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Disability Advocates Call-Out Governor Schwarzenegger for Honoring Mother-In-Law While Cutting Vital Services

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Advocates for seniors and people with disabilities spoke out against the Governor on Friday in response to statements he made in an LA Times story that ran earlier that morning and further comments he made on Twitter.

"As the Governor stepped in to stop eviction notices for the twenty disabled residents of Regency Court Apartments, his office was preparing to send out similar notices to an estimated 140,000 seniors and people with disabilities informing them of drastic cuts to their home care services," said Laphonza Butler, Co-Trustee of SEIU-ULTCW. "How can he explain that?"

The September 18, 2009 online story, entitled "Remembering late mother-in-law, Schwarzenegger intervenes to stop Monrovia evictions" credits the Governor for stopping the evictions of twenty mentally and physically disabled residents. The Governor stated in the LA Times story that he was inspired to take action as he thought about his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver who founded the Special Olympics and was an advocate for people with disabilities. "All of a sudden I heard [her] voice in my ear," Schwarzenegger said. "She says, 'Arnold why are you sitting around now, you just read the story, do something!'" The Governor later posted on his Twitter page that "My mother-in-law fought so that people like Lily Hixon could live independently."

"If the Governor is truly listening to the voice of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he'll stop attacking seniors and people with disabilities and do whatever is necessary to reverse the drastic and dangerous cuts he's made to the State's home care program," said Hugh Hallenberg, long time disability advocate. "If he doesn't, it's obvious that this was nothing more than a press stunt."

An estimated 140,000 seniors and people with disabilities who rely on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for vital home care services will be notified by mail that the hours of care they receive each month will either be eliminated or reduced due to State Budget cuts. Notice of Action statements were originally scheduled to be sent out on September 1, 2009, but have been postponed to October 1 due to the State's inability to reach such a large number of people.

"Yes, Governor, you are correct. Your mother-in-law did fight so that people could live independently," said Lillibeth Navarro, Executive Director of Communities Actively Living Independent and Free. "So how would she feel about you honoring her fight in one breath and at the same time cutting the vital services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to live independently?"

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