San Francisco CPMC Hospital Protest At City Hall - Mayor's Office Absent

On Friday, San Francisco City Hall got a visit from some "Angry Birds" in the form of supporters of an effort to build a new California Pacific Medical Center Hospital at Cathedral Hill. What has been described as a "complex," six-year negotiating battle, has evolved to the point where CPMC, upset that community opposition is standing in the way of job creation, called out as many people as it could collectively get it's hands on - employees, spouses and significant others of employees, and even kids - to come to San Franciso's City Hall and show support on it's steps.

What's the problem?

At issue is something called The Cathedral Hill Facility (pictured at left). What the nonprofit California Pacific Medical Center wants to do is build the $1.9 billion edifice and it wants to rebuild the St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission district, said to be "aging."

But the sticking point, according to The San Francisco Examiner, is that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has asked for $108 million from the CPMC to mitigate impacts to affordable housing and traffic, and asked the CPMC to contribute $34 million a year in charity care benefits to lower-income patients, in addition to its contribution of $86 million in 2009. CPMC says the Mayor's proposal is not feasible for their cost / revenue structure.

At the protest, the supporters, like Steve Falk, the CEO of The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, as you can see in the video, talked about the jobs that would be provided with the new hospital. This need not be a "complex" issue: unemployment, at over 10 percent in most Bay Area counties, and just over 8 percent in San Francisco, is a problem. And under-employment, where people just take a job to make money, rather than earning what they need for a proper existence, is an even larger, yet insanely not officially documented problem.

If you think about it, we have people who are well-paid, making decisions that impact people who aren't well paid. It's easy for someone to screw around when it's their goose that's not being cooked.

Mayor's Office Unresponsive

During Friday's protest, this blogger made a quick walk over to the San Francisco Mayor's Office, expecting that someone would be able to offer a statement. What I got was weird for a Mayor's Office.

Now, I like Ed Lee, always have, so this is not personal. But he can correct it.

I walked into an environment where there were five guys at the desks, two on the phones, two others talking to staffers, and the fifth person reading. Two of the men got off phones, and one of them looked at me and said "You can talk to anyone of us." So I asked to get a statement on the protest going on, outside.

Such a request is a matter of routine for a Mayor's Office to handle. It takes a few seconds, and a savvy office would already have a one-sheet ready for the press, upon request. Not so here; the man said "They're all out to lunch. You need an appointment."

Wow. That's a new one. No offer to call the spokesperson - nothing. I didn't waste time - I left the office, and made note of the encounter on the video.

And why can't the Mayor's Office get any women in there? In all of my years that's the first time I've seen a totally-male-staffed Mayor's Office main greeting room. They got something against women?

But I digress.

The Mayor and San Francisco Supervisor David Campos are doing business-as-usual in a weak economy. It's a time of budget cuts, layoffs, and shrinking spending. To stem that tide of economic shrinkage, the Mayor and the Supervisor should give a little more than they have thus far.

Stay tuned.
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