Washington Hospital race getting testy

The race for Washington Hospital Board of Trustees has gotten a little testy. Evelyn Li, who made a movie critical of the hospital and Ravi Johal, a lawyer not affiliated with Li, are challenging incumbents Pat Danielson and Bill Nicholson.

First, Hospital CEO Nancy Farber stepped into district politics during a September board meeting. She showed photographstaken by hospital security cameras of Johal talking with protesters outside the hospital during a rally staged by a CNA representative. She said the rally was really Li’s, insinuating that  the two challengers are somehow allied.

Then, Board Chair Mike Wallace has sent out a fundraising letter for the two incumbents, in which he says that Johal has indirect Minutemen ties and notes that he defends “sex offenders, drug violators and white collar criminals.”

Johal isn’t pleased. He thinks Farber crossed the line in showing the photographs during the board meeting which he attended. He also wonders why Wallace, who happens to be vice chairman of Fremont Bank, is getting so active in the race.

“Makes you wonder, is there something they’re trying to hide?” Johal said. “It seems they use the full weight of everything they have to stifle a candidacy.” He also said that he has received the nurses’ union endorsement, even though the letter says otherwise.

As for the Minuteman reference, Johal was an intern for Assemblyman Bill Morrow, R-Carlsbad, who years later joined the Minutemen. Johal, who comes from an immigrant family, said Morrow was one of the few state legislators who had an opening back when he was an undergraduate.

To read the entire letter from Mike Wallace, click where it says to click

Matt Artz


  1. I am dismayed that Mr. Wallace would get involved in the way he has done, which is by trashing candidates who are aspiring to serve. I have attended several Washington Hospital Board meetings. At those meetings, I was disappointed to watch Board members, who are elected by us to represent our interests, turn around and blindly side with the CEO. It seems their concept of providing community oversight is reversed.

    My interest is focused on the public funds that they receive from the Hospital Bond that we passed in 2004. I volunteered to be on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee after having successfully served on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committees of the Fremont Unified School District and the Ohlone College bonds. The Hospitals Board turned down my application to serve on their Bond Oversight Committe without assigning any reason. Instead, they appointed a former Board member who was rejected by the voters during the same election that they voted for the bond.

    Mr. Wallace’s time is better spent in answering to the community his role in opening up the oversight of the Hospital Bond to community members and not just restrict it to those he feels comfortable with and his ex Board colleagues. As a community members, I demand that he and other Board members show us how our dollars are being spent. I would like to know if the Bond accounts are being audited at all. I ask if those are independent auditors and what the results of the audit are. These questions are more relevant now than ever before due to the current financial crisis and accusation of financial mismanagement by those entrusted with public funds.

    Mr Wallace should recognize that the obligations of the Board members do not cease with their election to the Board and that the community has the power of recall if their elected representatives fail to perform.

  2. Ravi Johal is a joke, the fact that the democratic party supports him is a joke – he CHANGED to a democrat to get the endorsement – are you kidding me???? I would prefer a REAL democrat receive the endorsement, I can’t believe the “leadership” would betray us like this.

  3. Damn, this is exciting! I gotta say, Patricia (call her “Pat”) Danielson was a lock on my ballot. Maybe not so anymore.

  4. Today, I got a mailer from Friends of Washington Hosptial asking not to vote for Ravi & Li. Who belong to Friends of Washington Hospital and why are they doing negative campaign. Instead, I would have appreciated if they had informed who to vote for and the reasons for it. Now, I decided not to vote for the incumbents.

  5. This is a bit misleading… Ravi Johal isn’t quite the carpetbagger this hit piece is insinuating. He has ties to Fremont… he lived her after graduating college.

  6. At least someone is sharing the truth about these candidates. Clearly no one else is doing their homework.

    Johal changed his party registration on the day he filed to run for office? Shameless opportunism! He never attended one Washington Hospital Board meeting before deciding to run for office? Think he’s using this office as a springboard for a political career? More opportunism! Willing to sacrifice his values and work for one of the most extreme members of the legislature – a guy who patrols the boarder armed with a gun? His response was essentially that he wanted to get some experience and pad his resume. This guy is all about opportunism but with no values.

