In memorable lines from the mockumentary film Best in Show, a redneck gives his pal, who is getting ready to take a long road trip with his hound dog, sincere advice: “If you're hungry, eat something” and “If you're tired, pull over.”
In Orange County, we might add this line, “If you need something, get taxpayers to pay for it.”
I don't want to be too dramatic here, but our county board of supervisors is set next week to spend another $120,000 of tax dollars on a program that–you can't make this up–claims to teach lousy parents how to be stellar parents.
Local bureaucrats, who have already spent $240,00 on the program since
2009, say the additional spending is necessary to “empower” parents “to
discipline and supervise their children” as a way to combat truancy in public schools.
In a “Parent Empowerment Program (PEP),” officials think they
can enlighten bad moms and dads about the importance of making their kids go to
school daily, complete homework and avoid illegal drugs.
“PEP teaches parents how to regain control of their child's behavior through clear, direct demand, effective follow through and consistency,” according to a mind-numbingly opaque county document that isn't clear or direct. “There is no punishment, consequences, therapy or counseling as there is with traditional parenting programs.”
know the ounce-of-prevention; pound-of-cure argument: A wee bit of public
spending to get parents to do what they're supposed to do ultimately
saves taxpayers money if little Johnny and little Rebecca don't become uneducated, unemployed criminals who'll each cost us $47,000 annually for incarceration.
But if nitwit parents need county bureaucrats to teach them elementary common sense in government workshops,
then the cause is probably already lost.
That guess is supported by a fact: the county bureaucrats pushing for the program don't mention in their agenda document even a single generic success story in the three-year-old program.
Furthermore, the contract governing the program mandates total secrecy from reporters unless a specific tidbit of information is deemed worthy of public consumption by government bigwigs.
Perhaps under the leadership of board chairman John Moorlach our county officials want us to take it solely on faith that they know what they're doing.
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.