AHF's L.A. City Health Dept. Initiative Thrown Out in Court

Lila Gray

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has invalidated the AIDS Health Care Foundation’s proposal to create a separate city health department, ruling that it was in conflict with the state's health care laws.

The court ruling killed the initiative headed for the June ballot, which would have required the city to create its own health department, as opposted to being served by the county (which it currently is).

The Los Angeles Daily News reported that AHF President Michael Weinstein was “disappointed in the ruling,” but has no active plans to appeal it.

“We had to take in to consideration how strongly the city was opposed to having its own health department,” Weinstein said. “So we are looking for an opportunity to give the city a voice on how health care is delivered in this area.”

Now Weinstein is focusing on a new initiative that would create a Los Angeles City Health Commission to provide advice on health issues. He said that he has about half the 40,000 signatures necessary to qualify the initiative.

Many city officials, including City Attorney Mike Feuer, applauded the outcome, citing their fears of the prodigious costs involved and doubts about the efficacy of the plan.

“Today’s ruling protects the public’s health and saves precious taxpayer dollars from being wasted on a vote on a patently unlawful initiative,” Feuer said.

County Health Director Jonathan Fielding, who has often butted heads with Weinstein, expressed his pleasure with the rulinge, saying that the judge’s decision “ensures that comprehensive public health services will be in place to protect and promote health throughout Los Angeles County.”