Measure to Fund Hospitals in North San Diego County District Approved
Seventy percent of inland North San Diego County voters approved Proposition BB, a measure on Tuesday's ballot to provide funding to hospitals, by "much more than the two-thirds majority it needed to pass," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/4). Under the measure, property taxes in the health care district will increase by $17.75 annually for 30 years for every $100,000 in assessed value. The funds will go toward a $753 million plan to build a new 453-bed hospital; upgrade Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway; and create satellite medical facilities in Ramona, Rancho Penasquitos, San Marcos and other communities (California Healthline, 10/21).
Supporters say the plan will bring thousands of new jobs to the area and provide better health care for the district's 1.2 million residents. Opponents say the hospital plans could hurt the economy of downtown Escondido, the Union-Tribune reports
Escondido City Council member Tom D'Agosta, who opposed the measure, said he was not surprised it passed because of all the money that was spent on the campaign. "Who'd ever dream that they would spend this kind of money," he said, adding, "Money won. Their project didn't win."
Ken Lounsbery, head of Citizens for Better Health Care, said the amount of money spent on the campaign -- more than $1.25 million -- reflects a sign of the times in politics. He said, "If a measure is that important, you can't leave a stone unturned. The story was too compelling and it overcame the typical objections" to raising taxes.
Palomar Pomerado Health CEO Michael Covert said, "We have worked very long and very hard to get our message to the community, and the citizens have responded favorably" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/4).