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North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 12:28 pm

Sonoma Valley voters extend hospital tax

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    SONOMA — Voters in Sonoma Valley on Tuesday easily passed a measure that extends for five years a $195 parcel tax that generates $2.8 million annually for the area’s public hospital.

    With all precincts reporting, 73.2 percent of voters approved Measure A, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. Just more than 10,000 residents took part in the vote, representing a little less than half of the region’s registered voters.

    Officials from the 83-bed Sonoma Valley Hospital, overseen by the Sonoma Valley Healthcare District, have said the source of funding is vital for maintaining core hospital operations in the valley such as the emergency department and birthing operations.

    Measure A was the only issue on a mail-in ballot that was sent out last month and commissioned by the health care district, which covered the $100,000 cost of the election with privately raised capital.

    The next closest emergency rooms are in Santa Rosa and Napa. District officials have maintained that’s not a feasible scenario in a life-threatening emergency. Officials also said the revenue from Measure A represents about 10 percent of wages and salary for hospital staff.

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    Comments

    1 Comment

    1. March 8, 2012, 12:03 pm

      by Dee Boucher

      This was an unethical and possibly illegal election process, facilitated by local newspapers who failed to report on the ongoing financial situation at this hospital. These papers refused to do any real in-depth reporting, and only provided very scant information about the underlying financial issues related to the ongoing demands for public support for this entity. The “whisper” campaign consisted of personal inducements to known hospital supporters, to persuade them to send in votes, in the hope that the others would simply not vote in this “special” election. Thus, with only less than half of voters sending in ballots, the scheme proved to be successful. Calls to seniors with threats of impending “death” because of the lack of a local ER… if the bond did not pass…. were an unscrupulous means to an end. An outside election oversight body needs to investigate this entire sordid fiasco.


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