The Coastal Post - August, 1996

Two Members Of Hospital Board On Recall Ballot

BY JOAN REUTINGER

Over 15,000 voters signed for a recall measure of Dr. Larry Bedard and Paul Lofholm from the Board of Marin General Hospital. They signed after hearing that Dr. Bedard provides emergency services to the hospital, and that Paul Loftholm (who is incidentally the owner of Ross Valley Pharmacy) leases space in the hospital and provides contract services to the hospital. In both cases a clear conflict of interest.

Only 11,439 voter signatures were required to place the recall on the November ballot, but voters were obviously incensed that people who were making a profit from the hospital board, however weak that board may be, should be making money from it.

Dr. Diana Parnell, the board chairwoman, said that it was an "unpleasant task" for her to place the names on the ballot, but she obviously saw the handwriting on the wall. Recall elections are always an unpleasant task, but the Coastal Post supports the recall.

The Marin Safe Healthcare Coalition, led by Dr. William Rothman, said that he was sorry the directors were "offended by democracy." The Coalition has been asking for the recall for some time. Dr. Bedford comes up for re-election in November, as he has served on the board for four years. Lofholm has only served two years. An opponent of the two men said they should have resigned when this conflict of interest first came up.

The cost of the election, which is $50,000, is not going to be borne by the taxpayers, as the Coalition intimated. It is going to be taken from the $1.5 million a year the California Healthcare System pays in rent to the district for its lease.