AIDS grant stirs controversy | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 11, 2010

AIDS grant stirs controversy

Posted By on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 10:39 AM

So far, Jason Tolbert is the vanguard, but I suspect the Republican Party will get wider coverage before long of an HIV/AIDS prevention grant that drew attention in a legislative committee last week.

It's likely to be a pity how this turns out. The issue will become controversial for the wrong reason — because it touches on sex and gay people — and not simply for what appear to be legitimate questions about how the program was administered.

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission gave $50,000 to a program to distribute condoms in a nightclub apparently patronized by many minority gay males. Nothing wrong with HIV/AIDS prevention, at least to me. I should add the program also included sending information by social networks and other means.

But auditors have questioned whether $7,000 went to unauthorized expenditures. The organization applying for the money had the same address as the club where the program operated. The money paid for the salaries of three people. It also paid to rent space from the club. More than half of the money was spent before a single condom was distributed. All of these things give off the odor of a sweetheart deal for someone with good political connections. It's fair game for inspection, particularly if the Republicans can keep sex out of it. Fat chance.

Tolbert's headline: "State Grant for Distributing Condoms at Gay Bar Stirs Controversy in Committee." Condoms and gay bar. Those words make Repub mouths water. They are not particularly relevant. The issue is how the money was spent.

The program is moving to the Health Department, where operational changes are apparently in the works. Meanwhile, Republicans are rubbing their hands about linking Gov. Mike Beebe and any other handy Democrat with the image of gay black men having sex. (I'd think Rep. John Burris, hot on the trail of this condom story, would be equally interested in calling public attention to someone signing his name to a $35,000 check without his authorization. But that, apparently, would violate the Republican's 11th Commandment. And, so far as I know, no gay black men are involved.)

Tags: , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Arkansas legislature rejects bipartisan effort to study race relations

    On Friday, the Arkansas Legislative Council soundly rejected a bipartisan effort by two senators to to create a temporary legislative subcommittee to study race relations in the state.
    • Sep 15, 2017
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation