Monday, May 16, 2005

Chainsaw Charlie Plummer

The Tribune’s been covering Sheriff Charlie Plummer’s coup of the Medical Center with uncritical awe and adoration. Awhile ago it looked like they were interested in doing some real reporting, now it looks like they’re back to doing PR work for the prison industrial complex. I think they’re letting the Sheriff write the articles himself to save on labor costs.

According to the Tribune the unions “said” there is a conflict of interest in putting the Sheriff on the Alameda County Hospital Authority Board. I guess nobody had time to read the bylaws of the Hospital Authority Board, which specifically prohibit contractors from sitting on the Hospital Authority Board. You see the Medical Center contracts with the Sheriff for security and the Sheriff contracts with the Medical Center for healthcare for prisoners. The Sheriff and the Medical Center also compete for county funding from the County General Fund. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in Alameda County with more conflict of interest than the Sheriff.

The Medical Center has nearly balanced the budget; if the Sheriff stopped billing so much overtime for security and started paying the bills for health services provided to prisoners, the Medical Center might be at break even. That’s not really the point though is it, Supervisor Carson wants lay-offs, the Sheriff wants money and all the Supes want land. They brought in Chainsaw Charlie to close Fairmont Hospital and disperse the patients and caregivers in an orderly fashion. Throwing out all those patients will save millions, that money will go back to the County and the Sheriff will get it, the land will go to the Supes.

Fairmont’s a choice piece of real estate, why the Supes will make a mint with lots of developer friends chopping up that land. It’s a politician’s wet dream, make rich friends and do them big favors. What do you think they’ll put at Fairmont, Keith Carson’s Casino and Western Grill?

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