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tv   [untitled]    September 21, 2010 8:00pm-8:30pm PST

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>> good afternoon, everyone. if you would take your seats for this incredibly happy occasion. i am the director of the san francisco department of public health, and i want you to think back 13 years, because that is when i began. and when i started, the very first crisis i had to deal with is what shall we do about the laguna honda hospital. it has always been known for the incredible care, the loving
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nurses, the fantastic physicians, the energetic volunteers, the courage of our residents, for all of the things that made the care great. but we had a problem. and the problem was the building. we were in a building that had long outlived its usefulness as a place for residents to live. it was no longer consistent with any medicare or medicaid rules. we were the only facility left in the country running open wards. we were told we would not be allowed any longer by both the federal and state authorities. it was a place where, while the care was wonderful, the building did not fit any modern earthquake standards. where privacy was insufficient to support human dignity. where people did not have a
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place to store their stuff. where people did not have a window to look out on. where we had to have wards that had closing doors because there was not that easy access to the outside. here we had a vibrant set of people -- residents, nurses, doctors, attendants -- but what we lacked was a space that was equal to them. with that, i hope all of you -- looking around the crowd, so many of you did to make this reality. derek parker set the vision of every room with a window. whether it is one of you who voted for this, or one of our wonderful residents who has been a volunteer here.
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all of you had a role in creating that facility we are so proud of. with that, i would like to bring out the mayo -- the mayor of san francisco. give him a round of applause, because he deserves it. [applause] for the last seven years, he has been a steward of this city, helping us to overcome many of the challenges that we have faced, as you will hear throughout the program. part of what makes today so sweet is it was not easy to get here. it was really hard. there were a lot of bumps on the road to this fantastic moment, many things we could not have anticipated, many things we did not know. throughout it, the mayor has always supported it, help us to solve the problems we face.
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i think the biggest part of the to be to him is the fact that this is the first leed building -- the environmental certification -- the first leed hospital in california to be built. i think that really speaks to his commitment to environmental issues at a time, 12 years ago, when it was not so popular, and it seemed like a quixotic kind of adventure to be talking about it. he said it was real. he was right. now people talk about it as a day to day economic reality. mr. mayor? >> thank you, doctor, and thank you all for taking the time to be here today. to begin with, i would like to recognize a couple of people. one person whose spirit is here,
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but whose sisters took the time to come out here. that is his sister and his kids that are here somewhere in the crowd. there you are. thank you karen, for coming out. john was a special diet and so many ways. we would not be here had it not been for his constancy, his faith in the notion of this project and his love of every one of the residents, many of whom are here today. it is good to see you guys. and all the caregivers here, john loved. i want to take that moment and reflect on his contribution. let us also take a moment to reflect on the doctor. we are blessed. you do not want to be the best of the best. you want to be only the one who does what you do.
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his commitment to public health in san francisco is second to none. he has done an extraordinary job leading by example. this is a city that is doing things that no other city in the united states of america could even imagine doing, things that even when we had all the resources in the world and all the capacity, things that cities could not do. this commitment to an acute care, facility, a skilled nursing facility -- what county is having a ribbon cutting on a new nursing facility in this modern age? and what city and county can lay claim to comprehensive universal health care, regardless of pre- existing conditions, regardless of your ability to pay? dr. mitch kastz has been the
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architect of all of this. thank you for your leadership. there is the old play towline that if there is any hope for the future of those with lanterns will pass them on to others. let me talk about those that carry bright lights, that pass those lanterns on to others. many of them you will hear in just a moment, because they are appropriately on stage and will be recognized for their own work. one is the former mayor, willie gramm, who deserves a tremendous amount of credit for envisioning the bonds that brought us here. i want to thank in particular the leadership of the city attorney, who in some ways is responsible for us being here because she created that impetus to initiate a federal lawsuit against a tobacco company back
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when few people thought there was any hope and that there should not be much expectation of success. she carried that torch. she succeeded in that effort. she moved on, but she did not move away. she not only created the framework that allowed us to generate, all told, $141 million that contributed to this project today because of that tobacco settlement, but she said it is one thing to have a bond and another thing to have a settlement. minutes and equipment. we need new things to provide dignity that this building's physical architecture can supply. that is louise gray. thank you, louise, for your extraordinary leadership.
