Your paper recently ran two guest perspectives regarding the Sequoia Healthcare District, known previously as the Sequoia Hospital District. The most recent piece was by Kim Griffin, RN and chair of the district’s board. She apparently was writing in response to Jack Hickey’s piece which appeared in the Oct. 25 edition of your paper under the title: "The hospital district that won’t die.” Mr. Hickey is also a district board member.
Having read both pieces, I find myself mostly in agreement with Mr. Hickey, who rightfully questions the existence of the district now that it does not operate a hospital. Ms. Griffin points out all the good things the district does today, and I doubt anyone would question their value, but she misses Mr. Hickey’s point. — the district is operating outside the bounds of its original charter.
Constitutionally, our government receives its authority from the people. In the case of the district, it received its authority to run a hospital. Now that it no longer runs a hospital, it has taken to using its tax revenue to fund whatever health issue it deems appropriate. As Ms. Griffin noted, "Today, Sequoia Healthcare District is involved with more than 40 community health programs covering almost every health care need from mental health services to hospice to hot meals for the homebound.”
If the people of the district want their tax dollars to be used in such a liberal and philanthropic fashion for health care, then indeed a district needs to be formed for that purpose; if the existing district can lawfully be transformed for such programs, then the question should be put to the voters. There is the matter of process to be followed, which is Mr. Hickey’s point; there is the matter of value, which is Ms. Griffin’s point. The vote of the people resolves both.
The letter writer is a member of the San Carlos City Council.