….This week, Speaker Steve Tilley appointed me to the Missouri Film Commission. Missouri needs to continue to work hard to attract production companies to come to Missouri to film movies. This has brought millions of dollars of out-of-state money into Missouri in the last two years, including the films Up in the Air and Winter’s Bone. Recently, Governor Nixon withheld an important economic development tool that caused Paramount Pictures to withdraw their plans to produce another major film in St. Louis and go to another state. All states but one have film commissions or offices which work to keep their state in the forefront of consideration so you can see the competition is stiff. Governor Nixon’s budget recommendation is to eliminate the Missouri Film Commission. With no film commission, there is no one to advocate for Missouri, which means we aren’t seriously considered. I have already made my position clear on the importance of this investment in this economic development effort and will continue to do so in the Budget Committee and on the House floor if necessary….
So, using public money to promote film and contribute to the local economy in your own district is really bad, but using public money to promote film and contribute to the economy in other places in the state is really good?
What is the lesson that the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency should take away from the Show Me International Justice Film Festival?
• That agency staff should have said, before doing so, how they would spend federal money?
No. They did that in their application to the Department of Social Services.
• That the agency should check first with area lawmakers about how to spend money?
If so, should all agencies seek direct legislative oversight for all spending? Or only when spending might be controversial? And how would they know, in advance, what is controversial?
• That the agency should spend money in a way guaranteed to help the poor?
In fact, Missouri Valley hoped to spend money to put people to work, which happened; to spend money to support businesses that put people to work, which happened; and to start a festival that would continue for years to come to aid the economy, which may or may not happen. But there are no guarantees. Most businesses fail in their first year and government programs have flaws.
Perhaps there is no lesson, other than to accept the wisdom that comes from trial and error.
“…If so, should all agencies seek direct legislative oversight for all spending? Or only when spending might be controversial? And how would they know, in advance, what is controversial?…”
Silly, it’s all about posturing for the benefit of the noisy lunatic fringe in an election year.
The Missouri Valley Community Action Agency has decided to not appeal the decision of the Department of Social Services to revoke film festival funding. There was this bit of news in today’s Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal:
“…They saw that…the scope of the film festival went beyond the original scope of the event as explained in the contract,” LaFrenz said. “That’s their determination and their belief, and so I chose not to go through an appeals process.”
LaFrenz said having funds pulled after going through an approval process is a concern.
“We believe we followed the intent, and so we’re going to be working with them much closer about making sure they have enough information throughout the early stages of any event … before we get to the end and have this kind of complication,” she said…
An individual signing as the secretary of the Concerned Citizens Committee wrote a letter to the editor which also appeared in today’s paper:
…Had it not been for State Rep. Hoskins’ last-minute intervention efforts, we, the taxpayers, would have lost 94,000 tax dollars to squandering…
Read the whole letter, including this pretzel:
…We read where the film festival was compared to the recent Wings Over Whiteman air show. Without impugning the character or intent of the comparison let us just say that freedom isn’t free; that all Thunderbird pilots are trained combat pilots; that a change of paint scheme is all it takes to return that F-16 aircraft to combat status…
I kid you not. Let’s change the paint on the film cans.
“…Without impugning the character or intent of the comparison…” Then why mention it at all?
“…let us just say that freedom isn’t free…” Ah, a bumper sticker political philosophy.
So, where were these folks from January 2001 to January 2009? Just asking. *IOKIYAR?
The saga of a small town film festival, a desperate republican politician, teabaggers and the stimulus continues.
Remember this, from Representative Denny Hoskins’ (r-noun, verb, CPA) September 20, 2010 Capitol Report?:
…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…
In today’s Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal, front page, above the fold:
….Rep. Denny Hoskins took partial credit for the withdrawal of funds in a Sept. 10 release labeled, “Rep. Denny Hoskins helps recover Social Services funding inappropriately used….”
Apparently it’s really convenient to immediately claim credit when teabaggers have been complaining and it’s also really convenient to walk it all back when more rational constituents wonder what the big to do was all about. Read the article.
