Hidden Agenda - The Way federal CDBG Money is Being Used Locally


Following is a letter submitted to the Jonesboro Sun by Iris Stevens and printed today, December 12, 2012 on page A 4.  Hidden Agenda is the title the paper gave the letter. You may want to find out how the CDBG money is being spent in your area.


Hidden Agenda


The Jonesboro City Council city council approved the 2013 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan on Dec 4th.  Following is the way most of the federal CDBG grant of $677,150.00 to Jonesboro for 2013 is allocated:


$105,000 on administrative costs (bureaucracy), $130,000 on a rehabilitating and expanding the Hispanic center; another $10,000 for "Hispanic community outreach, bilingual phone line, translation services, and job placement;" $100,000 on a community market place with this example:  "the Hispanic Community will use Jonesboro T.O.W.N. Market to sell their tamales," $15,000 for the Foundation of Arts; and $50,000 for a Playground in North Jonesboro.


Another $37,500 is allocated for North Jonesboro Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative with this description:  "Funds will be used for the AmeriCorps, cooking utensils; and food for the 'Cooking Matters' class, NJNI documentary, ASU CARE office costs, Job training and development,  community outreach,  exercise equipment for Healthy Futures Strategy, travel and training for the NJNI Coordinator, and membership dues."


The above allocations include $447,500 of the $677,150.00 federal grant for 2013.


I don't know if the city council members know what was in this 47-page document or if they were told the same thing the Jonesboro Sun reported, i.e., "The CDBG program targets activities that benefit low-to moderate-income families, eliminate slum and blight, and revitalize impoverished neighborhoods."


The average citizen of Jonesboro would name many other things that would be more beneficial for citizens than the spending allocations listed above, especially since our debt limit is almost 17 trillion, and we are borrowing money from China to spend on these things.  Is there any wonder that citizens don't trust their government?  Is this what neighborhood revitalization means - redistributing the wealth to foreign-born residents, cooking classes, and exercise equipment?


The following two quotes are found in the 2013 Action Plan: "These projects were selected after careful consideration of the City of Jonesboro's needs in relation to HUD's national objectives," and "The City of Jonesboro continues to place major emphasis on HUD's Priority goals of Housing, Neighborhood Revitalization."   It is clear that our taxes are being used to satisfy HUD's goal and objectives not the objectives of the citizens of Jonesboro.


Perhaps readers would like to discuss these expenditures with the city council members and urge them to read the Jonesboro Vision 2030 plan that incorporates many of the same ideas as listed in this 2013 Action Plan and in UN Agenda 21 - before they vote on that 700-page document early next year.


Iris Stevens




 “Approved the 2013 Community Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan and proposed budget showing how the city will use the estimated $677,150 in federal funds next year."  Jonesboro Sun, “Grant designation Sparks Agenda 21 debate” by Karin Hill Dec. 5, 2012


Link to article that details allocations from 2013 CDBG Action Plan in table form: http://www.wpaag.org/agenda_21_cdbg_grant_expenditure.htm OR at this link for the original 2013 document http://jonesboro.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=aac7fa08-26b9-4471-9483-e102ed650f10.pdf see page 40 for administration costs, $104, 668 rounded to $105,000; page 23 for the 130,000 to Hispanic Center;  page 27 for another $10,000 to Hispanic Community Service; page 39 for  $100,000 for community market place, page 34 for $15,000 to  Foundation of Arts;  page 25 for $50,000 for playground; and page 33 for the $37,500 for the North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative


Link to funds of $37,500 details on cooking utensils, etc. page 33 of 2013 CDBG Action Plan



Link to tamales quote: page 39 of 2013 CDBG Action Plan at this link:  http://jonesboro.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=aac7fa08-26b9-4471-9483-e102ed650f10.pdf



 Posted December 12, 2012