After the nice things I said about Governor Perry earlier, it kind of restores my faith to see a story like this.
Gov. Rick Perry, in hurricane relief tours around the state, in news releases and on his official state Web site, has urged Texans to contribute to three groups: the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the OneStar Foundation.
The last of those is a volunteer-coordinating effort founded by Mr. Perry. His prominent promotion of his own foundation has prompted some to question whether the governor is trying to benefit politically from the outpouring of sympathy and good works in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Mr. Perry created OneStar as a nonprofit charitable organization in January 2004 to coordinate faith-based initiatives and promote volunteerism. Its chief executive is Susan Weddington, who left the state Republican Party chairmanship to run the organization.
Through legislation, the governor placed his divisions of faith-based initiatives, adult mentoring and the AmeriCorps volunteer program in the OneStar Foundation. It operates with federal grant money.
In the past several months, Ms. Weddington and Mr. Perry have been featured speakers of the Texas Restoration Project, a statewide effort to unite churches and organize their membership to vote in coming elections.
Mr. Perry's picture is prominent throughout OneStar's Web site, which says the foundation was "birthed from the heart and vision of Governor Rick Perry."
Ms. Weddington said that her office is serving as a clearinghouse for evacuee relief efforts, trying to connect donated goods with those who need them through the Texas Responds Web page, part of the OneStar site.
"Obviously, the governor tapped us because we do work for and on behalf of the state," she said. "This is the logical place."
Suzii Paynter, director of citizenship for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said OneStar has done a good job of coordinating the huge influx of donation efforts. The foundation's Web page has taken information and made it available to groups throughout the state, she said.
"Rick Perry has never lacked for photo-ops. But there is a huge need for money and donations that can be used in this state that don't need to go through the big national organizations," Ms. Paynter said.
She said that while there might be some political aspect to it, One- Star is also fulfilling a tremendous need.
"Does it look like that there might be an incidental self-serving aspect to it? Perhaps. My experience with politicians is that if you give them a handle, they'll grab it," she said.
What I'm getting at is this: Charity and politics should be separate. Especially in a situation like this, it's just too suspicious otherwise. Link via Tex Prodigy.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 08, 2005 to Hurricane Katrina | TrackBack