Letters to the Editor

Jury is still out on the hospital project

A recent article in The Journal reported that a promoter of the PeaceHealth hospital said that the project would generate half a million in permit fees, $4 million for local contractors, $10 million in first-year revenue, 24 new jobs, and a $4 million annual payroll, to which a town councilwoman is quoted as exclaiming, "It's like Santa Claus came to town."

She seemed surprised. She should not have been. The old guy's been around.

For example, on March 19, 2009, the hospital district commissioners pledged $60 million (at least) of public money to PeaceHealth, after which, incidentally, they casually shrugged off any further responsibility for oversight of the funds.

The above is but a small fraction of all the promises and nebulous aspirations ladled on this community with $70,000 worth of mind-bending hype prior to March 19, 2009. Curiously, it all came to a screeching halt after that date (I mean, no more press releases, no more full-page colored ads in The Journal, no more "In Touch ..." mailers; pity the poor frustrated History Detectives of the future who will search in vain for issue No. 6).

Not a single one of the promises has yet been fulfilled. "Give us a chance, the hospital isn't even built yet," will say the proponents. Fair enough, but under the circumstances, wouldn't a more realistic response have been, "And visions of sugar plums danced ..."?

We'll see.

Glenn Kaufman
Friday Harbor

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