CURES FOR INEQUALITY
It’s no surprise that a number of candidates
running to replace Bill de Blasio as mayor of
New York City have made health care reform
a key campaign issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health crisis, as de Blasio, Gov. Andrew
Cuomo and others have pointed out, exposed longfestering
inequalities across the city, particularly
the lack of quality health care services available
in low-income areas and communities of color.
This disparity led to deadly consequences during
the pandemic — with Black New Yorkers dying
of COVID-19 at twice the rate of white New
Yorkers, and Latinx New Yorkers succumbing to
the virus at 1.5 times the rate of white residents.
And if we do nothing to close that disparity in the
wake of this pandemic, then it will be the most
ignominious, shameful of failures by our leaders.
Over the past week, two mayoral candidates
have come out with their plans to cure some of the
harmful inequality in our midst.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s plan seeks
to consolidate the city’s health commissioner and
the head of the NYC Health + Hospitals public
health care system into one office known as the
chief health officer. It also seeks to greatly expand
available health care services across the city, and
recruit teams of medical staff who will be ready
to address future pandemics.
Meanwhile, civil rights attorney Maya Wiley
offered a more issue-specific plan to address another
terrible, shameful inequality in New York:
maternal mortality. New York City has one of the
highest maternal mortality rates in the country
— and again, Black and Latino mothers disproportionately
suffer more post-childbirth deaths.
Wiley wants to expand prenatal care for expecting
moms and midwife services to help eliminate
the complications of pregnancy and save young
The costs of these reforms will undoubtedly be
substantial, and some might well ask if the city is
fit to truly address and resolve our health inequalities.
The answer, however, is that the existence of
the inequalities themselves are evidence that the
status quo and the free market have failed New
Yorkers — and now the government must step up.
It will take years, it will cost millions in taxpayer
dollars, but it must be done. Nothing is
more important than your health — and our next
mayor, whoever it is, must ensure that every New
Yorker gets to live their best, healthy life, regardless
of their background.
HOW TO REACH US
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.16 COM | APRIL 23-APRIL 29, 2021
MAYORAL CANDIDATES MUST
PRIORITIZE CLIMATE POLICY
I was excited to read of mayoral
candidate Eric Adams’ ambitious
plans to invest in wind
power and agree with his
statement that “New York City
has always been the hub for innovation,
new ideas and progressive
Our city needs mayoral candidates
who prioritize climate policy
and recognize the direct link between
renewable energy and longterm
economic recovery. But we
will not get far enough with piecemeal
For real significant change to
happen both city and statewide,
we must push for the passage of
the Climate and Community Investment
Act, the companion bill
to the Climate Leadership and
Community Protection Act passed
in 2019. By imposing a fine on polluters
and investing the $15 billion
in revenues to build up a green
infrastructure, this bill would allow
us to meet the ambitious goals
set forth by the CLCPA. We must
transform every sector of our economy
— nothing less is enough.
Now more than ever, we should
be taking bold steps to replace
and/or retrofit our aging infrastructure.
As a resident of western
Queens, I’m acutely aware of the
many aging and high-polluting
power plants, known as “peaker
plants,” which contribute to respiratory
disease in my community.
It is shocking that these pollutionspewing
plants — slated to be shut
down years ago — are still operating;
and even more disturbing that
fossil fuel groups have significantly
upped their lobbying in order
to slow landmark climate justice
bills on state lawmakers’ agendas.
The fossil fuel industry is actively
trying to obstruct climatefriendly
policy, at just the time we
need to speed it up. The polluters
should not hold the reigns of power.
We need swift, bold and transformative
investment in renewable
energy, and the CCIA, which
would put a fee on corporate pollution,
is the only realistic and longlasting
way to achieve our climate
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Community leaders call for additional supply of the COVID-19 vaccines in southeast Queens neighborhoods.
QNS fi le photo