ORANGE COUNTY: Supervisor Wants Tobacco Funds for Health Care
Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson yesterday publicly endorsed a November ballot initiative that would direct most of the county's tobacco settlement money to local health care, the Los Angeles Times reports. Wilson's endorsement stands in opposition to fellow County Supervisor Cynthia Coad's proposal last week to block the ballot initiative (California Healthline, 7/17). The initiative, sponsored by a citizen's group of doctors and health care industry representatives, would allocate 80% of the annual award to local health care and 20% to law enforcement. Frustrated with the board's inability to decide how best to spend the estimated $30 millon to $38 million annual windfall, Wilson said, "We should have come to an equitable agreement," adding, "Since we couldn't, I'm just going to go for the health care" (Haldane, 7/19).
Solano Takes Baby Steps
Meanwhile, officials in Solano County yesterday voted to use some of its $3.2 million annual tobacco settlement money to support a chain of community clinics for low-income residents, but postponed a decision on allocating the majority the funds. In a 4-1 vote, the board rejected a proposal by county administrator Michael Johnson that would have divided the funds in thirds among county health programs, community clinics and a fund for "fiscal uncertainties." The board approved $644,000 for the Redwood Family Clinic in Vallejo and Vacaville, Dixon Family Services and Planned Parenthood clinics. Board members also plan to use some of the funds to entice an additional clinic to open in Vacaville ( San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19).