Yesterday I shared with you the finances of the Children’s Hospital. Many of you have noticed that the public rhetoric is shrouded in secrecy. Although UMC is a publicly funded organization accountable to the taxpayer, the fact remains that many of the facts regarding the hospital are wrapped in attorney-client privilege and behind closed-door meetings. In other words, the community isn’t allowed to observe how its money is being leveraged in the negotiations.

Secrecy has been the tool of those driving the city’s public policy agenda. Secrecy allows them to plan, plot and control the public’s money behind closed doors. Obviously public scrutiny is the last thing those driving the public policy want. Is this because their flights of fancy won’t stand up to simple questions about economic viability?

However, when you start to connect the dots between those working the public agenda it is easier to understand what is going on. On the surface, it seems to be a battle of a taxpayer-funded entity, UMC demanding that it be paid by a nonprofit organization. At the same time, you have Veronica Escobar proclaiming that she is demanding accountability and transparency and promising that the taxpayers won’t be taxed to bail out the hospital.

Yet, there is a disconnect with all of it. Veronica Escobar says she does not know what UMC is demanding of the Children’s Hospital. Yet, Escobar has been instrumental in pushing forth public policy for both the Children’s Hospital and UMC. Are we to believe that those two organizations aren’t including her in the discourse to fix the problems?

Or, is it just an attempt at public deniability?

Some of you may have noticed that a close cohort of Veronica Escobar, Susie Byrd, has once again entered the realm of managing public policy. Buried in the local paper and on KVIA is the fact that Susie Byrd is now the spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital.

You might remember that Susie Byrd and Veronica Escobar go back a long way, back to when Ray Caballero started the public policy agenda that has resulted in the transformation of UMC, the creation of the Children’s Hospital and the debacle that is downtown redevelopment. They both worked for Caballero while he was in office and both have remained close political allies since then.

Now you have Susie Byrd strategically placed at the Children’s Hospital in a position to not only manage the public discourse but also to have access to information that the taxpayers, and presumably Veronica Escobar doesn’t have.

It is too convenient, or is it more than that?

Are we to believe that Veronica Escobar didn’t have any input on Byrd’s appointment?

More importantly is that this appointment doesn’t just give Susie Byrd, and her friend, Veronica Escobar access to secret information and deliberations but also it allows them to manage both the public discourse on the issue as well as the direction the resolution to the problem takes.

It would not even surprise me that the hospital, on the verge of bankruptcy, is probably paying Susie Byrd for her services.

How convenient all of this is for Byrd and Escobar, yet extremely inconvenient for the taxpayers who ultimately pay the bills these two spend in pursuit of their public policy agenda.

As always, connect the dots and the truth slowly begins to reveal itself.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “The Politics of the Children’s Hospital”

  1. Byrd, it seems, was blindsided by the UMC announcement about suspending direct negotiations and outsourcing it to a law firm. Unless this was just some Norma-style histrionics to create inside leverage for herself? Byrd was very much in the ballpark strategy to avoid public transparency (keep ’em in the dark) so she is getting a taste of her own medicine now.

    If it were not such a travesty that we’ll all have to pay for, it could be fun to watch as these narcisstic egomaniacs play their parts. You couldn’t make this up.

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