Wheelchair Warriors Take Up Positions in the Capitol

And so it begins. As Anthony Wright is tweeting, a group of disabled activists have taken up positions in the Capitol building and are refusing to leave until the health and human services cuts are reconsidered (note: the picture to the right was taken by twitter user anjxoxo):

Wheelchairs blocking the Governor’s office for the last two hours over the budget cuts.. CHP threatens arrest, they say they are prepared…

Over 100 folks protesting cuts in the hall outside Governor Schwarzenegger’s office. Gov is at Mason’s having lunch… maybe Jacuzzi later?

CHP threatens not just arrest-and-release, but taking disabled protestors to county jail. They say they rather be in jail than nursing home.

Outside Gov’s office… Several Dem legislators came down to talk to/cheer on the disabled protestors: Cedillo, Perez, Beall, Skinner, etc

Budget protesters call out “hold the line” when someone tries to pass. The wheelchairs effectively stop any traffic in hallway.

Bad budget boon for Blimpie’s: Food arrives for protestors with disabilities, as thet settle in for the long haul in front of Gov’s office

This is just the start. These protestors are taking matters into their own hands. As Arnold is actively burning down the state and forcing through destructive cuts to some of California’s most vulnerable people, more and more Californians are going to start pushing back.

One doesn’t want to overstate this. But after Arnold’s “let them eat cake” moment in the NYT magazine article – replacing cake with stogies and Versailles with the smoking tent – it’s sensible that the Third Estate is going to storm the building to demand justice and equality.

UPDATE: The protest organizers, the “People’s Day of Reckoning Coalition” (an offshoot of the IHSS Coalition) have explained their actions to the media:

Caregivers and people with disabilities are furious that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking for more cuts to California’s in-home support services.

About 100 protesters said they successfully blocked the entrance to the governor’s office Tuesday. The People’s Day of Reckoning Coalition organized the protest.

The coalition sent a letter to Schwarzenegger in June, asking him to come up with a budget solution that includes new sources of income and not just cuts to services.

“We are calling for a budget solution that is based upon shared responsibility and shared sacrifice — not a solution that falls squarely upon on the shoulders of children, people with disabilities, elders, the chronically ill, the unemployed and the impoverished,” the letter said.

The People’s Day of Reckoning Coalition represents human services, health care, community improvement and educational interest….

John Campbell, a caregiver, said claims of fraud are exaggerated, calling the governor’s remarks “just a bit of political theater.”

What I really love about this is the quote from John Campbell there at the end. It’s like he’s shrugging off Arnold’s attacks as part of his typical BS. Clearly the protestors aren’t scared – not of Arnold, not of the CHP, not of anyone.

This kind of sit-in is exactly what is needed to bring more attention to the actual impact of this crisis. Arnold wants to make it sound like it’s about unions and fraud, but it’s about real human beings, people who need care and those that provide it, and how they are getting the brunt of the budget cuts.

Their stories are the secrets Arnold has tried to keep from the public. But no longer.

11 thoughts on “Wheelchair Warriors Take Up Positions in the Capitol”

  1. Human/machine hybrids roll their way to the governor’s office.  We’ll see if he invites them into that tent of his.

  2. I’ve set up a new list to help people notify one another about new diaries going up on Kos on the sorry ass situation in California right now.  If you’ve been posting diaries on Kos on the topic or comment actively on them, by all means sign up.  Low traffic, and not a discussion list:

     Google Groups


     Daily Kos Fix California List

  3. Yes, that’s the perfect solution to the budget crisis. Arrest all the disabled and other people who need services… then we can cut the HHS budget and provide for those people at 4x the cost via the prisons! Outstanding.

    These are the kinds of creative accounting solutions that have kept California’s budget afloat for the last ten years.

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