BEWARE OF THE WOLVES

WOLVES SIGHTED IN CALIFORNIA

Tis the season for celebration of various holidays throughout the world.  On Sunday, many of us will stop to celebrate Christmas.  We hope that this season finds you healthy and reasonably happy.  We offer for your enjoyment and edification this cartoon from Tom Meyer, which appeared in the Sacramento Bee on Dec. 20.

Wolves Return to California

Reprinted by kind permission of the artist (http://www.meyertoons.com)

Community Garden Plot Thriving as Winter Nears

Husband and wife agricultural team, Tong Vang and Mai Lor, have done amazing work on ILSNC’s plot at the Bidwell Community Garden in Chico.  Following a successful Spring/Summer crop, they re-planted a Fall/Winter garden specializing in a variety of green vegetables – all grown without chemicals or pesticides.  Mr. Vang also constructed a small greenhouse in which they are growing lemon grass.  They work on the garden two to three times a week.

Tong Vang & Mai Lor

Greenhouse constructed by Mr. Vang

They enjoy the health benefits of outdoor activity as well as having fresh, organic produce available to eat and share.  Both Tong and Mai are members of the Hmong Disability Rights Council and are frequent participants in disability advocacy events and campaigns. ILSNC is proud of what Tong and Mai have accomplished.

As other garden plots become available, we will be expanding with new opportunities for community gardening/agriculture for our consumers in the near future.  To learn more and to volunteer with our Community Garden Project, go to: http://ilsnc.org/services/garden-project/

IHSS CUTS POSTPONED

Judge grants reprieve to 372,000 on cuts to in-home care

A federal judge has apparently granted at least a temporary reprieve to 372,000 elderly and disabled Californians who faced a 20 percent cut in their in-home care on Jan. 1.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland issued a temporary restraining order Thursday that prohibits the state from taking any immediate steps to carry out the reductions — in particular, from mailing out notices to all recipients, starting next week.  Wilken said a lawsuit by disability-rights groups and other advocates raised “serious questions” about whether the cuts would violate federal health and disability laws by forcing recipients into nursing homes.

That means it’s highly unlikely the reductions can take effect Jan. 1, said Stacey Leyton, one of the lawyers who filed the suit. She said the state’s attorneys had told Wilken they needed to send out the notices next week to start the clock running for cutbacks on New Year’s Day.

The judge has tentatively scheduled a hearing Dec. 15 on a request for a preliminary injunction that would block the cuts indefinitely. Even if she decides the state acted legally and denies the injunction, Leyton and other advocates said the cutbacks probably would be delayed by at least a few weeks. And Wilken’s ruling Thursday contained some strong language suggesting that she might well issue an injunction: She said the proposed reductions would put recipients “at imminent and serious risk of harm to their health and safety” and also risk “unnecessary and unwanted out-of-home placement, including institutionalization.” The state’s only concern is saving money, she said, while in-home care patients face “life-or-death consequences.”

The program, called In-Home Supportive Services, provides care to about 440,000 low-income Californians, including the blind and disabled and those over 65 who need help with daily tasks to live at home. The federal government pays about 60 percent of the cost.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in June that required the 20 percent cutback in services to 372,000 recipients in January if the state’s revenues fell short of projections, which they did. The law allows recipients to apply for an exemption if they can show they would be at serious risk of being forced into an institution. But lawyers for the recipients say the exemption uses the same flawed standards that Wilken rejected in 2009 when she blocked the state from eliminating in-home care to 36,000 people and cutting it back for another 97,000.  ….

Source:  San Francisco Chronicle Politics blog, December 1 2011

For detailed and up-to-date information on In-Home Supportive Services, please visit http://www.ihsscoalition.org

ON THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT

 Independent Living Services of Northern California 

ILSNC’s STATEMENT ON THE “OCCUPY MOVEMENT”

November 8, 2011

ILSNC sends a message of support to peaceful protesters in Oakland, all other American cities and around the world.  We call upon all protesters to remain steadfast in their commitment to non-violence.  We condemn not only the violence and excessive force recently deployed by the Oakland Police, but also the vandalism perpetrated by misguided individuals who reject the values of the Occupy Movement.

ILSNC believes that public protest and non-violent civil disobedience is often necessary to correct injustice.  It’s a core American tradition going back to the founding of our democracy.  From the Boston Tea Party to the women’s suffragette and labor movements; from the civil rights sit-ins to the Section 504 and ADA occupations by disability rights pioneers, our cherished victories required direct action.

Since long before the economic crash of 2008, people with disabilities have been fighting relentless cuts to our support programs and services. In California, we’re facing even more cuts, including a massive “trigger cut” to In-Home Supportive Services on December 15th.  This planned 20% reduction hangs like an axe over the head of thousands of low-income people with disabilities.  Having been pushed to the limits of human endurance, we clearly identify with the pain and frustration expressed by the new “Occupy” movement.  Many of us feel like the general population has finally caught up with what we’ve been experiencing for a very long time.

