Supervisor Bill Horn Takes the Cake — Again and Again



By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Updated 13 September 2010 and 14 September



Supervisor Bill Horn has firmly established himself as a man of consumptive excess.

I write not of his notable girth, but rather of his carnivorous proclivity for overindulging in the largess of his public office — for his own benefit. Put another way, Horn is one greedy cuss. And, perhaps, a desperate one, as his excesses are nibbling at his seat in an unsure election year.

From blatantly ignoring land-use regulations and campaign reporting requirements (which resulted in a $12,000 “settlement”), and apparently communicating illegally with the developer of a proposed project, to swapping ideological voting blocs for tax-funded grants, Horn is on the verge of following the descent of Representative Randy Cunningham — an erstwhile war hero whose corrupted character crashed and burned in 2005.

Will 2010 be the year of Horn’s self-destruction?

On September 2, Horn was soundly rebuked when San Diego County revoked a controversial $20,000 grant that Horn had designated for Life Perspectives, a self-proclaimed “nonreligious” group that County Counsel John Sansone determined creates religious materials. The organization’s seeming lack of self-awareness is sound argument enough for denying the grant; if it has been intentionally misleading the public, that would be a clincher.

Despite revelation that the nonreligious group is indeed religious, Horn is now attempting to bully the $20,000 back into the group’s fervent hands: He indicates he has helped Life Perspectives amend its grant application to meet County requirements.

Hmmm.

Perhaps the County should require grant applicants to demonstrate the minimal communication, budgeting and organizational skills necessary to prepare their applications on their own — independent of the supervisor who reviews and recommends their grants. Such a requirement would preclude supervisors helping prepare grant applications and then recommending and voting to fund those same grants, thus avoiding both the appearance and the actual fact of a conflict.

Nice concept, eh?

Another nice concept would be for the County to develop a responsible method of reviewing grant applications, so taxpayers are not dependent on journalistic nudging to motivate any County oversight.

Consider the case at hand: Horn is now saying he wants the taxpayers’ $20,000 for Life Perspectives president, Michaelene Fredenburg, to write a book.

Say, I’d like the money to write a book, but I’d certainly never consider asking my fellow taxpayers to give it to me. I’m humping for an agent to get it from an actual publishing house — something the taxpayers are not.

Seriously, Horn indeed wants us to fund Fredenburg’s new book, a companion to her previously published book, Changed: Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One’s Abortion Experience (apparently self-published in 2008 and available on Fredenburg’s site for $19.95).

It seems Fredenburg made a reproductive choice when she was 18 — to have an abortion — and she has subsequently become unhappy with her decision. I do feel for her. But now she tries to convince other women not to exercise the right she has enjoyed. She says that the resulting “troubling emotions” some people experience post-abortion might require them to purchase her book Changed. And she goes on to suggest "some individuals may benefit from individual or group therapy” based on her next book — the one she wants taxpayers to fund — a “Group Leader Guide for the book Changed, [which] will allow therapists and peer counselors to effectively utilize Changed in a group setting.”

Hmmm, hmmm. I wonder: What’s the County’s cut of book sales?

Or, rather, it would be wise for the County to review Changed, before considering Horn’s recommendation to fund the Group Leader Guide.

Here is some information that might inform the Board of Supervisors’ decision:

– First, a few excerpts from Changed, a “core resource” of Fredenburg’s proposed program, presented with her formatting:

Your emotions may be directed outward at other people or at God, …

This is all a normal part of moving through the grieving process.

Writing a letter that expresses your feelings to the individuals involved, … reading the letter to yourself, and then destroying the letter can be helpful.

As the letter is torn into little pieces, imagine the harmful emotions towards others, yourself, or God

disintegrating. …

Many people who have experienced abortion find great comfort and hope through the prayers and support of others and in the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.

Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.

– The book refers people seeking “post-abortion” help to its affiliated website www.AbortionChangesYou.com, which then refers folks to a zip code search function. My zip code, 92028, produced five agencies, all of which are private organizations with noted religious affiliations: Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center, Pregnancy Resource Center – Vista, Birth Choice of San Marcos, alternatives womens center in Escondido and Rachel's Hope/La Esperanza de Raquel in Escondido.

– Fredenburg has yet to make public any legitimate professional expertise that is relevant to writing a group therapy guide; although, Garry H. Strauss wrote the afterward for Changed. Strauss is a professor of psychology at the evangelical Christian college, Biola University, and a member of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, whose ethical standards derive from the following Statement of Faith: “The basis of this organization is belief in God, the Father, who creates and sustains us; Jesus Christ, the Son, who redeems and rules us; and the Holy Spirit, who guides us personally and professionally, through God’s inspired Word, the Bible, our infallible guide of faith and conduct, and through the communion of Christians.”

All told, it appears that Horn and Fredenburg have neglected to include in their revamped grant application the fact that Fredenburg’s post-abortion healing efforts have the same religious tone as her other pursuits, a tone that is fine in all ways — except that in our country we don’t use public funds for the promotion of religion.

What is it that Horn and Fredenburg don’t understand about that; what is confusing them? Is it the passion of faith, the pursuit of mission, the arrogance of office, the power-addled death throes of a corrupted politician, or the idiocy of a man who simply thinks he can get away with Hornswoggling the taxpayers yet again?

So, dear Supervisors Greg Cox, Dianne Jacob, Ron Roberts and Pam Slater-Price: What are you going to do Tuesday when Supervisor Horn’s recommendation comes before you?

Love, K-B

P.S. Say, I hope Horn would be as eager to fund Life Perspectives if it were a Muslim organization, but what do you think?

Supervisor Greg Cox responds: ... For weeks, my staff and I have been working with Supervisor Dianne Jacob and her staff to put forth a policy change that will institute a series of reforms for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program.  The item will be heard at the September 28th meeting and if adopted, will ensure accountability and integrity in the program and bring it back to its original intent.

Regarding tomorrow’s board meeting, I have stated publicly that I am against Supervisor Horn’s recommendation to amend the grant to fund Life Perspectives.

Sincerely, GREG COX Supervisor, First District



Note: Horn's motion died for lack of a second.

Crossposted at The Progressive Post.

Photo of Bill Horn from his County website. Changed image from www.AbortionChangesYou.com.