CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Commission Rejects Hospital Dissolution Ballot Proposal
Residents will not get a chance to vote on the dissolution of the Los Medanos Hospital District this November after the Local Agency Formation Committee voted 6-1 Wednesday to deny a petition to put the issue on the ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. More than 2,300 local voters had signed the petition asking the commission to place a dissolution measure on the November ballot. Los Medanos Hospital has been closed since the district filed for bankruptcy in 1994. Since then, area taxpayers have contributed $1.5 million annually toward retirement of bonds approved by voters in 1977. Commissioner Gayle Uilkema expressed concern that dissolving the hospital district before the bonds were paid off would produce a "nettle of lawsuits" from groups interested in the hospital. Although the petition had community support, some commissioners feared that the petition drive had been corrupted because petitioners "falsely [told] potential supporters that dissolving the district would save them tax money." The commission's vote does not affect Contra Costa County's plan to lease the hospital and open a clinic at the facility in 2001. Commissioners said they would address the issue before the district's bond debt expires in 2004. No California hospital district has ever been dissolved (Garofoli, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.