LAGUNA HONDA: Most Residents Back Next Week’s Bond Measure
According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle poll, the plan to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital is supported by the majority of area voters. Nonetheless, the $299 million bond measure is "still struggling to reach the two-thirds vote it needs to pass" on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Of the 600 voters surveyed, 63% favor Proposition A, 22% are opposed. The remaining 15% who are undecided "may well decide [its] fate." Of minority voters surveyed, 71% favor the plan; 62% of white voters support the measure. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that most of the voter concern over the issue stems the plan's financing, which will is most likely to come from an increase in property taxes. Tom Hsieh, director of the campaign supporting the bond issue, was encouraged by the findings. He said, "This is great news. It shows we're right on the bubble and just have to convince some of the undecided voters to get the 66.7% we need." The poll has a error margin of +/- 4 percentage points (Wildermuth, 10/28).
All About the Union
Although the compassion of city residents who are willing to help the ailing Laguna Honda Hospital is a "great and noble thing," San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ken Garcia writes that "compassion comes at a considerable cost" as the are "numerous fiscal and political questions surrounding" surrounding the plans to rebuild the facility. He questions why the city's entire $350 million tobacco settlement has been earmarked to save "one union-controlled hospital" at a time when the city is "awash in critical health concerns" and the financially troubled San Francisco General -- which treats "thousands more patients" -- needs a "large infusion of cash." In addition, he questions the city's decision to rebuild a hospital that once reopened, would have an "immediate and rapidly rising $30 million operating deficit." He contends that those questions and numerous other have not been addressed because saving Laguna Honda has "always been more about saving union jobs than about any singular health care emergency." Noting that there are 400 more union workers than patients at the facility, Garcia argues that "union members are determined to keep those jobs at almost any cost." Although city residents may have a "strong emotional tie" to the hospital, Garcia cautions "voter beware" as that compassion may come at "a price [that] could break us" (10/28).