Don't gloat over Espada
It’s tempting to see the world in black and white; as a comic strip of heroes and villains.
And while the editorial presented here last week noted the curious simultaneous timing of the closure of the Soundview Healthcare Network’s flagship clinic and the beginning of deliberations in its founder’s embezzlement trial, the reasons for the shutdown may be more complicated than at first perceived.
Perhaps the cynical former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., worked behind the scenes to time the closure of the clinics he founded to gain sympathy from the public before a jury found him guilty of stealing funds from the non-profit.
Perhaps government agencies sought to de-fund the clinic for political reasons.
Perhaps both are true.
But what is clear is that the people who use Soundview Healthcare Center facilities have become victims who remain unprotected by the two parties who claim to be fighting on their behalf.
But what remains to be seen is whether the forces that rallied to put him away for his heinous acts will protect the people he stole from or toss them aside now that they’ve won their case.
Because, in addition to being Mr. Espada’s personal piggybank, Soundview provides health care to an isolated peninsula cut off from the rest of the borough by the Bruckner Expressway and dominated by nine housing projects with no nearby equivalent in the unhealthiest county in the nation.
If the federal government cuts off funding entirely without replacing the facility with one in the same area, it will mean a loss to approximately 20,000 people a year that goes well beyond what Mr. Espada took from them.
And, for that matter, what he took from us — the taxpayers.
The 20,000 served by Soundview could have been served better if Mr. Espada didn’t steal from its coffers. But leaving its patients without care will mean worse treatment for anyone who might rely on a Bronx hospital or who pays into an insurance plan.