30 August 2010

Palas & Pendejos

Over the past several months, a group of My colleagues and I have been making presentations to Municipal governments concerning their potential for requesting federal grant funds. All told, We have approached 19 municipalities that span the Island, covering an almost equal number of "blue" (statehood party) and "red" (commonwealth party) pseudo-administrations. In the process, We have presented over $2.8 billion in programs that target specific problems or needs that local towns have and have delineated a plan to create proposals for them that combines a lower fee per proposal with "no budget impact" fund management consulting. The bottom line? We can do more for these towns than they are doing now, for a lower cost and no drain on their current reduced budgets.

We have had no takers. None. Despite a combined 60+ years of experience and over $44 million in proven proposals, no mayor, no Municipal Assembly, no municipal agency has given us a green light to help their town request funds to help solve local issues.

I was of the opinion that the biggest obstacle was the ongoing fetid spectacle of Our asswipe (Mis)Education Department being raked by investigation after investigation, creating a climate of fear and avoidance to using (and managing) federal funds.

I was wrong.

The primary reason, We found out, was that none of Us had made Our approach to any town "led by the hand" of someone "in the party." That's what We call having a pala--a shovel--to leverage or dig your way into the system. As We checked in town after town, red or blue, the answer was a variation of "Sin pala no hay paso": Without a go-between, you don't get in.

The corollary to that ubiquitous and nefarious point is that by not having a pala, by (in My case) actively eschewing "the patronage system" in favor of presenting a fact-based neutral case, I am a pendejo.

For those of you who need a translation, a pendejo is literally a pubic hair, but in Our slang it refers to a fucking idiot. Figuratively, of course.

The other point that came across, specifically in "blue" towns, was the feeling that the higher-ups in the party, the general herd of vermin that populates the upper echelons of this (non)administration, have warped the "normal" SOP of government (largely worthless, but traditional) and created an "elitist system" where those on the inside are making out--literally--like bandits and those on the outside are sucking a dry tit.

Now it's one thing when the opposition party claims their antagonists are robbing Us blind (pot, meet kettle), but it's an entirely different level of political thuggery when members of their own party are whining that the ill-getting of spoils is ill-distributed. And this did not come from one aggravated individual or two: We heard this sniveling from over two dozen "blues" working at several levels in towns or other branches of government.

So what does this mean?

1) If political patronage from one of the political sides is required for a forward-thinking project to be evaluated, We are in the midst of one of the dumbest periods of Our very dumb recent history. 

2) The leadership gap We have, the one that measures "What We need for true progress" against "What We have now" has not only gotten wider, it's become practically insurmountable.

3) There is no honor amongst thieves, but there are levels of hate and they will find a way to be expressed.

There is no chance whatsoever that We will seek political patronage to get Our federal funding proposal into some decision-maker's hands. For one, the targeted towns have been presented what We have, so political patronage would only serve to "highlight" or direct attention to what We are offering, which is so blatantly obvious, it would be like approaching a leper to tell people that antibiotics are good medicine. Nix that. We'll keep presenting Our proposal to agencies and departments because although the odds might be slim, but there are people in Our government that can judge an idea on its merit without being told to do it for any other reason.

And as for the "They're not letting Us steal" crowd, wait for them to erupt in the primaries, when they will be actively albeit subtly courted with reminders of "Who kept you away from the trove" and promises of access to it after 2012.

Empty promises, of course, like the empty leadership that spurs the whining. Pendejos all.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We live in the first communist country with two parties. Either you join one of the parties and participate into the bounty or you are excluded. They usually mentioned the phase "in a country of law and order" but we are really living "in a country of disorder without law".

Actually, a group of businessmans faced with the reality that you expressed are working outside the goverment to obtain the available funds. We are using community and non profit organizations and are forgetting about the non-goverment that we have, boicoting both parties. We need to copy the Italian story of sucess which ignored the goverment until they started to address the country problems.
Puerto Rico is Cuba but with two parties..............

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Anonymous, I would be honored to join your private efforts, outside of the government cluster-fuck mentality. Note than in The Jenius I have long advocated staying away from the government, but I made the recent effort under a simple dictum: Times change. I felt My experiences were outdated (from the early to mid-1990s) and that given the economic doldrums We are experiencing, a solid team of experienced professionals would make a difference. As the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water...

Only in this case, We were dealing with horses' asses.