Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hospitals and the Mayor's Race

Some stunning new poll results.


Anonymous said...

I support rebuilding charity, but let's not stoop to sleazy "push polls" that are transparent attempts to bias the repsondents. I wondered what the actual questions were when I first saw this story, and the link gives a hint:

"Told that the mayor has committed City Hall to support LSU’s Lower Mid-City site, they were asked, “Would you prefer a candidate for mayor who continued Nagin’s approach or a candidate who would consider alternatives, including reusing Charity as a hospital?” While 20 percent said they would continue Mayor Nagin’s approach, more than three times as many – 64 percent – said they would support a candidate who considered alternatives."

Come on. Tell white people that Nagin likes Heaven and most whites would say they like Hell better. If we beleived our own propaganda, we'd give up the battle for Charity because "no mayor can get elected who does not support rebuilding Charity." The truth is that we may get one who loves the VA site and phony polls like this only make us look as dishonest and manipulative as our opponents.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that if one of the Longs (who built the 1939 Charity Hospital building) were governor, as -- let's be honest -- most of the same poorer and working class city residents whose feelings this poll presumably reflects eagerly voted for, then the new hospital would be up and running already. Take note, preservationists, of which building in Baton Rouge actually is the state capitol and which one is a museum. Of course, by the time that Huey Long was inaugurated LSU had already moved out of its one-time location near the present state capitol but Huey Long certainly did not countenance attempting to get LSU to go back to downtown Baton Rouge. No, indeed he was a very strong believer in "newer and better."

To continue in that vein, having a poll about New Orleans mayoral candidates and the state and LSU and the hospital business is akin to making a big deal out of the difference between high popalorum and low popahirum.

Sure, the city has a stake. But while, one supposes, the city, if it wanted to pull out all the legal stops, could possibly make things too difficult for LSU to move ahead with the project if it didn't want to support it, getting LSU or the state to decide to re-use the building as a hospital is a different matter and especially so since LSU has said that they have no plan or intention to do that (and the building is state-owned, not city-owned). The poll options are purely hypothetical (as if somehow the city takes the building over like the deal with Chevron was supposed to be -- and also gets in the hospital business). It should have been between option A (new facility) or option B (nothing at all).

The question is what Governor Jindal and Legislature want. They're the ones who ultimately hold the trump cards in this.

E said...

Not a sleazy push poll, amigo.

You can check out the actual questions and I wish you would have before you accused me of stooping to one.

Download the original press release from Smart Growth LA and some supporting slides that include the wording of the questions as a pdf from:

Anonymous said...

The governor has now weighed in on the matter and also the veterans secretary.

Anonymous said...

The link does not give the questionnaire. Survey research ethics require that the pollster release the exact questionaire with all the questions in sequence and indicate how many respondents finished it. Since elsewhere it was reported that Renwick asked questions that introduced information that Nagin supported the proposal--a classic technique to bias follow-up responses, I cannot find the whole questionaire, but the link below offers a few questions. Assuming this is only part of the questionaire, the first question says the new VA site will cost $1 billion. The second question gives no price for rebuilding charity, but says its advocates say it can be done "faster and cheaper." Then they ask which proposal the repondent likes the best ($1 billion or "faster and cheaper.") And the majority of the respondents had heard "nothing or little" of the rebuild proposal. Outcome? Faster and cheaper. That's a classic sleazy "push poll" technique. You can post it as "scientific evidence" but it is neither.

The poll is a trap for Rebuild Charity folks. First I can only assume that LSU will point out the flaws or hire Renwick to legitimate their opinons. But what happens if the VA site is cheaper--and it may be? You just lost the debate. Charity should be re-opened because it will bring people home faster and we don't need to destroy homes. LSU can't counter that argument.

The sample was also absurd. Renwick polled 100 people from each council disrict rather than a city-wide poll. That dilutes the opinions of "above ground" folks (LSU fans) and give disproportionate numbers to "below sea level" folks--most of whom were born at Charity. Renwick does not say how many responded or what other questions were piggybacked as is a common practice. The sample needed to be 1,000 for a city of 340,000 and city wide, not by council district.
Rebuild Charity hospital but don't stoop to the tactics of LSU.

Anonymous said...

