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As we write, the California Legislature and the Governor still have not managed to agree on a budget and California may soon have to issue IOUs. In San Francisco, activists are mobilizing for a last ditch stand to prevent cuts targeting services for the sickest and neediest.

State Republicans say they won’t increase taxes until the State guts the 8-hour day, paid mealtimes, and environmental and other regulations. Democrats passed an illusory budget with horrible cuts for seniors, kids, the poor, and the sick.  Schwarzengger cut a half billion more for seniors. Now Democrats look ready to cave in again.

A large budget coalition had some success last November in unseating legislators who refused to raise revenues, but it has disbanded. CARA’s Jodi Reid believes another coalition will form, with a more forceful approach.  Until then, the most important thing is to keep the issue of killer cuts alive.  We are in a situation where the actions of smaller groups, like ours, can make a significant difference. We can be the finger in the dike.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is cutting $112 million in spending now, and for the fiscal year beginning in July, the City’s shortfall is half its disposable income.  Newsom is determined to cut public health and human services for seniors, the mentally ill, people with substance disorders, and poor working families, while opposing raising revenues. 

Jenny Friedenbach and others say Healthy San Francisco, the City’s barely-started universal healthcare program, will be gutted. SF General will compromise care by eliminating RNs, replacing certified with non-certified staff, and moving clerks with some clinical training to non-patient areas. New Leaf will cut therapy for 50 gay clients with both mental health and addictive disorders. Hundreds of non-English-speakers in Chinatown and Richmond will lose services and General Hospital may lose competency for half of its Asian languages. Half our acute diversion units, empowering alternatives to confinement for 1,400 mentally ill patients, will close.  

The Coalition to Save Public Health and Human Services, of which we are a member, is pressing SF Supervisors to re-direct cuts to less vital services and place revenue-generating measures on the June ballot. Please support this effort.

Read complete notes from Jenny's talk at this meeting.

SF Gray Panthers at the November 19, 2008 demonstration against Schwarzenegger's elimination of the Renter's Rebate. The largest of Schwarzenegger's personal line-item vetos after the budget had been settled with the legislature, this program had existed for decades to give hundreds of thousands of California's poorest seniors and disabled people a few hundred dollars per year to help buy food, medicine, or maybe even a Christmas present for their children. SSI and SSDI recipients have already lost a $200 cost of living adjustment. Medicare-MediCal recipients have lost $96 in assistance for Medicare Part B premiums. Read more from BeyondChron. More from Senior Action Network. See videos of this demonstration. See earlier demonstration against state cuts.

SF Gray Panthers,  1182 Market St,  Room 203,  San Francisco CA 94102
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Location: Market Street, at Hyde and 8th Streets,
One door downtown from Orpheum Theater box office. Map
Surface transit: MUNI 5, 6, 7, 9, and 21 buses, and F streetcar
Underground transit: Civic Center Station for BART and MUNI Metro lines J, K, L, M, and N
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