COUNTY-USC MEDICAL CENTER: Rebuilding Plans Elicit Charges of Racism
Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina yesterday leveled charges of racism at her colleagues for their steadfastness in sticking with their decision to rebuild the earthquake- damaged County-USC Medical Center on a smaller scale than many Latino advocates believe is required. "This community, when it had white representation -- and I'm making a racial remark -- people met these needs. Now when you have a Hispanic representative for this district, you think you can shaft me," she said. The comments came at the supervisors meeting when Molina "forced a discussion" of a bill by state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) that would require "the county to use the $3 billion settlement of lawsuit against the tobacco industry to build a bigger hospital." Molina proposed that the county send an estimate to Sacramento of the cost differential between a 600-and 750-bed facility, and "work aggressively" to find a way to fund a larger hospital in the heavily Latino area. Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who is African American, told Molina that the board's decision to build a 600-bed facility rather than one with 750 beds does not "have anything to do with your ethnic background or my ethnic background. I think this has to do with money." Molina later apologized for "losing her temper." Yesterday's event, the Los Angeles Times reports, "shows that neither side is budging in the battle over the County-USC Medical Center" (Riccardi, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.