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Arc of California action alert: call your state representative now

Posted Feb 01 2011 5:40am

Budgets are tight in California, with a multi billion dollar deficit projected. The current plan is to cut developmental services budgets by $750 million dollars. Now is the time to call or, if you can, attend hearings in Sacramento.

If you can call, here are the instructions:

* Click on The Arc’s Legislative Action Center: http://capwiz.com/thearc/state/main/?state=CA&view=myofficials .

  • Enter your ZIP code and click on “Go”
  • Scroll down to “State Senators,” and click on it.
  • Click on “contacts” and call your senator’s Sacramento office (unless you know someone who works in the senator’s district office).
  • Do the same with “State Representatives.”

If you aren’t from California, my bet is your governments are facing tight budgets too. Now is a good time to find out where and how you can support your communities during these tough times.

Dear Friends,

Thank you sincerely to everyone planning to come to Sacramento this Thursday and again next Thursday, and to everyone who has phoned your local state senator and assemblymember.

For those who haven’t yet planned to come or haven’t called yet—the developmental disability community needs your advocacy now!

If you already know about the very real threat facing our community, please just scroll to the bottom of this Action Alert for the specifics about what you need to do to help fight it. If not, read on ….

Governor Brown’s proposed budget cuts would gut the Lanterman Act’s promise that people with developmental disabilities will get the services and supports they need to live full lives in the community.

If the cuts happen, you could lose all of your services. There is no way to know until after they pass, if they do. This is serious.

The Arc and other disability organizations are fighting in the Capitol to protect our community’s services. To limit the damage, we need a strong show of support from the community. That means you and the people you know throughout the state.

The threat is caused by the state’s massive budget shortfall, probably the worst since the Great Depression. To balance the budget, Governor Brown has proposed more than $12 billion in cuts and about the same amount in revenue increases by continuing some existing taxes by five years.

In developmental services, that would mean cuts to services of more than three quarters of a billion dollars—real, new cuts, over and above continuing the much smaller 2009 and 2010 cuts. The total cut this year would include the federal matching funds we would lose as a result of the state fund cuts.

It’s hard to grasp how much a cut that large would reduce the Lanterman Act services, especially because the governor hasn’t said exactly where the ax would fall. This is more than twice the disatrous cuts we suffered in 2009.

We do know that most of the cuts probably would come from imposing what are called statewide “service standards.”

“Service standards” sounds good, doesn’t it? But what it means is simply eliminating the IPP team’s ability to pick the services and supports that the person with the disability needs, the key promise of the Lanterman Act. The 2009 caps on respite care and Early Start are the most recent examples of “service standards.”

Under the Lanterman Act, IPP teams write plans to reflect the specific needs of individuals, but with the cuts being proposed this process would certainly be harmed dramatically.

Real life consequences to real life people throughout the state are the kinds of things you should communicate to the legislative committees in Sacramento and to your local state senator and assemblymember. Tell them the cut is just too big to bear!

What You Need to Do!

The Legislature has scheduled just two public hearings in the cuts before taking action. Here is when and where:

  • 9:30 a.m. or later, this Thursday, February 3, Room 4202, State Capitol, Sacramento. This is the Assembly heating
  • 9:30 a.m. or later, next February 10, Room 4203, State Capitol, Sacramento. This is the Senate hearing.

We need to fill the rooms with people who can briefly tell the legislators what elimination of services would mean to you and those you care for.

And whether or not you can come to Sacramento, please make two calls to your local state senator and assemblymember this week. When you call, get the name of the person you’re talking to, so you can cal him or her again next time. Think of this as the beginning of a relationship. Tell him or her why you care, and that Governor Brown’s proposed cut in developmental services is just too big.

If you already know someone who works for the senator or assemblymember, either in Sacramento or in your local area, call him or her. If not, please call their Sacramento offices. here’s How to get their numbers:

  • Click on The Arc’s Legislative Action Center: http://capwiz.com/thearc/state/main/?state=CA&view=myofficials.
  • Enter your ZIP code and click on “Go”
  • Scroll down to “State Senators,” and click on it.
  • Click on “contacts” and call your senator’s Sacramento office (unless you know someone who works in the senator’s district office).
  • Do the same with “State Representatives.”

And I hope to see you in this week and next week.

Thank you for your advocacy.

Greg

P.S. Thanks, too, to everyone who forward my last Action Alert to others. Please forward this one to everyone you know too! We need a very strong show of support to reduce the size of these cuts.

Greg deGiere
Public Policy Director
The Arc of California
1225 – 8th Street, Suite 350
Sacramento, CA 95816
916-552-6619×16 (office)
916-223-7319 (mobile)
916-441-3494 (fax)

  1. Leila:
    I work so I can't be there for the public hearings. I hope they can get enough people there! I'm spreading the word.
  2. Sullivan:
    Leila, you can call! They have instructions for that.
  3. Ian MacGregor:
    I wonder how many people are happy with their regional centers. I've had an "advocate" from a regional center argue for fewer services than a school district was willing to provide. Do the Regional Centers have any responsibility to assure the residential facilities with which they contract ares safe? Cutting back on them makes no sense. Early-intervention programs are run through regional services as are programs for those over 22. But, I also see them as a poorly performing bureaucracy.
  4. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Arc of California action alert: call your state representative now « Left Brain/Right Brain -- Topsy.com:
    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Liz Ditz. Liz Ditz said: Live in California? Have a child with a #disability? Call your state senator & representative about budget cuts http://bit.ly/hrS6I9 [...]

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