Necessity for a referendum, explained

Citizens’ petitions for a referendum on the planned closure of Lakewood Hospital have been delivered to the Board of Elections. Some inside (and outside) City Hall continue to oppose the idea of a citizen vote on this issue, meanwhile; one petitioner has offered a thoughtful explanation via The Lakewood Observer:

Throughout 2015 Lakewood officials encouraged us to have faith in their handling of Lakewood Hospital. They did so in general terms, often, insisting e.g. on their “due diligence” before finally endorsing a proposal to board up the city’s hospital. But they also made some very specific promises about their obligations as public servants.

In a May 22 letter to MetroHealth, Councilman Ryan Nowlin wrote that “We are… evaluating the nonbinding proposal advanced by the Lakewood Hospital Association and the Cleveland Clinic, and we must do so with respect to any other proposals as well.” Council, wrote Nowlin, was “perfectly free to consider any proposals regarding the future of healthcare in Lakewood, and indeed we are obligated to do so as community stewards if such a proposal is presented.” [Emphases added]

Around the same time, Mayor Summers wrote that “I am duty-bound as mayor to explore every option available” to keep our community-owned hospital operating.

Based on these statements (and a hospital still open after months of warnings), Lakewood went into an election assured that if any possibility existed to keep the city’s hospital, then incumbent leaders would embrace it.

They didn’t.

Read the rest at The Observer.

Why Lakewood Hospital is not St. Michael’s

Alongside the questions asked of Dennis Kucinich by journalists, at his press conference on Monday, a handful of attendees demanded “what about St. Michael’s?” Fifteen years ago, St. Michael’s Hospital in Slavic Village also faced closure, before a community effort aided by then-Congressman Kucinich intervened. The “Miracle on Broadway” resulted in a sale to University Hospitals, which spent several million dollars renovating St. Michael’s.

Yet, three years later, in December 2003 St. Michael’s closed its doors for good.

It is often remarked that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” and St. Michael’s does offer some lessons with relevance for Lakewood. These do not, however, include “give up, don’t fight for the hospital, it will only delay the inevitable.”

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