Other businesses affected by furloughs

February 6, 2009 6:38:38 PM PST
State workers didn't get paid on Friday and many Californians didn't get state services. 200,000 government employees got a forced furlough and were not happy about it.

State workers weren't the only ones feeling the pain on Friday; people who depend on them, restaurants and other local businesses, did too.

Some people expected to see the Department of Motor Vehicles in Walnut Creek in full swing. Instead they found the lights out and buildings closed.

In Corte Madera and San Mateo, folks trying to do business with the state were told to come back on Monday. The same was true in San Francisco.

"I am a permanent resident of California and I'm living in New York. I am a student now and I am in town for about two days and I was hoping to get my license renewed today," said Kriste May, a student.

"It's very inconvenient because I am driving around without a license and I don't have any ID on me, so it's holding me up from taking care of business," said John Love, a San Francisco resident.

"We all have to withstand inconveniences here and there. For me personally it's not a big deal. It's more for people who are going to have their wages cut," said Laura Hamilton, a San Francisco resident.

DMV workers protested outside their building. By being off twice a month over the next 17 months, it saves California $1.3 billion, but some state employees say it's a huge sacrifice for them.

"What am I supposed to tell my landlord when it's time for the rent, sorry the governor says IOU?" said Lorena Santisteban, a state employee.

"Every California family and business is cutting back right now. State government needs to do the same, and that's what these furloughs are about," said Aaron McLear, the governor's press secretary.

The state building in Oakland had so many employees gone on Friday, the escalator was shut off. Some employees are exempt because they work for other statewide elected officials.

"A lot of us feel bad that we are working and others can't, we might join them soon," said Gracie Johnston, a state employee.

Nearby restaurants also felt the impact of Friday's furloughs.

"Now it's not too good after this furlough started to kick in. We are going to end up closing early today because most of our business comes from the state building," said Charlie Lee, a store manager.

Charlie Lee says his business is so closely tied to state workers that his business will have to close on the first and third Friday of the month as well.