Alameda voters will not just be deciding on a new mayor and City Council members when they step into the election booth Tuesday. They also will elect representatives to the Alameda Health Care District Board, which oversees Alameda Hospital.
Four candidates are running for the three open spots on the five-member board. Robert Deutsch and Leah Williams are incumbents, while Stewart Chen and Elliott Gorelick are hoping to capture a seat for the first time.
Along with making sure that the hospital provides quality medical care, board members deal with making the hospital financially solvent and must help ensure that it remains ready to provide emergency care to Island residents in the event of an earthquake or other disaster.
Alameda voters approved a $298 parcel tax in 2002 for the hospital, providing the facility with about $5.5 million annually.
Below are statements and background information from each candidate, who are listed alphabetically. Contact information is included for voters who wish more details.
Dr. Stewart Chen
Occupation: Chiropractic doctor
Statement: Hi, my name is Stewart Chen. I am a chiropractor and I have lived in the city of Alameda for the past 22 years. I am currently an appointee of Alice Lai-Bitker to the county's Human Relations Commission and I have also served on numerous city board and committees, including eight years on the
I believe that we should keep the hospital on our Island.
As a source of emergency medical services, Alameda Hospital provides a much-needed service and gives its residents the peace of mind that medical care is available when they need it. My goal is to provide quality health care through sensitivity and responsiveness to people's needs.
We need to bring the human touch back to our hospital.
Robert Deutsch, M.D.
Age: Decline to state
Occupation: Medical doctor
Statement: I have served Alameda Hospital as medical staff president, long standing medical staff executive committee member and chairman of many medical staff and hospital committees.
I have a medical office on the campus of the hospital and take care of Alameda patients on a daily (and nightly) basis as an active member of the medical staff.
I am currently the only physician member of the health care district board.
I believe my long-standing involvement and knowledge of Alameda Hospital and its importance to the community make me a good candidate to continue to serve on the board. I have worked tirelessly to maintain the fiscal viability and high standards of our first class emergency room and hospital and will continue to do so if I am re-elected.
I recognize the financial support that the Alameda citizenry provide the hospital and I will continue to work to assure that the tax revenues are used to provide us with the best possible medical care.
Occupation: Intern pharmacist
Statement: My position may surprise you; Alameda Healthcare District must radically reorganize the services it provides. This will likely mean closing Alameda Hospital; at a minimum, the Alameda Hospital emergency room should be closed. Some people never expect to use Alameda Hospital and don't notice the $300 tax. Some view $300 as worthwhile payment for nonemergency health care services. But in a true emergency someone without the capacity or knowledge to insist on being taken to a different hospital will likely receive poorer care.
Whether it is trauma, heart attack, stroke or uncontrolled infection, Alameda Hospital provides lower quality care than larger, more skilled facilities. Being close doesn't alter that fact. This is reality. That assessment is based on the results of years of research involving hundreds of thousands of patients.
It may be painful to hear.
Occupation: Incumbent/attorney/small business owner
Statement: My name is Leah Williams. I am here to ask for your support of my candidacy to continue to represent our community on the Alameda Health Care District board of directors.
Over the past 10 months as a board member, I have worked with Alameda Hospital to create and implement wellness initiatives in our city.
First, we launched the 3B initiative, a program that provides free blood sugar, blood pressure and body mass index screenings by the hospital.
The next stage of the initiative aims to identify ways to support health and wellness in our local schools and for our youth.
Since joining the board, I have utilized my experience as an attorney and small business owner to be a responsible and effective advocate for the hospital and watch over the investment that our community makes through the parcel tax.
It would be my honor to continue to serve you.