What’s the alternative?

Proponents of razing Lakewood Hospital and approving the Cleveland Clinic letter of intent would have us believe that there is no other option on the table. “Where’s their alternative,” they ask—though only rhetorically, because if they were actually to ask Save Lakewood Hospital they would receive an answer:

There is a viable alternative. Insist on the Clinic living up to its responsibilities.

The Cleveland Clinic signed a lease to run Lakewood Hospital, and provide specific services, through 2026. It’s now 2015; much can happen in a decade. Therefore, even setting aside serious doubts about the sincerity with which the mayor and hospital association actually tried to secure a new partner, there is no reason to assume that “there’s no alternative to the Clinic” is a final, unalterable fact.

Meanwhile, simply imagine the situation reversed. Imagine that the city of Lakewood had written to the Clinic saying “this lease isn’t working out as well as we had hoped, we need to you abandon it 11 years early and replace it with a new deal more favorable to us…” The Clinic administration would not stop laughing for several minutes. Then, they would call lawyers; by contrast, the Summers administration flatly refused an open call to sue the Clinic for evading its responsibilities. On this basis, alone, it seems unwise to regard any course led by Mayor Summers as offering any viable option for Lakewood, at all.

The reality is that we have lots of time, so long as we choose to make use of it, rather than surrendering the instant that a “crisis” is alleged in order to justify a “solution” that we don’t need right now, and may never need at all.