Debra Bowen was David to Tenet’s Goliath

Re: “The Hospital That Almost Wasn’t,” Cover Story, Aug. 22

What really saved what’s now Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital from the trash heap of a short history in 2002 was a showdown in a dramatic David and Goliath rhetoric-lashing fashion by then state Sen. Debra Bowen (a diminutive David) of the then CEO Harris Koenig (a veritable giant to Bowen).

First off, Bowen was late to the community gathering at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Venice on Lincoln Boulevard and apologized, as the traffic was bad even 17 years ago. It drove home the point that with traffic impacting the community even back then, closing the hospital with its essential emergency services would be devastating to all.

Bowen proceeded to talk down and stare down an almost speechless Koenig, and that resulted in Tenet immediately changing course, selling the hospital in 2004 as well as its other previous California acquisitions.

Cedars-Sinai has big plans for a new medical center at the present site. With Marina del Rey going through another growth spurt, the next 50 years present the problems of the past — traffic and more traffic — as well as those of the present and future: traffic complicated by e-scooters and bikes, and homelessness with its many possibilities of vermin-associated disease.

In an important way, Debra Bowen made a pitch against the profiteering of a hospital chain at the expense of the public. Available and affordable health care is essential to a healthy, growing and viable community. And that includes the homeless (another critical discussion).

Jerome P. Helman, M.D.


Editor’s Note: Helman is a physician who joined the Marina Mercy staff in 1975 and continued on until retirement as the hospital became Daniel Freeman and Marina Del Rey Hospital.

Dune Pushback was a Community-Wide Effort

Re: “Developer Flattens Ecologically Sensitive Toes Beach Dunes,” News, Aug. 15

Thank you for reporting the unauthorized bulldozing of the dunes by Legado. The article seems to credit me with bringing out L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and starting the whole pushback, but I can’t take credit for that. Julie Ross was the instigator and most persistent fighter — along with Sara Kay, who brought out the public, plus all those who saw the bulldozer at work before we did. In the end it was the entire community coming together as Playa del Rey always does, plus a councilman who cares and a deputy, Matt Tecla, who was alert and available.
Thanks to all.

Ruth Lansford

Playa del Rey