Throughout this economic crisis we have asked for nothing more than shared sacrifice. We assert that catastrophic program cuts can be prevented by employing fair, common sense tax reforms to produce desperately-needed revenue.  Tragically, as public treasuries continue to drain, our elected leaders act like obedient servants to the tax-cutting demands of their powerful campaign donors.  The full weight of “deficit reduction” is therefore borne by those already struggling in poverty.

While we live in fear of the next cut, enormous tax breaks are given to corporations who promise to “create jobs” that never materialize. Bankers whose blatant criminality destroyed millions of American jobs luxuriate in billion-dollar bailouts while unemployed protesters are arrested for “camping.” As vital disability programs and services are gutted, we learn that 2/3 of U.S. corporations – particularly the largest and most profitable – pay zero annual income taxes. Fear-mongering politicians bloviate about the federal deficit while pouring trillions of dollars of new debt – not to mention thousands of young American lives – into the bottomless pit of so-called “national defense.”

In today’s “pay to play” political environment, now intensified by the U.S. Supreme Court’s disgraceful “Citizens United” decision, we find ourselves either patronized or completely ignored.  Now is the time for everyday Americans to unite and organize a bold resistance to the onslaught.  We believe that the peaceful protests taking place in over a thousand U.S. cities demonstrate the beginning of a new awakening.

For these reasons ILSNC urges members and allies of the disability community to take action now.  Make a personal commitment to contribute and to persevere for as long as it takes.  Get involved with disability advocates in your community.  Visit and support your local Occupy encampment. While you’re there, educate on disability issues and advocate for inclusion. Help build diverse alliances and think beyond immediate self-interests. Do whatever you can – start today!

Despite enormously powerful forces that stand against us, indifferent to the suffering of millions, we are confident in the power of our unity. Each of us has the ability to make a personal choice to work together for the common good. We will succeed if we can overcome our own apathy, disunity and defeatism.

We are the inheritors of a world made possible by the activists who came before us.  Let’s honor their legacy, change our lives and save our children’s future by seizing this moment to do something great.  Occupy Wall Street can become our best chance to restore fairness and opportunity before it’s too late. There has never been a better time to build the powerful kind of coalition we’ve dreamed about. And we’ll only have ourselves to blame if it turns out otherwise.

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

– Frederick Douglass

100 Attend Town Hall on Healthcare

Monday evening, a full house of 100 people attended an exciting and inspiring town hall meeting describing the successful new strategy  employed by activists in Vermont from 2008 to the present day.   One of the strongest messages heard was that only through dogged determination and a strong commitment to promoting unity based on principles of inclusion can any progressive movement succeed.

It was truly empowering to learn that so many dedicated activists were so committed to the first principle of reform, which is universality.  Attempts were made by opponents to dilute the resulting legislation by proposing to not cover undocumented immigrants.  It could easily have been people with disabilities since most have Medi-Cal and are technically covered with one form of insurance.  Since most of us suffer at the expense of an inferior brand of health insurance, we urge y0u to join the single-payer movement.  You can make real contributions and receive an improved, truly universal 100% coverage “Improved Medicare for All” healthcare system as a result.  In Butte County, the Butte County Health Care Coalition would welcome your contribution of effort.

The 6 Principles of Real Healthcare Reform are:

  1. Universality

  2. Comprehensive, High-Quality Level of Care

  3. Affordable, Based on Ability to Pay

  4. Costs Must Be Contained

  5. Accountability

  6. Transparency

If you would like to be the beneficiary of such a wonderful improvement in your healthcare options, consider volunteering for the Butte County Health Care Coalition.  Additional information is available on their website at : http://www.buttesinglepayer.org

In our society there is a new opening for deep changes.  If you are tired and discouraged from getting the short end of the stick lately, we encourage you to get active.  In the 60’s, disabled activists gained important civil rights through participation in the social justice issues of the day.  Now is our time to gain new rights by joining with other activists.  What better place to start than by joining the other activists fighting for a fair and just healthcare system, one in which disabled citizens share with others in living a better quality of life.

Meet James Haslam, director of the Vermont Workers Center tonight in Chico (Oct 24). Butte County Health Care Coalition presents a town hall on REAL health care reform.

Interested in REAL healthcare reform? Don’t miss the Butte County Health Care Coalition’s big town hall meeting tonight (Monday) @ 6:30 PM at Trinity Methodist Church, 5th & Flume in Chico

Let’s work together to win accessible, comprehensive and affordable health insurance for all!

