the unkindest cuts: Michael Kink of Housing Works.
Photo by Leif Zurmuhlen.
Could Be Worse
and lesbian advocates who endorsed Pataki gamely defend his
proposed cuts to gay and lesbian services
After being endorsed by the New York’s largest gay and lesbian
advocacy group in last year’s election, Gov. George E. Pataki
began his third term proposing, in his 2003-2004 executive
budget, reduced funding for gay and lesbian health and human
services and HIV/AIDS programs.
Pataki’s budget calls for reduced funding for gay and lesbian
health and human services throughout the state by approximately
$1.5 million, or 60 percent—but representatives from gay and
lesbian advocacy group Empire State Pride Agenda said matters
could be worse.
Sheila Healy is the director of the Empire State Pride Agenda
Foundation, which coordinates a network of approximately 50
gay and lesbian health and human service organizations across
the state. Healy said in light of the state’s $12 billion
budget deficit, retaining funding for these programs at all
shows Pataki’s commitment to the state’s gay and lesbian communities.
year the governor put less in, which reflects the budget reality,”
said Healy. “We were glad to see that he recognized the needs
to keep [the funding] in there at all.”
According to Joe Tarver, spokesman for ESPA, which endorsed
Pataki’s gubernatorial campaign last year, the $1 million
the governor marked for gay and lesbian services funds substance-abuse,
youth and senior-service programs for the gay and lesbian
community. According to Tarver, the programs were important
for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community because
gays and lesbians run the programs.
services are currently provided by mainstream providers,”
Tarver said. “But for some members of the LGBT community,
the reason they drink is because they are LGBT, and some providers
have more sensitivity for these issues.”
But Michael Kink, legislative counsel for HIV/AIDS service
advocacy group Housing Works, said ESPA is trying to make
the best of a bad situation.
think that ESPA endorsed Gov. Pataki for reelection,” said
Kink, “and from an interest-group perspective they want to
show that they got something for that, that the governor is
looking out for them.”
Kink said the $1.2 billion reduction the governor proposed
to the state’s Medicaid program will affect low-income members
of the gay and lesbian community living with HIV and AIDS.
governor has not hesitated to cut Medicaid, which is the biggest
single source of HIV and AIDS care in our state,” Kink said.
“This funding is of crucial importance to thousands of poor
gays and lesbians living with AIDS.”
Further, Kink said Pataki’s proposed $12.2 million in cuts
to existing HIV and AIDS programs will be felt beyond the
gay and lesbian community.
can’t say he is entirely heartless,” Kink said, “but I can
say that his budget is not realistic about what it takes to
keep the fight against AIDS strong. These cuts to the basic
infrastructure of HIV/AIDS services providers, cuts in money
that they get right now to keep their doors open.”
For example, Kink said, Pataki’s budget proposal eliminates
$4.8 million that went last year to fight HIV/AIDS in communities
of color. Kink said this funding is important considering
that eight out of every 10 cases of HIV or AIDS occur in communities
of color are a vast majority of the epidemic,” Kink said.
“Historically the resources to respond to that have always
been available in there in communities of color. This money
was designed to go to more indigenous groups for self-education
and self-defense efforts by members of black and Latino communities.”
Representatives from Pataki’s budget office claimed that overall,
the governor has increased spending for HIV/AIDS programs,
providing more than $2.6 billion from all sources for AIDS
and AIDS-related programs.
only cuts that were made were prior-year legislative additions,”
said Andrew Rush, Pataki budget spokesman. “[These were] one-time
funding sources from each [legislative] house as they put
together their budgets. [These cuts] are looked at on a case-by-case
But Kink said Pataki’s decision to fill the state’s deficit
by trimming health and human services before closing tax loopholes
on corporations who make money in New York but pay no state
tax is unacceptable.
we’re talking about $2 billion in medical cuts, it overshadows
dollar program here or there,” Kink said. “That is not to
say that we don’t appreciate the governor holding back the
axe where he has, but you’ve got to be real clear-eyed about
what happened and what didn’t
to Lose an Ally in 10 Days
Bush’s intransigence on war hasten a disintegration of NATO?
The Bush administration’s headlong rush to war threatens to
undo the intricate system of international alliances that
have formed the basis of U.S. foreign policy since World War
II. The latest example of this dramatic erosion is the growing
transatlantic rift between the United States and its allies,
France, Germany and Belgium, which represent the very core
of Western Europe. France and Belgium recently voted to deny
Turkey’s request for NATO arms to defend itself against a
possible Iraqi attack. Media mouthpieces for administration
hawks, such as the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal,
are already claiming that the veto has put the Atlantic Alliance’s
future in jeopardy.
