A photographic walk down memory lane with Jan Tanner.
I gotta hand her this: at 54, she's gotten progressively better looking, though I'm not sure I want to know the reasons for this; it could very well involve body-snatching, shape-shifting, or ointments made from who-knows-what.
But her clothing choices are fashiondisasters time and time again. Only twice have I considered her outfits tasteful; even then, she had to go and eff up her good thing by picking her nose or showing off way too much cleavage. Perhaps one day Jan will learn that what's hot on Planet Vomitblaus is not down here on Planet Earth.
In spite of her absolute absence of fashion sense, it'd be really easy for me to always cast her in a flattering light...if only she had come clean about the details of her most fortuitous special appointment to the District's Board of Directors as its treasurer back in the 2004 days of Chaos, and her 10-year, no-bid, million dollar pizza contract with School District 11; or alternatively, if she'd simply given me, as I'd requested, the very reasonable 10% cut of the $160,000 I discovered she made off of the District during the 2008-2009 school year -- I mean, we're talking $16,000 people: that's *chump* change to Jan, who is richer than any of us can even imagine.
What we have here is a failure to communicate...and to our dual misfortune, on top of being selectively color-blind and stubborn, Jan is stingy and cheap -- traits I find particularly distasteful in the uber-rich. She's like a demanding customer who then tips the waitress or pizza delivery person $1 -- decidedly uncool.
I read in this week's Independent that Larry Liston has raised $30,955 to Jan's $5,735, even garnering a sizeable share of GLBT monies -- those traitors. We can only hope Liston will win with ease -- but don't count Jan out; she could always buy a last-minute election upset simply by cashing in three hundred of her most virile black slaves.
My son came home from college for a quick visit this weekend; when he saw what I was working on, he said in his best falsetto, "stalker..." causing us both to laugh. But then again, I have dreamt of her -- three times --none of them sexual, but WAY GAY NONETHELESS; I mean, in contrast, I've never dreamt of Alejandro...or 98% of my other boyfriends.
What can I say; she is the cure to my writer's block, the silver lining of my cloudy day...the fly who so kindly stepped into my parlor for a visit; whenever I need cheering and tell myself to look at the bright side of things, I usually end up looking at one of her blouses. Simply put, Jan is my inspiration -- here's lookin' at you, sweetheart.
Yesterday, I wrote something I thought was funny...something about the facially-challenged Michelle Obama.
This morning, I went to the Gazette's homepage, and was tickled *pink* to read the following comment about none other than yours truly; I've been a bit giddy ever since.
I'll tell ya...sometimes, it's hard to keep going; to keep researching and plugging along, usually without pay or feedback - but then again, some things are far better than money.
* * * * * * * *
smartestman 7:24 AM on September 26, 2011
I move to petition the Gazette to hire Spydra to write a weekly opinion article on any subject. She is an excellent (although at times acerbic) wordsmith. She has a way with words not often seen among professional journalists or pundits, let alone the private sector. In addition, her humor is top notch an often has me in tears. "...all the while oblivious to the fact her face stops clocks." CLASSIC!!!!!
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To celebrate the occasion of this unsolicited and wholly unanticipated kudos, I'm releasing this photo that was snapped earlier this year. I hate getting my picture taken, and had to consume several glasses of wine before I loosened up; this was the last shot of the day.
Hey, I already made it clear - I'm not *ever* running for elected office, so I don't care if y'all Sarah Palin the *hell* out this pic. Just wanted to reward a very smart someone for saying the right thing to me at the right time...and to show my undying love for the city of Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado, and the great and mighty United States of America.
Memorial Board of Trustees in Colorado Springs rejects HCA
by Amy Gillentine
The Memorial Board of Trustees views HCA's interest in purchasing Memorial Health System as the "wolf at the door," said Chairwoman Arlene Patterson Stein.
"We speak as one voice, and we would like council to affirm its commitment to the commission's work and it recommendation," she said. "We don't support the HCA attempt."
The Memorial Citizens' Commission spent nine months researching options for Memorial's future. It recommended to the Colorado Springs City Council that the hospital become an independent nonprofit system.
In recent weeks, HCA reaffirmed its interest in purchasing the system, and asked for a new process that would allow it to participate. The commission did not entertain any offers from for- profit systems, but did explore the option with mergers-and- acquisition expert David Burik from Navigant Systems.
Stein made her comments at a joint city council-Memorial board meeting held today to discuss the details of a plan to create the independent nonprofit.
