Silence in Sacramento Upsets VICA By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter Letters and calls to Valley lawmakers from the Valley Industry and Commerce Association about two hospital-related laws that the organization wants postponed have gone unheeded causing frustration among officials of the local organization. “I don’t think they have any answers and that’s why they’re not calling,” said Bonny Herman, VICA president and CEO, who sent more than a dozen letters to lawmakers who represent the Valley, as well as Fabian N & #250; & #324;ez, the Speaker of the State Assembly. The two mandates VICA wants on hold or repealed are specific nurse-patient ratios for hospitals and the requirements that hospitals be retrofitted to meet new and more rigorous seismic standards. The hospitals, Herman said, are having trouble complying because the mandates are costly. “All these mandates are costing the hospitals a lot and lawmakers either don’t care or they are unsympathetic,” Herman said. Rick Miller, a co-chair of the health committee at VICA, spoke with Assemblyman Tony Strickland, Herman said, but only after contacting the legislator when VICA did not receive an initial response. Strickland, a Democrat, opposed the nurse-patient ratio mandate and his spokesperson explained letters and calls were unreturned because of timing. “We were already very actively involved with filing a sizable package of bills,” said Keith Jajko, Strickland’s spokesperson. It was uncertain why Nunez’s office didn’t contact VICA. “The speaker has been supportive of the nurse-patient ratios and he would not be supportive of blocking these,” Velasquez said. “Our office is aware of the concerns.” VICA has sent a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger and is awaiting a reply, Herman added.