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Sturbaum should recuse himself

By Scott Tibbs, May 23, 2004

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs <tibbs1973@yahoo.com>
To: sturbauc@bloomington.in.gov
CC: volans@bloomington.in.gov, sabbaghd@bloomington.in.gov, rollod@bloomington.in.gov, diekhofm@bloomington.in.gov, banachj@bloomington.in.gov, ruffa@bloomington.in.gov, mayert@bloomington.in.gov, gaalc@bloomington.in.gov, mayor@bloomington.in.gov
Subject: Planned Parenthood's divisive tactics
Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 20:22:25 -0700 (PDT)

Mr. Sturbaum,

On Monday, the Social Services Funding Committee will hear presentations from the social service organizations that are applying for some of the money which the city will distribute as part of the Jack Hopkins Social Services Fund. Planned Parenthood is requesting funds for its Cervical Health Project. PP's application states that the project facilitator is Barb Sturbaum, your wife.

I believe this presents a conflict of interest which requires you to recuse yourself from the vote on the funding package should Planned Parenthood's request be included. It is one thing for an organization seeking a grant from city government to have one of its employees' spouses on the City Council. The fact that your wife is so directly involved with the project creates a situation that would make it very difficult (if not impossible) for you to be objective. Even if you can look at the funding request in a fair and unbiased manner, it does not look good to the taxpayers of Bloomington for you to be voting on this matter.

I think it inappropriate for Planned Parenthood to be putting you in this position. They have known since November that you would be sitting on the City Council when the vote comes up this summer, and chose to apply for funding for a project your wife facilitates. Planned Parenthood must have known the difficulty this would create, especially since their request for funds has been so divisive over the course of the last five years.

If anything, I believe this decision is further evidence for why Planned Parenthood should be denied its request for a grant from the Social Services Fund. Not only did they create a conflict of interest for you, Mr. Sturbaum, but even if you do recuse yourself, your colleagues must make a decision on a project with a connection to someone they must work with for the next four years.

Evidence has been presented to you that Planned Parenthood is seeking funds to fight a disease they have contributed to through their encouragement of teen sex, which increases the risk for cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood participated in the "forum" at Bloomington High School South where taxpaying citizens were excluded from a publicly advertised meeting. Now Planned Parenthood has decided to add further controversy to the question of whether or not they will receive a handout from City Government.

Planned Parenthood has divided this community for several years by applying for the people's money. They know that many residents of Bloomington are opposed to their philosophies and especially to their operation of an abortion clinic downtown. In this liberal community, Planned Parenthood could easily raise the $2900 they are requesting through private donations. Most importantly, Planned Parenthood's national organization has more than enough money to meet the needs of the local branch. It is time for city government to tell Planned Parenthood that their divisive tactics will no longer be rewarded with money from the taxpayers' wallets.