Monday, October 08, 2012

Are you just gonna stand there and watch me burn?



At this point, Jindal is actually making Nero look good.  He's not just fiddling while the state is burning, he's pouring gasoline on it while flying around the country to show his RNC masters what an amazing thing he's done.

"Hey see those flames?!?  I did that!!!"

Gov. Bobby Jindal's out-of-state travel draws criticism on different fronts

But Jindal is not the target of this rant...our own community is.

I never jumped on the "Save Charity" bandwagon for numerous reasons but primarily I just wasn't as concerned about the building as I was the actual state of our healthcare services in the city.  After the storm, we were desperately in need of a "Charity" system and LSU and Tulane ended up taking on the load.

Now Jindal has successfully decapitated the entire LSU hospital system, leaving the New Orleans hospital on life support and woefully capable of handling the demand for public health care in the city.  His endgame is undoubtedly to force the hospital into a private buyout so he can brag to his national puppet masters about his keen conservative principals.  I'm sure these acts will be a feather in his cap on the national stage despite the devastation and literal loss of human life that will result in the state he's supposed to be governing.

Regardless....I want to know where the activists are now.  I can't tell you how many discussions I got into with people on the Save Charity campaign that cited their main concern was health services to the community.  I distinctly remember these conversations because I would always pose the question, "What if we can better serve the community without the Charity building?".  The argument always seemed to turn to the building...we have to save the building.  

Now, the threat of a breakdown in the city's medical services is real....very fucking real.  I think perhaps even more so than in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.  Jindal has just turned off life support to an already overwhelmed hospital system in the city.  Tulane Medical Center will, no doubt, become overloaded in short order.  I think this could turn into a crisis very quickly.

My question is...where are all the Save Charity folks now?  Where are all the people who claimed their real concern was the state of health care in the city?  Was the whole Save Charity campaign really about what was best for the city or was it simply about the nostalgia for brick and mortar?  Why aren't those people launching a campaign to "Save LSU Medical Center in New Orleans"?

Even St. Tammany gets it.

The last public hospital in the city is being suffocated by this governor and it seems we are content to watch it die.  The implications for this issue are far greater than the loss of a single building...which is still standing by the way.  

    


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

dunno about anyone else but my interest in saving Charity was an urban planning one.

first because the building is built like a tank and was by no means destroyed. the proposed replacement grounds required bulldozing of unique and unreplaceable housing stock. the sort that has never existed anywhere else and will never again. (yes we can talk about run-down neighborhoods, but then all we have to do is point to the FQ and the Marigny, which were both run-down and undesirable places at different points of their existence.)

second because the city *already* built a "new & modern" medical corridor, and that was Tulane Avenue. it was downtown, on the mass transit lines, and dense, as downtown development should be. the new proposals are spread out in a "suburban" style that is unsuited to inner city land usage. this is expensive, places heavier demand on cars, and required more bulldozing.

lastly, because the thing was just another land/budget/power grab by the powers that be. a costly exercise that comes at the public taxpayers expense....we arent rich, the more frugal use of our limited budgets would have been renovating what we got, and focusing on services. instead we're building a massive new construction while at the same time shutting down mental health hospitals in the region due to budget constraints. that isnt sound fiscal policy.

....those were my reasons. maybe not as altruistic as youd like, but legit to me nonetheless.

Brad Ott said...

You are just choosing not to see us raise up about the healthcare consequences being wrought on Louisiana. We have been a key part of the Save SELH effort since its inception. We protested the mid-year FY 2011-12 LSU budget cuts. And yes, we warned of the consequences of abandoning Charity Hospital.

If you want to do something about what you view as apathy, start with YOURSELF by looking in the mirror.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

Did you really just tell me I'm apathetic? You could accuse me of a lot of things...a lot...but apathy? Is this your first visit to this blog?

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

And to clarify, I wasn't accusing the Save Charity movement of apathy. I was accusing them (you) of myopia.

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

"first because the building is built like a tank and was by no means destroyed. the proposed replacement grounds required bulldozing of unique and unreplaceable housing stock. the sort that has never existed anywhere else and will never again."

I don't believe the equation is that simple. The building had as many pitfalls as assets. I know for a fact that to "modernize" the building would have required exorbitant costs in wiring and conduit alone. Could the building have been back up and running at the same speed it was before the storm in a short period of time? Yes. But that speed wasn't adequate to begin with.

As far as the unreplaceable housing stock...where? What was so unique about the buildings in that corridor that doesn't exist elsewhere in the city? I've heard this argument before but I honestly don't understand it. Please be specific when you say there was "unique" housing in that area that doesn't exist elsewhere.

I am a fan of preservation, but not to the point where worship of nostalgia destroys the progress of the community. If the vision of that corridor is even remotely realized I can accept the loss.

