Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hey Toledo City Council: make donations with your own money, not the taxpayers'!

Does Toledo really have money to burn?
Would you like to make a donation to the African American Legacy Project?

The majority of Toledoans have probably never heard of it, but here is a summary of the group from their web page:

a) Vision Statement
The African American Legacy Project (AALP) shall be the innovative multi-disciplinary epicenter, celebrating the triumph and spirit of the African-American experience. The African American Legacy Project exists to:
• Be a vehicle for raising the historical and present cognizance levels of African Americans in Northwest Ohio communities
• Be a motivator and promoter of community development
• Be a resource and repository for historic, current, and cultural inquiry
• Be an avenue for nurturing unity and the creative process

b) Mission Statement
The AALP pledges to stimulate the intellectual, socioeconomic and participatory growth in communities wherein African Americans reside

c) Statement of Purpose
The purpose of The African American Legacy Project is to bring together people who are interested in documenting and preserving the history of northwest Ohio’s African American communities and their impact and influence upon Toledo and the greater world community. Additionally, The African American Legacy Project will examine and record the socio-economic and cultural impact of African Americans for present and future generations of African Americans as we as the broader world society.
The primary function of The African American Legacy Project is to discover, document and preserve artifacts and historical information demonstrative, representative, and reflective of life, lifestyles and culture of Toledo’s African American community.

They are a 501(c)3 so all donations to them are deductible and they have a link on their site to donate, as well as a long listing of supporters/sponsors for their Easter Egg Hunt event earlier this year. They seem to be a good group - right? So how 'bout making a donation?

But Maggie, you say, I've got increased water and sewer rates, gas prices are still high and I have a tire to fix after hitting that huge pothole up the street that I know is there, but seem to forget until I actually land in it. I'm not interested in giving away my money to any group right now, no matter how worthy.

That's okay - because the City of Toledo just did that for you.

Last night every member of Toledo City Council except District 5 representative Tom Waniewski voted to give $20,000 of your tax dollars to this organization.

They voted the same way when it came to a request for $30,000 for the University of Toledo Urban Affairs Center, which already receives funding from the University. According to the ordinance granting the "donation," the Urban Affairs Center a valuable community resource.

In case you're not familiar with the UAC, here is their mission:

The Urban Affairs Center is an applied research unit of The University of Toledo and a member of the Ohio Urban University Program. The mission of the Urban Affairs Center is to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life of Toledo and its metropolitan region. We do this by identifying challenges and facilitating solutions in the areas of neighborhood, urban, and regional development.

UAC lists their community advisors which is a who's who of Democrat office holders, though it is outdated, and includes Republican councilman George Sarountou. Apparently, he didn't think it was a conflict of interest to vote to give money to a group he advises.

These donations came out of the city's General Fund - which is supposed to pay for everyday expenses like office supplies, salaries, etc...

Remember the Recreation Levy the Democrats on city council just had to have because they didn't have enough money to properly care for our parks?

And the transfers out of our Capital Improvement Budget in order to cover huge deficits in the General Fund?

At last count, they'd raided a total of $50 million from the CIP with another $12 million planned for 2012. Since the audit for 2012 isn't published yet, I don't have a final figure, but they planned to raid an additional $14 million for 2013!

They must believe they have money to burn.

This is not the role of city council - to take our hard-earned and limited tax dollars and give it to charities of their choice. They weren't elected to donate money to causes they deem worthy. They were elected to run the city and oversee the administration of the police and fire departments, the taxation department, and other necessary functions.

Here's the question no one asked, but I'm dying to know the answer to: how much of their own money have these city council members donated to these 'worthy causes'????

I've sent an email to them to find find out, and will share with you any response, but I'm not optimistic about getting an answer.

How much do you want to be the answer is $0?


Mad Jack said...

I'll bet they ignore your email.

For any government to give money to a charity, any charity, should be criminal. That's not what the government is supposed to be doing.

But then I guess we shouldn't expect anything more, right?

James said...

Waniewski is the only smart person on city council in Toledo. I'm ashamed of Ludeman and Sarantou supporting this handout.

Maggie Thurber said...

James - wait til you see the answer I got from Rob least he replied promptly...

I'll wait a day or two to see if I get answers from anyone else.

James said...

Rob sure did the two-step on your question, Maggie. Maybe he should enter Dancing With the Stars. His "answer" to your question proves he is got the makings to go on the TV show.

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