Monday, December 31, 2007

An illustrious and heuristic new year to us all

So, an anonymous friend or stranger, commenting in the post below, reminded me that I started this blog to be an undisciplined but thoughtful problem-solving forum.  A cruel reality that I think needs to be held up before I return to my original purpose is this:  This year's "reform" discussion is doomed to stupidity because no credible and systemwide effort to measure, identify, examine or rationalize what actually happens in this system has been performed and the pressures against the cost of the system are too urgent.  I expect smart and well-intended people using all the information tools available to put forth ideas for gently reducing the funding our system.  Those people, if they believe they know how the system works now and where the problems are have over-rated their guesses and gossip. 

But, maybe in the midst of the coming catastrophe, there will be opportunities to talk about accountability, transparency and adding features to the system that will make it smarter.  Here's my new year's list of topics I hope will be seriously discussed.

1.  Those of us with client-level perspectives know that the regulations guiding this system are routinely not followed.  In the end, we need to decide if we believe that a client-centered system is truly more valuable and more cost-effective.  If we do, we need spare and judicious regulations routinely followed with consequences for those who ignore the rights of clients to guide their program plans.  

2.  Efficiency, the economic concept, unlike the political euphemism, "efficiency," is the heart of justice.  In an efficient system, some of us would lose our jobs but those most vulnerable in the system including clients, direct-care workers and families would be likelier to benefit from the money and effort spent.   The honest definition of efficiency is the value added for the cost expended.  Skilled and management workers need to understand that a more efficient system might need some of us less, but moral individuals should be ready to be counted in that number.  I can still fix old cars and might get my roping back with practice.

3.  The system needs to get much, much smarter.  We don't measure and track outcomes.  At the policy level there is no hopeful way to direct resources where they will help the most.  At the client level, there is no reliable way to choose the most helpful support among alternatives. The cost of neglecting the intelligence of our delivery model will be tragic this year.  If vendors, regional centers, unions or other stakeholders seek to delay or deter transparent evaluation and easy access to information about quality, they deserve to be ignored or over-run.  It is a very late hour to start this conversation in earnest.  

4.  There is real magic available in self-directed services.  The regulations are too many and the funding too sparse for some people to benefit but for those who can make it work, significantly lower costs and better quality of life will likely be the rule rather than the exception.  The silver line around the gathering squall is that SDS will appeal to many who have been leery of it.  First chance we get, though, those eligibility criteria should be revisited and relaxed.

5.  Be kind to the grouchy, negative, critical and portly.

Best wishes to all of you in the new year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The end is nigh, eat at Joe's

The $10 Billion deficit the State is facing is likely to deepen rather shallow and most of the tricks we've been using for the last five years are no longer available.  Cuts to the Department of Developmental Service's budget can be anticipated.  It may be a short period of anticipation, too, relieved by midyear changes to the budget, although expecting the legislature to move too slowly is not unreasonable.

Whatever the cuts will be, they won't be smart.  If we kept data on outcomes and the value added by programs and models to the lives of people with disabilities, the cuts could focus on the least helpful programs to preserve the most critical, helpful or useful.  Since the only outcome metrics currently employed are the self-righteousness of the providers, clients and families, all indications are that every program and agency appears crucial and excellent, I am pleased to report.

If there were reasonable transparency, we could anticipate that those agencies that provide the most cost-effective care might be favored for referrals and some of the deficits made up by suggestions that those people with choices to make be encouraged to consider the cost.  Since the referral process is not transparent, nor the evaluation process and the cost data is fairly meaningless, our only hope for absorbing cuts through information is the assumption that IPPs will be more thoroughly considered in the lean times.  The good news is they won't be less thoroughly considered by and large.

So, the cuts are fairly doomed to folly.  Another question, though, is will they save the state money?  That is questionable.  Lacking information on what works and what saves and what costs (a recent spreadsheet handed out at Assemblymember Buell's hearing in San Jose estimated savings to taxpayers from people with disabilities working but did not include estimates of taxpayer costs to find, create and support the jobs,) it is likely that this year's "cuts" will be of the normal sort, meaning services and supports that lower cost will be targetted equally with those that are relatively expensive and if rates are reduced it is likely to be by an even percentage, putting the low cost providers at disproportionate risk as compared to the high cost providers.  In the end, without drastic moves against the Lanterman Act and its entitlement itself, the system will probably suffer a deficiency that, by a second year, may be greater than "cuts" written into the budget.

