Measure C: An easy decision for hospital users | SierraSun.com

Measure C: An easy decision for hospital users

Jim Porter

I have had my share of health issues this year ” all manageable, but something new for me. I’m spending way too much time in Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Getting old has its drawbacks ” as they say. And I’m only 61 ” still a kid.

My occasional stays at Tahoe Forest Hospital are all positive. The personal attention I get is remarkable. They don’t even seem to mind that I’m a lawyer. The nurses are real pros; so are the docs. Without exception their diagnoses have been right on.

“Looks like you need another lobotomy Mr. Porter. Seems we didn’t quite get it all last time.”

If there is a shortcoming, it is some of the older facilities and equipment. For example, if you have ever been in the ER, there is very little privacy. It’s a big open room with all-so-thin curtains.

“OK Jim, tell me more about that colon problem you’re having. Spare no details.”

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(You know where this is going ” a pitch in support of Measure C).

Fortunately one of the few departments I haven’t frequented is the cancer center, headed up by the renowned Dr. Larry Heifetz. While Dr. Heifetz is a godsend to our region, the facility is inadequate.

But the most serious issue facing the hospital, of which you are probably aware, is the state-mandated seismic upgrades ” due by 2013.

Leave it to our legislature to pass laws willy-nilly mandating costly hospital upgrades with nary a penny of support.

Without seismic upgrades, our labor and delivery rooms and other departments in the older portion of the hospital will have to close.

“Oh my goodness [or worse], my contractions are coming every 45 seconds. Don’t just stand there. Do something. I think I have 20 minutes before the baby’s coming. Get the car.”

“OK honey I understand, let’s drive to Reno. We may make it. If not, maybe there will be a doctor gambling at Boomtown.”

All of that can be avoided by passing Measure C, a general obligation bond ” with mail-in ballots going out to registered voters in the hospital district. A two-thirds vote is necessary, which is no easy feat.

The average cost per household is $9 per $100,000 of assessed value, and of course, assessed value is typically much lower than market value. We’ve owned our home for awhile and our assessed value is one quarter of the market value. It’s a small price for a huge benefit.

And unlike some taxes we pay, this money stays local ” for hospital facility upgrades, including the required seismic retrofits of the 1966 building.

A generally unknown advantage for us locals is that we receive a multiplier effect on our Measure C tax payments because there are so many second homeowners in our area. We get a lot of bang for our buck.

Having a first-rate hospital is akin to having top-notch schools ” they bring benefit and value to our community. And you never know when you just might be visiting the hospital.

This is an easy decision. Return your mail-in ballot with a YES vote and encourage your friends to do the same.