Cunningham/Greenhut wrong about Human Relations Commission

Matt CunninghamIn a post on the right-wing-nut RedCounty/OCBlog Matt Cunningham/Jubal criticizes the Orange County Board of Supervisors for their tentative decision to continue funding for the Orange County Human Relations Commission (HRC).

The Board of Supervisors this week decided in a 4-1 straw vote to continue tapping OC taxpayers to bankroll the HRC. Only Supervisor John Moorlach voted “no.”
This vote isn’t just maintaining the status quo. This is a step backward.

Cunningham went on to say…

There was an expectation among OC conservatives that Moorlach would continue Silva’s opposition to funding the HRC, and new Supervisor Pat Bates’ would provide the third vote to finally scrape this barnacle off the S.S. Taxpayer. Pat campaigned as the conservative in the 5th District race last year. What is conservative about funding the HRC, I don’t know.

OCHRC LogoWell, let me clear up the first bit of B.S. that Cunningham threw into the middle of the room.  The Board of Supervisors hardly bankrolls the Human Relations Commission.  The Board provides a small percentage of the funding for the Commissions projects.  The vast majority of the funding for the HRC programs comes from private donations.  Far from bankrolling the Commission, the Board through their limited funding of the commission, facilitates the public/private partnership that conservatives have touted as a model role for Orange County government for years.

It is interesting that Matt brings up Moorlach’s no vote on funding.  Moorlach had no problem showing up for his free meal at the recent Human Relations Commission Awards Banquet.

In his post Matt misrepresents the programs offered by the Human Relations Commission by trying to pick out what he felt was the weakest program of the Commission.  That program happens to be the Mediation Program. This program, staffed by 50 volunteer mediators, helped over 1200 people resolve their disputes rather than pursue litigation.

Matt goes on to rant…

If Rusty Kennedy and the rest of the HRC crew want to hold Living Room Dialogues and implement other touchy-feely programs, do it with money freely donated by people who want more touchy-feely program. But they should ask the Board of Supervisors to pick taxpayers pockets on their behalf, and the Board of Supervisors should oblige them.

Mediations 2006

Steven GreenhutSteven Greenhut of the Orange County Register opines on Orange Punch

Do we really need government officials managing our human relations? Obviously not. So why is the county continuing to fund the Human Relations Commission? The commission is run with a decidedly left-wing political agenda… Furthermore, the commission gets plenty of private funding. And the commission has some totalitarian tendencies — once, commission members monitored the Web site of a council candidate. We don’t need government-funded censors or thought police.

Perhaps the real reason these guys oppose funding for the Human Relations Commission is because they really don’t want anyone to monitor such things as hate crimes in Orange County.  They would rather be able to say “There aren’t any hate crimes in Orange County, that’s a myth promoted by left-wing do-gooders.”  Or maybe they don’t want police departments to understand the diversity of the communities they secure.  From Greenhut’s perspective, everyone knows that all Muslims are fanatics and/or terrorists, so why should we take time to understand our cultural differences.

Hate Crime Stats

The Board of Supervisors is wise to continue support for the good work that is facilitated by the public/private partnership they have helped foster through the Human Relations Commission.  They should not listen to those, like Cunningham and Greenhut, who believe that society’s problems should not be addressed with the support of government and are best solved by not addressing them at all. Here is the link to the 2006 Human Relations Commission Annual Report.

I think Cunningham and Greenhut still believe that the County should provide the Boy Scouts with free use of public lands for their activities.

The Newport Sea Base is located on 400 feet of beautiful waterfront in Newport Beach, California. The site is provided courtesy of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and operated by the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America.  A shining example of what a privately funded and publicly accessible facility can do, the Newport Sea Base counts an overall attendance of more than 20,000 per year.

Why aren’t they demanding that the Board of Supervisors ask for market rate rent for this facility?  We know they have the money, they can spend thousands of dollars for their chief executive to travel to Key West for 8 days of golfing and fishing Okay, where’s the outrage?.

That reminds me Matt and Steven…

We've Waited 9 Days

  13 comments for “Cunningham/Greenhut wrong about Human Relations Commission

  1. Jubal
    June 17, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Your straw man arguments aside Chris, if the HRC is such a vital organization, they can continue their work with 100% private, voluntary funding — without tapping the taxpayers.

  2. June 17, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Based upon your response, you’ve got nothing Matt.

    The Human Relations Commission leverages the $300,000 in funding it recieves to raise the additional funding necessary to deliver the services it offers.

    So what about the Boy Scouts Matt? Why is it okay for them to receive what would certainly be close to $100,000 or more in rent from the Board of Sups for their Sea Base, when they seem to have enough money to fund a vacation in paradise for their chief executive and an un-named board member. Based upon your argument, shouldn’t they be able to raise those funds through “private, voluntary funding — without tapping the taxpayers?”

  3. Jubal
    June 18, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Scout executives went overboard at their conference in the Florida Keys, and you stretch that to mean taxpayers should be forced to subsidize the HRC?

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    June 18, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Why not Matt? My taxes subsidize a war I don’t support, statewide special elections sought for by Republicans when they can’t win at the regular ballot box-scheduled election day, and excessive office redecorating by our county BOS. The BOS spent more to refurbish their offices with new stuff than than HRC gets and one could argue there are real tangible results to the work of the HRC that may taxpayer dollars a good long term investment.

