Suzie B. Anthony

Rochester's revolutionary protecting and promoting her favorite city!

The Many Failures of Management at Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York

Planned_Parenthood_Fan_Page_Profile_Photo
A vote is taking place this Thursday and I approve of it wholeheartedly. This vote is not for President or any other elected official. On Thursday, September 25th, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York employees will be voting to unionize. This is a courageous step taken by employees to ensure that they get a fair deal from their employer and that their patients are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

I look forward to hearing the results of this vote, but let us take a step back and examine how this happened. On January 1, 2014, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York merged into one entity as a cost saving measure. This is not entirely unusual, but this shifting of personnel put non-union Planned Parenthood in contact with coworkers who were already part of a union. These non-union employees soon discovered that they were making in some cases 25% less than their union counterparts.

Around the same time, as an indirect result of the merger, there was a management shift. These new managers had the goal of serving MORE patients rather than serving their current patients better. The more patients you serve, the more money you make. The most noticeable way Planned Parenthood Western New York attempted to institute this new goal is by booking MORE patients without appropriately increasing the number of staff to compensate. The unintended consequence is that some patients were forced to wait for three hours or more in a Planned Parenthood waiting room to have their OB/GYN visit. How could this happen you may ask? Women will understand this better than men, but I will try my best to break it down in a way that everyone understands.

Women of modest means do not have regular access to medical care and Planned Parenthood provides many of the services a woman would need to ensure her good health such as STI and pregnancy testing, exams and the like. A woman could be coming into a Planned Parenthood branch for a routine yearly exam which should take a short amount of time. However, during the exam it is discovered that the woman has a sexually transmitted infection or is pregnant. The more complex the visit, the longer it takes and for many women the results of their visit will have an insurmountable impact on their lives. This pressure forces patients to wait in some cases for three hours before ever seeing a clinician.

For women of modest means this had a huge cascade effect on their lives. It’s not inconceivable that some women who could not afford to take the day off of work for a doctor’s appointment went to Planned Parenthood prior to their work shift or during their lunch hour only to discover themselves stuck in an overbooked waiting room and given substandard, rushed care during their visit. This became a recurring problem at Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York locations after the merger. Patients felt they were being mistreated and those that could find alternate care did so. The waiting rooms that were previously overbooked quickly became vacant.

Planned Parenthood responded, but not in the way that you might imagine. They held an office meeting informing their employees that branch locations would be extending their hours to provide more opportunities for patients to book appointments and have their OB/GYN visits. Each employee was forced to choose three schedules out of a list of selections to determine which office they worked at and when. The concept is not without merit, but how Planned Parenthood followed through with the concept is horribly misguided. Each employee had to choose a schedule with an evening shift. If a patient near the end of the day had a visit with complications the employees would be forced to remain at work for as long as the patient remained. Employees ended up leaving Planned Parenthood at 10pm only to return at 7am the next morning for their next shift.

This new scheduling did not take into account part-time employees who were forced to chose full-time shifts or quit. Many quit as the part-time employment was necessary so that these employees could fulfill personal obligations like caring for aged family members or their young children. This is the major flaw in the new scheduling initiative as it never took into account the employees, their families and the obligations these employees may have had outside of work.  The new scheduling took effect and was a failure. Patients, who never requested extended visit hours, never took advantage of the new times and the scheduling was later modified removing many of these extended hours. Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York never admitted their mistakes.

Clinicians and other medical personnel recognized they were working for an employer that did not care about them and began finding other employment. Clinicians do the bulk of the medical work at Planned Parenthood locations and there are currently not enough clinicians to staff all of the Planned Parenthood branches in central and western New York. These employees alternate between branches and if one calls in sick locations have to close for the day again depriving patients of quality healthcare. Imagine a patient of modest means and no access to a vehicle visits a Planned Parenthood to terminate her pregnancy only to find out that the location has closed for the day and that the patient may be forced to travel to Greece, Batavia, Canandaigua or some other location in order to receive her medical care. This is a horrendous breach of trust that could have very long term implications for patients who lack access to quality healthcare.

In a last ditch effort to deride the union vote, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York sent all of its employees a letter warning them about joining the union using many of the false scare tactics that anti-abortion activists use to vilify the organization. They should be ashamed of their actions over the last year and recognize the poor decisions they have made are responsible for the union vote.

Ladies and gentlemen of Planned Parenthood, I encourage you to vote your conscience and I wish you the best of luck in saving the organization that you love and work for.

A Lovely Victory…?

Lovely Warren

Lovely Warren

For those living under a rock, City Council President Lovely Warren won a primary victory against Mayor Tom Richards on the Democrat ticket.  Because Rochester is so heavily saturated with Democrats many believe that the Democrat who wins the primary will ultimately win the election.  That topic is grist for another day as the one-sided politics of Rochester is definitely worthy of further discussion.