You’d think that someone who was ostensibly interested in economic development and promoting job creation would think twice about doing anything to diminish an event, long planned by people in their community, which was designed to do exactly that. You’d think.
….[MVCAA Executive Director Pam] LaFrenz said the festival drew about 150 guests – less than a third of the more than 500 organizers expected to draw in the first year of what they hoped would become an annual event. She said the controversy, a few hours before the festival started, hurt attendance.
“Absolutely,” LaFrenz said. “There was a lot of confusion at the last moment about whether or not it was even going to happen. … I had a couple of calls from regular people asking whether the film festival was going to happen….”
….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)….
You’d think someone who was concerned about getting the full story on the film festival might try to contact the people running it before intervening and doing a happy dance about the result via an opportunistic press release the day before the festival opened. You’d think. You know, possibly a simple question along the lines of, “Could you explain what you all are doing?” I’d suppose that most people living in the 121st Legislative District get the fundamental fairness of extending the folks at the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency that common courtesy.
The Chicago Reader came out with an article today about the Show Me Social Justice International Film Festival held in Warrensburg, Missouri on September 10-12, 2010. The content is, shall we say, interesting. Representative Denny Hoskins (r-noun, verb, CPA) rates a mugshot. Show Me Progress gets a mention. The writer, Michael Miner, spoke with me for about a half hour over the phone this past weekend. More on that later.
A postcard promoting a panel discussion associated with the Show Me Social Justice International Film Festival.
On Tuesday evening I had a conversation with filmmaker Ky Dickens, who had her film, Fish Out of Water, entered in the film festival:
Show Me Progress: …Why did you come to Warrensburg for a, for a film festival?
Ky Dickens: Well, I think a few reasons. You know, Fish Out of Water, the entire point is to bring the messages in that film to places that might not have access to LGBT, LGBT community centers or, um, or even LGBT friendly churches. There’s a lot of information in the film that, that can really be, I think, helpful to people that are, are in regions of the country that, that have diminished because of their sexuality. Or allies of people that have felt diminished because of their LGBT friends and families. So, for me, the most critical thing is to go to smaller towns even more so than bigger cities.
Show Me Progress: So, in, in a way the, the goal is education.
Ky Dickens: Absolutely. And the goal of the film is to get people to think for themself. I mean, we present a contextual view of these Bible passages that are typically used to condemn gays and lesbians. And we talk to great scholars [inaudible, all of them are heterosexual, and, you know, theologians and ministers around the country. And, what they say about these Bible passages is really compelling. It sheds a lot of light on the translations of the text as well as the context in which these passages were written. And, you know, we’re not trying to get people to believe one way is right or one way is wrong, but just to think for themself…
…Show Me Progress: Yeah, and, and how did you feel your film was received in, in Warrensburg, by the audience?
Ky Dickens: I thought it was received really well. In fact, there’s two things that stuck out in my mind. One was a woman who raised her hand and said, listen, I came to this film tonight only because I read about the scandal and I thought, wow, this doesn’t come to Warrensburg that often, I should go check it out. She was there with here with husband. And she said, this is so refreshing to have this dialogue even happening here. And, so I thought that was a nice comment, ’cause she said, I don’t really know, I just thought the Bible said it was wrong and that’s what I grew up thinking, but it was worth coming and checking out something different. And she said that she felt really inspired by it. And that was a nice comment. Another thing that was really, um, beautiful to share, it was, there was, um, a grandma of a, of a, her granddaughter is transgendered. And she was talking to me after the panel that we had regarding the film topic. And she said, listen, you know, my granddaughter is transgendered and my daughter is not that accepting of it but I go out of my way to make sure that she feels comfortable dressing how she wants to dress and being who she is and it feels nice to feel validated in my, that I’m not doing something totally wrong. And it, this topic, this discussion is [inaudible] making me feel that, that my support of my granddaughter is justified. So, even just those two comments I think make it worth it, you know.
