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A wealth manager and a mental health therapist are vying for Tulsa District 9 City Council seat | Local Government



City Council candidates’ greatest challenge is never their opponents. It’s voter apathy.

People just don’t pay attention to the races, and they don’t turn out on Election Day.

But that might not be a problem in this year’s District 9 election, set for Aug. 25. Councilor Ben Kimbro, who represented the district for four years, is not seeking reelection, and two first-time candidates for elected office are vying to succeed him.

Maybe a race between a wealth manager and a mental health therapist will pique people’s interest.

Lee Ann Crosby, 36, has spent most of her adult life advocating for others. She was driving down the street one day when she saw a girl without shoes, so she gave the girl hers.

“I was, like, I am going to start a clothing closet,” Crosby said.

And so was born Just a Push Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission it is to empower people in at-risk communities by creating pathways of hope.

Empowerment takes different forms for different people. Crosby said she once helped someone get a poem to producer and actor Tyler Perry.

“I have called Tyler Perry. I have helped individuals find their parents because they were adopted. I’ve helped advocate in court. I am an independent monitor for DHS (Department of Human Services) clients,” Crosby said.

“I do that on my own time. I don’t get paid. I just enjoy helping people.”

Now she wants to serve in a different capacity.

“I just really thought, ‘You know what? I’ve advocated, and I just feel like I should go for it and see if I can be in a better position to help Tulsans,’ ” Crosby said.

Similarly, Jayme Fowler, 60, says he’s running for City Council to give back to the community that has been so good to him. His parents, both public school teachers, taught him to treat every person the same.

“My parents really worked hard at setting an example of being balanced, fair, of being pragmatic and being able to look at both sides of the issues,” he said.

“(My) parents engaged with people in the community. Whoever or whatever your walk in life was, they were all treated with dignity and courtesy and respect.”

After graduating from Memorial High School, Fowler played a year of football at the University of Arkansas on his way to earning a degree in finance. Then he was off to a career in wealth management with stops in Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Dallas before returning to Tulsa full time three years ago.

He now has his own business, Oak Creek Private Wealth Management.

Fowler’s work has taken him to 36 states and made him a student of financial markets across the globe, including Latin America and China.

“Especially in China, there is what we call crony capitalism, where there is a heavy hand in the government where they allocate resources and such, and I just really don’t think that is the role. … It really distorts businesses as far as the ebb and flow of businesses,” Fowler said.

“I think the role of city government is to create a great environment for entrepreneurs and new businesses to evolve and to grow and to prosper.”

Crosby and Fowler have generally similar views on two hot-button issues that have occupied a lot of City Council time in the past year: the mask mandate and civilian oversight of the Police Department.

Both said they understood the concerns of those opposed to the mask mandate but ultimately believe councilors did the right thing in approving it.

“I think they did it to protect us and to protect our businesses, because if now we would have to have another shut down, that would be horrible,” Crosby said.

Fowler described the mask mandate as fair and balanced.

“They put a lot of thought into it,” he said. “And if I thought that this was going to be permanent legislation, I may have stepped back and taken a longer look at what was being proposed, … (but) for this pandemic, I just really think it calls for special measures.”

The city should be looking to establish its own form of a civilian engagement program with police, Fowler said, as opposed to borrowing from another city such as Denver, which has an Office of the Independent Monitor. He described the Denver OIM model as “heavy handed.”

“Just from my casual conversations with different people in the police community, they really think that is an overreach,” Fowler said. “I really think that we really need to come up with not a Denver model, but I think we need to have engagement with everyone involved, specifically the police.”

Crosby said she’s also heard concerns from police about civilian oversight but said it’s necessary and would benefit both residents and officers.

“We need oversight to protect everyone,” she said. “Because if you are not doing anything wrong, then you don’t have anything to worry about.”

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Fletcher, Gore Clash on Outsourcing Proposal for Jail Health Care – NBC 7 San Diego




Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined community activists and county workers Monday to announce a proposal to have the Health and Human Services Agency administer medical and behavioral health services in jails, and prevent Sheriff Bill Gore from privatizing services.

Gore, who recently cited the Sheriff’s Department’s $90 million annual health care bill for inmates as a reason to look toward cost-saving strategies, will ask the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to consider a request to look at possible vendors for the county’s health care needs in its jails and other facilities. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fletcher and his coalition launched a petition called “Stop the Sheriff from Outsourcing Medical and Mental Health Services,” contending that privatization could lead to worse healthcare overall and threaten county jobs.

“Instead, we need a system of care driven by providing the appropriate care and preparation for release and reintegration into society,” Fletcher told reporters. “Not a system designed to limit care to maximize profit.”

Along with having the Health & Human Services Agency manage healthcare needs at jails, Fletcher is also asking his fellow supervisors to halt all actions related to outsourcing until an evaluation is completed within 180 days.

The Sheriff’s Department currently operates a hybrid system of private contractors and county workers. According to Fletcher’s group, the county sees a suicide rate for inmates five times higher than the state prison system.

