Measure M may be dead | March 1, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - March 1, 2013

Measure M may be dead

Without expensive legal battle, hospital salary cap initiative may be invalidated

by Nick Veronin

Measure M, the voter-approved local initiative that would limit executive pay at El Camino Hospital, looks as if it will be invalidated by the courts, according to one of the measure's leading proponents.

Kary Lynch, a psychiatric technician and steward for the hospital's chapter of the SEIU-UHW union, said that none of the defendants in an El Camino-initiated lawsuit against Measure M plan to put up a fight.

Lynch said he'd like to stand up to the hospital, but that no one he reached out to — including the SEIU and the ACLU — would represent him pro bono. With no one contesting the hospital's legal action, he said it is his understanding that the Measure M case will be set aside by a judge, which will effectively kill it.

A hospital spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to speculate on the future of the measure until the court had issued a firm ruling.

Lynch said he was disappointed about the way Measure M played out. After the initiative was approved by voters in November, the hospital — represented by six of the organization's highest paid officials — sued Lynch and Laura Huston, another hospital employee who co-sponsored the initiative with Lynch. The plaintiffs named in the suit were Kenneth King, Michael King, Dr. Eric Pifer, Tomi Ryba, Gregory Walton and Michael Zdeblick.

Although the official complaint identified Lynch and Huston as having "a legally recognized interest in defending Measure M's validity," Lynch suspects that he and his colleague were targeted because the hospital's lawyers knew neither of them had the means to mount a legal defense.

It is not clear whether the hospital's lawyers could have taken another path toward overturning Measure M. "This is the way we chose to do it," said Steve Mayer, a partner with Arnold & Porter LLP and one of the lawyers representing El Camino in the case. "It seemed to be the most logical and efficient way to do it."

Officials from the SEIU-UHW said they said they could not represent Lynch as they were not named in the suit. Two lawyers who work for the SEIU-UHW did meet with Lynch, making sure to say they were not speaking as union lawyers. According to him, Bruce A. Harland and Emily P. Rich, both of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld, advised Lynch to take no action, saying that as long as he did nothing, he would not be required to pay legal fees.

Lawyers from the ACLU, along with Harland and Rich, could not be reached for comment, but Lynch believes that Measure M has been extinguished for good. Unless the judge decides not to set the case aside, even if someone came forward now and offered free legal assistance, they would not be able to revive the case, he said.


Posted by Jes' Sayin', a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

So much for "the people are always right"...

Posted by Disappointed, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

You can't fight the rich in legal court. "Justice" costs money. How much justice can YOU afford?

Posted by Mr. Orlando, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 4, 2013 at 6:45 am

I ask you, what good did it do to vote?

Posted by Nick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

For all of you complaining about ignoring the "will of the voters" -- will you also complain when Prop 8 is overturned by the courts?

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

Apples and oranges, Nick. Gay marriage doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime.

Nice try serving your corporate masters, though. Maybe they'll hire you.

Posted by Don't say anything against, a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Don't say anything against gay, otherwise you will be deleted, at least from this trash paper.

They have there civil unions, which is the Gov. form of marriage. Give the Civil Unions the same properties as marriage and be over and done with it.

Marriage is a religious cerimony, not a government all come and for a fee will ordain you to whatever you want.

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