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Sequoia Healthcare District Election

Voters created the Sequoia Hospital District. Can they dissolve the Sequoia Healthcare District which continues to collect property taxes for a hospital they no longer own?

There are three candidates running in November for two 4 year seats on the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors. Their candidate statements which will apear in your sample ballots are attached as a PDF file.

There is one overriding consideration in this election:  Should the District, which no longer owns or operates Sequoia Hospital, be dissolved?

What was the original intent of voters when they established the District in 1946?

Read the candidate statements. Do a little research. Add your opinions to the discussion.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Here is the original 1946 petition presented to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors: http://www.xshcd.com/Election1946.htm It also contains campaign literature from the Sequoia Hospital Committee which sponsored the petition. The 2000/2001 San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury http://www.sanmateocourt.org/court_divisions/grand_jury/2001reports.php?page=00sequoia.html cited this information in their Findings:
Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Grand Jury Findings: "The voters of the Sequoia Hospital District voted in 1946 that they were willing to be taxed for the purpose of maintaining the Sequoia Hospital, and in 1996 the voters agreed to a sale of the Sequoia Hospital and other district assets to the non-profit corporation Hospital Acquisition Corporation so that the emergency and other services of the hospital could be continued. The assets were later transferred to CHW. .... A significant portion of the $4 million plus tax revenues are not being used to maintain the hospital or to continue emergency or other services described by the 1996 Measure H. Further, the Sequoia Healthcare District Board is donating these tax funds in significant part to other non-profit and governmental organizations. While these other destinations of the tax revenues are generally perceived to be worthy ones (Exhibit 1), clearly they are not all for the maintenance of the hospital according to the mandate of the 1946 voters, and they are not consistent with the mandate of the 1996 Measure H which was to maintain a hospital and to continue certain services at the hospital which has been sold to CHW. Although hospital districts have broad powers in the distribution of revenues, nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the Sequoia Healthcare District to expend its tax and other revenues for the purposes approved by the voters. The grand jury finds that the Sequoia Healthcare District has not done so."
Darwin Patnode August 31, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Certainly we are overdue in moving to dissolve the health care district. I prefer to donate my fund to charitable organizations of my own choosing, not give them to a government entity that decides which private charities are best. We should willingly pay taxes for essential services but not for a group of do-gooders to distribuae among their pet charities. The findings of the Grand jury are logical and clear. Why are we waiting? Darwin Patnode, San Carlos
Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Does the Sequoia Healthcare District exercise an "oversight" function on Sequoia Hospital operations? Candidate Katie Kane, in her ballot statement, suggests that it is. Facts. Originally, after the sale of Sequoia Hospital in 1996, the District had an oversight function pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding. http://www.xshcd.com/MOU.pdf Sequoia Health Services (SHS), the governing Board for Sequoia Hospital, was comprised of 5 members from the District and 5 from CHW. Until I was elected in 2002, the 5 District members were their elected Directors. I was asked by District CEO, Frank Gibson, if I wanted to serve on the SHS Board. I responded in the affirmative. Subsequently, I was denied that seat. The oversight function traceable to the voters was no longer in effect. Then, in 2007, CHW became sole-owner of Sequoia Hospital, with no District representation on its governing Board. http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/chw-set-become-sole-owner-sequoia-hospital
Lou Covey, The Local Motive August 31, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The problem, as I have learned, is that if the District is dissolved it is not necessarily to be expected that the property tax revenues would be locally available. Under current state guidelines, those revenues could be redistributed by the state to offset deficit spending. At least under the current setup those funds are distributed locally. I think we need some definitive guidance from a non-biased source to assure that we would not lose those locally raised funds.
Zeke Mead August 31, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Thanks Lou, I thought the SHCD was paid by a parcel tax on our lots and what you're saying is that if the SHCD goes away, the parcel bill won't until it is sunset (if it has one?) so we might as well keep local control of it or pass another parcel tax removal ballot measure to stop paying it? If its not a parcel tax, where does the money come from?
Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 09:53 PM
