The Courage to Defend Democracy

The title of this column is actually a quote from Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHCD) Board President Kevin Northcraft. These were the words he used to commend the Tulare City Council at its February 12 special meeting.
At issue–the sole issue–was the approval of a $9 million line of credit that TLHCD requested from the council.
Councilmembers Greg Nunley and Dennis Mederos had previously recused themselves from the matter, leaving a quorum consisting of Councilmembers Jose Sigala, Terry Sayre and Carlton Jones.
Jones walked out of a January closed session when discussion of the issue was first scheduled. He failed to appear at the regular Febrary 5 meeting, and was again a no-show at the February 12 special meeting. Because Nunley and Mederos had recused themselves, Jones’ boycott killed any quorum and therefore any line of credit.
Which TLHCD needs desperately if it hopes to keep the hospital open. The alternative to the city’s assistance–and this was only ever a possibility–was onerous, usurious loans.
Knowing this, Jones persisted in his boycott, despite the fact the City of Tulare stands to earn upwards of $900,000 in interest from the loan. Despite the fact that TLHCD put up $14 million in collateral in the form of Evolutions Fitness Center and the board’s “cottage” properties.
Jones took his ball and went home. Then stayed there.
But this was not something the hospital could wait on.
Nunley at least had the decency to appear at the special meeting. Appropriately, he absented himself when it was revealed that there was only the topic of a loan at issue.
This left Sigala, Sayre and Mederos in attendance at the special meeting.
Mederos remained to unrecuse himself. Citing the “Rule of Necessity” he read a prepared statement that he said was required by law.
Then he abstained from the discussion and did not participate in the vote.
Why?
To create a quorum so a vote could be taken.
Sigala and Sayre gave their nod of approval. Then Northcraft thanked them.
Messy and elegant simultaneously, Mederos’ move solved the log jam so petulantly created by Jones.
I guess democracy itself is simultaneously messy and elegant.
The logical next step is to recall Jones. He knows how vital having a hospital is for any community. Yet, for whatever reason–I suspect known only to himself–he became an obstructionist. Maybe he thinks he’s more important than his constituents’ healthcare.
A better question is whether the residents of his district prefer healthcare or Carlton.
Because it’s clear he must go.
It may seem irregular that, of a council of five, only two members were required to pass a motion. Worse is that a single member–Jones–could have potentially closed the hospital.
I therefore urge Jones’ constituents, the residents of District 3, to have the courage to defend democracy. To have the courage to defend themselves. Had Jones prevailed, the hospital almost certainly would have closed. Remember that TLHCD remains in federal bankruptcy court–so I can’t write with any certainty as to the securing of a loan, no matter how usurious.
Suffice it to say that the hospital will stay open despite Jones’ selfish irresponsibility. I shouldn’t have to detail a history of his past antics to motivate his constituents to recall him.
So here it is in black and white, District 3: Which do you prefer, healthcare or Carlton?

8 thoughts on “The Courage to Defend Democracy

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  1. Did you see the article in the New Yorker? Moosad used by Benzeevi and Co. in our little town.
    These guys held the whole towns attention for months with a false narrative.
    Carlton couldn’t even figure out that his name, along with other city officials was placed at the end of a demeaning letter to the CMS by HCCA…..
    Someone had tried a recall and the interest wasn’t there. Maybe now?

  2. Or perhaps Jones was interested in not involving the City further with the corrupt antics of the Hospital District?

    It hasn’t really been noted that I’ve seen how deeply Mederos is conflicted, even aside from property issues: He served on the ad hoc committee that advised the Hospital Board directly regarding the negotiations with Adventist.

    This means he is essentially all but party to the agreement process. He advised on lease and management terms – never yet signed afict up until the minute I post this – th.at left the Board in such dire straits by not extracting better terms from Adventist.

    Whether he skirts on the rarely invoked “rule of necessity” remains to be seen.

    But it’s really bad form for him to be involved with both boards.

    Beyond that, one has to look at Sigala’s petition to pressure Jones as a potential Brown Act issue. Was it a serial meeting signaling his intent on how he would vote to the board. or even that Mederos needed to come up with a solution?

    Maybe the Hospital Board shouldn’t cash any checks on this loan and spend the money until the Brown Act issues are fully resolved.

    • Well this was either penned by Carlton’s BFF Alberto Aguilar or Porterville’s resident nutjob Barry Kaplan! Clue: Brown Act, Brown Act, Brown Act! Broken Record and too much of a coward to not post your real name!

  3. This wasn’t courage, it was an out to the pressure he was receiving to be involved in pushing this loan through because of the District’s desperation.

    Courage would have been choosing to be involved and actually researching the safety of this loan and weighing the risks verses the rewards. Along with providing the constituents confidence that he did so, instead of the “we need a hospital.” Just as important as a hospital, if not more important, is a strong City infrastructure.

  4. Thank God for smart, courageous people! Dennis, Terry and Jose saved the hospital. That temporary loan was needed, and the city will be well compensated. The hospital NOW has great management & board- with the District in place, we can bring a good bond measure to the people to complete the Tower- needed for Earthquake (seismic) codes. Without the Tower, the non-compliant current wing would close, and the hospital would be lost. We, the people have work still to do: support the hospital and support a good bond. The last one was a money-grab by HCCA- and we said no.

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