Nurse · Businesswoman · Veteran

for San Clemente City Council

On the Issues

A Local Hospital for San Clemente

Having worked as Director of Surgical Services at the old San Clemente Hospital, and also as Interim Director for Maternal Child Services at Palomar Escondido Hospital, I have managed budgets and run departments relevant to restarting a hospital in San Clemente.

Palomar Medical’s response to San Clemente’s RFP is a very constructive step towards getting a hospital operating in SC. I believe we can accomplish a hospital re-start with a minimum of up-front investment. Here’s a possible scenario which could be executed reliably:

  • The existing hospital building on Camino Los Mares should be returned to service ASAP, minimizing up-front construction and equipment expenses. It does show its age, but we can quickly and inexpensively rehabilitate it to functional status.
  • For a blueprint of the future, we can look to the very successful longer-term plan that Palomar has recently executed. They continued to supply uninterrupted hospital services at their old downtown Escondido location for several years, while carefully planning and then constructing their new hospital on the eastern edge of Escondido.
  • Palomar’s new hospital enlarged their market by making it more convenient for San Marcos and the other population centers to the east. For reference, Escondido is similar in population to SC+SJC+DP.
  • Our old hospital on Camino Los Mares can serve as a working hospital for some years, while permitting us to carefully plan a successor future hospital.
  • As a possible example, a successor hospital location such as northern La Pata would allow us to utilize open land, and allow easy access by the emerging population centers directly north of SC.
  • Even though some medical functions are now being met by urgent care and minor surgicenters, there is no viable non-hospital substitute to many of the functions of a hospital, with its ER, full surgical capabilities, and emergency bedspace.
  • Our local hospital was a viable business until its previous owner sequentially removed several of its most profitable aspects, including its rehab facility, infusion center, and high-tech imaging equipment. These, along with the ER and other emergency services, serve our community best and most safely when they are most local.

This is not the only practical plan for a SC hospital, but I’m presenting it as the possible nucleus of a commercially-viable business plan which could serve SC far into the future.

My Position on SONGS

So far, I have focused on the important issue of “temporary” radioactive storage next to an ocean cliff. Although the canisters are engineered to contain their contents for a considerable time, interior degradation means that over a period of years (not decades), they will become much more expensive and potentially dangerous to transport to proper storage. Time is the enemy, as a natural catastrophe, sabotage, or a transport spill will inexorably become more likely. I consider this the most urgent scenario.

There are other risks: gases must be vented to avoid danger, and the dome buildings themselves are radioactive, so we can expect low-level but long-duration releases of radiation into the atmosphere, and perhaps into the ocean. Disassembly of the reactor domes will itself cause some radioactive release, but utilizing these domes as permanent sarcophagi would prevent the segregation of radioactive components into proper storage. Proper storage means away from populations, probably in dry desert mountains without active faults, well above water tables, and avoiding ground water flow.

I support the petition seeking to fund the proposed National Academy of Sciences Research on Cancer Risks for Populations Near Nuclear Facilities. These risks are individually minor, but they are significant because of the large population exposed. It would help us, and assist our future generations, to know what these risks are. It would also make the shutdown process more transparent, and publicly-accessible monitoring data would allow us to guide and optimize the remediation.

Statement on homeless

Our street people are a problem for themselves, for us, for our businesses, and for our tourists. They’ve alternately been ignored and band-aided. That has not worked! Contracting with CityNet to provide outreach services to the homeless is not a plan or a solution. Our city’s Pico encampment didn’t work either – any time it gave us wasn’t used to develop a solution. Policing cannot currently solve the problem, because state law and the Circuit Court definitively tell us that overnight removals are only permitted if there is a local place to bring them.

Instead, utilize existing state programs and funding, along with county and nonprofits, and fix the problem professionally: basic housing – food security – diagnosis – treatment. The recent Homeless Task Force Subcommittee initiative is a promising start.
The social workers, care providers, and volunteers who are currently trying to address this have been working under a serious disadvantage – the homeless population moves around, and is hard to contact on any continuing basis. We need a small local transitional shelter, limited to 30 days. There, professionals can diagnose, triage, and assemble necessary paperwork, then send our diverse homeless to regional shelters, halfway houses, and temporary housing. In this way, the mental, physical, emotional, and financial catastrophes which have brought them to their current status can be treated.

Businesses and residents won’t have to cope with the vagrant camping, sleeping in doorways and crapping in alleys, and our homeless will have a good path forward instead of continuing to sink into hopelessness. And, our police will be able to act constructively instead of being asked to do things that are neither moral nor legal.