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Council Votes to Oppose Measure O

October 20, 2000|TRACI ISAACS

The Moorpark City Council has voted unanimously to oppose Measure O, an initiative that would transfer $260 million in tobacco settlement money from county government to private hospitals.

Councilman John Wozniak called the measure, backed by Ventura's Community Memorial Hospital, "robbery" and said it would steal taxpayers' money for private industry.

Community Memorial has spent at least $1.6 million campaigning for the measure, which seeks to take settlement money away from the county.

"This is ridiculous," Wozniak said at the meeting Wednesday. "Not one red cent goes to the county medical facility, and they provided services to smokers in the community."

Community Memorial spokesman Mark Barnhill said cities that are opposing Measure O are bowing to pressures from above.

"We're seeing politicians of Ventura County joining in an attempt to hang on to this money and prevent people from deciding how it's spent," he said.

Councilman Chris Evans agreed with Wozniak. "Community Memorial Hospital ought to climb back in its hole and leave taxpayers alone," he said. "This is designed to do one thing, line the pockets of private hospitals, and with no accountability."

Last month, the Ventura City Council became the first in the county to officially oppose Measure O. Like other opponents of the measure, Moorpark officials contend that passing the initiative would set a precedent for future abuse.

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