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Community should decide fate of Nursing Home with a public referendum

Posted 1 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Dear Editor:

I’m writing this letter because I am disappointed in our political system. Judge Punch recently ruled that the transfer of the county nursing home to the LDC in order to sell it to a for-profit company is legal. It may be legal, but it is not a wise decision for our community. Concerned Citizens is seeking a referendum that would allow the people of the community to make the decision. It would be sad if our community voted to sell the nursing, but I would accept it.

Most everyone I speak to is against the sale. I’ve attended information meetings from both sides, had many conversations in my personal life and have volunteered to work Concerned Citizens booths. In fact, after a conversation at the booth, a man shared that he was for the sale, but was going to revisit the information. We encouraged him to read all perspectives.

I do not feel that our officials are encouraging people to explore multiple perspectives. I have spoken to several legislators about this issue, and two minimized the issue blaming it on employees at the nursing home and Obama Care. I was disappointed in their responses

I attended an informational meeting at the Mason’s in Albion on June 11th. Chuck Nesbitt, our County’s CAO, presented a case for why the county nursing home had to close. When he was done I felt like he was using the “facts” to build a case to convince us that it is impossible to make the nursing home viable. He used a statistics about Obama Care cutting $750 billion dollars from Medicare. This “fact” was one of the false claims used many times during our recent presidential campaign.

Later in the presentation he explained that the Inter-Governmental Transfer (IGT) could not be counted on. The IGT is a fund that reimburses much of our financial losses. He explained in detail a series of events that stopped the transfers for a period. When he got to the date, it was irrelevant to our current conversation. Yes, it may be an issue again, but it was not what I was imagining during his explanation. I was disappointed and left not trusting what are officials are saying about the nursing home.

This issue highlights how an ethical presentation of ideas is not a part of our political system at any level of our government. Most people feel powerless. People tell me, don’t bother; they’ll do what they want in the end. As a citizen in our democracy I feel an obligation to stand up when government fails the people. Our local government is failing us. I believe that if we want to figure it out, we use our American ingenuity and figure it out.

Concerned Citizens will continue to work for a referendum. We are asking our fellow citizens to listen to multiple perspectives and then make a decision. We will support any decision made by our community.

Betty Garcí­a Mathewson
Albion, NY 14411