Action Alert: You guessed it, we need more emails to save our services

1 Jul
By now I hope most readers here are aware that there’s a fight ongoing in California to restore funding levels for developmental disability services.   We asked for a 10% increase, got a 5% increase and that was cut in a budget deal with the Governor.  But the budget isn’t finalized yet.  And there’s still a chance to get some restoration of funding levels into this budget.
It takes very little time to send an email using the link.  And not much more to send more emails using the other links.  Please take the time to do this, and take the time now.    There’s an “extraordinary session hearing” tomorrow morning at 10am.  A bunch of emails to legislators could make the difference in this last minute effort.
If there was one time to act, that time is now.
Here’s the letter.
Dear Friends,
We aren’t doing very well generating emails to legislators this time around to save our developmental services.
I’m not sure why. Too many glitches? I get that and I apologize. Discouragement? More about that in three paragraphs, but first here’s what I’m imploring you to do now. It will take about 40 seconds and it will make a difference.
And second, if you’re in LA County, please click a second time email the 10 legislators there who we think have the most power to decide whether our community gets the funding increase we need to stabilize our service system. (After I set up the system to try to make it easy to email the 10, I found that two of them now only accept emails from outside their districts if they come through their web sites, so the ones you send them will bounce back. If you’re willing to spend another minute on this… Click here to email Senator de LeonClick here to email Assembly Member Gomez. If you want to send them the same message you sent the other eight, you can cut and paste it into their web site forms.)
Now for the analysis/opinion.
It’s hard for me to know whether to feel encouraged or discouraged about the continuing battle to stop our community services system from disintegrating. The two things I know for sure are that we’re in a different kind of situation now than ever before, and that we have no choice but to go on fighting.
On one hand, last week Governor Brown signed a budget that contains no funding relief for regional centers and provider rates and continues the community system down the path to system collapse. The Legislature accepted the governor’s consistently, unrealistically low revenue estimates, leaving little money for anything new. They gave in, evidently, because they know he has a line-item veto and can simply take out any money they put in beyond his revenue estimates. They gave no evident consideration to a veto override, as earlier Legislatures tried and sometimes succeeded in doing the last time Jerry Brown was governor. And after they accepted his low revenue estimates last month, they didn’t prioritize us high enough to get any of what little new money Governor Brown admits exists; or at least that’s what the governor said at his press conference with the legislative leaders.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, the legislature and governor put us into the special legislative session along with high-priority, big-ticket items like road repair and MediCal provider rates, while they left a lot of other services on the cutting room floor. There’s not a chance in the world we’d be in the special session were it not for our community’s first-ever united lobbying in the Capitol, our low-budget but effective media work statewide, and the unrelenting grassroots campaign of meetings, calls, rallies, tweets, Facebook postings, petitions, and emails. We’ve got more genuine sympathy in the Legislature — and more political power — than I’ve ever seen. That’s been reflected again in the last two weeks by public statements from the legislative leaders and very strong speeches on the Senate floor by both Democratic and Republican legislators. And the Democrats have a plan that just might work to convince the enough Republicans to vote for targeted revenue increases to cover the costs.
So that sounds good, doesn’t it?
There’s no way to tell how the fight will turn out, or whether it will go on a few weeks or many months. So all I can suggest is let your anger over being left out of the budget get you motivated, and let your hope for an ultimate win keep you motivated. What else can we do?
Thank your advocacy.
PS. And as I usually ask, after you send the emails, please forward this Action Alert far and wide. We’ve got more political power than ever, but we need to demonstrate more.
Greg deGiere
Public Policy Director
The Arc & United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration
1225 Eighth Street, Suite 350, Sacramento, CA 95814

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