Ventura Supervisors Approve Members for Tobacco Funds Committee
Ventura County supervisors yesterday approved an 11-member committee that will offer advice on how to spend the county's $261 million share of the national tobacco settlement, the Ventura County Star reports. Such a committee became possible following the defeat last November of Measure O, which would have directed the settlement money towards the county's private hospitals. Each supervisor nominated one board member, and interim Chief Administrative Officer Harry Hufford made six selections. As expected, computer businessman David Maron was approved to chair the committee (Ventura County Star, 2/14). His selection, when announced, was criticized by Community Memorial Hospital -- which sponsored the ballot initiative -- because Maron headed the Coalition Against Measure O (California Healthline, 2/12). Other committee members include:
- Robert Shaw, CEO of Los Robles Hospital;
- William Lieberman, attorney;
- Dr. Daniel Takeda of the Simi-Moorpark Medical Group;
- Jess Herrera, union official;
- May Lee Berry, director of the American Cancer Society;
- Charles Padilla, COO of St. John's Regional Medical Center;
- Barry Hammitt, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 998;
- Nancy Borchard of the Mental Health Board;
- Dr. Michael Huff of the Ventura Medical Association; and
- Dr. Jeffrey Brackett of the American Heart Association.
(Ventura County Star, 2/14).
Committee members have an obligation "to make sure that the will of the people is met -- that the money the committee will oversee is used in logical and sensible ways," the Ventura County Star writes in an editorial. The editorial also answers the critics of Maron's nomination as chair, stating that throughout the campaign against Measure O, Maron "demonstrated the highest degree of integrity and professionalism." In addition, he "consistently promoted one message: Let's make sure we do what's best for the future of health care in Ventura County," the Star maintains. The editorial writes that Measure O failed, in part, because it would have done "little for the general public" and because county supervisors passed an ordinance in October that "basically assured the public that if county government were given control of the tobacco settlement funds, the county would give responsibility for the allocation of those funds to two oversight committees, independent of the board." To this end, the editorial concludes that the first committee now is responsible for living up to this pledge and ensuring that the health care needs of the "entire [Ventura County] community" are given priority (Ventura County, 2/14).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.