We’re so glad that the Mercury News truly understands Valley Medical Center, as their lead editorial today urging a YES vote on Measure A clearly demonstrates:
“When Silicon Valley residents go to a hospital, they expect to receive quality care utilizing the latest advances in technology. That holds true at Valley Medical Center today. But it won’t five years from now unless Santa Clara County voters approve Measure A…” Read the full story here.
Also today in the Merc, our pal Sal Pizarro shared his thoughts on our 20th Anniversary Gala…and I’ll share mine: A HUGE SUCCESS! I cannot thank everyone enough for the work and support and sponsorships that made “Dancing On Top of the World” so much fun, but a few that we really must:
Our friend Chris Johnson took lots of great photos*, which you will see soon in all the papers, but Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme did too: www.psrt.com/vmc Check ’em out! We danced the night away thanks to David Dumont’s Li’l Big Band, and our volunteers kept things running smoothly – except the program, which I sort of torpedoed because, frankly, everyone was having too much fun to stop and listen to a speech.
Still, it would have been fun to tell the story of our founding, and thank the founders that were in the room: Brenna Bolger, Dr. Bob Violante, Susie Wilson, Gerry Beemiller, and Peggy Fleming-Jenkins and Greg Jenkins. Thanking John and Sue Sobrato and singing “Happy Birthday” to our board chair, Leah Toeniskoetter, would have been fun too. Instead, you got to read this, and also Sal’s column:
Pizarro: Valley Medical Center supporters kick up their heels at 20th anniversary gala
By Sal Pizarro Mercury News
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Valley Medical Center Foundation wanted its annual fundraising gala to be a truly special event. Saturday night’s “Dancing on Top of the World” certainly qualified on that account.
More than 400 people in black-tie and evening gowns flocked to the beautiful, chateau-like home of Chandra and Narpat Bhandari in the Los Gatos hills, where they took in sweeping views of Silicon Valley and danced the night away in a gorgeous ballroom to the sounds of David Dumont’s Lil’ Big Band.
Guests were spread throughout several rooms and the grounds for dinner, so there were new faces to greet every time you walked into a room. I didn’t run into some people until the evening’s end, when everyone was waiting at the great common denominator: the line for the shuttle to get back down the hill.
Chris Wilder, the VMC Foundation’s executive director, made a really smart call (suggested, I’m told, by John and Sue Sobrato) to cancel the program and auction portion of the night so as not to interrupt the fun, lively vibe.
But I know what Wilder would have told the crowd if they had been herded into the estate’s grand ballroom: The lack of organized opposition to Measure A, the $840 million bond measure to seismically retrofit Valley Medical Center, doesn’t mean the hospital’s supporters should be complacent. The crowded November ballot means getting positive word out about the measure is more important than ever.
*The one above features Saratoga City Councilmember and Santa Clara Family Health Foundation Exec. Director Kathleen King, Heffernan Insurance’s Joseph Talmadge, TBI Development’s and VMC Foundation Chair Leah Toeniskoetter, and County Supervisor Ken Yeager.
Starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, I figured this Rob Reiner-directed flick would be well-acted, but shallow. Wrong! A poignient film with lots of good messages, I enjoyed it from start to finish.
Friends, I just had to share this fantastic photo of Valley Medical Center’s “new main” hospital. New, of course, in 1965. That’s when we’re quite sure this was taken. You car buffs can probably tell me if that’s correct.
Today’s Mercury News has done it, yet again. The alert reader of this blog is used to seeing us point out that the Newspaper of Silicon Valley does us proud…seems like every week there’s at least one feature on why WE ALL NEED VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER.
How about two at once? First, today’s lead editorial describing the crisis of Santa Clara County having so few hospital beds…and how much worse it could get. The Merc reminds us how we “lost San Jose Medical Center’s 302 beds in 2004, when the corporate owner realized it could not afford to rebuild or retrofit the facility to meet state seismic standards. If Los Gatos Community Hospital’s 143 beds disappear next spring, the shortage during a disaster could be serious.”
They go on to describe the $840M bond measure to bring VMC to seismic compliance – Measure A, of course. Read the whole thing here – it’s an excellent editorial.
Second, a super front page story on childhood obesity, and how the family unit is the key to kids eating healthy. Kudos to Dr. Dan Delgado and his Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center, funded in part by the VMC Foundation and our generous donors like the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation, Kaiser, and others. Check it out here…it’s a reminder that VMC is not just about making you well when you’re sick: It’s about keeping you healthy in the first place.
And keeping VMC here, open, with all 524 licenced beds intact, is crucial for the health of Silicon Valley. Spread the word!
