Monday, September 21, 2009

No Such Thing As Equal Time In Wishard Referendum Debate

If you want to get a fair analysis of the referendum up for consideration in the November special election to authorize the Marion Co. Health & Hospital Corporation to borrow money to build a $754 million hospital to replace Wishard Hospital, you will have to turn somewhere other than the local news media. Every single media organization in Indianapolis has decided that the referendum is worthy of passage and has decided no voices opposing the referendum will be heard. Even our public access television station, WCTY, is being used to promote passage of the referendum without equal time being offered to those who oppose it. HHC CEO Matt Gutwein actually announced during his testimony before the Municipal Corporations Committee recently that "there is no opposition to the referendum." So everywhere you turn you are being told that the new hospital is absolutely necessary and your taxes will not need to be raised to construct this new hospital. Both premises are completely false. You will be told in a few short years that your taxes will have to be raised because revenues weren't as good as they anticipated and costs exceeded initial estimates. You can take that to the bank. The extent of the lies being told by the proponents of the referendum reveal them for who they truly are. It's a disgrace that there isn't a single member of the local news media willing to stand up and tell the people the truth about this matter.

UPDATE: The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce released an endorsement in support of the referendum today so you know it will lead to higher taxes. The organization has supported every major public works project proposed, all of which eventually led to higher taxes over the past two decades. "The Chamber’s Fiscal Policy Council and the Executive Committee of the Board thoroughly reviewed details of the project and expressed confidence in Wishard’s plan to fund the construction through a bond issue requiring no tax increase," the press release reads. The Chamber of Commerce supports it strictly for the benefit of the cartel of construction-related businesses that make beaucoup bucks off these projects. These self-serving insiders must have a new public project of this magnitude ready to come on line every three to four years to allow for the skimming and kickbacks associated with these projects. It has nothing to do with good public policy. It's all about lining the pockets of people who care nothing about their community. The Chamber's statement claims HHC provides an annual economic impact of $1.2 billion and creates 4,000 jobs. Wouldn't you know it. The Chamber touts the economic impact of an organization wholly funded by taxpayers money.


Anonymous said...

You know that since being CEO of Health and Hospital Corp that Matt G. has made this organization operate in the black?

I'm not a big fan of a new wishard, but since they can pay thier bills, I have to support them.

Maybe you're opposition is rooted in the fact that he's democrat and funds many candidates. If so, get over it and focus on what's best for the city.

Gary R. Welsh said...

He's only operating in the black because HHC has implemented a Medicaid billing scam to rip off the federal government.

Paul K. Ogden said...


If Gutwein is doing such a good job, why not run a fair referendum - have it during a regular election year with a question that describes the project? Clearly they went out of their way to not do that.

When something smells like a pile of manure, it's safe to assume it's not a rose.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not to mention that the referendum language leave out all of the pertinent facts that explain to voters what they are actually voting on, Paul. If they were a publicly-traded corporation, they would be charged with securities fraud for including such misleading statements in a public offering.

Patriot Paul said...

This is another blatant slant of media bias and medicade loophole fraud. I'm reminded of the recent tea party in D.C. which had hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting big government but the front page Monday edition of the Indy Star was about the Colts win with scant mention of the historic D.C. event where many buses arrived filled with Hoosiers. I would rather have no media than yellow journalism.

Downtown Indy said...

I was never in favor of the new hospital plan, but after learning they were the one'es who saved the life of Officer Fishburn I really understood they do not need to build a new hospital. The one they have now is providing absolutely impeccable service to this community.

Jon E. Easter said...

Get out your voters and stop calling shenanigans. Let the best side win.

Jon said...

It's never about the best side but rather the side that is heard. Absent any fairness by the media to show the opposite side of the coin this will another done deal.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jon, have you seen the referendum question? And you really think aelection with that referendum question(which doesn't describe the hospital project at all or that it will be paid for by issuing bonds) will be fair? I won't even get into the fact it is, intentionally, being held in an off-year to suppress turnout of regular voters who aren't part of the Wishard family.

Jon, your response reminds me of the election for county chairman where the sitting county chairman can pick his own voters who can attend the convention. When an election is rigged, you can't just overcome that by campaigning really hard.

Citizen Kane said...

The required public meeting is Tuesday at 5:30 pm at Wishard.

Citizen Kane said...

A couple of things that they said at our neighborhood meeting:

We will be getting Build America Bonds,so "Congress" will be paying 120 million dollars of the cost. They actually had the nerve to say that Congress would be paying - not the taxpayers via an increased federal debt. I corrected them on that and also made them admit how much money that they were getting from Medicaid and Medicare. I indicated that they were being disingenuous, at best, by stating that 5% of their budget was from property taxes, without mentioning the amount of money that they get from other taxes. They clearly did not like being questioned and appeared to be surprised - maybe because no one else has questioned them.

dcrutch said...

This has stunk since the referendum was slipped in at the statehouse. Since it's a hospital it will get the same sympathy factor schools get.

I don't want bad schools or bad hospitals. I want full and reasonably understandable financial disclosure if taxpayer dollars are to be used to completely or partially fund them.

This is too much like the murky CIB/stadiums railroading. At the convenience of the irritating topic of the moment, it's either,"Why, we perform a public service for the local economy", or, "Why, you can't do that. We're a private business." They want it both ways. So far, they're getting it- as is the taxpayer.

We're suppossed to be grinning that they're sitting on a pile of cash, have an involvement in nursing homes that was not publicized, are not forthcoming with financial records- after a recession that's only recently stopped hemmoraging?

When times are tough and there should be a natural consequence like leaving a hole in the ground downtown for years when that's all we could afford, we instead get a hospital referendum that "won't cost us anything".

With genuine, due respect to the virtue of hospitals, do you believe that?