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  1. TopTop #1
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    As some of you know, I was a director of the Palm Drive Health Care District for several years. Last May, I resigned from the board out of frustration with the Districtís poor fiscal management and governance. Instead, I decided to work to dissolve the Palm Drive District entirely. By dissolving the District now, we can guarantee that all of our parcel taxes go only to pay off old debt (still over $25 million, which wonít be paid off until 2034) and ensure the District doesnít borrow even more money in the futureóor even worse, fall into a third bankruptcy.

    The District was created by voters 20 years ago with one single purpose--to support a community hospital with an emergency room. The current parcel tax, created by voters via Measure W in 2004, had the same purpose. Now, the emergency room (and surgical operating rooms) have been closed for more than a year, and the hospital itself has been sold to a private, for-profit corporationófor far less than itís worth.

    Now, the District has no voter-approved purpose and no voter-approved source of funds. But some District leaders want to keep it going indefinitely, with excessive overhead and the possibility of even more debt.

    We need to end the District now. To do that, we need to gather signatures from 10% of the registered voters in the Districtóabout 2400 people. If you agree, you can help us in the following ways:

    ē Come to one of our community meetings on January 15 at the Sebastopol Public Library. We have meetings scheduled at 11 AM and again at 7 PM. We will present the facts, answer questions, and have petitions available to sign and possibly distribute to others.

    ē Read about the issues in last week's Sonoma West Times & News: Petition afoot to dissolve Palm Drive Health Care District

    ē Visit our website at DissolveTheDistrict.com

    ē Visit our Facebook page , follow us and share with your friends.

    ē Visit our Twitter page (https://twitter.com/EndTheDistrict) and follow us.

    The time has come to End the District. Please help us. Thank you very much.

    Jim Horn
    Last edited by Barry; 01-13-2020 at 02:14 PM.
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  3. TopTop #2
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    Every single person I've spoken with who lives in the 'district' strongly favors immediate dissolution. People are shocked that the 'district' has the gall to continue wasting our money on staffing for its handful of blue sky projects, instead of dissolving itself. I also repeatedly hear that voters won't vote for any new fiscal measures/taxes until PDHCD is put to sleep.
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  5. TopTop #3
    GTB
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    The January Palm Drive District Board meeting was postponed and we just received notice that it will be held Thursday.

    NOTICE AND AGENDA
    PALM DRIVE HEALTH CARE DISTRICT
    BOARD OF DIRECTORS
    January 16, 2020
    Special Closed Session 5:00 P.M.
    Special Open Session 6:00 P.M.
    Sonoma Specialty Hospital
    Conference Room
    501 Petaluma
    Avenue
    Sebastopol, CA 95472

    Name:  Januarymeeting.jpg
Views: 1090
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  7. TopTop #4
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    Release the Opinion!

    Release the Opinion!

    The Palm Drive District has received an outside legal opinion on allowable uses for our parcel taxes (at a cost to taxpayers of $30,000)--but they won't make it public. Has anyone ever hidden evidence that supports his position--besides Trump? Of course not!

    Now the District says they'll release a "summary" of the opinion (i.e., the "William Barr" version), but not the opinion itself!

    We filed a public records request for the complete, unedited opinion, and the Press Democrat and Sonoma West Times & News have followed suit. We'll keep you posted.

    This is why we need everyone to sign our petition to Dissolve the District now! Contact Alan at [email protected] for more information on how and when you can sign.

    www.DissolveTheDistrict.com
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  9. TopTop #5
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Release the Opinion!


    Palm Drive blocks release of Measure M legal opinion
    By Laura Hagar Rush, Sonoma West Editor, [email protected] Jan 22, 2020

    Back in August 2019, Palm Drive Health Care District board member Richard Power asked the board to get a legal opinion on the question of whether parcel tax funds from Measure W, the initiative to support Palm Drive Hospital, could be used for other health-related programs.

    Power was concerned that the district could open itself up to a lawsuit alleging misuse of taxpayer money, if it was found to be operating outside of the scope of Measure W.

    The board put out an RFP and, in November, chose the San Francisco law firm, Hanson Bridgett, to prepare the opinion. Originally due at the beginning of December, the much-anticipated report was delivered at the beginning of January.

    Unfortunately, the public wonít be seeing that report any time soon.

    At its January board meeting, the health care districtís attorney, William Arnone, announced that the board would not be releasing the Hanson Bridgett report to the public, claiming attorney-client privilege. Instead, he said the board would ask Hanson Bridgett to write a second report for public consumption.

