The ancient Romans, if you remember your history, had a few kerfuffles with Carthage, a city-state on the north coast of Africa. Cato the Elder famously–and repeatedly–called for its destruction, thus the lingering phrase, “Delenda est Carthago.” Carthage must be destroyed.
I’m not calling for the destruction of Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones. That wouldn’t be very sporting. But I am calling for the destruction of his term of office. So long as he is on the city council–especially as mayor–the city of Tulare will remain underserved. Maybe even misserved.
I suppose that would depend upon whether or not you think Tulare’s having a public hospital is a good idea. If you think the city would be fine without one, not only are you a moron, but Carlton Jones is your man. Your mayor. Sadly, though, he’s also mayor to all those who want to keep the hospital open. They should seek to recall him–and pronto. This afternoon would not be fast enough.
Because Carlton is actively obstructing the survival of the hospital at a time–now–when the whole construct is balancing on a knife edge.
Tulare Regional Medical Center–(TRMC) Tulare’s hospital–is, astonishingly, hard at the oars in a fashion it surely has never quite been before. There are two Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHCD) boards; one, a new majority–a quorum comprising Kevin Northcraft, Mike Jamaica and Senovia Gutierrez–and a rump, Linda Wilbourn and Richard Torrez.
You can read “rump” however you please.
Since Dr. Parmod Kumar’s TLHCD board recall and replacement with Mrs. Gutierrez, neither Wilbourn or Torrez have attended either of the two special board meetings called by the new majority.
The first was held in Tulare’s City Council chambers on 27 July because Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA) TRMC’s managing company, disallowed the recall election results, claiming that the TLHCD board itself needed to certify Senovia’s victory. Never mind that the Tulare County Elections office already had.
This meant that the usual board meeting venue, Evolutions–a TLHCD property–was out of bounds.
The second special meeting was held in Tulare’s Masonic Lodge on 9 August–because, on the first of the month, Carlton spearheaded a 4-1 city council vote denying the new majority access to the public facility.
Jose Sigala was the lone holdout for sanity in that circus.
We’ll see what happens at the next regular board meeting, scheduled for 23 August. And we’ll see, too, where it’s set to occur.
But if those were straits not narrow enough, TRMC also has two Medical Executive Committees (MEC). One, the old MEC unprecedentedly dismissed by the previous TLHCD board, and a new–and newly elected–body.
This is akin to having two captains at the helm–except that, instead of helping to steer, the old MEC was summarily thrown overboard.
With the result that many doctors jumped ship.
The trial (the old MEC v. the former TLHCD board and the new MEC) is scheduled to resume–to conclude, more properly–in October. It’d be deluding yourself not to think it all won’t truly end with an appeal.
Except for freshly filed litigation and the ever dwindling cash on hand situation, this is the crossroads we now find ourselves at.
Let’s peel back the factionalism and ask ourselves, dispassionately, how Carlton, as mayor, has helped in this tricky situation.
Not at all, would be the answer; in fact, he’s been a hindrance–and his “leadership,” in addition to being partisan, has been short-sighted. The new majority, however new, is still legitimate–and there is no credible reason Carlton can offer for denying it access to a public chamber.
Let’s see Carlton for who he is in his own words:
“If you’ve ever been in recent time to the meetings they have at their facility, they go pretty negative. Their last meeting at their own facility went very negative — to the point that where council members were getting threatened. I don’t think they should be allowed to have meetings here — especially if we have to kick up our own security.
“My position was – they have their own facilities, let them have their meetings, let them worry about their own security, and to protect our public and our library, they shouldn’t be allowed to have meetings in our chambers.
“We recognize the types of meetings they were having in their own facilities, and they have facilities to have their own meetings. We recognize that. We saw them enticing and telling people to come to this meeting, to come have this public war. It’s not about disagreeing with them. I agree with them. It’s not about taking a position — as long as you show up, and you’re respectful, and you don’t make threats, and you don’t create an environment where we have to boost up security, we’re fine with that. We’re talking about a group that did the exact opposite.”
I have been attending these meetings without fail for a year and three-quarters now. I’d call that “recent time.”I’ve never seen anything remotely similar to what Carlton has described. I’ve also never seen Carlton. These meetings can be charged–raucous, even, as we’ve headlined an article from earlier this year–and sarcasm can be thick in the room. But no “council members” have ever been threatened– not least because, properly speaking, the TLHCD board is not a council. No board member has been threatened, period–and certainly not in any way so as to conceivably require a “kick up” in security.
So, if Carlton has not been in attendance at TLHCD board meetings for a year and three-quarters, from where–or whom–did he get his information? It looks to me that someone has Carlton’s ear and is exercising undue influence by lying to him. Of course, Carlton could always have availed himself of his own eyes by going to a meeting.
Failing that, if he had some conflict of schedule with work, say, he could always have checked our website to observe–or sometimes merely listen to–the recordings Tony has made of these meetings.
Repeating things he’s only really heard of and not actually seen–or sometimes merely heard–for himself makes Carlton fake news on legs–only in this scenario, he has no leg to stand on.
And what if the new majority had been unable to secure the Masonic Lodge?
Tulareans–especially those of you who want the hospital to survive–are you going to stand for this?
As mayor, he should be doing everything within his authority to facilitate new majority meetings. Because the new majority is legitimate. Because the new majority is a quorum. Because Tulare needs a hospital, and the hospital needs a board.
Tulare doesn’t need Carlton Jones–it needs him recalled. Yesterday.