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Letters to the Editor, May 19 - 22


Hair stylist has deep roots

EDITOR: My husband and I moved to Sonoma about a year ago. One of the most difficult aspects of moving to a new place, for a woman, is finding a superb hair stylist! I was so fortunate to discover Len, of Len Does My Hair, at the Red Loft Salon on Napa Street.

Imagine my horror when Len informed me that his landlord, who lives in San Francisco, had doubled his rent! Mr. Handeland is a perfect tenant; he takes care of the Red Loft as though it were his home. The landlord is an absentee landlord. Unlike Len, who is part of the Sonoma community, the landlord is not part of our Sonoma community. So she sees fit to double Len’s rent, which he cannot afford, and will probably rent to the proprietor of yet another wine bar.

I have been a client of Mr. Handeland for many years. He is a caring, kind ethical person. He has deep roots in our community. In fact, recently, Len was the star of a local play!

This is devastating to witness. This is how a close community becomes nothing more than a tourist destination. Please join me in opposing this abuse of real estate.

Ellen Konnert

Sonoma

Health District Board needs to give direction

EDITOR: Support for Sonoma Valley Hospital is part of the civic virtue of this community, as is the widespread personal thankfulness resulting from innumerable desperate incidents where life-or-death have been part of an emergency. Over the years, as well as currently, many heartfelt testimonials have been articulated making this point. In addition, there is the not-to-be-under-estimated convenience in many dimensions of having a community hospital close to home to treat a wide scope of conditions.

Measure E is before the voters right now as mail ballots are being received and on June 6 for precinct poll voting. The Measure extends the existing parcel tax - paid by residential and commercial real estate owners - for another five years and increases it by 28 percent to an annual $250. This is truly a small price to pay for “life insurance” and the convenience of local emergency care of any sort for everyone, and for close-to-home treatment for patients and their caregivers. I urge you to vote for Measure E.

Nonetheless as a citizen and as a District board member, I am less than satisfied with the financial performance at the hospital where operating losses continue month after month, year after year necessitating continuance of the tax subsidy and its increase. No doubt there are increasing reimbursement challenges from government and commercial payers. So far, this year (nine months), the operating losses at the hospital have been $3.6 million. This is 32 percent higher than last year.

Despite the District board’s recently adopted, well-crafted, three-year rolling strategic plan, specific direction needs to be given to the CEO to develop business plans to implement profitable new service lines and out-of-district target markets to reduce the losses. Thus far, amid mounting losses and a bleak outlook for the future, this board has refused to give such direction.

Despite my differences with certain board governance policies, Sonoma Valley Hospital needs support. Vote as I already have by mail for Measure E.

Bill Boerum

Sonoma Valley Health Care District board of directors

No on Measure E, obviously…

EDITOR: Having a spent a career in for-profit healthcare, first in long-term care, then acute care (Columbia HCA) and rehabilitation, it is always interesting to observe the compensation packages available to the executive and administrative staff in nonprofit environments.

Sonoma Valley Hospital is not a large or complex operation, yet the sheer size of the executive/administrative team, and its compensation packages boggle the mind. As reported in Tuesday’s Pulse of the Public (“Hospital Salaries Too High,” May 16): Chief Executive Officer, $350,084 plus $12,000 annual car allowance and $40,000 bonus; Chief Financial Officer, $212,193;

Chief Revenue Officer, $212,160 (she lives 3,000 miles from Sonoma and is flown in for one week per month); Chief Nursing Officer, $219,273; Chief Ancillary Officer, $169,748; Chief Quality Officer, $166,816; Chief Information Officer, $157,601; Chief Medical Officer, $158,308.

In addition, there are eight “director” positions all receiving salaries between $114,000 and $169,000.

If the above were not damning enough, there is apparently a healthy travel and entertainment budget, and a willingness to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on aesthetics.

That Measure E should be defeated seems obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge as to the workings of acute and/or emergency care.

Where is the Board of Directors of this facility getting its information? How could they have found it reasonable to make this request of the taxpayers?

How and why did the editorial staff of the Sonoma Index-Tribune arrive at the decision to endorse this measure?

The Index-Tribune could do the community a great service if they not only reported more of the damning facts of Measure E, but whether or not it makes sense for this facility to continue operating independently, or at all.

Glenn W. Rapp

Sonoma

Last of the independents

EDITOR: Regarding the potential appointment of an “independent special prosecutor” for the Trump/Comey/FBI/Russia investigation, in this divisive and polarizing political climate, exactly who is independent?

Ed Shoop

Sonoma