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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure W
Parcel Tax
Palm Drive Health Care District

2/3 Approval Required

19,614 / 69.4% Yes votes ...... 8,659 / 30.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 19 4:09pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (79/79)
Information shown below: Arguments |

To ensure survival of Palm Drive Hospital and access to local emergency, acute care, medical and physician services, and provide for ongoing expenses, repair and improvements to equipment and technology, shall Palm Drive Health Care District repeal its existing tax and levy a special tax of up to $155.00 on each taxable parcel in the District (excluding low value parcels) while assuring independent fiscal oversight and financial accountability?

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Arguments For Measure W Arguments Against Measure W
Yes on W Keeps Palm Drive Hospital Open. Otherwise the Hospital will close, which would be devastating to our community.

Like many district hospitals throughout California, the dramatic increases in health care costs have hurt Palm Drive Hospital. These funding challenges mean that many community-owned hospitals like ours must seek community support at new levels to protect local emergency and healthcare services.

In a life-threatening emergency, Palm Drive Hospital is your community hospital. Yes on W keeps the Palm Drive Hospital Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, surgery and other critical services available to our community 7 days a week, 24- hours a day, ready when you need them.

Yes on W ensures that critically ill or injured patients in our community have access to the best care as quickly as possible. Some District residents are already as much as 40 minutes away from Palm Drive's Emergency Room. If this measure does not pass, coastal residents would be forced to travel to Santa Rosa, enduring ER waits of up to six hours, after a drive of close to an hour on country roads. Yes on W ensures saving our network of local physician-specialists and enables the hospital to recruit excellent doctors and nurses for our community.

Yes on W implements independent fiscal oversight and audits to ensure that funds are spent efficiently and as promised. Yes on W ensures that the parcel tax structure is fair, by creating exemptions for low-value and eligible contiguous parcels, as requested by the community.

You never know when a medical emergency will threaten your family or neighbors. Keep Palm Drive Hospital Open+Vote Yes on W.

s/ Harry Polley
Local Business Person

s/ Suzanne Lande, RN
Emergency Room Coordinator

s/ Steve Baxman, Fire Chief
Monte Rio Fire Protection District

s/ Diane Spain
Senior Advocate

s/ Craig Campbell, M.D.
Orthopedic Surgeon

Rebuttal to Arguments For
We urge you to take a good look at your current property tax biII's special assessments and add the proposed $155 parcel tax. This is the highest parcel tax of any area hospital. Then ask yourself, can I afford to continually support this hospital. There are no guarantees that the District will not ask for additional taxes. There are no sunset provisions. We already paid our share of taxes, but where did the money go? Why has the hospital's foundation not been effective in attracting private funding thereby relieving some of the tax burden? Why has there been such rapid turnover in the hospital's management? Would an emergency room with ancillary facilities be less expensive to operate than a full-scale hospital?

When it comes to proposals to increase taxes, credibility is the coin of the realm. The hospital district has lost this critical element. There are too many unanswered questions; vote No on Measure W.

s/ Jack Atkin, President
s/ John B. Landis, Vice President
s/ Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer
s/ Jeanne Levin, Secretary
s/ Fred Levin, Executive Director

The Palm Drive Health Care District's proposal to increase the parcel tax is poorly conceived and lacks credibility. The District is asking for the highest parcel tax of any area hospital, $155, which is an increase of over 150 percent from the present tax. As proposed it is a permanent tax in that there is no "sunset" provisions. This leaves few options open to taxpayers' should they become disenchanted with the future operations of the District.

No doubt the District is suffering financially. This may be partially a result of a national system of financing health care that is dysfunctional and partially by taking on too much debt load when the community acquired the hospital.Whatever the cause of the District's continued financial troubles, the taxpayers' must be concerned with the lack of complete and reliable financial data needed to evaluate and solve the problems the hospital is facing. At the time the tax proposal was filed for the ballot, an audited financial statement and detailed projections were not available for review and analysis. Add to this the rapid turnover of the hospital's chief financial officers, three in the last two years, and the community has a right to question the prudence of continuing to support the hospital with an increased level of taxes.

We urge voters to reject the proposal for a permanent, increased parcel tax.

s/ Jack Atkin, President
s/ John B. Landis, Vice President
s/ Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer
s/ Jeanne Levin, Secretary
s/ Fred Levin, Executive Director

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opponents' argument is false. Don't believe misleading statements by people who aren't even residents of West County.

Without Measure W, Palm Drive Hospital will close. This will hurt thousands of West County residents who rely on our hospital.

Fact: Measure W includes strict fiscal accountability. Annual, independent audits ensure funds are spent properly and the public has access to complete financial data.

Fact: Measure W's structure is fair. Medical, agricultural and business representatives, retirees and working taxpayers provided input on MeasureWat public meetings. District officials responded to community requests by exempting low-value parcels and eligible contiguous parcels to ensure fairness.

Fact: The Palm Drive Health Care District began preparing for the expiration of the current parcel tax early in 2004. Finance experts developed a 10-year economic projection for the hospital's long-term financial sustainability on which this proposal is based.

Fact: Taxpayer dollars have been expended judiciously. Funding cutbacks make it impossible to balance the budget while serving community needs. The nationwide nursing shortage, low reimbursement rates (as low as 30% of billed charges), HPR's closure, and skyrocketing workers' compensation costs all contribute to the complex financial picture for local hospitals.

Measure W is about providing local residents access to critical health care services-- emergency care, inpatient and outpatient services, and physicians. You never know when your family or neighbors might have a medical emergency where every minute counts.

Absent major healthcare reform, it is up to us to Keep Palm Drive Hospital Open. Vote Yes on W.

s/ Richard E. Powers, M.D.
Sebastopol Humanitarian of the Year

s/ Michael Elson, Captain
Bodega Bay Fire Protection District

s/ Paulene Goddard, Member
AARP State Legislative Committee

s/ Darlene Kersnar, R.N.
Operating Room Nurse

s/ Mark Sell, Owner
Sebastopol Hardware Center

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:38 PST
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