March 15, 1995
By Yolanda Reynolds
Photo: by Mary J. Andrade
Now, with the announcement of definite plans to cut government programs for teenagers, children, the poor, and the disadvantaged the New Majority (Republican) Agenda is coming into clear focus.
“They (Republicans) are playing reverse Robin Hood,” says Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. She explains, “They are taking from children and the poor to give to the ricSan Jose, Californiah.” Lofgren adds that she is sorry that these statements appear to be so partisan but that the drive to reduce government assistance for the poor, including poor children, is part of the new Republican agenda.
There are few people in the United State who have not at some time or another been recipients of government support. The Nation’s highways – almost all of which are toll free – aid to students and schools, and many subsidies that have been awarded to very successful industries are all provided by the Federal Government.
Lofgren says, “somehow they are out to punish people for being poor.” Others who are more privileged now enjoy and have enjoyed special benefits from the government and are not targeted by the New Majority.
Ric Sawyer, currently Labor Secretary Richard Reich’s Region IX Representative, says that what they (the new Majority) are doing is “mean spirited and short sighted.” He adds what is happening can be called “the nightmare on Constitution Ave” (the street in front of the Nation’s congressional buildings).
Just last week Newt Gingrich announced that they are planning to cut the summer youth employment program. For the Santa Clara Valley, it means that approximately 2,300 teenagers will be affected. That also means that approximately $2.5 million to $3.5 million will not come into the Valley’s economy. Approximately 1,700 of the students that qualify for this program are from San Jose.
Mayor Susan Hammer and the San Jose City Council are very concerned. The Council is so supportive of the student work programs that the City adds $250,000 per year to keep a portion of the youth work program going on throughout the year.
Leading Valley leaders met Monday morning to say that they object to the proposed cuts and asked that San Joseans communicate their objections to the cuts proposed by the Republicans.
Not all Republicans are happy with what is happening and they may change their mind if people take the time to let them know that this is not the way to make changes in the way government does business.
Sawyer says that the small amount of money saved by cutting all such programs amounts to little more than 1.5 % of the Nation’s total budget. He says that “what they want to do is ﬁnd the money to be able to give those families who earn over $200,000 per year a tax break”.
On Monday morning, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren dashed to McKinley school in the Franklin McKinley School District to discuss the pending legislation that threatens to cut the school lunch program.
House Republicans are proposing to change the way that school lunch money is distributed to the schools. They propose sending the money directly to the States. The amount allocated for school lunch programs will be reduced by 20%. The States are required to spend 20% of that on whatever they wish. So, the effect can be as much as 40% cut. Most states are experiencing ﬁnancial problems. California’s Governor Wilson even sued the federal Government with claims thatthe state lacked the money to meet the needs of immigrants to this state. This new lunch program would also cut service completely to those children whose parents are illegal immigrants to the U.S.
At the McKinley school, the Director of the school lunch program, Evelyn Harris, said that 72% of the students qualiﬁed for school lunch assistance. Harris said that she, along with 80 other food service provides. joined another no providers from across the nation to tell Congress that these cuts would devastate the health of many children and have a very negative impact on their lives.
The parents at McKinley sat right down and began a petition drive that will be faxed to Washington D.C. before the Wednesday vote, asking that this important program not be denied their children.
To contact House Speaker Newt Gingrich or Majority Leader Bob Dole telephone 1-202-224-3121. Congress person Lofgren can be reached at 271-8700. Norm Mineta can be reached at 984-6045. U.S. Senator Feinstein can be reached at 1-415-249-4777. © La Oferta Newspaper.