Thursday, June 02, 2005

Help Wanted – (Part II of Our Continuing Report on the Grand Jury, the DA, the Sheriff and other Snark)

“The medical center is not an employment agency for SEIU (healthcare unions).”
-Sheriff Charles Chainsaw Plummer

The Sheriff did most of the thinking for the Grand Jury report that slams the medical center. Chainsaw Charlie and Deputy DA Stark, use union bashing as sort of a literary theme to hold the report together. The report concludes that the medical center should fire hundreds of lazy union workers, give millions back to the county and thus “save healthcare.”

Chainsaw Charlie and DA Tom Orloff want that Measure " A" money; they feel they’ve earned it. Chainsaw endorsed Measure “A” and Orloff was the Treasurer. That much cash doesn’t come to the county without Tom and Chuck taking a piece. They’ve already cut a deal with the Supes; any cash they squeeze out of other county agencies goes right to them, for “public safety.” This has made libraries; schools and hospitals feel decidedly “unsafe.”

Besides, union bashing, the Grand Jury’s report is remarkable for its uncritical praise for Cambio Healthcare Solutions; in fact the Grand Jury and the Sheriff are the only people in Alameda County who haven’t declared the Cambio consulting deal a complete and expensive failure.

Suppose the hospital implemented the huge service cuts recommended by the Grand Jury, who stands to benefit from the cuts and closures at the medical center: Cambio Healthcare Solutions, the Sheriff and the District Attorney. What’s the common denominator here, clout: they all have so much political clout; they don’t have to worry about facts or public opinion.

The Sheriff has 1,500 employees most of them armed; an ex-sheriff is the Chief of Police for Oakland and the Foreman of the Grand Jury. Retired Deputy Boyer, Grand Jury Foreman is a friend of Deputy DA Stark’s daddy congressman “Pete” Stark.

What about the consultants, well, Cambio’s the ERON of Tennessee. Cambio’s Susan Crutchfield CEO for a second of the medical center sure looks like she’s related to Tennessee’s Senator Crutchfield (he’s getting a lot of attention from the FBI lately).

District Attorney Orloff’s real job is preserving his job; he’s a professional career preservationist. The DA hired Congressman Stark’s son and daughter-in-law, Attorney General Lockyer’s daughter, Congressman Leon Panetta’s kin and many of the sons and daughters of judges in his courts. He’s got so much political capital he’ll be dead and buried and still holding that office.

This is politics after all, its not what you know; its who you know or more precisely, who you hire. The Sheriff is right if the medical center continues to hire people based on their qualifications rather than their “relations” they’re sunk. That’s why the medical center has to begin an aggressive recruitment effort to hire close friends and relatives of important politicians. They need a Senator’s kid or better. If the medical center can bag a Rockefeller or a Kennedy, money might actually flow out of the prisons and into healthcare.

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