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Coastal Voices: Misinformation's source hidden within Sutter's vault of secrets

In the ongoing Sutter conflict, a pattern emerged: four public officials reportedly signed confidentiality agreements for a private corporation, followed by their support for corporate plans.

The story begins in 2011 when the Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors voted in secret to transfer hospital ownership out of Del Norte County to a corporation in San Francisco controlled by Sutter Health — a process called “Regionalization.”  

The hospital Board’s action triggered a firestorm of opposition. In response, Sutter Coast paid a consulting firm, the Camden Group, to conduct a closed door study, using local residents as advisors. Amid concerns of study bias, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and Del Norte Healthcare District Board declined to participate. Nevertheless, one supervisor, Martha McClure, and one healthcare district director, Clarke Moore, decided to join the group.


Coastal Voices: Soundtrack of my life lost several special artists

Ever since my old man had us singing three part harmony in the car on family vacations, music, like it is for many of my brothers and sisters out there, has been a part of my life, indeed with many of the songs and artists in some way feeling like they’d scored parts of it. And if that’s true, for many of us, these recent weeks had to feel like hitting the wall in turn four at Daytona.

On Dec. 26, we lost Motorhead founder, bassist and lead “Lemmy” Kilmister. The original “Ace of Spades,” throughout 23 studio albums, the group with Lemmy fronting defined British heavy metal. As the music and life he lived, Lemmy was loud, large and a rock warrior. As the band noted in their farewell tribute, “Lemmy was born to lose — and lived to win.” Amen.

I recall seeing David Bowie in the mid-70s in Memphis with the Spiders from Mars, several years after his initial hit, “Space Oddity,” with it‘s “Ground Control to Major Tom” intro that few of us forgot and was the biggest act to invade America since the Beatles and the Stones. I don’t know if the phrase “freaked out” had entered our vernacular on that night, but it would have been appropriate.


Coastal Voices: Don't let your concerns about STAA be disregarded

The Del Norte County Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) provides a coordinated, 20-year “vision” of the regionally significant transportation improvements and policies needed in the region.

At the public meeting held by the Del Norte Transportation Commission for the revision of the RTP, very relevant public input was squelched. The many public comments in opposition to big STAA truck access on Hwy 199/197 and in support of fixing south Highway 101 and Last Chance Grade are extremely relevant and timely to the RTP revision.

Highways 199/197 STAA truck access is a project with significant negative impacts and inconsistency issues with overarching goals and policies. We now know just how dangerous this project is, a threat to our safety, our water quality and fishery, that makes trucking accidents and spills more likely.


Another View: Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's good

After spending a weekend in Weed, I began wondering how it got its name. Did the town fathers have a special fondness for dandelions? Or were they pioneer potheads? This led me to pondering the legalization of marijuana.

A number of people I’ve talked to who suffer from serious ailments swear it reduces pain and other symptoms better than pharmaceuticals, and vastly improves their quality of life. That’s probably why it has been legalized for medical purposes in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Still, it’s listed by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance that cannot legally be prescribed, possessed, or sold under federal law. It’s not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical use, although Dronabinol, a pharmaceutical form of THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) has been approved by the FDA to treat some conditions, as has a man-made cannabinoid drug called Nabilone.


Coastal Voices: Misinformation from McClure about practice

"No good deed goes unpunished” — Anonymous

The first draft of this article was limited to words of thanks to the friends, neighbors, and patients I have had the privilege of knowing during my 22 years in Crescent City. But after hearing the false statements by Supervisor McClure during open session of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 12, I am compelled to once again correct the record regarding my practice, Sutter Coast Hospital, and my reason for leaving Crescent City.

Supervisor McClure stated last week that “part of the reason that we are flying so many people out and that we need to bring in backup doctors in relationship to urology and orthopedics . . . you have to have doctors that will see Medi-Cal patients and that is why they need to bring in these doctors, because there is no access to care... and I’m sorry that there are private practitioners that are suffering but their door’s not open to Medi-Cal.”