“We have been given a sneak preview of the outcome of (for-profit) care in jails and laying off county workers, and it is grim,” said Genevieve Jones-Wright, executive director of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance.

“The sheriff has failed to meaningfully address his abhorrent record concerning the deaths in our local jails, and now he is putting forward a proposal that will exacerbate the loss of lives even further,” she said.

David Garcias, president of Service Employees International Union Local 221, said Gore’s plan “is to sell out their jobs to for-profit companies that provide substandard care and force the public to pick up their bill for lawsuit and settlement costs.”

Gore responded to Fletcher’s criticism with a letter addressed to the supervisor, stating that the board “has no direct authority over the jail,” in terms of duties or operation.

“In fact, the penal code recognizes that a county sheriff may contract with providers of health care for the care of inmates,” the letter says.

“As sheriff, I am consistently looking for ways to provide the highest level of medical services for inmates in the county jail system. “There is no reason to delay the process for 180 days.”

In response to Fletcher’s claim of poor healthcare outcomes for inmates and low morale among staff, Gore argued that his department “has worked diligently to improve timely access to care for our inmate population.”

In a July 31 opinion piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gore wrote it would be irresponsible of him “not to explore all available options” for inmate mental and medical health care, especially given fiscal pressures on the county caused by the pandemic.

Gore argued that the county already spends over $20 million on contracted services for inmates. “The only way to find out if that money is providing the highest value is to explore options,” he wrote.

The sheriff also praised his department’s medical services staff for their “exceptional work every day in a very challenging environment.”

Read Gore’s letter in full here.

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Multnomah County health officer to hold COVID-19 news conference




PORTLAND, Ore. — Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines will hold an 11:30 a.m. news conference to discuss the spread of COVID-19.

Multnomah County, Oregon’s most densely populated, is among the counties with the most rapid spread of COVID-19. Last week, Gov. Kate Brown added Multnomah, Marion and Hood River counties to Oregon’s COVID-19 County Watch List.

In a news conference last week, Dr. Vines said the coronavirus is widespread in Multnomah County, with 62% of the county’s cases not traceable to a known source.

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‘These very young students saw combat-level injuries’: health care students’ reflect on Walmart mass shooting a year later




EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — El Paso medical professionals had just minutes to prepare for one of the most difficult days in their careers: August 3, 2019, the day of the Walmart mass shooting. In the chaos, some nursing and medical students suddenly found themselves on the front lines.

A year later, the sights and sounds of the hospital still linger with medical student Christian Castro. Castro is of the many health care students who raced in to volunteer at hospitals after the mass shooting, rushing into the trauma and feeling compelled to go where they could help.

“It hit me that whatever is going on, however many people are hurt, the hospital’s going to need help,” he said.

“We came in on the opposite side of the emergency room,” Castro said. “It was very quiet, very empty, kind of an eerie feeling. As we got closer, the quiet, eerie feeling kind of changed to this more urgent, louder, noise-filled environment of the emergency room.”

At the time, Castro was a third-year medical student at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

“Once I figured out that my immediate family and friends were all okay, my extended family of El Paso, I kind of had the sense that they were in danger,” Castro said. “I needed to be there. My community needed me.”

At University Medical Center, it quickly became clear: no job was too small.

“They were receiving these victims as they were coming in from pedestrian vehicles, from ambulances,” Castro said. “They were meeting them at the door, assessing them within a couple of seconds to minutes… Everyone had a little role to play in that time and kind of like this little symphony of chaos mended in its way into taking care of these patients.”

“No one looked out of  place,” he added. “Everyone knew that they had a job that needed to be done.”

Health care students became heroes, suddenly thrust into the middle of the crisis.

“Our students were in clinicals and they were in the ICU, the emergency department and also in OR,” said Dr. Stephanie Woods, the Dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at TTUHSC El Paso. “Very quickly we had to make a decision.

Nursing students at TTUHSC El Paso went on lockdown, but instead of sheltering in place, they jumped in to the fight.

“These very young students in their early twenties, mid-twenties, suddenly saw combat-level injuries,” Dr. Woods said. “They saw things they have never seen and would hope to never see again.”

It was a lesson they might not have learned in a classroom, and one they likely hoped they would never have to learn at all.

“When you commit to certain purposes in your life, you don’t get to ask yourself, ‘I’ll do that if that’s convenient,'” Dr. Woods said. “Nurses don’t have the option of saying, ‘I’m going to stand aside from this crisis.'”

For Castro, instinct took over.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Castro said. “It really wasn’t until I got home later that night that I had a chance to sit down and like take a deep breath and then think like, ‘wow, this really happened.’ The families we helped. The families we couldn’t help. The patients, the doctors and the nurses and the things we saw and the things we heard. It kind of rushed in all at once.”

A year later, Castro knows the impact will last a lifetime.

“If it wasn’t already clear to me, it became crystal clear that that’s where I was meant to be. I was right where I was supposed to be,” Castro said. “It did kind of serve as an example, or like a very clear magnifying glass, for me to see that I truly am on the right path and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s no question about it.”

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