    All you need to know about Dr. Evelyn Li is that she is facing 5 charges of providing incompetent medical care. She’s been suspended from practicing at St. Rose and has to be supervised while working at Washington Hospital!

    Are these the people we want running our hospital? Aren’t we fortunate to have one of the best community hospitals? It’s well managed and the quality of care is outstanding. Why would we change direction now?

  7. Uhh, Ravi was a student in school when he worked in the Assembly office. He was an intern for goodness sake! Internships are usually given out through schools, so it’s quite likely Johal did this internship because his school arranged it.

    How was a 21 year old supposed to anticipate that his boss was going to be a nutjob? And yes, 21 year olds are trying to pad their resumes. And no, they aren’t being nakedly opportunistic for doing so. Sorry if you don’t remember what it was like being a student.

  8. Well, I certainly won’t be voting for the incumbents. If they are endorsed by an organization that finds the First and Sixth Amendments offensive – you know, the ones that provide for freedom of political opinion and provide for jury trials and criminal deefense attorneys – I can’t be sure what other legal shortcuts they might favor.

  9. In fact, when I was 21 I interned for a member of the California Legislature. I distinctly remember carefully selecting a small number of legislators who I felt comfortable working for because we shared similar VALUES. Every office needed interns, but I didn’t want to work for just anyone. Particularly as a student, I had VALUES. That’s the point here, VALUES… and the fact that any fair-minded person who takes a close look at Ravi Johal realizes that he hasn’t demonstrated a commitment to any coherent set of VALUES. Not as a student. Not when he registered to vote and then quickly re-registered when he realized it was much more expedient to be a Democrat in this District. I wouldn’t be particularly concerned with his lack of values IF HE WASN’T RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE!

    As for finding the First and Sixth Amendments offensive, you’re missing the point. The point is whether or not a criminal defense attorney is the kind of qualifications we’re looking for when electing members to the HOSPITAL BOARD. Call me crazy, but I’ll side with the two experienced and accomplished healthcare professionals who have demonstrated strong and capable leadership on the board for nearly a decade. Be careful not to confuse these healthcare professionals with the one who stands to lose her license due to well-documented professional incompetence.

    These aren’t unfounded political attacks. These are the facts as can be verified in the public record. It is a shame that when people try to shed light on the truth, it is labeled mudslinging. People deserve to know the truth about who they are voting for.

  10. I would like to ask No Opportunists (who is probably a front set up by The CEO), why is partisanship being injected in a non-partisan election.

    If No Opportunists is interested in shedding light on the truth, than shed some light to the community members on how the bond monies are being appropriated. Shed some light to the community on why 90% of the Board of Directors’ meeting are held behind closed doors with elaborate dinners, wine etc. Shed some light to the community on why the Board members hold paid positions provided by the CEO on the boards of organizations such as Kidango. Why is there no transparency.

    Let me shed some light to No Opportunists. I was the campaign manager for Dr. Eapen when he ran for the first time. The CEO and Mr Wallace and their gang opposed him tooth and nail since he was an outsider. He did win. I am very aware on the resistance the CEO with Mike Wallace and gang have for an outsider.

    It is time to recall the entire Board and I intend to start that effort after Nov. 4th. We need to have a a Board which truly reflects the hopes and aspirations of the community members that they are supposed to serve and not the other way around.

  11. Chinmoy Roy asks for light to be shed board members holing paid positions by the CEO on the boards of organizations such as Kidango…

    My understanding is that board members of Kidango are not paid for their service, nor are the board members of other such non-profit groups in town. I am misunderstanding the question?

  12. Do you trust bankers in general to take care of quarter billion dollar per year kitty for non profit health care organisation? Do you trust the local banker to supervise and make decisions about 40 million dollar bond issue floated by the hospital?( Country is paying cost for decisions and recommendations by so called expert bankers)
    Why are Mike Wallace and executives from Fremont Bank running campaign from bank offices? Who are the contributors of PAC( So Called Friends of Washington hospital better known as Friends of Washington hospital CEO Ms Farber) ? Are they same as the people getting cookie handouts from the CEO?
    Are the bankers afraid of incumbents being displaced ? Are they afraid of attorney being on the board?
    Follow the article written by Mr Artz the newspaper correspondent regarding connections between the bank and the hospital.

