City Officials turn to Media Suppression, Purges as Vote Against 64 Gains Momentum

Lakewood Hospital still Stands, Unaffected by Planned Demotion

For Immediate Release —

Seeking to recapture flagging support for Issue 64, city officials have scheduled the demolition of a medical office building next to Lakewood Hospital for the campaign’s final weeks. The site is to house a smaller facility owned by the Cleveland Clinic, eventually, as part of a deal by which the Clinic broke an agreement to operate Lakewood Hospital until 2026. Opponents of the deal point out that the demolition’s timing, months after the last occupants left the medical office building, looks like an obvious attempt to confuse voters.

“The city bigwigs are hoping that a few folk will see that building knocked over and think oops, it’s too late, let’s just give up on real healthcare,” says Save Lakewood Hospital vice-chair Tom Monahan.

As Monahan points out, Lakewood’s hospital facilities are all on the opposite side of the Belle-Detroit intersection, and ready to continue serving the community when voters reject Issue 64. “Our hospital is a good facility in a great market,” Monahan says, “which is why the Clinic demanded a noncompete clause on the site. Defeating Issue 64 will lift that restriction and restore full rights to our own property.”

Meanwhile, city officials and their allies have already resorted to extraordinary steps as public opposition to Issue 64 swells. In September, advocates of 64 purged several of the deal’s opponents just hours before a Lakewood Democratic Club endorsement vote, although the club still declined to endorse Issue 64. More recently, the Lakewood Observer’s publisher Jim O’Bryan reported that the newspaper’s October 11 issue was refused entry to city hall. The move follows a recent editorial in which O’Bryan called on Lakewood to vote against 64.

Desperate and reckless, city officials are now counting on the demotion to secure their deal’s future, even as a majority vote against 64 may strike it down and bring a windfall of over $278 million dollars back to the community.  More and more Lakewood Citizens are literally displaying their opposition to the plan that closed Lakewood hospital as  “Vote Against 64” yard signs pop up across the community like dandelions.

Against Issue 64 signs
Arthur Avenue in Lakewood, October 2016

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Kevin Young
Media Relations
Save Lakewood Hospital Committee