People who have been away all this time would be returning in numbers just from Charity Hospital re-opening? That's very difficult to envision. If someone has been somewhere else it's hard to see that they would not have started to put down substantial roots in their new locale. They're likely not coming back perhaps unless returning to New Orleans holds some kind of wondrous economic incentive to do so. Our focus needs instead to be on how to get our local and regional economy going so that new people would want to move in. Also, the word "re-open" keeps being used. OK, let's unlock the doors tomorrow and re-open the building so we can have it now, i.e. just like it was in August 2005. Fact: the Charity Hospital building was going downhill at that point (one wonders how many of the folks agitating for this cause actually went there for treatment prior to August 2005) and its use as a hospital facility was diminishing relative to University Hospital with more and more sections and whole floors being opened up for non-hospital uses. Merely re-opening the building is not what New Orleans needs. Making up ground lost to other cities, jump-starting our economy, having a strong focal point for the medical corridor and "crown jewel" for the local universities is what New Orleans needs.

Anonymous said...

50% of displaced blacks have no health insurance. You can't come back if even one person in your family has no insurance and there is no full-service hospital for the uninsured in New Orleans. That's why thousands of people moved to Hammond, Houma, Baton Rouge etc.--they had the only Charity hospitals that treated their specialty.

So yes, rebuild Charity and tens of thousands of people will return to reunite their families. Those of us with insurance do not have more rights than the displaced.

Anonymous said...

Which charity hospitals in Baton Rouge, Hammond and Houma are you speaking of? Earl Long Hosp. is not accredited. LSU has now signed an agreement to use Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center instead. The other hospitals in the system are all pretty smallish. And how many displaced people are still in Baton Rouge -- and of those how many would move back if only the old Charity Hospital were re-opened? The main point is that by now people have gotten new jobs, new places to stay, their children in new schools and so on. And I can state for a fact that the last time I was in B.R. it was not nearly as full of refugees as it once was. Finally, "re-opening" Charity Hospital to the status quo circa Aug. 2005 is not going to happen -- let us hope -- even if the preservationist contingent has their way and LSU decides or is somehow forced against their will to re-use it as a hospital (they have made it clear that they have no intention to do that). And the Jindal administration certainly is no believer in the traditional Louisiana charity hospital system/health care dispensing apparatus. And if in spite of all of that it does happen that the Charity Hospital status quo ante is re-created then that would be the worst of all outcomes for New Orleans as New Orleans would just continue to fall behind everywhere else. No -- at the least there would have to be a massive renovation project -- indeed the notion of "Re-open Charity Hospital" should not be advertised at all (unless someone is being totally disingenuous) that would take years and cost hundreds of millions if not billions before the building would be usable and up to speed as a 21st century hospital facility to be competitive with others and something that New Orleans really needs.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. They are not coming back so what's the hurry. First the Rand Corporation told us that no more than 225,000 people would return. It was a wild guess--there was no model for estimating the return in a mass evacuation--and that number was used by white folks to justify the BNOBC plan to demolish most of the Black community. Now the census bureau says we have 340,000 people. Oops.

The Family Recovery Corp is the only organization to poll displaced people on their desire to return. The times-picayune hid that study, but it found that 75% of Blacks wanted to return but lacked the financial resources and affordable housing.

We have 85,000 Road Home houses that will be available for sale or rent in 2011, 15,000 units of new affordable rentals in 2011, and all of the East, Gentilly, and 9th Ward will finally be flood protected in 2011. And you think no one is coming back?

Anonymous said...

The point is that it's very hard to buy into the notion that large numbers of people could be and would be running back to New Orleans after having been displaced nearly 4 years *just* because of the re-opening of the 1939 Charity Hospital building (could be it "re-opened" tomorrow? I am very skeptical of that. Should it be? No, for many reasons but most of all that there would need to be a massive renovation, rebuilding what-have-you that would probably take years). Yes, exactly, people have to have the financial resources and that's why one would logically expect that if they've been displaced and somewhere else all this time they would have gotten a new job, new digs, etc. Or they've had a house to return to, a job to return to and thus they've been able to return and have most likely already returned. How many people are there, really, who do have a job/house (which employer is going to hold a job open for someone for 4 years, too?) to return to but won't return just because the 1939 Charity Hospital building is not open (never mind University Hospital/Hotel Dieu)? Or that don't have a job/house to return to but would run back anyway just because of Charity re-opening? That there would be very many in actual numbers really runs counter to logic.