  5. Jubal
    June 18, 2007 at 8:25 am

    In the past, my taxes have gone to subsidize wars i don’t support like Haiti — but i don’t question that providing for the common defense is a legitimate, fundamental governmental purpose — even if I thought that specific policy did nothing to provide for the common defense.

    The Supes’ office redecorations were excessively expensive — but opposing them doesn’t mean one thinks they should have furnished offices.

    But that is far different from local government using taxpayers money to fund Rusty Kennedy’s social activism — and that’s essentially what this amounts to. It’s not a legitimate government purpose. The Sea Base and supervisor redecorations are red herring arguments. Abolish the Human Relations Commission and let Rusty do his thing as head of the Human Relations Council and its $1.5 million budget.

  6. Aunt Millie
    June 18, 2007 at 9:04 am

    In my conception of good government, I’m always very impressed by any government program that can use relatively small amounts of money to harness the contributions of volunteers.

    I’m happy to see my tax money spent on both the Sea Base and the Human Rights Commission. I’m sure this money is better spent than corresponding amounts spent on sherriffs, courts, jails and the incredible boondoggle of the California Prison system.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    June 18, 2007 at 10:47 am

    Matt —
    The sups could have shopped at a number of “used” office furniture places. Lots fo great stuff there. And if it has to be new, it could have been IKEA.

    But back to the matter at hand; the president’s entire faith-based initiative was about using taxpayer dollars to fund social activism. And its not a red herring to bring up stuff like this just because it doesn’t fit in with your argument.

  8. Jubal
    June 18, 2007 at 11:40 am


    It’s a red herring because you guys don’t seem to want to talk about the matter at hand, which is the HRC. Instead, you throw in a lot of issues I never brought up. Please try sticking to the subject.

  9. June 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    We are talking about the issue at hand. Read the initial post again.

    I raised the question as to why you feel it is Okay to give publicly funded support to the Boy Scouts and not the HRC. You disagree with the mission of the HRC and I disagree with the anti-gay, non-secular agenda of the Boy Scouts. If it is okay to give support to the Scouts then providing funding to the HRC which is then leveraged to raise more than $1 million in private funding to support better understanding in the Orange County community of the diversity of ethnicity and religion should also be supported.

    You seem to have a problem with the taxpayers supporting initiatives you disagree with, but no problem at all with taxpayer support for initiatives you agree with. This is not a red herring, this is an inconsistency in your position that seems to me to be a double standard.

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    June 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Matt – The HRC does good work with minimal taxpayer investment; your argument “nickel and dime” the work they do. Its an investment that pays for itself by helping different groups of people understand each other and with understanding comes tolerance.

    I aree with Chris here; you have no problem with tax dollars being spent on things that matter to you

  11. pee-wee league
    June 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    “Red herring”? “Straw man”? Yawn . . . Reading Jubal’s comments is like listening to a junior varsity high school debate team. I

  12. Jubal
    June 18, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Its an investment that pays for itself by helping different groups of people understand each other and with understanding comes tolerance.

    And just how do you measure that one?

    And why can’t they hold hands and dialogue on freely-donated dimes?

    I aree with Chris here; you have no problem with tax dollars being spent on things that matter to you

    Isn’t it fortunate you two are here to do my thinking for me.

    However, you are wrong again. Chris keeps trying to turn the conversation to the Boy Scouts. The county isn’t funding the Boy Scouts. It is funding the HRC. Chris’ contention the HRC is “leveraging” the county susbidy to raise private funds is a canard. The HR Council has been around for more than 15 years. It raises $1.5 million a year. I think its about time they were weaned off the taxpayer teat and start footing the bill for the Rusty Kennedy’s salary/benefits (and his two staffers) themselves.

    I don’t have a problem funding government’s proper functions. Mediating someone’s dispute with their mechanic or putting together Latino-Muslim dialogues just isn’t government’s business, no matter how arm and fuzzy it makes you guys feel.

  13. June 18, 2007 at 11:14 pm


    Chris keeps trying to turn the conversation to the Boy Scouts. The county isn’t funding the Boy Scouts… The HR Council has been around for more than 15 years. It raises $1.5 million a year. I think its about time they were weaned off the taxpayer teat and start footing the bill for the Rusty Kennedy’s salary/benefits (and his two staffers) themselves.

    Q. What exactly do you call the free use of 400 feet of harbor front property on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach?

    A. Public funding of the Boy Scouts.

    The OC Boy Scouts Council has been around 86 years, and they raise millions of dollars every year, $19 million in 2005. Over the past three years, the Boy Scouts Council’s net assets – what the organization is worth after subtracting its debts – climbed 41 percent, from $27.8 million to $39.2 million.

    So let’s use your logic here Matt; I think its about time they were weaned off the taxpayer teat and start footing the bill and pay the County market rate to use the Sea Base facility in Newport Beach.

    Matt, the work HRC does to facilitate mediation of conflicts, and establish dialogues between the diverse communities of Orange County is indeed the proper function of government. As the Preamble to the United States Constitution states

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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