Monday, June 11, 2007

"It's not bad enough that we have to worry about our own elected representatives..."

"... now we have to worry about other states' too!"

That was the comment my wife wrote when sending me a link to this Orlando Sentinel editorial:

If you can stomach any more examples of ethical problems in Congress, look no further than Coconut Road in Southwest Florida.

A congressman slipped $10 million into a transportation bill last year so that an interchange could connect the road to Interstate 75, even though the local planning board has twice opposed taking even preliminary steps toward the interchange. And it's no wonder. Study after study has warned that it would threaten sensitive wetlands.

But it wasn't even the congressman in the district who slipped the road into the bill. The Naples News discovered that it was Rep. Don Young, a Republican from Alaska -- yes, Alaska. In fact, the local congressman, Connie Mack, didn't know anything about it. And, yes, this is the same Don Young who steered $200 million to the "Bridge to Nowhere" to serve an Alaskan island with 80 people.

If you think this sounds suspicious, you know Congress all too well. It seems that the developer wanting this interchange -- for 1,000 acres he owns on Coconut Road -- helped raise $40,000 for Mr. Young's re-election just before he introduced the measure.

And now local officials are getting strong-armed into approving the interchange. Mr. Mack has told them future federal dollars could be threatened if they don't play along. After all, Mr. Young is a powerful congressman.

Enough already. If local officials cave in to this threat, people such as Mr. Young will be emboldened. Only this time instead of a Bridge to Nowhere, it's an Interchange to Somewhere: a contributor's land.
This story has plenty to be outraged about, and I am in fact outraged. But there's no reason to go on about congressional earmarks. If you want outrage on that front, you can go to, or do a search at Rick Moran's site on "earmarks". No, that's not what has me outraged.

I am outraged by some of the comments. In particular, I'm pissed at "the king of reality" from Lincoln Park NJ, "Increase Mather" from Wyoming MI, and "Eppur Si" Los Angeles CA for the following three comments, respectively:
1) wetlands eh? because of people like you that could mean a 6-inch puddle of water is holding up a bit of road that could make people's lives a lot easier

2) Screw the wetlands, build the road.

3) It threatens wetlands? In Flordia???? Is there a shortage of wetlands if Florida?
The pisser here is that not only do we have some dirty Alaskan politician mucking up our state (Pooh, I thought you said it was our Southern states that were corrupt?), we are now getting idiotic advice from a bunch of damned out-of-staters as to how to deal with this. TKOR, keep your advice on wetlands management for your own armpit of a state. And to the other two dumbasses, yes, Florida does in fact have threatened wetlands. Hopefully, we won't turn it all into a big damned slab of concrete like Los Angeles.

/ rant at anonymous commenters on another site entirely

(And yes, I DO feel better now!)


reader_iam said...

SO figures.

Good luck, Floridians.


Icepick said...

Seriously, at times one wonders if the whole American experiment has already failed, and only stumbles forward through inertia. Of course, I've been accused of pessimism....