The woman wheeled Saturday into intensive care at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was anxious and upset for all the usual reasons, plus this:
The critically ill patient was going to miss her son’s wedding that day in Healdsburg.
Sutter staffers couldn’t put her in an ambulance and deliver her to the nuptials, so they did the next best thing.
One care-team member helped the mother of the groom do her makeup and hair. Another hoofed it to the hospital gift shop for a shawl and a necklace.
Meanwhile, workers in Sutters’ information technology department used an iPad to establish a FaceTime connection with members of the woman’s family at the wedding.
As her son and her new daughter-in-law exchanged vows, the woman could see them and they could see her.
Full of gratitude, she told the Sutter crew after the wedding, “It was like I was there.”
KEN BLACKMAN, the understated but exacting former Santa Rosa city manager who died Saturday at 82, addressed the city’s shortage of affordable housing in one of the PD stories I found while doing research for his obituary.
Blackman observed that the rental property vacancy rate in Santa Rosa was “at an all-time low” and the rental market was “particularly depressed” in the area of rentals within the financial reach of people of low or low-middle income.
Turning to the city’s residential real estate market, Blackman noted the monthly mortgage payments for the purchase of even a modest Santa Rosa home were “beyond the means of more than 40 percent of the people in this area.”
Blackman’s remarks on how badly the city needed the construction of more affordable housing would have been spot-on if he’d made them last week. But the story I was reading ran one day in March.
IT SURPRISED GAYE LeBaron to read Sunday’s obituary for the fiscally vigilant Blackman and see herself quoted as calling him “Ol’ Skinflint.”
The story should have reflected that the playful reference was not live but pulled from Gaye’s column of July 18, 2000, on Blackman’s suitably modest retirement send-off at the Finley Center.
She’d written that “since Ol’ Skinflint Blackman was in charge, not a penny of taxpayers’ money went into the party.”
Gaye notes something else remarkable about Blackman and his 30-year run at the helm at City Hall: “He had every bit as much admiration from the public when he retired as he did when he started out.”
COW TOWN THEN: There are, right now, Santa Rosa shoppers who visualize the day that Nordstrom officials will decide that our region is large and sophisticated enough to support one of their stores.
But in the early 1970s, when Blackman was still new to his job, Santa Rosa was keen to attract a Macy’s. Former City Council member Sharon Wright shares the tale of city leaders getting quite excited to have persuaded a Macy’s executive to come to town for a look-see.
Wright said after that tour about 45 years ago, the city manager asked the Macy’s man what he thought of Santa Rosa.
The reply: “Blackman, you’ve got a nice city. But Macy’s just doesn’t do much of a business in bib overalls.”