For the first time since 1977, the City Council has awarded municipal funds to the Children's Clinic of Long Beach, a financially ailing clinic that serves indigent children from the Long Beach area.
The council voted 4-3 last week for a $25,000 grant from the city's general fund after hearing a plea from Dr. Laurence Carnay, a pediatric neurologist and president of the clinic's board of directors. "We are facing the biggest financial crisis in our history," Carnay told the council members.
The clinic approached the council for the emergency funds, Carnay said, as an alternative to closing its pharmacy, which fills prescriptions for needy patients at low cost. The clinic, in the basement of Memorial Medical Center, serves about 30,000 patients a year who receive about $1 million worth of services from 60 volunteer physicians, Carnay said. Although most of the patients come from Long Beach, he said, it has been operating in recent years without any city funds.
Bid for More Funds
In addition to the emergency money from the general fund, the clinic is applying for a portion of $700,000 in annual interest the city gets from the sale a few years ago of land to two local hospitals. The first year's allocation, to be made by the city's Board of Health and Human Services, has been earmarked for eight specific priority areas outlined in a 1985 "Human Service Needs and Resources" study commissioned by the city.
Voting against the emergency allocation last week were Mayor Ernie Kell and council members Tom Clark and Eunice Sato. Clark said he considered the action a subversion of the human services funding process.
Council members James Wilson and Edd Tuttle were not present at the time of the vote.