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Our Opinion: Kill it now

December 05, 2001

We have long advocated the mercy killing of the Heffernan Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. Now a board member is suggesting that the board slit its own wrists and put itself out of existence. What a wonderful idea!

The Heffernan board members get paid for governing a hospital in Calexico that doesn't exist, hasn't treated patients since 1998 and did so only intermittently in the years prior to the closure. Nothing on the horizon indicates there will be anything resembling a medical facility in the hospital building in the near future. So what does the Heffernan board govern?

Heffernan Trustee David Ouzan has gained a reputation in Calexico over the years as one who speaks his mind and does so with little filtering. Ouzan this week advocated doing away with the hospital board. He will make his proposal to dismantle the body during a board meeting tonight.

Ouzan said of the hospital's situation, "I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel." Heck, we don't even see the tunnel. We congratulate Ouzan on volunteering to take money out of his own pocket and his name out of the local spotlight in order to do the right thing.


The city of Calexico Redevelopment Agency owns the hospital building and Ouzan has suggested simply handing over the key to the building until a hospital reopens in the city. We, and others who know better than us, have suggested that the building, which is small, dirty and obsolete, will never reopen as a hospital. We can only hope for a new and better hospital facility for Calexico sometime in the future, because a growing city of 30,000 that is a cross-border shopping hub and next to a city of nearly 1 million people needs a good hospital.

Ouzan has suggested money saved from the dismantling of the board could go to a non-profit organization. That sounds fine. We would be open to hearing other ideas, too.

Ouzan could face opposition tonight. The board positions are filled by community elections, and some board members may assert they were elected to serve.

Our question would be, "Serve what?"

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