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Hospital chose its own fate

Posted: January 31, 2009 10:25 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2009 4:59 a.m.
Regarding The Signal's Jan. 17 article, "Hospital Officials Move On With Plans," I would like to clarify a misrepresentation about my position on the lawsuit the city now faces due to its reckless approval of the G&L/Henry Mayo "campus expansion plan."

The article opened with the following paraphrase: "David Gauny, founder of the grass-roots organization Smart Growth SCV, said he wants nothing to do with the two organizations" suing the city in this case.

While it is true that I am not involved in this lawsuit, the wording has led many to believe that I reject the valid concerns of these litigants and the merits of their case - both are patently false.

I chose not to pursue this matter for myriad reasons but I will say plainly that the hospital's current fate is a direct result of bad-faith dealing from its leadership and lobbyists.

Such dealings were the original reason for Smart Growth SCV's dogged questioning of the plan's objectives and, ultimately, the failure of a potential agreement that could have saved it from any lawsuit.

Smart Growth SCV worked in good faith, sincerely hoping that an expanded hospital could be achieved and a lawsuit avoided.

But rather than make good on our potential agreement to strengthen their commitments and reduce impacts, the hospital leaked our discussion and sabotaged our efforts.

Why? Because G&L wants its entitlements without further commitments to hospital expansion. Arrogance, ego, and avarice are the reasons for our hospital's lawsuit, not the new groups that have materialized to demand accountability.

As a result, a very flawed project is now under a microscope. A 1.2-million-square-foot project should never have been approved in a Residential Low zone without a "clear and substantial" benefit (the uncommitted in-patient building), and our city had no business using public funds to "buy out" G&L's nagging problem of eminent domain at the site's main entrance.

City staff's altering of process, legal definitions and city codes over several years in order to accommodate the plan also deserves to be challenged.

By burying massive circulation problems for a future council and unsuspecting public to address later, they compromised hospital access and shoved huge mitigation costs to taxpayers, rather than G&L Realty, where they belonged.

Smart Growth SCV fought to eliminate such manipulation, as well as bias from bought council seats and the "bait and switch" tactics pulled on our public.

I will never berate any group that seeks a better precedent and foundation for future development in our city.

It was hospital CEO Roger Seaver who derailed what he called a "do-able" agreement in principle, apparently as one final favor for G&L. Just how many more donated hospital dollars will be foolishly wasted for their empty promises?

It bothers me that our public is the loser in a protracted lawsuit, but the fault lies with a hospital leadership that claimed health care was the primary goal here. That, too, was patently false.


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