From the Contra Costa Times:
even if a nursing home stays there, “We are going to have excess land” with development potential.
Kerri Childress is the VA spokeswoman. Can you see the dollar signs in her eyes? I’m sure the Department of Veterans Affairs could use the money. The piece of property in question is large and beautiful. The view is incredible. I love to take my kids up there. It’s like a big park, and if you go at dusk, you can see hundreds of wild turkeys and dozens of deer.
My reasons for wanting to keep the site open are purely selfish. Well, okay, I do think it serves the veterans of Alameda County, and it is the only VA hospital in the county. It is not the only VA medical facility in Alameda County. There is an outpatient clinic in Oakland. To qualify to use VA medical services, you must have exhausted all other medical benefits you have and pretty much live in poverty. It’s very difficult to qualify. So, one might guess that transportation options of the veterans who do qualify are limited. No public transportation goes anywhere near the Livermore facility. It’s miles to walk from the bus station in Livermore. The Oakland facility is much more accessible. Is that an arguement in favor of closing the hospital? I don’t know.
In addition to the park like atmosphere, turkeys, and deer, the hospital, itself, is a beautiful piece of architecture. It’s been retrofit to withstand earthquakes. And it has historic value in that it was originally a hospital for tuberculosis treatment. It could serve in the future as a quarantine site if we have to battle infectious diseases for which we have no effective treatments. It would be very easy to isolate.
It should not be surprising that local politicians are in favor of keeping it open, including Richard Pombo the congressional representative for San Joaquine Valley. And of course, Ellen Tauscher is opposed closing it. She wrote a editorial on it. Or maybe that was the first.
As for the development potential, the Contra Costa Times ended the article with the following:
While potential revenues from the outright sale of land for private development could be significant, there are questions as to what degree Alameda County’s voter-approved development restrictions would limit uses of the land.
This may be one of the times that I’m glad the majority of Alameda County citizens controls the decisions to develope, or not, the few vestiages of rural Alameda County. The majority of the population of Alameda County lives in urban cities. Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore are separated from those cities by a ridge of hills (or are they very small mountains?). The three cities supported agriculture for much longer than the rest of Alameda County. Livermore has made a concerted effort to continue that support. I don’t know about Pleasanton or Dublin. Much of the land surrounding Livermore is unincorporated, so it falls under the jurisdiction of the county. Because of that, zoning issues are decided by the county. I’m not wild about people in Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, and neighboring municipalities deciding what happens to land that is relatively far from them and that they almost never visit. I would rather the locals got to decide, but that just isn’t going to happen, any more than we have any chance of getting BART out here in my lifetime. But that’s another post.