New anti-California Northstate University hospital project website '' launched

After laying low for several months during the COVID19 pandemic, California Northstate University's controversial $900 million hospital project is being pushed back into the spotlight. This new scrutiny has developed in the lead up to the November Elk Grove Mayoral and City Council District 1 and 3 elections.

After holding several pizza town hall meetings on the hospital project before the March shutdown, proposed in the Stonelake neighborhood, CNU recently revived its public relations effort. That effort included a late-September mailer to Elk Grove registered voters touting the economic benefit of the project.  

Paid political advertisement

This week, an unfavorable story was published in the Sacramento Bee, reported previously documented contributions Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly has received from various people associated with the for-profit CNU. Since its December 2018 announcement, Ly has been a consistent supporter of the project, which includes a 400-bed 12-story hospital near the Stone Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Although Ly continues to support the project, his primary mayoral opponent Bobbie Singh-Allen has not staked a firm position. The third mayoral candidate, Brian Pastor, says the project should be moved to the now-demolished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove site, also known as the Ghost Mall, on Highway 99 and Grant Line Road.

In the District 1 Elk Grove City Council race, incumbent Darren Suen initially supported the project but backtracked his unqualified support after facing voters backlash. Challenger Ali Moua, who has been sharing campaign resources with Ly, has been silent on the project. 

Also, reviving interest in the project was the release of the draft environmental impact report of the project. The comment deadline on that project has been extended until October 13.

The latest effort to generate opposition is the launch of the website. Information on the site indicates it is sponsored by the Stonelake Community homeowners owners association and includes a message from an officer.

Among the points outlined on the site is perhaps the most perplexing claims made by CNU. They have repeatedly maintained the first phase of the project can be built and opened by 2022, even though the local and state approval process can take up to four years before construction can start. 

They point out, according to the draft EIR, construction could occur for 11 years for five to seven days a week. Also highlighted is the potential environmental effects the project would have on the nearby wildlife refuge.

Regardless of who prevails in the mayoral and city council races, the project will continue as a significant political battle for elected officials and labor union officials who support the project and community activist and environmental groups who are opposed. 

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