With nearly all votes counted, , the mail-only ballot for a $47 annual residential parcel tax to prop up Doctors Medical Center, has won by a commanding 73.7 yes vote, according to preliminary totals.
Of 32,469 votes counted, Measure J received 23,923 yes votes and 8,546 no votes. The measure asked voters to approve the tax for residents in the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, which covers the area from Kensington to Port Costa.
"Obviously we're really pleased with the result," Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said from a celebration gathering of Measure J supporters in Point Richmond tonight, Tuesday. "I think it shows that West County residents value this hospital and the emergency room and their importance to the community."
Gioia chairs the board overseeing hospital operations and campaigned actively on Measure J's behalf.
He said he was told by the county elections department that some ballots delivered today — estimated to be 1-2 percent of the total — are not included in the results released so far but that the outcome is not expected to change. The deadline for return of ballots was 8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 15.
The measure will help to replace $10 million in state funding cuts that threaten to close the emergency room at the San Pablo facility, which is the primary emergency care unit in West Contra Costa County.
Supporters of the measure said that if it didn't pass the emergency room would close and ambulance times and emergency patient waiting times would increase dramatically at other facilities. No argument against the measure was filed for the ballot. A two-thirds majority was required for passage of the measure.
Doctors Medical Center is a public hospital that provides care mostly for the uninsured and for Medicare and Medi-Cal patients. Reimbursements for that care falls short of the actual costs.