There would be a better way if outcomes were measured and information made usefully available to people with disabilities, their families, regional centers and providers.  There would be a better way if there were a reliable means of accountability.  Instead, the legislative and executive branches will do their level best without any useful information.  My frustration will continue to be how little effort gets put into getting smarter.

For those of us who really want to see Self-Directed Services grow and prosper, though, there is a silver lining: The nags, scolds, sanctimonious pencil heads and vampires among us may accidentally wind up temporarily on the side of the angels.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

How do we measure an idea?
By if it makes you wiser or freer?
By echoes rung from mumbling lips?
By boats afloat on questing trips?
By whether it can start a war?
By poetry and metaphor?
By destruction of walls and fences?
Or inflation of pretenses?
By orators taking up the cause
for promulgation of new laws?
By if it gives your spirit wings
Or your pocket cash to spend on things?
Whatever thought quickens your blood,
If it leads a conference, it's a dud.

FIRST PRINCIPLE, n. An Afterthought.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yammer Masala

I have been accused by private email of being a bad representative of the obsessive compulsive blogger, having taken August off. Now, the accusation is from a friend who has an employee tasked with producing a blog and still doesn't have one, but, leaving that aside, probably something needs saying and I should say something else in this space once a month. It doesn't seem too much to ask.

So, a couple of news updates: AB 1427, the subject of my most recent post on this site (conveniently linked to for those with broken scroll bars) passed out of committee and is due for a final vote this coming week. The primary function of this bill is to serve as an organizing and recruiting tool for anti-union trade associations. Ironically, my prediction is that the pro-union legislature will pass the bill and the union-surly Governor will veto it. But we'll see,

AB 18, The Warren Mattingly Signature Stamp Act, authored by Assemblymember Blakeslee survived an attack by Protection and Advocacy, Inc. and also awaits final passage, but probably has a better chance of being signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. The many of us who remember Warren fondly wish this bill well and thank Mr. Blakeslee and his staff.

Now, regarding representation, Assemblymember Buell began a process of public hearings on the future of the Lanterman Act with a private one. At the private "roundtable" discussion, Mike McCoy, the new Executive DIrector of the California Rehabilitation Association (CRA,) described his organization as "The Statewide Organization of Providers." As one of the 8,000 plus service providers not represented by CRA, it seems worth reminding stakeholders to stay on the honest side of hyperbole when claiming to represent others. CRA has represented its membership honorably, so far as I am aware, but more providers are eager to distance themselves from that representation than are members. "A statewide organization of providers" isn't much of an edit but in front of the legislator it's best to prevent real time editing by colleagues. Especially when your arrogance is matched and your sarcasm inadequate as compared to your peers with blogs who happen to be in the room.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


AB 1427 is a bill, now in suspense (whatever that means) with provenance that may as well be SEIU (it is not, per se, a union bill but close enough for blogging standards.) It contains no real mechanism for organizing and discussions with opponents, including one I had with a good friend yesterday, typically involve concerns around incrementalism. The fear seems to be that if the union accomplishes something in legislation around this system that the next step will be more invasive and followed by the eschaton.

Many who know me and the few who read this blog may remember that I don't love this bill. But I do think it's a small thing and unworthy of vigorous opposition. Change works best in small steps and if incrementalism is a fear advocates indulge in, a frozen system that can't improve is the natural result, kind of like the one we already complain about. While we are counting increments to fear, here are some the bill contains, other than a unionized workforce:

1. Accountability. The evaluation scheme outlined in the bill seems a little questionable to me, requiring comparison to a control group but offering no incentive or mechanism to establish that control group. To call the evaluation outcome measurement one has to assume that better-trained, longer serving staff automatically lead to better outcomes, which is not unreasonable but is still a process measure. Despite the flaws, the proposal is the first in a while that attempts to measure its own success. If this bill passes, actual valid quality accounting might become a standard part of our system in my niece's lifetime, although it would be rash to presume that it will.
2. Professionalism. From many perspectives, receiving healthcare benefits and regular training units can be more or less indistinguishable from professionalism. Professionalism does not grow more vigorously in a culture of CEUs, like mold in agar, but it is at least true that training and benefits can confer the appearance of a professional class. If the pilot project is successful in making staff more professional-seeming, there is a risk that one day the cowardly lion, tin man and scarecrow will end up agency executives if they aren't already.
3. Incremental Incrementalism. AB 649, a massive, systemic goliath of a bill failed. Last year, a more ambitious predecessor to this bill failed as a gut-and-amend amendment. If AB 1427 passes, we must be concerned that eventually, massive labor unions, trade associations and other special interests will put forward bills encouraging italicization of ambiguous words using permissive language.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Checking in

