Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rally at the Capitol regarding services being slashed

Whew!! What was supposed to be a rally from 11 am - 1 pm ended up being an all day event. Cindy and I headed down to the Capitol, picking up Hila on our way in a caravan situation. We navigated our way through and found parking and walked on over. The turnout was impressive. I am not good with crowd estimations so I won't even try. But, there were all disabilities represented it seemed. We realized a little late that the Senate was going to be in session and by the time we meandered over, the gallery seating was full. We eventually stood in the lobby and watched on TVs. There wasn't a lot we could hear or understand really. After their session we kind of wondered "well what now?" since it was about 12:30. Cindy and I walked over to move the car and decided to try and sit in on the House session. We got there early and got seats. It was anticlimactic to say the least. It seemed a little like the "bring your child to work day" episode. Certain legislators would get up and "introduce" their little friend(s) from the gallery. We had quite the showing of folks from the humane society as well as the senior citizens bus group from Tucson. I gave Cindy more than one "are you kidding me?" looks. It was pretty ridiculous at times. There was this auctioneer-type lackey who kept saying the motions like he was hawking some of grandma's old furniture at an estate sale. I had a hard time understanding him. The only person who acknowledged the presence of the disabled community was Krysten Sinema. I just loved her, more on why later. After that we kind of looked dumbstruck. We headed downstairs again and basically felt that both sides decided to "reconvene" on Monday, maybe they thought the angry mobs would have subsided by then and they could slash our budgets with nary a peep, who knows. So off to the kiosk we went where you can leave you comment on a bill or request time to speak on the floor. I did mine and while Cindy was doing her's I noticed that the budget appropriations committee was supposed to be meeting right after the house and senate were done with their earlier sessions. Off we went to find that room. The first 2 were full so they did an overflow for the crowds. We took seats right near the TV. It was delayed about 45 minutes due to a closed door session of the senate. And then once they did start we had to hear the 1st on the agenda, community college budgets. Then on to the main event. Here's a rundown:

Aboud - had to leave to catch a plane, pointed out that if we cut music therapy rates by 55% then some clinics will be forced to close and that is a doubly bad thing. Loved her.

Aguirre - had just met with music therapists and parents, understood the need for this modality. Loved her.

Sinema - She was a ball of fire, she stood up to those good ole boys and didn't let them jerk her around. And, I guessed that she was also a lawyer (in addition to being a social worker) because she did the old "only ask a question that you know the answer to" and pointed out the lunacy of some people's theories and ideas. You could tell it stuck in their craw that this little "girl" was in their building and not backing down. LOVED THIS GIRL!!!

Kavanaugh - Said that "maybe we should drop music therapy altogether", needless to say did not like this man and sent him an email "explaining" this modality since his ignorance was clear. Boo, hiss.

These people can be found on our state legislation webpage if you care to drop them notes about what is going on. Basically unemployment rates are rising which is causing a budget crisis. Our developmental disabilities agency was already facing a deficit, even before the rise in unemployment and recent cuts. But, I am not sure WHY unemployment insurance is lumped into DDD (dept. of Dev. Disability). Most (2/3) of DDD's funding is with federal money = they cannot reduce benefits or they lose that money. That would create an even bigger deficit. So.....they had to cut music therapy, CPS response to level 4 threats and of course homeless and administration meaning support coordinators, CPS officials, etc. Then Kavanaugh basically said "how DARE you cut CPS benefits!!!!! Kids could be at risk!!!!". Well, our kids are at risk for further delays if we slash our services too. And, this is the SAME body that charged DES with "figuring out" what to cut. So, you throw it on DES and then make THEM out to be the bad guys. I laughed because Member Sinema was the ONLY person to point that out, that group approved the cuts. They didn't care that 2/3 of the DES programs are basically untouchable and they needed to cut $150 million. It was THEIR job to figure it out and now take the heat for those decisions. And yes, I am a parent effected by this and NO I do not hate Dr. Blessings. I see this as an incredibly difficult and jacked up decision that must be made and I could see how hard it was for her. She wasn't the one who said things must be cut, she was just the one given the ax to do the dirty work.

There it is in a nutshell. We left early because it was already 5:30 and frankly I had a headache and wanted to see my kids at least a little before leaving for 4 days. So I can't tell you what else was said. I had really had enough anyways. So off of here to finish packing, see you guys on Wednesday or so. But here are some photos of the day:

Inside the House
Me and the Coester Cares Therapy Clinic Group (part of them anyways). I am standing next to Keith, Matthew's awesome music therapist. Brian, the clinic owner is next to him and then two other therapists.

Me and Hila in front of the Capitol

Me and Cindy in front of the Capitol

A look at one group of the crowd.

1 comment:

Abby Runyan said...

You go girl! Wish I could have been there. I know you rocked it though!