Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Biden's opera house and bridge...

Sigh...
This year, Delaware has requested 116 congressional earmarks through Biden, its longtime senator, at a cost to taxpayers of $342 million. In an appearance on CNN's "American Morning" with anchor John Roberts, Biden said that he had been open about those requests and that they all can be justified.

"Everyone has seen them, and we have no Lawrence Welk Museums and have no bridges to nowhere in Delaware. It's all straight up," Biden said.

Among his requests: $1 million for renovation of an opera house in Wilmington, another million for the construction of a children's museum and thousands of dollars for a water park renovation in Lewes.

"I think opera patrons generally can afford to -- you can raise money for an opera house; you can refurbish things a lot of different ways," Allison said.

"To have federal taxpaying dollars -- which is coming from people all over the country; low-income, middle-income people, as well as the wealthy -- to go to pay for the renovation of something that is really a luxury for Wilmington ... There are far more vital projects that anyone could think of that needs money. You got health care. You got education. You got all other types of things. Instead, we are redirecting money to refurbish an opera house in Wilmington or to build a children's museum."

And Biden's request includes a bridge that even the head of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce says is not crucial at this juncture.

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is a vital link between two popular beachfront towns: Dewey and Bethany. Without it, the estimated 30,000 summer visitors would have to travel an additional 35 minutes to get to the towns.

"We need a new bridge, and we are fortunate to be at a place where it is finally going to happen," said Carol Everhart, the chief of the Chamber of Commerce.

The existing bridge has some erosion problems, and if it ever collapsed, Everhart said, it would cause an economic disaster in the community. But it's safe for now.

"The bridge, as it is, is perfectly safe," she said.

Still, Biden asked for $13 million to help shore up the existing bridge and begin construction of a new one. And that's what troubles the Sunlight Foundation's Allison.

"This bridge is not in any danger of collapse, and essentially what Sen. Biden is doing is saying, 'My state bridge gets the priority dollar even though it is not a priority project,' " Allison said.

Palin's earmark requests for her state? 31 federal earmarks worth $197.8 million.

What's further of interest is this bridge has been an earmark before at a cost of 4.8 million dollars...

Replacement of the Indian River Inlet Bridge, Sussex County, Delaware - 2005...It appears the project was never started, costs increased and the bridge when complete will be the longest arched span in the world estimated at $218 million. The price tag was $160 million when ground was broken in October, with the federal government expected to pay 60% of the cost of the bridge.

11 comments:

The News Writer said...

Gotta love Joe, the senator from Citibank. I'm not one who cares very much about earmarks, because for all the shouting about them, they're all over the place, and frankly, that's part of the lawmakers' job -- to get money for his or her area. We act like this is such a surprise.

But Joe. He's not on my good list, not because of earmarks, but because of his support of the bankruptcy bill. All those dollars from credit card companies in his state can lead one astray from "doing the right thing."

Oh, and by the way, did you hear the one about the Road to Nowhere?

J. said...

Going back to the original CNN smear...uh...Joe is not running on a "no pork" platform. Joe is not claiming that he is against earmarks. Joe is saying, "She is a liar". What Joe did and did not vote on, what Joe did and did not support is utterly irrelevant to the point. Gads, these people get to write for CNN???!?!

The original CNN story was so...man, I want a good multi-syllable word, but "dumb" is still the most accurate.

123dan321 said...

J - exactly. I saw that this was CNN.com's main story and thought "huh?" McCain and Palin are the only ones making "anti-earmark" a campaign issue. Obama and Biden ARE NOT the anti-earmark candidates. This bizarre story COMPLETELY misses the mark and fabricates a "controversy" where there never was one and never should be one.

Did CNN ran also run a "story" in the heat of the 2000 presidential race saying "Al Gore: Not a compassionate conservative"?

Lisa Renee said...

Sigh...Obama stated no earmarks for this year. Apparently you guys didn't get the memo:

This year, as the Senate funding request deadline approaches and the final primaries of the Democratic nomination process draw near, Obama's staff told CNN the junior senator from Illinois will request no earmarks for fiscal year 2009.

The dramatic change is in line with a statement Obama issued last month in connection with an amendment calling for a one-year moratorium on earmarks in the Senate.

The amendment, sponsored by federal earmark foe Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, was shot down by a vote of 79-21.

"We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress' seniority, rather than the merit of the project," Obama's statement said.

"The entire earmark process needs to be re-examined and reformed. For that reason, I will be supporting Sen. DeMint's amendment and will not be requesting earmarks this year for Illinois," the statement added.

Obama signed on as a co-sponsor of the amendment, as did his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

McCain does not ask for earmarks. Clinton will still make requests for the coming year, but will limit those earmarks to "the most critical needs for New York and America," according to a statement from her staff.

