Support The Human Relations Commission

OCBlog’s Matt Cunningham posted this evening a link to former OCRegister Edtiorial writer John Seiler’s blog where Seiler supports Cunningham’s contention that funding for the Human Relations Commission should be eliminated.

OCBlog is right: Cut tax money going to the Human Relations Commission. Let it be merged into the private Human Relations Council. Both are run by Rusty Kennedy. OCBlog notes:

County government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing county taxpayers to shell out for “Living Room Dialogs” and “Latino-Muslim Community Exchanges.” Let the Human Relations Council run such programs on freely given dimes.

I remember going to a presentation Kennedy gave to those attending a local Democratic Party convention a couple of years ago. He put up a bunch of pictures and asked people to identify which was white, Latino, black, man, woman, homosexual, etc. The point was that the pictures sort of could be one or another, so we were supposed to see that appearances often aren’t the same as reality. It was 1960s-style sensitivity training.

Tax dollars shouldn’t fund such nonsense.

In short John, they really aren’t.

The Board of Supervisors since the 1970′s has supported the mission of the Human Relations Commission.  Since 1992, that mission has been implemented by the privately funded Orange County Human Relations Council.

Matt Cunningham has for the past week or so assailed what he calls the left-wing agenda of Commission/Council Executive Director Rusty Kennedy.  As usual, Matt doesn’t have his facts straight. 

The Board of Supervisors, along with the Orange County League of Cities, appoints the members of the Orange County Human Relations Commission.  The members of that Commission set the objectives and goals that are facilitated by the funds raised by the Human Relations Council.  Yes, staff of the Orange County Human Relations Commission do engage in activities that support the mission, goals, and objectives established by the commission.  That support however is a far cry from taxpayer funds being solely responsible for the programs offered by the Human Relations Council.

The Orange County Human Relations Commission fosters community understanding, communication, and partnership.  There is no greater role that government can serve than to support such enhancement of our commmunities. This role is one which has been supported by the Orange County Board of Supervisors for decades, and our community has been well served by their support of the Human Relations Commission.

The Board, should continue its support of the Human Relations Commission.

  10 comments for “Support The Human Relations Commission

  1. Jubal
    June 25, 2007 at 6:24 am

    Chris:

    “As usual, Matt doesn’t have his facts straight’?

    And which facts do I have wrong?

    Your post, on the other hand, is a circular argument with a straw man or two thrown in for good measure.

    And your not exactly correct in stating the Human Relations Council is is “privately funded.” They recieve a small percentage of their funds — about $75,000 I believe — from a number of OC cities.

    Just want you to have your facts straight.

  2. June 25, 2007 at 6:58 am

    So Matt,

    Just so we have our facts straight…

    $75,000 is about 4.2% of the Human Relations Council budget. I amend my previous statement to 95.8% privately funded.

    In your post of June 20, 2007 you claim “Rusty receives a county salary of $131,000 as E.D. of the Commission.” I dont know where you get that figure, but it is not correct. Individual salaries of County personnel are not usually included any reports. However, I did ask and his salary isn’t even close to that amount.

    You stated in the same post…

    The Council has proven itself more than capable of raising $1.5 million or more a year to fund programs that aren’t legitimate government functions. County government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing county taxpayers to shell out for “Living Room Dialogs” and “Latino-Muslim Community Exchanges.”

    The county doesn’t pay for the programs you cited. Those programs are paid for by funds raised by the Human Relations Council. The Board of Supervisors has set and approved the mission of the Human Relations Commission “To Build mutual understanding among residents and to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.”

    In 1971, the Orange County Board of Supervisors in collaboration with the League of Cities created the Orange County Human Relations Commission. Over the last 34 years, Orange County has changed dramatically, transitioning from a predominately white suburban community to a diverse urban county.