    Continues here
    Last edited by Barry; 01-24-2020 at 10:19 AM.

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  11. TopTop #6
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    COMMENTARY: Time to Dissolve the Palm Drive Health Care District

    COMMENTARY: Time to dissolve the Palm Drive Health Care District

    This article was posted today in Sonoma West Times & News by Jeff Weaver, former Sebastopol police chief and Gravenstein Union School District trustee. Jeff has been a strong supporter of the hospital in the past, but he recognizes that it's time to dissolve the Palm Drive District.


    COMMENTARY: Time to dissolve the Palm Drive Health Care District
    Jan 22, 2020

    Reticently, but with certainty, I have concluded that the Palm Drive Health Care District Board should disband the district, submitting all pending district business to the County of Sonoma as a successor agency.

    It is hard for me to write these words.

    My family has benefited from care at Palm Drive Hospital, my wife and both of my sons having repeatedly utilized the emergency room there. My father, a Santa Rosa resident, was transported via ambulance to Sonoma West Medical Center during the October 2017 firestorms with a life-threatening medical emergency because the Santa Rosa-based hospitals were over capacity.

    During my 28 year tenure with the Sebastopol Police Department, I was at Palm Drive Hospital hundreds of times, interviewing accident and crime victims, obtaining medical clearance for an arrestee or obtaining a blood sample for an investigation.

    Whether my visits were personal or professional, the services provided were always compassionate, professional, personal and prompt. I know beyond any doubt that Palm Drive Hospital and the Sonoma West Medical Center saved lives. I witnessed emergency room Ďsavesí at Palm Drive Hospital that would have had a different outcome with added transport time to a Santa Rosa-based hospital.

    On April 28, 2014, I was present at Palm Drive Hospital when it closed after 71 years of service to the community. It was one of the most surreal experiences Iíve ever had, a heartbreaking day I will never forget. Following the closure, I served in an advisory capacity on a district committee working to re-open the hospital as the Sonoma West Medical Center. I remember the meeting where District Director Daymon Doss took photographs, wanting to record for posterity the moment in time when reopening the hospital became a reality. And reopen it did.

    Since the hospital closure on April 28, 2014, and certainly prior to then, countless smart, creative, generous, dedicated, community-minded people have worked to keep a hospital with an emergency room in Sebastopol ó a goal I have long supported, both in word and deed.

    Despite the best efforts of all involved, the district no longer owns the hospital property or buildings, and there is no longer a general-service hospital or emergency room at the site. While it is theoretically possible and allowable for the current owner to upgrade the current urgent care to an emergency room, there is nothing that mandates them doing so. They can choose to do so with or without the existence of the district.

    Continues here
    Last edited by Barry; 01-23-2020 at 11:07 AM.
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  13. TopTop #7
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: Release the Opinion!

    Let's see.....we taxpayers paid for this opinion but we aren't allowed to see it. Does this seem like there are things they don't want us to see about how they plan to spend more of our money? I hope others will email LAFCO (the 'oversight' board that doesn't seems to overlook more than they oversee) through their website. Let them know you you're fed up with Palm Drive treating taxpayer money like a private piggy bank. Let them know we're not going to approve any additional taxes....for trains, Analy, roads, housing, anything....until LAFCO fast tracks the dissolution of PDHCD and shows us that they are listening to us and spending our money ONLY on what we voted for. And, PLEASE BE SURE AND SIGN THE PETITION TO DISSOLVE, in the event LAFCO doesn't do the right thing on their own.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Barry: View Post
    Last edited by Barry; 01-24-2020 at 10:20 AM.
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  15. TopTop #8
    SonomaPatientsCoop's Avatar
    SonomaPatientsCoop
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    While I agree it should be ended...

    hmm... we live in a very rural county. And while it's easy for many in parts of Sebastopol, Forrestville, etc to see Santa Rosa as an easy option... for many, many...many West County residents...a closer (and let's face it- if you need an ambulance...a cheaper option) WAS a good idea.

    It's a shame what happened. Mismanagement. Dirty deals with lab testing companies. General incompetence.

    But this seems to exemplify so much of what is going on in CA. Good intentions coupled with greed, corruption, and incompetence. And "We The People" paying coming and going...
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  16. TopTop #9
    luke32
     

    Re: Release the Opinion!

    I agree with dissolving the District but could you please explain the role of LAFCO and how they have failed to take action? I don't understand. Thanks.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by doghairnancy: View Post
    ....until LAFCO fast tracks the dissolution of PDHCD and shows us that they are listening to us and spending our money ONLY on what we voted for...
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  18. TopTop #10
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: Release the Opinion!

