Friday, December 1, 2006


A few years ago, I spent about a week living aboard at a marina in Connecticut. The folks who docked there all season were upset about the future new management of the marina, who were going to take away the convenient soda vending machine located near the convenient shower facilities. In fact, they were concerned that these new owners were going to take away the shower facilities. A couple of the live-aboards, including a year-rounder who worked as a harbor pilot, laughed this controversy off as ridiculous. "Sure," he mused over a gin-tonic, "That soda machine is convenient, well-stocked with plenty of ginger ale and other mixers, including the cola that cures hangovers when applied correctly. But the new management isn't taking over until next season. What's the foul? Plus, those lubbers can pick up whatever pop they drink at the convenience store on the way home."
Well, up here in the Commonwealth where I find myself docked, the current management has decided to take away somebody's soda machine. Let me explain: Mitt Romney, the current lame-duck Governor of Massachusetts, has slashed funding to a wide range of programs, using his "9-C powers" (which may or may not be constitutional). War memorials, healthcare, safety, housing, the arts. Look here. (It's the site.) Maybe he's trying to punish the voters who didn't vote for his hand-picked successor in the last election. Maybe he thinks Americans are so stupid that they'll elect him President in '08. Maybe he's trying to get the Massachusetts legislature to reconvene and get one last ditch effort to put the gay marriage ban on the ballot so some people who don't understand Constitutional democracy can use their supposed rights to deny the rights of others.
The local media tends to stay fixated on the simple cuts, like local theaters, development offices, and war memorials.
The fearful and incurious use this as an opportunity to bash nonprofits. Those knuckledraggers claim they don't want their tax money going to arts they can't understand. "If them artsy-fartsy thee-ay-ters and museums can't stay open, it's "cuz they don't appeal to mass audiences." In the SouthCoast, some people really believe that (a) the grants that arts programs receive come directly out of their pockets, and (b) those artsy-fartsy types are failing, and shouldn't be rewarded for failure, and thus shouldn't get those moneys.
Here's a sloppy little math lesson: Let's use the New Bedford Art Museum as an example. They'll lose $50,000 if Romney's cuts stand. If there are (2004 numbers here) 2,660,046 taxpayers in Massachusetts (yeah, I know, that's federal taxpayers, but stay with me here), each of them gave 1.87 cents to NBAM.
So don't start whining to me that they're taking money out of your pockets. 1.9 cents isn't money. Not compared to the $3 NBAM entrance fee. Or free if you're a member. Or anyone can get in for FREE on AHA! night, the second Thursday of every month. (They let in 150 people free on a slow AHA! so that's NBAM paying two staff people for 4 hours so 150 people can see the place for free.) And you wanna not give them 2 cents? Because you don't understand watercolor paintings? Or watercolor isn't popular enough?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
(Oh, by the way, the new management at that marina got new soda vending machines.)

"At Dusk" by Mike Mazer, courtesy American Society of Marine Artists. See Mike's scenes of New Bedford at NBAM through December 31.


Dr. Momentum said...

Some people are morons. And I have very little else to say about the matter.

Some of those people even get to be governor for a while.

karie said...

Glad you care about all of the MA organizations affected by the current Governor's manuever.

That money had been "promised" in June (it applied State FY '07 = July 1, 2006 through June 30, most organizations were already well-into "spending" it as promised to be reimbursed.)

To then yank it in November - is just thoughtless, inconsiderate, selfish and plain LOW DOWN!

This man could care less about our society...spread the word - lest he get a hold on the '08 presidential election.

Could someone wreck our country worse than G.W.Bush?!