LAGUNA HONDA: Supervisors Look At Options, May Offer New Bond Measure
While "[b]ruised from an embarrassing flip-flop" on the bond plan to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco city officials are trying to devise a new ways "to win public support" to fix the facility, the San Francisco Examiner reported. At a hearing last Thursday, Supervisor Jose Medina said, "Today we have the opportunity to ask the tough questions, think seriously about the options for long- term care in San Francisco and get serious about the bottom line for a Laguna Honda rebuild effort." Supervisors are wrestling with a number of issues, most notably how the project will be financed if taxpayers refuse to chip in. The supervisors are also considering what alternatives the patients have -- such as home health care or assisted-living situations -- and if the federal government might be willing to "foot the bill." Medina said he plans to sponsor new legislation that would put a bond initiative on the ballot, "perhaps as early as June." "It remains a $500 million question: Will voters support an institution that's as well-known and as well-loved as Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars?" Medina said. I think the answer will be yes. We have to make the argument to the people of San Francisco that the time to deal with Laguna Honda is now" (Gordon, 7/31).
High On Pratfall Scale
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ken Garcia criticizes the handling of the Laguna Honda bond measure in Saturday's paper. He writes: "The handling of the Laguna Honda bond measure may not make it onto the top 10 list of local political disasters, but you have to admit that the mayor, the Board of Supervisors and the city's self-appointed power brokers really outdid themselves on the public pratfall scale." Garcia chides the board for its haste and indecision, noting that president Barbara Kaufman was the only one to publicly question the need for the extensive renovations, and she was "publicly castigated by officials from the hospital union for having the audacity to be fiscally responsible." He concludes, "The city's voters would no doubt consider the responses carefully before they went to the polls -- especially if they had a sense that our elected officials spent more than a few minutes debating the merits of one of the most costly and complex issues in recent memory" (8/1). Click Laguna Honda to read past California Healthline coverage of the city's effort to fund the acute-care facilities needed renovations.