CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Open Letter to Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro, W.T. Wimpy here, the guy you once thought might be a worthy member. Too bad I didn’t pass muster. Don’t get me wrong, no hard feelings, at least not on my end. Was hopeful CR2S would at least remain in the information pipeline so I could keep the general public apprised of what’s going on.

Maybe you people consider me a Miyake minion because of an effort to be fair-minded. Well, my responsibility is to keep people apprised without showing favoritism.

My open letter to CEO Shawn Miyake last week was such a hit, I’m repeating the format and hoping for a like reaction. First off, I certainly understand your purpose. With such a supportive, enthusiastic following, you owe them truthful information in exchange, right? If not, you’re going down the same path you claim Keiro folks have traveled, making decisions without consulting the community. Remember, transparency is a two-way mirror.

In face-to-face and telephone conversations, e- and snail-mail, everyone has an opinion regarding the Keiro situation. Is the deal on the verge of closing? Maybe a chance to postpone? Now all of a sudden, the ad hoc calendar has come alive with a January 23rd meeting at Centenary United Methodist Church having the look of a potential barn-burner, set to rev everyone up just when it’s needed.

The biggest news will be the announcement of the venerable law firm of *Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher agreeing to take AHCSK as a client. To have such prestigious representation is a litigious dream come true. I mean, wow, you’re talking Big Leagues! And pro bono, to boot! Tada, free! Whoever had the clout and connection to make this happen should take a bow; naw, make it at least two! [*The news made me think of Judge John F. Aiso, the all everything-good-you-can-think-of Nisei, pre- and post-WWII. I’m willing to bet his counsel would’ve settled this divisive affair.]

What other activities your committee will now pursue are now probably on hold; such as the proposal to turn ad hoc into a permanent watchdog. I’ve been told another idea being bandied about was to boycott Keiro board members.

This proposal probably got its start after former board chairman Frank Kawana was quoted as saying Keiro was not created nor maintained with Shin-Issei in mind. The untimely remark continues to be repeated in media reports. For what it’s worth, I believe he was alluding to the fact there was no such demographic as Shin-Issei/Nisei when Keiro began its mission to serve the existing Japanese community. I’m sure he did not mean to denigrate. Nonetheless, a “Don’t Buy Yamasa” protest emerged. Which led to the idea of targeting the business interests of other Keiro board members as punishment for their sins.

[Confession: CR2S was hoping the boycott movement would become a reality. Yup, excited and prepared to join the fray. I was set to spearhead a drive against board member Gerald Fukui. My battle cry to crimp his mortuary business: Let’s all don’t die!]

News alert: Congresswomen Judy Chu and Maxine Waters are holding a joint press conference in Gardena tomorrow (Thursday). How this hastily organized event fits into the scheme of things is an intriguing mystery. Great at conjecture (and guesswork), CR2S is sure the Chu/Waters tandem is seizing on a very hot topic where political hay can be made. It’s not being held in Chu’s logical 32nd district because Waters has seniority, more clout and is media-wise. I’ll bet a bowl of udon (without Yamasa kamaboko,) this major blockbuster event somehow ties in with the public gathering of the 23rd.

But I would be remiss if not making a request for the sake of truthiness: Retraction of a statement made at the town hall meeting.

Jonathan Kaji, one of five executive committee speakers, made the statement, “If the (Pacifica) sale goes through, employees of the four facilities . . . will all be fired!” He then added, “(K)eiro management did nothing to ensure continuity of care (and) did nothing to ensure employment, seniority, benefits under the new buyer.”

Unfortunately, not true. Employees will be terminated as a bookkeeping requirement when (and if) there is an ownership change. Everyone will then be rehired at same position with seniority and accrued work benefits intact.

Your aim is to save Keiro. How? If not Pacifica, what are the alternatives? What comes next if you are successful in your quest to stymie the changeover? CR2S is with you wholeheartedly in the desire to save Keiro. How can it be accomplished?

[As is the practice every Tuesday morning, there is one final proofreading. But today, instead of catching typos or sentence restructuring, I was on the cusp of a complete rewrite! The more I think about recent ad hoc developments, the more I have a hunch there will be a major development – like maybe the attorney general reversing the decision to not hold a public forum. When a press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m., it means a major announcement with a shot at that day’s news cycle. Maybe Waters had a hand on the legal front as well as influencing AG Kamala Harris to relent. OMG, so much to consider and no time to reconsider! On top of which CR2S could be completely wrong and worried over nothing.]

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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