Regarding the “supernatural innocence” that you perceived in Governor Schwarzenegger (“Town Dandy,” Jan. 21): My work for a non-profit agency has allowed me to meet a great many people in Humboldt County. A large majority of them are people with disabilities and/or seniors and a huge percentage of this group are low-income. The people I’ve talked with are caring, honest, hard-working (if they can work) and contribute much to the community.
I can easily think of several who could not be in Old Town to see the Governor last week. You see, they are people with major disabilities — including paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals — who live in their own homes but are currently without care providers to help them even get out of bed each day. That’s because there’s a shortage of In-Home Support Service (IHSS) workers in this area and this is due to low wages (minimum), no benefits, high stress and a governor who has repeatedly targeted them for cuts, while accusing them of “massive fraud” without providing evidence of that fraud. This is a program that has been shown to save the state money in the long run. He also threw away $26 million in tax dollars in the last budget to fight unsubstantiated “massive fraud” in a program that he was targeting to eliminate anyway.
This governor’s current desire to eliminate IHSS would put hundreds of thousands more out of work in a depressed economy, while leaving approximately 430,000 vulnerable Californians with no options except homelessness and nursing homes (when there are only an estimated 22,000 beds available statewide). It’s no exaggeration to say that many would die as a result.
This governor, when asked in a New York Times article last year if the budget battle bothered him replied, “I don’t walk out of here depressed. I will sit down in my Jacuzzi tonight. I’m going to lay back with a stogie.” In another instance, he displayed his “fun” with being governor while smirking, brandishing a huge knife and talking about budget cuts that are truly hurting and killing people.
This is a governor who has refused to discuss any tax increases or consider other revenue sources that don’t involve smoke and mirrors. Who has sought to circumvent voter initiatives he doesn’t like, then cited others as reason he “can’t” do something. Who has catered to corporate interests (a $2 billion tax break last year ... see any jobs yet?) while seeking to gut programs that benefit the common good and the state as a whole. And who recently declared he was “passionate” about education and wanted to provide the quality education he got in Austria (a socialist country with high taxes) even as he has slashed education funding year after year.
I’m sorry, but I will not miss the man at all. Neither will those people who literally couldn’t get out of bed and dressed to go down to Old Town, who have to choose between food and heat this month, who are forced to the St. Joseph emergency room for a tooth infection because of Medi-Cal cuts, who can’t afford to attend school, who have seen their park entrances blocked, etc. They couldn’t ask this elected official why he has consistently made a target of the most vulnerable in the state. They see very little that is “innocent” in this governor.
Let the fun and innocence stay on the big screen where it belongs. Government should not be a Hollywood flick. We’d be a lot better off if we didn’t keep electing celebrities, sports stars, rich lawyers and CEOs who have no clue how the rest of us have to live and no interest in making things better for us.
Glenn Reed, Eureka
Sweet Spot: Glenn Reed wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.