Mar. 22, 2012 | In an interview earlier ths month, Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, a candidate for the 20th Assembly District, playfully questioned an article last year in The Citizen stating his brief foray into the waters of San Leandro Hospital and Sutter Health may have turned out to be a political waste of time when it came to his candidacy. Statewide redistricting moved San Leandro outside of the new district and shifted further into Fremont. At the time, the possibility of Hayward's St. Rose implosion was not readily known. If the past few weeks are any indication, Quirk’s political acumen or ability to rub his lucky rabbit’s foot is paying off.
As the county searches for a way to save St. Rose from the auctioneer's yodel, Quirk’s early involvement with San Leandro Hospital is paying off with residents who can now actually vote for him this June and, perhaps, next November. Quirk's involvement in attending board of director's meetings and keeping abreast of the diplomatic minutiae between San Leandro Hospital and Sutter Health when it was typically viewed as solely a San Leandro issue now gives him street cred as some of the same issues spread like a contagion to St. Rose.
Being the guy who saves hospitals is never a bad thing when it comes to asking for votes. Now, because of the inherent interconnectivity of the Alameda County health care system, everywhere this story winds through only helps Quirk, whether it be his hometown Hayward, Union City or even Fremont.
It may also push the issue of health care for the poor and uninsured in Alameda County to the forefront where it belongs. The odd movement of the possible closures or reinstituting of private stand-alone hospitals in the East Bay is only revealing leadership on the county level is starkly rudderless and featuring far too many moving parts. This could be an opening for potential legislators in both the 20th and 18th assembly districts to address what is quickly devolving into a potential large scale health care disaster at its tipping point.
Bill was right. I was wrong.