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Letters to the Editor, April 14 - 16

Red badge of verbage

EDITOR: After reading “The Red Badge of Courage,” I dreamed that Steven Crane whispered in my ear:

“I saw a President pursuing his Ego. On and on he tweeted. I was disturbed at this. I accosted him. ‘It is futile, I said. You can never….’

‘You lie,’ he cried, and tweeted on.”

Michael F. Heiman

Sonoma

Our local hospital saves lives

EDITOR: Our son, Justin, was 3 months old when he contracted SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), a scary and often lethal occurrence. We rushed him to Sonoma Valley Hospital where the fabulous emergency room team stabilized and transferred him to Oakland Children’s Hospital. Thirty-five years later he is a well-respected veterinary surgeon practicing outside London, where he lives with his wife and our grandchildren. A life saved by our local ER!

Every life saved is precious. Our local ER is a community asset we can’t afford to lose because of all the lives it saves.

Let us outline three important reasons this community needs to support the ER/hospital and the need for this parcel tax:

A stand-alone ER is not an option in California. Our hospital is a requirement to provide the supplementary services/treatment and care to those patients.

Emergency rooms do not generate enough money to cover costs… and require supplemental financial support. Every person who comes into the ER is treated — every age, every income level. Many folks who receive treatment can’t pay. Those bills must be covered.

A parcel tax to support smaller hospitals is the norm. A majority of California district hospitals rely on funding from their parcel taxes to continue to operate and serve their local communities.

Right now we have an emergency. We must save the Sonoma Valley emergency room and hospital.

Please vote “yes” on Measure E.

Your family member’s life may be the next one saved at our ER!

Marcia and Gary D. Nelson

Sonoma

Hospital too expensive for community

EDITOR: Just how much money is the Sonoma Valley Health Care District willing to spend to get the parcel tax measure approved? Can they not put those funds to better work? I remain opposed to the parcel tax, and find it disturbing that another ballot measure can be on the ballot in such short order. What is even more disturbing is that SVHD cannot take “no” for an answer.

Recently I attended a meeting of the SVHD Finance Committee to voice my opinion to the proposed June 6 parcel tax measure. There is no doubt that committee members are dedicated to the proposition of providing high quality emergency and other hospital services to the community. The problem is that we cannot afford the level of services that SVH contemplates.

Soon after attending the Finance Committee meeting I received an invitation from one of the committee members to meet over coffee to discuss hospital services, budgetary and other issues facing the hospital district. The effort to reach out to me in this manner is appreciated, and we had a thoughtful and engaging conversation. Still, I remain opposed to the parcel tax. I am steadfast in my belief that this hospital is just too expensive for the community. There have to be better, more affordable alternatives.

Anecdotal experiences of terrific emergency services provided by SVH abound. Quality of service is not the issue – affordability is. SVH loses money year-after-year. It is time for property owners to say, “Enough already.”

The process for adding a ballot measure is another story altogether. After attending the SVHD Finance Committee meeting I took it upon myself to research the process for adding the parcel tax measure to the June 6 ballot. What I found is that the proposed measure had to be submitted to the County Clerk’s office by March 10. A legal notice would then be posted and written statements “in favor of” or “opposed to” the measure had to be submitted by March 20. There is no requirement for collection of voter signatures, and no public hearings are required. The SVH Board approved the measure at its March 9 meeting and it was submitted on time. Legal notice appeared in the Press Democrat on March 15. How many Sonoma residents subscribe to the Press Democrat? And how many of those read the legal notices section? Posting the legal notice allowed a grand total of five days for supporters and opponents to submit written statements to appear on ballot materials. Is there any doubt that short time frames for statements along with failure of the legal notice to appear in our local paper results in favorable statements, but no opposition statements in ballot materials? Can anyone say “rigged system”?

The June 6 ballot measure is essentially the same as the measure voters turned down in March. We can only trust that voters will not be bullied and buckle under repeated requests for more funding. I, for one, continue to oppose the hospital parcel tax measure. Measure B was turned down by Sonoma voters in the March election. Why can we not leave it at that?

David E. Wildmon

Sonoma