It is truly sad and unfortunate that there exist people in our Tulare Healthcare District that want to not pass Measure I, and choose to not save our Tulare Hospital. What’s very sad is that these very people are the very people that were on the hospital board when the fiasco with the first bond occurred.
These past healthcare district board members during their “opposition” meeting last week – a meeting in which they openly admitted only allowing selected questions – spoke nearly entirely about the following salient topics:
1) Regaining control and power over the healthcare district board, knowing very well that when they were previously in control they were fully responsible for bringing Tulare’s Hospital to its knees with losses of over a million dollars a month, and a stalked and unfunded construction project.
They not only failed the hospital, they failed entire communities: Tulare, Tipton, Pixley, Woodville, and Alpaugh among others. In fact, during the Q & A, a member of the audience asked what next steps need to be done? And Deanne Martin-Soares answered that the district needs to elect a new board. They had absolutely no plan other than their desire to control.
2) Admitting that the clock to save our public hospital, is in fact ticking. That our hospital is in fact in grave danger of closing down, but softened the truth by offering assurances that there is still plenty of time to save the hospital. They offered absolutely no evidence to support their claim that there is time.
3) Falsely claiming that there is no current transparency, knowing very well that there are weekly and at times daily Tulare Hospital tours of the new tower under construction, and that all public records tied to the constructions and the bonds are available upon request.
What is mind-boggling, is that during the forum, a few of the speakers used open to the public board meeting minutes of record during their slide presentation. If this is not full transparency, we don’t know what is.
Most importantly, these very same people (Deanne Martin Soares, Bill Postlewaite, Lonnie Smith, Prem Kamboj) were in charge of the first bond and they are asked by us what happened?
4) Instilling fear in residents by falsely claiming that the Tulare Public Hospital is now a private hospital, knowing very well that the hospital is owned by the residents within the healthcare district. It is a public hospital and everyone knows that no contract or board decision can change that.
5) Speaker Ms. Deanne Martin-Soares, admitted that her data to support her claims against Measure I were retrieved from what she read in the newspapers. We love our newspapers, but Why not seek the truth using board meeting minutes, bond agreements, construction contract agreements that are ALL available to the public?
Or better yet, since she was on the board when the first bond came out, maybe she can tell us herself what happened.
6) Speaker Lonnie Smith, admitted that he does not take his patients to Tulare Regional Medical Center. He added that he takes them to Kaweah Delta, and further added that he has no shame in saying so.
How does this reasoning help patients? How does this help our communities he means to serve?
7) They admitted that the cost for a state-of-the-art new hospital would be about $80 per year in assessments. Actually, it’ll be $2.49 per month per 100,000 of assessed value.
Quite honestly, $80 per year is nothing compared to what the entire community will benefit from on the long run…for our children…for our future. And they did not mention the alternative of what would happen to our community, our property values, and jobs if we did not have a viable hospital.
8) During the Q & A, a member of the audience asked whether it was illegal to have an attorney engage in a dual-representation to both the board and hospital. The opposition’s attorney did not answer yes or no, but did say that it was the attorney’s conscience to decide so.
In other words, they refrained from admitting to the residents that it was not illegal to do so. Furthermore, they did not mention that there is a conflict waiver signed and that the board has several other law firms only representing them.