    If you go to http://sonomalafco.org/, you'll get a vague idea of what LAFCO is/does. I believe all CA counties have them to 'oversee' all the 'special districts' in each county. Our LAFCO (7 members including Lynda Hopkins, who is stretched way too thin) is 'responsible' for Palm Drive Health Care District but seems, as a practical matter, to overlook, not oversee.

    They are apparently under no obligation to dissolve PDHCD just because their mandate under Measure W was to manage a hospital that doesn't exist anymore. The District seems to have convinced LAFCO that it's taking a broad view of its mandate to include making 'health related grants'. The District recently paid for a legal opinion (which they refuse to release to the public) as support for this 'broad mandate'. We have seen some of the grants they have made and plan to make. None are 'bad' but nobody who voted for Measure W intended for their tax dollars to be spent on anything except keeping a hospital open, which the District failed spectacularly at.

    LAFCO seems to be under no obligation to dissolve the District if they buy into this 'broad mandate', which they seem willing to do. The Executive Director, making about $140K plus presumably expenses, has no interest in ending this lucrative gig. She is in process of setting up 'town hall meetings' (with our tax dollars) to ask people how they would like the Palm Drive 'piggy bank' spent. The District costs us $400K+/year, which comes out of the Palm Drive property tax assessment ($155/parcel) those of us in the 'District' all pay. That overhead accounts for roughly $50/parcel. If we dissolve Palm Drive District, then the entire $155/parcel goes to pay off the remaining $20MM+ in debt (yep!) faster. It is totally insane to spend $400K in overhead to give away maybe $100K in little grants that may or may not be duplicative or effective. It's purely a money/power grab.

    I urge you to email the LAFCO members and ask how they could possibly support keeping the District alive based on a cost/benefit analysis a 5 year old could do. They will send you a form email saying that the 'opposition' is working on a petition drive to dissolve the District. They will NOT explain why they haven't saved us the time, energy, and money and just done this themselves. We would love to know how they could be so cavalier and brazenly wasteful with OUR MONEY and then ask us to vote for NEW taxes. Please ask them and tell them you won't approve any new money pit tax measures at least until Palm Drive is put to sleep.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by luke32: View Post
    I agree with dissolving the District but could you please explain the role of LAFCO and how they have failed to take action? I don't understand. Thanks.
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  20. TopTop #11
    luke32
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    Doghairnancy: I am familiar with LAFCO and the Sonoma LAFCO, thank you, but I must say your post did cause me to go back and review all that I thought I knew about LAFCOs, and the formation of the PDHCD in 2000.

    I think if you were to do the same you would have a pleasant learning experience. Bottom line: the Sonoma LAFCO cannot dissolve the PDHCD; the Health Care District electorate must do that. As for $140,000, "executive director", "lucrative gig", etc, I think you will sort that all out when you review the Sonoma LAFCO, PDHCD, and all.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-25-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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  22. TopTop #12
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    I may not be an expert. I'm just a retired CPA, taxpayer, concerned citizen who sees that PDHCD has no further legitimate reason for operating. And that $140K seems 'lucrative' for a part time job (maybe not in your world, but in most) that doesn't even have a legitimate mandate anymore. Then, there is the matter of asking for an expensive legal opinion and hiding that opinion from the public. And then there is the fact that the District is able to borrow more money if they decide to. And there are questions that haven't been answered about the favorable terms (to the buyers) of the hospital sale.

    LAFCO can put pressure on the District and LAFCO can dissolve it if we provide 2500 signatures showing taxpayers support. We haven't run into a single person, in our petition drive (we have over 400 signatures in one week), who still support keeping the District alive. If you support the District, with its 16 year old history of mismanagement and bankruptcies, maybe you could identify yourself and your reasons.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by luke32: View Post
    Doghairnancy: I am familiar with LAFCO and the Sonoma LAFCO, thank you, but ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-25-2020 at 06:12 PM.
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  24. TopTop #13
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    "Iím here to suggest that itís time to put it [the Palm Drive District] to bed"

    ​Dan Smith was a founder of the Palm Drive Healthcare District, a former board member, and former chairman of the board of Sonoma West Medical Center. He spoke in favor of dissolving the District at a LAFCO meeting on 12/4/2019. His remarks are transcribed below. Afterwards is a link to an audio file excerpt (begin at about 7:15 on the audio).

    "Iím Dan Smith. I live in Sebastopol, CA. Iím here because I was actually the person primarily responsible for founding the Palm Drive Healthcare District in 1999 and 2000, and Iím here to suggest that itís time to put it to bed.

