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Vote split on hospital trustee

possible tenants addressed

June 05, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Heffernan Memorial Hospital District board split on a vote to appoint a trustee to fill the seat left vacant when David Ouzan joined the City Council.

Board Chairman Mark Perrone and Trustee Ray Falcon voted to appoint Patricia Caro, a social worker with the county's Public Health Service.

Trustees Norma Apodaca and Rosie Fernandez voted to appoint Jesus "Chuy" Solano, a technician with the U.S. Border Patrol and a former Calexico Housing Authority commissioner.

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Caro and Solano found out about the split vote after board clerk Lupita Ortega walked out to where the two were waiting outside Calexico Hospital. Ortega said the board will make its final decision at a later meeting.

Caro and Solano walked back inside the hospital after the announcement to listen in on the rest of Tuesday's board meeting.

They heard Falcon talk about a tentative proposal from Dr. Malcolm Leal.

"He wants to come in and rent the whole hospital. … He wants to rent doctor's offices," Falcon said.

Leal, an El Centro-based mental health counselor, did not attend the meeting. He has not yet submitted a formal proposal.

Falcon then talked about another group that wants to rent the hospital, Imperial Valley Home Health Care Corp. of Brawley. Falcon said the corporation wants to set up a "wound center." He did not elaborate as to what sort of services a "wound center" would offer. He said the corporation has not submitted a formal proposal, either.

Falcon then said Ricardo Ortega, head of Calexico's Neighborhood House, wants to rent the hospital's kitchen for Neighborhood House to cook meals.

Falcon said, "Renting the kitchen is a good idea but the price he's offering is not acceptable."

Fernandez said, "Who said it was unacceptable? That's a decision the board would need to make."

Falcon said Ortega offered $500 a month for use of the kitchen.

After the brief exchange, the board took no action on the Neighborhood House request.

Moving quickly down the agenda, Falcon said the board should consider moving the trailer parked behind the hospital.

"We need the parking lot," he said.

"Why? For what?" Fernandez said.

The hospital has been closed for years.

Falcon said, "We've been told it's in the way."

He didn't say who told him the trailer was in the way.

Apodaca said the board should concentrate on renting the facility before worrying about the trailer.

No action was taken regarding the trailer.

Before entering closed session, board attorney Eduardo Rivera said the board would likely take an action in closed session but said whatever action that might be would be confidential.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or aclaverie@aol.com

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