Thursday, August 9, 2012

Countdown to CAOmageddon: Flaw #7 - Grant Insanity

The fix that we're in about the CAOs reveals the inner workings of the subculture that is our out-of-control bureaucracies, and in that wonkish world, grants are king. A shadow government exists in our County of unelected grant writers sprinkled throughout our citizen committees, County staff, and non-profits. Grants are the end-all, be-all for them.

We need to maintain an air of environmental crisis so our grant writers can get funding to do the occasional soft-science study mixed in with lots and lots and LOTS of time-vampire "consensus building." New laws are part of the formula too. The grants lend credence (albeit dubious credence) to new laws. The new laws lend credence to the notion that we're in a crisis, and then new grants are needed to study and coordinate a response to said crisis. The grants subsequently create policy and financial obligations for the County, contributing to our perpetual financial crises here and a pressing need for more grants ... which will spawn more laws to deal with the grant findings, which then hurt the private sector economy and create pressure for higher taxes and ... more grants. Dizzy yet? How about nauseated?

It's a winning formula (winning for "them" anyway), and no one knows that better than the grant-funded Friends ... and the Marine Resources Committee ... and the Agricultural Resources Committee ... and CDPD, which all overlap anyway. We might as well refer to the whole lot of them as the Marine Agricultural CDPD Friends Economic Development Grant Conglomeration.

Everyone seems to be clued into this game by now, but our County Council always seems to be a step behind our fecund grant machine. Within the last few days, for example, our Council was surprised to learn of a new grant involving our County that will “assess and advance protection of shoreline resources.”

We're a participant in a grant about shorelines, a pretty hot topic these days, and the Council doesn't even know about it? During the grant discussion, Council Chair Miller even wondered aloud how many more grants the County had applied for, and who might have applied for them? Considering that Council members often say we need to pass the CAOs because, without them, we are missing out on "millions" in grants and loans, wouldn't you think they might have a better handle on our grant situation? ... since they talk about it so much? ... since they say we've lost millions? ... since the Council is supposed to set budgets and policy for the County?

It would certainly appear that our Council has no control over our grant economy and has been talking out of its ear with respect to lost grant funding. It doesn't know how much we have, so it can't know how much we've lost either. A couple of things are clear though: grants are important to the Council, and the CAOs protect the environment for grants more than they protect the ecological environment or the citizens of this county.

Too bad the name "Grant County" is already taken because it would be a fitting name for us.

1 comment:

  1. The Council is uninformed about what it has, where it is going, what the revised CAO means, and the Marine Agricultural CDPD FRIENDS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND NONPROFIT LEGAL FOUNDATION Grant Corporation is too compart-mental to communicate with one another much less the County. The Council and staff are infamous for missing grant opportunities relating to water quality and famous for missing grants in hand because their too busy worrying about buffers and imaginary problems. We should put the Council in a dumb bell and lower them 1200 feet to the bottom of Haro Strait and Juan de Fuca and San Juan Channel for that matter, then we'll interview each of the separately and see if they can name any of the abundant marine life present. And they think there's a problem. And Janet Alderton thinks the homes we live in are "clutter". Beam me up Scotty; this is a very strange world indeed.