Saturday, May 10, 2008

The problem with member items

Let’s say you work for a nonprofit, “community service” group. You apply to your representative for a grant in the form of a “member item” or an allocation from a “discretionary fund.” You receive this money. Hooray! Next, your representative shows up to your group’s meeting, and pictures are taken that find their way into the local paper. You write a letter of thanks to your representative. All the publicity surrounding this largesse (paid for, mind you, by the taxpayers, not by your representative) ensures that your representative gets to be known as “someone who cares.”

Limited Memberhip

The next year, when your representative is running for reelection, somebody else is running for the same seat. But the challenger is laboring under an enormous burden: The incumbent has given your group money, and probably will again – if reelected – and you don’t want to lose that funding. You “need” that money to continue “serving the community.” So you send word around that the incumbent needs to be reelected.

In other words, your representative has bought your vote. Not only your vote, but your active support as well. What’s worse, the purchase (don’t dare call it a “bribe”) was made with tax money.

Moreover, not every group can obtain this money. Most groups that receive member items already have some connection to their representatives, which is how they begin the process. Groups that don’t have a connection are usually left out.

There is no solution, short of eliminating all “member items” at all levels of government.


Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in making a name for themselves in the annals of culture in this country?

Figure out a way to uncouple politics from culture funding.

One of the little secrets in the dark cultural underbelly of the city....

Anonymous said...

Pols pull their member item $$$$
as from a cookie jar to punish or reward the tweeded populace!

Take away his (or her) supply of chocolate chip supremes and voters will just have to select the candidate of their choice without being offered a bribe to purchase their votes.

In other words ON THEIR POL'S PAST RECORD of service to the community
(if there is any)!

It's way past high time to smash that cookie jar!

Anonymous said...

Look at all those cultural org piglets at the Boro Prez's teats!

Maybe that one up front
is Jeffrey Rosenstock filling up for his "Theater In The Dark"!

Could that one behind him be Geraldine Spinella?
No, wait a minute, she sucked off of Padavan for most of BHS' funding in the past. Oops....he's got no tits. So where did that leave her)?

Anonymous said...

Great photo for Mothers Day.

Democratic Dictionary: Money, the mothers milk of the machine!

Cap'n Transit said...

Fixing the whole system is difficult, but here's a way to overcome it in a given election. All you need is a few years foresight and some patience: