From: Caroline Koebel (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 10 2009 - 07:45:20 PST
Thanks for posting this news. To imagine that Diane Feinstein of California
and Charles Schumer of New York actually voted to freeze the arts out of the
Economic Stimulus Package is, as you already know too well, simply absurd. I
just contacted Schumerıs office in DC (phone number: 202-224-6542) to voice
my anger and inability to comprehend Schumerıs logic given that just one
obvious argument is that NYC is a global tourist hotspot because of its arts
and culture. It took a while to get through, but I did eventually speak to a
real person who assured me that the Senator is notified about every single
constituent who contacts his office to demand that he reverse his vote.
For those Frameworkers in relevant states, including California and New
York, contact your congresspersons now about this urgent matter! Caroline
On 2/9/09 11:32 AM, "Shelly Silver" <email suppressed> wrote:
> dear frameworkers living in the US:
> now might be a good time to make your opinions known in any way we can.
> here's one way:
> FEINSTEIN JOINS SENATE MAJORITY IN EXCLUDING ARTS FROM STIMULUS PACKAGE
> by Mike Boehm
> February 8, 2009
> Maybe the arts just aren't that stimulating. At least that seems to be the
> sense of the U.S. Senate -- including California Democrat Diane Feinstein, who
> joined a wide majority Friday in passing an amendment "to ensure that taxpayer
> money is not lost on wasteful and non-stimulative projects" such as funding
> museums, theaters and art centers.
> Americans for the Arts, which has been fighting for a crumb or two of the
> federal economic stimulus package to land on the table of nonprofit arts
> organizations, reported that its side took a drubbing to the tune of 73 votes
> to 24. The arts advocacy and lobbying organization labeled the amendment to
> the Senate's $827-billion stimulus proposal "egregious" in its exclusion of
> "any ... museum, theater [or] art center" from sharing in the bailout. At
> least the arts are in popular company: Also excluded are any "gambling
> establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, community park ...
> and highway beautification project."
> Americans for the Arts notes that among those voting for Muskogee, Okla.,
> Republican Tom Coburn's amendment to freeze out the arts were, "surprisingly,"
> Feinstein, Charles Schumer of New York, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Russ
> Feingold of Wisconsin. California's other senator, Barbara Boxer, voted
> against the amendment.
> Americans for the Arts is organizing an e-mail campaign in hopes of erasing
> Coburn's amendment from the final draft of the stimulus bill that will be
> worked out between conferees from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
> The House version of the stimulus bill includes $50 million in direct grants
> to the arts, to be allocated via the National Endowment for the Arts. If
> you're keeping score, $50 million is about one seventeen-thousandth of $827
> The arts organization and other advocates also are planning to run ads with
> the slogan "Arts = Jobs" this week in political journals.
> The role call can be found here <http://tinyurl.com/ahux4n>
> Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times
> CONGRESS NEEDS TO PASS A CULTURAL JOBS BILL
> by Christopher Knight
> February 5, 2009
> Congress is closing in on the down payment of a huge spending package,
> designed to create jobs to ward off double-digit unemployment and begin a
> revival of the tanking U.S. economy. So here is a modest proposal: The federal
> government - which means you and I - should pump $62 billion into the nation's
> nonprofit cultural infrastructure.
> Yes, that's billion-with-a-b, not million-with-an-m.
> Forget about the silly dickering over an anemic $50-million boost for the
> National Endowment for the Arts. About 100,000 nonprofit arts groups operate
> in the 50 states. Collectively they employ almost 6 million people. Crisis is
> a time for boldness, not timidity, and few recall an economic crisis quite
> like this one. So art museums, symphonies, theaters, dance companies and other
> cultural centers should get a huge infusion of funds.
> Apparently the money is there, waiting to be spent. The question is what to
> spend it on. The Obama administration has given stimulus plans two goals: to
> create jobs that move money into and through the faltering economy, and to do
> it in ways that benefit the citizenry. In both instances, I vote for ballet,
> not bombs.
> That simple, stark distinction is how I came up with my arbitrary cultural
> funding figure. Separate from stimulus plans, Boeing and Lockheed Martin have
> been angling for $62 billion to maintain funding for production of their F-22
> Raptor fighter plane, and it looks like they might get it - even though the
> weapon, conceived during the Cold War, is irrelevant to current U.S. security
> requirements. The Raptor is a fine machine, designed in the 1980s to guarantee
> American Air Force superiority over the Soviet MiG-40. You may have noticed,
> however, that the Soviet Union disappeared about 20 years ago. Yet the costly
> Raptor program lumbers on.