"The devil's in the details," said Councilman Sean Paige. "And we need those details if we want the voters' support."
Paige has raised questions this week about the commission's decision-making process, suggesting the commission was led to the nonprofit choice by Memorial's administration.
Jim Moore, vice chair of the Memorial Board, brought up the doubts in the community that the council was committed to moving ahead with the commission's proposal. He asked the council to vote on the recommendation to erase all the doubt.
Mayor Lionel Rivera agreed that the city council would put a resolution on the agenda for its next council meeting.
"We could pass a resolution, but that's not going to stop doubters in the community," he said. "And it won't stop some outside entity from pouring money into the election, and trying to defeat it."
He suggested a task force to discuss the major issues - creation of a new nonprofit corporation, defeasance of bonds, revenue commitments from Memorial to the city. Once that task force completes its work, Rivera said that would be the time to discuss a resolution. The task force will be made up of three city council members, three Memorial board members, as well as representatives from Memorial.
Commission consultant Larry Singer will also be a part of the discussions.
Another big issue is PERA, the state employees' retirement plan. At this point, there is no information about how employees could be switched to another plan. Memorial employees cannot stay in the retirement plan once the city no longer owns the hospital. PERA has indicated that it will be mid-January before they can advise the city about how to proceed.
"To give you a little bit of comfort, the actuary doing this is PERA's actuary, so they have all the data," said Pat Kelly, city attorney. "We'll have that answer well in advance of the election."
PERA will give a calculation of the unfunded liability and the amount needed to move employees to a new retirement plan.
"There's so much uncertainty around this, it's important to know that the board is committed to what's best for employees," said Memorial board member Vic Andrews.
Paige suggested there wasn't enough time to discuss the issues and put it on a ballot.
"I'm concerned about the timeline," he said. "I see a lot of potential problems."
Rivera said that he could always call a special meeting in February, if needed, to iron out final details.
Artemis Woman, Mary Lou Makepeace,
when she was still a married heterosexual.
As the Bible states...there is nothing new under the sun.
Indeed, history repeats itself, only the names and faces have changed.
Here's a back in the day example of a Memorial Hospital task force's recommendations, and the weight they carried with the very person who formed the task force: Mary Lou Makepeace...then-mayor, now director of the Gay and Lesbian Fund, as well as the Gill Foundation Head Honcho.
Also on council at the time was Richard Skorman.
Makepeace, as you'll recall, was also at the helm when the Egyptian temple of worship at America the Beautiful Park was conceived (another project opposed by Councilman Eastburn)...but I'll have to save that story for later.
The decade-old question about whether to sell city-owned Memorial Hospital - the hottest issue in the 1999 mayoral race - has been settled ... for now.
An eight-member commission appointed by Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace has recommended keeping Memorial - the most profitable hospital in the state in recent years.
The hospital's board of trustees and the Colorado Springs City Council now are expected to sign off on the recommendation, which will formalize a new working agreement.
"It certainly lays it to rest as a current question," said board Chairman Harlan Loomas.
The commission's recommendation, Makepeace said, means Memorial is not for sale "for this council, for this board and for this administration."
For 10 years, Springs leaders have debated whether to sell Memorial, which the city bought in 1943 for $76,500 and now is valued at as much as $500 million.
The debate heated up in spring 1999 when car dealer Will Perkins - running for mayor against Makepeace - advocated selling the 467-bed hospital to finance a $600 million backlog in civic improvement projects rather than raising taxes.
Makepeace said Thursday her commission decided to stick with city ownership, because "it's better for the citizens of Colorado Springs" because of $16.5 million in indigent care the hospital provided last year alone.
The commission, however, left unresolved the question of its previous mandate: Treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay, without a taxpayer subsidy.
So Makepeace has asked the hospital board to propose alternatives within the next three months.
Makepeace isn't suggesting Memorial close its doors to the poor. Rather, she wants the hospital to find ways to divert indigent patients with low-level medical needs to other care outlets, like Community Health Centers.
Memorial's emergency room - where care is the most expensive to deliver - is inundated and getting more crowded every year.
It saw 89,600 patients last year. In January, 287 patients were treated per day, a 24.5 percent increase over a year ago. Yet, only one-fifth are cases involving bona fide life-threatening problems, Loomas said.
Makepeace doesn't want Memorial to find itself in the same predicament as University Hospital in Denver, which recently said it could no longer afford to treat all indigent patients. Rising health costs and dwindling government payments have forced University Hospital to give priority to the sickest patients.
