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Sequoia Healthcare District Election

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Aug 31, 2012

There are three candidates running in November for two 4 year seats on the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors. Their candidate statements which will apear in your sample ballots are appended below.

There is one overriding consideration in this election: Should the District, which no longer owns or operates Sequoia Hospital, be dissolved?

What was the original intent of voters when they established the District in 1946?

Read the candidate statements. Do a little research. Add your opinions to the discussion.


Sequoia Healthcare District

Candidates for the Office of Member of the Board of Directors

Occupation: Senior Research Scientist, Retired
Education and Qualifications: Serving on the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors since 2002 has been challenging. Sequoia Hospital, wholly owned and operated by CHW (now Dignity Health), is evolving as a state-of-the-art facility on its historic site. My 2003 referendum petitioning effort thwarted relocation efforts.

The Sequoia Hospital District was established by voters in 1946 to build a hospital. They morphed into a Healthcare District following the hospital sale in 1996. The District continues to collect $8,000,000/year in property taxes while pursuing philanthropic activities clearly unintended by voters. Such were the findings of the 2000/2001 San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury.

Dissolution of the District, long overdue, would allow direct distribution of those taxes to School Districts (45%), San Mateo County (22%), Cities (17%) and other special districts (9%). Assets (~$40,000,000) not required for winding down District affairs would be similarly distributed. Millions in District related expenses would be eliminated.

I am the only board member advocating dissolution. With two years remaining, I am running for this 4 year seat to offer you an opportunity to cast a single vote in support of dissolution. Create a mandate by voting for Jack Hickey and no others.

Website Web Link Email /s/

Occupation: Registered Nurse
Education and Qualifications: Allocation of resources within our community for health care is crucial to all residents within the Sequoia Health Care District. I will continue to support the mission of the District, which currently provides vital health services and constantly evaluates the effectiveness of our programs and grants. The many successes and positive outcomes of the District's work with schools, chronic disease management and emergency services have been fundamental in improving and saving lives. Adapting these programs to meet the changes in health care is a challenge I look forward to. /s/

Occupation: Human Resources Consultant
Education and Qualifications: Education: BS Organizational Development USF; Stanford Surgical Technician Certification. I have worked all facets of health care for over 40 years. I understand the future that faces health care delivery in tomorrow's environment. Health care services no longer happen just in a Hospital. Our District provides health services thorough our community programs, organizations and clinics. Since I have been on the Board, we have met the financial needs of the District through our "Community Grants Program" a broad range of health-related programs promoting the health of members in our community. Through my leadership, the District funds two medical clinics. The San Mateo Medical Center's Fair Oaks Clinic and Samaritan House Free Clinic, which provides medical, dental and vision care to over 3500 uninsured. The District created and funds the "Healthy Schools Initiative" providing school nurses and other health services at every school in our District. The Program expanded PE programs to reach 5,000 students in our ten elementary schools.

Through the oversight of the $75 million the District has dedicated to the rebuilding of Sequoia Hospital will assure that our communities Hospital will continue to provide our population with excellent and compassionate care. /s/

Comments (32)

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Vote only for one not two...Vote for Jack Hickey only if you support the Grand Jury. The media has mislead the voters on this subject for years.....

This legal opinion would have come from Thomas Casey III San Mateo County Counsel at the time written.

Reported in the WAMP article titled Voters Being Denied Rights 10/8-14/2010

"In fact, the 2000-2001 Grand Jury published this statement: “The grand jury has received a legal opinion from San Mateo County Counsel to the effect that the California Taxation and Revenue Code §96.8 authorizes a hospital district such as Sequoia Healthcare District to request the county auditor make a tax reduction in any amount down to zero for the district's taxpayers on a yearly basis without reallocation of the reduced taxes to other agencies.” So, the election of the Hickey slate will allow the Board by majority vote to exercise this authority which the County Council is on record as declaring that they possess. While the power to dissolve the District appears by statute to lie solely with the LAFCo, this power could jumpstart a process that will result in a more representative, culpable and sanctioned Healthcare District."

