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The saga of a small town film festival, a desperate republican politician, teabaggers and the stimulus continues.

Representative Denny Hoskins (r-noun, verb, CPA) issued his “Capitol Report” today reporting on the veto session and the film festival:

September 20, 2010



Show Me Social Justice Film Festival

There has been a significant amount of media attention and coffee shop talk in the last week about the Show Me Social Justice Film Festival held in Warrensburg.  This event was held September 10-12, primarily sponsored by the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency (MVCAA).  Nearly $100,000 in grant funding coming through the Missouri Department of Social Services was committed to the film festival.  From all reports, it was a first class event with several movie screenings and upscale dining.

I must make it clear that I commend and appreciate the work of the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency.  The people at this agency do great things to help people in the seven counties they serve.  I see how the film festival could be interpreted to work toward MVCAA’s mission “to engage communities about poverty’s sting and equip those who come to us for support with necessary resources as well as work to eradicate poverty.”  However, my opinion is that it seems that it would be a more pragmatic use of that amount of money to provide actual services to help the needy, seniors, and the handicapped to eliminate poverty.

Evidently based on questions I posed to the state agency, Social Services took it upon themselves to review the grant application comparing the request to the actual event.  Social Services determined the actual event was different than the original grant application and not an appropriate use of stimulus funds.  They then recalled that portion of the grant funds, specifically $99,540.

The questions I asked were:

• What is the amount of state money (albeit perhaps originating as federal funds) being committed to this event?

• What percentage of the cost of the event comes from DSS funding?

• At the state level, who made the decision to fund this event?

• How will this event help the needy, elderly, and handicapped?

• Why is the Department of Social Service in the film festival business?

My own questions were based on those I received from constituents concerning the film festival.  As you can see, I did not request funding be withheld or rescinded.  I simply asked how people who need assistance would be helped by the film festival.  Since the film festival was held, I have received even more questions from constituents.  The idea of a film festival or similar event to shine a spotlight on the Warrensburg community is not in itself a bad idea.  How to pay for this event is what concerns me.  

I am confident there will continue to be many ways that MVCAA will support and serve the needy, seniors, and handicapped.  I assure you I look forward to continuing to work with MVCAA….

[emphasis added]

Oh, really?

And those questions you had about the funding? Did you bother to ask the MVCAA before the film festival started and before you went to the Department of Social Services, you know, in case they had explanations which any reasonable person, pace a teabagger, would understand? Apparently not:

….Update: We received word that Representative Hoskins (r) did not contact MVCAA before or during the film festival, but he did contact them on Monday afternoon (September 13th)….

And the answers to those question? Apparently no one could explain what the problem was (in the Sedalia Democrat on September 18th):

….However, Hoskins was also unable to specify exactly how the project was out of compliance with federal guidelines governing how the money could be spent….

[emphasis added]

Ah, truthiness.

Okay, and eleven days ago?:

…Rep. Hoskins has just been notified by the Department of Social Services that the Community Services Block Grant funding the Show Me Social Justice Film Festival this weekend in Warrensburg is being recalled.  As a result of your contact with Rep. Hoskins, the agency has reviewed the grant application approved and determined that the actual event differs from the event described in the grant request.  As this film festival is not an appropriate use of that funding, all $99,540 is being requested back.

Rep. Hoskins appreciates you bringing this to his attention in time to address the situation

[emphasis added]

So, Representative Hoskins thinks the use of the funds was inappropriate, but he can’t tell anyone how or why?

“…As you can see, I did not request funding be withheld or rescinded….”

“…Rep. Hoskins appreciates you bringing this to his attention in time to address the situation…”

So, which one of the two was an unfortunate choice of phrase? Just asking.

Do you suppose all the hemming and hawing in today’s release might be a result of people in the community seeing the fundamental unfairness of Representative Hoskins (r) not bothering to ask MVCAA for answers to those questions? Just asking.


Suppose you held a film festival and right wingnuts didn’t want anyone to attend (September 10, 2010)

The show must go on (September 10, 2010)

Rep. Denny Hoskins (r) and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (r): The review is in – two thumbs down (September 14, 2010)

Veto Session Reviews for Rep. Denny Hoskins (r): great potental for a Razzie (September 15, 2010)

Rep. Denny Hoskins (r) and the Film Festival: because the arts never generate economic activity? (September 17, 2010)

Rep. Denny Hoskins (r) and the Film Festival: demagoguery, not oversight (September 18, 2010)