During most of 2015 Councilman Anderson was, in his own words, “regarded as the loyal opposition” on the issue of Lakewood Hospital. (Anderson, August 25, 2016 Lakewood Democratic Club meeting)
While in this role, voters reelected Anderson to city council, and many of us were shocked when several weeks later he voted to approve a master agreement that closed Lakewood Hospital, and turned public assets over to the Cleveland Clinic.
I trust that Councilman Anderson genuinely believes he has acted consistently and honestly. If, however, his resistance to proposals for closing Lakewood Hospital was exclusively and from the beginning related to specific features of the Letter of Intent which were modified in the final Master Agreement, he was somewhat negligent in communicating his precise views on “the most challenging issue facing the city of Lakewood.” (http://media.lakewoodobserver.com/issue_pdfs/Observer_Vol_11_Issue_20.pdf)
Formal statements by Councilman Anderson of which I am aware include a statement in the Lakewood Observer, a profile provided to the League of Women Voters, an interview for cleveland.com and comments in a cleveland.com roundtable discussion:
In none of the preceding does Anderson make any particularly specific comments about any proposed or potential features of a deal to close Lakewood Hospital. He certainly did not communicate to voters that he would be comfortable voting for:
- closing Lakewood Hospital
- a no-bid sale of millions of dollars worth of public assets
- an agreement which does not oblige any specific services to be provided by a successor healthcare agency
- a restrictive covenant which limits reuse of property that remains in public hands
- a blanket release of liability for all that has gone before
I feel the imperfect process over the last couple of years has led many in our community to express a lack of confidence in the option of replacing Lakewood’s full service hospital with a Family Health Center. Many believe this is a backroom deal cloaked in secrecy. While I do not believe that, necessarily, what I do believe is that if residents’ faith and trust in the way the city conducts business erodes, then we have much more to lose than a hospital.
Did Councilman Anderson conclude at some point after writing the above that this has been fixed? Was an apology owed or made for the imperfect process, at any point?
Additionally, though a side note, I was interested to see that Anderson’s cleveland.com profile lists “Political party: None.” Given this, I suggest that in Councilman Anderson’s case there is some validity to persistent questions on this forum about the recent purge of several members of the Lakewood Democratic Club, to which he and I both belong.
Finally, I am sensitive to the risk of (further) personalizing this issue. I post this with hope that Councilman Anderson will not find it troubling, however, on the basis of his February 11, 2016 comments that "I'm cool with [citizen complaints], I'm a big boy, I can handle it." If that's no longer the case then I, at least, will definitely apologize.