Monday, December 20, 2004

Angels in Oakland

Bureaucrats love numbers and the end of the year calls for the final count. So here’s some numbers for you 86, 109, 108, 84 and 80. Murders in Oakland for the last five years friends, children, husbands, wives and grandparents lost. Oakland actually has a neighborhood called “ghost town” of course city hall doesn’t recognize the name, it's bad PR. Oakland has become a city of ghosts, of angels and people whose lives have been forever changed by violence.

Our democratic machine has approached its people and their strife from a position of fear and ignorance. Liberal democrats wring their hands, “Why don’t the youth vote?” “Why are they so angry?” “What is wrong with them?” Then they vote for more prisons and close schools. I meet Oakland youth everyday who have personal experience with violence. They have ideas opinions and a very thoughtful perspective of the world and their place in it. They don’t vote or trust politicians because politicians have done nothing to win their respect or trust. They want to be heard, to be taught and to be loved and we do little or nothing to meet their simple needs.

Poor neighborhoods can’t get a beat cop in Oakland, but affluent enclaves like Montclair get two. Mayor Brown having done little or nothing for Oakland youth now plans to exploit their suffering to promote his own political career. Having played politics with our schools and our police services, leaving both much worse than he found them, Brown, a ruthless pollster, plans to run against crime and inner city youth for state attorney general. He will appeal to fear and a tired white liberal base, who remembers him as a governor, back when he cared and came to work.

Mayor what’s his name can’t help Oakland, leadership and hope in Oakland won’t come from has been politicians; it will come from our children. RIP, Rest in Peace, our children understand death and in a funny way life better than most forty year olds. These kids know the world in a hard dark way and face it with courage and hope. They love and remember lost friends, the people our politicians are so determined to forget. They know that to our leaders they are just troubling statistics, “ urban youth problems” not people. I had one young girl tell me, “ I feel like garbage, something that someone has thrown away and forgotten.”

Local democrats need to stop sucking up to developers, stop building ballparks and ice rinks, put down their spread sheets, walk out of their focus groups and go and meet our children. Every week these young people come through Highland Hospital their lives lost or forever changed by violence, not once in twelve years have I seen a politician come to talk to these kids or their families.

You can’t solve problems you don’t understand. Oakland’s political machine doesn’t care about our youth and our youth know it. We just voted money for violence prevention, let's see those politicians walk into the neighborhoods, the prisons and the hospitals, talk to our children then bring them back to city hall. Urban youth problems cannot be solved without buy in from urban youth. If you want to change the culture you have to understand it. RIP doesn’t just mean "Rest in Peace", it means Rich in Potential and if democrats continue to ignore these children, Rise in Protest.


Anonymous said...

"Angels In Oakland" is the best and most powerful thing you have written, in my opinion. You "nailed it" on so many levels...uncaring bureaucrats, vacant politicians bowing to greedy "special interest groups" and most importantly, kids who need our attention, if not our help. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is the only politician I know who is doing right by inner city kids. I for one, will go out of my way to vote for Mr. Newsom whenever given the chance. He understands that these are our kids and thus that they are us. I sincerely regret voting for Jerry Brown for Mayor of Oakland. He has done nothing. He does not even come to work. He has no vision or leadership. He only puts effort into getting elected. I will vote Republican if I have to in order to do my part to make sure he does not get elected California Attorney General.

Anonymous said...

thank you Ann. Especially now, for so many reasons, your words are exactly what needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS AND THIS ICU NURSE LOST PRIDE IN HER WORK. As I approached my 6th and last holiday season at HGH it was impossible to not be pained at the deliberate absence of anything festive. Thank You Cambio for your concern for our safety by putting out your memo banning all holiday decorations. It would have been tragic to be a trauma activation from a christmas decoration accident. I don't know the statistics, but I'm sure the injury rate must be quite high as Cambio would never forbid Christmas cheer just to be a Scrooge. This year I really had to work hard to get a smile since everyone walks around with their heads down, myself included. I can only wish those I'm leaving behind a Happy New Year without Cambio. Is it possible to rebound from the carnage they will have left behind? I so much hope so as I know there are many angels in Oakland, I've met them.
It is with much anguish that I have chosen to leave a job I truly loved, but I can no longer take pride in my work. I know all about medicine being a business and budget deficits. I learned these lessons the hard way. But, at what point do you just stand and scream, these are people damn it!!!! They may be poor and have no insurance but none of those things should matter in healthcare. When is it ethical to provide a lesser level of care to save a few bucks? When is it ethical to be led by a executive who thinks the bottom line is a dollar sign and not a patient? When is it ethical to not have the basic supplies to provide the most basic level of patient care? When is it ethical to attempt to eliminate the most experienced nurses because they are too expensive? When is it ethical to use money from unfilled nursing positions to hire a markedly less experienced traveler or registry nurse just to save money? When is it ethical to gamble on the cost of patient lawsuits to make your daily bottom line look good? When is it ethical to allow forgery in medical records to rid those pesky delinquint charts? My steadfast answer to all of the above is NEVER EVER EVER!!!!!
And so I must leave a job I loved, loved enough to encourage not one but both of my children to work here. I have decided that I am unable and unwilling to adjust to such a maladjusted environment. To those I leave behind know that I will keep you all in my prayers. You have a very tough job before you. DO NOT compromise patient care. DO NOT keep quiet just to keep your job. DO NOT give up just because I did. I can no longer sacrifice my sanity to fight the good fight. So my wish for all of you is strength and compassion. Believe in Angels in Oakland,I do!!!!!!! Lynne Behr RN