Echoing Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld’s description of the
veto as “truly shameful,” the Journal wrote, “If this
is what the U.S. gets from NATO, maybe it’s time Americans
considered leaving this Cold War institution and re-forming
an alliance of nations that understands the new threats to
the world order.”
The strains brought on by the Bush administration’s unrelenting
desire to invade Iraq are not limited to NATO. Serious questions
are also being raised about long-standing alliances in other
parts of the world. Last weekend, for example, The
New York Times reported that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
and his closest advisers are planning to undo their military
ties with the United States. It is one of a series of measures
designed to shore up the ruling family’s political support
within the Saudi kingdom. The military disengagement, which
was first rumored (but strongly denied) in late 2001, is to
be implemented after the current crisis in Iraq is resolved
one way or another. According to the Times, Saudi sources
say that a U.S. withdrawal from the kingdom would give its
rulers more room to institute reforms, but without appearing
to be doing so at Washington’s behest.
Meanwhile, the standoff with North Korea is eroding the traditionally
close U.S. relationship with Seoul. And in yet another unexpected
development, Rumsfeld reportedly has informed Seoul that the
U.S. military is prepared to gradually withdraw the 37,000
troops based in South Korea. The soldiers will first move
back from current positions close to the demilitarized zone,
where they are intended to act as a “tripwire” in the event
of a North Korean invasion, and will then leave the peninsula
The administration claims that its offer was prompted by perceived
South Korean displeasure at Washington for failing to promote
detente with Pyongyang. In the words of one official, “We
don’t go where we’re not wanted.” But some experts say the
move is designed to “raise the stakes” for incoming President
Roh Moo-hyun, whose softer line toward Pyongyang has irritated
a no-lose proposition,” noted one hawkish Congressional staffer.
“If we get our troops out of range of the North’s guns, our
freedom of action for acting against the North is greater.
And if Roh gets worried about being left to the tender mercies
of (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il, that gives us more influence.”
The latest flurry of diplomatic moves and countermoves by
the United States and its longtime allies is also prompting
growing concern about the current crisis’ long-term strategic
consequences for the U.N. Security Council. Washington is
expected to seek a second resolution authorizing, or at least
condoning, a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq after the inspection
teams headed by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei file their
next report on Friday. The Russian delegates, who met with
French President Jacques Chirac on Monday, appear to be rallying
behind a Franco-German proposal. The initiative will double
or even triple the number of U.N. inspectors in Iraq and constitute
a 1,000-man U.N. peacekeeping force to back them up on the
ground. China, which like Russia and France has a veto on
the Security Council, is also expected to back the proposal
if it is put forward on Friday.
In appearances on Sunday television talk-shows, top U.S. officials
such as Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed the initiative
as “useless.” The United States instead wants the Security
Council to authorize the use of force if Iraq refuses to surrender
the vital information that Washington claims is being hidden
by Saddam Hussein. Adding to the diplomatic storm gathering
over the weekend, Rumsfeld complained bitterly about the French-Belgian
veto and the refusal of his German counterpart to share details
of the Franco-German proposal—which was disclosed by Der
Spiegel magazine—to beef up the inspection teams.
Relations between Western Europeans and Washington appear
to have reached their lowest point in a very long time. The
downward trend was evident before the conference in Munich.
Rumsfeld’s description of Germany and France as the “old Europe,”
as well as the open letter calling for greater unity—solicited
and then published by the Pentagon’s friends at The Journal,
and signed by the leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark,
Poland and several other East European nations—clearly irritated
the continent’s two most important powers.
road to Iraqi disarmament has produced the gravest crisis
in the Atlantic alliance since its creation five decades ago,”
wrote former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Washington
Post on Monday. He compared the
Franco-German opposition to Washington’s call for war to the
successful ultimatum issued by Eisenhower administration to
Britain and France, asking them to withdraw after they and
the Israelis seized the Suez Canal in 1956.
think what’s going on in NATO is a reflection of the deeper
rift that is taking place between mainstream Europe and the
U.S.,” said Charles Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations.
“The Bush administration believes that it can simply ram its
designs on Iraq down the throats of its smaller European allies,
and it’s finding out that that’s simply not the case.” The
administration appears to believe that “as long as we assert
our primacy without hesitation, others will eventually get
in line, but they’re finding out that if they in fact do so,
others will lock arms to resist a wayward America,” added
Kupchan’s recent book, The End of the American Era,
predicted a split between the United States and Europe. “What
I am amazed about is the speed with which these events are
taking place,” he said. “The Bush administration has put history
into fast forward.”