Getting An Earful From CARA

It’s interesting what one can learn just by listening. Today, while waiting outside a committee hearing room at the capitol, I met and got into a discussion with two members of the California Association of Retired Americans (CARA). Actually, as they did most of the talking, I learned a great deal about the issues important to them.

As retired teachers, they explained how unfair it is for anyone in the state to ever consider cutting someone’s hard earned retirement – especially teachers. One of the individuals told me that she got involved in the teachers union many years ago when she learned that San Francisco garbage men earned more than she did. I commented that the garbage collectors’ union must have been pretty good at negotiating salaries for their members.

She quickly added how necessary unions are in preventing unscrupulous employers from working people 14 hours a day, seven days a week. I offered that teachers never had to worry about 14-hour days, or seven day weeks, and then told her that both of my parents are retired teachers. “Well then, you understand,” they both said.

They said that the retired Republican teachers they know don’t “just don’t get it ” – until they need something from the union.

Offering that they are Placer County Democrats, they said that Placer County has a strong Republican contingent, and “everyone knows that the Republican party has so much more money than democrats, who are all working people.” I nodded wordlessly.

As the conversation got more political, the subject of George Bush and Sarah Palin came up. One of my new acquaintances likened Sarah Palin to George Bush because of the hick quality Bush had, which according to her, explained his mass appeal to Republicans.

Also declaring themselves to be pro-abortion and supportive of single-payer healthcare, they said they attended several townhall meetings during the year and could not believe how mean and angry Republicans were.

They  talked about the budget deficit and “illegal cuts made in the 2009-2010 budget deal,” which is what usually brings them to the capitol. I looked on the CARA website for information about the state budget, and found this strikingly similar statement: “This deficit is the result of ill informed and in some cases illegal cuts that were part of the 2009-2010 budget deal.”

They were waiting for the Senate Budget Subcommittee and Fiscal Review Subcommittee hearing as was I. But the Senate went long in session this morning causing everyone waiting to attend Senate Committee hearings to fill up capitol hallways for too long.

Tired of waiting, I bid my new friends goodbye, and left the capitol for another meeting.

The CARA website says “The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) is a statewide nonprofit organization that unites retired workers and community groups to win social and economic justice, full civil rights, and a better, more secure future for ourselves…”

Access their website: California Alliance for 

– Katy Grimes


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