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when mitch was referencing -- it is interesting. i was elected mayor and one of the first stops i had was, literally, within 7 feet of where i am standing here today, but it was just dirt. that was the groundbreaking for this. here we are seven years later at the ribbon cutting. despite the delays, we are here. we are here as well in reference to what mitch was saying. a lot of it was not easy. the private commitments did not come in as expected. the money did not all materialize exactly as expected. but we call on someone who at the time could lead the way in terms of reconciling some of the concerns counties like san francisco had around their acute care facilities. we went to her many times to help us with san francisco
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general and to help us with laguna honda hospital. one of the big reasons we are here was the ingenious legislation that she appropriately and wisely introduced on behalf of not just this city but cities and counties large and small up and down the state, and allowed us to leverage federal dollars. it is appropriate now she is in the federal legislature. that is state senator and current congress woman jockey spears j jockeyackie -- jackie spiers. the contributions, large and small, the current members of the board of supervisors, previous president of the board, all of those that contributed so much down at city hall, we are glad you are here, ed lee at the
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department of public works did, the principal lead agency in the government, thank you for your stewardship of this project. you did a great job. to louise cansell, who put out a press release acknowledging over 100 meters at that now adorn this extraordinary building. there is not $1 wasted in the commitment of public art. it was 2% set aside. if any of you have been inside, you know exactly what i mean when you have the opportunity to walk around. thank you to the arts commission. to the outstanding architect, thank you for those windows.
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thank you for the vision. to all the partners -- i will not keep going. i could. i know you're getting nervous. there are tens speakers behind me. let me try to close up, but there are a lot of people to a knowledge. one of the great things about this project is it builds community -- not just community in terms of the residents of this facility and residents in the area, but we are connecting community-based organizations. we are connecting the rest of the city through this remarkable place. i want to thank all of this community based organizations that have stepped up and step in, folks you never think about like the san francisco zoo. we have a little zoo back there. to the contributions of organizations like jvs, and
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organizations that do incredible hospice work. they are all partnered with laguna honda. to the volunteers. to the foundation. thank you for your commitment. thank you for your support. finally, and this was a long winded point i wanted to make, it to the residence. the dignity that you deserve. the facilities that you have long before -- you have longed for. to those we have lost along the way, supervisors elsbernd and i had great friends that wanted to be here today that were hoping they could make it through. this is for them. but this is for all of you, for your families. it is difficult for families to make the decision to send their loved ones to a facility like this. it is challenging. sometimes, you are left with a
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tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety, where you just cannot do it all yourself. i am actually convinced, and i mean this, what this facility will do is bring families back together. there is every reason for a family member to feel proud about the care they are receiving here, but now more than ever they will feel not only pride but they will feel a sense of exhilaration every time they come back to visit their loved one. i am confident those visits will increase accordingly, because there is every reason to want to come here. there is an arts center. there is a library. you can enjoy the rabbits and llamas, the swimming pools and the workout facilities, and the duty that surrounds this 52 acres. to all of the family members,
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all the patients, and finally the care physicians, those men and women that are working here day in and day out, sacrificing so much. congratulations. this is all for you. thank you very much. >> that was great. [applause] that was wonderful. thank you, mr. mayor. we really appreciate it. the mayor spoke of the tremendous role of congresswoman jackie spier. i said, "will you please join us in supporting the hospital? she said, "my grandfather was here. as a child, i took care of him here. just let me know what you need." that is something you hear pretty often. it is just words. but a few months later, i said
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"i need you to do something." i told her that we needed a state bill passed that would enable us to be able to leverage federal dollars so we could build this facility. she said she could do it and then she did, which i think is very much the story of her life -- a woman with a huge heart who says "i will do that for you," and then she really does. congresswoman jackie speaier. >> are you as thrilled as i am to be here today? is this not just a home run out of the park? i am reminded of what they always say about society, that you really measure a society by how it takes care of its old, its young, and its disabled. if ever there was a symbol of
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how this great city takes care of its family, it is this building. i want to say thank-you to mitch katz, who at as the mayor has said is the best of the best. he is a remarkable leader for the city. under challenging times, he manages a health-care city -- a health care center with great grace. thank you again. to the great city family, to the board of supervisors, to my colleagues in the state legislature,, it is a thrill to be with you. to. cutler, who is here representing the wonderful residence. we are thrilled you have this beautiful home in which to live. this is really full circle. laguna honda was first challenged because it was seismically unsafe.
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it was the unchallenged because it had 30 person wards, and that was unacceptable. and so the work again. we said "yes we can," and now we say yes we did. we transform laguna honda into a remarkable long-term care facility for the residents of this great city. i was really privileged to be able to carry legislation. it was not easy, but we did come up with 200 million more dollars to put into this facility. your heart will skip a beat just like mine did when i walked into that building and saw the extraordinary are work that will live on in this building forever and that will be a reflection of our great love of the arts. i just want to say that i came here often as a youngster. my grandfather was here for two
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years. he had a stroke and became disabled and paralyzed. he came to this country in 1950 and became a u.s. citizen and worked at mountainside hospital in their janitorial services. so he spent two years here. i used to come here on the weekend. it was dreary and dingy. oftentimes a did not want to come because it was not very pleasant. but i was deeply grateful for the extraordinary care he received here. to all the care givers, we cannot thank you enough for continuing to serve in that facility that was not the most beautiful. but now we turn over to the facility that truly is beautiful. we want to thank you again. [applause] we want to thank you again for hanging in there with us. this is a jewel for the city. we can be very proud of it.