East Palo Alto is arguably within the sphere of influence of the Sequoia Healthcare District, yet none of their property taxes go to the District. They are, in fact, distributed in the same manner as those of the District. A look at the pie charts which come with property tax bills provides insight. The Ravenswood Elementary School District gets a larger piece of the pie than they would have gotten if EPA was in the District. This is not rocket science. I realize that this is a contentious issue. One need only look at Sue Lemperts July 20 column in which she says "It’s difficult to make changes to these special districts, but it can be done. In the case of the health care districts, they no longer serve a purpose for which they were created. They need to be dissolved. The taxes they collect should be transferred to the county to help pay for indigent care." http://smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?type=opinions&title=More%20questions%20about%20special%20districts&id=1752023
Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Zeke, it's part of the 1% property tax, distribution of which is shown in the pie chart included with your property tax bill. It's lumped in under the title "special districts".
Jack Hickey August 31, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Common sense would call for distribution of the Districts piece of the 1% pie to the remaining agencies in the same proportion as they currently receive.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive August 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I tend to agree with you on that Jack. But before we throw out the bathwater, let's make sure the baby is safe.
Michael G. Stogner August 31, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Vote only for one. Vote Jack Hickey, Jack is the only person who is willing to do what the Grand Jury recommended in 2001. The media has consistently mislead the public as to what might happen to the money. Jack got Fred and myself to join him for the sole purpose of dissolving the district. The papers mislead the voters as to what would happen to the money. We could have stopped the collecting of the taxes. we could have reduced it to zero....Vote Hickey and only Hickey if you support the Grand Jury.
Michael G. Stogner September 01, 2012 at 12:16 AM
This legal opinion would have come from Thomas Casey III San Mateo County Counsel at the time written. Reported in the WAMP article titled Voters Being Denied Rights 10/8-14/2010 "In fact, the 2000-2001 Grand Jury published this statement: “The grand jury has received a legal opinion from San Mateo County Counsel to the effect that the California Taxation and Revenue Code §96.8 authorizes a hospital district such as Sequoia Healthcare District to request the county auditor make a tax reduction in any amount down to zero for the district's taxpayers on a yearly basis without reallocation of the reduced taxes to other agencies.” So, the election of the Hickey slate will allow the Board by majority vote to exercise this authority which the County Council is on record as declaring that they possess. While the power to dissolve the District appears by statute to lie solely with the LAFCo, this power could jumpstart a process that will result in a more representative, culpable and sanctioned Healthcare District."
Lou Covey, The Local Motive September 01, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Property taxes are set by Proposition 13, not the county. The state has the power to redistribute any unallocated revenues without county or district approval.
Jack Hickey September 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM
This article in the Journal provides more insight into this election: http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=1754616&title=Health care district faces odd election Excellent article but a few corrections were necessary; My LTE follows.
Jack Hickey September 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Editor, I would like to correct a few items in an otherwise excellent article by Bill Silverfarb. (Health care district faces odd election SMDJ 9/12/2012) 1. I am not a “tax advocate”. My ballot designation, validated by Kris Vosburgh of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is “Advocate for Taxpayers”. 2. You said “Hickey ran against a slate of candidates that included Frederick Graham and Michael Stogner in 2010 to try to take control of the board.” They were actually part of my team. Unfortunately, local media split my team by endorsing my candidacy and two of our opponents. Graham and Stogner were left out to dry. 3. I am not running to “force one of the incumbents to lose their seat”. Next year at this time the makeup of the Board will likely be the same as it is now, even if I do “win” a four year seat. The Board will merely appoint the loser to my current seat which I would be forced to vacate. This election is a $160,000 poll of 100% of the voters to decide whether the Sequoia Healthcare District should be dissolved. Compare that to the $130,000 Godbe/Tramutola poll of less than 5% of voters for RCSD’s parcel tax election in June of 2009. I ask you to forego endorsements of two candidates, and suggest to voters that they either support dissolution (vote for Jack Hickey only) or the status quo (vote for Kane and Griffin).
Jack Hickey October 01, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Delete . Jack Hickey 5:06 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2012 Video statements of all three candidates are available at the League of Women Voters website. See: http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/11/06/ca/sm/race/7070/ Click on Candidate Forum
Jack Hickey October 03, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I am proud to say that the San Mateo County Central Labor Council which endorsed my opponents, has seen fit to enter my endorsement status as "ABSOLUTELY NOT". Their slate mailer states it as such. My advice to union members wishing to vote for Jack Hickey (I welcome your support); cherish the secret ballot! http://www.sanmateolaborcouncil.org/endorsements.local.nov2012.pdf
Jack Hickey October 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Here is an edited view of the slate mailer, with comments added. http://www.xshcd.com/smcclc01.jpg

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