On the 4th of July one of the local television stations interviewed some Los Angeles residents asking if they knew what was celebrated on Independence Day. Some of the answers sounded like the occasional gaffes we hear from some seeking the presidential nomination. Most thought it was just another excuse for a long weekend!
Although it may be taken for granted, Independence Day really speaks to one of the primordial values embraced by us as a nation at our inception–freedom. And yet as important as freedom is we can not help but recognize that our independence was gained by the many whom sacrificed to achieve it. Independence is very much about interdependence.
I reflect on this because, at a time when so much is at stake as our state and nation strains against historic fiscal constraints, it is important to not lose sight of how much we need one another to get through this challenging period. Once again independence will be preserved by the sacrifice of all.
For the first time in more than a decade, the State of California has passed a budget on time. In speaking to colleagues who monitored the process in Sacramento they confirm that it was not a “pretty sight”. At the end of the day most of the funding that we depend upon has been preserved though there continues to be great uncertainty as the responsibility for many services shifts from the state to the local counties.
Dependent upon $4 billion in projected revenues, triggers have been established to enact cuts if the revenues are not generated. Local counties and the providers that serve them, like Hillsides, collectively hold our breath hoping the cuts can be avoided. In the meantime, we go about serving the most vulnerable, attempting to be faithful to our commitment to do all we can to assist. Like being told the likelihood of a disastrous earthquake is inevitable, we prepare for the worse, but hope for the best outcome. An awful lot is at stake when you consider the vulnerability of the children, youth and families we serve.
That being said, the state budget process is a lesson on how the independence we so cherish is maintained by the collective actions of many who try to balance out the many conflicting interests in order to preserve the common good.