February 2024

Vote to Save Watsonville Community Hospital for All of Us

When my 5-year-old son gouged his head on a park bench, we sat outside Dominican Hospital’s emergency room for four hours waiting to be treated.

I’m not complaining. I understand things take time and there were higher priorities than a face that needed seven stitches. But as I waited, I would have paid anything to jump ahead of the line.

I think of that when I see that the struggling Watsonville Hospital is asking for a $116 million bond measure to keep its emergency room and bring its services to the highest level possible. The money will come from South County homeowners at a rate of $24 a year for every $100K for which their homes are valued.

It’s not a bad request even at a time when dollars are hard to come by. The value we’d get as a community is worth far more.

How many times have your lives and health been saved in a local emergency room? Mine has been more than a few times and I’m grateful for the work they did every time. I wouldn’t be writing this without the nurses and doctors who treated me. I’d bet most of you have also been there and done that.

The numbers are staggering: 32,000 people came through the emergency department in Watsonville, a number that is now inching toward 35,000, according to a great article by Todd Guild in Good Times Jan. 3.

That’s compared to 52,000 at Dominican Hospital and 60,000 visits at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

The idea of losing that South County life-saving service is frightening and should be enough to convince you to vote for the bond during the March 5 primary election.

Some other benefits of the bond include the purchase of the building, saving $3 million of rent; and expanding the building for additional state-of-the-art services, making it a top hospital.

You don’t have to wait to vote in person.

County election guides will be mailed out to all active voters by Feb. 5. Some 90 percent of voters mail back those ballots. In person voting starts then at two locations, the County Clerk’s office and the Watsonville City Clerk’s office. On Feb. 24 three more locations open, the Scotts Valley Library, Temple Beth El and the community room at the sheriff’s office. On March 2, 13 more locations open and four more on March 5. There are fewer locations than the 140 in the past, but there are more days to vote.

Thanks for reading,

Brad Kava,
Editor and Publisher

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