There were many questions asked, but a shortage of answers available
Saturday at a town hall meeting about the state budget crisis.
About 300 people crammed into the Buena Vista Branch Library in
Burbank for the meeting, co-hosted by state Sen. Jack Scott
(D-Glendale) and Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Burbank).
The legislators explained to the crowd that the governor’s
proposed cuts of as much as $35 billion to the state budget are
supposed to be passed by a two-thirds vote of the legislature by June
It is not likely a budget conclusion will be reached by then,
Scott told the crowd.
“This is the greatest fiscal crisis we’ve had in California since
the Great Depression,” he said.
Frommer described the budget crisis as an unprecedented problem
and a dire situation for California. He explained that cuts to health
care alone could be as much as $2 billion in combined state and
federal funds, based on the governor’s proposal. California currently
has the third-worst record among the 50 states in providing health
insurance to its residents, Frommer said.
Local officials and residents were allowed to make statements to
the two legislators and ask questions. School, city and health-care
officials, students, parents and several physically and mentally
disabled individuals were in the crowd.
Local officials explained that proposed cuts are leading to the
closure of health-care facilities, potential layoffs and the cutting
of classes, programs and services to public schools and colleges, and
major reductions in public and social services.
Among the officials who spoke were Arnold Schaffer from Providence
St. Joseph Medical Center, John Davitt from Glendale Community
College, Chief Ernie Mitchell from the Pasadena Fire Department, Mary
Alvord of the city of Burbank and Roberto Barragan from the San
Fernando Valley Economic Development Center.
Burbank resident and Burbank Unified School District school nurse
Lenora Aguilera wanted to know why schools are being cut while pay
increases are being proposed for corrections facilities officers.
“We are barely getting by right now,” said Aguilera, who splits
her time as a nurse between two schools. “Any more cuts would be
Jay Nolan, who runs a community-services program for disabled
individuals in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, said proposed
cuts would strip about $1 million from his annual budget.
“Much of what we do is in jeopardy,” said Nolan, 39. “I hope they
hear our voice and save the livelihood of the people we serve.”