  13. I am interested in what Mr Chinmoy and Sheppard have to say about the issues put forth:

    Why does Ravi Johal and the party believe he is qualified if he’s never been to a Washington Hospital Board meeting?

    What is the response to him Johal changing his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat? What qualifications as a Democrat does he have that deserves the endorsement?

  14. Well folks! It’s time for me to respond to the allegations and attacks made on me by the “Friends of Washington Hospital”.

    Fellow democrats at the local level and the county level have embraced me as a Democrat. They have interviewed me, vetted me and also examined my philosophy, beliefs and commitment to affordable health care and meeting the needs of patients, nurses and employees of the Hospital.
    Since this is a non-partisan election, party affiliation ia a moot point.

    I have lived in Fremont for the last 2.5 years, and have committed to making the tri-cities the place where I work, live and raise my family.

    From the onset I decided that I would run a clean, focused campaign and would outline my priorities for my candidacy. I never anticipated that my election campaign would encountered some vicious and vile comments. I am outraged at the tone with which some members of the current Board of Directors have taken, attacking my candidacy and my message. An attempt is being made to create fear, uncertainity and doubt regarding my candidacy. My message from the onset has focused on ensuring and enhancing levels of:



    >Accessibility &


    This message continues to resonate with the community and I will continue to ask that Washington Hospital focus on these issues in order to ensure that it remains a jewel of the community and great place for it’s Doctors,Nurses, Employees and Administrators to work in and provide quality health care to our community.

    I am a practicing Attorney at the Law Firm of Leon Mezzetti, Jr. I provide legal representation to a broad spectrum of society. I am proud of my profession and I am disturbed that some would chose to portray me in a negative light when I am providing legal representation to those that need it.

    As a student at CSU-Sacramento, I availed of an internship position in1997-98 with the then Assembly member Bill Morrow. Several years later, Bill Morrow, a Senator, chooses to join something related to “TheMinuteman” and I am now being being maligned for that internship. Give me a Break! I would expect that one would encourage our young students to get involved in legislative affairs and government while at school and college. In my internship I worked on constituent issues. Each day I saw how human life is impacted by not having health insurance and affordable health care when it is needed. I committed then to get involved in the community.

    My desire to run for the Hospital Board is based on a sincere desire to make a difference and ensure that this District fulfills its commitment to providing health care and remaining financially solvent.

    My candidacy has resonated with the community. I have earned many endorsements from a broad spectrum of the community, elected officials and organizations. I am especially proud of the endorsement that I have received from the California Nurses Association PAC and its member nurses. These were obtained the old fashioned way of meeting them, discussing the issues and articulating my vision of how to ensure Washington Hospital continues to remain at the forefront of providing quality health care to our district. Unfortunately, my desire to run has caused some folks some heartburn.

    In talking to many residents and employees who have received these hit-pieces on me, I have heard them expressing their disappointment with not only the intent but the tone of the letter as well. Seldom have sitting members ofthe Board ever entered in attacking a challenger, in an election in which he/she is not even running. Many have felt that it is unbecoming of Board Members to so publicly attack new contenders seeking election. Many wonder about the motivation of those that choose to attack me and my candidacy.

    During my campaign meetings with residents of the hospital district, it has become evidently clear, that the Board of Directors will need to do so much more to ensure affordable and quality health care in the district. We will need to continue to retain the trust of the Tax-Payers, the residents of the district. All actions must be transparent with a high degree of accountability.

    We will need to work with our Medical Staff, Nurses, and Employees of the Hospital in ensuring that they are given a voice in ensuring that they can focus on providing superior Patient Care.

    With momentum on my side, I am bracing myself from even more attacks. These attacks only strengthen my resolve in demanding Transparency, Accountability, Affordability & Accessibility from our Board and the Washington Township Hospital.

    Please join me as we continue to raise the issues and define the dialog needed to make health care truly affordable and help Washington Hospital continue to be a jewel of our community.

    I humbly ask for your support with your vote and a contribution to my campaign, in any amount, no matter how small so we may continue to campaign based on real issues.

    Thanks for your support.


    Ravi Johal

  15. “Why does Ravi Johal and the party believe he is qualified if he’s never been to a Washington Hospital Board meeting?”