Friends, it’s now official: Santa Clara County voters will get a chance to save Valley Medical Center in November. “Measure A” was enthusiastically brought to life two days ago by our county board of supervisors, who hope that voters will pass this bond measure.
If they do, it will raise $840,000,000 to replace VMC’s seismically unsafe buildings, which would bring us in line with California law. This will save our trama center, our burn center, and over HALF of our 574 beds.
If they don’t, we’re all in a bit of a pickle.
More on this later, but the other big news that came that day is that County Executive Pete Kutras has announced his retirement, effective Halloween this year. For those of you who know Pete, you know how passionate he is about Valley Medical Center and how supportive he’s been over the years.
If you share that passion and would like to try your hand at running a county, send your resume. Just kidding. Here’s more on Pete – and the new “Measure A” – from the SJ Mercury News:
County Executive Kutras stepping down
By Deborah Lohse
Mercury NewsArticle Launched: 06/24/2008 07:12:02 PM PDT
County Executive Pete Kutras, a fixture of Santa Clara County government for more than three decades, announced Tuesday he was retiring on Halloween.
Supervisors and county officials were quick to praise Kutras, 59, known for his droopy mustache, love of the county and unapologetic, unpolitical and sometimes unbending style.
The news surfaced during a busy board meeting Tuesday as supervisors voted on three key issues: They put an $840 million bond measure on the November ballot to upgrade Valley Medical Center; approved spending $1 million to enhance the county fairgrounds despite its uncertain future; and moved forward with a controversial plan to add 24 beds to the juvenile rehabilitation facility William F. James Ranch in Morgan Hill.
The board unanimously backed the bond measure, touting it as a way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars toward the $1.4 billion cost of fortifying the Valley Medical Center against earthquakes as required by state law. About 6 percent of the bond money would be used to build urgent care centers in downtown San Jose.
Voters will be asked in November to approve the bonds, which would be repaid through increased property taxes. If passed, homeowners with median-priced homes of $650,000 would see their property taxes go up about $90 a year, proponents said. But without the bond and extra tax revenue, they argued, the county would have to close more than half its urgent-care beds and the trauma centers.
The proposal will require approval from two-thirds of voters in November to pass.
The increase in beds for the James Ranch passed on a 3-to-2 vote, and will bring capacity to 84 youths at a time. Proponents say the new beds are needed because the county’s Juvenile Hall is bulging with kids. Many of those youths are waiting for space to open at the ranch, which supporters say emphasizes “pro-social values” rather than punitive treatment.
But dissenters Blanca Alvarado and Pete McHugh had hoped to persuade the board to consider focusing on other alternatives, such as prevention or intervention programs that keep kids out of jail.
Amid the weighty decisions, the news of the departure of Kutras – county executive for the last five years – was considered a blow.
“It will be a long time before we can find anyone who can match his love of the county, and his skills,” said an emotional Alvarado.
County union leader Brian O’Neill said Kutras has been open and straightforward with members. “We really treasure that,” said O’Neill.
Supervisor Ken Yeager said he grew to appreciate Kutras’ straightforward style. “Pete was able to get away with it because it’s a big organization and he loved what the county’s mission was all about. You didn’t questions his motives.”
Kutras said he doesn’t plan to look for a job in his retirement, but may volunteer or get involved with the community in 2009.
Before that, he said, “I’m going to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m going to clean my garage.”
Contact Deborah Lohse at email@example.com or (408) 295-3983.
Folks, June 11 was a day to make you proud to live in Santa Clara County…or make you wish you did. All five county supervisors voted to place an initiative on the November ballot that, if passed, would raise the money to re-build Valley Medical Center!
The alert reader will remember that VMC has seismically-unsafe portions that account for half its beds – a big problem even if state law didn’t mandate that we replace them…which it does. Did you miss the Editorial in last Sunday’s Mercury News? Read it here, now…
All done? Great. So today, the county supervisors made it clear: This is crucial, we MUST save VMC, and the voters should, in November, support this measure which will raise $840,000,000 in bonds to rebuild the oldest parts of our fantastic public hospital. Like the editorial said, this is a dire situation.
Our county elected officials and county executive are leading on this, and there is one more public hearing on the matter coming up on June 24. If you’re interested in coming, and want more detail, I’d be happy to talk your ear off on the matter: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can give you the facts – and hopefully, get you as excited about this milestone as I am. How would you like to live in the community recognized nationally as America’s BEST public hospital?
That choice is coming, and today we’re one step closer. The alternative? WAY too scary to contemplate.