Show Me Progress: So, so, in a, in a, a bigger sort of sense, a view of the film festival that really was what the entire film festival was about.
Ky Dickens: Well, from what I understand a lot of the articles written at least for the festival, a lot of the publicity, yeah, was around Fish Out of Water and the corresponding panel that had to do with it. [….] That it seems….from what I gathered when I got there that, that was sort of, um, it kind of overpowered the entire festival…
Show Me Progress: ….When you did get here, um, how did you, um, how were you apprised of the, sort of, the funding controversy?
Ky Dickens: You know, I really appreciate it because the festival was very, um, very sensitive about keeping it kind of quiet for me until all the events were over. Which is nice, because when you’re talking about something controversial it’s scary if you know that there’s a lot of controversy surrounding it, even though it’s controversial in and of itself. Um, but it’s always a little bit, it knocks your confidence a bit if you’re walking into something that feels really heated. And it wasn’t until after my film screened that people were sort of like, yeah, so this funding issue’s happening. And I heard bits and pieces, but I didn’t know until after that, that people were saying it was because of our film and our panel.
Show Me Progress: …And, and, so, you had people that, that, uh, sort of articulated that, that it, it really was about the, the film and the panel that sort of put a target on, on the festival?
Ky Dickens: Yes. [….] From what I gathered, from what I actually heard from people down there, not just staff or workers or coll, people that worked at the university, but also people attending the festival that there was an article in the Warrensburg Star and another one in the Kansas City Star, I believe, that, that was a pretty big article with a big picture and, and one of the lines, I believe, in the advertisement around the panel said, a film that looks at the misinterpretation on homosexuality. And it was that that started the fire.
Show Me Progress: …What mystifies people is, was this [the funding controversy] something done for political purposes, uh, social purposes? [crosstalk] Or what?
Ky Dickens: Uh, hmm. Yeah.
Yeah, I think it’s interesting ’cause, you know, everything I heard when I got down there was that there, I think the article that was published in the Star was on the ninth. It was big, it was almost a full page. And that night that, that a, uh, the Source picked up and, and wrote a scathing thing about Fish Out of Water and about a liberal film fest. And from there, um, you know, I think the lieutenant governor [Peter Kinder (r)] and someone else, and that Unite[d] Missouri, whatever started Twittering about a liberal film fest, liberal film fest. And, and then from then the messaging was changed from what I see as the violation of First Amendment to oh wait, it could have been used for education or something, you know, almost a covering of tracks for their real intentions.
Show Me Progress: ….Do you encounter this environment at, at every place you show or enter the film?
Ky Dickens: Not every place, but definitely when we go to smaller towns. I mean, there’s people who are upset [inaudible]. What’s interesting is Fish Out of Water got more coverage, I think, than any other film in the festival at, at this particular, in this particular city. And it seemed that that coverage and the broad amount of that [inaudible] as the festival being aligned with this one film and this one message. And because of that it, it seemed to really take center stage. And, and I think in this case blew up, you know. Um, otherwise at, people will come to the film and maybe protest or say something, you know, on Q and A or if they don’t agree or upset or coming they’re to speak the other side. And that’s fine, you know, expected. I understand the nature of the film. It’s controversial. Uh, but this has been, by far, the biggest blow up.
Show Me Progress: About the film, uh.
Ky Dickens: About the film and about, and about its presence in the community.
Show Me Progress: ….There are people politically who are opposed the stimulus in any fashion, shape or form. Whether it be for roads and bridges or, you know, education, or, you know, helping poor people or a film festival. It doesn’t matter, you know [crosstalk]…
Ky Dickens: Um, hmm.
Show Me Progress: …they don’t care, they’re just against it, uh.
Ky Dickens: Right.
Show Me Progress: But, what’s interesting to me is, uh, individuals in, in the political establishment who take that and try to do something with it, you know [crosstalk]…
Ky Dickens: Right.
Show Me Progress: It’s a, it becomes a tool, uh, and, and to me that’s a fascinating part of this story.
