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Remembering late mother-in-law, Schwarzenegger intervenes to stop Monrovia evictions

Regency Disabled residents of a Monrovia apartment complex who were issued lease termination notices will be allowed to stay in their homes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said today.

"I am here to tell all the people here that your eviction notice is being terminated," Schwarzenegger said in the courtyard of Regency Court Apartments in front of dozens of its residents and their families who cheered and clapped.

Last month, about 20 physically or developmentally disabled tenants of Regency Court were notified that their leases were being terminated because the complex was always meant to be a senior apartment community. Those under age 62 never should have been allowed to move in, the letter said, and would now have to leave.

Among them was Lily Hixon, who has Down syndrome and was featured in a story about the complex in Thursday's Times. That night, an update on Schwarzenegger's Twitter page read, "My mother-in-law fought so that people like Lily Hixon could live independently" and linked to the Times' story.

About an hour later, another post said that the governor had spoken to Star-Holdings, the Rockford, Ill.-based owner of the property, and that the disabled residents would be able to stay. Schwarzenegger confirmed today that he had called the owners and property managers of Regency Court, who agreed not to pursue the lease terminations.

He said he had been inspired to make the call after reading the Times' story and thinking about his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Shriver, who died in August, founded the Special Olympics and was an advocate for people with disabilities.

"All of a sudden I heard [her] voice in my ear," Schwarzenegger said. "She says, 'Arnold why are you sitting around now, you just read the story, do something!'"

Hixon's father, Ken, was elated after the governor's visit. "I'm really happy for the tenants," he said. "What's really scary is what would've happened and what is happening in other places around California where people don't know how to organize or get the attention of the press."

-- Corina Knoll in Monrovia

Photo: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger greets Matt and Laura Fosbury, residents of Regency Court Apartments, after announcing Friday that disabled residents will not be evicted from the complex.

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (51)

I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger's action! What a great ending to this story! Thank you for making a difference in these people's lives!!

A comment about SunCitydud guote "He is too soft. A good Republican would have sided with the owners and let these folks be thrown out on the street." A real Republican? Don't forget it was a real Republican "Lincoln" who also did the right thing and fought for those who were unable to fight against classism and racism. You are a bigot and a slime ball. These people are Disabled you idiot. Your obviously a slum lord yourself

Thank you, Governor! I don't always agree with you, but you recognized a need (and a societal imperative) and acted in the best interest of our culture.

To SunCityDude: You heartless B*****d. You're not a good Republican, you're an embarrasment to the human race. You are probably an apartment owner who is doing the same thing that the owners of the apartment wanted to do. I pray to God that you never have to face the same issues what these disabled people have had to face.

PS I'm Rebublican down to the core, but I have a heart and care about my fellow brothers and sisters.

What should be happening is the Gov. should focus on other issues today, instead of taking a photo op. Kudos to Arnold, what he did is very admirable. Can I suggest that his office put out a press release and call it a day. The people were saved. There are more important issues facing the "Not so 'Golden' anymore 'State". taking time out to shake hands and take pictures is non-productive to our issues.

Let's shake hands when kids are getting educated, cost of UC's and CC's go down, let's shake hands when our unemployment rate gets back down to "single digit", or when every Californians get health coverage. Until then...every M-F should be a work day, not Picture day at the office.

Get it in writing Arnold! The press is good on both sides, but doesn't mean they still won't go after the evicitions in a few months.

WOW! Maybe the Great Terminator is really human! Now, Arnie, please take a second look at the budget cuts involving DDS. Read my lips--Basic Human Rights. It is written right in the U.S. Constitution. A "no-brainer".

By denying the evictions Gov Arnold has negatively impacted the bonus structure of American business. Seniors all get Soc Sec , disabled people may have their benefits put risk by budget cuts.So the profit incentive is to have seniors there. After don't we all exist here to put some additional bonus money into the pockest of the prefered employees (executives) of corporations.

what a great result for people in need. such a positive move by Arnold, could be a movie: the Terminator terminates the terminations !! :)

This is none of Arnold's business. He overstepped his bounds. The government can't be all things to all people. Taxpayers will somehow bear the brunt of this dummies latest botched move.

OK, Arnold wanted a photo-op showing he is defending the disabled. Is this the same Arnold who was behind TWO cuts since January 1, 2009 to the State portion of SSI benefits the poor and disabled in the State receive each month? Is this the same governor who thought it was a good idea the Department of Developmental Services cut $400 million in funding to community-based programs that benefit the disabled through the regional centers? It's also the same governor who approved curtailment of MediCal funded dental and vision coverage to the disabled, and continues to attack funding of In-Home Support Services to the disabled and frail elderly who want to remain in their homes instead of institutions. Before we shower Arnold with praise, let's look at the whole picture of just how much he supports the disabled in California.

