Tuesday, November 03, 2009

halloween is for *kids*

i'd post a couple of h'ween pics from the party on saturday but, uh, they are not appropriate for public consumption.

note to self: just because the open bar closes in 20 minutes does not mean that BOTH hands must hold pints of Gumball. nor does it mean that, at the next bar, one must switch from beer to jameson.

highlight of the night? overhearing a girlfriend's boyfriend murmur, 'you know, i actually like how i feel wearing a dress' and watching a girlfriend take a photo of M-'s spandex-clad crotch.

sorry the posting has been so undergrad-y, lately. i haven't even read a newspaper in a few weeks; there are elections going on?? some gov't relations hack i am. but work, as usual, is kicking my ass. tomorrow i take the metra out to the end of the Milwaukee West line to pitch a conservative GOP congressman on why he should include my org on his list of appropriations. (yeah, that means pork!) it'll be the third such meeting - which means i'm submitting 3 proposals to 3 different offices for earmarks.

when folks get upset about 'pork' it's really clear they have NO frakking clue what it takes to get it. it's literally a crap shoot - especially if you're not a hostpital, museum, research facility, university or loaded with juiced up Board members and/or lobbyists/consultants. you talk to a staffer, you pitch your org, you gauge their interest and then you fire a short proposal into the air and if it lands, you sometimes don't know.

if you're lucky enough to actually get through the district staffer then you have to get through the DC staffer, who'll be creating the list for the congressman/senator to review and approve. and then, if you make that round, you might not make the final list before they have to submit to the appropriations com'tee. if you make it onto that list you might have a chance of making it to the omnibus, but it all depends on how the budget negotiations proceed. so you could get knocked off.

in other words, when you're not juiced up with a lobbyist or a personal connection to the elected official, a little org like mine getting 'pork' is a frakking miracle. and pure luck.

and once you get it, you don't really 'get' it. the process shifts from being a discretionary one ('hey, they do good work and could use some support.') to a federal grant. have you ever written a grant proposal for a federal agency? they are frakking long, complicated and onerous. most human services orgs don't have the capacity to write one because it takes a team to do one well. there are budgets, narratives, assurances, and metrics that have to be submitted. in other words, they make you work for your pork. they want every dollar accounted for - if you say you're going to spend $87.50 for a brochure, at the end of the award year your expenses better reflect you spent $87.50 for a brochure.

when it comes to pork, you don't just get a fat check in the mail to do with what you will. they either parse it out to you in small chunks per quarter or you incur the initial cost of providing the service and they reimburse you for the expense. there is nothing 'free' about this money.

and don't even get me started on how long it takes this process to roll along. if you're applying for FY11 appropriations year, you don't actually receive your money until 18-24 months later.

and? this is one time money. that's it. one year of funding to pilot or support a program and then - poof! gone. it's a lot of effort for brief relief.

so don't talk to me about how pork is evil.

thus endeth the rant. carry on!

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