    I understand that the hospital escrow closed today, or was supposed to close today, and the District in my mind no longer has a purpose. So Iím just here to suggest that you move forward with negotiating with the District board, and close the District down. Thereís no reason to keep it going at this point."

    Listen to audio here (Dan speaks at 7:15)

    Last edited by Barry; 01-25-2020 at 07:49 PM.
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  26. TopTop #14
    applefan's Avatar
    applefan
     

    Re: the PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our district.

    The PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our community. I have worked at the hospital in its many iterations, and served on one of the PDHCD committees promoting services for vulnerable and isolated seniors in our community, many of who live too far for public transportation, can't drive any more, can't afford to move in to town, and can't get to their doctors. Some of you who want to de-fund it should find out the FACTS. I know we are no longer living in a fact-based world, but we can do our own due diligence.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by doghairnancy: View Post
    If you go to http://sonomalafco.org/, you'll get a vague idea of what LAFCO is/does. ....
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  28. TopTop #15
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    Re: the PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our district.

    No one has said that the District hasn't done some good for community health. But a public healthcare district in California, especially a very small one like Palm Drive, necessarily carries an enormous overhead because it's a government agency.

    Over the last three years, Palm Drive has spent an average of more than $500,000 per year on salaries (not for healthcare providers), legal expenses (not bankruptcy-related), accountants, auditors, elections, and other overhead costs--and less than $60,000 per year on community healthcare. For the last two years, it's been less than $40,000 per year. Small public districts are a very inefficient way to get healthcare to people. A far more efficient way is to support nonprofits like the West County Health Centers or Sonoma West Medical Foundation, for example.
    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    The PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our community. ...
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  30. TopTop #16
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting member

    Re: the PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our district.

    I've been a patient of West County Health Centers for probably thirty years. In order to take on more patients, they would surely have to expand, yes? And how would that be accomplished? Would any of the monies from the abandonment of the tax go to them? And neither of these two would supply the level of care Palm Drive gave us. Jim and/or Nancy, please fill me in on how the debt will be handled.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by JimHorn: View Post
    ...A far more efficient way is to support nonprofits like the West County Health Centers or Sonoma West Medical Foundation, for example.
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  32. TopTop #17
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting member

    Re: the PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our district.

    Are these hard-to-reach seniors-in-need getting care now?

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    ... served on one of the PDHCD committees promoting services for vulnerable and isolated seniors in our community, many of who live too far for public transportation, can't drive any more, can't afford to move in to town, and can't get to their doctors. ...
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  34. TopTop #18
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: the PDHCD does plenty of work supporting the health of our district.

    The hospital is under private ownership now and, most of us believe, unlikely to ever operate as anything but a profit making organization. Palm Drive Health Care District knew this when they sold the hospital. The District has no oversight or control of what the for-profit owner/operator does. The District was created to oversee 'our' hospital. Our hospital is a thing of the past.

    We've got a $400K bureaucracy that has misspent money for 16 years and left us with $20+ million in bonds to pay off for the next 14 years. If the District continues to give away $60-75k of annual grants, they are operating outside the mandate for the District. The causes might be good but no amount of 'due diligence' could ever justify spending $400K for overhead to give away about $75K.

    Nobody wants to donate to a non-profit that spends 80% on its overhead....and that's exactly what PDHCD is doing. If these small grants are made, they should be made by a bigger, much more efficient organization....and we have at least one such org. in West County. The cost/benefit analysis....spending over $4 for every $1 you give away....is a sure recipe for bankruptcy anywhere but the wasteful world of government bureaucracy, which seldom gives a nod to efficiency.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by sealwatcher: View Post
    I've been a patient of West County Health Centers for probably thirty years. In order to take on more patients, they would surely have to expand, yes? And how would that be accomplished? Would any of the monies from the abandonment of the tax go to them? ...
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  36. TopTop #19
    Marga
     

    Re: Dissolve the Palm Drive District!

    We no longer have a functioning hospital or emergency room, which is what the property tax assessment was intended for. We still have millions of dollars in debt that need to be paid off and could be paid off a lot faster if we applied the $400,000/year to that instead of paying for an Executive Director, her Executive Assistant and a small percentage (less than $100,000) for worthwhile health programs.

    Regardless, supporting this bureaucracy and these programs is NOT what voters intended when they supported Measure W. If the legal opinion that the Board paid $30,000 for would support that, I am sure they would have made it public immediately. Instead, they are going to release their own version, claiming attorney-client privilege. I do believe the taxpayers who paid for this are the clients!

