Arnieville Tent City against Schwarznegger’s Budget Cuts (Demotix 22/6/10)
California’s yearly budget cycles and cuts are a huge threat to seniors and those with disabilities.
As a result those with disabilities and their allies are camping on the traffic island at Adeline Street at Russell [Berkeley, CA] for an indefinite period under what they term CUIDO (Communities United in Defense of Olmstead). According to literature handed out, they “are a new group organised to fight the proposed budget cuts that threaten to institutionalise people with disabilities and seniors against their will, in violation of Olmstead, a Supreme Court ruling on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stating that unnecessary segregation of individuals with disabilities in institutions constitutes discrimination based on disability.”
Governor of California, Arnold Schwarznegger is proposing draconian cuts to some vital services which otherwise would allow those with disabilities to remain in their homes and communities. These cuts are pointed toward In-Home support services (IHSS) through a 40% cut in State funding. This will affect more than 490,000 disabled and elderly Californians and over 385,000 caregivers. Medi-CAL has a proposed cut of $750 million with a cap on some services which will put it out of reach for many with no health care alternative whilst increasing emergency room use. The elimination of Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) which would cut $109 from day care services that currently provides a variety of services to 37,000 people at risk of nursing home placement. Also in the proposals are the forced drugging of people with mental disabilities and the elimination of spending for mental health rehabilitation programs.
The protesters believe that society should provide for its people and the group also highlight that they are against cuts in the K-12 and higher education programs, childcare, Calworks and “all the programs that a civilised society should provide for its people.”
In May Arnieville was set up on the traffic island at Adeline and Russell in South Berkeley for four days. The resurrection of the tent city was to draw more attention to the issues and likened by protester Jean Stewart as a ‘Hooverville’. These were shanty towns that popped up during the Great Depression and were named after President at the time Herbert Hoover as he reportedly let the nation slide into depression.
Different events will be held at the camp such as live music, spoken word and poetry amongst teach-ins and many more.