Ms. McClure’s entire comments begin at 1:07:20 at the following link: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/81348437.


Coastal Voices: Ignoring race won't solve real equality issues

I’ve been giving some thought to Evelyn Cook’s opinion piece “We Are All Just Shades of Brown” that appeared in last Saturday’s Triplicate.

She expressed annoyance with having to check a box on government forms for her race — which is white — and argued “the little boxes divide us by race and keep reminding us of our differences” and are used by the “same racist system . . . to decide who gets a larger or smaller share of tax-dollar benefits, special privileges, and protections.”
 Well, I don’t think any of us recently checked a race box and suddenly experienced the discomfort of remembering what race we were. “Oh my Gosh — I forgot I was white. And look here — female. Curse you, Uncle Sam for bringing it to mind.” 
But criticism of Ms. Cook’s analogy aside, I do understand that lots of white folks, especially in rural places where there are fewer minorities to speak about their experience, tend to have the same world view that Ms. Cook expressed: white people are the victims of racism, especially promulgated by government rules and regulations. We need to stop paying attention to race; it leads to more racism. 
Admittedly, the worldview Ms. Cook expressed is progress compared to the kind of racist ideals that suggested black and brown people were lesser human beings, shouldn’t have the right to bear arms, shouldn’t have fishing rights, shouldn’t be able to attend white (read: well-funded) schools, and shouldn’t ride in the front of the bus. 
But suggesting the election of President Obama proves that we’re all equal now ignores the very real racism that still exists in our country — and our community for that matter. This racism is deeply connected to economic class as well, and hides behind and inside many of our institutions and policies. It is revealed in outcomes.


Another View: We are all just shades of brown

One of my pet peeves has to do with those little boxes on government forms that require applicants to check off their race. I know that I’m supposed to check “white” or “Caucasian” but I refuse.

I don’t consider myself white because I’m not an albino. And none of my ancestors hailed from the Caucasus region, so in reality I’m no more a Caucasian than I am an Eskimo.

As far as skin color goes, my part-Italian ancestry gives it a hue that’s closer to caffè latte than it is to cream. It doesn’t take long in the sun to turn brown. Since I don’t feel honest checking a box for white or Caucasian, I usually leave it blank.


Coastal Voices: DN Health Care District wants to hear from you

As a senior physician in Del Norte County, three term chief of staff of Sutter Coast Hospital and incoming chair of the Del Norte Healthcare District, I review the history of local health care and seek your input.

After inviting Sutter Health to this community in 1985, the Del Norte Healthcare District enjoyed a collaborative relationship with Sutter for many years. That all changed in 2010 when in violation of California law, Sutter Health began implementing patient care policies at Sutter Coast Hospital without any input from hospital physicians. I removed those illegal policies from Sutter Coast, which was later cited for its misconduct by the Joint Commission, the certifying body for hospitals nationwide. Sutter Coast CEO Mitch Hanna has the report.

In 2011, the Sutter Coast board voted in secret, over my objection and the deliberate exclusion of this community, to transfer hospital ownership from Del Norte County to a multi-hospital corporation in San Francisco.


Another View: A religion of peace? Read the Koran

If Islam is truly a religion of peace, as at least two U.S. presidents, numerous pundits and even the Pope would have us believe, why do so many Muslims in so many nations spend so much time, effort and money slaughtering noncombatants? 

Why did Muslims slay 2,977 innocents on Sept. 11, 2001? Why have Muslims committed 42 acts of terror on American soil since that tragic day, killing 89 people and injuring 334?


Coastal Voices: Where do your property taxes go?

I recently paid my property tax and decided it was time to find out what I was paying for. I found the Del Norte County site on the Internet: Board Of Supervisors, Resolution # 2013-039 - Allocation Fund.

There is a list of groups (by percentage) getting a share of our tax dollars. One of the groups that jumped off the page was the “Del Norte County District Hospital Board,” at 2.8 percent (annually) of my tax dollars.

There are two boards:


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