Budget stalemate threatens facilities

September 12, 2008 11:24:21 PM PDT
There weren't any public talks on the budget stalemate again on Friday, which is now in its 74th day. Some vital services that rely on state funds to help senior citizens in the East Bay are now being affected and they may have to close their doors soon. It will leave the residents with no place to do.

Jeannie Forrestall lives at the San Miguel Villa Convalescent Home in Concord. She and the 181 other residents need around-the-clock care from the nursing staff.

But owner Velda Pierce says she will go out of business in two weeks if the legislature doesn't pass a budget. In addition to residents left out in the cold, 184 jobs will evaporate. She says she doesn't blame the Republicans any more than the Democrats -- the responsibility is bi-partisan.

"It's not rocket science to compromise. Don't they care about people?" said Pierce.

Forrestall's daughter says her mother worked well into her 70's and has earned the care she now needs.

"What do you think of the legislature that can't work this out?" asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.

I can't say it on TV," said said Forrestall's daughter.

Mitch Nelms is blunter.

"I think the legislators need to get their heads out of their butts," said Nelms

Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay provides daytime care and is also facing the prospect of closing down.

Director Michelle Pope has taken out a line of credit for $300,000. It will be gone in late October. If there's no budget, the facility will be too.

Joann Bell relies on them to help care for her mother, Ruth Dennis.

"I have a couple of choices. I can either quit my job and stay at home and take care of her 24-hours a day or, that's the only choice I have I don't have two choices," said Bell.

Democrats Sandre Swanson and Loni Hancock came to Alzheimer's Services on Friday to call for a constitutional amendment changing the state's budget system, allowing a budget to pass with a simple majority rather than a two-thirds vote.

Swanson has a short-term solution too.

"My position is that we ought to go to Sacramento next week, lock the doors and keep us there until we reach an agreement like adults," said Swanson.

The care facilities are hoping for emergency funding at the very least.


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