We still have a structural deficit and lots of bills going through appropriations. Not much to report on accountability. Will let you know if I hear anything.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Oracle of Santa Clarita

To a lonely desert village, just outside of L.A.
Came a wanderer searching for meaning.
There was said to be an Oracle, far less rare today,
And two dogs to interpret the gleaning.

For the legend was written from sidebar to scaffold
That, without even charging a fee,
The magus was kind to the bitter and baffled
And a master of lexicography.

The journey was long and the way hard to follow
And mystery shrouded the labors.
For the pathway was bent like the flight of a swallow
And the house, it looked just like it's neighbors.

But the seeker, at last, discovered the master
Sitting sagely beneath a broken tree
"Tell me, Oh wise one, for my life's a disaster,
What does it mean to live free?"

The oracle nodded his head, wise and kind
and spoke in a voice soft and hoarse
"That is a verb, intransitive, and defined
'To elect your slaveholder', of course."

And then the wise man rose with a flourish
And, turning his wise and kind head,
Pointed to the seeker and addressed the chorus
"If you don't mind, please explain what I said."

LIVE FREE, v.i. To elect one's slaveholder.
ORACLE, n. A prophetic lichen.
SEEKER, n. A rolling moss.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cynical Reform

I haven't posted in a spell and a new friend asked me today about whether I thought reform worked better from within or from without. Aristotle, Muhammed, John Huss, Martin Luther, Jean Paul Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin all have given us wise counsel on this very question, which, not being smart, I won't bother to include.

Being a dog-fancier, though, I think it is useful to consider the 4th Century B.C. Philosopher, Diogenes, the Cynic. The word Cynic originally meant dog. The reform Diogenes followed and taught was to live as a dog lives, unashamed of ones habits and desires and at once self-indulgent and propertyless. When Alexander The Great offered Diogenes to give him any gift the philosopher asked, Diogenes asked the conqueror of the known world to step out of Diogenes' sunlight.

What does this have to do with reform being more effective internally or externally? Diogenes of Sinope sought to change his environment by concentrating on his appetites, nourishing those consistent with living and disregarding those he saw as distractions. He became wealthy by changing his standard of well-being. All reforms begin by choosing the right appetite.

So we in this system, when we are near to home complain about choices made for us, the frustration of our own will by others and the impositions of other emperors on our daily activities. I would contend that the central appetite of the system is for autonomy, that the enemy of autonomy is sovereignty and that the chief distracting appetite is for funding.

So, this cynic, would propose that the first reform to be attempted is to stop worrying about funding, refrain from trying to command the neighbor and concentrate on cynical choices. Then we can get to reliable, person-centered outcome data.

This, by the way, is what happens when you post because you haven't posted in a while. Silence has its own muses.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Diamonds and dirt are forever.

If you want to level an accusation against regional center vendors generally and be confident you can make it stick, this vendor recommends "They suffer fools far too gladly." Westside Regional is in its, approximately, fourth attempt to convert Independent Living Services (currently service code 520, for those keeping score in your programs) into a standardized supported living-like program funded at a flat rate.

There are many astonishing aspects to this: the durability of demonstrated bad thinking, the ascendency of paperwork over people in the proposal, that the initial public conversation about each attempt always begins with a plan rather than a request for insight, the ivory-tower thinking of a community-based non-academic institution, the failure to account for client rights or the passive acceptance by vendors of a plan contrary to their own interests, hypothetical values and the needs of the people they serve. It's a little hard to pick out the worst aspect of this iteration and probably not worth the effort.

A little history, to be read as though it were in the oral tradition because I don't have time to fact check. Some time, in or around 2001, it was explained to me that Westside had conducted a pilot test of flat-rate ILS but that in the evaluation it was discovered that vendors did, in fact and strangely enough, respond to incentives and underserved their clients. Clearly, flat-rate ILS was an experiment that failed.

