EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Time to Rally the Troops...Again

THE EDITORIAL
Doctors, nurses and a dedicated group of activists fighting to keep San Leandro Hospital are still holding strong, but the attention in the rest of the community is beginning to flame out with the absence of newspapers and politicians stoking the fire.

It has been over three months since residents have been allowed to publicly vent their fears and anger over the possible loss of the hospital. The outpouring of support and attendance of meetings earlier this year indicated, during an era of political apathy, San Leandrans were ready for a fight. Hundreds of residents attended meetings at the library and signaled to Sutter Health that merely announcing the closure of the hospital in late September would not be so easy.

One nurse is correct when she recently said the ringing tenor of the community's voice is the reason the hospital is still open, despite Sutter's plans. Without the constant drumbeat of opposition, the attention of Sen. Ellen Corbett may have not been fully captured, nor would have certain members of the Eden Township Healthcare Board of Directors felt compelled to courageously jumped in front of the Sutter locomotive.
Until there is a firm consensus of how bloggers and citizen journalists will coexist with government, political leaders must bypass traditional media outlets and take it to the streets.
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It is debatable, just how well most San Leandrans understand this complex story involving Sutter, Alameda County and healthcare district, since the local media have completely ignored it. The Daily Review has published exactly two articles on the subject since July. They may have their reasons, but most of them entail letting down the community and their dwindling number of readers. We have said it before in simple terms, the bloody loss of San Leandro Hospital will be on the hands of the irresponsible coverage provided by The Daily Review and the cartel of Singleton newspapers in the East Bay.

Not only do we live in a time of extreme change in how news is created and disseminated, there is also a flip side rarely pondered. How will government adapt to new media outlets? Until there is a firm consensus of how bloggers and citizen journalists will coexist with government, political leaders must bypass traditional media outlets and take it to the streets. It is time for Sen. Corbett in conjunction with the mayor and city council to hold one or multiple hearings to brief its residents. There is much to discuss. Is Attorney General Jerry Brown ever going to investigate Sutter's business practices? Is a deal with Sutter, the county and the District about to be struck that may not be in the city's best interests about to occur.? Sutter has sued the District, but is Sutter also in breach of contract of the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding as some believe? Such a meeting would also allow city officials to have their feet unceremoniously put to the fire and that's why it isn't happening.

The city wants and needs to be informed on this issue and will turn out in droves if given the opportunity--guaranteed. This three-month lull in news only helps the side of the equation that hopes to maneuver in the darkness and the dearth of news is how we got to this point, isn't it?

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