But Corbett Can Drop Anchor On Governor’s Taxpayer Boondoggle
In the movie Dave, Kevin Kline plays a presidential lookalike who finds himself running the country after the real President falls into a coma. Convening a Cabinet meeting, this political novice uses common sense to expose the ludicrous mentality of the entrenched Business As Usual crowd.
Kline asks the Commerce Secretary about an ad campaign his Department has implemented to boost consumer confidence in the American auto industry. “It’s designed to bolster individual confidence in a previous domestic automotive purchase,” the Secretary proudly explained.
Speechless at first, Kline fires back, “We’re spending millions for somebody to feel good about a car they already bought? I don’t want to tell an eight-year-old kid he’s gotta sleep in the street because we want people to feel better about their car. Do you want to tell him that?” The shocked Secretary (finally) sees the light, and the program is eliminated.
Incredibly, that mentality isn’t limited to fictional Hollywood scripts, but is a large part of the way our governmental leaders operate. Look at what Pennsylvania’s Ed Rendell is trying to pull off before he walks out of the Governor’s Mansion a few weeks from now.
Shortly before leaving office, Rendell authorized $42 million in taxpayer money to be sent to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) to help bail out the sinking Aker Shipyard in Philadelphia.
The funding, we are told, would prevent Aker from going under, since it would be building two new tanker ships.
Of course, there’s one small problem.
There are no buyers for the ships. And the prospect of that changing course anytime soon is virtually nonexistent.
Thousands of ships worldwide are lying at anchor because of the global recession, idled indefinitely because the demand for shipping is dismally low. It’s gotten so bad that some ship owners are even scrapping their vessels to eliminate harbor costs, receiving pennies on the dollar. But the remaining glut of vessels is still huge, depressing prices for the foreseeable future.
So, let’s be “Dave” for a second and get this straight.
Rendell wants to spend money — our money, since there’s no such thing as “state” money — to build ships…that no one is going to buy, ostensibly so some 1,000 workers can keep receiving a subsidized paycheck. And since there aren’t any buyers, the ships obviously wouldn’t be built-to-order, further devaluing them and making their eventual purchase all the more difficult.
Rendell may not care, but I certainly wouldn’t want to tell a mother that her child died in a bridge collapse that resulted from a lack of maintenance — because $42 million was spent on ghost ships instead of bridge repairs.
But what type of Rendell move would it be if he didn’t take care of his political pals and big-time fundraisers?
The Chairman of the PRPA is none other than John Estey, former Rendell Chief of Staff and a longtime partner at Ballard Spahr, the Guv’s old firm which has received the lion’s share of millions in no-bid legal contracts from the state. And guess who the outside counsel of PRPA was? Ballard Spahr.
This is the same John Estey who is also Chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), which is intricately linked to the PRPA, sending millions their way over the years.
The DRPA couldn’t dole out legal contracts fast enough to Ballard when it served as its outside counsel — over $3.2 million since Rendell was elected in 2002, up from $480 the year prior. And when Chairman Estey voted to approve those legal bills, he was, in fact, approving funds that went directly to Ballard — his own firm.
Ballard and its associated entities, by the way,…..
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Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com
Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”
Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
January 7, 2011 at 10:16 am Comments (0)