Melissa blasts Arnold’s vicious attack on Seniors.

Melissa Fox: Right on Target Again!

Melissa has a fine, typically on-target blog post out today blasting Arnold’s & Republicans’ dishonest and inhumane attacks on seniors’ in-home health care.  You may have already glanced at my co-blogger Art’s knee-jerk reaction to Melissa’s statement.  Whenever he has a personal vendetta against a particular Democrat, he’ll just lazily parrot the Republican line, which is predictably, BLAME IT ALL ON SOME UNION.

Sad to see this sometimes-proud ex-Republican sink to that level.  Who cares though.  Let’s first look at what Melissa wrote, and then see  if it really has ANYTHING to do with “shilling” for the “corrupt” SEIU, or whether she indeed makes valuable and vital points:

Forcing Seniors From Their Homes

When it comes to home health care, our local representatives to Sacramento have shown little concern for protecting seniors living on fixed incomes.

The Governor and our local representatives want to eliminate adult health care services that provide in-home care to more than 430,000 Californians, of whom six in 10 are over 65-years old and one in four over 80-years old.

That’s a quarter of a million people who worked hard all their lives, and now need a little help that their families may not be able to provide.

These seniors would be forced into nursing homes and hospitals.

In Laguna Woods alone, 40% of the people enrolled in adult health care services would be forced into institutions.

These cruel cuts to vital, cost-effective services make no sense. Forcing seniors into institutions  will cost California more money than it saves, and cost California 370,000 jobs.

As a member of the Assembly, I will fight to stop these cuts and ensure that seniors have the health care they need to maintain their independence in their own homes.We can keep seniors from being forced from their homes.  Please contribute $50, $100 or any amount you can afford to help us reach voters at this critical time.


May 11, 2010

Actually, all the facts check out.  Arnold’s proposed budget attempts to cut spending in exactly the way that Ms Fox describes above, and all Republicans will be enthusiastically supporting that cut.   And if Republican intransigence or Arnold’s line-item veto makes these cuts reality, the result will be exactly what she describes – up to a quarter-million seniors forced out of their homes, into nursing homes and hospitals.

Art’s probably factual citations of SEIU corruption, and his dark warning that he’s gonna find out whether any unions contribute to Melissa’s campaign (like, duh!) are totally beside the point of what’s happening here.  Most IHHS (In-Home Health Service) workers are indeed represented by SEIU;  some are represented by other unions; some are not unionized at all.  In contrast to the caricature of overpaid union hacks, they generally make $8-10 an hour. Many of them are family members who have quit much higher-paying jobs to care for their loved ones. Many of them are welfare-to-work people, having landed this job in order to get off welfare, thanks to reform.  Arnold’s brilliant plan is to put these 430,000 people out of work.  (Jim Benson seems to have heard some slightly different facts and figures, but it’s still just as outrageous.)

And the seniors who lose their care through this humane plan will be forced into nursing homes and hospitals, where they will be cared for – at California taxpayer expense – by higher-paid unionized workers.  BRILLIANT!!!

Melissa could have gone even further about the pure stupidity of this plan: as a study from UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education shows, these cuts will cost us hundreds of millions in both tax revenue and Federal money:

Cutting in-home care services by $1 billion – reducing spending on the very old, the very young, the poor and the disabled is one of the perennial proposals to save state funds – would mean the loss of more than 215,000 full-time-equivalent jobs in the next year…For every dollar spent by the state government on in-home supportive services, we get $2.47 from the feds….Cutting in-home services by $1 billion (also) would result in an estimated loss of $359 million in state and local taxes, so the actual savings would be much less than projected….

These cuts will be felt most dramatically and devastatingly in Laguna Woods, which is in Melissa’s district (the 70th) and LW residents are perfectly aware and concerned of the danger.  I would like to hear Melissa’s Republican challengers Amante, Wagner and Choi, tell those seniors whether or not they’re in favor of slashing the budget on their backs.

The real soft underbelly of Art’s weak post is in his third paragraph:

No Melissa, they don’t want to eliminate home health care services.  Most likely they just want to undo Davis’ union scheme.

In two sentences, he condescendingly tries to school Melissa on an issue he’s obviously never given any thought or research into, and then actually guesses what Arnold and the California GOP might be trying to do here.  “Most likely.” – isn’t that just touchingly trusting of him?  “There’s just no way Arnold could be trying to do that to our seniors, it must be some kind of secret plan to fight the dirty unions!”

Back in fact-land, NO, ART, there is NO secret plan to replace these vital workers with non-union workers or anyone else.  There is simply an incredibly dangerous and stupid plan to save a quick buck cutting all these vital workers so that our seniors can either die or check into hospitals and nursing homes to be cared for on the taxpayer dime by OTHER union workers.

There are certainly criticisms to be made of unions, including the SEIU.  Many unions are in need of reform, including the SEIU.  Pensions should probably be re-negotiated in this economic climate.  But what’s happening here has nothing to do with unions.  My Juice Brother Art is being lazy, dishonest and malicious, and reverting to his old GOP propaganda.  It’s a shame to see this behavior from someone who wrote just YESTERDAY, explaining his pro-immigrant stance:

“I have great empathy for the working poor. That’s all.”

I think Art should find some more deserving White Whale to rave obsessively against.  There’s Wagner and Amante who are the real immediate danger to his boy Choi, there’s the looming crypto-fascism of Bill Hunt and Allan Mansoor, there’s the BIBLICAL corruption of Ken Calvert and Gary Miller, there are probably other Democrats more worthy of attack whom I wouldn’t bother defending, but I won’t name them here.  But for each hit piece he puts out on Melissa, look for me to be here with the real facts within hours.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.