MCDH ignores advice trying to decide tax issues themselves in vacuum
Editorial by Marianne McGee, MA
At the Mendocino Coast District Hospital’s (MCDH) July 18 Planning Committee, their Consultant Michael Reimenschneider clearly informed those present passing tax measures is very difficult and needs to be based on services desired by its constituents, rather than from its own ranks. While MCDH staff and leadership can provide information and education, any tax proposal must be initiated and conducted by community volunteers.
Now, the draft agenda for a joint retreat for the MCDH Board of Directors, its remaining community volunteers and management, indicates their time will be spent deciding what type of tax measure, the amount, which services to include and an election timeline. It even appears to be considering a two tiered tax that once again puts Obstetrics (OB) on the chopping block! This is exactly the opposite of what both the Consultant and the community have told the MCDH Board they expect if this hospital is going to survive and succeed.
Friends of the Hospital met on August 16 to begin exploring the parcel tax process, as outlined by their Consultant. This group includes many of the volunteers who have emerged over the last 18 months to save OB and assure the hospital is serving the community. These people are committed to an inclusive process and donate extensive time and energy to make this happen. And yet, it appears that MCDH staff and leadership volunteers are creating more barriers and alienating the very people who are willing to help them.
The MCDH Board and Committee volunteers, which generally represent an older male, retired, financially comfortable demographic. The only woman left is Kitty Bruning, a retired MCDH nurse, who along with Dr. Kevin Miller was still voting for a November 2017 parcel tax, regardless of opposition by staff, consultants, leadership volunteers and the community. It appears the only candidate to replace one of the many recently resigned board volunteers, Rob Scott, also fits this demographic.
Contact MCDH Board and Management staff and request they exercise inclusive membership , that they listen openly and respond to community concerns and service needs, rather than create another failure. Tax measures are very difficult to pass and now it appears there may also be a Mental Health sales tax and a City of Fort Bragg sales tax forthcoming as well, potentially all on the same ballot!
If we do not all work together failure is guaranteed. Educate yourselves and advocate!
You can see almost all MCDH meetings and read our editorials on www.mendocinotv.com under Building Healthy Communities. Please feel free to leave your feedback and ideas on the website.