Hospital : Registrar’s Official Ballot contains advocacy letter !

Hospital : Registrar’s Official Ballot contains advocacy letter !


4/5/12 – With Measure “D”, Pass area voters are currently asked to decide whether they want to be taxed for the San Gorgonio Hospital’s emergency services.

Official Ballots sent out by the Riverside Registrar of Voters – an office that is supposed to remain unbiased and neutral – contain  a cover letter (view) by the Hospital District’s CEO, Mark Turner. The letter makes incorrect and misleading statements, as it appears to engage in advocacy for  Measure “D”, while failing to disclose material facts.



Hospital District CEO Mark Turner sent a questionable cover letter which the Registrar decided to include in the ballot

While the CEO’s letter at first glance merely appears to give instructions on how to cast a vote, it also contains two objectionable statements which can be viewed as  advocacy :

Objectionable statement # 1 : “This is not a new tax”.

This is a clever whitewash attempt. A tax that expires relieves the taxpayer of his tax burden. In the case of this tax, it is about to expire, and therefore it will no longer exist – unless renewed.

If such a tax is then renewed, it becomes a new tax, one that otherwise would not exist. Therefore it should be considered new – not old.

Objectionable statement # 2 : “It will provide funds for our area’s only emergency room”.

This statement appears to be an attempt of fear mongering. It has the ability to scare the voter into thinking that if  Measure “D” does not pass, they will be left without healthcare in an emergency.

The statement is ambiguous. What “area” are we talking about? There are emergency services available in Redlands, why is that not “in the area” ?  And there is Beaver Medical with Urgent Care right next door.



The District’s letter contains no disclaimer that it was produced at taxpayers expense, using the District’s resources including color stationary, all paid for by the taxpayer.

Furthermore, CEO Mark Turner fails to disclose that he as a paid District operative has a financial interest in the Measure . This leads to Turner having a conflict of interest when it comes to advising voters on Measure “D” in any way.
None of this is disclosed to the voters.



Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil

In a phone statement the acting Riverside Registrar of Voters, Kari Verjil, confirmed that the CEO’s letter was sent out with her knowledge and approval, along with the official ballot.   The Ballot was sent out in official envelopes marked “Riverside Registrar of Voters”.

Verjil said that she was not the “Election Official” for Measure “D”, but that the Hospital District was acting as such. She further stated that her office simply “contracts” for election services with the District and sends out ballots that contain whatever the District decides to include.

These statements by the  Registrar seem like a rather fishy excuse for allowing unchecked advocacy to be included in an official ballot. Is the Registrar no longer bound by neutrality when it comes to mailing out ballots ?

If you feel that the Registrar of Voters has overstepped its boundaries when they mailed the CEO’s letter, we urge you to lodge a complaint with the Registrar’s office.  Their phone number is : (951) 486- 7200 –  ask for Kari Verjil’s office



The Hospital District has already burdened the taxpayer with a $ 108 million bond measure they placed in 2006. The measure burdens each property owner with hundreds of dollars in additional taxes each year. But six years later, the District does not have much to show for : the promised hospital tower is still not built. To cure this failure and finish the tower, the District has already engaged in discussions about further bond measures.

Measure “D” – before the voters –  will NOT be used for the tower. However, we should not be surprised when the District will try to  hit taxpayers with another huge bond measure sometime soon.

The arguments are always the same: If voters don’t approve the bond measure they are told they will be left without healthcare. At the same time, however, there is little to no accountability by the District, as evidenced above.



Recently, Pass area residents have been bombarded with phone calls advocating Measure “D”. Obviously, there are financial interests at work that want this Measure to pass. But is it really in the best interest of the taxpayer ? Does the proposed significant tax burden  outweigh the potential benefits of having emergency services ?

Why should we believe that Measure “D” will yield the promised results when the last $ 108 M bond did not ?



We believe that the tax burden of Pass Area property owners is already much higher than it should be. Everywhere we look there are attempts to raise taxes, add new ones and extend existing ones. Pass area residents can hardly afford their property tax bill as it is. They cannot afford Measure “D” , no more than they could afford the Mount San Jacinto College (MSJC) bond proposed last year.



Despite all attempts to advocate the Measure, we  believe  a “NO” vote on  Measure “D” is appropriate.

Nevertheless, with the facts as described above, the election regarding Measure “D” appears to be tainted . The integrity of the election process has been severely compromised.


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