Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 07th
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Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningAre you endorsing candidates and measures in the November election?  If so, which ones?

On the Nov. 2 ballot I am urging everyone to vote yes on Proposition 21, the state parks initiative that would establish an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to fund state parks and wildlife programs, and to vote yes on Proposition 25, the initiative to change the legislative vote requirement to pass a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.

I am urging everyone to vote no on Proposition 23, the initiative to suspend the implementation of air pollution standards established in Assembly Bill 32 that requires major producers of air pollutants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to vote no on Proposition 26, the initiative requiring certain state and local fees to be approved by a two-thirds vote.  

Also, I am supporting Measure H in the City of Santa Cruz, which will improve community safety by guaranteeing funding for police, fire, and other public safety services in neighborhoods throughout the city, as well as in parks, public spaces, beaches, commercial districts, and schools.

I am supporting Jerry Brown for governor along with all of the Democrats running for statewide constitutional offices. Each of these candidates supports public education; will protect the environment; improve and expand public transit; and rebuild California’s economy through helping both small businesses and their employees.

The delay in finalizing the state budget has caused the withholding of more than $3 billion in payments to state workers so far. What other effects has it had on Californians?

The current budget impasse has serious consequences on the lives of many Californians.

A large number of those suffering are receiving Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) services, whose programs have gone without reimbursement since Aug. 20, 2010. The ADHC Centers provide disabled elders with medically supervised nutrition and exercise in safe community settings.

Because a state budget has not been enacted, these centers are beginning to close their doors. Fifty percent of local providers were unable to make their Oct. 4, 2010 payroll deadline and 33 percent—103 centers—will be out of cash at the end of October. The closing of ADHC centers is also forcing wage-earning family members of disabled elders to leave their jobs, increasing the number of unemployed Californians.

The challenges facing the ADHC Centers are the same as those being faced by other state programs, their employees and the clients they serve. In-Home Support Services (IHSS), childcare centers, CalGrants, and CalWorks all employ Californians and provide services dependent on state funding.

Progress is being made to resolve the current budget impasse, and, while there are no easy solutions, I am continuing to work with my colleagues to enact a budget that will protect jobs, education, and our state.

Parts of the national healthcare law

went into effect a few weeks ago. Who

does it impact and how will it change

their coverage?

For Californians concerned about healthcare, Sept. 23, 2010 marked an important day. That is the day key consumer protections from federal health reform went into effect.

The most important consumer protections enacted allow young adults to remain covered by a parent’s healthcare insurance until the child turns 26 years old; guarantee heath insurance coverage to all children regardless of a pre-existing condition; and prohibit co-payments or deductibles for preventive services, such as smoking cessation and immunization programs.

However, in response to these healthcare reforms, some insurers have announced their intent to eliminate child-only individual insurance policies. This move represents a bad-faith response by healthcare plans. The spirit of the national healthcare reform is to provide increased access to coverage for all children, regardless of a pre-existing condition. I supported legislation (AB  2244), currently on the governor’s desk, that would require health plans sold in California to provide coverage to minors.

I recently participated in a presentation in Santa Cruz by the Mad As Hell Doctors who are part of the Physicians for a National Health Program. The traveling doctors were joined by local physicians who made a strong case for a single payer healthcare plan. Compelling testimony was also provided by local residents who described the inadequacies of the current system. I support a single payer healthcare plan as the best system for California, but until we have a governor who will also support, I will continue to work to implement the immediate incremental benefits of the national healthcare reform. 

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The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
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