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We’ll Tell You Indecent!

The FCC didn’t think Sarah Jones sounded much like a lady when her feminist song “Your Revolution” was aired on Portland’s non-profit KBOO. The FCC, which tolerates the full spectrum of indecent misogyny, fined KBOO $7000 in May for airing her sexually explicit objection to male hip hop’s sexually explicit misogyny. (see this issue’s Heard This ).

Because FCC officials are not directly accountable to the public, letters protesting the censorship will probably just get filed or tossed. Better to write to your own senators and representatives (cc’d to the FCC), especially if they are members of the House or Senate committees that oversee communications. Those names are listed here and here . Tell them the FCC should take action against misogyny, not those fighting against it. Since the FCC under the current admistration is willing to give out fines for indecency, it wouldn’t hurt to bombard the FCC with complaints about indecent sexism that is sent over the radio waves 24/7. Fire them off to Michael Powell, FCC Chair Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St. S.W., Washington, DC 20554, phone: 1- 888-225-5322, fax: 1-202-418-0232

Bloated Welfare Empire Revealed:
Hold the corporate criminals accountable

by Pat Gowens

Editors, writers, artists, activists, photographers, videographers, students, elders, youth, mothers, babies and toddlers joined the Welfare Warriors' photo bus tour of Milwaukee's Bloated Welfare Empire on May 11. The tourists represented newspapers, radio stations, senior citizen groups, churches, political parties and the UN. They came from Milwaukee, Kenosha, Chicago and Ireland to see and record the reality of W2's exorbitant costs to the taxpayers. They came with cameras and camcorders, notebooks and tape recorders.

The three-hour tour began at the Welfare Warriors Mothers Organizing Center near downtown Milwaukee. Tour Guide and Welfare Warriors' Director, Pat Gowens, provided tourists with a general history of the welfare corporations, the dollar amounts of their W2 contracts and bonuses, and the number of cases served. The information came from an audit conducted by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (4/11/01).

There were gasps and shocked silence as the tour progressed. Most tourists were appalled to learn how few mothers and children are sharing in the millions of dollars enjoyed by welfare professionals. Margaretta D'Arcy, who runs a radio station in Galway, Ireland and is a member of the Irish Writers Union, said she was "shocked rigid by the W2 firms pimping off the backs of our most precious population -- mothers and children." She added, "I've heard of sweatshops and child slavery. But going through the streets of Milwaukee and seeing the invisibility and normality of those buildings, I wondered how these men can be in such denial about the crimes they are committing. Enriching themselves off government taxes and the sweat and blood of hard working Americans. Why aren't they in jail? They need to be behind bars and rehabilitated to humanity and decency. If this were happening in a foreign country, the Americans would have invaded to restore democracy. They'd be bombing and sanctioning. These W2 corporations are war criminals -- making war on the people."

A recent study by the Applied Research Center in Oakland, California referred to U.S. private companies as "prospecting among the poor in the welfare reform gold fields." To highlight this study, D'Arcy, dressed as a gold miner, approached the W2 buildings with her miner's pick in search of the gold within those walls. Miriam Eaton, artist and retired art teacher from Cardinal Stritch College, expressed dismay at the "runaway costs to taxpayers, the heartless suffering of families in poverty." John Heckenlively, writer for the Kenosha Labor Press, wondered why mainstream media has not reported on this "devastating rip-off of both taxpayers and the poor." Grant Waldo of the Wisconsin Council of Senior Citizens said, "What has happened is outrageous. They're spending so much more money and only 10 percent as many people are getting coverage. And it's not equivalent to what they got before." Salvador DeLeon of Esperanza Unida shook his head and repeated, "How do they get away with it?" while Dennis Williams, freelance photographer for the African American media asked, "Where is all that money going?"

The tour stopped at all five privatized W2 agencies, the Private Industry Council which oversees the W2 contracts, and the former welfare department buildings, as the tourists gained a better understanding of what welfare reform has meant to both taxpayers and the poor. Wisconsin welfare costs increased from $548 million for 299,700 individuals (1986) to $710 million for 20,000 individuals (2001). Across the globe, people hear about the great reduction in U.S. welfare roles. But few people here or abroad know that the costs to the taxpayers have skyrocketed while mothers and children are facing dire poverty and lawless denials of aid. Four of the non-profit W2 agencies created for-profit branches to accommodate the $36 million in profits they earned by denying cash to and sanctioning poor families. Maximus was always a for-profit business. Following are some of the facts about the embarrassing bureaucracies created by the private W2 welfare corporations in Milwaukee.