Vote for Jack Hickey ONLY

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

Does the Sequoia Healthcare District exercise an "oversight" function on Sequoia Hospital operations? Candidate Katie Kane, in her ballot statement, suggests that it does.
Originally, after the sale of Sequoia Hospital in 1996, the District had an oversight function pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding. Web Link
Sequoia Health Services (SHS), the governing Board for Sequoia Hospital, was comprised of 5 members from the District and 5 from CHW. Until I was elected in 2002, the 5 District members were their elected Directors. I was asked by District CEO, Frank Gibson, if I wanted to serve on the SHS Board. I responded in the affirmative. Subsequently, I was denied that seat. The oversight function traceable to the voters was no longer in effect.
Then, in 2007, CHW became sole-owner of Sequoia Hospital, with no District representation on its governing Board. Web Link

Posted by TOS
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2012 at 11:28 am

So, do all candidates get to get on these forums and campaign?

Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

So it seems as if the District continues to function by trying to maintain its need following the sale of the hospital -- [the mission]" is to improve the quality of life for District residents by enhancing access to healthcare services and by supporting and encouraging programs and activities designed to achieve health, wellness, and disease prevention."

This could be the mission statement of most area hospitals. So why is taxpayer money going to fund this mission?

While the District may have provided some positives, it's time for this bureaucracy to come to an end.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

This forum has been very useful in the past at bringing attention to the Sequoia Healthcare District. Both Kim Griffin, President of the Board, and I have had opposing OpEd pieces posted here. Web Link
Web Link

This recent invitation by CEO Lee Michelson gives the reader a sample of the PR activity the District is engaging in to justify its existence:
"We are very pleased to announce that there will be a very nice dedication and ribbon cutting for our District sponsored Code Blue tower in Woodside on Saturday September 22nd at 10am at the Woodside Fire House on Woodside road, just west of Buck’s . This area was selected for the tower because of the large number of bicyclist and other outdoor enthusiasts that frequent Woodside Road. Woodside Rotary will provide refreshments and short remarks will be made by Woodside Fire thanking the District for our dedication to safety . Should be short but sweet and we would be pleased to see you there. Much thanks for your consideration, Lee"

Was this a good choice of location for this expensive tower? Or, was it chosen to provide a photo-op for the incumbents, and curry favor with a special interest group?

Posted by PV Newfie
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Sep 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I agree with Jack Hickey and the Grand Jury.
Why should tax payers support a private entity?
If the Hospital District no longer needs to exist, it should cease its tax collecting activities and go out of business. If the nonprofit agencies it funds need support, individuals can decide whether they want to donate privately or not. I do not need the Hospital District to decide for me where my philanthropy belongs.

Posted by District Voter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Absolutely the Sequoia Hospital District should be disbanded! It has outlived its usefulness and is sucking money out of the tax bucket for an unecessary administrative bureaucracy and less-valid purposes. Vote for ONLY Jack Hickey in November to triple the effectiveness of your vote.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm

These are the 5 people who ignored the 19 people of the 2000-01 Grand Jury.

These 5 people are the only reason Sequoia Healthcare District is here today.

They simply declined in writing to do what the GJ recommended.

You will be told to vote for 2....Vote one Jack Hickey

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Sorry, here they are

Art Faro, Katie Kane, Jerry Shefren, Nappy MacNaughton and Michael Smith

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

Woodside Fire is a First Responder. Locating a Code Blue Tower there does not make sense to me. What do you think?
Provided below is some additional information about the Code Blue Towers posted on the the Menlo Park City Council email log by Don Shoecraft, $4700/month PR consultant for the Sequoia Healthcare District.
**** "Sequoia Healthcare District provides residents with the next advance in community heart health, the Code Blue® tower technology. Code Blue® is a networked, video- and audio-equipped, permanent AED installation that allows for two-way communication and rapid dispatch of emergency personnel to the tower site. Code Blue® towers have been placed at Sequoia High School's very popular Terremere Field and at Woodside High School."
Code Blue® is faster than the 9-1-1 system because it connects directly to the emergency responder, while 9-1-1 can program to different police departments or even the California Highway Patrol and can be busy.

Posted by Educator
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The Health Care District supports school nurses at many schools, including Menlo-Atherton. It also support parent education and school readiness programs.

There is such dearth of programs for low income youngsters that to disband the District would be criminal (in my opinion).

They are doing good work and supporting wellness and primary care health throughout the South County.

