Awaiting for the Next Shoe


News travels fast in this new wired world. By the time the sun rose over the Pacific, the news of the betrayal by Mission Hospital of its Laguna Beach neighbors was big news even in Shanghai. I read the electronic pages of the Indy with growing incredulity over Mission Hospital’s decision to undercut its neighbors and Laguna Beach’s City Council’s intention to purchase open space near its newly acquired hospital.

How does a public interest corporation, which required broad local support to purchase our local health facility, decide to take such a step in contravention of the community interest? In China, where the government routinely develops community land for commercial activities with little community input, it happens too regularly. I never thought I would live to see such an action in our dear Laguna.

So, we may ask: what is the purpose for this betrayal? What does Mission Hospital corporation intend to do with this land? Was the purchase of the hospital, which was so welcome by the entire community so few months ago, simply one step in a long term development project for the entire hillside and the hospital building the property now holds? Will we be witness to some press release a few months down the road announcing that Mission Hospital cannot justify the operation of our hospital but intends to redevelop the entire property to finance other projects?

However, I am, by nature an optimist and believe in the best in each of us. So, perhaps the Mission Hospital organization may surprise us by announcing, soon, that as a good will gesture, they are donating this land to Laguna Beach and asking for it to be dedicated as open space.

Now, that would be good news indeed and would help maintain our goodwill towards their presence in Laguna.

Armando Baez, Laguna Beach


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