Thursday, July 31, 2008

Community Voices and the Governor

Hey hey hey.

Summer is still in full swing and so is Community Voices.

On July 9th, Community Voices and Children's Defense Fund worked to close down the state's switchboard to demand that the Governor and the Legislature sign a decent budget and now. Thousands of folks called in. I know. That is amazing! And while the budget still has not been signed, we know that the word is out to get this thing over with.

Of course, now the latest is to focus on the fact that the state workers will be laid off or will have to take pay cuts until the budget is signed. I have to say that I am really pissy about this because the cuts that they are talking about would still leave many state employees making more than our parents and providers and state employees have access to resources (like credit unions, etc.) and state workers will get reimbursed by the state once this blows over. Our people don't have those luxuries. But I digress......

If you want to get upset, check out this article on how the state is playing the state on this media matter. Uh, how many of us are living on this already?????

Well, there was a statewide call to action to call the legislature on the 30th to talk (again) about this budget deadlock madness. But you know we at Community Voices did one better. We met with the Governor down here in Los Angeles.

We met with on of the Governor's Senior Policy staff folks and talked about the issue. Who we are (meaning Community Voices), our various stories:

  • Louis Wright talked about not being able to qualify for child care subsidies because he makes $48 over the limit (talk about someone being impacted by the SMI being frozen at too low levels).
  • Mike Alley and his wife talked about struggling to pay the bills while only one of them is working and needing other programs (food pantry) and not being able to afford child care. Ahem. Mike is taking care of the children and they could not even afford child care in order to make the meeting. Ahem.
  • Jackie Fowler talked about being a licensed provider who takes care of 14 little ones. She presented pictures created by her little ones to the Governor's people and shared the story about how the last image was done by a child who will no longer be at the center because her mom has gone into $2300 debt trying to pay for child care ever since she got married and no longer qualified for subsidized care. Ouch!!!
  • Kim Schaaf talked about using child care services over 20 years ago and testified that is because of the service that she was able to go back to school, climb the employment ladder, and get her son ready for school (he's now in college). So there!!!

We heard the party line about the budget, the infighting, the Governor's proposal, etc. We ended on some high notes. And before I talk about the high notes, I want to say that the reason why we ended on the high notes is because we have some jammin', slammin' Community Voices members who were persistent in their questions and responses and demands and would settle for no less than some commitments.

So, now for the high notes:
1. We have another meeting scheduled with folks in the Governor's office and the Department of Finance to talk about how to keep money into our child care funding "bank".
2. We also got a commitment from the Governor's office to tour our sites and meet more of our members.

So, not bad for the first meeting!!!!!

On another note, we have been working with the Equal Voice Campaign to gear up for their September convention. Here is a link. We are working to see how to get our folks registered because we NEED TO BE THERE!!!!!! I have heard from folks from across the state who have been saying, "I heard that CV will be at the convention." "I heard that over 200 of your folks have signed up to go." So word about CV is spreading already!!! Let's keep the fire lit. Let's gets prepared for the follow-up with the Governor.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wednesday, July 9th is C-Day!!!!!

The Budget Call-in Day!!!

Push Senators to Step Up and Protect Children tomorrow!

In the next couple of weeks, the California state Senate must decide on proposed cuts to the state budget.

The current proposal puts millions of children at risk of losing their health coverage, cash assistance, foster youth services, and quality child care. The state Senators must hear from you that the budget deficit cannot be closed by cutting children's programs. A real budget solution must include new revenue to protect all of California's children. Wednesday July 9th, Children's Defense Fund-California, Community Voices and other organizations throughout the state are asking Californians to step up for children and make their voices heard by calling their senator and asking that children be protected and prioritized in this budget cycle.

Your call will only take 5 minutes but could be the difference in the lives of California children.

On Wednesday, all you have to do is call

Ask the Secretary of the Senate to connect you to your senator's office. Be sure to tell your senator:
1. Hello, my name is ______________ and I live in Senator __________ district.
2. I am calling to oppose a "cuts-only" budget that jeopardizes the health and well-being of California's neediest children.
3. All children must be protected and prioritized in this budget cycle. What's good for all children is good for all Californians.
4. I support a balanced solution that includes finding new revenue streams.
5. I expect Senator _________ to stand strong for children, and oppose all cuts to vital children's programs and services.
6. Thank you for listening and passing this message on to the Senator.

