CHD-Funded Agencies Anger Arizona Pols, Social Workers
(Special to The Wanderer)
May 8, 1997
TUCSON - Industrial Areas Foundation - affiliated organizations, funded through the Catholic Church's Campaign for Human Development, are raising the ire of Arizona's politicians and established social service agencies after demanding a whopping $10 million tax subsidy to fund their so-called Family Development Fund.
At the center of the controversy is the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC), a coalition of about 50 churches, 12 schools, and other adult education centers, which is the beneficiary of at least $40,000 of CHD money ($30,000 from national CHD, $10,000 from local), in addition to mandatory dues from Catholic parishes in the Tucson Diocese.
Since settling into Tucson in 1990 with the blessing of Bishop Manuel D. Moreno, PCIC has aggressively pushed its agenda, jumping into the "school reform" charade as an advocate for Bill Clinton's Goals 2000, demanding better playgrounds and homeless shelters, and political accountability.
And since its establishment by the chief IAF organizer for the southwest, San Antonio-based Ernesto Cortes (who is, interestingly, a member of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, funded by both the Rockefeller foundation and the Carnegie Corporation), PCIC has managed to alienate teachers, politicians, social workers, volunteers, regular churchgoers, and even journalists by its bullying tactics.
But PCIC may have pushed Tucson too far.
Last March, PCIC's leaders poured into the legislature to demand a role in revising the state's "welfare reform" legislation claiming a right to distribute a portion of an expected $226.7 million in federal welfare dollars Washington would be shipping to Arizona.
PCIC-affiliated clergy claimed they had been shut out of the debate over welfare reform too long, while promising legislators that the ministers would be able to do a better job dishing out the welfare dollars.
On March 1st, PCIC unveiled its long-anticipated Family Development Fund, asking for $10 million to implement a wide-ranging job training program for 500 people "currently stuck in low-wage jobs."
So-called scholarship dollars would go to "qualified individuals" who would learn to overcome "specific barriers to self-improvement" and thus be prepared to enter the job market.
But what job market?
The plan PCIC unveiled is a blueprint to develop Local Leadership Teams, which "will function as initial contact points for potential participants, evaluating, screening, and outlining the program and its requirements.
"Local Leadership Teams" assessment will be comprehensive, i.e., the teams will assess both the limitations and strengths of each candidate and his/her family. By dealing with economic aspirations of whole families, Local Leadership Teams will create a Family Development Portfolio. The portfolio will look at how we reconnect family members to concrete economic self-improvement strategies.... Local Leadership Teams could connect families to such diverse programs as after- school programs, school-based job programs, or child care.
"Tucson neighborhoods having real economic aspirations will need to form a core group of 15-18 leaders who can make a long-term commitment to serve on a Local Leadership Team. These leaders must be initiatory, relational , and able to involve a wide variety of institutional leaders in their particular geographic area. Hundreds of individual meetings are required to build the team and understand the economic aspirations and self-interest of local families...."
While the PCIC statement claims that a portion of the $10 million will be used for job training, transportation, day care, and helping to move people in $6.00 an hour jobs into $10.00 - $12.00 an hour jobs, a large portion will be devoted to salaries for the Local Leadership Team workers.
As soon as PCIC announced its plan, an ad hoc coalition of 33 social service leaders immediately denounced PCIC, and not only because the $10 million that PCIC was demanding was more than the coalition's combined allotments over a ten-year period, and PCIC had no "track record."
Formed under the name Arizona Rural Human Services Network (ARHSN) and led by Dr. John Arnold, the network began publishing and distributing material on PCIC, exposing its radical roots, its history of "preying on the poor," and its lack of accountability.
"We're not against anybody that wants to help. We're just against the way they do it," Billie Donohue, president of the coalition, told The Arizona Daily Star. "They come in with a whole lot of their people and they browbeat you, and they order you around. They demand that you comply with what they want."
In several mass mailings to more than 500 agencies, churches, and other associations, the ARHSN warned its network the PCIC is a "menace," and had been ever since it was founded with a $100,000 IAF grant from Ernesto Cortes.
The report further noted that PCIC is a political organization committed to "institutional change," and where the IAF has succeeded in other cities, "it has been the downfall of major social service delivery systems."
Monitor Hispano, the most popular Spanish-language newspaper in the state, denounced PCIC as "un-Christian." It ran a powerful political cartoon on its front page, a drawing of the Last Supper with Christ and the Apostles, and Cortes of the Industrial Areas Foundation as Judas in a business suit sitting in front of a pot of money.
The cartoon had Christ saying, "I think one of you will turn me over to Pontius Pilate," with this "analysis": "Ernesto Cortes is the architect of an interfaith movement with a Christian-Marxist philosophy."
The Tucson Citizen also criticized PCIC's bid, informing readers in March 31st editorial that PCIC was crossing the line with its political efforts.
"PCIC denies that its work violates the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. If trying to tap government coffers to pay for PCIC programs does not cross the line, if drafting legislation does not cross the line, they come uncomfortably close."
On April 9th, The Arizona Daily Star reported that PCIC was joining with the teachers' unions in Tucson and Marana to use the schools as "recruiting grounds for school volunteers."
Even though one of the backers of the plan, Jim Slingluff, a PCIC organizer and the director of the Arizona Education Association, said that the plan was "perhaps illegal." he assured the media that PCIC members would not "preach specific articles of their faith" while in school.
But the plan to recruit students, said Donohue, reflects IAF's political agenda of creating pressure to restructure the education system along the lines proposed by the IAF, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation.
It Takes A Village
Four years ago, in an address at an Albuquerque Interfaith meeting, a Carnegie- funded conference, IAF Southwest organizer Cortes delivered a talk titled, "Reimagining Partnerships for Professional and Organizational Development," in which he singled out Tucson, with El Paso, Phoenix, and Albuquerque, as leaders in achieving the IAF community organizing goals.
The recent aggressive tactics of PCIC in Tucson in bidding for control over schools, social services, and other facets of civic life illustrate that Saul Alinsky's IAF is poised for total control.
What does that mean? As one shrewd observer in Albuquerque told The Wanderer:
"The IAF is well on its way to establishing a totally comprehensive structure: parish-based health clinics; community policing in which all justice is settled in the community; school to work, in which jobs are guaranteed for all, for life; and a closed political process in which only those who agree with the IAF agenda are allowed a voice in the party.
"You could call the IAF the third way to socialism."