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More Bad News%A0for Sen. Slash – QNS.com

More Bad News%A0for Sen. Slash

New questions have been raised about the ethics of state Sen. Hiram Monserrate. He was convicted three weeks ago of misdemeanor assault charges related to an incident in which his girlfriend’s face was slashed with a broken glass. He was acquitted of more serious felony charges, but four government reform groups have raised questions about Monserrate’s legal defense fund.

The groups — the New York Public Interest Research Group, Citizen Action, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters — want to know the defense fund donors’ identities. They have filed a complaint with the state Legislative Ethics Commission. The public has the right to know where the money came from.

The number of people seeking Monserrate’s ouster grows. He should step down.

It was bad enough Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills was forced to close. The hospital ran into financial difficulties a year ago. The timing could not have been worse.

Swine flu threatens to overwhelm borough medical facilities. The hospitals left after the closing of three facilities may not be able to handle seriously ill patients if the flu hits as hard as experts predict.

The threat made this week that the hospital could be turned into some sort of jail is unacceptable. Thomas Seaman, the court-appointed receiver for Medical Capital Holdings, the firm that originally issued Parkway’s mortgage, threatened to turn the building into a detention center if it does not reopen as a hospital.

Opening a jail in the middle of Queens is unthinkable and unnecessary. There is no evidence the city or state is looking at this site. We suspect this is an empty threat. The site could be opened as a privately run detention facility, but that is unlikely. The opposition to building a jail would be enormous.

This was a hospital with the space that may be needed soon to serve H1N1 virus victims. We agree with Karen Koslowitz, the director of community boards at Queens Borough Hall, who said, “Open Parkway Hospital. Queens has lost 600 beds in the past year.”

The state and city are preparing for a health crisis. There should be a way to reopen this hospital, which should be done soon.

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