Senators need to hear that their constituents do not support cuts to children's programs. Spread the word; let's makes our voices heard!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Welcome to Community Voices

We just sent out our July email. It welcomes the close to thirty new members who have joined on with us.

The emails usually come out once a month, but we have other ways of communicating and staying in the loop. Like this blog/website.....

Community Voices is on the WEB!!
Community Voices has chapters throughout Los Angeles County. As you know, the county is pretty big. So one way we stay connected is through the web. Below are two links for you to click on and save in your FAVORITES. These will help you stay connected with other Community members across Los Angeles.

Community Voices Yahoo Groups - PLEASE JOIN!

Community Voices website/blog - PLEASE VISIT. Oh If you are reading this, then you are already here.

These two sites are where information will be placed on upcoming CV events.

They are also places where we can chat with each other, share ideas, and support each other as we all work together for children and working poor families.

Upcoming Community Voices Activities

In May, 70 CV members went to Sacramento to rally against the budget cuts. Our members marched, spoke before a crowd of hundreds and held a town hall meeting with local legislative offices. But we have more work to do.

Below is a listing of upcoming events we are working on. What are your thoughts? Do you want to participate?
Do you have ideas as well? PLEASE SHARE!!!
  1. Schedule a meeting with the Governor to talk about the cuts to child care and families.
  2. Schedule a meeting with the two candidates running for the 2nd Los Angeles County Supervisorial District seat to find out their positions on child care and how we can work together to keep more money in Los Angeles to help the 22,000 families who are eligible for child care support but can't get it because of the state's funding formulas.
  3. Schedule a meeting with the Mayor to talk about child care, working families, immigration and more.
  4. Hold a Rock the Vote event in the fall: to register voters, talk about community issues, get to know the Community Voices members from other chapters and work on next year.

What do you think? Let us know......

The Equal Voice Campaign (EVC) is a national campaign designed to bring working families together to develop a national platform for working families. This means the people decide the issues that mean the most to the people. And then share that with the nation in an effort to get the politicians talking about the issues that impact us the most.

The war is bad, but so is not having enough gas in your tank or food on your table.

The EVC will be hosting a conference in Los Angeles in September. Community Voices has been asked to attend. Do you want to go?

Click here to find out more about the campaign.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Crystal Stairs chapter work

Last night the Crystal Stairs chapter met. Parents talked about the Stand For Children event and plans for the summer.

It looks like Community Voices is thinking about trying to meet with the Department of Finance, the Child Development Division of the California Department of Education, the two candidates running for the open 2nd Los Angeles County Supervisorial District seat, and the Governor.

Rockin' it out!!!!

CCFS Chapter work - We're Rocking it OUT!!!!

We had an open forum night on June 12th where we spoke on the budget issues & the effects on our children. We also had a letter writing effort. Parents also learned about the “Little Things” that be done to help:

· knowing who the senate & assembly are in our communities
· sending letters, phone calls (also passed on the 1-800# you e-mailed), visiting offices
· voting
· pts were also interested in The Gov’s office in LA
· getting & staying involved with orgs like CV (the long term goals-Children)
· Spreading the word to friends, neighbors, etc.

We mailed out the letters and I am happy to say that one parent, the most timid, had a lot to say in her letters.

Yeah CCFS!!

Bernie Sanders is our Hero!

Bernie Sanders (I), is a senator from Vermont. Some time ago he invited his constituents to share their stories with him regarding how they were dealing in these tough economic times. They were so devastating and honest that he turned them into a document and has shared them with the rest of the nation. Please click on this link to read the stories.

Many of the stories are very similar to what we are dealing with as Community Voices organizers and members! This is why the movement is so very important.

New Community Voices Portal

Community Voices has this blogspot. We are happy to have this tool for spreading the word and sharing our work, efforts, successes and our "what's next".

We also have a yahoo.groups site. So check it out as well and join us. The bigger the movement, the bigger our voice.

Call-in Day to the Governor

Community Voices is working feverishly to secure a toll free number to have a Call-in day on July 9th. We are working with the California office of the Children's Defense Fund on this and the hope is that we can shut down the switchboard in Sacramento through our efforts.

Of course, the only way to do this is to spread the word and get ready for the 9th. We need to tell everyone we know to get ready for the 9th. It is that important. If the Governor does not know that child care is an issue, then he is not going to push the legislature to get him a budget.

And really, it is pushing the republicans to understand that they can not kill people because of their fundamental belief that the rich and the businesses should not pay taxes. C'mon.

Stay tuned.......