Sunday afternoon. I'm in the Vons parking lot here in Los Osos and heading towards the Ace Hardware store when down the sidewalk comes a woman in a Vons shirt steaming along briskly and speaking loudly to a guy ahead of her, "Sir. Sir, stop. Come back here." Guy ignored her and kept chugging along. She tried again, only this time people were stopping and looking and soon heard the words, "Stop him. He stole a bottle of Jagermeister!" After which several guys joined the woman from Vons and cell phones came out. "I'm gonna call the sheriff," hollered one. Guy kept walking along, only to turn back and holler to the Vons' employee that she should go "f---k herself."
In no time, the guy had reached the Round Table Pizza Parlor and I figured maybe he'd get away with his shoplifting gig, since sheriff's officers out here are so thinly spread, I thought it would take hours to get a car here. So I went into Ace, made my purchases in about 15 minutes time, and then headed out to Los Osos Valley Nursery. There on LOVR near the Rexall Drug Store was our boy, cuffed and sitting on the patrol car's bumper, sheriff busily filling out paperwork on his clip board. It looked like they'd been there for a while.
Fast, efficient police work by our local constabulary? You betcha, made all the easier by alert Los Ososian citizens willing to get involved , citizens with eagle eyes who called in a description: Look for a doofus hotfooting it down the street wearing a black hoodie, black cap and a pair of really, really unusual looking brown and black checked knee-length pants.
And THAT, my children, is what drinking Jagermeister can do to you. First we got Cal Poly blackout "rapes" with panties up palm trees and now fashion-disaster guys shoplifting Jag in broad daylight while walking around in brown and black checked knee-length pants. Aw, Gawd, the shame of it.
Memo To America: If You're Poor, Don't Get Sick
You've probably heard them by now, radio ads urging you to write your supervisor and urge him to not cut any more out of the proposed $800,000 budget for the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast. The CHC was contracted to care for all the qualified poor, uninsured, underinsured people who used to get their treatment at County General before that facility closed. (Which closure was part of the general push to "privitize" public services with private contractors and thereby pretend to get the responsibility (and cost) off the public budget.) That was the promise the BOS made at the time - don't worry about closing CG, we'll take care of everyone at outlying facilities and do a better job and do it cheaper. And for years, that worked as fine as can be expected in a country with a needlessly expensive, wasteful, cockamamie healthcare delivery system.
Then came the recession and now suddenly, there's a whole lot MORE poor, uninsured, underinsured people needing healthcare living in a state and county that's broke. During such times, promises are easly nudged and previously supplied care is cut back to the bone. And if that leaves a good chunk of people out in the cold and at risk of dying? Well, what do you expect in a country with a needlessly expensive, wasteful cockamamie healthcare delivery system?
So we have this publicity push to get the community to lobby the BOS to increase the grants to CHC to boost it's operating budget since obviously the need in the community is even greater in this economy of lost jobs, lost health insurance and more and more people falling through the cracks. In today's Tribune, Supervisor Gibson called the mail-in postcard campaign to lobby the Sups "counterproductive" and a "negotiation ploy" by CHC.
The BOS will discuss the matter today at 1:30 p.m. I'll be at work and so won't be able to attend, but if there's one thing I'd love to hear from any BOS member it's this: Please tell me exactly where and how I can get health care if I don't quality for HCH's programs? Be precise; names, places, programs, please. Thank you.
My bet is anyone asking that question will get that stony stare of silence that can be so frustating to the public. Talk to the hand. Not our problem. Which is what happens when you live in a country with a needlessly expensive, wasteful cockamamie healthcare delivery system. If you're poor, don't have great health insurance through your job, or now don't have a job and so lost your health insurance and/or can't get health insurance because of prexisting conditions or because you lost your job and can't afford to buy any insurance at all, in this country you're expected to, well, shut up and die quietly since protesting is "counterproductive."
Because in this country, we fiercely defend and absolutely insist on a for-profit , needlessly expensive, wasteful cockamamie healthcare system that costs more than any other healthcare systems in the "civilized" world yet delivers the worst outcomes and we do this because we absolutely DEMAND that insurace companies be allowed to make obscene profits off our crappy health. It's the American way.