Ky Dickens: Yeah, yeah. Well, and, and that’s exactly what I think is going on here, is people are against the stimulus for various political reasons and this was a perfect thing to latch on to in order to kind of fire up the base since you’re able to point to the fact that a [inaudible] may be against the key values of a certain constituency I think you can drum up a heated emotional response against all stimulus funding.
Show Me Progress: Do you, do you have any comments you’d like to add?
Ky Dickens: Um, well, I think that sometimes the biggest threat to a bad idea is better ideas. And, you know, it’s, it’s new ideas, it’s new ways of looking at things that keep democracy and keep societies, um, vibrant and, and evolving. And what seems to happen, happened in Warrensburg was a clash of ideas and I think that’s a sad place when our democracy doesn’t allow for, for new ideas or possibly opposing ideas to flourish, especially in places where people might be, be craving information that’s outside of what they’ve always been told.
Show Me Progress: …Well, thank you very much for your time.
Ky Dickens: Absolutely…
Back to the Chicago Readerarticle. Quoting an opponent of the film festival:
…I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone with the leader of the Johnson County Patriots of the Republic, Jeff Merrick, a Warrensburg Baptist pastor….”We didn’t care if the festival went on-and it did. It’s just an improper use of ARRA money…”
Oh, please. These folks consider the entire stimulus (ARRA) an improper use of money. Has anyone seriously disputed the positive economic impact of the arts and a film festival in particular on a small community?
And then a familiar name comes up:
…It’s hard to say what triggered the uprising. Representative Hoskins heard that someone from the festival spoke to the Rotary Club that Tuesday and some Rotarians didn’t like what they heard. Merrick tells me a local woman he wouldn’t identify spotted a billboard for the festival that mentioned ARRA funding and reported it to United for Missouri, a three-month-old foe of the “Owebama administration” that’s run by former Republican legislator Carl Bearden and is committed to “mobilizing citizens” around and against federal economic policy. Bearden gave Merrick a heads up…
Calling Carl Bearden a “former republican legislator” is like calling the iceberg that sank the Titanic an ice cube.
…the State Dire[c]tor of the Missouri branch of Americans for Prosperity (AFP-MO) until his resignation in July, has been none other than one-time speaker Pro Tem of the Missouri House, Carl Bearden. The term-limited Bearden resigned prematurely from the House shortly after being accused of ethical lapses. He immediately joined the lobbying firm Pelopidas LLC, or as Bearden put it, an “influence management firm” in which he would play a “main role.”
When Bearden joined Pelopidas, he also he also “officially became the lobbyist for retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield,” a major Pelopidas client whose hobby is trying to buy Missouri’s government. Sinquefield, via Pelopidas, has focused on gutting public education and cutting taxes for the wealthy in Missouri, goals not incompatible with the Kochs. Consequently, it’s not surprising that the AFP-MO, under the leadership of Pelopidas’ Bearden, has used Pelopidas’ “grassroots and coalition building” services. One cannot be blamed for concluding that Carl Bearden unites the wider goals of the Kochs with Sinquefield’s specifically Missouri focus…
As for the grassroots – from Show Me Progress on June 19, 2009:
In blogtopia (y, sctp!) “astroturf” is the terminology applied to fake political grassroots activity.
I opened up my local paper this afternoon (The Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal) and had the rare privilege to read a rather lengthy letter to the editor by Carl Bearden, representing himself as the state director of Americans for Prosperity Missouri, attacking the Employee Free Choice Act.
Carl Bearden, Carl Bearden? Where have I seen that name before? Oh, yes:
Hey, they’re all neighbors! Or do you think it’s like one of those mailbox drop places?
So, if Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union can be called a “union boss” in a letter to the editor, don’t you think that Carl Bearden should be identified as a “connected republican lobbyist” in that same editorial page?…
Who has an agenda and who is pulling the strings?
It must be nice work that pays really well plying useful idiots with wedge issues so they’ll work against their own interests to help out millionaires and billionaires….
