Cutting from the bottom

Federal budget sequestration would hit the Bay Area's most vulnerable: poor children, battered women, AIDS patients


While the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration were designed to equally hit Democratic and Republican party priorities, from social services to the military budget, in the Bay Area they would disproportionately target society's most vulnerable citizens and strain already-stretched local agency budgets.

If Congress and the White House fail to forge a budget deal by March 1, the cuts could begin to withdraw $9-10 billion of federal support from the California. In the Bay Area, these cuts would have the biggest impact on low-income families, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, adults living with AIDS, and children ages 3-5.

Back in September, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed a U.S. Conference of Mayors' letter that called on federal lawmakers to resolve the budget conflict before the sequestration cuts could take effect, labeling the budget cuts "a threat" to local economies nationwide. Now, with the deadline looming, city officials and social service providers across the Bay Area are bracing for the impact.

Depending to how the cuts are eventually allocated, San Francisco alone could lose more than $10 million in critical social services. "All across the city, the sequestration hurts those most in need of services and support," Gentle Blythe, spokesperson with the San Francisco Unified School District, told the Guardian.

San Francisco Unified stands to lose $3.8 million in funding, over 5 percent of the district's federal education dollars. The cuts would strain an already-tight education budget, which has suffered from the slow economy and the corresponding dip in tax revenue. "We've been in a climate of cuts for years," Blythe said. "There is a definite sense of fatigue."

The pending round of cuts would force San Francisco district officials to make a series of uncomfortable decisions. The bulk of San Francisco's federal education funding comes from Title I and Title III grants, money specifically earmarked for low-income students and English-language learners. If the state does not step in to fill the hole, the $3.8 million shortfall will translate into a significant rollback of services for the city's most at-risk students and potential layoffs of teachers and resource officers.

Early childhood programs are especially vulnerable to the impact of the sequester. San Francisco Head Start Director Marjorie Weiss told us the demand for these federal education programs is spiking as more San Francisco children are living in poverty.

US Census figures show 13.8 percent of San Francisco residents were living below the federal poverty line in 2011, up from 12.2 percent in 2005. Over the last decade, 850 additional children became eligible for SF Head Start, which operates federally funded preschool programs in 19 classrooms at 9 different centers across the city.

These programs significantly improve the long-term employment and educational prospects of children living in or near poverty. But as the need for these early-childhood services grows, the money is drying up. Over the last two years, state and local funding for early-childhood education has be cut by nearly 20 percent.

Now, with the sequestration looming, San Francisco Head Start providers are worried about their ability to continue providing services. "At Head Start, we have already been dealing with years of budget cuts," Weiss told us. If the sequester comes through, the program will lose an additional $1.1 million and will be forced to eliminate programming for more than 100 low income children ages 3-5.

"This will be devastating. These cuts will have a crippling effect on low-income children in the community and their ability to be ready for school" says Weiss. The funding cuts will take effect June 1st and directly impact the incoming class of 3-year-old preschool students.


If I am not mistaken, the cuts are really reductions in spending INCREASES that were scheduled to occur. Frankly, I think the Federal Government needs to improve their efforts to reduce fraud - I believe more people receive benefits than deserve them. If 47% of Americans are not paying income tax, how many of those are underreporting income? The underreporting of income simultaneously increases demand for services, while reducing funds available for services, by allowing people to "qualify" for services who don't deserve them. I see examples of this all of the time.
The biggest fear of Democrats is that the sky won't fall with sequestration, and folks will see how we can cut government spending.

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:05 am

public spending. It does nothing to address the real issue - the runaaway costs of the entitlement programs.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:42 am

Are you all completely incapable of discerning when you are being played by the Democrats against your own?

The trade off here is millions of dollars in social services funding and tens of billions in defense cuts on one hand, versus trillions of dollars of cuts to Medicare and Social Security in Obama's "grand bargain."

Whatever happened to solidarity?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:25 am

The Dem's chose to save them and cut everything else.

That's the best deal they could get, since the GOP already conceded on taxes, and Obama will not budget on the entitlement programs.

Sadly, entitlement will have to be cut eventually because it is so damn huge that cutting everything else won't make any real difference.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:41 am

Obama's appointment of hawks to his Deficit Reduction Commission (think Simpson and Bowles) revealed that he was for cutting Social Security and Medicare all along. In fact, the recommendations of the commission he convened were to cut both programs, along with much of the social safety net. And guess what.. Obama's Wall Street backers, like JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon were ecstatic about this plan. That's who Obama really represents -- not you or me, but Wall Street. The truth is, he was willing and eager to make cuts to these so-called 'entitlement programs' in exchange for a small increase in taxes for the rich.

