ORANGE COUNTY: Tobacco Settlement Ballot Initiative Fares Well on Signature Drive
The signature drive to place an initiative on the November ballot that would officiate how Orange County should spend its tobacco settlement money "is off to a roaring start," the Orange County Register reports. The Citizens Health Alliance to Reinvest the Tobacco Settlement was "formed in frustration" over a Board of Supervisors plan to spend most of the county's estimated $30-38 million tobacco money on debts and jail beds. While the board also allocated $8 million for public health care, the ballot initiative calls for 80% of the total fund to be spent on health care. Michele Revelle, spokesperson for the group, said "the alliance is confident of meeting its 100,000-signature goal," and campaign workers noted that at least 50,000 signatures have already been gathered. Several medical and community groups have lent their support to the initiative. Former county health director Tom Uram said that the county "failed to honor commitments to private hospitals and non-profit clinics that it would upgrade care after recovering from the 1994 bankruptcy" (Reed, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.