Ice cream given out by a hospital? Delicious irony! Of course, the real irony is that Roger Seaver is using the quintessentially small-town “ice cream social” to win favor for a hospital expansion that’s anything but. Indeed, stop by Henry Mayo on Saturday, August 9th from 2-4 to get re-introduced to the same old mega-expansion ideas…but this time with ICE CREAM.
Perhaps Roger Seaver and Andie Bogdan (HMNMH Director of Planning, Marketing, & Public Relations) are hoping for a reaction like this:
Eddie Murphy, Delirious, circa 1983
Then again, maybe things will play thusly:
RESIDENT: I heard you guys are giving out ice cream?
SEAVER: [brandishing frozen confection] We sure are! But first, I have a question for you.
RESIDENT: [quizzically] OK…
SEAVER: [sing-songy] What would you do for a Klondike bar?
RESIDENT: Uh, seriously?
SEAVER: Would you let me build some office buildings and parking structures?
RESIDENT: Yeah. OK. [takes bar]
CHORUS: For that chocolaty coated, ice-cream loaded, big and thick, no room for a stick, what would you do-o-o… [motions for cement truck to come in]
The folks at HMNMH aren't counting on the ice cream social alone, though, to earn the approval of the community. There's also a brand new website crafted to extol the virtues of a plan to expand the Henry Mayo campus.
The welcome page is absurd. Some designer had the brilliant notion of shoving an enormous face directly in our faces–literally a third of the web page is devoted to facial real estate. The comely giantess to whom the over-sized visage belongs is Charanjet Saroa, M.D., and she tells us that "Supporting this master plan will help ensure more services in a quality oriented, first class environment."
The comely giantess.After the introduction, there are five more important pages to explore!
1. "Interactive Map"
The interactivity consists of having text bubbles appear when you hover the mouse over various parts of the master plan. It looks almost identical to the last incarnation of the hospital plan we saw. I've laid out three selections below, the most recent on the right.
[sing-songy, again] All of these things are just like the others...
My favorite part is how they dealt with Parking Structure 4. This is the lot that would require the felling of our Community Holiday Tree, a conifer with whom I've conducted several interviews on the topic of hospital expansion. The sneaky artist barely outlined where lot 4 would go so you think it's been removed from the plan. But hover your mouse over the hatch-mark outline and they begrudgingly offer the truth: "If needed, this is the last parking improvement in the 15-year plan, with two subterranean levels and one on the surface. 316 spaces. This preserves the traditional 'community tree.'"
I am unappeased. The tree needs to stay, or I may just have to phone John Quigley.
2. "Environmental Impact"
Directs one here.
This was actually fairer than I expected. There were no questions like “Why does the cruel David Gauny want to keep sick little children from getting treated in nice, clean new medical office buildings?” or “Which will be more beautiful and beloved by the community: the luxuriant, expansive healing-garden-with-bench or the alluringly boxy office buildings?”. Rather, they posed and answered some questions that I have no doubt are frequently asked.
There is still evasion, though. The site says that the medical staff has formally supported the expansion, but we know of several prominent dissenters (e.g., Dr. Gene Dorio). Happily, one knows that spin is about to happen after reading the words "in fact." Case-in-point:
"Will that cause the removal of some trees?
Unfortunately, yes. But we will then be adding trees throughout the new campus, which will actually result in a net gain of trees. The entire campus, in fact, is being designed to not only meet all required environmental impact studies but to balance our need for growth with neighborhood quality of life issues such as noise, traffic and lighting..."
Yes, this project is nothing if not "balanced."
I also found this question/response rather amusing:
"Won't the enlarged campus mean additional traffic on McBean Parkway?
McBean Parkway is a major street connecting the freeway with local houses, the mall, the hospital and other businesses. As a result, traffic on McBean will likely continue to increase as our community grows regardless of what happens with the hospital..."
4. "Top 10 Reasons"
This page offers more of the same sales pitch, David Letterman style. One wonders how sincere they are about reason #1:
"The overwhelming majority of community leaders along with the medical staff of the hospital itself supports this project because they know that it is good for the community and will enhance both quality and accessibility of care."
5. "How to Support Us"
Here, the now Master-Plan-lovin' Claritan is instructed on how to give the appearance of support for the Master Plan. The tactics advocated are certainly on track--write The Signal, speak before the City Council, email Kellar et al... Remember that these avenues may also be used to oppose the project.
Thoroughly Unbiased Summary:
The Master Plan map flaunts a sequencing of improvements. For example, Medical Office Building 3 could not be occupied until construction on the new Inpatient Building has begun. We've been here before.
Being presented the same plan is tiresome.
I think we need an alternate event on August 9th. Instead of an ice cream social, let's have a tour. We could begin by asking everyone parked in HMNMH to drive on McBean at once to simulate increased traffic; Seaver could then hack down one of the dozens of stately sycamores that will have to make way for parking; next we'd walk to one of the houses just across the street and visualize what a few million more cubic-feet of concrete will look like. Last, we could leave imagining how such an over-built campus would change the feel of this part of Valencia forever.
One frightfully simple solution remains: get serious about building a second hospital in SCV.
Start your exploration here
Methinks they're missing a hyphen or two.