> President Obama must decide by March 1 on its continuation. Lawrence Korb,
> assistant Defense secretary in the Reagan administration and a widely
> respected national security analyst, has described the F-22 as "the most
> unnecessary weapons system being built by the Pentagon." Defense Secretary
> Robert M. Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, has been critical of
> its usefulness and cost.
> Yet that hasn't stopped 46 senators, led by Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Patty
> Murray (D-Wash.), senior legislators in the states that primarily build the
> thing, from signing a letter to the president urging F-22 continuation in the
> 2010 budget. So have more than 150 representatives in the House. According to
> Congressional Quarterly, the old pitch that the airplane is a security demand
> has been gilded with a new one: An ad campaign <http://tinyurl.com/ch5swm>
> says the F-22 is now essential to stave off unemployment in a collapsing
> The deal will cost the government more than $650,000 per job, which seems
> rather pricey. It's a make-work scam for the military-industrial complex,
> which President Eisenhower warned 50 years ago would eventually sink the
> By contrast, jobs at stake in the nonprofit cultural sector dwarf those
> assigned to the fighter plane. The letter to Obama says ...
> ... the F-22 provides $12 billion annually in national economic activity
> through 25,000 jobs in 44 states, as well as another 70,000 that are
> indirectly affected by the program. Meanwhile, the national lobbying group
> Americans for the Arts says the country's 5.7-million workers in the nonprofit
> culture industry contribute $166 billion to the annual economy.
> Here's one example of how jobs-stimulus money could be productively spent on
> cultural infrastructure. Ever since it opened a quarter-century ago, the
> former warehouse space in Little Tokyo operated by L.A.'s Museum of
> Contemporary Art has been universally acclaimed as a superlative exhibition
> venue. The successful adaptive reuse even became a model for other admired
> projects, including London's Tate Modern and New York's Dia: Beacon.
> Yet MOCA's aging warehouse has problems. The absence of museum-quality climate
> controls limits the long-term display of art from the permanent collection, as
> well as the short-term loan of art from other museums. Curatorial
> support-space is inadequate, visitor services minimal. As is, optimum
> potential will never be reached.
> MOCA estimates the upgrade cost at about $20 million. The rehab would create
> and retain construction jobs, directly as well as indirectly from suppliers;
> ensure future levels of museum employment; and add permanent infrastructure
> value to the cultural landscape.
> Now, multiply that by 100,000. I suspect every one of America's nonprofits has
> at least one unfunded project that it would like to get going -
> "shovel-ready," as it were, even if the job doesn't involve bricks and mortar.
> A program tour, say, or a schools program. A big-ticket job like MOCA's could
> get individual scrutiny, but merit review for all of them is hardly practical;
> so how would funds for a cultural infrastructure stimulus package be allotted?
> One way might be to use an institution's most recent IRS statement of
> endowment funds or operating budget as a percentage yardstick, with minimum
> standards for stimulus expenditures. (Trust, then verify later.) An endowment
> or operating ceiling could be established, exempting wealthy outfits with
> substantial resources even in times of economic hardship. (The Metropolitan
> Museum and the Getty don't need stimulus.) For arts groups that operate
> without an endowment, minimum allocations could be established. Eligible
> organizations could be limited to those founded five or more years ago,
> guaranteeing basic institutional stability.
> Since concert halls, theaters, literary salons and other arts organizations
> have different operating structures, other jobs-funding methods are surely
> possible. But for those that accept stimulus funds, socially beneficial
> strings could also be attached - say, eliminating admission fees to visit the
> permanent collection of a tax-exempt museum, or lowering ticket prices for
> performing arts. That would make stimulus a twofer: Cultural opportunities
> would expand for anyone who wants to participate, a boon during a time of
> spiraling unemployment and pinching pennies.
> Sounds good - but do I really think a beneficial cultural stimulus package has
> a snowball's chance in Hades of happening? No. How about that wasteful F-22
> funding? Yes; in fact I'll be shocked if it doesn't.
> Why? Because ever since a bunch of farmers, merchants and other
> small-businesspeople fought the American Revolution against the East India
> Company and its nominal CEO, King George III, corporations have been the
> nation's primary obstacle to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They
> still are.
> Culture is all about pursuing happiness, so even in a crisis it barely stands
> a chance. If you doubt it, ask the Wall Street bankers who have gotten
> hundreds of billions in bailouts and bonuses - and stand to get more. Then ask
> your senator or representative, who can't get elected without them.
> Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times
> __________________________________________________________________ For info on
> FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.