No More Cuts! No More Cuts!

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

Disabled Activists March on Sacramento to protest devastating budget cuts to disabled services.

by Leroy F. Moore Jr.

No More Cuts! No More Cuts!

On April 7th 2003 the developmental disability community, state wide along with families, service providers, agencies ascended on the Capital in Sacramento, CA. The Community Advocacy Network headed by Marty Omoto Legislative Director of United Cerebral and Terry Boisot along with many organizations called a rally to the state capital and to attend two budget hearings pertaining to services, laws, and other programs that people with developmental disability rely on. “No more cuts, no more cuts!” Shouted over twenty-five hundred protesters marching to the Capital from the Sacramento Convention Center. Wheelchairs, canes, crutches, eye-seeing dogs, etc. took their aim, the proposed budget cuts in the developmental disability system. The beaming sun couldn’t take the direct attention away from the horrible Governor’s proposals that calls for the most sweeping cuts to the civil rights of persons with developmental disabilities ever. For example, the suspension of the 1977, Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act that only California has.

In 1977 a Republican, Frank D. Lanterman, pushed the State of California to pass and sign into law, the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act which generally says that the State of California has the responsibility to provide services to persons with developmental disabilities through an Individual Program Plan, IPP…. The Lanterman Act happened under Ronald Reagan’s administration. This information is very interesting when you consider that the developmental disability community today is fighting to hold on to the Lanterman Act under a democratic administration of Governor Gray Davis! Under the Lanterman Act, developmental disabilities means a disability that originates before an individual attains age 18, continues, or can be expected to continue and constitutes a substantial disability for that individual. Also this term shall include disabiling conditions found to be closely related to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism. So why in 2003 state legislators and the Governor are backing away from their promises and duties under Lanterman Act?

According to the Governor’s projections, California is facing 35 billion-dollar deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. This is the largest deficit ever faced by the state. To address this unprecedented shortfall the governor proposed a billion in reductions in Mid-year spending. Although the legislature is addressing some of the administration’s proposal in a Special Session, the legislature chose to address the proposals that were specific to the Department of Developmental Services, DDS, and Regional Centers as part of the regular budget process. The first hearings in the Assembly and the Senate took place on this day, April 7th.

The rally started at the Convention Hall where Omoto and Boisot, pumped us up and discussed why we were here today. Weeks before April 7th Marty & Terry told everybody to put a face on these proposed budget cuts by brining pictures of family members, consumers and friends who will be victims of Governor Gray Davis proposed cuts. So when Omoto ordered us to raise our pictures, the convention center turned into a huge open family photo book, showing a diverse population of adults and youth with disabilities. The rally consists of testimonies from family members, Executive Directors, staff of organizations and individuals and advocates with disabilities. Also we were bless by the soulful, operatic and pop voice of Michael Valcour and a film of the history of the Developmental Disability Rights Movement in California that birthed the Lanterman Act .

The first hearing was in the Senate, which we were grateful for because of the strong ties between Senator Chesbro who is the Chair of the full Budget Committee and Chair of the budget subcommittee number 3. He really knows our issues and at the hearing was very accessible to voices of consumers and families. Voices came from elders, communication boards, personal care providers, young adults and parents. The list of the major proposals that the hearing discuss were as follows:

Purchase of Services Standards (POS) From a consumer and family viewpoint this proposal is very dangerous and the line of speakers showed that. Basically the Department of Developmental Disabilities would be authorized to limit the type, duration, scope, location, amount or intensity of services and supports. The Department would also be able to prohibit by type, the services and supports that are purchased by Regional Centers for consumers. In effect, the trailer bill language would end the Lanterman Act entitlements for persons with developmental disabilities. After much testimonies and holding up pictures of love ones and consumers, Senator Chesbro told the crowd he will fight for eliminating this proposal.

