Schwarzenegger Reverses Position On Cuts
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 18, 2003
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--A week after disability rights advocates rallied at the state Capitol to protest proposed restrictions to community-based services for Californians with developmental disabilities, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday that he has reversed his position.
"I did not feel this was consistent with my record as an advocate for the developmentally disabled," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "I have dedicated myself to improving their lives, particularly through my work with Special Olympics."
The new governor had proposed limiting services, including respite and recreational activities, to help bridge the multi-billion dollar budget gap. His plan would have meant suspending the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act -- a 35-year-old law that currently guarantees certain community-based services for about 200,000 people with developmental disabilities -- and establishing waiting lists for services from the state's 10 regional centers.
More than 600 advocates gathered on December 10 to witness the irony as Schwarzenegger had a toddler with cerebral palsy flip a switch to light the Capitol Christmas tree in a public ceremony.
According to the Los Angeles Times, California Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson told Schwarzenegger immediately before the event, "Well, this may be the last extracurricular activity that kid does under your budget cuts."