Thursday, January 24, 2008

Compassionate Conservatism: Hillsborough County Commission Edition

Ronda Storms and Brian Blair convinced fellow Hillsborough County Commissioners to vote against funding for the Family Justice Center. The mission of the FJC is "to provide comprehensive services to Hillsborough County domestic violence victims and their families in a centralized location, or ‘one-stop-shop.’" The FJC is now endanger of closing down.

Modeled after a U.S. Department of Justice program and initially funded by a $1.1 million startup grant, the center never could attract local dollars, executive director Nikki Daniels said.

She is making a final plea to the community this week, but Daniels said Wednesday she knows it's a long shot. The center needs $360,000 to remain open through September. Without it, the doors close Feb. 8.

'That Center Probably Saved Lives'

"I believe that that center has probably saved lives," said state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, who serves on the center's board. "And I will guarantee you that it saved some people from really being battered. Funding this center is crucial. We may not save some lives in the future if we don't keep it open."

Blair and Storms voted against the Center under the faulty logic that it duplicates the The Spring of Tampa Bay. The Spring can not handle all the abused women in Tampa. Blair and Storms have no problems throwing tax dollars at Championship Park and Raymond James Stadium. (Blair later backed down.)

The duplicate services meme is a politically correct way of saying that conservatives blame these women for the predicament they're in. Republicans aren't going to tell voters they are more passionate about corporate welfare for local sports teams than a woman with three children getting the shit beat out of her every night. That wouldn't be politically correct. Cutting funding for a women's domestic violence shelter is deemed the politically decent thing to do. Welcome to the world of compassionate conservatism.

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