Friday, October 26, 2007

Madison Ave. vs. Hicks St. -- ct'd

The planter in front of LICH's Graffiti House (385 Hicks) has once again become the target of theft. Another beautiful plant has been stolen within the last twelve hours or so.

Is other crime encouraged by the vandalism known as graffiti ? Mayor Guiliani thought so. These graffiti are ugly and should be removed for that reason alone. But they also contribute to the blight and crime of a neighborhood. There is no excuse for LICH to just ignore the situation.

Would Mr. Wren tolerate this at his other location ? I don't think so.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hicks Street is not Madison Avenue

The graffiti at 325 Hicks Street, a LICH building, are still where they were months ago. Is that a pretty sight ?

As it happens, LICH shares leadership with the Omnicom Group, "A Global Leader in Advertising ...," as it describes itself. Mr. John D. Wren is the CEO of Omnicom and the chairman of the board of LICH. Omnicom is headquartered at 437 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. So I went over there this morning to see how that building is kept, in comparison with 325 Hicks. I took seven pictures on Madison Avenue, another seven new ones here on Hicks, all today, October 25, 2007.

Can you tell which picture was taken where ?

Monday, October 22, 2007

LICH: What do you mean, you want to give us money !!

As the faithful readers of this blog know, I have tried to effect a modest financial contribution to LICH, in recognition of its good work for the sick, and also in appreciation for its beautification of our block. This latter project is not complete, but it's on its way.

My wife and I manage our charitable contributions through the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (CGF). Here is how this works. We give the money to CGF, and CGF gives it to any charity that we recommend, as long as it is properly recognized by Internal Revenue. There are tax advantages to modest givers like us, and also, it turns out, another advantage: CGF vets contributions to make sure that the proposed charity complies with federal rules. In the several years of our relationship with CGF, the procedure has worked without a hitch.

Well, with LICH there is a hitch. Not being privy to the ins and outs of the LICH bureaucracy, I don't know just why LICH does not currently qualify for charitable contributions from charitable gift funds. It apparently has something to do with the way LICH has structured its IRS status. I've been on the phone with CGF several times, and I was told that LICH needs to fill in some papers to qualify. CGF has repeatedly phoned LICH but LICH has not responded. And neither has LICH responded to the several e-mails that I have sent to their man in charge of fund raising. Of course it's only a matter of $300 in contributions from me, and so, it seems, from LICH's point of view, why bother.

And so, reluctantly, I withdrew our grant recommendation for LICH today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Thief of Hicks Street

One of those nice planters on Hicks Street that LICH placed there so recently has just been robbed of most of its flowers (Diana Garden Mums). The first picture shows the holes that the thief left. The second picture shows another planter on the same block, which the thief has not (yet ?) emptied of its flowers.

The plantings are very new and easy to scoop up. It's easy to steal the easy prey. But why would a person do a thing like this ? Is the thief the kind of person you would like as friend or neighbor, or, God forbid, as family member ?

I chatted with a LICH employee as we both inspected the damage. "Whoever did this," she said, "will not enjoy the flowers. They will not grow for him. Why ? Because cheaters never prosper." Amen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Health Care Report Card

I have previously reported on available data about the overall quality of LICH. Most of these data, and more, are conveniently brought together in an excellent site called Health Care Report Card.

So, how good is LICH in comparison with other area hospitals ? It emerges from these HCRC reports that LICH is more or less average. It receives some bad marks in some areas, but so do most of the other hospitals. This site needs to be studied, however, and in detail. One surprising detail is that Columbia Presbyterian, which I have mentioned before (for example in connection with its extraordinarily high compensation for its top executives), doesn't seem to be doing much better than LICH in patient care, at least according to these HCRC data. Lenox Hill Hospital was another surprise to me -- coming in so very low in patient care scores.

I cannot believe that these HCRC scores tell the whole story of these hospitals. Columbia Presbyterian is connected with one of the top research institutions in the world. I would certainly hope that the indisputably high quality of its science accrues to the benefit to its patients, although perhaps not in ways that HCRC can measure.