Letters to the Editor

Medical Developments

There were two interesting developments today in the social, legal and political aspect of medicine in Long Beach and in California.

First of all, Community Hospital of Long Beach which is located next to my office, as most know, closed last year. The underlying problem is that the state is mandating earthquake retrofitting which will cost $80 million. No one can afford to pay this. Consequently, the hospital is forced to close and this will forever compromise emergency care to half of Long Beach. The state does not realize that the absence of emergency care in the long run is far more devastating than the once in a millenium chance an earthquake will hit directly under the hospital. At the current construction costs of 2.5 million dollars per hospital bed you can’t afford to build a new hospital. It is best to preserve this current hospital, but the state won’t allow it.

It was hoped that as an alternative the physical hospital could be made into a psychiatric institution which would be exempt from earthquake requirements. They could then use the remainder of the facility for outpatient clinics and urgent care.

The city owes John Molina, the current operator of the hospital some $30 million for his losses. In order not to pay out the $30 million the hospital and grounds which are owned by the city would be bought out by Mr. Molina and he would develop the psychiatric hospital and clinics. However, the state came out today and said that the city could not sell the property to Mr. Molina but instead had to make it available to other developers for low income housing.

Thus the state takes away a much needed hospital with earthquake demands, they then take away a much needed psychiatric facility and they then mandate that it all be replaced by affordable housing.

The state of California is not working in the best interests of the people of Long Beach.

Second news concerns malpractice insurance and lawyers. As a primer, when malpractice awards are given out they cover the past and future expenses incurred by the patient. There is also an additional component for pain and suffering. In the state of California, the pain and suffering component is capped at $250,000. The trial lawyers of California have been trying to raise this. They tried a number of years ago to pass a proposition to increase this cap, but it was voted down. They decided to try again this year. Apparently unbeknownst to most of us the leadership in the California Medical Association met with the Trial Lawyers Association and decided to compromise and allow an increase in this cap for pain and suffering. They decided to increase it to $350,000 next year and to steadily increase it to $750,000 over 10 years. If the patient died the cap would be 1 million dollars.

Whether this seems like a good or bad idea it certainly has implications. The reason why a cap was placed for pain and suffering many years ago was because the malpractice premiums were very high and physicians could not afford them, they were moving out of state, etc. It has also helped contain the number of frivolous lawsuits that are filed. It has been calculated that for every increase in the pain and suffering component there is a proportional increase in malpractice premiums. In other words, with the increase from $250,000 to $350,000 there will be a 40% increase in malpractice premiums for physicians and other healthcare professionals. This will Increase steadily whereupon in 10 years physicians will be paying three times the amount of malpractice premiums. What this will do is increase the cost of healthcare independent of the already increasing costs due to inflation, etc. The cost of health care will go up significantly more.

The most important thing you can do is take good care of yourself and stay healthy. Otherwise those with secondary agendas will make your life difficult.

E. Mike Vasilomanolakis, MD


Detective Tarnishes Judge

This front-page article [April 22] was an interesting read, but the title is misleading, since it was the judge who engaged in misconduct of her own free will, and she was justifiably rebuked by the Commission on Judicial Performance for doing so.

That said, my reason for writing is the content in the italicized bio of the author, Lisa Jones, which appeared at the end of the article, and must be addressed:

Jones is the author of a so-called memoir, titled “Blunt Force Yoga.” My spouse and I were residents (and still are) of the street on which the author’s sister and her husband resided, and we were well acquainted with both Dana and Huck. We often observed and interacted with them when they walked their dog, Roger, past our house. Dana’s tragic death occurred more than seven years ago, when she was 50. She was doing yoga one morning in a room with cement flooring. Dana was wearing only socks on her feet, and in the course of standing up, she evidently slipped and fell backwards, striking the base of her head on a large piece of furniture and sustaining a catastrophic injury to her brain stem.

Her husband was in another room with their dog when he heard a thud. He first stepped outside the front of the house to investigate (a fact confirmed by a home video camera). He went back inside and shortly after, found Dana, at which point he immediately called 911. The police removed and examined the videos from cameras outside the house, as well as other items. They investigated thoroughly and interviewed Huck at length. They determined that there was no history of domestic violence. Dana’s body was autopsied and the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner/Coroner determined that she had died as a result of an accidental fall, resulting in blunt force trauma.

Lisa Jones was not staying in her sister’s home at the time of the accident. She has absolutely no personal knowledge about what occurred on that day. All of her assumptions and insinuations, her contention that her sister was murdered, are the products of her fevered imagination. There is not, and never has been, a scintilla of evidence to support them, which is why the case on Dana’s death is closed. It’s not a cold case. There was no crime.