    This Board no longer has a valid function and needs to dissolve. I have not spoken to one single person while gathering signatures that feels they have a right to use the money intended for a hospital that no longer exists for grants of their choosing. The projects may be worthwhile, but that is not what we voted for and spending ridiculous amounts on overhead is not well received in a community of many people on fixed incomes or otherwise struggling to pay for day to day living expenses.

    Luke32, I don't know what world you live in, but $140,00 for a part-time gig seems quite outrageous to most of us, ask just the teachers that recently went on strike and I am sure they would agree. Many people, myself included will not vote for any more measures, property tax increases, tax increases, etc. if this is how our money is going to be spent because we simply cannot afford it.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by luke32: View Post
    ... As for $140,000, "executive director", "lucrative gig", etc, I think you will sort that all out when you review the Sonoma LAFCO, PDHCD, and all.
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  38. TopTop #20
    applefan's Avatar
    applefan
     

    Re Yes there is an operating hospital in Sebastopol!!!

    I hope some of you stop by the hospital one of these days. Yes it is a hospital. Yes there are patients in beds, doctors being doctors, and nurses giving good care, labs, an Urgent Care Center, a Case Manager, a social worker, a free Caregiver Support group and more. Not sure why so many of you think it's gone.

    Not wishing this on anybody, but if you fall in Sebastopol, or have a high fever, or a big bleeding wound etc, be glad there is a hospital and all the other services. The Palm Drive District is part of this system of care for us.

    Imagine the Laguna flooded and having to go to Santa Rosa to have your leg set or your wound attended to or your fever diagnosed.
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  40. TopTop #21
    JimHorn's Avatar
    JimHorn
     

    Re: Re Yes there is an operating hospital in Sebastopol!!!

    What used to be Palm Drive Hospital is now Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH). It is wholly owned and operated by a private, for-profit corporation. The Palm Drive District has no more connection to or control over SSH than it does over Kaiser, Memorial or Sutter in Santa Rosa.

    Dissolving the Palm Drive District will not affect the operation of SSH in any way, shape or form.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    I hope some of you stop by the hospital one of these days. Yes it is a hospital. ....
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  42. TopTop #22
    applefan's Avatar
    applefan
     

    Re: Re Yes there is an operating hospital in Sebastopol!!!

    The people in the beds in the hospital are our neighbors and friends, no matter what the name and who owns it.
    Quote Posted in reply to the post by JimHorn: View Post
    What used to be Palm Drive Hospital is now Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH). It is wholly owned and operated by a private, for-profit corporation. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-26-2020 at 11:58 AM.
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  44. TopTop #23
    doghairnancy
     

    Re: Re Yes there is an operating hospital in Sebastopol!!!

    The issue is that West County taxpayers are paying $400K/year for an entity that has nothing to do with the hospital anymore. The hospital is sold, gone, private, out of our control. Continuing to pay for the Palm Drive 'District' is like continuing to pay your housekeeper after you've sold the house. We need to stop paying the housekeeper when you don't own the house. It doesn't matter how nice or crummy the house is. When you don't own it anymore, you stop paying for it. Simple.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    I hope some of you stop by the hospital one of these days. Yes it is a hospital. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-26-2020 at 11:59 AM.
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  46. TopTop #24
    Marga
     

    Re: Re Yes there is an operating hospital in Sebastopol!!!

    applefan, I strongly urge you to follow your own advice posted above and look at the FACTS about the hospital. There are multiple posts explaining that the hospital is no longer under the control of the Palm Drive Health Care District which is why it should be dissolved. The current establishment is a privately controlled specialty hospital for long term care patients most of which to my knowledge are from out of the area.

    We the taxpayers already got a very bad deal from the new owners with the ridiculously low price they paid for Palm Drive. The Palm Drive Health Care District no longer has a function and should be dissolved. They are using our tax dollars for their own big salaries, overhead, bureaucracy and a very small amount for health related projects for the community, which is not what the taxpayers voted for with Measure W.

    The Urgent Care seems to be very dysfunctional and service inconsistent and again, this is not under the control of the District. I was just told by someone today, when collecting signatures, that they have had very bad experiences with the Urgent Care when it comes to which insurance they accept. Or they are told at the front desk that their insurance is accepted for Urgent Care and then need an X-Ray and end up having to private pay because they do not accept the insurance for that. All of this is at the discretion of the current owners, a for profit company, not the District.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    The people in the beds in the hospital are our neighbors and friends, no matter what the name and who owns it.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-26-2020 at 12:00 PM.
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