    Sometimes it is better to have a outsider come into the process to give fresh ideas and take fresh look at issues. Attorney especially criminal attorney may be able to keep a close watch on the financial decisions do not violate the criminal laws . Criminal attorneys may be able to spot out con men and white collar criminals from distance.
    We have the present incumbents for several years who have presided over rising patient bills and expansion of extensive patronage system by the CEO with the help of public money .

    Criminal attorneys may be able to give rap on the knuckles of lot of cats out there who want put their paws into juicy cookie jar (,

    “What is the response to him Johal changing his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat? What qualifications as a Democrat does he have that deserves the endorsement?”

    You have to ask the Democrat party. May be the party thought that the conditions in the hospital affairs are so bad that it is better to have a in experienced republican turned Democrat. May be they thought man without experience is better than people with lousy record over the years.
    What do you think of Senator JOE Lieberman ( ex vice president candidate for democrats)who switched to republican politics?
    How about President Ronald Reagan who switched from Democrat to Republican early in his political career?

    Is there a difference between centrist republican and centrist Democrat?

  16. Arthur,

    Good one. I decided to vote for Ravi Johal & Evelyn Li as a form of protest against the incumbents who are running the Hospital Board like a typical country club.

  17. No Opportunist:

    Students usually have to Intern with legislative offices nearby their places of residence, and there are also restrictions on who can apply to internships (internships are given to students who live within the district the legislator represents). YOU may have had the luxury of being able to choose who you wanted to Intern for, but that doesn’t mean everyone does.

    Also, it’s pretty disgusting to judge a 21 year-old as having no values simply by virtue of which politician he/ she interned for.

    Ravi has indeed been vetted by the Democratic political establishment, and if they feel like he is capable of holding Democratic principles, then he most likely will.

  18. Wait a Min

    You posed the following questions, addressed to others, but I felt like responding as well:

    Que: Why does Ravi Johal and the party believe he is qualified if he’s never been to a Washington Hospital Board meeting?
    Ans: I dont know what Ravi or what the Dem Party thinks, but if you had been to the Board Meetings you would realize very soon that the Monthly Open meetings have a lot to be desired especially from an audience stand point.
    1 open meeting a month where you have a bunch of presentations and then a CEO’s self serving report for everything the Hospital has done in the community and donations the Hospital has made. I don’t know how the Board members bear her ranting for an hour or more each month. A written report might be a better alternative. Now on their website they list a lot of scheduled closed door meetings each month as well. Check out the website and you will see what I mean. These are probably the most interesting meetings to attend. But guess what, one cant attend those closed door meetings. They discuss something related to Strategy planning issues as mentioned on their closed door meeting agenda’s and cites some government code that supposedly permits this. What are the strategic planning issues? Well no one will ever know. So what is the purpose of attending the open meetings? Go for the sandwiches and refreshments. I guess not. Someone told me today that in their closed door meetings the Board is provided gourmet dinners. I find that unlikely and would never think that the Board would stoop to such luxuries at tax payers expense. But in any-case till almost all meetings, with some minor exceptions, are open, I would rather watch the re-runs on Comcast or their Video Streams in which case you cant forward and rewind, I just discovered while watching a recent meeting Video Stream. While I was watching I almost dozed off, and was glad no one was noticing. So I am not sure attending a meeting and watching the CEO talk about what appear to be her favorite doctors and administrators and all the money the hospital donates to the community is the best use of any one’s time no matter how good the sandwiches and coffee are. If Johal has not attended meetings, and maybe watched web-casts and re-runs to educate himself then he is a smart person and knows how to use him time effectively. I guess attending the present day meetings in its existing format is a moot point. Go the the hospitals website and watch one of the meeting web-casts. See for yourself.

    Que: What is the response to Johal changing his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat? What qualifications as a Democrat does he have that deserves the endorsement?
    Ans: This one issue bothered me initially when I got the mailer bashing Johal and Li. I think Li has some serious issues based on what I read. For Johal, I checked his website and saw the endorsements he has gotten. The local Congressman, State Senator, Majority Leader, Former and Current Mayors of Fremont, 3/4 Fremont City Council Members, Alameda County Democratic Party, Local Democratic party, California Nurses Association obviously thought his explanation about his change from Republican to Democrat was enough to persuade them to endorse him. I am sure that’s the first thing they check before they endorse anyone. Then I wondered maybe they endorsed him because his message was clearer and something they related to. Also, in the day of anti incumbency, maybe they felt a fresher face would just shake things up a bit. Maybe his campaign platform was more refreshing than that of the incumbents who have been on for too long. His website sites some good things that he wants to enforce when he is on the Board and I don’t think I can disagree with much of what he has listed under priorities.