My guess is now that the hawks have finally achieved the deep cuts they're after, our earned benefits will be the next to go. They won't be happy until they've driven the economy into the ground.

Posted by fille rebelle on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

It takes a small amount from MediCaid, which in any event is not "earned", but that is it. While defense is being decimated and discretionary spending is taking a big hit, the netitlement bandwagon is rolling on as if we can actually afford it.

Simpson-Bowles is simply what we will have to do, if not now, then later and even more so. Your rhetoric discounts the fact that we quite simply cannot afford all this largesse.

And anyway, you elected Obama.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

I didn't say that the sequester touches SS or Medicare. I said that Obama was for cutting both programs from the time he convened his Deficit Reduction Commission. The proof is that he appointed so many deficit hawks to his Commission, mainly those who were for cutting SS and Medicare. Oh, and I looked it up for you. Obama has just renewed his offer to Republicans to cut SS and Medicare. What do you have to say to that, genius? btw, I didn't vote for Obama in either of the past two elections.

"President Barack Obama raised anew the issue of cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a way out of damaging budget cuts, a White House official said on Sunday."

Posted by fille rebelle on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

cutting the entitlement programs because, at this point, they consume so much of the budget that cutting anything else will not make much difference.

That is why Simpson/Bowles concluded that and that is why Obama supports that, altho so far he has lacked a spine to implement it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

Obama is champing at the bit to cut the social insurance programs that we pay for. Our only hope is that the Republicans are so obstinate that they won't do business with Obama because he has cooties.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

You are pyaing far less than the cost of them, hence the need for cuts.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

Yes, we are paying for them, the caps should be raised and Part D changed to negotiated drug prices to make up the difference.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

Expect beenfits to be cut and qualification ages is rise.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 8:34 am

We are paying only part of the costs of the big tax cuts for the very rich. We are paying only part of the cost of the huge pharmaceutical subsidy -- yes, *subsidy* -- which you Bush-iters foisted on the American people.

The intent behind your vile agenda is to steal *even* *more* from the American working class than you have already stolen. You mean to steal and you mean to blame the victim for the crime you perpetrate on them. Disgusting creature.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 11:58 am

There you go bringing class into it again. What a stale, threadbare and shopworn trope.

These greedy bastards are stealing from EVERYONE, when they run out of stuff to steal from us they'll steal from EACH OTHER.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

Divide and conquer. He borrowed that from Marx, although Karl had a little more class about it.

And a lot more intellect.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

or is he being facetious?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:07 pm


He's ageing now and, lamenting his failure to achieve real change, he has turned his venom onto his fellow leftists whom he deems to have betrayed the cause.

As San Francisco completes it's transition from liberal, bohemian nirvana to rapacious 21st century capitalism, those who were in the vanguard of leftism and who now see their cause as having failed must inevitably turn on their own kind, or else admit personal failure.

The latter is too painful, so the former is de rigeur.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

marcos is one of these strange birds who will argue against a position he himself has taken if someone with whom he desperately feels the need to disagree promotes it.

marcos thinks that the progressives have had a setback in San Francisco because *he* quit volunteering his services without regard to the obvious turn to the right the country underwent under Bush and subsequent to 9-11; and the demographic changes in San Francisco.

marcos criticizes those who "automatically gainsay" others on this forum and does exactly that... againandagainandagain.

marcos say something correct now and then just to keep it interesting. Nothing marcos says should be judged based on the most correct thing he has said -- the most vital position he has taken -- because marcos is the proverbial broken clock.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

and lamenting for lost causes, then it is instructive if only because it sends a very clear message that the left has lost the debate.

The ever more desparate lamentations of the left signify nothing so much as the fact that Americans have carefully considered the arguments and rhetoric of the left and then, unlike Europe, have firmly rejected it in much the same way as we rejected European colonialism and over-reaching government centuries ago.

We have moved on, and so should you. It's over.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

You got that much right. I think Marcos wants to feel he's above other progressives, but he has nothing to offer in the way of solutions, so he just whines about his fellow progs and the nonprofits. What else are you going to do when you've essentially given up?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

I've offered more suggestions for solutions than you've ever imagined, some have stuck most have not, a good chunk of them were hijacked as bargaining chips by the nonprofits and labor as they've sold San Franciscans out.

