By Scott Tibbs, November 10, 2016
Last night's county council meeting was an utter embarrassment. The council has proven once again that not only do they disregard those who oppose funding Planned Parenthood, they do not want to hear from us at all. The social services funding allocations is a corrupt, rigged process.
The most obvious problem is the timing. The council voted the day after the general election was over. Granted, voting to fund PP has not hurt Democrats on the County Council, but it was damaging to Shelli Yoder's run for Congress. So rather than give Trey Hollingsworth another vote to use against Yoder, her fellow Democrats decided to help her out and vote after the election was over.
Am I being too cynical? No. Historical context matters. Last year, the council Democrats acted in a shady, slimy, unethical manner by fast-tracking a vote that had always taken place later in the year to August, hoping to hide it from the taxpayers just as a major scandal erupted all around Planned Parenthood.
That was not the worst example. Back in 2012, the Democrats decided to hold the vote to fund Planned Parenthood two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard that had brought much of the county to a standstill. That shameful move that showed total disregard for transparency and open government.
I have criticized the Bloomington City Council for years, but at least the city's social service funding process is open and predictable. We know the process starts in the spring and the vote will be taken in the middle of June. It is the same process every year and has been since I started following it in 1999.
Not so with county government. This could maybe be excused of it was the third or fourth year the council was doing this, but that is not the case. Thia is the ninth time the county council has distributed funds to various social service agencies. The learning curve is over. Not only does this show utter contempt for transparency and open government, it shows a complete and total lack of professionalism.
I do not need to go through the reasons why Planned Parenthood does not deserve money, as I have covered that ground before. But this year's grant was especially egregious as the council voted to give money to Planned Parenthood without knowing what the money will be used for. Specifically: Who will get the birth control funded by the grant? Will underage teenage girls be getting birth control?
I asked the social services funding committee. No answer. I e-mailed someone at Planned Parenthood, after being given the address. They opened the e-mails I sent, because I have the read receipts. Still no answer. Is this money going to be used to give birth control to underage teenage girls or not? What is the minimum age to get the birth control? Is it 16? Is it 13? It is shameful that the county council has voted to give this money to Planned Parenthood without demanding that PP fully disclose what it will be used to do.
This year, the council is also funding the "all options" organization, which has an abortion fund to help women pay for abortions. Money is fungible, so when "all options" gets money for other programs they have more money available for their abortion fund.
This farce needs to stop. Unfortunately, it will not stop until the county council is populated by people who are actually interested in transparency, open government. It will not change until we have county council members who are interested in being accountable or the money they spend.
In short, it will not stop until we stop electing Democrats.