Thursday, September 8, 2011

From the plan presented today at the UMC Board meeting

There's some blah blah blah in the report from Verite...

"Reuse of the Charity Hospital facility. The UMCMC Board is not responsible for and has no authority over the disposition of Charity Hospital. The state Office of Facility Planning and Control has responsibility for administration of design and construction for capital projects for the State of Louisiana. That office has considered alternatives and options for the project. With expected federal funding, options were required to be considered as part of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S. C. Section 4701, and 36 CFR Part 800 (section 106). Options were considered under the “Programmatic Agreement among the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the City of New Orleans, the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Regarding the Funding to Repair or Replace Healthcare Facilities Comprising the VA Medical Center and the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans.” That Agreement specified project alternatives for the repair or replacement of the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans."

The UMC Board, if it was doing its job and being responsible to the people of Louisiana, most certainly would have looked at the Charity option because of the significant time and cost savings involved in that option.

And then there's some interesting items to note in the excerpt:

"The options were carefully weighed by the federal government and the state. Multiple public meetings were held. The result of the process yielded a determination that the most appropriate option was the relocation to a new site with the construction of new facilities. Revisiting other options may render the entire process null, requiring further analysis to comply with Section 106.

Whether or not reusing Charity Hospital is in the UMCMC Board’s purview, the Board has concluded that building a new University Medical Center is by far the preferred alternative."

The options were weighed carefully?  No - the state/LSU simply decided it wanted a new hospital and shuttered a barely damaged hospital building.  The VA has been using several portions of the VA building that was supposedly beyond hope.

Multiple public meetings were, functionally, not held.  Only one public meeting actually occurred - the state's own records show that no members of the public showed up at the ostensible second and third public meetings because the state and Jacobs changed the means of notifying consulting parties and did not do anything resembling adequate outreach and notification.

Also, the process "yielded a determination" that a new hospital was necessary?  In every aspect of the process where the public did manage to wiggle in, it expressed in no uncertain terms that it wanted Charity Hospital reused.  The overwhelming majority of public comment and consulting party comment pushed for that option.  So it's entirely absurd to say that the process "yielded a determination" to the contrary.  The passive and evasive language employed in the excerpt is a good sign that the state is obfuscating.

Finally, what "other options" would render the entire process null?

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