Sonoma voters reject bid for eminent domain: San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, 5/9/06

By Jim Doyle

A controversial bond measure for funding to build a new community hospital near the Town of Sonoma on ranch land taken through eminent domain was defeated by voters in the Sonoma Valley Health Care District, officials said.

Measure C was defeated by a vote of 9,321 to 2,769 — 77 percent to 23 percent — with about 59 percent of eligible voters casting mail-in ballots during the month-long special election.

Voting continued even though the Save Our Hospital campaign for the measure abandoned its effort April 13 after hospital district officials announced they had found an alternative site for the new hospital that wouldn't require land to be seized.

The hospital district plans to address the issue at its next board meeting May 10.

"We need to work for a solution that's good for the whole community," said Pat Stornetta, a co-owner of the Leveroni ranch, the land hospital officials had previously planned to acquire by eminent domain.

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