Makepeace worries the Springs may become a magnet for poor residents statewide who may come here simply because of Memorial's "all-comers" policy.
"I don't think we should be providing all this non-emergency care in the emergency room," Makepeace said.
"It forces us to look at what our other approaches are," she added. "These are the kinds of things that, if you don't examine them, will overwhelm you."
Memorial has been the focus of heated community debate in recent years for several reasons.
Conflict developed between the council and hospital board as Memorial's profits grew - peaking at $27.3 million in 1997 - and its cash reserve reached $100 million.
Some council members called for using the hospital's reserves for other city needs or requiring a payment in lieu of taxes.
Also, the council and board were at odds over management issues, such as an employee bonus plan that saw former Executive Director Robert Peters receive nearly $50,000 in bonus pay one year.
Also, residents were angered by Memorial's desire to expand into the historic Boulder Park neighborhood.
If you go
The Colorado Springs City Council and the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees must both ratify the new ownership and operation agreement.
When: 7:15 a.m. today at conference rooms A & B, lower level, Memorial Hospital, 1400 E. Boulder St.
COLORADO SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL INFORMAL MEETING
When: 1 p.m. Monday at Council Chambers, 30 W. Nevada Ave.
Key points in a pact between the city and the hospital
Key points in a pact between the Colorado Springs City Council and the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees:
City retains ownership, ensuring local residents' needs are met.
Council appoints board members who have specific expertise, such as financial and health-care knowledge.
Council provides oversight through board reports and joint meetings.
Memorial makes financial payments to the city only after specific financial goals are met to ensure the hospital retains its financial strength, including its ability to sell bonds for expansion projects.
Memorial's financial adviser warned cash diversions "would likely prevent a future credit rating upgrade," important because ratings determine interest rates.
The council has agreed to use the money for "health outreach programs," not roads and bridges.
The agreement doesn't affect a previous agreement for Memorial to give the city $400,000 annually to fund mental health services, youth programs and the like. This is the third year for the donation.
Formation of a nonprofit foundation to solicit donations for Memorial and other community health care needs.
Memorial formalizes city pact/ Hospital agrees with most of deal
by Bill Radford
Memorial Hospital's Board of Trustees acted Friday to formalize a new working agreement with the Colorado Springs City Council by approving a memo of understanding between the two entities.
The agreement, which must also be approved by the council, incorporates the recommendations of an eight-member ownership and governance committee appointed by Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.
Chief among those recommendations is that the city maintain ownership of the hospital. "Local ownership and control remain a benefit to the community," the memorandum concludes. Springs leaders have debated for years whether to sell Memorial, which is valued at as much as $500 million.
Other key points of the agreement, which defines the hospital's responsibilities to City Council and the community, include criteria for the council's appointment of new board members and creation of a philanthropic foundation.
"I think it is a terrific accomplishment," said Harlan Loomas, chairman of the hospital board and co-chair of the ownership and governance committee. "I don't see how we could have gotten a better result than this."
Only one provision, concerning the hospital's obligation for a financial return to the city, stirred debate. That return can be accomplished in various ways, including the providing of indigent care. The council also could direct Memorial to set aside funds that would go to the city for health-related programs if specific financial goals are met. The memorandum states that the hospital needs all existing reserves.
"It's a very, very tough test to meet before any money comes out of the hospital," said City Councilman Lionel Rivera, attending his last meeting as a member of the hospital board.
He and others, though, expressed concern about a provision in the agreement calling on the council to review the hospital's progress from time to time to determine if funds should be set aside. They questioned what would constitute "sufficient progress" and worried that the provision undercut the linking of payments and financial standards.
While approving the agreement, the board suggested changes in wording, tying the possible payments to significant financial progress on the part of the hospital and making it clearer that any money would go to health-related needs.
The City Council is expected to consider the agreement at its informal meeting Monday.
Sorry for the delay in posting, folks; research takes time.
It truly saddens me to conclude that our city council does not have OUR best interests in mind. I only hope this latest debacle impresses upon you all the importance of keeping the "governance" of Memorial Hospital AS IS.
Here's some back in the day information about the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and bullshit allegations of conflicting interests. Pay especial attention to the late Ted Eastburn's statements and actions...talk about integrity - his untimely demise was such a loss for our city...and hella convenient for the Memorial powers-that-be.
Hospital board jobs eyed/ 2 City Council members' appointments
by Raquel Rutledge
Four months ago, the City Council appointed Councilman Ted Eastburn, a cardiologist, to the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees.
