Children's Hospital measures do not pass

February 6, 2008 5:57:24 PM PST
Supporters of a new, 'improved' Oakland Children's Hospital have to come up with another plan. East Bay voters have rejected the bond measures that would have provided the money for seismic retrofitting and new construction.Measure A was soundly defeated, and Measure B, which was similar, lost by an even bigger margin. Lee and Marion Odom have the most to lose if children's hospital builds a new 250-bed ward. Their home of 40 years stands a few feet away and it is the only un-acquired property standing in the way of the hospital's expansion. "This isn't going to stop them, they're going to put this on the ballot again,", says Lee Odom. On Tuesday, Alameda County voters defeated both measure A, and B. Both plans supported parcel taxes meant to generate $300 million dollars to fund new construction. "It's a setback and we are disappointed and I think we go back to the drawing board," says Mary Dean, Senior VP, Children's Hospital. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums helped negotiate Measure A, a so-called compromise because the hospital's intial ballot Measure B, failed to reimburse the county for its costs to collect the tax. "The extent of which we don't keep Children's Hospital here, we start to impede what we're trying to do in healthcare and how we provide services to young people," says Dellums. Alameda County supervisor Keith Carson says area hospitals could not absorb the loss of Children's Hospital. "We want to keep them in Oakland. We want to keep them in Alameda County, but they're going to have to reach out to a broader constituency in order to sell that all across this county," says Carson. Carson's district contains all five of Oakland's hospitals. He proposes an all-for-one plan. "If there was a measure that would pool that money and allow other hospitals that also have to find a way to finance their retrofitting, I think that they could join efforts." "We're not political pundits or politicians, we run a hospital and we take care of really sick kids and that's where we stay focused," says Mary Dean, Senior VP, Children's Hospital. Children's Hospital is a non-profit and says alternate sites in Oakland, Pleasanton and Dublin are either too expensive or not large enough. Mary Dean doubts there will be another ballot measure, but says the decision will be up to the Board of Directors.