Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 17, 2012

You asked, they answered: Leland Traiman, Hospital Board candidate

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

1. Under what circumstances do you think the Healthcare District should be dissolved, and what process would you use to determine whether or not to pursue that course of action.

Alamedans voted to create the hospital district because they wanted emergency services on the Island. The first order of business is to ask, “Are we fulfilling that obligation?” I do not believe we are and we need to look at where the current Board is failing and assess if the problem can be fixed and, if it can be fixed, how to fix it.

Alameda Hospital should remain opened only if it can provide appropriate and safe emergency services to our citizens. The current Board has so mismanaged the hospital it is not possible to tell, at this time, if that is possible.

If the hospital closed, I would want all parcel tax money to be sequestered until the voters decided. The voters created the hospital district and it is the voters who must decide if they wanted to dissolve the hospital district and have the funds returned to the taxpayers or, if they wished to continue, at a reduced rate, to fund other emergency services to quickly transport people off of the island to surrounding hospitals. This could mean emergency helicopter services or other solutions arrived at in consultation with the county and other hospitals.

2. Explain your understanding of the challenges currently facing the Health Care district.

The failure of the current Board to keep faith with the citizens of Alameda is the most significant challenge of Alameda Hospital. Our emergency services are inadequate and need to brought up to 21st Century standards or if that is not possible then, for the safety of our citizens, close the hospital.

Failings of the current Board

  • The hospital has lost $2 million this year alone
  • is selling off property in trust to pay its bills
  • Bank of America has stopped extending them credit
  • the Board refused to deal with its earthquake retrofit problem until the state threatened to close down the hospital
  • they failed to seek certification to care for stroke emergencies until the county blocked any stroke emergencies from being taken there.
  • there is significant conflict of interest on the Board which it refuses to address. Our Board allows Alameda Hospital Board members to do business with Alameda Hospital. Taxpayers give $6 million/year to Alameda Hospital. Board members should represent the public, not their own business interests.

3. How does your experience directly apply to the job of a hospital boardmember?

Occupation: Registered Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner, Fertility Specialist, Legal Consultant

Relevant experience:

  • Library Board of Trustee, 8 years – This was an administrative Board which ran the library and not simply an advisory board.
  • Director and owner of a medical fertility practice for 18 years.
  • Drafted property tax law, created the concept of square footage taxation with the Library Relief Act of 1980.
  • Helped draft legislation for two current members of the California Legislature.
  • Domestic Partnership Task Force- Chairperson, wrote the first Domestic Partnership policy enacted into law in 1984.

4. What are the top three objectives you would would like accomplish if you are elected?

  1. End the current conflict of interest so that no Boardmember will have a financial relationship with the district.
  2. Improve emergency service to current 21st Century standards. If that is not possible then the voters must be asked if they wish to dissolve the hospital district.
  3. If emergency services can be brought up to standards only with a significant increase in revenue then we must put an upgraded hospital parcel tax on the ballot. Our current parcel tax is regressive with multimillion dollar corporations, such as Safeway and the Oakland Raiders’ corporate headquarters on Bay Farm Island, paying the same $298 dollars per year as small homeowners and small business owners. This is wrong. A restructured progressive tax could bring in significantly more money while, at the same time, significantly cut the tax of the average homeowner.

5. What issues have you been directly involved in with relation to the hospital? What was the outcome?

When the hospital district was first proposed, the original proposal was a property tax based on the value of property. I contacted the Director of the hospital and told him that such a proposal was illegal and that, unfortunately, Proposition 13 strictly prohibited new taxes based on value. The Director did not believe me because, “You are not even an attorney but only a nurse.”

Of course, when the district proposal was given to County Counsel, the attorneys who advise Alameda County, they said I was correct. Then I suggested a progressive property tax based on the square footage formula I had worked out in 1980. Unfortunately, that proposal was ignored and our current flat rate of $298 per parcel was adopted. This regressive taxation is wrong and benefits the 1% at the expense of the 99% of us because multimillion dollar corporations, such as Safeway and the Oakland Raiders’ corporate headquarters on Bay Farm Island, paying the same $298 dollars per year as small homeowners and small business owners.