CNN April 15, 2008

123dan321 said...

Earmarks are not a theme of Obama's presidential campaign. At the very least, the attention paid to earmarks in McCain's campaign completely trumps the attention given by Obama's.

But again, this is not at all the point. The candidates can say whatever they want about earmarks. It does nothing to change the fact that Sarah Palin has been disingenuous about supporting/opposing the 'Bridge to Nowhere.' Palin's dubious claims about her record are what Biden is talking about -- not any sort of judgment about the merits of earmarks or lack thereof. By focusing the attention on Biden's earmark reequests, the article is really misrepresenting the position of the Obama campaign in all this, and making an issue where there really isn't one.

Alex said...

You have a point up to a point here. Leaving the question of earmarks aside, which may or may not be valid criticisms of Obama/Biden, your attempt to use Biden's projects as exemplifying what you imply to be hypocrisy due to his criticism of Palin's erroneous claims about the "bridge to nowhere" is not valid.

The Obama campaign has correctly challenged Palin's account - as have members of the media when actually allowed access to the VP candidate - , which have not been, and cannot be, answered by the McCain campaign. Palin isn't being honest, hence Biden's challenge. (Not to mention, as was mentioned above, the "road to nowhere.") Therefore, your attempt to link these two issues is flawed.

However, you do make a good point about Biden's projects, given the current, and unjustifiable, anti-earmark climate.

Lisa Renee said...

I didn't mention the word "hypocrisy" or try to state this made Palin's bridge issue any less of an issue Alex, infact I included her earmarks to make sure I was being fair.

I think in these economic times, where people are going to struggle to heat their homes, earmarks for opera houses and to be equally blunt, walking trails aren't important.

The bridge may be needed, but it's clear if the government of Delware is expecting that 60% of it is going to be paid for by the federal government that it's worth pointing out.

This also means Biden as a Senator did not join with either Obama or McCain when it came to this issue. Since this was before the three of them.

South_Side_Scott said...

Regarding the bridge, as any leader knows (whether public or private sector), one can show initial support of project but later vote it down. It happens everyday when one has to make funding decisions with finite resources. Its called being prudent.

When will CNN and rest of the mainstream media do a full background check on Obama? They are doing us a disservice.

Anonymous said...

First off the reason Palin is getting so much flak about the Bridge, her tactics, and track records is because she lies, even when confronted with the truth. She absolutely refuses to tell the truth, blames others, and ignores the questions she doesn't want to answer. That is why Palin gets flak. I mean really that "list of books" was probably generated by the McCain/Palin campaign. I mean think about it, it comes out that Palin inquired several times in a forceful manner about how to get books banned, which is proven true. There is an Alaskan newspaper that got a statement from the Librarian right after it happened. Anyway the "list" then gets blow out of proportion because some of the books weren't even in print. So now the McCain/Palin party can laugh at it, going its ridiculous some of those books weren't in print yet. The timing of this, kind of makes me wonder.... I mean we all know McCain/Palin are good at shady tactics, like the lastest campaign one or the "Troopergate" investigation. Tell them to bring it on and then refuse to cooperate. Her husband and staff ignore a court order and now will cooperate as long as the people she can fire can run it. If that isn't shady, well then the sky is green!!!! The fact is if Palin would actually try telling the truth, nobody would really have anything to say about her.

Anonymous said...

First off the reason Palin is getting so much flak about the Bridge, her tactics, and track records is because she lies, even when confronted with the truth. She absolutely refuses to tell the truth, blames others, and ignores the questions she doesn't want to answer. That is why Palin gets flak. I mean really that "list of books" was probably generated by the McCain/Palin campaign. I mean think about it, it comes out that Palin inquired several times in a forceful manner about how to get books banned, which is proven true. There is an Alaskan newspaper that got a statement from the Librarian right after it happened. Anyway the "list" then gets blow out of proportion because some of the books weren't even in print. So now the McCain/Palin party can laugh at it, going its ridiculous some of those books weren't in print yet. The timing of this, kind of makes me wonder.... I mean we all know McCain/Palin are good at shady tactics, like the lastest campaign one or the "Troopergate" investigation. Tell them to bring it on and then refuse to cooperate. Her husband and staff ignore a court order and now will cooperate as long as the people she can fire can run it. If that isn't shady, well then the sky is green!!!! The fact is if Palin would actually try telling the truth, nobody would really have anything to say about her.

Ian said...

South_Side_Scott, there is a difference between showing support for a project but having to vote it down due to lack of resources and supporting a project during your run for one office, and then making a one-hundred and eighty degree turn and ridiculing the project as what is wrong with Washington when it becomes politically expedient during your run at another office.