Nonetheless, the proposal returned from the grave twice more before now with the added twist of requiring the ILS vendors to become SLS vendors without changing their scope of service, except perhaps, to add 24-hour emergency response to replace the Regional Center's. On the first of these occasions, DDS was made aware by vendors of the proposal and a message was sent through vendors that the proposal did not appeal to the Department and could not be supported under the regulations. The second time, a letter was sent by DDS with the same message. Part of what makes this proposal so mystifying is that it seems to have no consituency beyond the Regional Center bureaucrats. If it were a tolerable cost-reduction scheme, DDS, at least should have liked it.

And here we are again. I was not present at the vendor meeting where the latest draft was announced, but as it was reported to me the Westside vendors offered no resistance. Maybe they see something I'm missing, but based on my reading of the proposal I can only imagine that either the vendors agreeing haven't thought the proposal through or they already know they'll cheat.

The plan calls for a minimum weekly activity with a flat rate covering that effort or more, plus a significant amount of paperwork beyond what is called for in regulations. On an hourly basis, the rate equates to $35.71 per hour, as a long term average, is higher than many ILS agencies receive but less than what others receive. However in long months, that rate will fall to $30 which, while higher than ¡Arriba!'s rate, is lower than most. There is no compensation for the extra paperwork and no allowance made for even small spikes in service, need or planning requirements (A medical appointment, court date or an SSI appeal can not be accomplished in increments of one hour.) If an agency provides even a small number of hours beyond the minimum, the effective rate is likely to fall 30% or more from their state-set rates. Furthermore, by requiring the activity to be weekly, the proposal would prohibit agencies from concentrating sparse hours to reduce the cost of paid travel between clients. This is why I am certain that agreeable vendors must either be fooled or frauds.

There are massive problems afflicting the proposal with regard to the rights of clients. To eliminate vendor code 520, and implement the new reporting requirements, the regional center would need to a) not inform clients of available alternatives, b) cancel services categorically, c) cancel existing services without ID team meetings and due process. All of these steps are necessary to implement this proposal and none of them compliant with existing statute, relevant regulations and/or federal law (in the case of Medicaid waiver clients.)

To summarize, this proposal has a long history of failure, is illegal, hypocritical, unhelpful and impractical.

And yet, there is value in this proposal: It is a perfect example of why innovation fails in this system. While there is no explicit goal for this proposal, beginning the conversation with a purpose and developing, in collaboration with vendors and clients, might have led to a solution with the possibility of a positive outcome. You can almost hear the voices within the regional center saying "we have to make our plan internally and then announce it as a done deal or else the vendors will just put up obstacles." By making that choice, they've left us with no alternative.

It may be worth noting that the Executive Director of this regional center delivered a scathing criticism of vendors for not providing attentive, responsive and individualized support at the New Day conference in 2005. Hopefully, the irony that he is overseeing a persistent effort to standardize the individualized services Westside can offer is amusing to someone.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Train Campaign

What is clear to almost everyone I know who is involved in this system is that training follows only good people in importance when it comes to quality of care. What seems to be clear to a lot of people other than me is that large amounts of formal training in a standardized statewide mandate will help a whole lot.

Recently I have been made aware of campaigns or suggestions by The ARC of California, the California Rehab Association and the Consumer Directed Services Network (CDSN, an ideological fellow-traveler with the Service Employees Internation Union (SEIU) all of which have proposed funding access to curricula from The College of Direct Support (CoDS.) One proposals would mandate the training for everyone, one requests funding, and one would implement a pilot project through an Assembly Bill, AB 1427 which offers a rate enhancement for agencies whose employees, among other requirements, complete 200 hours of online training. I can be supportive, generally, of access to the CoDS curricula for staff but am generally dour regarding both the prospect of a statewide mandate and the amount 200 hours.

The most peristaltic reaction I had is to the idea of the mandated training. Anyone who is in the professional or receiving end of client-centered support learns quickly that almost no knowledge is universally applicable. Some small number of techniques for more quickly and usefully establishing communication between staff and clients, such as Essential Lifestyle Planning may be of universal application but almost nothing else is. So one obvious drawback to a statewide curriculum is efficiency. In one-on-one, person-centered support the majority of formal training will be useless between a given staff person and a given receiver of services. Less so, but also, this will be the case in congregate services, however standardized. Spread requirements for training across a system serving over 200,000 individuals and the waste must be in the millions of dollars at least. The current system clearly doesn't want for waste or wasteful suggestions which are both in great supply and substantial demand.

