Last week, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi trumpeted her efforts to save San Leandro Hospital with legislation that would allow for hospital district residents to have more control of the fate of their hospitals, but failed to support a similar bill last year.

California State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny offered a bill in Sacramento last year that would have given the attorney general authority to withhold the sale of a non-profit hospital to a for-profit or another non-profit health care provider. The bill was a response to the controversy that arose over Prime Healthcare’s purchase of Paradise Valley Hospital in her senate district.

The bill won approval in the Assembly Committee on Health, but without member Hayashi, who did not vote. Ironically, another of state politicians willing to join the “Save the Hospital” bandwagon is Assembly Speaker Alberto Torrico, who wrote an impassioned plea to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last month urging them to acknowledge a link between Sutter’s plans in Castro Valley and San Leandro Hospital. Sen. Ducheny’s bill eventually languished in the Assembly until Torrico rendered it inactive last August.

Torrico and Hayashi are playing politics with a populist issue. Ducheny may have been doing the same last year when she wrote the piece of legislation in the name of transparency and returning power to her constituency, but talk of action in Sacramento later muddled by political hocus-pocus serves San Leandro and the state little when they truly need their elected officials to stand up to corporate America.