California Partnership

Winter 2008 Newsletter The California Partnership is a statewide coalition of community based organizations that fights poverty in California. We work together for our common goals by organizing and advocating at the local, state and national levels for the programs and policies that reduce and end poverty.

Greetings from the California Partnership!

2008 will be a critical year for California and the nation. Working people are losing their homes to foreclosure, California faces a $14 billion deficit, and the war in Iraq continues. Families need affordable and quality healthcare, humane immigration policies, and a safety net in place as our economy stumbles. At the same time, presidential elections are looming, with no incumbent and the candidate race wide open, record numbers of voters could go to the polls.

Spring is a time of renewal and hope. And throughout our nation’s history, we have learned that we all do better when we all do better. Low-income communities and people of color can take advantage of this historic moment and this season of change to give voice to our concerns and work to shift the debate on issues that are so critical in our lives.

California Partnership is committed to bringing people together to promote policies that reflect the values and needs of all Californians. In this newsletter, we’ll give you information on issues our communities care about and tell you how to get involved to make change. We look forward to working with all of you in this exciting season!

2007: The Year of Health Care

While the end of a year usually coincides with the end of state and federal legislative battles, debates and the like, it was not the case with 2007. The top story of the past year was California’s state health care reform debate. However, by December it was clear that no agreement would be made on how to fix a system longed derailed from its purpose of providing health care to the state population. In rhythm with a year of indecision, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program failed to increase coverage for children, but not to cut it back either. We’ll explain.

AB x1-1

The individual mandate, what constituted affordability and a bewildering financial plan that conjured up images of a Little Rascals go-cart were hot issues that were never fully resolved. They remained the most contentious parts of the bill’s final version, AB x1-1 (Nuñez).

After the Assembly, the bill faced its toughest battle in the Senate Health Committee chaired by the tenacious advocate of a single-payer plan, Senator Sheila Kuehl. It failed to get out of this committee, with many committee members citing concerns about how it would be paid for.

While this bill is dead for the year, legislators are looking at possible ways to at least increase healthcare coverage for children this year. The end of this bill also gives us time to re-think the best way to design a healthcare bill that truly covers everyone, while providing quality and affordable care.

Medi-Cal Cuts

As expected, Governor Schwarzenegger lifted his axe over Medi-Cal when cutting from the state budget for 2008-09. In a brilliant ventriloquist act, as the Governor spoke of expanding health care coverage to most of the state he declared 10% cuts to state departments across the board. In fact, the $14 billion deficit that California faces is the same as the cost to provide coverage through AB x1-1. Specifically cuts include:

  • $33.4 million by reducing Medi-Cal provider rates by 10%;
  • $56.8 million in reduced payments to certain long-term facility care;
  • $24 million in hospital safety net funding
  • $10 million In certain benefits, such as dental, audiology, optometry, psychology
  • $4.2 million by eliminating state’s share of Medicare Part B co-pay
  • $92.2 million by eliminating automatic 12 month eligibility for children, replaced with required quarterly reporting for continued eligibility
  • $75.8 million in payments to counties for Medi-Cal administrative

Now is the time to contact your Assembly member and Senator and let them know how these cuts will impact your communities. If you have someone who will be affected, we’d like to hear their story. Please email Mari Lopez or call at 213-385-8010. Send letters and make a phone call to express your dismay at the state targeting the most vulnerable population once again.


The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) failed Reauthorization this year as two Congressional bills were rejected by outgoing President Bush. His veto of both bill versions sent Congress scurrying to figure a way to keep millions of kids from dis-enrollment of state health coverage programs. What was finally agreed to by the Houses and finally by Bush, was a Resolution that would keep the program funded until March 2009 at its current funding levels. Initially, this plan wasn’t well received (and is still not ideal) as many states would have come up short in the middle of their budget year. However, the plan included funds to bridge states through their budgets, but does not have sufficient funding for children who become eligible during that period.