"second because the city *already* built a "new & modern" medical corridor, and that was Tulane Avenue. it was downtown, on the mass transit lines, and dense, as downtown development should be. the new proposals are spread out in a "suburban" style that is unsuited to inner city land usage. this is expensive, places heavier demand on cars, and required more bulldozing."

One of the visions for the corridor is to link the medical district with one of the city's greatest assets, Xavier. And how is this area not on mass transit lines? I buy some of your argument here but not that somehow the Tulane medical complex is anymore connected to mass transit than the area along the corridor.

"lastly, because the thing was just another land/budget/power grab by the powers that be. a costly exercise that comes at the public taxpayers expense....we arent rich, the more frugal use of our limited budgets would have been renovating what we got, and focusing on services. instead we're building a massive new construction while at the same time shutting down mental health hospitals in the region due to budget constraints. that isnt sound fiscal policy."

Yes and no. The majority of the money going into this buildout isn't coming from "our limited budget". This money would not have been made available for anything other than what it is being used for now.

And let's clarify something...the closure of mental health facilities and hospitals around the state has absolutely nothing to do with the decision to not reopen Charity. These closures are the heartless, selfish acts of an egomaniacal politician, Bobby Jindal.

Charity closing ≠ current cuts to the LSU health care system statewide. It simply doesn't, no matter how much you spin it.

And that was my problem with the movement from the beginning...it became a preservationist movement to save that goddamn building which overshadowed the issue that really mattered. And I'm not accusing anyone of apathy, not you or anyone in the campaign. I'm asking why the same level of passion isn't there to save the thing that really matters...a desperately needed public health care system for the city of New Orleans.

I believe this is a winnable battle...I think there is enough critical mass to stop Jindal from doing this or at least slow him down long enough until we can get him out of office and take our chances with the next governor.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know, read the blog;

http://savecharityhospital.com/

Janet said...

Go to http://SaveCharityHospital.com and find out.

Brad Ott said...

I have been involved with efforts to support funding for Charity hospitals statewide before Hurricane Katrina (serving as the formal representative for the uninsured to the Region 1 Health Care Consortium; and was Legislative Director with Advocates for Louisiana Public Healthcare). Unless you are masquerading as someone else, I can say with some certainty that it is YOU that is afflicted with myopia as well as apathy.

The closure of Charity Hospital has EVERYTHING to do with the dismantlement attempt of the rest of the iconic but much neglected Louisiana public hospital and mental health system. Taking down Charity has long been a wetdream of Bobby Jindal since he was first appointed DHH Secretary in 1996. Indeed, his professed mantra was supporting "the wise purchase" of healthcare instead of the "wise provision" of them. It is why Louisiana voters narrowly elected Kathleen Blanco to the Governorship in 2003. Alas, Blanco's closure of Charity despite the heroic efforts of Charity's doctors, medical residents and the U.S. military under the command of General William Caldwell (82nd Airborne) and Task Force Katrina Commander Lt. General Russel Honore, has led to this disasterous result that we now face -- the ruinous dismantlment of our safety net public and hospital system.

Perhaps there might be a time to split hairs over the preservation strategy employed by much of the movement in the years following the closure of Big Charity. Yet I am hearing NO ALTERNATIVES OFFERED BY YOU.

Given the calamity unfolding before us now, I think it is high time to advance alternatives, instead of projecting mis-informed invective.

Brad Ott

Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

How was I abusive?

SaveCharityHospital.com said...

I'm wondering where the myopia is.

I'm a fan of your work but this criticism is completely unwarranted.

While advocates to save Charity Hospital and the Charity System foresaw last weeks events coming years ago and tried to stop this "fucking breakdown in the city's medical services", you say you:

""never jumped on the "Save Charity" bandwagon for numerous reasons but primarily I just wasn't as concerned about the building as I was the actual state of our healthcare services in the city.""

IE:  you didn't foresee what we, the majority of residents in New Orleans, and our coalition of over 77 organizations saw coming and you dismissed our efforts because all YOU saw was that we had to save the building.  

Now it seems, somehow the entire disintegration of the Charity Hospital system is our fault?!?!

Really.

I have to take issue with the preservation of Lower Mid-City as well.  When the song you linked to in this blog was hitting it's stride in 2010, I used to listen to it as the wreaking balls began pummelling the lives and homes of the people who lived in them imagining the faces behind the bulldozers.  Note:  Being a woman who doesn't condone men tying women to beds and setting them on fire, I prefer listening to the song rather that watching the video, and really only  the hook.