Keep the District and keep it strong.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Historically, school nurses have been funded from the school district budgets. It is inappropriate for the Sequoia Healthcare District to involve itself in school finances. That is not what voters intended when the district was established.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

There are many programs for low income youngsters. Some are better than others. Why should the Sequoia Healthcare District determine where to spend your charitable dollars? Maybe you would prefer to go the United Way.
And, don't forget, if the Sequoia Healthcare District is dissolved, the middleman is eliminated. Property tax dollars would flow directly to the schools, cities, etc. where your elected officials could administer them.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm


How many people would be eliminated from the money flow process if dissolved.


Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Five District employees a $4700/month PR consultant, legal counsel, numerous other subcontractors. Don't forget the Directors $1200/month healthcare benefits!

Posted by steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Editor: End this. No need to use this forum for since only two people are really involved. Both have not been very successful

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:11 am

Steve, what is your take on the dissolution of the Sequoia Healthcare District? Do you pay property taxes?

Editor, how many visitors have there been to this topic?

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:37 am


according to the message board information, 432 views and 17 posts not including this one.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Steve - It is very simple, if you are not interested in this topic then just don't read it.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 9, 2012 at 7:59 am

The following link contains information regarding the 1946 election which established the Sequoia Healthcare District.
Web Link
The 1996 Measure H election info is in this link. Web Link

What was the voter intent in these elections?

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I like Steve's idea to the Editor....End This...

You wouldn't want the Taxpayers to realize that if Art Faro, Katie Kane, Jerry Shefren, Nappy MacNaughton and Michael Smith had done what 19 people (the Grand Jury) told/recommended them to do which was Dissolve the Special District.

We decline to do so at this time 5 against 19 game over. This is the only reason Sequoia Healthcare District is here today.

Vote only one not Jack Hickey if you support the Grand Jury of 2000-01

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

What about "oversight" of Sequoia Hospital?
In her candidate statement, incumbent Katie Kane perpetuates the myth of an "oversight" function which elected members of the Board have over Sequoia Hospital. That "oversight" was lost, when, as a newly elected Board Member in 2002, I was denied a seat on the Sequoia Health Services Board governing Sequoia Hospital.
The District did a flip/flop on "oversight"
In 2001, the District told the Grand Jury that Sequoia Hospital is governed by a 10 person board of directors including all five publicly elected members of the Sequoia Healthcare District. In 2002, the District said the hospital "... is governed by a ten person Board of Directors, five of whom are chosen by the District and five chosen by Catholic Health Care West.
The newly renovated Sequoia Hospital, now owned by Dignity Health, is doing fine. District involvement and taxpayer support is no longer warranted.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

The weblink below has informative information about this election.
Web Link care district faces odd election

Here is my LTE correcting some misinformation in the above:

Editor, I would like to correct a few items in an otherwise excellent article by Bill Silverfarb. (Health care district faces odd election SMDJ 9/12/2012)
1. I am not a "tax advocate." My ballot designation, validated by Kris Vosburgh of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is "Advocate for Taxpayers."
2. You said "Hickey ran against a slate of candidates that included Frederick Graham and Michael Stogner in 2010 to try to take control of the board." They were actually part of my team. Unfortunately, local media split my team by endorsing my candidacy and two of our opponents. Graham and Stogner were left out to dry.
3. I am not running to "force one of the incumbents to lose their seat." Next year at this time the makeup of the Board will likely be the same as it is now, even if I do "win" a four year seat. The Board will merely appoint the loser to my current seat which I would be forced to vacate.
This election is a $160,000 poll of 100% of the voters to decide whether the Sequoia Healthcare District should be dissolved. Compare that to the $130,000 Godbe/Tramutola poll of less than 5% of voters for RCSD's parcel tax election in June of 2009.
I ask you to forego endorsements of two candidates, and suggest to voters that they either support dissolution (vote for Jack Hickey only) or the status quo (vote for Kane and Griffin).

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The Code Blue Tower being dedicated tomorrow cost the District taxpayers >$20,000. The complex unit contains ONE AED device. TEN AED devices could have been procured for that price!

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Three full time and two half time employees cost the Sequoia Healthcare District $500,000/year. That does not include perks.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Video statements from all three candidates for the Sequoia Healthcare District can be found on the League of Women Voters website at:
Web Link
Click on Candidate Forums.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I am proud to say that the San Mateo County Central Labor Council which endorsed my opponents, has seen fit to enter my endorsement status as "ABSOLUTELY NOT".