When right wingnuts collide with a film festival you can bet that filmmakers have some tools to bring to the conversation. Ky Dickens and Dee Wallace recently produced a short film about a film festival:
Dee Wallace: Hi, I’m Dee Wallace.
Ky Dickens: Hi, America, I’m Ky Dickens.
Dee Wallace: And we’re here at…
Ky Dickens: …the Show Me Social Justice International Film Festival.
Dee Wallace: Yeah, this is a fabulous film festival. We have films from amazing film makers from all over the country…
Ky Dickens: …dealing with social justice issues.
Dee Wallace: Right. Homelessness.
Ky Dickens: Poverty.
Dee Wallace: Autism.
Ky Dickens: Gay Rights.
Dee Wallace: Racism.
Ky Dickens: Immigration…
…Dee Wallace: All of the things that expand our thinking, that expand our awareness…
Ky Dickens: …and make our country better.
Dee Wallace: That’s right, because we’re Americans, right? That’s what we do. We talk about everything, we think about everything, we’re passionate about everything, and we speak out for what we believe.
Ky Dickens: And we also believe in the power of art to create dialogue to make social change. And that’s what this festival is here to do.
Dee Wallace: From the beginning of time artists have been some of the best creators and healers of our world. We allow you to think when you won’t, cry when you can’t, be happy when you’re sad, face fear when you’re too afraid to, and show you that you can handle it. [crosstalk] And that’s what…
Ky Dickens: And give you hope.
Dee Wallace: And give you hope. And, what’s going on here, Ky?
Ky Dickens: Hope has been taken away in a major, major way. And Thursday, the day before the festival started the stimulus money that was given to this festival over a year ago…
Dee Wallace: Right. A year, they’ve had to contest this, a year and look into it.
Ky Dickens: …was being threatened to be taken away. [crosstalk] Why, why?
Dee Wallace: The night before, the night before. Well, because, ah, oh my God, we’re dealing with liberal issues.
Ky Dickens: There are certain people in central Missouri that think this festival is, is creating a social or a liberal agenda, or, or promoting a liberal agenda. And what that means to me is that art, unless it fits into a very specific category and, and, and pushing a very specific, specific ideology is not acceptable.
Dee Wallace: And it’s against our Constitution. Let’s just start there. We have a right to discuss, film, believe and write anything we want. And, uh…
Ky Dickens: But I just want to know, what’s scary about just discussing, opening up the conversation, about racism, homelessness, poverty or autism? Really? Talking about that stuff is creating a liberal agenda?
Dee Wallace: You have to think for yourselves, people. It is time to step forward and go, okay, do I want love, do I want harmony, do I want peace in this world? Or do I want fear? Because they’re shoving fear down our throats.
Ky Dickens: That’s right, that’s right.
Dee Wallace: Stand up and say what you believe. Come on, we’re gonna go for a walk.
Meredith Cisco: My name is Meredith Cisco. I was a music consultant on and a singer on Winter’s Bone. And I, I find it astonishing that the people who are questioning the, how the money was spent for this venture, then, that is talking about some of the most important issues that we can ever face in this country, would, would not only have a year to question it and then question it the day before the festival starts and not talk to the festival people, but instead just go to the newspaper. That’s not, that’s not social concern, that’s not good politics, that’s just playing the field. And it, it’s despicable. This is, this is important work and they need to get out of the way and let it happen.
Melanie Corporon: My name is Melanie Corporon, I’m with Missouri Valley Community Action Agency. And this project was two things – one is to educate and engage the community in social justice issues so we begin a dialogue about these issues. And these are real stories, real people, and we wanted to share that with the community. The second thing was economic stimulus – we wanted to bring new people to our community, to promote our area. We have a strong history, we have a strong culture and we wanted to share that with other people around the state and, uh, hopefully our businesses in the mean time.
Dee Wallace: …new jobs here…
Ky Dickens: Yes.
Dee Wallace: …we’ve got caterers, [crosstalk] we’ve got wineries.
