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Special needs care providers protest cuts

July 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are accusations that the level of care has been reduced at the Lanterman Developmental Center in Pomona, because of Governor Schwarzenegger's furloughs. Union members held a protest on Wednesday at the center over concerns of furloughs and care for the patients who live there. Much of the anger was aimed at the governor and the fact that he does not want to raise taxes to avoid cuts.

"Just upset about the fact that we're being cut. We can't afford it," said Brenda Brinkley, a Lanterman employee.

People like Brinkley aren't only upset about their pay, they are worried about their more than 400 special needs patients.

"It's very important because we want the best care for them, and we want to do what's best for them," said Brinkley.

Michael C., 42, has been at Lanterman since 1985, after a car accident left him comatose. Michael's mother, Dorothy Diamond, says there hasn't been a drop in service so far. She believes that is because many of the employees come to work despite the furloughs, essentially without pay.

"With furloughs and no money coming in, they're not going to have an option. They'll be losing their houses," said Diamond.

As frustration grows, so does concern over the future for workers and the people.

Governor Schwarzenegger has his side of the story. His office released a quote Wednesday afternoon:

"The Governor sees the real Californians and the real consequences behind these cuts. The state has no choice ? its wallet is empty and its credit card maxed out."

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