The Resolution includes the following:

  • Provides almost $7 billion for SCHIP
    • $5 billion for current spending levels into FY 08
    • $1.6 billion for short fall prevention
    • $275 million to short fall preventions in the first two quarters of FY '09
  • Delays a reduction in reimbursement to providers of Medicare patients
  • Delays implementation of rules that would institute tighter rules for eligibility and states’ ability to increase income eligibility
  • Resolution expires in March 2009

What does this mean for California? California will continue to receive SCHIP funds at previous levels. While this will keep children who are currently enrolled in Healthy Families from losing coverage, it will not cover children who become eligible during this period.

With a new White House occupant in 2009, the program will seek Reauthorization hopefully with a more supportive president. Additionally, the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) will be reintroduced as well.
As always, we’ll keep you informed.

State Budget Battle Begins: We need budget choices, not budget cuts!

Governor Schwarzenegger started off the year with a budget proposal that once again targets low-income children, families, seniors and disabled people. Citing a $14 billion deficit to defend his actions, he also declared a fiscal emergency, forcing the legislature to come up with $3 billion in cuts by February 24th.

California Partnership, along with its member groups and allies, was ready to fight back and held coordinated actions and news conferences in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco. These actions were widely covered in the media and put out the message that we need a budget that works for all Californians. We contradicted the Governor’s line that all programs are equal and should be cut equally and pointed to the need for more balanced budget solutions, such as raising new revenue, instead of just cutting needed programs.
Some of the cuts the Governor is proposing are:

CalWORKs: Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed many of the same cuts as last year, and once again targets the poorest and most vulnerable in California - low-income children and families. It is estimated that 75,000 families would lose their CalWORKs cash assistance due to these changes. Please see our flyer for more details on these proposed cuts.

SSI/SSP: Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2008-09 Budget would suspend the state cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the SSI/SSP Program that is scheduled to go into effect in June 2008 and June 2009. The SSI/SSP Program helps thousands of low-income seniors and people with disabilities meet basic living expenses. This would be the 14th time in the last 19 years that the SSP COLA has either been suspended or the SSP amount was reduced. Please see our flyer for more information.

One positive note is that the CalWORKs COLA is in the budget for the first time since 2004. This is a testament to all our hard work in fighting for this, keeping it in the public view, even when we were told it was a lost cause. While we are happy to see this in the Governor’s proposed budget, we also recognize that it is no substitution for the tens of thousands of children who will lose benefits under his plan.

California Partnership believes that we need a budget that reflects the shared values, needs and hopes of all Californians. We believe California’s budget should invest in California’s future and keep its commitment to meet the basic needs of our children, our seniors, our families. We believe there are budget choices beyond budget cuts.

To get this message out, we’ll need to keep the pressure on! In the coming months, we will be meeting with legislators, attending hearings and in the streets to get out our message. Look for these actions coming soon in your communities:
Valentine’s Day Actions: Let’s tell our elected officials to: Have a Heart and Create a Budget for all of us
Legislative visits in local offices: Elected officials have told us that they want to hear from people who will be affected by these proposed cuts. When we speak out, we carry a much-needed message and we are a voice for thousands of other low-income people.

To get involved in these activities, contact Armida Sawan (northern California) or Alicia Lepe (southern California)

Member Profile: Libreria del Pueblo

Librería Del Pueblo is a community organization based in San Bernardino. It has been active for 20 years and, over time, Librería Del Pueblo has helped thousands of families stay united by assisting them to achieve legal immigration status in the United States. The efforts performed by staff and volunteers over the years have been in line with our organization's mission, which is to: Organize as a pueblo in order to integrally change our society. Take one place in history and in the liberating process of our people.

With skyrocketing Immigration scrutiny and ever rising fees, Libreria del Pueblo has had to work double time in the recent anti-immigrant political climate. Libreria has been a haven for many people trying to do the right thing while they remain in the United States. Along with the low cost immigration services, Libreria has also set up an ESL and Citizenship class program to go hand in hand with its efforts to help families on their road to settling their immigration status. All of this is part of preparing people to actively participate in decisions that may change their future and the future of their communities. It is because of organizations like Librería Del Pueblo that many families are able to receive the assistance they need and would not receive otherwise.

