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Subject: CDBG Funding vote tonight
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 04:45:14 -0800 (PST)
For the past seven years, I have urged you not to give taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood when the John Hopkins grants come before you in June. I am sure I will be pleading my case again this summer. When you vote on the Community Development Block Grants at this week's City Council meeting, Planned Parenthood's annual divisive request will not be on the agenda. However, I am concerned about this program.
The money you are dispersing tonight is a grant from the federal government, so it is not confiscated directly from city taxpayers. However, that money is confiscated by force from the income of Bloomingtonians before being routed back to city government, so you are as responsible for how that money is spent as money collected from property taxes.
My problem with the CDBG is with dispensing taxpayer dollars to charitable organizations. I do not believe it should be the role of city government to decide for me which charities receive my donations. Many of these charitable organizations do a fine job and are a major asset to the community. If a charitable organization is worthy of support, however, it will have enough donations from private individuals and businesses to operate effectively without a handout from city government.
One thing I find unnerving about the concept of government giving money to private charities is the reality that "with government money comes government strings". (This is why I oppose government vouchers for private schools and President Bush's innovative but misguided proposal to give tax dollars to faith-based charities.) Local charities felt those government strings last year when you included them in your "living wage" ordinance.
Some in city government seem to think they were elected to rule rather than represent the people in this community. I believe that the decision to dictate the salaries offered by those charities that accept aid from you is an example of that. Furthermore, I found it very disturbing that some of your supporters engaged in nasty and bitterly personal attacks against charitable organizations that expressed concern about how much the LWO would cost them.
The Herald-Times said last week that you were considering adding "gender identity" to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance. I disagree with such a move, and I will likely be writing you again on that specific proposal. I do hope, if you do decide to add "gender identity" to a list of protected classes, that you do not use CDBG or John Hopkins grants to regulate the practices of charitable organizations as it relates to "gender identity".