WOW, I was adamantly against Arnold's candidacy when he ran for governos, but over time he has really impressed me. Maria has to be somewhat responsible for his behaviour. I am not disabled but good for you Arnold.

I am so happy for the 20 people in Monrovia, but I don't understand why the rest of the Californians (320,000) with disabilities are not afforded such grace by our governor. I am associated with hundreds of folks with disabilities whose lives are devastated by the budget cuts and decisions made by the governor. I have followed their issues and the governmental respone for over 40 years and this is absolutely the worst situation. Their plight worsens everyday as agencies who care try desperately to intervene to help these wonderful citizens of our state. To make it worse the governor mentions Eunice Shriver who spent her life in efforts to provide a good quality of life for foloks with disabilities. When he was elected, I consoled myself by the fact of Eunice in his life. Sorry to say that her wisdom and compassion did not reach our governor as he has done little if anything in support of quality of life for those loved by Eunice. Now, they and those who support them are struggling to avoid being institutionalized as their future. I am sick of budgets being balanced on the very lives of folks who have no defense nor recourse. The kicker to the whole thing is that it costs so much more to keep people in institutions than to support them in their communities.

I thought the Governor or someone of his caliber would step in (after LAT put out this moving article). As a daughter of a disabled person, I know how important such independent living programs are. There are too many physically and mentally challenged people left to fend for themselves. Giving them the tools to live complete lives should be a priority in our communities. It beats having to see them dirty, without their medication, and asking for handouts on the streets. There are many people who just look at the financial aspects of such programs, but unless you understand the cost of not implementing them, you will never understand the benefits are far greater.

"My mother-in-law fought so that people like Lily Hixon could live independently"

You are correct Mr. Governor, She did fight long and hard so her brothers and sisters in the disabled community could live lives of their choosing.

Too bad you have waited until her death to bring an inkling of good to the system that YOU have single handedly devastated in the few short years you have been in office.

You have cut HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars from a population that has NOTHING left to give. How DARE you.

In these days we live in, we read and listen to many, many bad articles and stories of misfortune. I was so glad to read this one. More of us should take the time to do the right thing. Not just from time to time, but always. Including myself.

Also kudos to the Times for getting involved.

Dearest God In Heaven...Thank God for the Los Angeles Times and Corina Knoll who wrote this story. The Governor became a "living action hero" today! To all who fought for this Noble work...In the midst of an often cruel world...Angels live amongst US!

a fine example of the power of the press! well done Corina! Keep up the great reporting! ^^

While I applaud this action, we need to remember Schwarzenegger’s contradictory actions. People---he also recently cut desperately needed funding to support systems that assist hundreds of thousands of Californians with disabilities.

The system has already had the fat, muscle, and bone cut. These deep cuts are amputating the very existance of the disabiity support system which is against California State Law The Lanterman Act. Ronald Regan signed this law into action. He believed it was a cost effective investment. He is right.

This is fiscally irresponsible because people with disabilities will end up in State Hospitals which cost an astronomical amount to support. Pay now or pay later. Supporting the system now which provides services to people with disabilities prevents future even costlier expenses!!

Great Job Governor!!!!! If that was really your mother-in-law then she's proud of you doing a service that should not have given expulsion.

Yes, the Governor did a great job in stopping the evictions of these disabled individuals. Now if he would use the same influence and stop the cuts that will take away the assistance those individuals and others have to remain independent. Again, yes the governor did good here, but his line item vetoes hurt these same disabled in other ways that could still take away their ability to live independently.

This article gives me hope. Governor Schwarzenegger, will you please help save one other home in California? It is called the Respite Inn and it helps 67 families in the East Bay keep their adult children with developmental disabilities at home rather than moving into residential placements that would be very costly to the state. The Respite Inn has helped keep families together for over 20 years. It has saved families and saved millions of state dollars. It is now about to close, needlessly, because of some careless wording in a law you just signed. These 67 adults with developmental disabilities and their families are desperate for a hero - will you please help? Please call us: The Respite Inn, 906 Lee Lane, Concord, California, 925-686-5758.

I am so proud of our Governor for intervening in this situation. I have a disabled grandson who may never be able to live independently, but he can surely to do if he and his aide can find a place like this one.

thank you governor for being so kind. Your mother-in-law has been one of my heroes.

If it cost any money to stop the evictions swharzenegger would let them rot in the street. He has no compasion for the disabled he just wants to look good at a time when everyone hates him. I work at a state run developemental center and or client are suferring from furloughs as well as the employees. They spend there days locked in a building and can't go out cause there's not enough staff to escort them. Very sad!!!!!!!

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