    Of the more than 3 million residents. Two thirds of the students in Orange County K-12 schools are ethnic minorities. This rapid demographic change underscores the need for an effective human relations organization. The Commission is governed by 11 Commissioners appointed by the Board of Supervisors and the League of Cities, and administered by the Orange County Housing Community Services Department.

    Matt, the work the Human Relations Commission does to build mutual understanding among residents and to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination 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.

    Matt, in your comment you say; “Your post, on the other hand, is a circular argument with a straw man or two thrown in for good measure.

    I see a pattern here Matt, every time you can’t effectively disput my argument you simply say it is circular or straw man. Hmmmm.

    I think I’ve got my facts straight, as well as yours.

  3. Aunt Millie
    June 25, 2007 at 7:35 am

    I remain confused about the Council/Commission distinction. I’m guessing that the two entities are set up so that the County can give money to one without violating the Constitutional prohibition against gifts of public funds while the non-profit is established to receive a share of CDBG money that can go to non-profits as well as making corporate gifts tax-deductible. The two agencies then share staff and all of the money can be leveraged to maximum effect.

    Is that about right? Maybe the Council of the Commission needs to hire one of those high-powered public relations companies to communicate their message better.

  4. June 25, 2007 at 7:49 am

    Not quite that complicated. As I understand it…

    The Commission defines the mission and objectives, Because the County wants the private sector and other entities (such as cities) to fund the implementatiton of that mission and objectives, the Council, is set up as the lead entity to implemeent that function. Staff providing support for the commission, correctly support the implementation of the Commission objectives by overseeing, and supporting the functions of the Council to unity the structure and ensure that it is the Commission’s objectives that are implemented.

  5. Matt
    June 25, 2007 at 8:32 am

    In your post of June 20, 2007 you claim “Rusty receives a county salary of $131,000 as E.D. of the Commission.” I dont know where you get that figure, but it is not correct.

    I got that from the county. Unless you think they don’t have their facts straight.

    You’re right — the county doesn’t pay for those programs. The Commission and Council are so intertwined, I misstated that.

    County taxpayers basically pay for Rusty and two staffers to run the Council. I’m only asking that taxpayers not be tapped for any of that bill, and the Council pursue its agenda entirely on non-taxpayer money.

  6. Jubal
    June 25, 2007 at 8:48 am

    It should be noted that the Human Relations Commission Annual Report makes virtually no distinction between itself and the Council. It treats them as a single entity — OC Human Relations. So my error is understandable.

  7. June 25, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Matt,
    Your source on Mr. Kennedy’s salary is wrong. The maximum salary for his job classification is tens of thousands of dollars less.

    Posted on my break from my Motorola Q.

  8. Jubal
    June 25, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I’ll have to let the County CE0′s office know that.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    June 25, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Egad, “straw man” and “red herrings” aside, Chris has a credible argument here, but rather than plahy the old high school debate team drill of arguing your opponent’s strategy, you just dismiss it.

    On Sunday, the Register ran a page one article on the hundreds fo millions of dollars that Hollywood spends in OC; yet the BOS cut the rather modest funding the OC Film Commission agency has to help attract studios and film shoots here.

    The argument for and against the HRC is the same as the argument for and against the Film Commission.

    I think the central point in both of these cases Matt, is that government programs you support should be funded but government programs you don’t support shouldn’t be. And in this case, its your priorities that dictate your logic. My priorities are different.

  10. Jubal
    June 25, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Dan:

    It’s not some relativistic, we-just-have-different-priorities argument about funding. There are a few things government should be doing, and many things it shouldn’t. Funding tourism councils, film commissions and human relations commissions are among the latter. Sometimes it seems as though liberals like yourself believe the world will stop turning unless there is some government bureaucrat or minder inserted into every aspect of human activity.

    I asked the County CEO’s office how much the county fund the HR Commission this budget. I asked for it to be broken down into salaries & benefits, supplies & services. I also asked what Rusty’s salary was. I was given all that information.

    Chris’ response is that it can’t be true. Then he can take that up with the CEO’s office if he thinks they are lying.

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