HAYWARD FORUM FEATURES PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE(?)
SUPERVISOR-DIST 3The most pressing issue for the three candidates hoping to replace Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker is San Leandro Hospital. The San Leandro-centric issue may also deliver the city and the board seat to the person who best communicates a strategy going forward. Below are excerpts from Saturday's candidates forum held by the Hayward Demos Democratic Club along with analysis of each response:
Chan has already shown an impressive grasp of the San Leandro Hospital situation, both its history and the various plans bandied about during the past year. Her background is health care and she has her fingerprints on a few of the local instances where communities nearly lost their hospitals, but were saved. Her statement, though, is similar to the current supervisor, Alice Lai-Bitker, who voted for the county to convert the hospital to a acute rehabilitation facility. When the possibility of another provider, Prime Healthcare, made its interest known, Lai-Bitker tried to rescind the county's offer in advance of possibly negotiating with the Southern California provider. She could not find a a decisive third vote on the board and Sutter publicly balked at a rival in the vicinity of a rebuilt Eden Medical Center. Two things to remember, if Chan could cajole Sutter into allowing a competitor at San Leandro Hospital, the supervisor's seat is hers, but the odds are greater Jesus IS resurrected next Sunday outside the Marshall's on Marina Boulevard. In additiohn, the "hybrid option" has been mentioned by nearly every politician in the county, but without the elusive subsidies behind it or cooperation by myriad entities, it's the equivalent of lazily kicking a can down the road.
If Chan represents the candidate who could possibly step into the San Leandro Hospital issue at the county level without playing catch-up, Johnson's statements here and earlier, may show someone more in line with the current healthcare district's vein of activism. She says she wants to call a ceasefire and push reset. In many ways, this is what Carole Rogers and the Eden Township Board is trying to do by suing Sutter and whiping away the disastrous 2007 memorandum of understanding. Accusing Sutter of cooking the books is also a constant critique by supporters of the hospital and gobbled up like dangling juicy hanger steak over a hungry pack of wolves. Also, when she says, "do what we needed to do" in reference to keeping Alameda Hospital open, what she means is the city taxed itself to fund the facility. Not to put words in her mouth, but a similar proposal is in the whisper stages in San Leandro. Although, she has been vague on what a comprehensive county-wide health care plan would be, the view fro county health officials is any plan for San Leandro Hospital and the system as a whole needs to include long-term investment, something nobody has come close to offering up.
First of all, mistakingly calling Sutter Health, Summit, is not good when the county's interaction with the health care provider is one of the board of supervisor's most pressing questions. Second, misstating the number of patient visits to the emergency room by a third only makes it appear the 41-year-old financial planner may be over his head (Chan deftly used the opportunity to squeeze in the correct figure, 27,000, during her own response). Aside from the glaring mistakes, many in the audience were impressed by Lowe, with one calling him a future prospect in local politics, but his statements regarding the hospital amounted to a general indictment of closing x-hospital, in y-city, in z-state within the backdrop of post-healthcare reform America. As far as having a "top-to-top" conversation with Sutter, anybody even sure what that means?