Burying The Hospital Alive
In December 2015, Lakewood City Council rushed the vote to close Lakewood Hospital. They called extra council meetings to pass this "emergency" measure because the seven members of City Council believed that the $50 million Lakewood Hospital Foundation was about to go bankrupt.
The same "hurry up" scenario is playing out right now. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 2, Mayor Summers asked that City Council appoint the advisory committee for the new Health and Wellness Foundation by the end of May or at the latest, the middle of June. A lively discussion ensued about who and how to appoint to this committee. In addition, council showed a rare solicitousness to the citizens of Lakewood by discussing how to determine the health care needs in Lakewood. Council went so far as to bring up paying for an objective survey not sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic.
Should Council not challenge themselves to maintain this same solicitousness to the voters by waiting until November to hear what the voters say about the future of Lakewood Hospital before council acts on this Health and Wellness Foundation? All these discussions will be moot if the voters decide to reject the ordinance that closed Lakewood Hospital. In the event of that occurrence there would be no need for the Health and Wellness Foundation because the Lakewood Hospital Foundation would be intact.
There are so many other issues that our city council needs to tackle before spending time planning a foundation that may never materialize. The numerous council hours spent discussing this foundation translate into wasted tax dollars and council hours being devoted to an outcome that voters could very well reject. Let's not put the cart ahead of the horse. Let the voters have their say on the referendum in November before devoting valuable city time deciding who gets to run a foundation.
Bonnie Sikes is a Lakewood resident.