Friday, May 07, 2010

An Open Letter to California Assembly Speaker John Pérez

Honorable John Perez,

I heard that you are considering cutting funding for In Home Support Services.  I strongly hope you retain funding for IHSS. 

I am a Credentialed School Nurse with a Masters Degree in Nursing.  I have been laid off my school nurse job and replaced with an unqualified, inexperienced nurse because with my level of education and experience, I am too expensive for school.  All other school nurse positions within 100 miles have either been filled by a neophyte nurse, or not filled at all.  School districts around California no longer can afford to comply with CA Ed. Code or Federal IDEA laws or American Disabilities Act laws regarding school nurses. 

Therefore, my main bread and butter right now is IHSS.  I took a pay cut from $5000/mo as a nurse to $1200/mo as an IHSS worker.  The SEIU also provides me with medical insurance, but will not insure my 2 sons, who are currently uninsured.  My job with IHSS pays most of my mortgage.  Thanks to this job, we have a roof over our heads. 

In addition, thousands of seniors and disabled people are living cheaper in their own homes with the help of IHSS rather than moving to nursing homes and board & care institutions.  There are not enough beds in nursing homes and board & care institutions to accommodate all these people.  I assure you, I have searched far and wide to find a placement for the disabled Korean War veteran that I take care of, but either they can't take a person who needs his level of care, or it is beyond the veteran's meager budget. 

Thanks to the SEIU, IHSS workers earn $9.90/hr.  The SEIU worked hard for several years to raise this rate up to where it is now.  The previous rate, and even the current rate, is not a living wage.  All IHSS workers have to have several jobs in order to live.  I took this job because the previous IHSS workers of this Korean War veteran would steal his stuff and sell it, pilfer his pockets for forgotten money, and steal his credit cards.  The previous IHSS immediately before me racked up $4500 in credit card debt for the disabled veteran in a period of 7 weeks paying her cell phone, PO box, 4 new tires for her car, personal skin care products for herself, magazine subscriptions, and daily restaurants for dinner.  She didn't cook.  It was elder abuse. 

Low wages for IHSS workers leads to elder abuse.  Discontinuing IHSS altogether will overload the system with indigent seniors and disabled people with no beds available in our current institutions. 

If your aim is to stimulate free enterprise by dumping the impoverished seniors and disabled on to the streets hoping to stimulate private investment in beds for people who can't afford to pay for them, you are very, very mistaken. 

IHSS is part of the social safety net that our government is designed to promote for the general welfare of the people as is stated in the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.  In addition, God commands us in the Bible to provide for the sick, elderly and disabled in our communities.  Since the state of California no longer values the education or health of our children and has followed a course decades long of cutting public education and public health, it obviously has higher priorities than serving our youth, jobs, and future industry.  Now the state of California wants to cut off funding for IHSS which keeps the elderly and disabled safe and cared-for in their own homes. 

The state of California sounds like it is in a suicidal, self-destructive course, yet continued paying a decade worth of cutthroat rates for energy based on fraudulent contracts signed with ENRON in 2001.  It seems OK to violate the social contract the elected leaders have with the electorate to serve the Common Good, but it is not alright to violate the fraudulent contracts made with ENRON.  I think the budget priorities of the state of California are very mixed up. 

The state has already cut me down to my knees by cutting funds to public education.  Don't cut me down to the ground by cutting funds to IHSS, my main income and the only way my Korean War veteran boss can continue to live at home on a small fixed income. 


1 comment:

  1. It is also the only way the government gets withholding taxes from me, the Taxpayer, who loans it to my government in short term loans until I file my income taxes, and get it all back, and then some! The small business Taxpayers are the backbone of the economy!