Archive for June, 2014

 

Remembering Tony Gwynn

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By Nicholas Baltz

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“When I die, will they remember not what I did, but what I haven’t done?” –Rise Against

The death of local icon Tony Gwynn has the city of San Diego heartbroken. Although Gwynn died too soon at the age of 54, that is not what he will be remembered for. Gwynn achieved more in his lifetime than most could ever dream of and his legacy will live on long after we are all gone.

Stories and good cheers filled the air at Petco Park as tens of thousands gathered hours before the public memorial service began. Tony played his last major league game in 2001, but he can still fill a stadium and bring a grown man to tears.

Play-by-play commentator for the Padres, Ted Leitner, began the tribute as speakers included baseball hall of famer Reggie Jackson, longtime Aztec assistant coach Mark Martinez and Gwynn’s daughter Anisha Nicole.

Gwynn was a dual athlete at San Diego State. He made a name for himself on the basketball court and the baseball field, being drafted by the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Clippers on the same day in 1981. Gwynn played two decades for the Padres during his Hall of Fame career, choosing to stay home in small market San Diego as opposed to making more money in another city.

After his playing career ended, Gwynn turned back to his roots in 2003 to coach baseball at SDSU. Gwynn could have taken any job in baseball for millions more than he made at SDSU but Tony was never about the money. It is fitting that Gwynn ended his career coaching at Tony Gwynn Stadium, the field that he renovated himself in 1999 and the field where the city of San Diego fell in love with him.

The night ended emotionally, lights were dimmed and focused on the number 19 cut into the grass as the song Amazing Grace played. Spectators viewed from nearby sky risers as everyone felt like one family.

Although it lasted only a couple of hours, time seemingly stood still as a city stopped to mourn and give thanks to one of cities’ all-time greats.GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

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East County voters overwhelming approve Prop. H to extend Grossmont Hospital lease with Sharp HealthCare

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By Rick Griffin

East County voters in the June 2014 election overwhelmingly approved Proposition H, continuing the partnership between the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) and Sharp HealthCare for the operations of Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa until 2051.

The ballot measure needed a simple majority to pass. It passed by nearly 87 percent in favor of extending the current lease agreement for an additional 30 years.

The existing 30-year lease between GHD and Sharp, signed in 1991, is scheduled to expire on May 30, 2021. Extending the lease will assure the continued operations of the publicly-owned hospital until May 29, 2051. GHD is an East Region public agency that serves as landlord of Grossmont Hospital’s property and buildings on behalf of taxpayers.

“We are grateful to the voters for their confidence,” said Sandy Pugliese, community relations manager with Sharp Grossmont Hospital and member of the Prop. H organizing group, called Citizens for Continued Hospital Excellence – Yes on H.

“Extending the lease means Grossmont Hospital will remain a community-owned hospital for decades,” said Pugliese. “We were successful in communicating our message to voters that there would be no fiscal cost to local taxpayers to approve the lease extension. Patients have benefited from and will continue to benefit from millions of dollars in resources invested by Sharp in their hospital.

Supporters of Prop. H said the existing lease agreement between GHD and Sharp HealthCare demonstrated how a public-private partnership should work, where the public resources of a state-of-the-art community hospital are joined with an award-winning nonprofit healthcare system to benefit the public. Since 1991, Sharp Healthcare has invested more than $300 million in hospital facilities, programs and equipment to best serve the community.

Voter approval was required to extend the current lease with Sharp HealthCare. That’s because state legislation authored in 2005 by then-Assemblyman Jay La Suer of La Mesa specified that GHD could extend its lease with Sharp following a vote of the people. As a result, GHD is the only healthcare district in California currently allowed to consider a lease extension.

Prop. H received support from virtually every constituency throughout East County. The ballot measure was endorsed by every mayor and city council member in the East County cities of El Cajon, Santee, La Mesa and Lemon Grove. Additional endorsements from local elected officials included U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis, State Senators Joel Anderson and Marty Block, Assembly members Brian Jones and Shirley Weber, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman. Organizations supporting Prop. H included the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Business Leadership Alliance, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Santee Chamber of Commerce, San Diego East County Economic Development Council, San Diego County Democratic Party and Republican Party of San Diego County.

According to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, with votes counted from all 292 precincts, Prop. H was approved by 86.8 percent of voters casting a yes vote and 13.2 percent voting no. Following certification of the election, the GHD board of directors is expected to proceed with ratifying the lease continuation.

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