1. Goodwill's W2 Agency: Employment Solutions
4030 N. 29th St. Milwaukee, WI 53216
(and 6550 N. 76, Milwaukee, 53223)

This wealthy $1.6 Billion corporation, founded to help people with disabilities, exploits and abuses the disabled through its corrupt, for-profit W2 program. Goodwill's current contract includes $87.5 million plus $6.1 million in bonuses to “serve” 1,713 cash cases and 1,169 “case managements.”* ($54,641 per cash case.) Goodwill admitted “misspending” $370,000 of their Wisconsin welfare money for work in other states, meals, drinks and parties. This is felony welfare fraud. Goodwill regularly and illegally denies money to mothers in crisis in order to generate millions in profits.

2. OIC
2947 N. Martin Luther King Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(and 6091 N. Teutonia Milwaukee 53206)
Director William Clay, 414-908-3302

OIC, African American owned, is Milwaukee’s oldest privatized welfare program, having received a JOBS contract well before the start of W2. OIC’s current contract includes $47.1 million plus $3.5 million in bonuses to “serve” 1,082 cash cases and 573 “case managements.” ($46,765 per cash case.) OIC’s claim to fame is having co-opted formerly fiery rebels, Mike McGee and Doris Green, by funding McGee’s daily radio show with welfare funds and hiring Green as W2 Director.

3. YW Works
1915 N. Martin Luther King Drive Milwaukee, WI 53212
Director Julia Taylor, 414-374-1800

Milwaukee’s YWCA, formerly a feminist organization, has forgotten their Christian and Women’s mission. YW’s W2 current contract includes $36.5 million plus $2.6 million in bonuses to “serve” 609 cash cases and 393 “case managements.” ($64,203 per cash case.) YW started out as an oppressive JOBS program that forced moms to quit college to take YW’s six-week Nurses Aid Training or three-month Typing Course. YW graduated to a W2 contract and purchased “Generation Plastics” Factory on 35th and Townsend to benefit from the free forced labor of women in crisis, primarily women with disabilities. Welfare Warriors true life ballad, W2 Life Is Scum, tells of one disabled mom’s suffering at the hands of the YWCA.

4. Private Industry Council (PIC)
101 W. Pleasant Milwaukee, WI
Director Gerard Randall Jr., (414) 225-2360

This company gets paid $5.7 million as “oversight coordinator” of W2 contracts. But what do they do? They claim that all W2 agencies are self-employed contractors, so once W2 agencies sign their contracts, PIC denies any control -- both fiscal and procedural -- over these corporations. The purpose of PIC’s $5.7 million contract still remains a mystery.

5. Milwaukee County Human Services
1220 W. Vliet, 53233
Director Ralph Hollman (414) 289-6816

The Milwaukee County Human services was the old welfare department before the system was completely taken over by corporate greed. They receive $0 in W2 funds, yet all of the hundreds of County welfare workers and supervisors retained their jobs after the cash benefit system was taken over by private agencies! The County administers only foodstamps and MA, yet 75 percent of eligible families do not receive foodstamps now. What do those hundreds of County workers do now? Another mystery! Though County workers often used illegal, inhumane and bigoted tactics to discourage clients, they did not combine their prejudice with greed, a lethal combination now influencing the decisions of all five privatized W2 agencies.

6. UMOS (United Migrant Opportunity Services)
1644 S. 9th 53204
Director Lupe Martinez, (414) 671-5700

Formed to work with and help Mexican migrant workers, this group morphed into just another greedy W2 agency that hurts Latina mamas instead of helping them. UMOS has a current W2 contract of $37 million plus $2.2 million in bonuses to “serve” 844 cash cases and 597 “case managements.” ($46,446 per cash case)

7. Maximus 1304 S. 70th St. West Allis, WI 53214 Director Jerry Stepaniak (414) 607-7596

Maximus came to town to make profit off the poor and they have. Their current contract is for $45.1 million and $ 3.2 million in bonuses to “serve” 1,068 cash cases and 524 “case managements.” ($45,224 per cash case) Maximus admitted to spending Wisconsin welfare money in New York to secure a welfare contract, and in Wisconsin on “disallowed meals,” social activities, parties, a fatherhood summit by Hudson Institute conservative think tank, a stage at a French festival, performers, and fanny packs with their company logo. In addition to GREED, this is felony welfare FRAUD!

* All figures from Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau

For more info, and to support upcoming exposures of the Bloated Welfare Empire, contact Welfare Warriors, Mothers Organizing Center, 2711 W. Michigan, Milwaukee, WI 53208; (414) 342-6662; fax (414) 342-6667

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