More questions for hospital district candidates | As I See It

Mike Buettell raises concerns about what might lie ahead with the upcoming Hospital District Commission election (“Six questions for seven candidates,” May 20, pg. 6).

He sees a contentious period of debate on the horizon and he may be right. Religion. Money. Politics.

These issues are the top three most likely to generate vitriol, and all three are potentially in the mix for the seven candidates competing for three hospital district positions.

Because this election—related to our health care—is so important to us, it may be even more than ordinarily vital that we do this right. This is not a time for unsupported claims, arguments that do not stand the tests of reason, mud slinging, and all the other things that wreck dialogue and informed voting.

I would like to thank Mike Buettell for starting us off on the right foot for a healthy debate by posing questions for the candidates. I’d like to comment on some of his ideas and add a couple of my own in the form of questions the candidates should answer.

First, Mike predicts that partisan politics will intervene in the process. I disagree. If we keep our wits about us, we can do this right. The three positions are nonpartisan. This could not be clearer.

His question about Catholic Bishops badly needs rephrasing. It assumes a fact for which no evidence is offered. It is a very “loaded” question.

Some of the questions might be developed further so candidates will understand that more than a “yes” or “no” answer is requested. “Maturity” services may be a typo. “Maternity”?

Critical questions that should be put to candidates are, “What outcomes are you aiming for that could or would be served by your election?”  What problem(s) might be solved?  If you see problems, how – specifically – would you make things better?

The following questions should be posed to candidates. Rumors are circulating on the island. Please read and consider these questions. The answers could affect every one of us:

• Do you intend to argue for litigating to break the contract between Peace Health and the Public Hospital District?

• Do you intend to recommend using taxpayer money for this litigation?

• If the contract is broken what impact would that have on the continued delivery of health care services on our island?

In the coming months we will see many issues emerge. I hope the candidates will all be presented with the opportunity to answer questions critical to the future of our health care.

Janice Peterson

San Juan Island