Changing the Debate in 2008, Our Shared Values

2008 is shaping up to be a monumental year, with a heated presidential race that will likely be historic regardless of its outcome in November. No matter whom our next president or members of congress will be, the California Partnership has joined with hundreds of other groups to make sure that the conversation reflects our shared values and connection.

The Campaign for Community Values is a values-based, multi-year campaign to get America back on track. Launched by the Center for Community Change and hundreds of grassroots groups, it aims to build power at the ballot box and start a new national conversation about the country we want to become, and build a politics that connects everyone to win real victories on critical issues facing low-income people.

Many members of the California Partnership braved an ice storm to stand together with over 3,500 other people from across the nation at the Heartland Presidential Forum in Des Moines Iowa on December 1st. All major presidential candidates committed to meet with grassroots delegates from the Campaign for Community Values in the first 100 days of their presidency. In addition, hundreds of other community members joined the debate to lift up our community values through local events like those held at LA Community Action Network in Los Angeles. Community members answered the question, “If you were a Community Values president, what would you do…” Check out how others envision community values visit the values forum

Acting Together in 2008 and 2009!
Groups have carried back the energy from Iowa to their local communities to let candidates know that “We Count! And Will Be Counted!” Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Post Card Campaign - Thousands of postcards will be collected by community groups to pledge support for community values like humane immigration reform and keeping families together. Contact CAP to find out how to get involved to motivate your community to vote and build your organization at the same time.
  • Electoral Work in 2008 - Coming soon! California Partnership will release a new voter toolkit to educate and mobilize voters in your community.
  • Mobilize the Immigrant Vote - MIV is gearing up in counties all over California. Contact Nancy Berlin.

Join and Support the Partnership

Support the California Partnership and Build Power for Low-Income Californians!

Be part of a growing movement! We're sure you understand the importance of all of us sharing the ownership of the California Partnership and being invested in its growing strength. Three years ago we had less than sixty members, just two chapters, and a non-representative coordinating committee. We now have over 120 member organizations, five chapters, and an elected and accountable coordinating committee. The move to implement dues is part of the effort to create an infrastructure that will continue to strengthen our network and our work.

The minimum dues structure is:
$25 small organization---less than $75,000 operating budget
$50 medium organization---less than $300,000 operating budget
$100 large organization---over $300,000 operating budget

We of course encourage you to donate more if you are able! We are keeping the dues low because of our commitment to include all organizations, and especially small, grassroots organizations, to participate. Community-based organizations who agree with our mission are eligible for membership.

We think you'll agree that the resources and growing community we offer as a member of the California Partnership are worth the very minimal dues, including:

  • eligibility to serve on the Coordinating Committee
  • eligibility to apply for small grants and stipends
  • quarterly newsletter
  • free access to teleconferences on subjects of interest
  • free access to popular education materials
  • free or low-cost trainings (e.g. how to talk to the media, how the state budget works, etc.)
  • travel and accommodation funds to participate in California Partnership events
  • work with organizations around the state with diverse constituencies and strategies that have united to fight poverty in California
  • exchange information and best practices with similar organizations around the state

Thank you and we look forward to working with you.

In Solidarity,
Nancy Berlin, Alicia Lepe, Mari Lopez, and Armida Sawan


I'm Joining the California Partnership

I agree with the California Partnership's mission and would like to join:

___ $25 small organization-less than $75,000 operating budget
___ $50 medium organization---less than $300,000 operating budget
___ $100 large organization---over $300,000 operating budget
___ $25 individuals

In addition to dues and I/we are including an additional donation of: $_________.

Please make check payable to California Partnership, write in the memo area of your check that it is for "dues," and mail to:

Nancy Berlin
California Partnership
2533 West 3rd Street, #101
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Organization: ________________________________________________________________

Name: __________________________________ Title: ______________________________

Phone:___________________ Fax #: ___________________ Cell: ____________________

Address:_________________________ City: _________________State: ____ Zip:_______

Email:____________________________ Issues of Interest:__________________________

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