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Scaled-Down Hospital Plan Rejected

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As Camarillo State Hospital moved out its remaining patients Tuesday, a last-minute attempt to keep part of the huge campus open for treatment of the developmentally disabled was thwarted.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had urged state Sen. Jack O’Connell (D-San Luis Obispo) to amend a bill that would allow part of the site to remain open for disabled patients whose families live nearby, while the bulk of the 350-acre property is transferred to the California State University system.

“I hope that you would consider amending this legislation to allow a scaled-down version of Camarillo to co-exist with the new California State University,” Feinstein wrote O’Connell in a letter last month.

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But O’Connell replied in a letter to Feinstein on Monday that he will not amend the bill that would help transform the sprawling 350-acre hospital into the Cal State Channel Islands campus.

“I will not be amending this measure to dictate the use of any portion of the main facility to CSU officials,” O’Connell wrote. “If this campus is to be a success, it must occur with the full support of the community. . . . I made this request more than one year ago, and it was rejected.”

Cal State officials have said the hospital cannot be turned into a four-year university unless most of the campus is dedicated to a range of income-generating ventures. The bill is headed to the Assembly, where O’Connell expects it to be scheduled for hearings in the coming months.

Feinstein could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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