An Open Letter To The People Of Lakewood From Dennis Kucinich
I write to you as a dear friend whose community interests I looked after for many years. There is simply no legitimate justification for closing Lakewood Hospital, unless you believe the financial interest of Cleveland Clinic is superior to the public interest of the people of Lakewood in having a community hospital to call its own.
Though officials have moved ahead to make the hospital closing a done deal, the people have a right to undo the “done deal” by voting “Against” Issue 64. I urge you to do so, to stand up for Lakewood, stand up for community, stand up for 108 years of public ownership of the hospital and stand up for Lakewood’s future where young families and elderly families alike have close access to a life-saving community hospital they can call their own.
One of the most financially powerful interests in health care, The Cleveland Clinic, secretly targeted Lakewood Hospital for a takeover several years ago and set in motion a plan to make the people of Lakewood believe that Lakewood Hospital was not viable, while The Clinic deliberately cut services and moved critical health care functions to other area hospitals.
Fortunately Lakewood still has an enlightened citizenry which saw through the Clinic’s misdeeds and challenged The Clinic in court as well as at the ballot box. Your friends and neighbors have rallied courageously, not only in support of a hospital, but in support of the very idea of community, which relies on close access to medical service as a means of caring for each other.
Those fighting to save the hospital have only the interests of Lakewood at heart. In a few days we shall see whether the broad interests of the people of Lakewood will prevail or the narrow monopoly interests of Cleveland Clinic will win out. This election is ultimately about whether The Clinic runs Lakewood in its own interest or the people of Lakewood prevail in the public interest.
I have found it quite distressing that some Lakewood officials have chosen to side with The Clinic. It reminds me of when the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI) tried to steal Muny Light in Cleveland. At that time, CEI, too, had help from local officials, but the people supported Muny Light, saved it at the ballot box, and subsequently saved ratepayers and taxpayers in Cleveland hundreds of millions of dollars. I have confidence the people of Lakewood have the same capacity to see through the lies and stand up for their hospital and their community, by voting AGAINST Issue 64.
Dennis Kucinich, Member of Congress, 1997-2013.
Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.