The last-minute “overbid” by Mission Hospital on the Domanskis property has the rotten odor of an inside job. How does a “done deal” so quickly become an “undone deal”? Yes, the hospital needed details which Domanskis was only too happy to supply. His modus operandi as a soulless maximizer is well known. But it takes more than that. It takes complicity. It takes a wink and a nod from key city officials and or council members. Either that or the hospital is so utterly out of touch with the community it boggles the mind.
Make no mistake, the hospital is wildly ambitious. The hospital is a maximizer on the order of Domanskis, but heretofore the hospital has not been stupid. So, who in our city government would like to deal the hospital a powerful card to be played for future development? That, despite some of the “hurt feelings” we’re hearing about down at City Hall, is a long list. It might start with a councilwoman who used to regularly consult for the hospital (under Adventist) and must be missing Mission’s bountiful “clover.” Or, it could include our redoubtable city manager who can’t leap high enough when the hospital says, “Jump!”
My point is this. Take it as a given that Domanskis is greedy and awful. Ditto for the sanctimonious Sisters of Saint Joseph. It’s not enough to have created the current kerfuffle. Someone in our city government gave tacit approval. I find that far easier to believe than to believe the hospital is committing community sepuku. So what? Apart from exposing the mala fide nature of our local pols, it means the solution to this problem won’t be coming from City Hall. We have a far better chance to mitigate this tragedy — to prevent this cherished, flowered hillside from ever being developed — by working with/through the county, the state, the enviro community and/or the courts. The city not only doesn’t care, they know that supporting the hospital is ultimately good local politics.
Will H. Gardenswartz, Laguna Beach