6. As an elected official what is your specific role in promoting civic engagement as opposed to staff’s role?

Elected officials must reach out and speak with citizens about their health care need and what they want from Alameda Hospital. All elected officials, regardless of position, must speak out against how corporate money and corporate personhood is distorting our democracy. This is true even on the local level as well as the state and federal levels. Many of Alameda’s elected officials attained office with out of town funds from corporations and large developers and this must stop. I do not believe that “corporations are people” and their influence at all levels of government, even our hospital board, must stop.

7. Who is funding your campaign and which groups and individuals have endorsed your candidacy?

The incumbents have well heeled political connections to fund their campaigns. The current Board made sure most people would be discouraged from even running to challenge them because, just to submit a ballot statement, would cost a candidate $1,847. (In contrast, filing a ballot statement to run for the Alameda School Board is free.) As a result, you can read about me here and on my web site ( http://traimanforhospitalboard.webs.com ) but I could not afford to submit a ballot statement.

I am an independent citizen, who like a lot of voters, is “mad-as-hell” at the conflict of interest and inadequate oversight of the current Board who are running Alameda Hospital into the ground. Given my experience as a nurse, health care manager, my legal experience drafting health care and property tax legislation, and lobbying our state legislature (as a volunteer, NOT as a paid lobbyist) for changes in our health laws, I believe I can make the necessary changes needed to protect the health of Alameda’s citizens and make sure Alameda Hospital runs safely and efficiently.

7 Comments

  1. Rather impressive, I’d say! This man actually seems to have a grasp of the issues & a plan to fix them. And perhaps the experience to do so.

    Comment by vigi — September 17, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  2. Just to get a perspective on Mr. Traiman: http://alameda.patch.com/articles/op-ed-measure-a-is-a-fraud

    Comment by dodo — September 17, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  3. Traiman, along with Vigi, are the folks perpetrating the recall Bonta fraud that is based on false information and disingenuous intent. Hardly a reasoned individual of integrity that our community deserves to have represent us.

    Comment by jkw — September 17, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  4. Remember when Traiman made other erroneous, non-factual accusations in our community? That was awesome: https://laurendo.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/claim-check/

    Comment by jkw — September 17, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  5. JKW

    We all know Measure A was for the Kids…….Just another Duece dropped on the people. Speaking of disingenuous intent.

    Comment by John — September 17, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  6. I just wanted to clarify because I received a question off-line about the reference to the Library Board and the Library Relief Act of 1980, from what I understand the references to the Library Board and this parcel tax are not about Alameda’s Library Board or any Alameda Library parcel tax, but Berkeley’s Library Board and parcel tax.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  7. Comment #6 is correct. I served on the Berkeley Library Board, an administrative board like our hospital board, which actually ran the library and set policy. During my tenure we approved the architectural designs and hired the architect to gut and totally rebuild our main library, interviewed and hired a new Library Director, and planned the Berkeley Library’s Centennial Celebration. I was on that board for 8 years, 2 years as the chairperson. Unlike the Berkeley Board, the Alameda Library Board is only an advisory board to the city council. The law which I was the major author of, The Library Relief Act of 1980, was for the Berkeley Public Library. 32 years later the Library Relief Act is still in effect and brings in millions of dollars to the Berkeley Public Library each year. It was the first progressive property tax to legally circumvent the restriction of Proposition 13 which had just passed 2 years earlier. My square footage design for a property tax has now been copied by many communities throughout California. Unfortunately, instead of using it as a progressive tax some communities, such as Alameda, has taken the concept and used it as a regressive tax, causing low and middle income people to pay more that large corporations.

    Comment by Leland Traiman — September 24, 2012 @ 11:36 am


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