Kasperzak seeks health care district seat

Former councilman says El Camino Hospital needs a Mountain View rep

Despite telling himself that he was done with public service after four terms on the Mountain View City Council, Mike Kasperzak says he's running for a seat on El Camino Healthcare District's board of directors this November.

The health care district, which encompasses Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, plays an integral role in overseeing El Camino Hospital and managing taxpayer money, the vast majority of which is funneled into community grants. Three of the five board members, Neysa Fligor, Peter Fung and David Reeder, have terms that expire in November 2018, and it's still unclear how many of them will to run for re-election.

El Camino Hospital is one of the few hospitals left in the region with strong ties to a public health care district. Kasperzak said that makes it a valuable asset that the community retains control over. Keeping the hospital in a healthy financial position will be a top priority, he said, given the troubled waters ahead for the health care industry.

"We need a strong, financially secure hospital that can withstand the coming recession, and we're going to have one it's long overdue at this point," he said. "And health care is in total flux because of the Trump administration, so who knows what's going to be happening with all the machinations going on in (Washington,) D.C. and how that will filter down."

Kasperzak, who served 16 years on the City Council before term limits forced him out in 2016, said this isn't his first foray into the politics and policies of Mountain View's local health care district. He got heavily involved in the early- and mid-2000s when the hospital passed its Measure D bond, and has since participated in several hospital committees.

The hospital district owns and leases the land on which El Camino Hospital sits, and its board directly hires the CEO of the nonprofit corporation that runs the hospital. Members of the health care district board also serve on the hospital's larger board of directors.

Kasperzak's last bid for the health care district's board was decades ago. In 1984, he said he decided to run for one of the three seats up for re-election after reading in the Peninsula Times Tribune that no one had filed as a candidate. He said he didn't realize that the incumbents were planning to coast back into office in an uncontested election, and that he had inadvertently disrupted their strategy. He was soundly defeated by then-incumbent board members Alvin Rutner, Billy Russel and Charles Knell.

More recently, Kasperzak sought a vacant seat left by board member Dennis Chiu, who unexpectedly announced his resignation last year. The position generated intense interest, and Kasperzak was one of 13 candidates who applied. Board members opted to appoint Fligor to the seat.

Going into the campaign, Kasperzak doubled down on the importance of having a health care district that retains public control of the hospital, and questioned the district's long-time strategy of diverting tax revenue to charity or philanthropy. He said the money might be better spent either investing in new medical technologies or putting it directly towards indigent care for disadvantaged people in the community rather than handing it off to outside nonprofits.

"I don't need a taxing district to tax me just to give it away," he said.

Another concern, Kasperzak said, is that the board doesn't have a representative from Mountain View despite the hospital being located within the city. All of the current board members are from either Sunnyvale or Los Altos, which isn't an anomaly -- the same was true during the 2014 and 2016 elections, and Kasperzak recalled Mountain View was not represented back in 1984 either.

What happens at the hospital, whether construction or nurse negotiations, disproportionately affects Mountain View residents, Kasperzak said, and there needs to be local representation on the board.

Kasperzak said the health care district and the hospital board could also do a lot more to be transparent in the way it operates and makes decisions, and "embody" open meeting laws and disclosure under the Brown Act. He quibbled with the way the board handled the removal of former hospital CEOs Ken Graham and Tomi Ryba, both of whom the board fired without citing a reason, and called it a "disservice" to leave the community in the dark.

"I think from the community's perspective, at some point they have the right to know why a person -- who is a competent, successful leader -- is no longer there, and nobody is saying anything," he said. "The public does have a right to know something."

Candidates seeking public office can pull nomination papers starting July 16, and have until August to officially file for candidacy, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

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14 people like this
Posted by Run for council Mike
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2018 at 9:54 pm

I would hope he would change his mind and run for city council again.

We have some very young and very inexperienced people running for city council this cycle who are not experienced at all, to be in charge of the direction of the city, fiscal decisions and to represent everyone equally in our city.

Our city has been drifting in the wrong direction.

8 people like this
Posted by Losing Assembly candidate
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 11, 2018 at 3:10 am

Kasperzak and another former council member John Inks just ran in 2016 for state assembly and lost. They must like running. Maybe this time Kasperzak will get his earlier wish of running unopposed. It is his only chance.

15 people like this
Posted by Shame
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 11, 2018 at 8:48 am

I voted for him in the past, but after his shameful work pushing Measure W and filming misleading videos for the Measure V repeal, I'll never vote for Mr. Kasperzak again. Seems to me that he cares only about himself and lining the pockets of his donors.

6 people like this
Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 11, 2018 at 11:32 pm


" is his only chance..."

that's an exceptionally mean thing to say. you can disagree with someone's political views without calling them a loser. while I don't agree with Mike on everything, he's certainly a decent human being who has done a lot of good work for Mountain View.

4 people like this
Posted by China Connection
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2018 at 7:00 am

Is Mike going to be bringing Chinese startups to our healthcare system if elected?

"On March 27, the same day that the Menlo Park City Council held a study session on the largest proposed development in the city's history -- Facebook's "Willow Village" -- Menlo Park Councilwoman Kirsten Keith was in China. There, she attended a "signing ceremony" that may have solidified a business deal for former Mountain View council member Mike Kasperzak, CEO of HIM Holdings, and the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone."

Web Link

19 people like this
Posted by @Losing & Reader
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:09 am

My vote is for John Inks for City Council!
A man of integrity and principles!

4 people like this
Posted by Losing Assembly candidate
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

John Inks is the another losing Assembly candidate who pushed fraudulent Measure W and the landlords' current fraudulent petition to repeal Measure V. But at least Inks did not go the China, did he? Instead of running for office here, Kasperzak and Inks could form a partnership and move to Moscow, Russia. In Russia, fraud and profiteering is a way of life.

15 people like this
Posted by Inks For Council
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 13, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Notice how the Voice and freebiers constantly deride John Inks for thoroughness?

John Inks is a principled, disciplined engineer who analyzes the public policy issues in depth, and makes sound decisions based on ethics. You may disagree on his decision not to provide subsidizes at someone else's expense but he listens to you and is honest.

I whole heartedly support John Inks!

Like this comment
Posted by russell
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2018 at 8:30 pm

El Camino is a 501c3 non profit and as such does not pay taxes and is required by law to provide community benefits to enhance public health

the article says that Mr Kasperzak believes that the tax district he is interested in representing "should not divert tax revenue to charity or philanthropy"

I think the community benefits of El Camino do a lot of good in the community

I look forward to him saying more on this issue

2 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2018 at 6:19 am

The problem with the grants is they provide the district with political leverage; grant recipients who want future grants are beholden to the district.

While likely not intentional, there can be no question these grants create corruption. That corruption is eliminated if the money is used for capital projects at the hospital, which was the original intent of the tax.

5 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 14, 2018 at 3:09 pm

SRB is a registered user.

Maybe it's time to discuss an orderly dissolution of this HealthCare special tax district. After all, maybe we'd get more community benefits if we simply collected rent and taxes on a hospital already run as a quasi-private corporation?

Like this comment
Posted by Career politicians
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 5, 2018 at 11:26 pm

Career politicians such as Kasperzak make me sick. But then the hospital makes money from whatever makes us sick!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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