What I want to talk about today is the convergence of race and politics in our community.  We come from a rich heritage of social activism, but we have recent examples of extreme bigotry directed at people of color by those in positions of authority.  In the same month that Ms. Warren won the primary a young African-American woman by the name of Brenda Hardaway made news when videotape of her arrest was made public.  In the video the pregnant Hardaway is punched multiple times by a police officer before being thrown to the ground and handcuffed.

Earlier this year Benny Warr, a wheelchair bound African-American man, was assaulted by police and charged with disorderly conduct and other charges while he was waiting for a bus.  This is nothing new to people of color in Rochester, New York.  The Rochester Police Department has officially cracked down on minority groups with Zero Tolerance and Operation Cool Down; two programs designed to disrupt criminal activity, but end up harassing poor men and women of color.  These two programs are also very similar to the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program which was recently struck down in federal court for violating people’s civil rights.

Ms. Warren is qualified to be mayor in all respects and if elected will be the first African-American woman to be mayor of Rochester, New York.  The question I pose is will her election make a difference to those who have been disenfranchised by previous administrations?  As City Council President Ms. Warren voted with the mayor and the majority of City Council over 90% of the time.  If her views are the same as the mayor’s based on her voting record will her tenure as mayor be more of the same or the breath of fresh air that our city needs?

I’m interested in your thoughts and comments to create a fuller dialogue on this and other complex issues.  Feel free to comment below.

-Suzie B. Anthony

Lisa Jacques Answers the Suzie B. Anthony Questionnaire!

1073174_225506390907121_2119232314_oLisa Jacques filled out our little questionnaire and represents one of only two candidates for city council who have done so.  The importance of tools such as the questionnaire cannot be understated.  By filling out our form and submitting it to me for distribution, candidates like Ms. Jacques, have the opportunity to state their opinions without the filter of editing and we the citizen get a tangible record of their stance on a wide variety of issues of local, regional and national importance.  Read on and evaluate the answers of Ms. Jacques and the other candidates for elected office.

To read Ms. Lisa Jacques’ answers click here.

Cynthia Elliot Answers Suzie B. Anthony’s Questionnaire!

Elliott - 2013Cynthia Elliot represents the first candidate for school board to participate in our questionnaire.  Although she did not answer all the questions asked of her, the responses she did give are invaluable to you in determining whether or not you would like to vote for her.  Read her responses and feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below.

To read Ms. Cynthia Elliot’s answers click here.

Marlowe Washington Answers The Suzie B. Anthony Questionnaire!

a5957705c2fb1e58c4ad77a30b503fc6I promised that I would not comment on the contents of the questionnaires or editorialize them in any way.  I think it is appropriate for you to read the questions and answers without that sort of noise to distract you.  For the moment I will speak “around” the questionnaire and Mr. Washington.  Mr. Washington was one of the first candidates to contact me over the questionnaire and the first to complete it.

If you like his answers then it will also appeal to you that he brought me those answers before any other candidate.  Please read on and evaluate Mr. Washington’s answers.  Anyone that casts a vote in an election should be as educated as possible on the candidates and the issues at hand.

To read Mr. Marlowe Washington’s answers click here.

Did Police Assault a Pregnant Woman?

Brenda Hardaway

Brenda Hardaway

This is the question we will be asking ourselves for the foreseeable future: did police assault a pregnant woman.  The question is easy to ask, but the answer is rather difficult to ascertain.  Or is it?

Members of a family are having a loud verbal argument.  Neighbors call the police.  Officer Lucas Krull and other Rochester Police Officers arrive to evaluate the situation and are told by a resident they are not welcome on the property and that they would not be giving consent for the police to be on the property.

The police could evaluate family members for possible injuries, talk with everyone to see if there is a consistent story and reason to probe further, but realistically there isn’t much they should do.  This is where the story should realistically end.

“Why do you say that Suzie B?” you may ask.  The police have a responsibility to investigate and arrest criminals.  That is what we pay them for isn’t it?

The job of the police is to serve and protect.  This means serving the community and protecting our constitutional rights.  Sometimes these two ideas are in agreement and other times they are in opposition.  When there is a question as to what to do next the answer should always be to protect our constitutional rights.

Instead the police press on and decide the arrest Romengeno Hardaway (the family member who did not give the police consent to be on the property) and his sister Brenda Hardaway.  Brenda is twenty-one years old and six months pregnant.  Below is a video of their arrest as it happens.  What I want you to think about is this: when Officer Krull is slamming a pregnant woman up against a house and car whose interests is he serving?  Is it the community’s or her constitutional rights?  When he later slams her against the porch and punches her in the head while her hands are restrained behind her back whose interests is he serving?

This is pure speculation on my part, but I have a feeling that Romengeno did not give the police consent because this is not the first instance of police brutality that he has ever witnessed.

To view the video of the incident click here.

