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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
million by reducing Medi-Cal provider rates by 10%;
million in reduced payments to certain long-term facility care;
million in hospital safety net funding
million In certain benefits, such as dental, audiology, optometry,
million by eliminating state’s share of Medicare Part B co-pay
million by eliminating automatic 12 month eligibility for children,
replaced with required quarterly reporting for continued eligibility
million in payments to counties for Medi-Cal administrative
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.
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.
Resolution includes the following:
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
a reduction in reimbursement to providers of Medicare patients
implementation of rules that would institute tighter rules for
eligibility and states’ ability to increase income eligibility
expires in March 2009
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
get involved in these activities, contact Armida Sawan (northern
California) or Alicia Lepe (southern California)
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.
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
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
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
- eligibility to apply for small
grants and stipends
- quarterly newsletter
- free access to teleconferences
on subjects of interest
- free access to popular education
- 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.
Nancy Berlin, Alicia Lepe, Mari Lopez, and Armida Sawan
I'm Joining the California
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:
2533 West 3rd Street, #101
Los Angeles, CA 90057
__________________________________ Title: ______________________________
Phone:___________________ Fax #:
___________________ Cell: ____________________
City: _________________State: ____ Zip:_______
Issues of Interest:__________________________
© 2008, California Partnership