The battle to save San Leandro Hospital is only getting stranger by the day. As political peculiarities go it's hard to top Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi voting against her own co-sponsored bill in committee.
The hospital saga has thus far featured calls of behind-the-scenes crookedness by Sutter Health. Not to mention, a hospital district board conspicously stripped of the power to decide an agenda item they spent three nights being lambasted by the public. In addition to a board president who mysteriously abstains from voting on the grounds of a conflict of interest in response to people accusing him of a conflict of interest. Are you following me?
SB 196, which was passed by the State Senate and authored by State Sen. Ellen Corbett, would have given local leaders more time to solve the hospital mess by increasing the time a hospital provider would give the state notice of their intention to close an emergency room.
Hayashi's bill in the Assembly--AB 1427--proposes to put any sale of a hospital in the hands of the voters. While the bill has longer and deeper aspirations, it does not solve the immediate problem facing the city--saving the hospital's ER. As we head into July, time is definitely of the essence.
An article on the Contra Costa Times blog section focuses on Hayashi propensity for making enemies recently and, indeed, her behavior has been odd. It's also uncommon for Corbett to attack a cohort in Sacramento. In a press release shot out earlier this afternoon from Corbett's office she said, “Citizens deserve an opportunity to come together to fight to keep their local emergency room and hospital open. I will continue to do everything I can to keep San Leandro Hospital open and get this important bill passed.”
It is noticeable that she uses a quote from the California Nurses Association to stick Hayashi saying, "I find it shocking that Assemblywoman Hayashi would stall this critical piece of legislation, after she has publicly stated her support for keeping San Leandro Hospital open."
The question now becomes what is Hayashi really doing here? Her behavior, without being seen in these parts, has reeked of political opportunism. Is she really down for the fight like say, Corbett, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker and San Leandro City Councilmen Michael Gregory and Jim Prola or just in it to fake it?
During the last hospital hearing June 15, Hayashi sent her District Director Christopher Parman to say we're with you and played a Big Brother type video of the assemblywoman saying the same thing. It is also notable at that same meeting Parman announced Hayashi's bill would be expedited in the Assembly. To this date it has not.
This is not the first time Hayashi has failed to cooperate with a bill designed to rescue a hospital from closure. On June 8, The Citizen reported Hayashi did not vote on a similar bill last year that gives the attorney general power to block the sale of a hospital from a non-profit to a for-profit entity. Ironically, that bill was intended to forestall the sale of Paradise Valley Hospital near San Diego to Prime Healthcare Services, the same hospital provider hoping to take over San Leandro Hospital.