I was very disturbed by your article about Prop. D, the housing measure. Those of us in the Early Childhood field have had to beg for years for increased funding. Perhaps those who are supporting Proposition C, Universal Childcare) are doing so because they know of this struggle and have heard child care providers speak and know that they often make the same as fast food workers and sometimes need to work two jobs in spite of the very complex, difficult and important work they do taking care of and educating our youngest children. Perhaps they have heard from parents who cannot work because they do not have childcare or are in danger of losing their jobs when their makeshift arrangements fall through. I know as a Director of an Early Childhood program, I sat through many sessions with parents crying and begging me to admit their child while having a long wait list for services especially for children under 3.
I attended the Rules Committee considering the two measures and I heard many childcare advocates say that they hated to be pitted against housing because they know both are important. I listened to most of the housing advocates and I did not hear one of them say that childcare was important, just like your article. At the hearing, former Mayor Agnos stood up. He said he hadn’t intended to speak on this issue but he needed to say that his grown child (son I think) and his family lived with him because he couldn’t afford housing and that he and his 80 year old wife provided childcare because the family couldn’t afford it. He said there was a time when both groups would be put in a room and they wouldn’t come out until they worked it out.
But that didn’t happen. So now we have to make a decision. We (early childhood field) will vote for Proposition C. And if we vote for Proposition D we may be killing our proposition because of the poison pill. To me that isn’t much of a choice.
Editor Randy Shaw responds (with permission of Ms. Baker): I want to clarify your last point. The so-called poison pill only comes into play if Prop D gets 66.7 % and Prop C got 66.8% or more. I think the chances of that scenario are nil. If C gets 51% and D 65%, C wins.
Filed under: Letters to the Editor