Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday's Offerings

The LMT Opinion Page has some nice entries today, one in which a Mr. Floyd Coates of Scottsburg, Ind. suggests the raising of the retirement age to 70.  That's a horrible idea.  He's obviously never heard the cliche, 'life is short.'  Most people don't have the luck to make it to 70, or have a good quality of life at that age.  But I don't want to spend much time on this gentleman's opinion.  Instead I want to provide you with a doozy that Sara Bazan sent in.  Take a look:

Local news media should meet their responsibility to inform the public

To the editor:
In October 2009, two prominent local doctors, Dr. Eliel Nataki and Dr. Jose Berlioz, sued Abraham (Abe) Martinez, the former CEO of the Laredo Medical Center.  It has been covered in Laredo Morning Times and on Univision, but not a single word has come out on KGNS Pro-8 News (coverage you CAN'T count on).  It's the only local English-language station.

The news media in Laredo has an obligation to the people of Laredo to keep them informed about all aspects of community life, especially how one of their most trusted and important local institutions, Laredo Medical Center, is managed.  LMC is charged with the important job of handling the medical needs of Laredo, and it is of vital importance to the community that there is transparency in its policies and management decisions.  Watergate taught us that providing transparency is the role an effective, independent and impartial news organization should have. 

The lawsuit claims that Dr. Nataki was forced to resign by LMC for refusing to continue to pay a monthly bribe to Mr. Martinez.  While the civil lawsuit is still pending, Mr. Martinez has now pleaded guilty to a conspiracy of accepting bribes.  Dr. Nataki also claims that in addition to losing his job he has been blackballed and unable to find a job in any hospital in Laredo, the Valley or the San Antonio area; his life has been severely affected.

Meanwhile, LMC's parent company moved Mr. Martinez to another job in another city.  He later left the company.

If Dr. Nataki's allegations are correct, Mr. Martinez and the LMC's behavior are outrageous and should not be tolerated by our community.  How can an institution such as LMC support a CEO such as Mr. Martinez?  How can KGNS ignore coverage of such an important news event and injustice?  I would hate to think it is because of advertising revenue.  I know that no news outlets have a legal responsibility to cover all news, but I would think that they have a moral duty to inform us. 

Univision deserves our thanks for their excellent, extensive and unbiased coverage.  Univision was the first to let the public know that Abe Martinez pleaded guilty to receiving monthly bribes of more than $94,000 over a period of more than three years.  The payments were made to allow the doctors to keep their exclusive contracts with LMC.  His wife, Argelia Martinez, pleaded guilty to tax evasion. 

Keep it up, Univision!  Their No. 1 rating for news coverage is well-deserved.  And thank you, Laredo Morning Times, for publishing the information.  Laredo needs to know.

Sara Bazan

Well said ma'am.  I am in total agreeance*.

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