The Sequoia Hospital District was created by voters in 1946 to build, operate and maintain a hospital. Taxes were assessed and the District built and ran Sequoia Hospital until 1996, when it was sold to Catholic Healthcare West.
Following the sale of Sequoia Hospital, the district claimed that the legislature had changed the Hospital District to a Healthcare District with a new purpose. The District continues to collect $9.5 million annually in property taxes which they now use for programs "promoting wellness". That purpose has yet to be confirmed by voters.
Jack Hickey, who has been on the Board since his election in 2002, called the meeting. Hickey ran on a platform calling for cessation of tax collection unless voters supported the district’s assumed new purpose. It was based upon a recommendation by Judge Quentin Kopp’s 2000-2001 Civil Grand Jury.
Joining Hickey at the meeting, were challengers John McDowell and Mark DePaula. While each have their own campaign committees, they have exchanged mutual endorsement.
In his candidate statement, McDowell, who is well qualified to serve the public on the board if voters confirm its new purpose, sums it up this way: The District must: “Renew taxpayer support for the new philanthropic and wellness purposes through a district-sponsored referendum. If not confirmed, taxes not used by the District will revert to schools, cities, and county.”
DePaula’s statement is more direct: “I support dissolving the district. The district should reduce property taxes for district taxpayers, and should not distribute tax dollars to favored special interest groups.” DePaula has a strong accounting background which would serve him well as a Director.
While each has his own campaign committee, Hickey, DePaula and McDowell have agreed to coordinate their campaigns.
More information can be found on their websites:
www.xshcd.cm, www.MJD4SHD.com and www.McDowellforSequoiaHD.com.
Information for all candidates will be available on the League of Women Voter’s website after Labor Day. www.SmartVoter.org