In my subjective interpretation of this song, when I hear the hook, I see the faces of Wally Thurman, Bobby and Robert Rogers, Ms. Ella and her Husband, Ruth Sanderson, Gaynell Blatcher, Deborah Brown-Cassine, staff and clients of Outer Banks Bar, and so many more residents that remain nameless who were ripped from their community against their will.  On whose deaf ears did I see them fall?   The Landrieus, LSU, Blanco and Jindal, most of city council, Jerry Jones (I love the way HE lies) and people like you who couldn't see the forest through the trees.  Still drinking the koolaid on a biomedical corridor without question, without scepticism, without compassion for those who may face demolition and/or eviction for the few elite who will gain.  It was heart wrenching.  It still is.  I still cannot drive through that area of lower Mid-City without shedding a tear or two.

Where were YOU then? And where are YOU now?  I didn't see you at any of the four meetings going on last Thursday to protest the evisceration of healthcare and the city as we know it. Namely, the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting at 9Am in Baton Rouge, the Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and 1:30PM in Baton Rouge, the UMC Board meeting in New Orleans at 1PM and City Council debating whether or not to sell MORE land to the State for the Taj-Ma-Boondoggle at the regular Thursday meeting from 10 AM til.  Advocates from Save Charity Hospital were at them all or, emailing madly to representatives to those meetings they couldn't be at.




SaveCharityHospital.com said...

Here are some quotes from the press from a few of the Save Charity Hospital crew, all working desperately to try to reverse this nightmare.

""Janet Hayes of New Orleans would also agree that Jindal has been undoing Long's legacy. During public comments, she told the board, "I hope that when you all high-five yourselves in the backrooms later on, you'll think about the people who will die from your decisions."" http://www.businessreport.com/article/20121009/BUSINESSREPORT0112/121009772/-1/daily-reportPM

Janet Hays said:
"Society is judged by how they treat their least advantaged and this board will be judged by the public accordingly."
http://www.wbrz.com/news/deeper-cuts-coming-to-lsu-hospitals/

Sandra Stokes was monitoring the UMC Board Meeting simultaneously and was quoted here:

""Rish’s contention was challenged by Sandra Stokes, a board member with the Foundation for a Historical Louisiana, which opposed the UMC project in favor of a renovation of the former Charity Hospital building in downtown New Orleans. Stokes initially reiterated previous complaints about the expropriation of property, the legality of the management board’s existence and also questioned plans to link care for residents to public/private partnerships. She then questioned how recent state cuts might gut the UMC project before it even gets started. Stokes called on Rish and the board to explain the business plan for the hospital and how it will survive with the changing fiscal landscape.

“They just cut the hospitals this morning, and more cuts are coming,” Stokes said. “This project has been questionable all along.”"
http://theadvocate.com/home/4069009-125/builder-hospital-on-track

Brad Ott was also quoted after the LSU Board of Supervisors Meeting last Thursday morning.
" We the people of Louisiana are seeing this break of a historic commitment that this very institution, this very medical school, in fact, was founded to support the healthcare safety net of our state."
http://www.wbrz.com/videos/deeper-cuts-coming-to-lsu-hospitals/

Where is Save Charity Hospital on the SELH issue?  Why don't you go to the website and sign the petition and while you're there, link to the petition to call for a special legislative session to discuss cuts as well.

If you're really ambitious, read some of the blog posts and discover some of the things we were putting out while you and others had your heads in the sand.


Dambala - Jason B. Berry said...

"Now it seems, somehow the entire disintegration of the Charity Hospital system is our fault?!?!"

No...I never said that....I never even came close to saying that.

You guys are rather thin-skinned eh?

My point is that I think the focus on the building has distracted people from the real issue which is unfolding as we speak. That is my reference to myopia.

You can get as pissed at me as much you want to but if you can't see the merit to my commentary then you really are stuck in a myopic state. You are still operating under the moniker of "Save Charity"....that is over....done....finito. But there is still a war to fight and the majority of the city doesn't understand the gravitas of what is about to happen with the current cuts to LSUHC. What can be done to rally the troops?

"Where is Save Charity Hospital on the SELH issue? Why don't you go to the website and sign the petition and while you're there, link to the petition to call for a special legislative session to discuss cuts as well.

If you're really ambitious, read some of the blog posts and discover some of the things we were putting out while you and others had your heads in the sand."

I am "really ambitious"....more than you may know. We all pick our battles and I've picked mine fought mine, won many and lost some. My head was never in the sand on this issue but it was consumed with other matters of which this blog is a testament.

I understand you're emotional about the issue but I'm not your enemy. I'm simply making a criticism.

I am absolutely going to sign the petition and I am pursuing other avenues as well to help. I have deeper connections to this than what I can mention on the blog and my reason for making this post comes not from just my sentiments but also from within the system itself.

As a matter of fact....if you'd like to discuss that you can call me @ 504-975-3922. I'd be happy to expound and I have some other ideas I think might possibly help.



SaveCharityHospital.com said...

Will do!