Throwing Money to the Winds
Washington isn’t the only place to find pork barrel projects. There are plenty in San Diego , especially in the area of transportation.
For instance, there is SB-664, sponsored by state Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego. It requires San Diego to subsidize the Coronado Ferry to the tune of $120,000 annually. Due to some back-room maneuvering, half of this was to come from bridge tolls. To make this assessment, the San Diego Association of Governments had to approve the diversion.
Unfortunately, Sandag discovered the ferry was used so little that the request was without merit and rejected it.
Nevertheless, because the state Legislature, at the behest of Sen. Alpert, had commanded that this bit of pork be supported, the funds eventually were taken from the Transportation Development Act, by the Metropolitan Transit District Board. All the cities in the MTDB domain were assessed for the $120,000.
The people of San Diego would have been better served if Sen. Alpert had taken the money down to the bay and thrown it to the winds.
Robert J. Hoffman
Improving Children’s Health Care
As the county discusses the best use of the funds generated from the 1998 cigarette tax initiative, Proposition 10, San Diego has a tremendous opportunity to serve the health and well-being of young children.
As most will recall, the initiative proposed a 50-cent tax increase on cigarettes, which would be invested in improving health, education and development for children ages 0 to 5 years old.
As physicians, we are excited about the opportunities Prop. 10 creates because we know there is a dire need for health care services for young children. A recent study suggests the overall health of children is vastly improved when they receive regular primary medical care, as opposed to intermittent urgent care or emergency room treatment.
At our community-based health centers, we see firsthand the benefits of children receiving regular primary care. When our clinics, or other health care providers, serve as a child’s medical home, kids receive consistent care with someone who is familiar with their individual needs and conditions.
This results in up-to-date immunizations, early detection of serious problems, treatment and greater probability of healthy development. Sadly, we also witness the consequences of delaying treatment.
As a society that cares deeply about children, we must commit to developing strategies to enhance the health status of kids, create new models of care, encourage pregnant women to receive early and continuous care, support linking kids to medical homes, and interface with child care facilities.
With proper planning and support, we can have a significant impact on the health status of children.
Dr. Mary Meyers
Vista Community Clinic
Dr. Jorge Del Aguila
San Ysidro Health Center