Monday, May 14, 2007

Notes from the Sunday Paper

  • Mitch Schnurman spanked RadioShack CEO Julian Day for lowering his company's profile as a corporate citizen in Fort Worth. In the past, RadioShack has been one of the key players in the world of Fort Worth philanthropy. But that river of revenue for many local arts and community organizations has completely dried up. Sez Schnurman: "Day's seclusion is fueling speculation -- and local fears -- that he's a short-timer who's dressing up RadioShack for a sale. He could net a huge payday, return to his Montana lake house and take comfort in the fact that shareholders benefited immensely from his brief stay, even if Fort Worth is worse off for it. That may seem defensible, given that public companies are supposed to maximize their return to investors. But the best enterprises -- those built for the long haul -- serve many stakeholders, including employees and their hometown."

    UPDATE: One former RadioShacker echoes Schnurman's comments: "Julian Day is single-handedly destroying the fabric of a company just so he can get the stock price up -- and he's done it in less than a year. RadioShack is a mere shell of what it was. Apparently, Julian now only talks to a handful of people in the company. No one can see him, they basically go through his top executives. It's a shame -- he won't stay longer than 18 to 24 months, then he will take off, pocketing over $20 million. When he leaves, the company will no longer have any type of foundation to stand on. Hard to believe the Board of Directors is letting this happen."

  • Steve Jacob shed a lot of light on the on the dire state of healthcare in our state. As many of you may or may not know, we have socialized medicine in America -- it’s called the Emergency Department. Instead of paying for people to have health coverage on the front end, we pay for it -- or don’t as the case may be -- on the back end through our nations EDs. How’s that working out for us here in Texas? Not so good, sez Jacob:
    “THA estimates the annual ER uncompensated tab to be about $200 million in Texas. Who pays for that? The standard practice in healthcare has been to shift the costs to those who are able to pay through higher hospital charges and health insurance premiums. In 2003, the Texas Legislature started an ingenuous effort to help our trauma centers by creating a new sin tax called the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP). Drivers cited for various violations are required to pay surcharges on their fines, including those for such things as failure to maintain insurance or driving with an invalid license. ... Unfortunately, the state is having trouble collecting the DRP funds. According to a Department of Public Safety report, less than a third of the $478.4 million generated by the program has been collected. The Senate recently passed legislation authorizing the use of collection agencies and creation of an installment-payment program to boost penalty recovery. More significantly, the Legislature has not released $82 million in DRP funds for the past two fiscal years, consistent with the state government's misguided tradition of diverting or withholding designated funds.”

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