Friday, November 25, 2011

Opinion: Rights Should Trump Budget Cuts

From the Press Democrat, column by Cami Weaver, chief executive officer of Becoming Independent, based in Santa Rosa.

The year 1977 was a breakthrough for California when Gov. Jerry Brown, then in his first term, signed the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act. This was named for Republican Assemblyman Frank B. Lanterman of Los Angeles, who during 28 years in office fought for people with disabilities.
The Lanterman Act, considered one of the nation's guiding standards, ensures equal rights for Americans born with disabilities. Lanterman enabled thousands of citizens to move from lonely, isolated institutions into the community. It is no less important to our country than civil rights, voting rights, gay rights, women's rights, any of the great human rights movements of our times.
Last June, 34 years later, Brown, now in his third term, signed a budget that threatens rights under Lanterman if the state can't raise enough taxes to pay its bills.

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