Supervisors must heed voter support for safer hospitals and CPMC project

San Francisco is close to moving The City’s health care system into the 21st century.

The City has completed the rebuild of Laguna Honda Hospital and has begun construction of a new General Hospital. Construction of the new Chinese Hospital has been approved. The UC San Francisco medical center is also under construction. And last month, with the support of Mayor Ed Lee, the California Pacific Medical Center received the approval of the Planning Commission to build two new seismically safe, state-of-the art hospitals at St. Luke’s in the Mission and at Cathedral Hill on Van Ness Avenue. Now, all that stands between city residents and these two new world-class health care facilities is the Board of Supervisors.

As the project awaits its final hearing at the board, a recent poll of more than 1,000 registered city voters should give our supervisors confidence in their support for the development. According to the poll, which was commissioned by the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, nearly seven in 10 San Franciscans — or 69 percent of voters — support CPMC’s hospital building plans and want to see the project move ahead.

Such strong support should come as no surprise for a development that will double The City’s number of seismically safe hospital beds and help ensure adequate capacity in case of a major emergency or natural disaster. The project will also inject $2.5 billion into the local economy and create 1,500 new construction-related jobs.

Voters are pleased with more than just the safety and economic benefits of the project. According to the poll, voters strongly support the development agreement negotiated with The City that will provide $1.1 billion in additional investment for transit, affordable housing, streetscape improvements and various social services.

Eighty-five percent of voters polled support the hospital’s commitment to hire local workers and fund community clinics. Eighty-two percent say they support CPMC’s investment in public transportation and pedestrian-safety improvements. And 76 percent support the funding of affordable housing.

Voter support for the project is particularly high in odd-numbered districts up for election this November. For example, 74 percent of voters in District 11, 70 percent in District 3, 65 percent in District 1 and 62 percent in District 5 support the CPMC plan. Voter support is highest in District 6 (83 percent), District 7 (79 percent) and District 3 (70 percent).

The message is clear: Voters support CPMC and want to rebuild these hospitals for the 21st century. After a decade of discussion, debate and compromise, The City’s departments, commissions, labor, business and community groups all agree on CPMC. The fate of our city’s health care infrastructure now lies solely with the Board of Supervisors. When it comes time to vote, let’s insist they make the right choice.

Steve Falk is president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

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