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Wrong diagnosis for the hospital's needs

Posted: October 21, 2008 4:55 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
I was sorry to read that a doctor would label many of us as "quacks" for our deep concerns over the proposed massive expansion of office buildings and parking structures at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Dr. John Barstis (Signal letters, Oct. 14) dispels our efforts to fully comprehend this unprecedented shift in planning as merely "viciousness and disinformation."

It is unfortunate that hospital CEO Roger Seaver, his board and medical staff were not upfront with the community when they first conceived the plan more than four years ago. Much of the struggle of the last three years might well have been avoided.

The initial proposal to quintuple density at Henry Mayo was outrageous. Merely scaling it back several times doesn't make everything hunky-dory.

Do Barstis and his team fully understand the development agreement, which specifically exempts a guarantee of hospital expansion?

Where is the community benefit in that? Why would our city leaders approve such a thing?

The long-demonstrated need is for more hospital beds, operating rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit, cardiac cath lab and sufficient parking. It doesn't take a "master plan" to accomplish any of these.

Why would the city authorize building two heliports without any controls whatsoever over flight paths, uses, flight frequencies and noise monitoring?

Our local government had maintained those controls from the beginning. But it's not in the current proposal. Why?

Henry Mayo sits in the midst of a population of single-family homes far greater than any other hospital in our region. Should not our local leaders retain accountability to those thousands of residents?

Traffic studies demonstrate that reasonable development can help stem potentially horrific problems later.
How much office space can you build before you have to start bulldozing homes, businesses and trees?

While I'm just a "lay person," as the doctor accuses, I know a correct diagnosis is necessary for a successful outcome. The hospital board and its medical team need to objectively examine and understand their own plan documents.

Martha Willman


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