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Our View: State’s cutting muscle, not fat

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A program that helps 300 developmentally disabled adults make connections in our community faces closure. An Auburn school that teaches the blind to function in a world of darkness is being shuttered. Statewide, 930,000 children from low-income families will lose their health insurance. Half a million will no longer receive assistance in finding work. The blind? The mentally disabled? Children? The jobless? Should they be feeling the pain of the state’s stubbornly partisan and seemingly endless budget debacle? The answer is no. But there’s been a disconcerting lack of concern locally. Who will stand up for those unable to fend for themselves who want to learn to be self-supporting? Cutting critical services is an embarrassment in a community as wealthy as Auburn. Local elected officials should be appalled. They should be outraged. Surely, one of our elected officials has the courage to stand up for the less fortunate. We hear a lot of talk about creating statues of endurance athletes and holidays to celebrate Ronald Reagan’s legacy. Is that what is vital? At the Journal, we see fat in state and local government that could be cut without targeting our most vulnerable and needy. How many partisan aides does each legislator need to attack the opposing party and keep us in gridlock? How many overpaid state commissioners’ job duties are truly necessary? Who will have the courage to stand up to prison guard unions and educational bureaucracy? Why should retiring from high-level government positions be akin to winning a lottery? Legislators and their constituents need to decide what kind of California they want — one that cuts the social safety net from people who need it most or one that supports its citizens for the betterment of all. The first place to address the $24 billion budget gap is not at the bottom. But that’s been the unfortunate side effect of local programs that have been forced to slash their budgets. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget revision includes a proposal to dismantle CalWorks, a welfare-to-work program serving more than 500,000 families, and do away with Healthy Families, which covers medical bills for 930,000 children. As reported in the Journal June 8, Placer School for Adults is cutting its Community Resource Education program. The nearly 30-year-old program provides recreational and learning opportunities for developmentally disabled adults. Funding for the program comes from the Placer School for Adults, which is grappling with budget reductions and has scheduled to end the program June 30. That will leave close to 300 developmentally disabled adults without a place to go. Considering Schwarzenegger’s mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, started the Special Olympics to honor the achievements of the developmentally disabled, it’s troubling to witness the misguided priorities of “The Terminator.” Also headed for elimination is the Placer Visual Service Center. For 34 years, the school helped the blind navigate day-to-day tasks the rest of us take for granted. It has become a casualty of the Placer Union High School District budget woes. These are the people who are dependent on us. You may think these programs don’t affect you — but the next cut might be felt deeply. That’s why you must tell our representatives to show courage and cut fat, but support our most vulnerable residents. Tell them what you’re OK with cutting, be it prisons, unnecessary state boards or even the Legislator’s own salaries and aides. You might even tell them you’re OK with more taxes, if it means restoring California to fiscal solvency. Help defend the defenseless and become a part of the solution by expressing your views.