    So on the issue of changing party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, have you been seeing the record number of party affiliation change this election cycle. I hear about it in the news everyday And since this is non partisan election, party affiliation doesn’t really mean that much. What I like about what I read on his website is his commitment to Transparency, Affordable Health-care and Preventative Health-care. Also his legal background might just help the Board as well. Another legal perspective cant hurt, especially when Hospital lawyers and Hospital Administrators are usually giving the party-line legal guidance and input to the Board.

    I am not sure who I am going to vote for in the Hospital Board election yet. I wait till the very last minute. But I do know that these attacks are making me sick. McCain-Obama attacks in the last month or so have just worn me out. I don’t need more.

  19. AMacRae indicates Board members at Kidango are not paid for their services. That may be true. However, I mentioned Kidango as an example name. I still maintain that Washington Hospital Board members are put on the Board of other community groups by Nancy Farber in return for their support of her on the Board. Please provide specifics that this is not true.

    To Wait a Minute, I say that attending Board meetings is not a qualification for contesting a Board seat. I served out my term as a member of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee for the Fremont School Board and the Ohlone College bonds. I then applied to serve on the Hospital Bond Oversight Committee. I even attended several Board meetings prior to my application. And the Board’s opinion was that I was not qualified and turned my application down. Instead those positions were given to realtors and the chairmanship of the Committee was offered to a ex-Board member who was voted out. Is that kosher?

    And lastly,, why is Mr. Wallace raising the issue of party affiliation for a non-partisan office. I would like to know if he represents the interest of his party only on the Board or does he represent the interest of the community.

    The California Nurses’ Association (CNA), who in the past endorsed Pat Danielson, has not endorsed her this time. Instead, CNA has endorsed Mr. Johal. If the CNA endorsed based on party affiliations then their endorsements should have been the other way around. The fact of the matter is that Pat has failed to represent their interests as a Board member.

  20. Chinmoy Roy

    You expressed in the blog under Fremont Bank /Washington hospital to initiate recall of Mr. Wallace as a board member. Can you please clarify as to why you felt that way?
    May be the Argus (Thousand eyed) and you can do some investigative journalism
    1) Did Mr. Wallace abstain from vote in board meeting in awarding subsidies /contracts to selected physicians who are his clients?
    2) What percentage of banking is done by Fremont bank for non-profit Washington hospital?
    3) Was Fremont bank involved as middlemen as leaseholder or financier for million dollar equipment purchases? Did Wallace participate in any of the decisions?
    4) How many of the vendors /medical directors/ medical groups
    appointed by the hospital have direct client relationship with Wallace?
    5) Is there involvement of Fremont bank or Wallace in 40 million dollar bond issue floated by the nonprofit Washington Hospital?
    6) Did Wallace approve at the board level award of contract more than one million dollars to a physician vendor (Fremont bank client) who appeared in TV advertisements for Fremont Bank? Incidentally the contract was awarded without transparent open bidding process
    7) Wallace has been running PAC Friends of Washington hospital (Friends of Ms Farber?) from his bank with the help of bank employees and phones (see article by Mr. Artz). Who are the big contributors to this PAC? Are they the vendors, subcontractors, medical directors, medical groups subsidized or have a business relationship with the hospital?
    8) Did the board make financial decisions in the closed meetings?

    Public interest demands answers to these questions

  21. Chimoy Roy writes… “AMacRae indicates Board members at Kidango are not paid for their services. That may be true. However, I mentioned Kidango as an example name. I still maintain that Washington Hospital Board members are put on the Board of other community groups by Nancy Farber in return for their support of her on the Board. Please provide specifics that this is not true.”

    Sorry, but it’s not up to others to prove a negative. It’s your turn to provide the name of at least one person on on the board of one non-profit where they have been named to that board in return for supporting Nancy Farber at Washington Hospital. If you are unable or unwilling to do so I suggest you withdraw your claim.

