Mar 10, 2010 --- WHO SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LEGISLATORS?
All family members and friends of Lanterman Developmental Center residents.
You may be able to identify other people that you know who agree with your advocacy efforts on behalf of the Lanterman residents, and urge them to contact their legislators also.
If we already submitted comments to DDS as part of the public meeting, do we still need to send letters to our legislators?
Yes, you do! Comments submitted to DDS will be part of the closure plan, probably as a summary. Letters to your legislators are entirely different.
WHY SHOULD OUR CALIFORNIA LEGISLATORS BE CONTACTED?
California legislators should be contacted the legislature will vote before April 1st of this year on the recommendation to close Lanterman Developmental Center, based on the closure plan that will be submitted to them by the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS). The members of the legislature will need to hear from families, DC residents, DC staff, and others who will be affected by any closure decision.
Letters need to be sent as soon as possible! It is vital that the voice of families who speak for their relatives who live at Lanterman be heard by those who are making this decision!
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHO MY LEGISLATOR IS?
Click on CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS link at the end of this article, and enter your address where directed. Full contact information for your California State Assemblyperson and State Senator will be provided.
If you have any problems with this method, just email your address and a request for legislator information to the PCC at LDCPCC@gmail.com and we will get the information for you.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER LEGISLATORS I SHOULD CONTACT?
Yes, besides your own legislator, you can send a letter to the legislators who represent the Lanterman area, as your family member is their constituent. Write them about your relative, and explain that you are speaking for them. Those legislators are:
Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod State Capitol Room 2059 Sacramento, CA 94248-0001
Assembly Member Norma J. Torres State Capitol Room 4164 Sacramento, CA 94249-0061
As soon as we know which committee will be hearing the recommendation to close Lanterman, we will let you know which additional legislators should be contacted.
IF I LIVE OUT OF STATE, SHOULD I STILL CONTACT ANY LEGISLATORS?
Yes, you can contact the legislators who represent the Lanterman area and because they represent your relative at Lanterman. The Lanterman residents are their constituents, and they should be interested in what affects their welfare. You can speak for your relative in this respect.
SHOULD I SEND A COPY OF MY LETTER TO THE PCC?
If you would like to send a copy of your letter to the PCC so we can use your words and experiences to educate others, then please send your letters to us. We will respect the communication and may share with legislators, legislative aides, public officials, other families, etc. as part of our effort to educate people on the issues that face the developmental center residents.
If you wish your letter to be a private communication between you and your elected officials or the Department of Developmental Services, then please do not send as we cannot take the responsibility of safeguarding any information that you may share in your letter. WHAT SHOULD WE SAY TO OUR LEGISLATORS? IS THERE A FORM LETTER WE SHOULD USE?
Form letters are not as good as personal letters that tell your position. You can use this outline to help you put your story on paper. Paragraphs only need to be a couple of sentences, and you can combine one or more paragraphs. You all have a compelling story and you can tell it better than anyone. In general it is recommended that:
" You use your own words, not a form letter " You send a one page letter rather than a longer one " You use respectful language with no threats
A. Start by stating your position at the beginning of your letter: (bolding and underling is good as it gets the issue up front
I (we) are opposed to the closure of Lanterman Developmental Center and urge you to vote no on this proposal.
B. First paragraph - tell who you are.
I am the mother (sister, uncle, friend &) of &&&&&.. who is a resident of Lanterman Developmental Center. I am also your constituent and I urge you to vote no on the recommendation to close Lanterman.
C. Second paragraph - give information about your Lanterman resident, including their disabilities and also what they are able to do at Lanterman despite these physical/mental challenges.
Examples of disability descriptions: My (sister, uncle, friend) who is ----- years old and has lived at Lanterman for ----- years has a profound developmental disability - is medically fragile - is not able to walk - requires monitoring for life-threatening seizures - has no notion of personal safety and is at risk for great harm - suffers severe behavioral episodes that require professional intervention - requires medication that must be monitored closely by professionals - must be tube-fed - must have their airway suctioned - requires supplemental oxygen, etc.. etc. USE YOUR OWN WORDS
Examples of ability descriptions: My (sister, uncle, friend) is able to have a job at Lanterman and earn their own money that they enjoy using on campus and off campus for restaurants, bowling, shopping, etc. - They are able to visit with their friends in comfortable surroundings - They are able to benefit from the hippotherapy at Lanterman which has helped to increase and maintain their balance and enjoyment of nature - They are active in the Residents Council and People First - They have a special relationship with another resident - They have made a special friend with a staff member that has greatly improved their behavior - They attend church services each week and enjoy greatly the singing and participation with others - They are able to walk freely about the campus without worrying about dangers. USE YOUR OWN WORDS
You know your family member and can tell people what they are like better than anyone.
D. Third paragraph: If applicable, give history of prior community experience of your relative. My (sister, uncle, friend) lived (at home, in the community, in a group home, etc.) for ---- years before coming to Lanterman. That experience was ---------------------. When they came to Lanterman - their behaviors were controlled - their medication was reduced - their medication was adjusted with great improvement - their physical skills improved - their ability to walk - talk - make friends - reduce behaviors - stop self-abuse, - etc etc. USE YOUR OWN WORDS
E. Fourth paragraph speak about services: The services that my (sister, uncle, friend )needs and receives at Lanterman are not readily available in the community - the professional services found at Lanterman make the difference for my relative - services that are listed in the IPP as being necessary for the life of my relative - other people who need these services should be able to get them - etc., etc USE YOUR OWN WORDS
Put in envelope, seal, address, stamp, and SEND!!!
SHOULD WE CONTACT OUR NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES?
Because the Lanterman closure recommendation will go before the state legislature and not the Washington Congress, letters should be addressed to your state legislator. However, you may consider sending a copy of your letter to the California Congressional Delegation in Washington. As our national representatives they should be aware of these important issues. Your letters will also be helpful to the VOR representatives when they visit Washington in June to educate congress on issues affecting persons with a severe or profound developmental disability.
You can find out who your congressperson is and their contact information by clicking on the following link: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
You should send your letters to both senators as follows:
1. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer 112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510
2. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein 331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510