As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fighting Back

The structure of California government makes rational solutions impossible. But the people who bear the brunt of the pain from a structure wired to drown government in the bathtub have an option. They can stand their ground and refuse to be moved.

And so it begins. As Anthony Wright is tweeting, a group of disabled activists have taken up positions in the Capitol building and are refusing to leave until the health and human services cuts are reconsidered:

Wheelchairs blocking the Governor's office for the last two hours over the budget cuts.. CHP threatens arrest, they say they are prepared...

Over 100 folks protesting cuts in the hall outside Governor Schwarzenegger's office. Gov is at Mason's having lunch... maybe Jacuzzi later?

CHP threatens not just arrest-and-release, but taking disabled protestors to county jail. They say they rather be in jail than nursing home.

Outside Gov's office... Several Dem legislators came down to talk to/cheer on the disabled protestors: Cedillo, Perez, Beall, Skinner, etc

Budget protesters call out "hold the line" when someone tries to pass. The wheelchairs effectively stop any traffic in hallway.

Bad budget boon for Blimpie's: Food arrives for protestors with disabilities, as thet settle in for the long haul in front of Gov's office...

UPDATE: The protest organizers, the "People's Day of Reckoning Coalition" (an offshoot of the IHSS Coalition) have explained their actions to the media:

Caregivers and people with disabilities are furious that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking for more cuts to California's in-home support services.

About 100 protesters said they successfully blocked the entrance to the governor's office Tuesday. The People's Day of Reckoning Coalition organized the protest.

The coalition sent a letter to Schwarzenegger in June, asking him to come up with a budget solution that includes new sources of income and not just cuts to services.

"We are calling for a budget solution that is based upon shared responsibility and shared sacrifice -- not a solution that falls squarely upon on the shoulders of children, people with disabilities, elders, the chronically ill, the unemployed and the impoverished," the letter said.

The People's Day of Reckoning Coalition represents human services, health care, community improvement and educational interest....

John Campbell, a caregiver, said claims of fraud are exaggerated, calling the governor's remarks "just a bit of political theater."

The California Highway Patrol cited about a dozen protestors. They'll be back, to coin a phrase.

The long story of Governor Stogie and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is here. The short version is that Arnold up and decided, after months of budget negotiations, that there was massive fraud in this program (there isn't), which allows the elderly, disabled and blind to receive in-home care rather than being consigned to a nursing home, and he demanded that anti-fraud provisions immediately get adopted as part of a budget deal, adding a massive, complex policy shift 24 hours before the budget deadline. There's more about how ridiculous this all is at the link.

What's important here is that those with a stake in Governor Stogie's ruthless cuts - the people who actually feel the effects - have had enough. The structure makes decent solutions impossible, but the only way to fix that structure starts with activists like this, literally blocking the way to right-wing shock doctrine tactics.

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