Opponent’s Argument Against Proposition A      Return to "News Stories about LHH and SFGH" Index
San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet
November 4, 2008

Opponent’s Argument Against Proposition A

We support SFGH’s healthcare mission; however, SFGH’s proposed rebuild project is poorly planned.

The proposed hospital sits within the fall-zone of two brick buildings built in 1915 not scheduled for seismic retrofit before 2015; a catastrophic earthquake could crush the new hospital.

After 12 years of planning, DPH rejected a rectangular design, substituting a circular design, adding $265 million to the cost.

Bed capacity is insufficient for future needs: The project adds 32 beds, increasing 19 neonatal ICU and pediatric beds, and eliminating 16 medical/surgical beds. The 2007 Lewin report cited a citywide shortage of 533 acute hospital beds by 2030, 24% below projected needs.

The project’s minimum cost is $1.7 billion, including planning; construction; debt service; and furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Property owners will be annually taxed $59 for every $100,000 of property assessments over the next 23 years. Due to a 50% pass-through clause, renters face annual $100 to $300 rent increases.

Hospitals in other jurisdictions, including San Diego, chose, and/or completed, seismic retrofits, but San Francisco inadequately explored retrofitting SFGH. DPH officials offer conflicting excuses why retrofitting to non-structural Level 2 (NPC-3) standards, a viable option, wasn’t considered.

The City’s final project report doesn’t discuss Emergency Room capacity. Estimated construction costs may reach $943 million, possibly under-funding the bond by $55.6 million, even before inevitable cost overruns. Supplemental funding will be used without voter approval. A 2008 Grand Jury Report concluded fiscal accountability and oversight of capital projects remain ongoing problems.

The 2013 deadline is man-made: Senate Bill 306 (October 2007) provides extensions to 2020. We recommend taking time to correct project flaws and increasing bed capacity.

Vote “No” on Proposition A.

George Wooding, Vice-President, West of Twin Peaks Central Council*
Mara Kopp, Good Government Alliance*

*For identification purposes only; author is signing as an individual and not on hehalf of an organization.

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