April 7, 2005
California Nurses Say Governor's Pension Retreat
Should be First Step to Enacting Real Reform
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision this morning to retreat on his 2005 planned initiative on privatizing public pensions should be the first step to reversing his other attacks on the health, safety and living standards of Californians, the California Nurses Association said today.
Next, the governor should scrap all plans for a wasteful special election this year, allocate the tens of millions of corporate dollars he has raised for genuine public needs, and inaugurate a program of real reforms, said CNA.
"It's notable that this announcement came just two days after thousands rallied in San Francisco, the largest protest yet in a growing movement against the governor's policies and efforts to auction off California to his corporate donors," said CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.
"Californians across the state have rejected this governor's draconian proposals and his corruption of public policy with corporate fundraising. Increasingly he looks like a typical politician on the run from widespread discontent over unpopular conservative corporatist policies," DeMoro said.
CNA "is proud that the nurses of California have exposed the disparity between the governor's rhetoric of bogus reform and his record of promoting an agenda that solely benefits his corporate donors at the expense of all Californians," she added.
"This is the third time in three months this governor's reckless initiatives have been rejected," DeMoro noted.
In February, Schwarzenegger was forced to withdraw his proposal to eliminate 88 independent boards and commissions, including the Board of Registered Nursing. In March, a Sacramento Superior Court threw out his illegal emergency regulation suspending key portions of the state's law mandating safe registered nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. In April, he has reversed course on pensions.
Now, said DeMoro, Gov. Schwarzenegger should "end his efforts to rollback patient safety standards in hospitals, cease his attack on public education, and stop his cynical manipulation of the initiative process and emergency regulations."
"Democracy is alive and well in California because of the widespread public opposition to this governor in spite of his continued attempts to subvert the institutions of our democracy."
Secondly, Gov. Schwarzenegger should "take the tens of millions of corporate dollars raised in pursuit of his destructive proposals and allocate them for actual needs."
Some examples, return the funding to local communities to restore nursing beds available for sick residents of veterans' homes (reversing a proposed "emergency" regulation), increase funding for inner city public hospitals, expand community nursing education programs (and support a CNA bill, AB 232, which would allocate $45 million for nursing school
slots), and increase support for public schools
Finally, said DeMoro, "rather than promoting a corporate wish list disguised as 'reform', the governor should be working with the people and the legislature on a real program of authentic reforms."
Topping that agenda:
Universal health care based on a single standard of quality care for all.
Making corporations pay their fair share through a progressive tax program.
Genuine election reform - financing campaigns with clean money.