Monday, August 18, 2008

Happenings: HMNMH Opinioning

The Signal presented a pair of opinion pieces on Sunday, one by David Gauny[1] and the other by Tim Myers[2]. The two articles elicited three reactions: righteous support (Gauny), half-hearted dismay (Gauny), and vertigo mixed with annoyance (Myers).

Righteous Support
Gauny’s article cleanly summarizes the antics of HMNMH, G&L Realty, and the SCV City Council to date. He touches on all the troubling elements of the planned expansion. There’s the problem of high-density building in an area zoned residential low; the problem of no written commitment to expand the hospital; and the problem of G&L Realty buying a pro-building vote on Council. The facts are given accurately and succinctly. For those wanting to get refreshed on the hospital issue before City Council discussion resumes, it will prove useful reading.

Half-hearted Dismay
Near the end of his piece, though, Gauny writes “Here is what we [SmartGrowthSCV] propose”, after which four “demands” are made. The four-part proposal is far too generous, asking only for a slightly shorter inpatient building, more parking, more commitment to centers of excellence, and approval of two of the three planned medical office buildings.

I know that even these modest demands might be more than G&L/Roger Seaver are willing to agree to. Still, I'd prefer to see the community demand a far less dense building program unless Seaver & Co. can firmly commit to building us a bigger, better hospital. It only stands to reason that if we're going to be burdened with over-building, heavier traffic, and years of construction, we ought to be compensated with a genuinely excellent hospital, not just office buildings for dentists and chiropractors.

Vertigo Mixed with Annoyance
Then we come to the Myers piece. I thought it was supposed to function as a counterpoint to the previous perspective but it didn't quite do that. Instead, the piece moves from the subject of law school to Henry Mayo to mortgages to David Gauny and back again[3]. It does this maneuvering with all the grace of an obese, one-legged ballerina dancing on a slippery floor.

As best as I can tell, the goal of the clunky pile of words was to attack David Gauny. However, Myers was equipped with frightfully little ammunition, just that Gauny had worked in the now-maligned mortgage industry[4]. Does that even count as ammunition? In any case, Myers' contribution to the current debate is the assertion that Gauny has played "the game" just like G&L has, and that's just the way things are.

We recognize the Henry Mayo master plan is not the biggest issue in Santa Clarita. It deals with a few buildings in a community that has a few thousand other buildings to worry about. Problems posed by the master plan may be dwarfed by water shortages, rapid population increases, the decision over new bus stop color schemes, and other challenges looming in the near future.

Still, the Henry Mayo issue is going to be discussed in SCV for the foreseeable future, and I think it deserves to be. For while it's not our biggest issue in and of itself, the master plan represents things most Claritans care about. Are we a city that will do anything for developers? How does our City Council broker compromise in complicated matters? Most fundamentally, how are we going to grow, and what prices are we willing to pay for this growth?

[1]Read it here
[2]Read it here
[3]Myers normally writes much better, and I too can write as crappily as he did. Still, there's no getting around the fact that it's bad, a fact made all the worse by Myers' condascending, I'm-the-bigger-person "forgiveness" of Gauny at the end of the article.


Musashi said...

Hello Santa Claritan,

Are you male? If yes, are you single? If yes, will you go on a date with me? We can row around the Bridgeport Lake!

A Santa Claritan said...

Hi Musashi,

I'd love to row around Bridgeport Lake with you, but I'm afraid we'd be attacked by Noyaca, the lake monster of Bridgeport.

--Kojiro, I mean...Santa Claritan

SCVoice said...

As usual, your review of this issue is correct. Cleverly placed suggestions like "up to 120 beds" are also used to hide facts in evidence in this matter. That's why people should look at the contracts for themselves and stop with personal hit pieces.

We've seen smears in the election process, threats against certain doctors at HM, and a general unwillingness to 'fess up on the facts about this plan.

Where there's smoke...

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