published on August 31, 2016 - 9:40 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Tulare voters rejected Tulare Local HealthCare District’s Measure I at the polls Tuesday.

The proposed $55 million bond measure would have resumed the stalled tower project at Tulare Regional Medical Center. This was the second bond proposal for the tower. Voters approved the first, an $85 million bond, in 2005.

This time around, voters overwhelming said no to the bond, with 66.77 percent in opposition and only 33.23 percent in favor. A two-thirds majority was required to pass the measure.

Dr. Prem Kamboj, a former TRMC board member, openly opposed the bond measure on grounds that the current TRMC board has not been forthright with the public about how taxpayer money, including funds from the previous bond, have been spent. He said the vote sends a clear message to TRMC and HealthCare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA) that Tulare citizens want accountability.

“This is a strong message from the citizens of Tulare,” Kamboj said. “They want transparency and are tired of the secrecy.”

Hospital CEO Dr. Benny Benzeevi said in a statement that TRMC and HCCA respect the community’s vote and will be decide how to proceed with the tower project in the coming weeks.

“We are grateful to have had such a focused and dedicated team in this campaign,” Benzeevi said. “We are very proud of the tireless hours our many volunteers, both young and old, worked to reach out to the residents of our healthcare district and inform them of the options that are available. We respect the direction the community has chosen and will work hard to bring everybody together to decide on next steps. HCCA remains committed to delivering an integrated healthcare system that will meaningfully improve the quality of healthcare in our community.”

Kamboj, who resigned from his position with TRMC in June, said he doesn’t know what’s next for TRMC, but he thinks a new board should be formed and that those on all sides should come together to figure out a solution to complete the tower.

“The board should reflect on what they’ve done and if they have any conscience and ethics, they should resign so a new board can come in and address the issues,” Kamboj said. “The community needs to put all the negativity behind and come together now because the hospital is in bad shape…The hospital has a lot of potential, it just needs to get back on track.”

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