In an earlier version of this story, we reported the Idaho Statesman had not disclosed that its publisher, a permanent member of the Statesman's editorial board, is a member of the St. Luke's Boise/Meridian Strategic Initiatives Committee. The Statesman did indeed disclose that information at the end of its editorial, both online and in print. We regret the error.
ORIGINAL POST: June 29, 2015 8:15 a.m.
Two days before the Boise City Council takes up the much-debated $400,000,000 master plan expansion from St. Luke's hospital, including the controversial move to permanently close a section of Jefferson Street, the Idaho Statesman printed an editorial in its Sunday, June 28, edition urging the council to approve the plan.
"Though the opponents’ concerns are real and legitimate, they do not, in our judgment, trump a hospital’s desire to shave seconds off emergency room response times—seconds that can destroy brain cells in a stroke victim, or result in death for a heart patient," the Statesman editorial read. "Proximity is everything when lives are on the line."
At the end of the editorial, both in print and online, the Idaho Statesman disclosed that its publisher Michael Jung is a member of the St. Luke's Initiatives Committee.
Disclosure is a key element to this Tuesday's public hearing and vote before the Boise City Council. Councilman Ben Quintana will be recusing himself from the process since he's employed as an organization development program manager for the St. Luke's Health System.
"And that's why I'll be recusing myself; I won't be voting on this," Quintana told BW this past March, adding that he may, in fact, have to step down from the Council dais during the public hearing. "I'll need to join the audience at that point."
Quintana also isn't allowed to advocate for, or against, the issue with his fellow lawmakers.
"I've been staying out of those conversations," he said.
Additionally, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said he won't be voting on the matter either, but that shouldn't be an issue because there shouldn't be a chance of a tie due to Quintana recusing himself. It turns out that the mayor's wife works at St. Luke's, as well.
Meanwhile, a neighborhood coalition vehemently opposed to the closure of Jefferson, calling themselves Keep Boise Connected, say they're bringing in "nationally recognized health architect and educator" David Allison to testify at Tuesday evening's public hearing.
“Boise’s future should reflect sound, evidence-based strategies and the best available thinking in community planning," wrote KBC member Mardi Stacy in a statement. "David Allison is the real deal.”
Tuesday's session has been pushed up to begin at 5 p.m., allowing enough time for what should be a lengthy public hearing.