Pressure from Sacramento Delayed Hospital Decision

MAJORITY LEADER’S LETTER BECOMES BOARD’S TALKING POINTS
The decision by Alameda County supervisors to postpone approving the environmental impact report (EIR) for a new hospital project in Castro Valley was strongly influenced by forces in Sacramento.

One of the “letters” mentioned by Supervisor Scott Haggerty came from the Majority Leader of the State Assembly Alberto Torrico. The correspondence, addressed to Board President Alice Lai-Bitker, makes reference the need to address a “legal linkage” between the future of San Leandro Hospital and the new Castro Valley project.

The EIR deemed this connection speculative and, therefore, choose to not include an analysis of its impact on either hospital. Torrico also reaffirms the concerns of opponents of Sutter closing San Leandro Hospital noting both hospitals operate under the same license in addition to a memo from Sutter stating acute care services in San Leandro will cease June 30.

“Given these facts, it seems inappropriate to treat the issues as separate and independent,” writes Torrico. Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi also sent a letter to the Board the same day urging to keep San Leandro Hospital open.

While both supervisors Haggerty and Nate Miley voiced irritation over their belief opponents of Sutter were dealing in misinformation, two members of the assembly apparently believe otherwise. Torrico and Hayashi seem intent on forcing the Board, despite its reluctance, to assert control over the fate of San Leandro Hospital before giving the go-ahead to Sutter’s Castro Valley plans.

Assemblyman Torrico’s letter apparently heavily influenced Miley’s decision to postpone any decision until June 9. The letter states many of the talking points the supervisor issued Tuesday. Miley asked many pointed questions to his staff regarding the possible inclusion of “linkages” in the EIR and notably, the potential legal ramifications that could arise in the future. Miley repeatedly urged for a “rock-solid” legal foot to stand in his motion to delay a decision.