The second concern, related to the first is the general one I carp about regularly. An effective system of delivering value to individuals must allow that individual to define the value. Statewide training mandates are one more large intrusion into the time, funding, and attention of those who offer and receive services driven, devised and defined by strangers.

A final concern, and this one takes in the AB1427 proposal in its current form is the matter of whether formal training not required by the task is good, bad or neutral. They say if you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail. My concern is that providing tools by training will influence the suggestions staff and managers will make, what problems they see to solve and how they approach those problems. At some point, the standardized curricula may detract from quality of care as easily and often as they help.

Training is important but only helpful when helpful. Standardized curricula can be harmful and are far less likely to be helpful than either informal training or formal training prompted by the needs and situation of the service user.

My suggestion is that more appropriate training is the change worth seeking, measurably better training a laudable goal and more training shady in the typical way.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Inclined to agree

When meeting the obligations of the community-based system is projected to cost more than the budget allocated, the Department of Developmental Service (DDS) is required to file a "deficiency request" with the legislature to request an appropriate additional amount. In January, DDS submitted such a request for the current year.

Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, a member of the Senate subcommittee to which DDS' request was presented sent a letter to the rest of the subcommittee stating his opposition to roughly two thirds of the request because it was not accompanied by any attempt at reform.

I don't know if Senator Hollingsworth and I would agree on what reform means, but I agree with him that this system has proven we will not spend our way to excellence. That war is lost whether we continue to have battles or not. If the community won't fight for reform with the same vigor that we've fought for money, the "reform" will be a familiar, unconstructive, unproductive, inefficient, damaging, depressing and/or diabolical one like the Purchase of Service Sandards of the past which will damage the lives of indivuals without saving money. Better to ask for a leaner, more person-centered support system focused on adding value to the lives of people with disabilities with less regard for the institutions involved.

We can win that war, if we'll fight it, because excellence, unlike the current system, is sustainable.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Peer Pressure

I have already been reminded that those who are friendly towards me expect a more biting review of the conference than the one below. Please forgive me, friend, for forgetting my place. There's no better metric for the failure of the conference than that.

To be more biting means to be a little repetitive, because the weakness I found were those I predicted in this space, but to recap.

Wrong format and content: It is pure vanity for anyone to believe the substance or particulars of that conference are change agents or that the conference itself is a change agent. The truth beyond the fiction presented is this: No one working in this field needed this conference to learn the words "dignity," "meaningful," "individualized" or "appropriate." No one there needed models presented to provide dignified, meaningful, individualized and appropiate support. None of us missed the transformation from doing to to doing for to working with to working for people with disabilities. What we needed, need and don't have is a system in which the right, effective and most valuable support prospers and the deadening one is entombed rather than the person served.

What exists now exists as it does because the supports now offered are adaptive to the environment. Like gum chewing in a lecture hall. If we want change, and I think we're sincere about that, we have to change the environment and I don't believe we are sincere about changing the environment. We want to watch from under the sea as our issue prosper on land.

Look at the conference. Dignitaries, experts and other charlatans speaking from a lectern about listening. The conference was a site-based, segregated day-program using generations-old prompts to modify behaviors.

The topic is not what to do differently but how the system needs to change so that we can all get what we claim to want. When a system changes, every element within it changes in form, function or both. Regional Centers have to change. Providers have to change. Clients and families and DDS has to change. First change? Learn to use question marks. If the Devil were a question mark, it would have been the cherubs that fell.

Wrong Message: The message continues from last year. That the failure of the system is a failure of imagination. Or a failure of willingness. This is not true. All over the state are clients who know what support they want, unmatched to the many providers ready, willing and able to provide that support. It's not even a failure of will. The failure is to ask why the system doesn't tolerate the services we all imagine and how intolerance can become encouragement.

