Amusebouche and bubbly WEEKEND | P.13 MARCH 18, 2011 VOLUME 19, NO. 11
INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 16
Hospital donations jeopardized by CEO’s ouster BOARD’S ACTION RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT TRANSPARENCY AT EL CAMINO HOSPITAL By Nick Veronin
closed session lasted two hours.
month after El Camino Hospital abruptly announced that it would terminate CEO Ken Graham’s contract at the end of the fiscal year, June 31, many at the hospital remain perplexed, and even vexed by the news. Judging from the sentiments expressed by three people — a member of the El Camino Hospital Foundation’s board, the head of the nurses’ union at the hospital, and a Los Altos resident — there are many reasons fueling the confusion and anger that surround Graham’s ouster. However, one complaint stands out: the perceived lack of transparency about the impetus behind the decision. “I felt that it was very unprofessionally done,” said Willem P. Roelandts, a board member of the El Camino Hospital Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital. Roelandts said that he and other foundation board members were frustrated, angered and “dumbfounded” by the decision, which the foundation did not learn about until after it had been made public. “The foundation board was not told ahead of time or even asked their opinion,” he said — a move he felt was inconsiderate. Roelandts was frustrated further when members of the hospital board came to a foundation board meeting to explain their decision and field questions. “They couldn’t explain why,” Roelandts said, noting that the
Donors drop out The decision has hurt the foundation’s fundraising ability, Roelandts said, adding that he and his colleagues have already received calls from donors asking if the hospital is faltering. He said he is sure the foundation will lose out on money as a result of Graham’s termination. “The way that Mr. Graham was basically fired — it really created doubts,” he said. “It is very difficult to collect money when there is an impression that the hospital is in trouble.” That perception is particularly frustrating for Roelandts, who said that, in his opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. “El Camino Hospital is probably the finest hospital in the region. Mr. Graham has really done a lot of things.”
Passengers prepare to board the 2:33 p.m. Caltrain headed north at San Antonio station.
Regional deal may help Caltrain avert cuts By Sue Dremann
rastic cuts to Caltrain rail service are likely to be averted, Steve Heminger, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s executive director, told the commission’s Planning and Allocations Committee Wednesday, March 9.
The commission is working with Caltrain’s financing partners — Santa Clara County’s VTA, San Mateo County’s SamTrans and San Francisco’s Muni — to cobble together a financing deal that would help the 147-year-old rail line avoid a $30 million operations deficit starting July 2. Caltrain officials have warned
that they would slash the number of trains, reduce the schedule to weekday peak-commuter times only, and close up to seven stations along the San Jose to San Francisco route, including Mountain View’s San Antonio station. Service to points south of San See CALTRAIN, page 9
Local relief efforts for Japan disaster victims IMAGES, REPORTS OF DEVASTATION HIT HOME IN MOUNTAIN VIEW By Nick Veronin
he images of destruction and descriptions of devastation coming from across the Pacific are both horrifying and humbling. “Those pictures from Japan really got to me,” said Norm Gorblat, a Mountain View resident. “For a second, I thought it could be us.”
The raw human emotion and empathy stirred by the magnitude 9.0 temblor and subsequent tsunami that pummeled northern Japan on March 11, has prompted many locals to ask how they might help. “The Mountain View Fire Department has received requests from community members interested in helping with relief efforts
to support the victims,” said Jaime Garrett, spokeswoman for the fire department. The fire department is recommending that those who want to help donate money to the Red Cross. Garrett said people can do this by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999, which will give $10 to See JAPAN RELIEF, page 6
GOINGS ON 19 | MARKETPLACE 20 | REAL ESTATE 22 | VIEWPOINT 12
Shocking statement At the hospital board meeting on March 9, Roelandts, along with several others, publicly expressed their distaste with the decision to fire Graham. And while most of the board, along with the CEO himself, did not publicly respond, one board member did. Dave Reeder, who voted against firing Graham, said that he could not disclose what was discussed in closed sessions. Then he said something that shocked one Los Altos resident who had come to the meeting in the hopes of getting his questions about Graham’s See EL CAMINO CEO, page 7
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■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■ MARCH 18, 2011
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Asked in Downtown Mountain View. Pictures and interviews by Peter Maxwell
In light of the quake and tsunami in Japan, do you think your city is prepared for a disaster? “I don’t think we are prepared for an earthquake. I plan on keeping flashlights, camping supplies, food and stuff like that handy just in case.” Brian Bruessow, Mountain View
“I’m definitely not prepared myself. It makes me nervous. I’m not sure if the city is prepared for an emergency. They should definitely double-check their preparedness.”
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4 “Those pictures from Japan really got to me, for a second I thought it could be us. But no, I don’t think we could be prepared for something like that.” Norm Gorblat, Mountain View
“No, I do not think we are ready for something like Japan. The most the city can do now is to be aware. And you’ve got to get all the stuff you need, like food and water, and a place to meet if people lose their homes.” Sean Gee, San Carlos
“I doubt Mountain View is prepared. We need to organize escape routes, people need to store food and water. But in the case of a huge disaster, there is no way to prepare for the kind of damage that could happen to the city. We should definitely look to make these preparations though. Japan was a warning.” Tod Zimmerman, Mountain View
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Have a question for Voices Around Town? E-mail it to email@example.com MARCH 18, 2011 ■ MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE ■