NGOS hit by bond freeze: Sonoma Ecology Center wants to talk.
December 31, 2008 § Leave a comment
I’m hearing from friends to the north that they too have a news blackout on the effects of the bond freeze. Perhaps when everyone’s back from the New Year’s break and realize they don’t have anything to work on the issue will bubble up to public attention.
In the meantime, the Sonoma Ecology Center is reaching out, with strategy and a request in hand. If you are with a NGO or have projects that have been hit by this freeze, please take a look and take action!
For the Bay Area Watershed Network, the California Watershed Coalition, and all of the rest of us affected,
Sonoma Ecology Center
The bond grant crisis keeps deepening. We know it’s temporary, but it’s having permanent effects. We don’t know when the budget will be passed, whether its passage will actually be a green light for working on all our projects, or how long it will take for the checks to start coming. We do know that our story isn’t being heard, so that’s the work before us. Please do what you can on the following fronts, and keep communicating about what you are experiencing. It does help to know that all of us are facing this at the same time.
1. TELL THE GOVERNOR: DO WHAT IT TAKES TO PASS THE BUDGET IMMEDIATELY
This message is especially important to convey to the governor. Fax: 916-558-3160.
2. TELL OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: FIND WAYS TO LESSEN THE DAMAGE OF THE STOP-WORK ORDER
For example… Issue IOU’s, instead of checks, that will be honored by our banks and credit unions. Staff up the controller’s office and otherwise minimize delays in paying invoices. Find other ways to reduce the damage to our workers, the land itself, and to our organizations. This message should go to the governor and to legislators. You can find your legislators at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. Fax and mail is more effective than email or phone. A meeting is the best, preferably with more than one legislator at a time.
3. GET PRESS COVERAGE
Call up your newspapers and radio stations and get the word out. The general public has no idea of the impact this is having.
To all of these audiences, tell your story: how is this hurting you, your staff, your organization’s viability, your projects, the watersheds, landowners, waterbodies, communities, and species you work with?
To legislators, you could also mention that (to use an example from our organization) we have already paid staff for work they did on November 1, 2008, and now we cannot get reimbursed for that work until some unknown future date, possibly in February 2009. This is on top of a state reimbursement mess that regularly delays reimbursement for 3 to 6 months, even when paying small, hard-working nonprofits and RCD’s with little or no cash cushion, who are doing valuable work for California’s land and communities at bargain rates. (Sorry, I got a little impassioned there.)
4. HELP GATHER STATISTICS
The press and electeds have been asking how many people and how many projects are affected. So please let us know: how many of your people will likely be laid off, how many of your projects are stopped, how many organizations are folding? If you know information like this for organizations other than yours, please provide that, too.
5. HELP WITH STRATEGY
If you know anyone in the controller’s office, the Division of Finance, or anyone else savvy about the details of the state’s reimbursement process or the market for California’s bonds, please let us know.
For the Bay Area Watershed Network, the California Watershed Coalition, and many other affected organizations,
Sonoma Ecology Center
(707) 996-0712 x 105
Join us at http://www.sonomaecologycenter.org.