Now, as his term is about to start, the council is reconsidering his appointment, as well as Councilwoman Linda Barley's, citing possible conflicts of interest.
The council plans to meet in closed session next week to discuss the appointments.
The issue has sparked debate among council members about how active a role they should have in overseeing the profitable city- owned hospital and where to draw the line on potential conflicts of interest.
The council/board of trustees would rely on a citizens' advisory committee for expertise on industry issues, Rivera said.
Makepeace, however, said council members ought not sit on the hospital board at all.
"I think that when we have council members serving on there, we tend to politicize the administration of the hospital," Makepeace said.
Politics often has crept into the debate about Memorial in recent years as council members fought about the idea of tapping Memorial's huge profits and reserves to pay for city services and about its expansion plans.
Some fear Eastburn can't be impartial because of his history with the 390-bed hospital.
Eastburn is one of nine heart surgeons in the Pikes Peak Cardiology group who lost emergency-room rotation privileges last summer because of rumors the group planned to open a heart clinic to compete with Memorial.
However, he retains all other medical privileges at Memorial.
To avoid a conflict, Eastburn said he would simply withdraw from issues relating to the hospital's cardiology care.
He said the board needs people with expertise in the medical field.
"Cardiology is one aspect to health care, but Memorial Hospital does a lot more," Eastburn said.
"My commitment to (the hospital) is unwavering. It is clear, publicly and privately, my level of support for that institution."
Some, including Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, say the council should stay out of hospital operations, simply approving such things as the budget and capital improvements.
Others, chiefly Councilmen Lionel Rivera and Bill Guman, say the council should replace the 15-member board of trustees altogether and oversee everything, as it does for the city-owned Colorado Springs Utilities.
"It brings more accountability to the Memorial Hospital board," Rivera said. "By having that direct link from the owners of the hospital - the voters of Colorado Springs - to the City Council, makes the board more accountable.
"If there weren't any council members on the board, there wouldn't be any direct link to the owners of the hospital."
Rivera compares it to operation of city-owned parking lots, golf courses, recreation centers and other enterprises.
"The City Council has direct say on all the enterprises other than Memorial Hospital," he said. As for Barley, her husband, Leonard Barley, is the medical director at Cedar Springs Behavioral Health System, a private, for- profit, mental health complex which contracts to provide Memorial Hospital with emergency psychiatric care, if needed.
He called the complaint of a conflict "ridiculous."
"I have nothing to do with Memorial Hospital," he said.
Makepeace and other council members said they would wait to hear all sides of the issue before deciding whether Eastburn or Barley should be denied positions on the board.
Memorial's leash/ Unless city-owned hospital is sold, it warrants
We'll reserve judgment on whether Springs City Council members Linda Barley and Ted Eastburn are a little too close to city-owned Memorial Hospital to take their seats on its board as scheduled. What's of far greater concern to us right now is Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace's troubling view, expressed in a Gazette report Tuesday, that no council member should sit on the hospital's board at all.
Ostensibly, there's a question about a conflict of interest for Barley and Eastburn - in Barley's case because her husband runs a private mental-health facility that contracts with Memorial; in the case of Eastburn, a cardiologist, because of differences Memorial has had with him and some fellow cardiologists over their private practice.
Supposedly, that could render them unfit for joining Memorial's other council-appointed board members in riding herd over the profitable hospital. The point is debatable; arguably it's their very exposure to the industry, certainly in Eastburn's case, that qualifies them.
It might also be something of a stretch to suppose Barley can't be an objective board member because her husband's organization provides Memorial some emergency psychiatric care. Perhaps it's a stretch as well to suppose Eastburn would hold a grudge because his Pikes Peak Cardiology group lost its emergency-room rotation privileges at the hospital last year amid unfounded rumors his practice was going to open a heart clinic in competition with Memorial, which aggressively guards its market.
In any event, Barley and Eastburn, along with the rest of the council, already hold ultimate authority over the hospital. So, for their peers to reconsider these months-old appointments to a subordinate board seems moot.
More pressing: What are the citizen-owners of Memorial to make of the mayor's apparent desire to further distance the hospital from its bosses at City Hall - given what is an already estranged relationship?
"I think that when we have council members serving on there, we tend to politicize the administration of the hospital," she said.