All is not lost, there are fields full of political hay to be made, but that will require not doing things that don' work and trying new things that might work.

Marxist class determinism gets filed under things that don't work.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

repeal instant run-off voting. Oh what else? Like everybody who's got any connection with progressive politics needs to be insulted and disparaged. All hail the great marcos!

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Honest assessment is not disparagement. Just yesterday, "we" got a major win against Scott Wiener who tried to cut affordable housing from WSOMA in favor of transportation. WSOMA had decided they wanted more impact fees from certain developments to go to housing instead of transit. Jane Kim and the community kept affordable housing at the higher level and imposed a higher transportation fee. For once, enviro justice and social justice stood in solidarity and both came out ahead. That is how it is supposed to work.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

And that will destroy what is left of the leftist movement in SF. The demographics of SF are rendering you redundant.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

When someone posts a comment which amplifies something which you yourself espoused, then even though you may find some minor fault with the language used, you should SHUT THE FUCK UP instead of spouting some right wing trope in an attempt to dismiss it.

No. I don't expect you to get it or modify your behavior, enfant terrible marcos.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

Wiener's actions got the 33% cut in developer impact fees for transportation back into the plan (by virtue of Kim's amendment). How that is a "major win against Scott Wiener." Didn't everybody win by this agreement?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

If you were not so mired in "my city, right or wrong", you would know and agree that HH is an environmental disaster and an ecological abortion.

Any self-respecting Green has to demand that Hh is torn down. The fact that the city family sees it as a meal ticket is neither here nor there.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

I'm all for divide and conquer, only with the 99% doing the dividing and conquering the 1%. The Marxist will not let go of the primacy of "the class struggle." But the real metric is power, empirically measured and how that power is displaced unaccountably, not this mythic class model that is almost religious in nature. People with power do their best to expand their power and to avoid accountability. I think that most folks want the level of accountability to fit the amount of power.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

you simply demonstrate how mired in the late-60's hippie mentality you really are.

The world has moved on, and you've been bought off with your shitty little condo on the worst block of the worst neighborhood in SF.

Shame on you for betraying the cause.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

The marcos family is the perfect real estate selling tool: stable, white, two-income household including guaranteed city money and its rich benefit package, LGBT, no kids, college educated, and politically active butterfly. He was part of the 2nd wave of Mission gentrification before thousands more have poured into the Mission displacing thousands of past residents, increasing land values by billions, and creating cute "dynamic and vibrant" city streets while upscaling the micro-neighborhoods.

Every election cycle hundreds of people volunteer for campaigns. Some volunteer year after year. But they aren't on the SFBG website and other chatboards 24/7 trying to dominate the discussion with incessent opinions or snark on every subject imaginable. They aren't trying to tell us what to think or how dreadful various other "progressives" or organizations are in their politics or personal lives. He injects himself into every thread with multiple postings, often with the clear intent to start a dispute which will lead to even more postings. Without marcos we'd see a fraction of posts from lucretia, anon, and other baiters since almost no one else reponds to their obvious baiting posts.

Somewhere around freshman year of college 99% of people moved on from needing to spout their opinions about every subject or define every person colored by some arcane philosophy that only made sense inside their twisted head. As kids we learned to distance ourselves from other kids who made us feel uncomfortable or threatened. Since public chatboards are open to everyone, there's no escape from the people we wisely learned to avoid.

Most rational people will just avoid adding thoughtful or informative comments when a chatboard is dominated by one or a few people who need to butt into every discussion and dissect every thought. Who needs to be on the defensive all the time just because a few people are so offensive with their words? The productive and thoughtful people move along and the board is left to mostly unproductive malcontents with nothing better to do with their time than repeat the same tired posts over and over.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

No doubt, he will duck.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

Yet you keep posting and posting and posting yourself, hypocrite.

You keep posting because you fear me and you can't let my words stand.

You can't address the substance of my posts, so you resort to ad hominem.

You don't have the guts to show even show yourself for who you are.

You are pathetic.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

So, marcos. If there has been a historical injustice against some group, after a while complaints become "stale" and "shopworn"; these victims ought to just learn to shut the fuck up after a while. Why didn't you get the message on gay marriage?

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

He gets away with being gay in one of the few places in the US where that doesn't get you beat up.

What else could a lame-brained, narrow-minded jerk like marcos conceivably want?

