The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are running for two open seats on the five-member district board.
A competitive election is always a good thing. It generates candidate discussion and draws public attention to issues that could otherwise go unnoticed. The bad news with El Camino is that there is only one clearly qualified candidate – incumbent David Reeder. The other seat will be filled either by challenger Dr. Peter Fung or by former Mountain View Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga. Dr. Fung gets our nod here based on his medical knowledge and commitment. He said he would cede his leadership of the hospital’s stroke center to serve on the board.
Reeder, who served on the Los Altos City Council more than 20 years ago, has been on the El Camino board since 1999. With some board members, we would say that’s too long. But Reeder brings intelligence and foresight, along with experience in dealing with district issues. The district is currently implementing a strategic plan that takes patient care beyond treatment in the hospital to follow-up after discharge to ensure patient recovery and cost savings by limiting return hospital visits. We’re not saying that Reeder did it by himself, but he’s surely played a hand in the district’s success. We recommend another four years so that Reeder, who oversaw the creation of the strategic plan, can continue to play an effective role in shepherding it through its full implementation.
We appreciate Dr. Fung’s passion for wanting to serve the greater good, as well as his obvious expertise in the area of stroke treatment. He has gone above and beyond many of his peers by establishing a stroke center at the hospital. We wish his goals were more varied and specific, and we’re not convinced he knows enough about district governance. Still, we would give a slight edge to Dr. Fung in filling the second seat.
Abe-Koga has an impressive background in health care. We applaud her continued desire to serve beyond the Mountain View council. But despite her assurances to the contrary, we still wonder about her aspirations for political office beyond the El Camino district. She was not emphatic in her intention to serve the entire four-year term. Leaving that door open closed off our possible endorsement.