By the Bay

Deadline is near for seniors to vote

judysalamacha@gmail.comJuly 28, 2013 

Attention seniors! Aug. 5 is the deadline to vote for your senior representative.
If you are at least 60 and live in San Luis Obispo County, you are eligible to select your senior Assembly member before the California Senior Legislature convenes Oct. 28-31. Forty senior senators and 80 senior Assembly representatives statewide volunteer their time to meet, recommend and review legislative action specifically vital for California seniors. Vote at www.centralcoast seniors.org.

“Through the California Senior Legislature, seniors in San Luis Obispo County are able to influence statewide advocacy for older persons,’’ said Joyce Ellen Lippman, director of the Central Coast Commission on Senior Citizens.

The legislature sets priorities for needed legislation.

“We had excellent success when we surveyed seniors online for our needs list,’’ Lippman said, noting that it showed top senior needs were “understanding Medicare, meals, home, yard and personal maintenance, caregiving, finding friends and socialization, legal questions or planning long-term care,  transportation, shopping and errands, affordable housing, and emotional support and counseling.”

San Luis Obispo’s senior senator, Alice Loh, who has served since 2006, said important legislation has been influenced by the Senior Legislature.

“Silver Alert is a quick response program managed by the California Highway Patrol (Government Code 8594) for seniors who are reported missing,’’ she said. “David Jones, now state insurance commissioner, carried our recommendation to influence Medicare to review affordable costs of prescription drugs for seniors.”

You can find information on four candidates with diverse backgrounds, a history of volunteerism and numerous advocacy issues at www.centralcoastseniors.org.

Here’s a quick look at them:

GariLee Cave is the founder and former administrator of Garden House of Morro Bay, a secured assisted living nonprofit. She also served as the county’s long-term care ombudsman and believes families searching for placement for a loved one should have public access to verified complaints against long-term care facilities.

Caridad A. Keane, co-president, San Luis Obispo branch, American Association of University Women, has a nursing background and listed affordable housing and socialization as priorities.

Arnold Ruiz, a licensed barber who was a sergeant in the California National Guard, advocates that seniors become active in government issues.

Kate Shurson, retired public employment supervisor and Pismo Beach Planning Commission member, is concerned about changes to Social Security and Medicare and that doctors are opting out of taking senior patients.

Formed in 1981, the Senior Legislature is a nonpartisan, volunteer organization funded by taxpayers’ $1 donation on their California tax returns.

“If we do not reach donations of $250,000 in 2013, the Senior Legislature could end in 2014,’’ Loh said. “I hope Californians recognize its value and support continued senior advocacy in Sacramento.”

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.

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