Parental Co-Payment – Shook up the crowd and once again the line to testify grew. DDS proposes to establish a parental co-payment for Regional Center services delivered to children who live at home and are between the ages of three and seventeen. Another element of this proposal will be imposed on all families with incomes above 200 percent of the federal Poverty Level. Each family would be required to pay up to ten percent of its annual income for Regional Center services. The amount families would have to pay cannot exceed the cost of services provided by the Regional Center. Once again this proposal flies in the face of the Lanterman Act and on top of that the money collected from the Parental Co-Payment would not stay in the developmental disability system, it will go to the general fund to balance the budget etc. Many advocates and Executive Directors who have been around for a long time agree that this is a huge problem that has a long history in Califorina. Although the developmental disability system state -wide has a good reputation of pulling down great number of federal funds, it doesn’t stay in the system causing the system to be under-funded year after year. We can’t be truly sure but it looks like this proposal will be eliminated. The Department heads could not answer Senator Chesbro’s questions about this proposal. Many parents testify that they had to quiet their jobs or cut back to part-time because the needs and special supports their disabled child requires. Everybody express their inability just to live with the basic necessities and don’t know what they would do if they had to pay for services. Once again pictures of love-ones and consumers filled the room. One elder consumer even used poetry to express her feelings. Senator Chesbro requested a copy of her and my poems. After an artist spoke about his program at the National Institute of Art & Disability in Richmond, the Senator acknowledge his work by saying he has some paintings form disabled artists from the same program hanging in his office.

Definition of Disability - DDS wants to redefine the State’s definition of “substantial disability,” which is used to determine weather individuals are eligible for service. Bottom line the new definition will be narrower, dropping a lot of people from social service programs.

MEDICAL-CAL Optional Benefits Elimination – This proposal will eliminate 18 optional benefits in the Medi-Cal program. This will affect adults above age 21and not in long term care. “Optional Benefits” are as follows:

Dental services, medical supplies, podiatry, acupuncture, chiropractic services, psychology, independent rehabilitation centers and occupational therapy, hospice, non-emergency medical transportation, optometry, optician\laboratory, physical therapy, prosthetics, speech\audiology; hearing aids, durable and medical equipment.

Parents and consumers jumped to the mike and express how their lives are not optional! This is another huge issue and we don’t know the outcome on this one. “To put the word ‘optional’ in front of the above terms is like saying air is optional!” Mike L of LA. spelled out on his communication board. The above proposals are only some of the cuts that might take place. The Senate Hearing ended around 6pm but the day was not over. Off we went into the Assembly who is facing the same proposals. The crowd had thin out but we made our presents felt. Assemblywoman, Judy Chu, chairs the Budget Committee in the Assembly. It seemed to me that the disabled community has a slightly weaker relationship to the Chair Judy Chu compared to Senator Chesbro. Many of us left the Capital around eight O’clock and the light of the moon led us back to the Bay Area. For further information on the additional proposals in the Governor’s budget proposal or to get involved in the new CA Community Advocacy Network check out Marty Omoto at:

United Cerebral Palsy Association
1225 8th St. Suite 480
Sacramento, 95814
(916) 446-3202 email

Stay tune for moore info! Please write your representatives, Senators, Assembly members and the Governor. In 1977 California passed the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Service Act, now they are breaking their own law taking disabled Californians back to the days of dark rooms in institutions. Well, my brothers and sisters and I are not going back!!!!!!!!!!!!

Budget Cuts Slashing Family Ties

What do you see!

Me and my brother, Mr. G.

we, disabled

fighting off negative labels

pushing a spot at the political table

Trying to live independently

with help by a supportive system

that we grew up in

Medical, educational & housing needs

all provided in an IPP & its all free!

We can’t understand legislators’ solutions

making parents pay for services

eliminating the Lanterman Act, our foundation

crippling our future!

I’m trying to be a mentor

advocating with my disabled brothers and sisters

especially youth and us of color

but legislators are putting up roadblocks!

Proposing deep cuts

look at me & my brother, Mr. G.

and wake up

Don’t put our independence in handcuffs!

By Leroy F. Moore Jr.

In response to the California’s budget crisis on people with disabilities


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