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For the week of July 4 through July 11, 2000

Memo to St. Luke’s: stop the whining and threats

Commentary by PAT MURPHY


Ed Dahlberg didn’t leave a very inspiring impression for himself or the St. Luke’s medical system with his whining and threats.

Dahlberg lost it when the Blaine County planning and zoning commission rejected St. Luke’s proposal for a 40,000-square-foot medical office building adjacent to the new St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.

Dahlberg—CEO of Boise-based St. Luke’s—(a) whined that the hospital can’t survive financially without an office complex; and (b) threatened that St. Luke’s might just leave the Wood River Valley.

My recollection is that when St. Luke’s first challenged the Wood River Valley to help raise funds for the new hospital, no mention was made of a medical office building being crucial to St. Luke’s coming to the valley or staying.

Residents were challenged to raise $12 million as their share—which they did, and then some by several million dollars.

If this fuss over the office building is an 11th hour Dahlberg afterthought, then it reveals poor financial planning during original projections for the hospital.

But if it’s one of those executive suite ploys to treat citizens like boobs, and shove through a late-hour project, then it’s not only unbecoming for a serious institution, but also not welcome in a community that worked earnestly to provide millions for the St. Luke’s operation.

Even more worrisome is whether Dahlberg is apt to create other financial "crises" out of thin air down the road to get his way.

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Idaho’s two senior naysayers in Washington, Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, came down on the side of another losing vote last week when they opposed a "hate crimes" bill.

As passed, the law gives the feds authority to prosecute, if states don’t, crimes committed because of a person’s religion, sexual orientation and race.

Craig and Crapo argued that murder is murder whomever is the victim, so why draw a special "hate" law?

That seems like a smokescreen. Surely Craig and Crapo know that criminal codes are filled with laws that draw distinctions in the severity and motives in crimes, and provide differing levels of penalties. Criminal laws have always drawn distinctions on degrees of guilt, such as who pulled the trigger and who drove the getaway car.

My hunch is Craig and Crapo voted against "hate crimes" legislation because they didn’t want to acknowledge that gay Americans are humans.

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My nomination for the year’s most irritating TV commercial—as well as outrageously exaggerated—is American Express’ new series with faceless women blubbering hysterically into telephones that their wallets or purses have been stolen.

Most women I know don’t blubber and don’t get hysterical, but calmly approach such catastrophes with calm and organized thinking.


Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a former radio commentator.

 

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