 Featured speakers will be James Haslam, director of the Vermont Workers Center http://www.workerscenter.org/ & Donna Smith, organizer extraordinaire from National Nurses United, plus local speakers, including ILSNC Executive Director, Evan LeVang. Doors open at 6:00. See you there! For information, call Forest Harlan @ ILSNC: 530-893-8527.  Learn more about the path to universal, comprehensive and affordable health care for all at www.buttesinglepayer.org

Congratulations to Linda Furr, recipient of the 2011 Peace Endeavor Award presented by the Chico Peace and Justice Center.

Congratulations to Linda Furr – recipient of the 2011 Peace Endeavor Award presented by the Chico Peace and Justice Center on October 20, 2011. Linda is a tireless – and joyful – activist for too many causes to list here, but all falling under the banner of peace and social justice. We at ILSNC deeply appreciate her contributions to the Northern California State Budget Alliance as we work to preserve vital, lifeline programs and services for people with disabilities in California. Thank you, Linda, for all that you do.  For more information on the Chico Peace and Justice Center, visit: www.chico-peace.org

Join the Occupy Movement

We need to be a visible presence at the OccupyChico camp.  The disability rights movement has historically been part of broader social justice issues going back to the 1960’s.  We have been an integral aspect of the historical civil rights campaigns.  With the birth and growth of the Occupy movement, we have an opportunity to embed ourselves into this new movement.  To do so will give us the chance to secure additional rights to employment, housing, living assistance and other necessities of dignified living.

Local activists want change, too.

It seems as though many consumers and service providers are feeling beaten down and depressed after years of fighting the cuts in services from the State of California.  It has been said that activism is the best cure for depression and feelings of powerlessness. Instead of fighting losing battles over the budget cuts all by ourselves, now is the chance to engage in the Occupy movement to secure new allies in the struggle to save our lifeline programs and services.   See you at the encampment.  General assemblies are held at 7 PM nightly on the sidewalk near 4th St along Broadway.

In other cities, disabled people have been active in their Occupy encampments and marches.  ILSNC participated in a conference call this week to learn about the involvement of disabled activists in the Occupy movement in other cities.  We heard from activists in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco.  In those cities, disabled people have taken leadership roles.

Evan LeVang and others from ILSNC have been marching on Saturdays in support of the OccupyChico encampment.  Included is a picture taken at last week’s march downtown.  Our numbers are growing locally, nationally and everywhere else.

The movement needs you and you need the movement.  Join us this Saturday at Noon at the Hands sculpture (4th & Wall St) for a march and rally.

Ongoing Occupation Needs You!

This Saturday, October 15, the next large rally is planned in support of OccupyChico. So far, the disability community has been largely absent from the rallies and ongoing occupation. This is the issue of our time. We absolutely need to be part of the effort.

Occupy Chico gets vocal at 2nd & Broadway 10-5-11

ILSNC director, Evan LeVang, sees hope in the Occupy Movement for re-activating the long-dormant disability community.  “Over the past few years it has become clear that – despite our best efforts at community organizing – too many members of the disability community simply don’t participate in the effort to save disability programs from budget-cutting state legislators.  Sadly, as threatened and actual program cuts have become more severe over the past few years, our local disability community has  actually become less active and less visable.  People tell me that they feel exhausted, beaten-down and powerless in the face of unrelenting cuts made by legislators unwilling to consider alternatives to gutting social programs in order to balance the state budget.  But people need to understand that it’s going to get much worse – and happen very soon – if we don’t start taking action and getting involved.  In the current state budget agreement there are “trigger cuts” to programs like In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) set to take place in December if certain tax revenue levels are not met.  We could be looking at a  20% cut in IHSS services if we simply sit back and hope for the best.  This would be a catastrophic disruption in people’s lives,” says LeVang.

He continues, “IHSS is just one of several programs that people with disabilities depend on that are facing deep cuts.  But rather than becoming despondent about our prospects for the future, we now have a reason for hope – an incredible opportunity to re-engage and push back – through the emerging “Occupy” movement.   I’m calling upon people with disabilities, our families, friends and allies to show up to lend your presence and your support to the Occupy Chico, Occupy Redding or Occupy wherever this Saturday, October 15.”

We must all get out front and center to ensure our visibility. If we fail to show up, we risk being forgotten in all the commotion. Only by showing up frequently and verbalizing our issues will we have the chance to be part of the change we need. This is far more effective than begging legislators for mercy. See you at the  Occupation!

For more information, visit OccupyChico on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/occupychico/

Come Down to Chico’s “Wall Street” on Saturday

You are part of the 99%.  People living with disabilities need relief, too.  Come out this Saturday to join the “Occupy Chico” movement.  We are allied with the national movement to reclaim our power.  Join us at the “Chico Hands.”  Meet at 10 AM @ the corner of 4th & Wall St.  We will “Occupy Wall Street” for a second Saturday.  For updated information, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/occupychico