Broward County taxpayers will be footing the bill for a month of Haitian Cultural Heritage after Commissioner Chip LaMarca (R-?) voted for a motion made by Commissioner Dale Holness on Tuesday. The motion calls for $15,000 in taxpayer dollars to be allocated to the Community Access Center, Inc “in support of Haitian Cultural Heritage Month, May 2013″. The taxpayers will also provide $1,700 worth of mailing and web site design services.
According to state records, Commissioner Holness is the vice president of the Miramar-based Community Access Center, Inc. (CACFL). The group’s website reveals itself to be little more than a clearinghouse for dozens of government programs and handouts. Among the services offered by the CACFL are Medicaid, food stamps, free HIV testing, free pregnancy tests and services, voter registration, and immigration services. The group says its mission is “to assist individuals and families with access to culturally competent, cost effective social and clinical services to ensure their needs are met and improves their quality of life.”
So why would Republican Chip LaMarca go along with a plan to hand over $15,000 is this liberal group?
During discussion regarding the motion, various commissioners voiced genuine concerns regarding the resolution. Commissioner Lois Wexler made the observation there needs to be “accountability” for the money. Holness promised a budget would be forthcoming, but nothing was mentioned in his motion. Even Commissioner Stacy Ritter questioned the request. She stated that when she was serving in the state legislature, projects like this were referred to as “pork”. Ritter said when she wanted to support a Martin Luther King event in Coral Springs she used funds from her office budget. Holness said he doesn’t have money in his budget because he must employ a large staff. Commissioner Sue Gunzberger worried this project was a “slippery-slope”.
LaMarca droned on about supporting “cultural tourism” and wondered if the money would be better spent by the government tourism bureau. Not once did he mention taxpayers. No, his default position was to give it to another government entity. In the end, LaMarca, the former chairman of the Broward Republican Party, voted to give Holness the money.
Commissioner Holness flippantly remarked “With a county budget of 3.2 billion dollars, it seems that we should be able to find the money for this…” It is unlikely that most Broward County taxpayers would agree with his sentiment.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, Holness’ motion passed.