Apr 18, 2014
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Councilman Tom Butt

Councilman Tom Butt

In his e-forum, Richmond Councilman Tom Butt on Friday pledged his support for a parcel tax measure that supporters say will keep Doctors Medical Center from closing.

Councilman Butt:

I am urging a “Yes” vote on Measure C. For a complete impartial analysis, see here.

Without the parcel tax, Doctors Medical center will close, and the closest facility for non-Kaiser members will be either Alta-Bates in Oakland or John Muir in Walnut Creek. A closure will adversely affect services at Kaiser Richmond as well as Alta-Bates and John Muir because of additional patient loads, especially for emergencies. If you have a stroke or heart attack, you need to get to a hospital fast. In West County, an ambulance will take you to the ER at Doctors Medical Center (DMC), even if you’re a Kaiser member. But what if DMC wasn’t there anymore? 40,000 patients visit DMC’s ER every year. Where will they go? Where will you go?

Most of the arguments against are based on objections to additional taxes. This is essentially a value judgment for voters. Is a local hospital that may save your life in an emergency worth a few hundred dollars a year if you are a property owner? If you are not a property owner, the decision is easier to make because you don’t pay property taxes. It could be argued that the cost will trickle down to renters, but that’s not necessarily true. Rental rates are a function of the market and not simply the sum of the property owner’s expenses.