  22. A MacRae and Andy M you are the same person who I served with on the Ohlone Bond CBOC. I know you and we both are registered Democrats. And I have known you as someone who is passionate about serving this community even after you election loss for the Ohlone Board.

    Having said that, I am sure you are aware that I am in touch with one Board member of the Hospital Board since I was his campaign manager. When Dr. Eapen got elected he was an outsider and initially received a cold shoulder from Nancy and Mike. My friend Danielson, who I also helped reelect 4 years ago bu working on her campaign, met me at a local Democratic party gathering and asked me something like “Chinmoy, I hope you have nothing to do with electing another outsider this time. We are trying to take care of the person you helped last time. I hope you have nothing to do with Johal”.

    When I heard that, I realized why she failed to get the endorsement of the CNA this time around. I have not voted for her this time and I feel that is what a true American should do, Democrat or not.

  23. To Arthur Sheppard

    From your questions it seems you know significant amount of irregularities bordering on illegal acts by some members of the Board. I do agree with you that just like Fremont Schools and City Council, the Washington Hospital Board members need to have meetings that are open most of the time and closed meetings if they pertain to personnel issues.

    My singular reason for the recall is the failure of the Board to provide more transparency with with the Bond funds. We need to hold them to the same standards as we hold the School Board and the Ohlone Board for the Administration of the Board and providing transparency.

    As always, if there is some interest in the recall, even if it is exploratory, is something we can get together and discuss at a place like Mission Coffee or so.

  24. I got a glimpse of the FPPC filing by the “Friends of Washington Hospital”- form 410 where it clearly states that the PAC funds will be used to support candidates Pat Danielson and William Nicholson and to oppose Ravi Johal and another challenger.
    It’s October 27th and the “Friends of Washington Hospital” have not submitted their completed form 460 which would show contributions and expenditures to date.
    BTW- please see this morning’s Argus for an article on this election it clarifies some of the distortions regarding my candidacy.


  25. Clarification to content on Post 10:

    As Kidango’s Director of Development and Communications, I would like to provide clarification to the appointment process for Kidango’s Board of Directors.

    Kidango’s Board of Directors is a volunteer board who receive no compensation in exchange for their Board Membership and participation. We actively strive to recruit board members that reflect the rich diversity of the children and families we serve. We are located in communities with very different needs, with significant cultural differences and other variations. In order to best serve families, we actively seek our clients input about our programs and meet with them individually to determine their needs.

    Board members are appointed by the current Board members after an intensive interview process conducted by the Board’s Personnel Committee. No one is appointed to Kidango’s Board by an outside organization or person. After submitting an application for board membership, all potential board members are interviewed by our Board’s Personnel Committee to determine their commitment to provide the leadership necessary to help us continue providing exemplary services to our community’s children and families. After the interview process, the Personnel Committee makes a recommendation to the entire board. It is our entire board who vote to determine the candidate’s board membership.

    Our board agenda’s are made public prior to board meetings and all board meetings are open to the public. As a state funded nonprofit organization, Kidango rigorously follows and complies with the Brown Act to ensure transparency of our actions to maintain the public’s trust.

  26. Mr. Baker, this is what caught my eye. “Board members are appointed by the current Board members…”

    When this is done then there is a potential for a Old Boys’ Club similar to what the Washington Hospital Board where one of its member forms a PAC to help fellow members “get re elected.”

  27. Hi Chimoy,

    California state law regarding non-profit organizations require them to be of one of two types. The first is member controlled, the second is board controlled. Some organizations, such as art galleries and local museums are member controlled – that is there is an annual meeting of those belonging to the organization and a new board is elected by the members.

    Kidango, The Tri City Homeless Coalition and other such groups are board controlled as there is no membership. This makes sense as these non-profit organizations exist to provide a service to others.

    The danger you cite, a PAC being formed to help fellow members become re-elected just doesn’t make sense for these kinds of organizations. Board members volunteer their time, a considerable amount of it each month.

    You should stop by a board meeting for such an organization some time. I promise you will be impressed by the work their boards do on behalf of the community.

  28. Hello Andrew:

    I think we are veering off topic by bringing Kidango in. We started off with the irregularities in the Washington Hospital Board. And I would like to go back to that issue and recall of Mike Wallace.

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