Letter: Mission’s sale — one of the greatest local political cons

Graphic by Lori Deaton

It appears the sale of the Mission hospital system is complete. May one suggest this will go down as one of the greatest political cons in our community’s history?

In scope, it compares with the ill-advised, Democratically led, but bipartisan-supported effort [circa 2005] to steal Asheville’s water system. The media have been similarly complicit in echoing the talking points of this plan’s marketing agents instead of more sincere investigative reporting. We’ve been getting a lot on what’s going to happen — very little on why it’s going to happen.

In truth, the loss of control of our hospital could be a good thing. Although going from first string to third is a curious measure of progress, Mission has been marching toward disaster for years. Don’t believe that hospital administrators and board members walk away from success.

Abuses by our city’s army of illegal aliens, drug entrepreneurs and other folks evading the responsibility of carrying their own weight; chronic Medicare and Medicaid underfunding by “promise something for nothing” politicians; government hypercontrol; and dare we say questionable administration have secured failure.

On that latter point, the people running the show at Mission have been shamefully culpable in failing to publicly declare their hurdles on a more timely and transparent basis.

Making it this long can be tracked in large part to a practice of chronic understaffing. Staffing problems are normal in emergent situations — staff shortages day after day, year after year, department after department evolve into undeclared policy. The resulting savings — substantial in scope — have helped prop up this sick patient.

So, where will it all land now that it appears the sale has gone through? Most assuredly, past sins like those noted above will be lost in the tangles of a switch from nonprofit to for-profit status.

We will have thus been witness to an equivalent process whereby the New England Patriots were traded for the Cleveland Browns. Though both wear uniforms and play football, how they play is different. It will take a few seasons to realize the folly of this exchange.

— Carl Mumpower
Asheville

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5 thoughts on “Letter: Mission’s sale — one of the greatest local political cons

  1. bsummers

    “…the ill-advised, Democratically led, but bipartisan-supported effort [circa 2005] to steal Asheville’s water system. “

    Let the history-rewriting begin. Good lord, Carl. It’s hard to know where to start with that lie.

    First off, what happened in 2005 wasn’t an attempt to “steal” Asheville’s water. It was a fight between the City and two Counties – Buncombe and Henderson, which made up the Water Authority. That arrangement became unworkable, so the City dissolved the authority and took back unilateral control of the system. The response was that State legislators representing those Counties passed the Sullivan Acts, which mostly just prevented the City from charging differential rates. They were simply protecting the economic status-quo at the time, while allowing the City of Asheville to continue to own and operate the system. I disagree with that legislation, but it was not “stealing” the system. That status-quo has existed ever since.

    On the other hand, fast-forward to 2013, when a purely GOP legislative effort actually did try to seize control of Asheville’s water. Your pretend outrage at the time was so severe (along with your awareness that it was your fellow Republicans who were responsible), you promised to resign from the Republican party in protest.

    Former Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower threatens to leave GOP over water system bill
    https://mountainx.com/blogwire/former_asheville_city_council_member_carl_mumpower_threatens_to_leave_gop_o/
    Therefore, should my fellow Republicans in Raleigh chose to support this destructive, unprincipled, and unprecedented legislative action, I will take the only step I have in hand to express my concern for that act of misplaced integrity and resign from the Republican Party.

    As we all know, your fellow Republicans did support stealing Asheville’s water in 2013. How’s that resignation coming?

    As for any partisan motives back in 2005… who was Chairman of the Buncombe County Commission at the time? Nathan Ramsey, a Republican. He later became a primary sponsor of that seizure bill. Who was Henderson County’s rep on the authority, and the Chairman of the Water Authority when it collapsed in dysfunction? Bill Lapsley, a Republican. As it happens, Lapsely is still leading the calls for his Republican pal Chuck McGrady to try to steal Asheville’s water again, for the benefit of Henderson County.

    You’re trying to muddy the waters over what happened, because you don’t want to admit that all along it was your party, and your hatred of the City of Asheville, that was most responsible for creating the mess.

  2. Carl Mumpower

    Sorry Mr. Summers, you missed the mission of the letter.

    You are correct on one point – I did misspeak – what I had promised was to resign if my party was successful in completing the seizure of the city’s water system that your party started with Sullivan Acts II & III. They were not and I didn’t.

    Asheville should have never been treated differently than all other cities in NC – including border cities Hendersonville and Weaverville.

    Your effort echoes that of most media outlets and other enabling voices on this issue – obfuscate the truth on Sullivan Acts II and III to defend the team from the consequences of the con.

    I leave you to your own conscience on that mission.

    • bsummers

      Carl, you don’t ‘misspeak’. You’re way too careful with your words. You intended for everyone to believe that you would leave the GOP if the bill was passed, not if it stood up in court. Besides, who believes that punishment for stealing only happens if they get away with it?

      And you’re not ‘misspeaking’ when you try to rewrite the history of the water takeover to make it sound like it was “the Democrats” who started it. That’s just partisan nonsense. The Sullivan Acts were put in place by Buncombe County legislators who felt compelled to keep the City from charging differential rates to their constituents. There was never any intention to “steal” the water system – just prevent rates from going up. It was your fellow Republicans who took the leap into outright theft. Democrats like Martin Nesbitt and Susan Fisher fought tooth and nail to stop it.

      I don’t mind your attempts to shift blame for partisan reasons – we all expect that from you. The problem is that this issue has festered and gotten worse over the decades in large part because people are allowed to lie about what transpired in the past, and that becomes the grease for the next fiasco.

      Speaking of which, your fellow Republican Chuck McGrady, goaded on by your other fellow Republicans on the Henderson County Commission, is contemplating another takeover attempt as we speak. What do you say we stop trying to rewrite history, and try to write a better future?

  3. Carl Mumpower

    Again Mr. Summers – we share a much different view on Sullivan Acts II and III. Though these acts, Senator Nesbitt and your party did effectively seize control of the city’s water system and thus did something to Asheville that was never done to any city owned water system in NC. You are correct that my party later tried to finish that effort and I resisted such within the limits of my power. I am grateful for your suggestion that I don’t make mistakes in my choice of words – wish it were true. I appreciate your patience as I raise the question as to which of us was in the arena and which was in the audience – who was fighting and who was observing? It may make more of a difference that you might imagine. From here I leave you to your own devices and agenda. – no wish to tug against such.

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