You want to sound like a local government nerd? Just start talking about CDBG funding. On the other hand, if you feel like griping about potholes in your street, want more funding for child care or like the curb cuts for the disabled among us, well, you need to talk about CDBG, too.
The acronym is for Community Development Block Grants and it is a federal program launched by that old socialist Gerald Ford in 1974 as a way of funneling federal funds down to the local community — particularly low and moderate income areas. Yep, you guessed it. CDBG funds are now on the bubble as Tea Party extremists try to pare the federal budget with a cleaver.
Last year, Oak Park received $1,946,130 in CDBG funds. The village kept a portion for sidewalks and streets, and a citizen committee heard proposals and recommended ways to apportion the rest.
This has been a pretty damned good program for 35 years. It has done a lot of good. Now we're reduced to the Village of Oak Park (and towns and cities across the country) passing resolutions begging cowed members of congress to salvage the block grant program.
We deserve better from our U.S. representatives.