. Brindisi, to his credit, lobbied for language to ensure that the new "Oneida County" hospital would be convenient to Utica's poor. The legislature's attorneys inserted the "largest population center" language to achieve that objective.
However, they said neither "Downtown Utica" nor "City of Utica," nor even "largest population city" nor "largest population municipality," which would have forced the hospital into Utica. That would have been risky for site selection considering that Utica is only 17 square miles in size. The use of the word "center" does NOT confine the site to one in Utica.
It should not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Governor not only wanted to improve healthcare, but also to demonstrate to the nation that he could accomplish something good for the public. The insistence of Mr. Brindisi, Mr. Picente, Mr. Dimeo, Mr. Palmieri, and the other usual suspects that the hospital had to go Downtown to accomplish "economic development" (NOT a consideration under the hospital legislation) not only places at risk completion of the hospital, but the Governor's reputation as well.
When the only poll that was taken demonstrated that half of the respondents were against placing the hospital Downtown, why would the Governor want to support that? The Governor wants to be known for accomplishing something good, not causing public controversy. A state-of-the-art hospital should not be controversial, but placing it Downtown has made it so.
Insisting that the hospital has to go Downtown is a serious miscalculation by our local officials. You have to question "What were they thinking?".