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Is the Sequoia Healthcare District courting Half Moon Bay residents?

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Mar 2, 2013

It has recently come to my attention that the Sequoia Healthcare District 2012 annual report was sent to 2,805 residents of Half Moon Bay. They are not taxpayers of the District. This was never presented to the Board of Directors. Half Moon Bay was the proposed target of an annexation proposal during Don Horsley's term as President of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors. Notably absent from the mailing list were residents of East Palo Alto, a more likely target for annexation, who do not pay taxes to the District.

As a thrice-elected Member of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, and advocate for taxpayers, I have sought information regarding the preparation, production and mailing of the annual reports. Those of you who follow other topics in the Town Square Forum know what an uphill battle it is to get information from the District. See: Web Link

Former Board President, Kim Griffin, went so far as to reject my e-mail requests and require all requests to be submitted in writing. I am hopeful that newly elected Board President Shefren will foster a more responsive policy for my requests.

Yesterday, I sent the following:

President Shefren;
In my pursuit of information regarding annual report mailings, I obtained a copy of a revised estimate for the 2012 annual report. That estimate shows that 2,805 brochures were mailed to residents of Half Moon Bay. They are not taxpayers of the District.

Also, it appears that mailings went to all residences in Menlo Park. Are you aware that 11 precincts in Menlo Park, representing 6,618 registered voters are not taxpayers of the District?

I have made repeated requests for specifics regarding the annual report mailings. Information provided by the District lacks the specifics I seek. Most notable, is the lack of an RFQ, or it’s equivalent, for MTK’s services in this regard.

On a visit to the District office to review the MTK file, I obtained a copy of an e-mail (Subject: MTK Reference Services) from Don Shoecraft to Lee Michelson dated April 21, 2010 . No documentation was available to indicate what was requested.

What directives have been given to define the recipients of the annual mailings?

Please help shine a light on this. Transparency of District operations is essential.

Jack Hickey, Elected Director

Perhaps he will respond on this forum, which is monitored by the District's PR consultant, Don Shoecraft (MTK Communications).

More information about the Sequoia Healthcare District can be found at: Web Link and Web Link

I will keep you posted.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

At the December 5, 2012 meeting of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, Lee Michelson handed out his Comments Regarding Annual Report, which I have appended below.

1. The annual report highlights district activities over the previous 12 months to keep taxpaying residents who financed district activities informed as to how their tax dollars are being spent and services available to them if needed.

2. Production of the annual report begins after the close of the previous fiscal year and after budgeting and goal setting have been accomplished, with the objective of producing and distributing the document as soon as practicable. Planning, design, production and distribution typically takes 3 to 4 months with mailing in October. The 2011 annual report was mailed the first week of November.

3. Mailing dates, content, formatting and all other aspects of the annual report are established independent of the Board of Directors and without consideration to any directors point of view or the board’s election cycle. Legally district publications cannot feature candidates, endorse candidates or promote an individual board member, caveats that are strictly adhered to in all our publication

4. Since space in the publication is limited the annual report to the degree possible does not duplicate information available on the district website such as the budget, water reports, exhausted program detail or item by item lists. The publication is used as a vehicle to direct readers to the district website.

5. Various annual report format have been tried. The newsletter style used this year was used previously, is used commonly and is very effective.

6. Cost of production was 61¢ per piece, inclusive of all costs including postage, consistent with previous publications (the 2011 per piece all-inclusive cost was 60¢ per piece). This is a fully budgeted item.

7. All board members receive a preview of the annual report at the same time. Board members are not asked for content suggestions as this would favor one board member over another. The annual report is an administrative function, not a governance or policy function.

Apparently, since it is fully budgeted, the CEO does not have to account for details of the production.

Like this comment
Posted by Leave It
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

Mr Hickey

You spent a lot of unnecessary money pulling that stunt running for the second seat. You campaigned to shut down this district. You lost. What a waste of money that could have gone to worthy programs in the community.

Apparently, the constituents like things as they are.

It will be very interesting to see if you can get re-elected. You won't have my vote.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jack - Thank you for your courageous attacks on a totally defunct and unnecessary local entity.

You will always have my support and that of many others.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

"Leave It" said: "It will be very interesting to see if you can get re-elected. You won't have my vote."

Getting re-elected has never been my primary goal. However, if dissolution of the District does not occur before the next election, rest assured that I will seek the support of those who share my views to recruit the 2 additional candidates necessary to take control of the board to shut down the tax collection as recommended by the Grand Jury. That should then lead to dissolution.

Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I have received the following response to the e-mail which I sent to the President of the Sequoia Healthcare District, Jerry Shefren:

From: Jerry Shefren
Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2013 3:50 PM
Subject: Re: Mailing to non-district residents

Director Hickey,

Lets wait until Lee has had a chance to review this.


From: Lee Michelson
Sent: Monday, March 04, 2013 9:41 AM
To: ; 'G Shefren'
Subject: RE: Mailing to non-district residents

We are attempting to buy lists that are accurate to the District however when we buy zip code lists for mailing they include households within the District and possibly some that are not. It would be much easier if our District covered all of a zip code but that is not the case. We are working to be more accurate.

Sent: Monday, March 04, 2013 11:36 AM
To: Lee Michelson ; 'G Shefren'
Subject: Re: Mailing to non-district residents

Lee, Half Moon Bay is far outside our District. And, it does not take rocket science to create a list of households in the District. The San Mateo County Elections Office provides information on precincts within the District. You can find precinct maps on their website at: Web Link I suggest that a Districtwide printout of those maps be posted on the wall of our District office.

From whom did you buy the lists, and what instructions did you (or Don) provide to the vendor? Specificity is the operative word.

In 2009, 50,000 copies were printed and there were 44,735 addresses to which the brochure was mailed. In 2010, 23,000 copies were printed, and 21,959 mailed. In 2011, 28,000 copies of the report were printed, total mailing unknown. In 2012 41,000 were printed and 39,391 mailed.

Jack Hickey

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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