I am only too happy to do my part. For their part, Renown management has always wished me well — they wish I was at the bottom of one.
The bandidos now in control of the sprawling former Washoe Medical Center stole the county hospital from the taxpayers through lying, skulduggery and political chicanery.
“The people of Washoe County were promised reduced patient costs, more efficient and effective health care delivery and deliverance from the financial doom that was predicted,” the Washoe County grand jury stated in 1995.
“The most effective cons are those driven by a true or false sense of urgency,” I added in the Barbwire of Nov. 5, 1995. “There never was a crisis, the hospital was always profitable. The promise to reduce costs was the unkindest con of all.”
To this day, the Health Care War Room at NevadaLabor.com remains the only source of the grand jury report on the Internet and consistently generates substantial readership.
The poltroons promised to take the burden of paying for indigent care off the backs of the taxpayers and iced the cake with a commitment to reduce health care costs. Instead, they built an empire by handsomely profiting off human misery while continuing to score a fat subsidy from Sparks-Reno-Washoe taxpayers.
This continues in the finest Nevada tradition. The legislature actually passed a law in 1987 to regulate and contain hospital costs. It worked, so the industry got it killed. (See Nealcare at JoeNeal.org/)
The Renown octopushers have established a new website, Renown150.org, for people to send warm memories of Washoe Med and its current bastard descendant.
In the spirit of celebration, I’ll rock ‘n’ roll with Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. I have thus spared almost every expense in launching Renown150.net, dedicated in perpetuity to countering the PR spin of one of the most forever shameful inflictions of Nevada corporate welfare (for which there is also an ever-expanding section at NevadaLabor.com/).
Send me your warm and fuzzies and keep this in mind: In 1985, Renown acquired our county hospital, worth up to $134.2 million in 1985 dollars, for about $3 million, a 98 percent discount from fair market value.
“After the health system’s giveaway, U.S. taxpayer subsidies were used to further the scam. Washoe County taxpayers have by now paid four or five different times for the same health care system,” I wrote in 1995.
These blackguards are so good at rape and pillage for fun and profit that it’s probably only a matter of time before they expand with a Pirates of the Caribbean theme park. Get discount tickets just by showing your insurance card.
Tribune alumnus news
Doug Oakley got his start in these parts more than 20 years ago. I remember feeding him news tips generated by my radio show and then promoting the stories on the air. We scored more than a few front page scoops.
Now 45, Doug works for the Bay Area News Group, publisher of the Oakland Tribune, among others. Late on March 8, Doug’s report about a raucous community meeting hit the paper’s website.
Berserkley Police Chief Michael Meehan was not amused and ordered his public information officer to pound on Doug’s front door at 12:45 a.m. Doug, his wife and young children awoke terrified. He told the San Francisco Chronicle he suffered a panic attack afterward.
The chief personally continued the harassment into dawn’s early light, making more demands for changes in the story.
His beef: He denied having apologized for police misconduct.
The issue at the meeting: Why did the cops ignore a Feb. 18 call from Berkeley Hills citizen Peter Cukor who was in the process of being murdered by an intruder?
Nice to see Doug still kicking some serious ass.
America in decline
Chatting in the checkout line, I recently exchanged sports wisdom with a youthful grocery clerk who at one point noted “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
My response of “OK, Yogi” produced surprising insight.
“I mentioned Yogi Berra to my significant other and she asked if he was named after Yogi Bear.”
I advised the young man to gently inform his lady that she had committed a big Boo Boo.
My union, Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, will demonstrate at S. Virginia and McCarran starting at 5 p.m. Thursday part of a national day of action spotlighting Verizon corporate greed. Info: 322-9413 and NevadaLabor.com.
El Día de César Chávez
César Chávez Day happens at Circus Circus in Reno on March 31, the great union leader’s 85th birthday. The 2011 event featured a who’s who of state and local officials and this year will prove even more interesting. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Contact me for ticket and table information: 882-TALK.
Support the Nevada Citizen TV Project
To help re-establish a people’s TV channel hereabouts, you can contribute via ReSurge.TV or call me. Your support is both needed and appreciated.
The Barbwire TV show is still in reruns. Check the expanded web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org, and producer of Nevada’s March 31 César Chávez Day celebration. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail email@example.com.