We're not sure what the mayor means by "politicize." Is she talking about attempts by some, such as Councilman Lionel Rivera, to get the hospital to share its hefty cash reserves with other community programs? Is she talking about concerns over the hospital's expansion plans, and how they might affect neighborhoods? How about flak the hospital drew over the big bonuses it has awarded senior administrators in recent years? Aren't those the kinds of things that rightly concern the citizens of Colorado Springs, and for which they should have a seat at the table at their hospital?
Rivera has the right perspective: "If there weren't any council members on the board, there wouldn't be any direct link to the owners of the hospital."
As noted in Tuesday's Gazette report, Rivera and Councilman Bill Guman would even go so far as to scrap Memorial's current board and have the council itself serve in that role. That's worth looking into. After all, the council serves quite well in just such an oversight capacity for a far larger city-owned enterprise, Colorado Springs Utilities.
We've long argued in this column that city government doesn't belong in the hospital business to begin with. And with significant interest by the private sector in buying Memorial - proceeds could fund sweeping local improvements while the hospital continues to serve us - a sale has a real practical appeal it.
But so long as the hospital is part of the public's portfolio, and thus the property of every resident of Colorado Springs, it must be held accountable.
Eastburn withdraws Memorial board bid: Amid allegations of possible conflicts of interest, Colorado Springs City Councilman and cardiologist Ted Eastburn has withdrawn his application to serve on Memorial Hospital's board of trustees. "In regard to perception, it ends up being reality, for better or worse," Eastburn said. "It's just a fact. If you think you have a conflict and you're not sure, that enters the arena of a conflict."
Members of Memorial Hospital's board of trustees approve all financial matters for the city-owned hospital, but they don't necessarily have a background in finance.
The board selects and appoints Memorial's executive director, but only one member, chairman Harlan Loomas, has hospital management experience.
That is not unusual for nonprofit boards; similar statements apply to some board members for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. Management company Centura Health, however, has the final say on many Penrose matters, similar to the Colorado Springs City Council's authority over Memorial.
Council members have questioned the ability of Memorial's board to guide the future of the city-owned hospital.
"There may not be a problem with the current board. My position is that we need to be assured that the board is constituted ... with people with particular expertise," said Councilman Ted Eastburn. "What prompted all of this to begin with was concern over dwindling payment to hospitals."
At a council meeting last week, Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace said a new hospital board could be in place within two months once new criteria are established. The City Council, which appoints Memorial's trustees, has no formal criteria for selecting Memorial board members.
Some council members said business and financial experience is a plus. However, "each council member has their own list of questions that they ask candidates and it's very subjective," said Councilman Bill Guman, who has interviewed previous board candidates.
Hospital bylaws require:
The board should include five to 15 members and include a broad representation of the community.
The president of the Memorial Hospital auxiliary will be a member.
Each member will be appointed by the City Council and serve for three-year terms.
Members should have "knowledge beneficial to the governance of the hospital as well as interest in and willingness to take an active part in governing the operations and encouraging the development of Memorial Hospital."
Michael Annison, a Denver-based hospital consultant who has worked for Memorial, has a different view of hospital board members.
In his book, "Trust Matters," he says hospital board members were selected in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s because of their community contributions. Hospitals were stable, and board membership recognized outstanding community service, "not something that imposed onerous new duties and obligations."
Faced with growing competition and consolidation as well as shrinking reimbursements, Annison says board members should:
Serve the community rather than represent the interest of any single group.
For example, Annison has been critical of city administrators serving on Memorial's board as a possible conflict of interest. Politics often has crept into the debate about Memorial in recent years as council members discussed expanding the hospital and tapping Memorial's profits and reserves to pay for city services.
City Councilman Lionel Rivera, however, said council members were appointed to the board because hospital trustees and administrators previously were not cooperative in carrying out council directives.
Should have the knowledge, wisdom and experience to identify key strategic issues and contribute to resolving them.
Loomas recommended to Makepeace that hospital board members have experience in mergers or acquisitions, experience as an executive or board member of a major purchaser of health care and experience on other boards.
Should be curious and not rely on rote answers to increasingly complex issues.
Next week: Rich Laden on real estate.
Linda Barley, city councilwoman
Curtis Brown, financial consultant
Lena Farmer, insurance broker
Juan Garcia, former budgeting officer
Thomas Hathaway, retired radiologist
Harlan Loomas, former health care executive
Ellen May, president of Memorial auxiliary
Jim Mullen, city manager
David Nickerson, head of city enterprises
Lionel Rivera, city councilman
Karen Schwartz, president of neighborhood association and financial consultant
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