Musician, Civil Rights Activist Announces He's Backing De Blasio For Mayor

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Musician and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte announced Tuesday that he is supporting Bill de Blasio for mayor.

As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, Belafonte said he is supporting de Blasio because the city public advocate is a man of vision who has a great sense of community, and is committed to the elderly and the young people of the city.

“What he’s done in committing himself to keeping our health care centers open; to keeping our hospitals open, is par excellence,” de Blasio said. “His leadership and his vision – what he sees for this city in terms of health care and the hospitals, I think, is absolutely key.”

Belafonte said de Blasio “has been there for us, and now we are there for him.”

De Blasio has made headlines lately in his efforts to protect struggling hospitals, particularly in Brooklyn. On Monday, he called for the creation of a Brooklyn Health Authority that would be focused on saving four hospitals – Long Island College Hospital, Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital, and Wyckoff Medical Center.

The authority would allocate federal funding to the hospitals, and allow portions of the health facilities’ real estate to be sold in order to generate proceeds to pump back into the hospitals.

De Blasio has also been pushing back in particular against plans to close Long Island College Hospital. Earlier this month, SUNY Downstate received approval from the State Department of Health to shut down the facility.

But a judge later issued a temporary restraining order that de Blasio said would have called for financial penalties if SUNY Downstate closed LICH.

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