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we can be very proud of the leadership of the city. we can be very proud of the residents who live here and will have great dignity as they continue to enjoy all that is laguna honda. it is a privilege to be with you. i bring greetings from my colleagues, your congresswoman, the speaker of the house of representatives, nancy pelosi, who desperately wanted to be here today, a work called for other places. thank you all for the privilege of serving you. maybe next time you call i will take your call again. [applause] >> thank you so much. our next speaker exemplifies why it would be wonderful if we could only have more health care people in elected office. but think part of why he is so
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effective on a number of health issues is because he is himself a child psychologist who really understands the needs of vulnerable populations and who has been a tremendous supporter of hours on laguna honda and a number of other issues. senator, we are so lucky to have you. thank you. >> thank you very much. i was asked to talk a little bit about my relationship with laguna honda. the year was 1978. i had just graduated, gotten my ph.d. in child psychology. i joined the public health department in the children's division. i was working. i never thought i would be coming over to laguna honda, because it was mainly for adults and those individuals who were later in their years. but with a child you always have a family.
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so there were many times the would come here. what was always amazing about laguna honda was the sense of community. you kind of go back into the records and talk to some of those individuals who were involved in laguna honda. one of the things you would always hear was that their vocations -- the patients were the family. they may be there for a couple of years. they are our family. they are our children. they are our aunts and uncles. one of the things i also began to realize is that because it was a community that the staff here understood what back then we never even understood. but they were doing it already. later we would coined it as culturally and linguistically sensitive and competent. those kinds of principles were developed here that we were only trying to think about somewhere else.
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laguna honda, for me, was the trailblazer of a lot of good quality care for many, many individuals. best forward -- i do not know what year it was. i was on the board of supervisors multiple times. willie brown was mayor. i was in the middle of it all. right behind me and around me, they came up with this notion of the largest bond ever in the history of the city and county of san francisco. i was trying to figure out how i was going to deal with the supervisors and the mayor and everybody else. but one of the things about san francisco is that if there is a will there is always a way. if there is an interesting, there will always be a way to try and find avenues to help all
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of those individuals here in the city and county of san francisco. despite all of the differences, despite all the different interests, despite all of the political machinations you can imagine, which came together as a city and we passed that bond. in the history now is how do we move forward to provide the very, very best services for all those individuals here and those individuals who come? how do we honor the paths of those individuals who understood the importance of linguistic and cultural competence and all of those attitudes and values back there permeate into the halls and the rooms and all the offices and the ground here of the new laguna honda? i will tell you that i am confident that there are going to be new things. there are going to be new ways of dealing with patients, a more humane and sensitive caring way.
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and it will come out of laguna honda. all of us should be proud. all of us should be grateful that we have had a small piece of that particular history. because that history helps me bear a lot of responsibility, to be a husband, to be a father. this institution will always be part of my life. you have taught me how to be that better person. thank you very much and god bless all of you. [applause] >> we are so blessed in our elected leaders in san francisco. senator mark leno has helped us on a bill to make sure that people who need help in a community and want to stay in the community can do so. we are very proud of this new building.
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at the same time, we want to make sure that people who want to stay in their homes will be able to do so. and so the senator has carried a bill that will enable us, if someone has medicaid, to use those medicaid dollars to increase the number of in-home hours that person has so that we can use those federal dollars instead of hospitalization, instead of long-term care here, in the home. our goal is that the person always has the choice as to what is the best setting for them. with that, should we do it all together? >> i have a resolution. this is my district. senator leno is an interloper. it is ok, because he is going to bring us a lot of money. together, we want to make this presentation to the executive director, the new head of laguna
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honda. i have known her for years. she is small in size, but she carries a wallop. thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon, everybody. it is not often you get to say the words "your tax dollars at work" with a smiling face, but san francisco is smiling today. [applause] supervise a eslbernd call me months ago to find out when the ribbon cutting would be, knowing the pride celebration was coming. he wanted to make sure there was
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a cycle of other activities, planning the ribbon cutting. i want to thank you, a supervisor, for doing that. i am curious if we are going to cut a red or a pink ribbon this afternoon. major newsom -- mayor newsom has recognized all the individuals who helped bring us to this proud moment. i remember clearly when we were all on the board of supervisors together. we got news from the federal government that the open wards and conditions of laguna honda, no 144 years old, now to serve 780 residents -- that we had to act fast because we had to build this building. willie brown, as mayor, a very experienced in political campaigns for going forward, becauset


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