Ky Dickens: We funded, yeah, food, restaurants, gas stations, hotels, everything you can imagine, print houses.
Peter Loth: My name is Peter Loth, I’m a Holocaust survivor. I was born in one of the death camps, Nazi Germany, experimented and torture, and also my mother. And after [inaudible] I was left behind under Stalin prison for fourteen years, in orphanages, was raped, tortured…
Dee Wallace: And what is your wonderful message?
Peter Loth: My message is on forgiveness. If I can forgive so can every one of us can forgive.
Dee Wallace: Yes, and that’s about as liberal as you can get, forgiving all of the people that have hurt you, even those people that want to take our rights away or make us feel wrong.
Ky Dickens: …the message this festival is promoting, So, forgiveness is terrifying enough to shut it down. I think we’ve got real problems.
Dee Wallace: Exactly. So, people, write [crosstalk], express yourself.
Ky Dickens: Call, blog,…
Dee Wallace: Blog.
Ky Dickens: …tweet, Facebook. Festivals like this need to stay on the map and need to be supported by everyone.
Dee Wallace: We need you to think for yourselves.
Ky Dickens: And stop being bullied by people who think differently than you.
Dee Wallace: Exactly, and say then, and take action on what you think. Think love, think forgiveness, think peace, think unity, let’s all come together and do with this country what we want to do.
…Question: I had never even heard of it going on until the gentleman came to Rotary and spoke to us on Tuesday. I’d never heard of it.
Denny Hoskins: Right, right.
Question: So, uh, whether they weren’t doing much publicity on it or what.
Denny Hoskins: Yes, Yeah, I, I’d heard just a few things about it but nothing until, you know, the Rotary and, and, um, a couple things in, in the local media, uh, this last week. And so, um, that’s, that was my in, involvement in it….
Gee, the way people talked about it on the radio you’d think the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency (MVCAA) was trying to hide what they were doing. That’s what someone might say if they were a cynical politician furiously spinning reality.
Here’s the reality. We obtained a copy of MVCAA’s proposal which specifically states what they were going to do and when they were going to do it:
ARRA 2009 COMMUNITY COORDINATION/RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
REVITALIZATION COALITION STRATEGY DESCRIPTION
….7. …The outcome will be that a social and economic justice film festival is held in Missouri to educate the general public and create awareness of the real picture of poverty in Missouri. MVCAA foresees the inclusion of still arts display and a local cuisines/tourism festival being held in conjunction with the film festival. The communities will be enhanced through the creation of new jobs and training for low-income people that will not only create temporary employment but hope to lead to full time employment in the community….
The low-income people that are recruited for these positions will receive hospitality training prior to the festival. This training will increase their job skills….
… B. Project coordinator hired to guide planning, development and facilitate the completion of the Show Me Social and Economic Justice Film Festival. November 10, 2009
…. M. media and marketing campaign is developed and launched to promote the Show Me Social and Economic Justice Film Festival to encourage attendance and tourism. May 31, 2010.….
[emphasis in orginal]
Yep, they told everyone they were organizing a film festival as an economic stimulus project.
And what about that job training and temporary employment component? Back to the radio:
Denny Hoskins: Well, you know, this is, this is a good example, the Show Me Social Justice Film Festival is a good example of, of stimulus dollars coming in that were not, [crosstalk]…
Denny Hoskins: …are not being spent for the purpose that which they are intended. Um, you know the festival did not create any jobs here in Johnson County. It’s not helping the, the needy, low income, handicapped, elderly, you know….
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….
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)….
…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…
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.
….Scott Rowson, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services, told The Democrat on Wednesday that funding for the film festival “wasn’t permissible” under federal guidelines, but could not explain exactly which provisions the project violated nor could he explain how the project had received authorization in October 2009….
….However, a copy of the spending plan, which would have been made available as part of the authorization process last year, clearly states the “outcome will be that a social and economic justice film festival is held in Missouri….”
….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….
The just know it’s all wrong but they can’t explain how or why. That’s demagoguery, not oversight.