CONTRA COSTA: Supervisors Vote To Acquire Hospital District
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to succeed the Los Medanos Community Hospital District should the district dissolve, the Contra Costa Times reports. Tuesday's vote represents another "potential conflict in the long running Los Medanos saga." Any successor's "main responsibility would be to collect taxes and make payments on a $5.7 million construction bond through 2004 and $400,000 worth of bankruptcy debt through 2012." Meanwhile, the Committee to Dissolve Los Medanos Hospital District is lobbying the city of Pittsburg, Calif., to become the successor. But, county Administrator Phil Batchelor said that the group's effort "doesn't make sense ... [b]ecause the district serves more than one city -- it covers Pittsburg, unincorporated Bay Point and part of Clayton."
Who Really Wants It?
Supporters of the dissolution plan disagree with Batchelor, arguing that Pittsburg "does have a real stake in it" because its residents comprise roughly 60% of voters in the district. While California law appears to side with the dissolution backers, "it's not a foregone conclusion." SR Jones, executive director of the Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees the hospital district, explained that his agency could have some involvement in choosing a successor. Jones said, "[The successor] should be determined by LAFCO in a public hearing. LAFCO could determine it." Although the district is not yet dissolved, Supervisor Joe Canciamilla said, "I think we're just being prepared in the event it does." He added, "I don't think its a tremendous controversy." But, Pittsburg City Manager Jeff Kolin maintained that the job of acquiring the Los Medanos Community Hospital district could be overwhelming. Citing the administrative costs of collecting taxes, and making the bond and debt payments, Kolin said, "the question is, do we want it?" (Cannon, 3/9).