Incumbents Kim Griffin and Kathleen Kane were re-elected Tuesday to four-year terms on the five-member governing board of the Sequoia Healthcare District. With all precincts reporting, the vote count was 33,165 for Ms. Griffin and 28,393 for Ms. Kane.
To borrow from the catalog of witticisms of the late all-star New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, it was deja vu all over again for board member Jack Hickey.
Once more, a slate of candidates under his campaign management failed to win enough votes to take two open seats. Challengers Harland Harrison and Lois Garcia came in third and fourth, with 13,670 votes for Mr. Harrison and 13,469 votes for Ms. Garcia.
Had Mr. Harrison and Ms. Garcia won, Mr. Hickey, a Libertarian, would have sought the board's approval for a vote by the public on whether the district should continue spending tax revenues in southern San Mateo County on activities it was not chartered to address.
Mr. Hickey regularly asks the board to consider his initiative to ask for a vote by the public, but his motions never get a second from board colleagues, he said.
When asked what's next for him, Mr. Hickey sighed and said he will be completing the two years remaining in his four-year term.
He will also attend a meeting of the Little Hoover Commission in Sacramento on Nov. 16 in which executives from healthcare districts will discuss how the districts are responding to the Affordable Care Act in an "era that favors preventative care over traditional hospital care," the appropriate role for districts that once operated hospitals, and how districts without hospitals are contributing to healthcare services.
A new mission
The district was created in 1946 as the Sequoia Hospital District, but in the mid-1990s, the district sold the hospital and, under enabling state legislation, re-purposed itself as a healthcare district.
Now with a mission more like a community foundation, the district distributes property tax revenues to health organizations and services and nonprofits – $11 million in the current fiscal year, according to the 2016-17 budget.
Recent funding activities include supporting staff such as nurses, counselors and physical education coaches in schools ($3 million), free-to-the-public healthy-living workshops ($58,000), and community grants ($2 million) for organizations such as Meals on Wheels ($100,000), Second Harvest food assistance program ($80,000), and CORA, a family-centered mental health program ($100,000).