By Megan Burks
Lawmakers Patch Safety Net, But Big Holes Remain
State Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown reached a budget deal yesterday that softens the governor’s proposed hits to welfare and public health programs, but still means big changes for the state’s poor.
Under the agreement, new CalWorks recipients would receive welfare benefits for two years instead of four. But unlike the governor’s initial plans, the state won’t shrink funds for children whose parents have used up their benefits, according to KPCC. The agreement would also allow counties to extend payments to adults past two years if the recipient is finishing up education or training, closing in on a job or living in an area with high unemployment.
A cut that remains—and actually grew—is to CalWorks funding for daycare. The $80 million decrease would close slots for more than 10,000 children, according to the Bay Area News Group.
Youth might be further affected if the state phases out the Healthy Families program. The budget deal calls for children who are low-income but live above the poverty line to shift from Healthy Families over to Medi-Cal. HealthyCal.org reports the transition could affect quality of care for kids who must change providers and overwhelm doctors who accept Medi-Cal.
Lawmakers are expected to finish up budget negotiations Tuesday and get the governor’s signature Wednesday.
For news from the state Capitol, follow @CapitolAlert.
In a letter to the editor, 22-year-old Mariateresa Morales says the article made her neighborhood “look bad all over again.” An email circulated among residents this week echoed her sentiment.
In the article, reporter James Chute follows Noble as she collects audio for an art piece based on her childhood in City Heights.
“All the time, you could hear through the walls kids getting beat by their parents,” Noble told Chute about the house where she lived during the 1980’s. “There was violence all around, there was prostitution all around, there was drug use all around. There were perverts. It was a scary world for kids.”
Morales, who grew up in City Heights a decade after Noble, says that’s an exaggeration.
“Growing up I never remember it being so bad as the way that Ms. Noble put it,” she writes. “I feel it’s a complete exaggeration. If anything it’s starting to get worse because of all the urbanization that’s going on.”
Chute is clear that Noble was drawing on her past, but neither he nor Noble comment on how the neighborhood has changed since the 1980’s. Instead, they focus on Noble’s experience and process, which she tells Chute is still in the “rediscovery” phase.
I asked readers what they thought about the article via Twitter. Below are their responses.
To give your input on stories and issues in City Heights, follow us @spkcityheights.
More Reader Input: Middle School Suspensions
I also used social media to ask readers what they thought of City Heights’ high middle school suspension rate. City Heights preteens are suspended at a higher rate than the district and state. Last year, Monroe Clark Middle School suspended 40 per 100 students.
Readers Julie Corrales and Patricia Saenz told me why they thought the rate is so high and what schools should do about it.
|Could it correlate to the poverty rate in City Heights? We have the lowest medium income levels in the City…lets get some more intervention programs going! THAT is money well spent. –Julie Corrales
|I agree with Julie Corrales, it could be the poverty rate. Could be the stressors kids are facing at home that don’t allow them to focus in school. My wish for kids in school is mentoring units. It would be nice if a mentoring system could be set up in schools. Like a group of 10 kids to one person. Like a mini focus group. Maybe don’t call it a mentor person but a resource person. Just thinking off the cuff. – Patricia Saenz
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