ADAPTIVE, adj. Expedient. Ethical.
APPROPRIATE, adj. Traditional.
COURAGEOUS, adj. Selectively submissive.
DIGNITY, n. A shimmering blanket draped over the head of the pitiful to reflect the beauty of the beholder.
INDIVIDUALIZED, adj. Filled to taste, as a glass from a vat.
MALADAPTIVE, adj. Inconvenient.
MEANINGFUL, adj. Fully funded.

The Second Semi-Annual New Day, Summary

On the whole, the conference was as I expected, although the session entitled "What do I do now that I'm out of High School?" was constructive. It covered a project working within colleges to integrate people with developmental disabilities. It's not clear how truly integrative the project has been but the outcomes they tracked demonstrate that the project seems beneficial. If the consortium working on that project presses, improves and changes, integration might grow within it.

For those who asked why I listed Limericist as my title, I answer:

When you preach to the choir from the dais
Always make sure what you say is
What they want to hear
Or at least as near
As you can so you don't end up payless.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Newish Day, Day 1 in the Garden

I feel pretty good about my prediction for this month. Report from today: Imagine 5400 fingernails on blackboards. The problem with a Regional Center-organized conference is that conferences, by nature, tend to built on the assumption that the speaker's have the authority of pioneers and regional centers, by nature, tend to use pioneer era thinking. I've spent the last six hours, with the exception of Kim Belshé's presentation of the Governor's health plan, being encouraged to boldly imagine the world I live in already and be fearful for nothing. I don't drink, but I wish I did and may yet tonight.

The second semi-annual new day

The New Day California is a brand new, efficiently aged institution. The purpose is to urge other people to do what they ought without discussing why they don't. The 2005 conference featured some swell keynote speakers, two preposterous luncheon speeches on the second day and one highly valuable outcome. People who attended said it was grand. I'm looking forward to this year's conference equalling the previous one and will be sharing my observations live.

At present, I'm in a chair awaiting the first general session. Nice padding.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Speaking of dialogue, a fable

The Coyotes, The Foxes and The Wolf

Once upon a time, in the east of the county, there was a fox hunting ground. The land was full of rabbits and the foxes lived well. One day, a wolf came and started eating rabbits and howling at the moon. The foxes feared that the howl would attract human hunters who would take all the rabbits and leave the foxes to starve. So the foxes snuck up on the wolf and quickly tore out his throat.

All was well in foxland until a pack of coyotes came and started hunting and baying. "We must get rid of the coyotes like we did the wolf," said one fox.
"There are too many and they're bigger than us," said another.
"I have a plan," said a third and all the foxes saw that it was a wise plan.

The foxes sent an emmisary to the coyotes to suggest a conference on sustainable lagoculture. For their empowerment, the fox ambassador suggested that the coyotes as immigrants should convene the planning committee which would develop, identify and elect the steering committee for the conference.

Moral: It is kinder to silence your neighbors by fang than by forum.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The new legislative year is underway. Having consulted a crystal ball, or at least a coke bottle, I feel confident making the following prediction about the course of advocacy this year:

January: The first post of the year on Developmental Disability System Reform will post on or before the 22nd. This marks the traditional start of the Advocacy Calendar.

February: The 2007 A New Day California conference will promote a new approach to day services with a curriculum based on the assumption that change lags for want of public hectoring to encourage it. Various dignitaries and assorted charlatans will cure the disease but the symptoms will continue unabated. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will propose legislation to expand membership and stimulate activism at the California Rehabilitation Assocition (CRA.)

March: Many parts of the advocacy community will press for system reform, defined as funding increases.

April: Many parts of the advocacy community will press for system reform, defined as rate increases.

May: Upon release of the Governor's May Budget Revision and the "discovery" that costs and revenues are further out of balance than previously "thought." The advocacy community will press for ending the rate freeze, defined as system reform.

June: The budget will not pass by the constitutional deadline.

July: The budget will pass and will be okay except from an accounting standpoint.

August: Meetings will be held to develop a white paper on system reform.

September: Legislators will be educated on the needs of the system by advocates, then locusts.

October: There will be a vendor-organized conference based on the assumption that change lags for want of public hectoring of regional centers. Less luminous dignitaries and charlatans will address that deficit than will have at the ARCA conference.

November: An ILS agency Executive Director will turn 40 and wonder what's taking so long.

December: Meetings will be scheduled for the purpose of getting a head start on next year's advocacy and then postponed until February.