Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Developmentally disabled community keeps funding push alive

Irene Pinole practices her art at the Short Center, a nonprofit fine arts program for the disabled, in May 2004. While Irene paints a watercolor reminiscent of the ocean, her group home roommate, Terry Gordon, and classmate, Joe Conti, kiss.
Irene Pinole practices her art at the Short Center, a nonprofit fine arts program for the disabled, in May 2004. While Irene paints a watercolor reminiscent of the ocean, her group home roommate, Terry Gordon, and classmate, Joe Conti, kiss. The Sacramento Bee file

Last spring, advocates for the developmentally disabled sounded the alarm. Recession-era cuts, inflation and increases to the minimum wage, they argued, had driven a crucial system of services for 300,000 Californians to the brink of collapse.

But lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown rebuffed advocates’ lobbying for a 10-percent budget boost in the rates paid to nonprofits and businesses that provide housing, employment and other assistance for clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The issue was punted to a special legislative session on health care, which has yielded no solution in the months since.

Advocates are still trying to make their concerns heard. Short Center North, an arts day program in Sacramento for developmentally-disabled adults, has undertaken its own grassroots campaign, penning letters to Brown and turning them into videos. The center plans to be at the Capitol every Friday in support of a rate increase, starting with a rally on the north steps at 10 a.m.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León shared his presidential pick.

GET ON TRACK: What’s your legislator up to and who is funding him or her? Find out with our Track the Legislature tool.

I <3 RONNIE: Saturday marks the 105th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, which means it was a week to celebrate him at the Capitol. (As we all know, California politicians love Reagan.) While the former president and California governor remains more of a totem for Republicans, he received bipartisan praise Thursday as the Assembly approved a resolution declaring Ronald Reagan Day; Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, applauded Reagan’s support for a 1986 law granting legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, while Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, commended his opposition to an unsuccessful 1978 ballot initiative that would have banned gay teachers. But not everyone is a fan. Two members voted no on becoming co-authors for the Reagan measure, including Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, whose spokesman said she was registering her objections to the one-time union leader’s treatment of labor unions as president.

FINISH LINE: The state-employee food drive benefiting the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, which kicked off in November, finally reaches its conclusion today as organizers make their final pick-up of donation barrels. Results of the drive will be announced on Feb. 18. The Department of Food and Agriculture set a goal of collecting 730,000 pounds of food from state employees this year; as of Jan. 25, they were at 581,968.8 pounds.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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