CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: A Dear Shawn Letter to a Beleaguered Keiro CEO

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Hey, Shawn Miyake, Wimpy Hiroto here. You know, about the only guy left in town who doesn’t want to run you out. I’m sitting here wondering what Crossroads to Somewhere can do to make the world a more peaceful place and I thought about you; someone in need of understanding and compassion if there ever was one. So here I am, at your service. An unlikely sympathizer, to be sure, but you can’t be too choosy these days, right?

Haven’t seen you around Keiro Retirement Home lately; Thanksgiving, Christmastime, **O-sho-gatsu.** Really can’t blame you. Have never seen the natives so upset. It takes an awful lot to get our people riled up, but look at what happens when they do. Fair or not, the top dog bears the brunt of all the slings and arrows.

“Fair” isn’t my middle name, but still want you to know I believe in your commitment to and for Keiro. Before the twin fiascos of Ensign and Pacifica, I never doubted the formidable obstacles confronting non-profit health care providers. With all signs pointing to a questionable future, the dilemma was what to do, act or react. When?

Unbeknownst to the public (the initial misstep?), you formed a committee to look into the matter. With input from outside experts, it became apparent for-profits would eventually control the industry; non-profits methodically squeezed out. Based on this report, your board approved launching a search for a potential buyer.

Right about here, Shawn, we both know the squabble begins over who did what or didn’t from this point forward. Your effort to keep the public informed has been questioned, no matter how many informative meetings were held or not. The fact that no one questioned the initial Ensign Group offer underscores the public’s initial apathy. When the transaction was stopped by the attorney general, you emerged unscathed. [I couldn’t believe it either.] And darned if your winning streak didn’t continue when Pacifica Companies came out of nowhere to put the process back on track. It also distracted attention from an ill-timed move of Keiro offices from Boyle Avenue to Li’l Tokio.

Then whammo, smooth sailing ran into an unexpected storm.

I’m sure you don’t have to be reminded it’s only been four months since a small disparate group met to bemoan the pending loss of the community’s iconic landmark. What has happened since is amazing. The Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro, initially but a faint murmur of protest, quickly and unexpectedly became a formidable foe.

Whether it’s any consolation, Shawn, I’m not a member. My credo from way back is never be a joiner. Once a member of anything, I would be journalistically compromised, expected to be supportive and active. I’ve never joined any JA *club or organization, no matter merit or purpose: JACL, JAO, JANM, JACCC, et al. All of which is another CR2S never-no-mind, just wanted you to know. [*Visual Communications (VC) a sole exception.]

You can’t disregard the committee, no matter its shortcomings, but why it took so long for “the community” to react is still a mystery.

Several years ago a letter from the son of a patient at ICF was printed in The Rafu Shimpo. He expressed worry about a rumored ownership change. CR2S made light of his concern and downplayed his anxiety. Although his was but a single voice of angst, I began to wonder, could it be true? Periodic probing followed but nary a hint of (public) worry. I chalked it up to community apathy and reader disdain.

So, Miyake-san, here we are. I guess you and the board are proceeding posthaste to wrap up escrow while the Ad Hockers continue efforts to have the attorney general put a halt to proceedings. As they understandably would, Pacifica bigwigs remain silent but it sure would be interesting to know what they’re thinking. Since no one is sharing inside information with CR2S, I guess I’m persona non grata on all three fronts.

Then again, who cares, since this is a personal note from me to you? You have the facts and figures, but no longer a receptive audience. I don’t have a whole lot of advice to give you. Hindsight being 20-20, it’s easy to say the brouhaha never should’ve reached this point. A better planned and executed explanation at the outset would’ve eliminated any potential backlash. Yeah, so easy to say now, but hey, I’m great at hindsight. Of course, if and when the whole shebang goes through, all this palaver will be so much past history.

The takeover is probably inevitable and Keiro will soon no longer be. It makes me wanna cry. The only hope is something can be salvaged. A five-year pledge of status quo is some consolation. But need we be reminded, North Star and Aspen are in business to make money, not friends, for Pacifica.

Whatever else, Miyake-san, enjoy your retirement. CR2S plans to stick around a while to see what happens.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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