Mountain View Voice

News - June 20, 2014

Abe-Koga to run for El Camino district

City council member campaigns for a spot on local hospital board

by Kevin Forestieri

It's still a month before candidates can pick up their nomination papers, but Margaret Abe-Koga is already booting up her campaign for a seat on the El Camino Hospital Healthcare District board.

Two seats on the district board are up for grabs this year. Both David Reeder and Patricia Einarson have terms that expire in December 2014, and while Reeder has not announced whether he will run for re-election, Einarson announced at a board meeting that she will leave the board when her term ends.

Abe-Koga has been on the Mountain View City Council since 2006, and served as vice mayor in 2008 and mayor in 2009. She's served in public office in Mountain View since 2000, starting as a a member of the Human Relations Commission. She has also served as various roles on the county Board of Education, as well as the vice-chair of the Valley Transportation Authority.

As a council member, Abe-Koga worked on the city's general plan update and in 2010, the council recognized Abe-Koga for building "health and wellness initiatives to promote healthy living in a healthy community," according to a resolution of appreciation she received. Her campaign website says that she helped institute health and wellness programs for city employees and the greater community.

During her time on the Local Area Formation Commission, or LAFCo, Abe-Koga said she and the commission worked as an oversight body for the El Camino Healthcare District that put out a "service review" for district improvements. She said at that time, there was a lot of confusion between the healthcare district and the hospital, which has its own hospital board made up of the same members as the district board. The healthcare district didn't even have its own website, which further added to the confusion.

Abe-Koga recommended that the district become more transparent in its actions, better explain to the public what the taxpayer-funded healthcare district does and where its money goes.

Abe-Koga said since the recommendation, the district has done a good job alleviating the problems, but the board has to keep improving its accessibility and transparency.

"I think it's important to be accessible and listen to what people have to say, and provide services that reflect the needs of the community," Abe-Koga said.

Abe-Koga will have a campaign kickoff event Sunday, June 22, at 2 p.m. at Stein's Beer Garden with State Sen. Jerry Hill and Assemblyman Rich Gordon.

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