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SCFD’s assurance of “Quality” and “Competitive Grants” – if only it were true

By Pete Vriesenga

The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District was adopted by Metro-Denver voters in 1988. “Quality” was SCFD’s first and foremost committment to voters who were told that eligible organizations must participate in a competitive grant application process. In many respects this committment was set into law with SCFD’s statutory requirement of adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Unfortunately, recent forays of the Boulder Symphony (Boulder’s ‘Pay-to-Play orchestra) have proven once again that SCFD’s granting processes are anything but competitive. The Lone Tree Symphony, another SCFD-funded ‘pay-to-play’ orchestra receives 80% of its budget from the taxpayers. As a national average, government support for symphony orchestras is just 4%.

Professional musicians continue to suffer substantial loss of income because of SCFD’s non-competitive practices while taxpayer dollars are irresponsibly damaging our economy. In his May 3 letter to me, SCFD board Chair James Harrington defends that SCFD’s is creating jobs and meeting its statutory requirements. My May 5 response to Mr. Harrington states my position as I’ve stated for 15 years … that none of this is true.

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