Shortly after announcing criminal charges against Kaiser Permanente Hospital, last November, the onslaught of invective, and nonstop investigation into wrongdoing began digging back to 1998 for evidence not merely against the city attorney, but against his wife. "Kaiser Foundation Hospital, part of Kaiser Permanente, the largest HMO in the nation will be held accountable for violating state law, and its commitment to its patients," he announced. Michael Stoops, National Coalition for the Homeless, calls Rocky Delgadillo's suit against Kaiser "a precedent" which will "send a notice to institutions that dump homeless patients," (USA Today) but who cares about the rights of the homeless in a town smitten with celebrity, greed, and corporate lust?
Clearly, efforts by Delgadillo to speak out against the brutal, wanton practice of homeless dumping helped spark some of the outrage that led to a recent move by California Health Regulators to call for revoking the license of Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital where, early last month, a 43 year old woman, Edith Rodriguez, was left to writhe in pain, and die on the Emergency Room floor, but who cares about uninsured indigents who go dying from neglect, and hordes of homeless dumped on Skid Row, and what do the monied folk try to do with a man who tries to stand up for their interests? Crucify him for nonpayment of five parking tickets!
It's not only HMOs, and corporate health care giants, Delgadillo has taken aim at. In April, he announced tough new legislation to "put an end to the rampant outdoor advertising blighting our communities," and less than a month later, he detailed efforts to advocate for the rights of those who are victims of domestic violence, obtaining a $100,000 grant from Verizon Wireless to develop tools to enhance the ability to prosecute those who abuse women and children. Nobody's trying to depict Rocky Delgadillo as Robin Hood, but simply ask if he's being railroaded for trying to do something about the city's many disenfranchised.
He doesn't deny either that when Mrs. D. was involved in an accident in her husband's SUV, a few years ago, taxpayers picked up the tab for repairs. And, earlier this month , the Los Angeles Ethics Committee approved more than $11,000, in fines, for 30 counts of campaign finance law violations for his failure to account for how some of his 2004 and 2005 campaign funds were spent. These dubious expenditures included meals, flowers, and gifts, as well as payments to consultants. Delgadillo conceded wrongdoing, and settled with the committee. (LAT) In fact, if only the chief executive, and his chronies in the executive branch, were to be half as forthcoming with mea culpas as Mr. D. has been, we would no longer have troops stationed in Iraq.
Undoubtedly, the desire by the state ethics panel to investigate Rocky was not without merit. The allegations of campaign finance law infractions alone would have been sufficient cause to justify a panel inquiry. It is serious when the top prosecutor for a major city enlists "staff members to run personal errands and babysit his children," but it is more serious when those reporting the story fail to address why it is that these allegations have surfaced now, and place them within the context of his ongoing efforts to criminalize those whose inhumanity results in the egregious dumping of homeless people, by hospitals, onto the streets. Tabloid journalism whose focus is advertising revenue leads to mob justice in which a citizen is tried by photo-op, and not by fairness, in the interest of boosting sluggish newspaper sales. From Paris to Rocky, instant celebrity results in high ratings for the media, as well as an intellectual, and ethical climate that contributes to a witch hunt mentality.
Arguably, Rocky Delgadillo stepped on one too many toes. But, more importantly, what does it say about the press that, rather than expose the possibility that there's a corporate posse actively trying to dig up as much dirt as possible on this Democratic city attorney, are instead cooperating with those interests?
It is hoped that all those who consider the charges against Rocky Delgadillo, city attorney of Los Angeles, will do so within the context of those causes he's championed, and also challenge the timing of the release of allegations against him.