Their slate mailer states it as such. My advice to union members wishing to vote for Jack Hickey (I welcome your support); cherish the secret ballot!
Web Link

Posted by Betty Seckler
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:15 am

_______________Vote to dissolve Sequoia Healthcare District
I am going to let you know from the get go here, that I know Jack Hickey personally, and love him, anyway... That does not mean I endorse everything he has ever sought to change, because I do not. But I do believe the voters should support his call for the dissolution of the Sequoia Healthcare District.
The other board members justify the continuation of the district by spending tax money, originally assessed to build and operate a hospital (which is now privately owned), on what they decide are good and worthwhile programs and charities. The recipients of these donations and benefits become the foundation of appreciation that perpetuates those in favor of keeping this Healthcare District.
Voters established a hospital district in 1946. Property taxes were assessed for this purpose and Sequoia Hospital was built. The district sold Sequoia Hospital in 1996. It is now wholly owned and maintained by Dignity Health. To continue collection of taxes - with board members now deciding whom that tax money should benefit - should simply not be their privilege.
Before you vote, you should be aware that more than one million dollars a year goes for the expense of maintaining this Healthcare District as it now exists. Just to maintain it! Not even considering more than 10.6 million dollars a year (which they publicize) spent on programs and charities they have chosen without voter approval. We're talking more than 11.6 million dollars a year (2012-13 budget) which could be going directly to our schools , fire districts, etc.
Visit Jack's website at for detailed information with links to the Sequoia Healthcare District website, and it's 2012-13 budget. See for yourself the salary paid to the CEO, and expenses for Public Relations which glorify the District's "benevolent" use of your taxes.
With the dissolution of the Sequoia Health Care District, taxes now allocated for charitable grants and programs never intended by voters, would go directly to school districts, to the county (which provides health, welfare and other human services), to the city's police and fire departments, etc. This is where those tax revenues belong and are sorely needed. That just makes sense to me. I'll back Jack Hickey with a vote that indicates I want to dissolve the Sequoia Healthcare District. If you agree, vote only once for Jack Hickey, the one candidate supporting dissolution. A second vote is not required and would defeat the purpose of this election.

Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

Well said,

"If you agree, vote only once for Jack Hickey, the one candidate supporting dissolution. A second vote is not required and would defeat the purpose of this election."

Sequoia Health Care District just voted to give CEO a 14.5% RAISE he now earns $182K per year he has 3 employees.

Jack Hickey voted NO on this raise the other 2 candidates voted YES

Please join me in only voting for Jack Hickey on the ballot. vote one only

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

Here's a copy of the NEGATIVE endorsement which the San Mateo County Central Labor Council gave to John "Jack" Hickey. Web Link
I have included a qualifying statement.
Feel free to disseminate.

Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

This is the work of Shelly Kessler and Bill Nack who have a member list of 70,000 plus spouses in San Mateo County so they impact an At-Large Election pretty well. This happens to be a District Election so I think the property owners stand a better chance.

If you support the Grand Jury of 2000-01 vote ONLY ONE name.....Jack Hickey

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Most of the votes have been counted. Here are the results:
Kim Griffin .......... 44,559 votes 37.5%
Kathleen "Katie" Kane .......... 41,582 votes 35.0%
John J. "Jack" Hickey .......... 32,628 votes 27.5%
Putting these results in the context of the dissolution "poll" which I intended, and assuming that all the votes for Jack Hickey were votes for dissolution, and all the votes for the incumbents, divided by 2, were for the status quo, we get:
For 2012
Status quo 43,071 43.1%
Dissolution 32,628 56.9%
This compares to 2008 results of:
Status quo 46,938 60.7%
Dissolution 30,378 39.3%
That's almost a 4% improvement from 2008.
It is highly likely that many voters felt obligated to cast a vote for another candidate in addition to Jack Hickey, which would have skewed the poll to favor the "status quo" candidates. If 2 out of 3 voters did that, dissolution would be the clear winner.

If an election were held today for an up or down vote on the Sequoia Healthcare District, I am confidant that dissolution would be the winner. The absence of personalities on the ballot will facilitate the proper result. I am working to bring about such an election by the processes available through the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). I ask those who support such an election to contact me at

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