Here we have a story from the LA Weekly on the massive funding to them in a time of severe deficits in California...note the salaries, note the 9/11 excuse, hmmm.
As an illustration of the climate change in arts funding, the entire proposed $5 million arts council budget equals the amount given to a single grant recipient in 1995: the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance.
Furthermore, in what’s become a growing scandal, funds allocated for the museum’s “Tools for Tolerance” program (which trains educators and police on “diversity issues”) are a budget “line item,” meaning that it’s pre-allocated every year by the governor (with legislative approval) — bypassing the peer-review process of other grants. And though the museum’s CAC grant has dwindled over the years, its portion of the state arts budget stands to be 30 percent ($1.5 million) of the entire CAC allocation currently proposed by Davis. Besides the issue of fairness, this proposal begs the question of what a program educating kids and cops about diversity, however meritorious, is doing in an arts budget. (The governor has gone on record defending the museum’s line item as an imperative after 9/11.)
The museum’s good fortune is as much a testament to the lobbying power of the Wiesenthal Center’s dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, as to the much larger social agenda of privatizing public services.
For more than a decade and a half, Hier has had powerful backers among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, from former Governor Pete Wilson and former Democratic leader Willie Brown, to President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who invited Hier to briefings on the war in Iraq.
That one private museum should continue to receive such disproportionate public funding is particularly troubling in an era when federal tax cuts are driving many states toward bankruptcy and the public services they provide into oblivion. Meanwhile, according to 2001’s Federal 990 Forms, filed on the center and its related activities, Hier draws an annual salary of more than $400,000 (not including pension benefits) — up from $225,000 in 1994. His wife, Marlene, serving as membership director, receives $244,000, while a son, Alan Heir, is paid $107,365 for fund-raising activities and another son, Rabbi Aron Hier, associate director, makes $76,018.
Obviously, a private institution can pay its staff what it pleases, but since the center can afford such extravagant revenues for its administrators, detractors question the need of the museum to singularly gobble up 30 percent of the state’s already gutted arts budget when, last week across town, money problems compelled the county Natural History Museum to fire 23 full-time and part-time specialists and employees.