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VALLEY FOCUS | Westlake Village

Group Seeks Council Backing for Hospital

April 09, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

A local activist group met this week to send a message to the Westlake Village City Council: Your spending priorities are not necessarily the spending priorities of the people.

Members of the newly formed Neighborhood Preservation Group met with about 50 city residents Tuesday night to bring home their point that the council members should focus on bringing a hospital to the area rather than spending money to build a sports park, city hall or library.

The meeting was billed in fliers as a debate over spending $4 million or $5 million on a sports park or doing the other projects. But members said that the question was really about setting priorities, and they sought to elicit support for their position that health care should be first.

"We don't want the City Council to establish our priorities. We're going to tell them what our priorities are," said attorney Alan Horwitz, a Westlake Village resident.

The council set its goals for 1998 in January. While attracting a hospital to the area was high on the list, it was below the city hall, library and even traffic safety and beautification.

Mayor Kris Carraway-Bowman said it would be financial suicide for the city to become a health-care provider, but her job as spokeswoman for Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks has raised questions of a conflict of interest.

Carraway-Bowman said she is mindful of the issue and has recused herself from the discussions. Councilman James Henderson, who sits on the Los Robles board of trustees, has said that he doesn't believe he has a conflict since that is an unpaid position.

Much of the discussion of where city money should be spent stems from the group's opposition to the proposed Lindero Canyon Sports Park on Lindero Canyon Road. The park had been the main priority of the previous mayor.

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