Editorial: Unethical Behavior in Hospital District Elections

October 26, 2015 by David Dehlendorf

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A public office is a public trust. At what point is that trust broken?

I certainly don’t Trust Jenny! Just Follow the Money in the November 3 elections to the hospital district board to see why.

The San Juan Islander reported today (10/26/15) that according to Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) filings, Jenny Ledford has taken in more than $24,010, far in excess of her opponent Monica Harrington’s $6,035. Much of that has come from a few donors. It’s also been revealed that Ledford’s PR and marketing, including expensive mailers, is being done by the same firm that handles PeaceHealth’s PR, with some of its work for Jenny having been done without compensation and therefore treated as an in-kind contribution by the PDC.

A major part of Ledford’s responsibilities if elected would be to oversee the administration of the 50-year subsidy agreement that turns over our tax dollars to PeaceHealth. The close ties between PeaceHealth and Ledford’s campaign raise very troubling questions about her abilities to fulfill her responsibilities as a public servant and to put the needs of islanders first.

Wilson Strategic, the PR firm in the Seattle area, is currently touting its work for both Ledford and PeaceHealth on its website (http://wilsonstrategic.com). How could Ledford, who touts her business skills, have done something so egregious as to put her campaign in such an untenable position?

Why kind of people think it’s a good idea to brag that they do strategic work both for a private entity and the public official who would be overseeing a long-term multi-million dollar contract with that entity?

I hope islanders and local media take a deeper look and consider the consequences of this type of campaigning. I believe this recent development provides the public with even more reasons to vote for Barbara Sharp, Bill Williams, and Monica Harrington for commissioners of San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 in the November 3 elections.

David Dehlendorf
Chair, San Juan County Democrats

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