He is the complacency and smugness that you hate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

The acceptance of LGBT rights and respect has increased markedly throughout the US and world over the past several years. Even older, more Replublican voters are changing their viewpoint about equal LGBT rights. And the overwhelming percentage of the nation's youth accept LGBT rights as part of basic civil rights that should remain forever.

That's not to say there aren't some mean or violent anti-LGBT people out there and we won't read future stories about their hateful actions, but it's becoming increasingly rare throughout the US. Even the haters are realizing they represent a small and rapidly declining segment of the population.

The main violence in the US is economic violence: high unemployment, low and declining wages, high housing costs, high taxes. The Bay Area is home to millions since at least the wages are much higher than average, assuming they have jobs and hopefully a sweet stress-free DINK set-up with a much cheaper housing unit than others.

Posted by guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

to enable so-called victims like him to seek "sanctuary" here because the rest of the US will persecute people like him.

If his "political asylum" argument is no longer valid, as you suggest, then why should other residents of SF pass laws to give people like him a cheap rent, when he could just as easily and safely live anywhere?

You have destroyed his "SF exceptionalism" argument for rent control and land use planning.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 5:21 pm


Hate crimes down in 2011, but anti-gay violence up, FBI says
More than 6,000 were reported, with nearly half of them racially motivated. Crimes targeting gays and lesbians increased about 2.6%.
December 10, 2012|By Danielle Ryan
Los Ángeles Times

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

"That's not to say there aren't some mean or violent anti-LGBT people out there and we won't read future stories about their hateful actions, but it's becoming increasingly rare throughout the US."

Bull shit. That's a lie. It's wishful-thinking. Even where some U.S. states in the last election voted for same-gender marriage, of those who voted the results were close. No overwhelming majority in favor of same-gender marriage (of which I support BTW). I just look at the reality of things, not what I wish would be the case.



Highest Number Of Anti-Gay Murders Ever Reported In 2011: The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
Posted: 06/02/2012 1:10 pm

In the District of Columbia:
Antigay Crime Remains Steady in Washington Despite Work of Special Unit
Published: November 24, 2012

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

Nobody said shut up, just quit whining and try to DO something about it instead of insisting that everyone else buy into the class struggle frame.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

Not that I "insisted" anybody "buy in" to what I did say either.

I can't believe you marcos.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 7:30 am

It's implicit when anyone here conjures up categories of people who are then set against each other. If your posts here talk about rich versus poor, or white versus black, or straight versus gay, then you are alreadyy slipping down the slope towards stereotypes and class warfare.

And that is ugly and ineffective - marcos is right.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 7:43 am

agreed to raise taxes on workers -- predominantly falling on those earning less money since the tax was then capped at 90k/yr.

Class warfare was when that sizable public purse was given away into the rapacious hands of banksters and international arms dealers.

Class warfare continues today with pious admonitions as to how the American worker has gotten an easy ride for too long and it's now time for the saddle to be belted a bit tighter and the spurs to be applied more forcefully.

(And yes, I guess marcos is right. Now marcos can STFU about gay marriage because gays *already* *have* marriage; the het variety.)

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 8:28 am

perceive the other class as fighting it. The rich do what they do - try and get rich. But they do not have many votes, so the debate centers on the 995 of us who vote. And we make a simple choice - do we punish the rich or encourage them to continue to grow their businesses and employ more.

Arbitrarily dividing people into stereotypes and then encouraging them to hate each other is a morally bankrupt ideology, and yet you ceaselessly advocate it. Marcos correctly notes how that paradoxically harms the progressive movement, by setting groups against each other, and creating winners and losers.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 8:39 am

been discriminated against, they were wrong to notice because that's "promoting destructive stereotypes."

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 9:07 am

You want to play the race card and the gay card? But not the asian card or the women card? Why is that?

And aren't straight white men a minority now? And rich people?

Endlessly slicing and dicing Americans to try and set them against each other is an inpoversshed idea, which is why marcos correctly showed how it is not effective and polarizes the movement.

It's not "divide and conquer" when you lose through divisiveness.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 9:15 am

Class warfare is already on, there is nothing divisive about the other side fighting back.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 9:30 am

But setting Americans against each other is not a sound basis for policy, and voters routnely reject candidiates and propositions that are predicated on envy and class.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 9:38 am

The debate has already been framed. First the rich want to frame the debate in their class warfare terms and then when their class war opponents contest on those terms, the rich want to deny us that right as well.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 9:57 am

Occupy The Toilet

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 10:11 am


Posted by marcos on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 10:59 am

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