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Three of the five candidates for Sequoia Healthcare District board want to dissolve the agency [Palo Alto Daily News, Calif. :: ]
[August 16, 2014]

Three of the five candidates for Sequoia Healthcare District board want to dissolve the agency [Palo Alto Daily News, Calif. :: ]

(Palo Alto Daily News (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 16--An incumbent and two challengers in the race for three seats on the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors say they want to dissolve the district, which originally was established to build and operate Sequoia Hospital.

The hospital is now run by Dignity Health, formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West, which took over in 1996. Since then, millions of tax dollars collected for the district have been used to finance local health programs.

Incumbent Jack Hickey, a board member since 2002, has been the lone voice among directors calling for the district's dissolution.

Now, challengers John McDowell and Mark DePaula have joined the crusade. Trying to stand in their way are incumbents Jerry Shefren, a doctor who served on the board from 1998 to 2002 and rejoined it in 2010, and Art Faro, who was CEO of Sequoia Hospital when it was sold in 1996 and placed on the board by voters two years later.

McDowell, who lives in San Carlos and runs a public affairs business, said he agrees with Hickey that voters should be asked in a referendum whether they want the district to continue. And if they vote to support the district's current "philanthropic and wellness purposes," he would bring more transparency and fiscal accountability.

DePaula, a San Mateo resident who unsuccessfully ran for county supervisor in June, said Hickey and others encouraged him to run for the district board because they saw that he "was for the taxpayer." DePaula is a veteran and telecommunications industry retiree.

If the district is dissolved, its property tax revenue wouldn't be returned to residents and likely would be redistributed among other agencies within its boundary, according to a 2008 memo by district general counsel Mark Hudak.

The district serves Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos, Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley and parts of southern Foster City and San Mateo.

Email Bonnie Eslinger at; follow her at

___ (c)2014 the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.) Visit the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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