***Special thanks to Davy V. for being the first to bring this video to my attention and additional posts by Rachel Barnhart and the Democrat and Chronicle.***

The Cancer Dancer

There are occasions that take my breath away and fill me with a hope and joy for this world.  A week ago I came across an internet video featuring Tiffany Staropoli.  She has stage 4 colon cancer.  This means that a cancer that originated in the colon has spread to another part of her body.  In this case it is the liver.  Although treatable this is one of the most difficult to remove types of cancer.

Tiffany has chosen to remain positive despite the difficulty of her medical journey and dances to relieve stress and to laugh at herself.  She believes that a healthy positive mental outlook will help her beat this cancer or at the very least help her get through this medical journey with her sanity intact.

I applaud her efforts and wish her well.  To view the interview with Tiffany and her husband Rick follow the link here.

-Suzie B. Anthony

We live in deeds, not years: in thoughts, not breaths;

In feelings, not in figures on a dial.

We should count time by heart throbs.  He most lives

Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

-Philip James Bailey

10 Questions Every Rochester Candidate Should Answer

Almost two weeks ago I sent a questionnaire to all the candidates currently running for office within the city limits.  These questions were developed with the help of city residents and with city issues at its heart.  Insist that all candidates fill it out.  The only way you can make educated choices is by asking good questions.  The questionnaire is below.

1.  In recent years the issue of police and official misconduct has become a prominent concern among the citizenry.  What have you done to hold officials accountable for their actions and what do you intend to do as an elected official to ensure the equitable treatment of all citizens?

2.  The issue of education has become the cornerstone of the current mayoral campaign even though the mayor has little input on school operations.  What are your thoughts on the issue of education and what do you believe is the role of mayor, city council and the school board in regards to education policy?

3.   Other municipalities are using imminent domain laws to claim foreclosed properties.  Should Rochester use imminent domain as a tool in its arsenal to fight the foreclosure crisis?  For more information see http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/07/30/richmond-threatens-eminent-domain-to-address-foreclosure-crisis/.

4.  Poverty is rampant in Rochester with the average household income at $30,000.  How can our school system educate children whose main concerns are food, clothing and shelter rather than reading, writing and arithmetic?

5.   Rochester residents often speak of being over-taxed and others complain of the tax incentives given to large corporations.  What is your answer to the issue of taxation?  Are tax incentives useful in attracting new businesses to the area, do residents suffer when others are awarded these incentives and is the current taxation rate for residents fair?

6.  Rochester was home to many historical figures who helped to shape local and national issues.  How do you see the legacy of this city and what are your thoughts on the historic preservation of areas of local, regional and national importance?

7.  Rochester is home to many institutions of higher learning yet many of these students do not remain in the area after graduation.  Also,  many local residents leave for college and never return to Rochester post graduation.  What can you do to stop the “brain drain” currently going on in the area?

8.  There are many cameras throughout the city designed to ticket drivers who run stop lights.  These cameras and the law allowing them is currently being challenged in court.  What is your opinion of these cameras and their effectiveness?  Would you want to continue this program or have the use of these cameras discontinued?

9.   What qualifies a candidate for the office you are trying to attain?  Why should anyone consider running for public office in the Greater Rochester Area?

10.  There are many candidates running for office.  Choose a candidate other than yourself and speak to their qualifications.  What makes them worthy of the public’s trust and what can they offer the community that other candidates cannot?   

Why I Came Back

48175When I was born times were tough. America had just begun to form itself and it became clear as I was growing up that my country could go in two directions. The first would be to maintain the course, keep slavery and continue to relegate women to second class status and defacto property. The other option was a massive change towards broader equality, the abolition of slavery and the equal treatment of women in society.

I died knowing that “failure was impossible” and I was right. Slavery was abolished in my lifetime and those of African heritage were given equality and voting rights. There have been setbacks since then, but it was clear at that moment in time that freedom was on the march for those our country so egregiously wronged. I the right for women to vote was not too far behind and a couple years after my death it happened. Times were tough, but there was a bright horizon to shoot for. Opportunity, prosperity and equality were possible for all who came to the United States of America.

So why did I come back? A historic church near my home was going to be demolished and replaced by a Dollar General store. To me, this building is a symbol of our collective promises and how we have failed to uphold them. This once thriving church was once part of a prosperous neighborhood in a city that was the first boom town in America. We are no longer thriving, prosperous or booming. The worst part is there is no one to blame for this disaster, but ourselves.

I repeat: It is all our fault.

Over the years we have made choices as a society to do nothing and to change nothing about the way we live.  This stagnation has allowed our city to literally and figuratively crumble.  I love Rochester, but I recognize that it needs help: most children in our city grow up in poverty, only 50% graduate from high school and those of African descent still face tremendous hurdles to be successful in life. I want to help Rochester get back on its feet and give voice to the systemic problems facing our city. This will sometimes take the form of promoting the work of various individuals, non-profits or government initiatives with potential to help our city prosper. Other times I will condemn those who choose to exploit others and the political deals that are often too good to be true.

I believe this city can be great again, but only through an active citizenry whose willing to participate. I will keep you informed as long as you promise to listen.

-Suzie B. Anthony

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