Measure H battle brews |

Measure H battle brews

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

PLACERVILLE – El Dorado County Health Alliance officials are now wondering if the county’s other litigious shoe will drop as promised.

The Board of Supervisors voted to pursue a lawsuit against the Alliance’s health initiative at the Aug. 22 meeting, but Alliance Head P.J. LoDuca, said the Alliance has yet to be served.

The board voted to sue the Alliance in order to stop county residents from voting on how $47 million of Master Tobacco Settlement money should be spent.

A week ago, a Superior Court judge denied the county’s request for a writ to stop Measure H from going to voters. The measure, filed by the Builders’ Exchange in April, requests half of the county’s Vehicle License Fees go to road maintenance.

LoDuca said the Exchange’s win and an Orange County health coalition court victory is a good sign the Health Alliance could also be victorious if and when it goes to court.

LoDuca said she’s anxious to see if the board continues with a lawsuit against the Alliance since a Southern California Orange County court decided a similar initiative proposed in its county did not tie the board’s discretionary hands, which is the same argument El Dorado’s Supervisors made.

The initiative promoted by a health coalition in Orange County will be voted on in November. It seeks 80 percent of the tobacco money be designated to health care services.

“The courts are being very favorable in getting these issues to the voters,” LoDuca said.

County Counsel Lou Green said the county plans to file a lawsuit against the Alliance but that an exact time line has not been developed.

While Alliance members wait for the supervisors to move, LoDuca said the they will continue to educate county residents on why the money needs to go to health care.

“Our intent is to continue to be an alliance of people who are dedicated to health care,” LoDuca said. “We want to get that information out to the residents of this county and to educate the Board of Supervisors.”

The Alliance lost hope of state intervention when Senate Bill 673, proposed by Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Los Angeles, was left on the Senate floor last Friday.

SB 673 essentially died because it was not heard by midnight, the end of the Legislature’s two-year session. Escutia’s office said it will consider rewriting another similar bill for the next session.

“I was optimistic that the bill would pass,” LoDuca said. “I’m shocked, it’s really too bad.”

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