What do you do when your full hospital financing just won't materialize?
Well, you haul in some sand, some astroturf, a shovel or two, and manufacture a supportive crowd of people on your payroll...and, voila, you have a grand old groundbreaking!
Never mind the lack of financing. Never mind the multiple legal cases open against the LSU Board of Supervisors for improper takings. Never mind that the City Council still hasn't ordained the revocation of the streets in the UMC Footprint. Never mind that there is still no business plan (!?) for this hospital. Never mind that people still live in the UMC Footprint. Never mind that the state and UMC was saying just a week ago that it's looking at scaling back the design.
Governor Jindal, who, tellingly, did not appear on stage, continues to try to will the proposed UMC hospital into existence despite getting hammered by Senator David Vitter and a bombshell report from an independent financial adviser. The Times-Picayune front page article today said it all.
The event got off to a rather ominous start when the chaplain leading the opening prayer went so far as to include an intercession of sorts for additional financing.
Bruce Greenstein and Mayor Landrieu both continued, from the dais, to misrepresent advocates for Charity Hospital and other allies, claiming that we don't have a vision, that we don't understand the need for economic development. What a disingenuous notion. It's been clear for years that a 21st Century state-of-the-art hospital could be built inside the retrofitted shell of the existing Charity Hospital. And it still can.
State Treasurer John Kennedy laid it out on WWL last week. The bottom line: the hospital still has no business plan, never did have one, and there's no way it can get financing while that's the case.
Today, as the shovels bit into the faux dirt, it was clear that the state was merely digging itself a hole. A little deeper hole - one that will be hard to climb out from over time.
Governor Jindal can't simply will this hospital into being. Reality will creep in at some point. And Rev. Avery C. Alexander Charity Hospital will likely still be waiting when it does.