Lisa Jones is a remainder beneficiary of Dana’s marital trust, which means that she can only inherit if her sister’s husband dies – or if he were convicted of causing Dana’s death, and therefore not able to retain control of the trust. Perhaps that’s her motivation for obsessively pursuing a murder scenario – along with any money she’s received for her “memoir.” And she has the nerve to call out retired LBPD detective Todd Johnson for bad behavior.

M.L. Goodman


Let me get this straight. Marcia Goodman has nothing to say about the substance of my article, but instead wants to dispute the boilerplate description of a book I wrote? She wants to litigate issues surrounding my sister’s death in the pages of the Beachcomber? OK.

Goodman has invented so-called facts about the circumstances of my sister’s troubling death. For instance, Goodman claims: “Dana was wearing only socks on her feet....” No, this is not true. She was barefoot and this fact is clearly documented in a mountain of evidence related to my sister’s case. This is but one indication that Goodman has dreamed up a story in order to make sense of an inexplicable death that even a renowned L.A. Sheriff homicide detective described in writing as suspicious.

Further, it seems that Goodman is carrying water for my sister’s former husband, Kane Finn Kealoha. Mr. Kealoha’s trusteeship of my sister’s estate is currently a matter before the Superior Court of the State of California.

Why does Goodman presume to have information about my sister’s death that no one else has? Why does she presume to involve herself in a court case about my sister’s estate?

Her motives, which I cannot know, are obviously deeply personal to her. I wish her all the best.

Lisa Jones


Grand Prix

I’ve always loved the LB Grand Prix. My husband always had VIP tix because his company, Queen Beach Printers, printed all their materials. I also like the fact that it’s always around my birthday and who wouldn’t love being by the ocean and taking in the views of the Queen Mary while you’re there?

Also, I love the fact that in this article, the journalist was able to capture the artists/musicians that pour their heart in doing what they love. As the mother of Paulo, leader of the band, The Rowdy Rebels, I truly appreciate that they were recognized and were added in this article. Thanks to Mr. Eric Bailey for a great article!

Paula Mercado-Horton


Water Tax Scam

If you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, he will immediately jump out and save himself. But, if the pot is heated gradually, the frog will most likely stay and end up being boiled to death.

It’s the perfect analogy for what is happening to the taxpayers in this state and the City of Long Beach. If you pay a water bill (either directly or indirectly as renters), the City of Long Beach has been stealing from you.

Little by little your taxes are rising and the politicians are laughing all the way to the bank. You are being taxed to death.

The corruption in this city is exemplified by this recent lawsuit that has proven unequivocally that Measure M (the water “surplus” tax) is a violation of our California Constitution. Unabashedly, our city officials pushed citizens to vote for this tax measure that they insisted was not a tax measure.

As usual, they used scare tactics of depriving citizens of core services such as police, fire, libraries, parks, children and senior aid, and last-but-not-least the homeless concerns. But even the California Supreme Court sided with the citizens on this one.

Now, because we are in election season and they want to appease the voters, they are offering a credit of a relatively small amount as if it were a gift to you. That would be like a robber stealing money from you, giving back a quarter of it, and expecting you to be happy about it.

This City Hall swamp needs to be drained before we end up drowning in a sea of debt with unfunded pension liability, Queen Mary problems, excessive-force lawsuits and various pet projects that have been used to gain media/campaign attention for incumbents.

In the upcoming election consider your vote very carefully or don’t complain when you get your next tax bill!

Diana Lejins


Trash Incineration

Unlike the United States, few European countries have land fill dumps. Europe either recycles their trash or generates electricity by incinerating their trash. Incinerator waste gases are closely monitored and scrubbed of pollutants. Disposing of trash in a land fill only pushes the problem to the next generation that must then deal with the greenhouse gases generated from decomposing trash underground in an anaerobic environment. There should be more, not fewer, permitted and monitored incinerators in the U.S.

Mike Ruehle


Free Lunch

I read that students will get money to cover tuition and other costs. I read that free health care is offered to new arrivals at our southern border.

My hard-working, budget-adhering, struggling-student, immigrant employees are lawful citizens and are not getting such free items from California.

The legislative Democrats voted against gas tax temporary reduction for all drivers. Even a temporary cut to help middle- and low-income drivers.

But the legislators vote repeatedly to give students and undocumented newcomers to our state free money

Why is that?

Tom Swanner


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