The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tax-Payer Funded Political Rally?


City and state officials are demanding answers after a taxpayer funded arts group presented a forum on "Defeating the Right Wing in Texas" and referring to conservatism as 'legalized hate,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reported today.

The controversial Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, receives $100,000 a year from the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs. They receive additional taxpayer funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The funding is supposed to be for the promotion of arts activities.

Although Esperanza mailings prominently promote the agency's use of taxpayer money, the presentation by feminist activist Suzanne Pharr had nothing to do with arts, and was clearly political.


The seminar promises that attendees will 'learn to combat the discriminating and divisive policies being proposed here in Texas,' and features a photograph of Pharr superimposed over the words 'hate, fear, homophobia, sexism, racism.'

First, there's no confirmation yet that the money spent on Pharr was grant money. The fact that Esperanza had the poor judgement to promote their use of taxpayer money on the mailings though should raise some eyebrows though. And if the Esperanza Center did use taxpayer money for this seminar, they should lose any and all public funding they receive.