LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Déjà vu? City View Hospital and Keiro


Entrance to Keiro Retirement Home in Boyle Heights. (NAO NAKANISHI/Rafu Shimpo)

Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing the recent opinions about Keiro in The Rafu. I was glad to see a Japanese written opinion in the Sept. 12 Rafu. I think it’s quite rare for Japanese-speaking people to express their opinions publicly.

Here is another piece of information that your readers may find interesting.

People who are concerned about the sale of Keiro HealthCare may find the comparison with the closure (not sale) of the old City View Hospital (that catered to the Japanese community) back in 1985 eerily very similar to the current Keiro controversy. I am not an L.A. native and do not have any intimate knowledge of the City View details. I recently heard about it and found information on the Discover Nikkei website in a 2010 article (Part 7) written by Dr. Troy Tashiro Kaji, whose grandfather was one of the founders of City View.

To those who don’t have Internet access, let me briefly summarize. In August of 1984, The L.A. Times wrote about the financial problems of City View, which surprised many in the Nikkei community who had contributed generously to the hospital and so were confused as to why the hospital had this financial crisis.

The Feb. 2, 1985 issue of Rafu included the hospital’s medical staff’s account of what led to the financial crisis and “appealed to the community for its opinions on the future of the hospital.”

An ad hoc committee to maintain the hospital was formed and the debate spread to the other papers as well, Kashu Mainichi and Tozai Times. By April 1985, City View “had not responded to the questions of the Ad Hoc Committee, and was coming under fire from various other groups in the community.”

Eventually, an independent audit was conducted and the medical staff and community formed a new non-profit Japanese Community Hospital with ties to St. Vincent’s Hospital.

My point is the same as I expressed in a previous recent opinion piece, and that is Keiro has not reached the level of transparency required to satisfy the community. City View eventually did, but only under duress. Is this what is takes to get this information out of Keiro?

I urge Rafu to provide Keiro as much space as necessary to provide details of the sale, including answers to community questions in both English and Japanese because Japanese folks who speak both languages are concerned and are a part of the community too.

If Keiro continues to defy the overwhelming sentiment of the Japanese community it will be shameful, a disgrace to the founders, to the legacy of Keiro, and to the generous contributors of both time and money.

Dave Watanabe

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