Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sports Pork

ESPN's Page 2 takes aim at one of Jim Walsh's pork projects:

Having split the atom and put a man on the moon, the federal government has funded its most ambitious project yet.

Specifically, immortalizing the likes of Danny Biasone.

Haven't heard of Biasone, the father of the 24-second shot clock? Then you probably haven't heard of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, either.

Which, come to think of it, wouldn't be a total shock.

Dedicated to the proposition that Syracuse, N.Y., is a world sports mecca, the Hall counts Biasone among its inductees and is notable for at least two reasons: (1) a dedication to the proposition that Syracuse is a world sports mecca; and (2) it does not include Jim Brown.

Beyond that, one other factor separates the Syracuse Hall from its peers in the field of petty regional homage, fellow cultural meccas such as the Alabama Health Care Hall of Fame and the National Corvette Museum.

Try $75,000. Of your money.

Two years ago, Congress tacked a grant for the Syracuse Hall onto a larger appropriations bill covering Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.

And no, it wasn't an accounting mistake.

"It wasn't a great deal of money," says Dan Gage, a spokesman for Rep. James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.), the congressman responsible for the funding. "There are similar projects all across the country. This was no different from what is being done elsewhere."

Dan Gage quote reminds me of something my mom always used to say to me, "if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?" So now I guess we know that Jim Walsh would.

But more importantly, no number 44?!

Okay, slightly more importantly, how much health care could have that $75,000 provided for veterans?


At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Representative James T. Walsh (R-N.Y.) its Porker of the Month for February 2004 for spending taxpayer money to fund building renovations at his alma mater. Rep. Walsh used his power as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs/Housing and Urban Development to secure a $4.5 million grant to renovate a building at St. Bonaventure University. The amount is 50 percent greater than the largest single, private gift to the university, $3 million for a recreation facility.

While most private schools rely on alumni philanthropists for large donations, St. Bonaventure has the benefit of having a “Cardinal” on the House Appropriations Committee who can donate tax dollars. Celebrities and dignitaries often make large contributions to schools; recently Oprah Winfrey made a $5 million donation to Morehouse College. Yet even she doesn’t have the unlimited resources that Rep. Walsh has at the U.S. Treasury.

Chairman Walsh obtained the grant as part of the fiscal 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act for the ongoing multi-stage renovation and expansion of St. Bonaventure’s science building, DeLaRoche Hall. With the amount of federal money Chairman Walsh has secured, the building will most likely soon carry his name.

This is not the first time Chairman Walsh has made such a “donation” to the project. Renovations on the science building started after Chairman Walsh secured a $990,000 grant in fiscal 2002 and $405,000 in fiscal 2003. Chairman Walsh has also indicated that there may be further federal funding for the school in the future. At the time of the first grant, Chairman Walsh declared, “I’m very proud to be able to give something back. It’s not mine to give, it’s the American taxpayers’. But I know it will be spent wisely.” Hopefully today’s students at St. Bonaventure’s are receiving a better education in civics and fiscal responsibility than did Chairman Walsh.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the money comes out of NASA’s budget, which is overseen by Rep. Walsh’s subcommittee. With the safety problems plaguing NASA, surely the agency could have found a better use for the money. Apparently Rep. Walsh thinks otherwise; rather than using the money to address NASA’s needs, cutting the record budget deficit, or fighting the war on terror, he funnels it to his alma mater.

Other institutes of higher education have also benefited from Chairman Walsh’s addiction to pork-barrel spending. Syracuse University received $9.6 million in pork projects in fiscal 2003, while LeMoyne College raked in $890,000. As opposed to St. Bonaventure, both of these schools are in his congressional district. In total, Chairman Walsh porked out with $34,485,000 for his district in fiscal 2003; CAGW will release the 2004 tally in April.

Rep. Walsh, who received a degree in history at St. Bonaventure in 1970, now adds to the historic $521 billion deficit in 2004. For being a generous alumnus—at taxpayer expense—as well as a wasteful congressman, Rep. James T. Walsh is February’s Porker of the Month.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, money for museums, history and education, what a crime.

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2 wrote sarcastically "what a crime". I guess its good to know Walsh's friends are online. Nothing wrong with a little debate on an internet blog. So, he did not bother with an argument, just a little sarcastic remark, but its possible to guess what anonymous #2 meant.. "Walsh's money was NOT pork, it was for something USEFUL ("museums, education")."

Was it? First the museum. The organization CAGW is not a partisam organization. It singles out porky Democrats as well as Republicans. So they have some crediability in calling it pork.

But forget CWGW. look at the museum on its own merits. Is this a new Discovery Center or Everson? My opinion is no. This is a hall of fame to some sports stars that are local. I would not take my kids there. People disagree on that of course. Anonymous #2 might take his kids there. But I believe if Walsh had spent the money differently there would not be any argument as to wether its pork or not. What if Walsh had opened up a NASA research station in Syracuse instead?

How about "education". Well the university is Walsh's alma mater and not in the Syracuse district. This is my problem with it. I do not object to SU or LeMoyne off hand, but taking money from science (NASA) and handing it to your old school outside your district is what people object to.

The question is wether Walsh uses his power in the best way or if someone else could do a better job for CNY.

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would argue that if someone were to be elected and not bring money back to the district and did not promote funding for education, they would not be doing a very good job.

At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 did not respond to the arguments on the museum but did on education. I already agreed with him about SU and LeMoyne- money brought home for those institutions is a good thing. With respect to money for Walsh's alma matter, we may disagree.

So, onto wether Walsh is doing a good job or not. Anonymous #1 sets a very low bar. Apparently if you simply bring education money back, you are doing a good job. Lets, then, look at some other issues, as I assume both Maffei and Walsh would both send money back to SU and LeMoyne. How about: (1) anti abortion measures, e.g. forcing parental notification or anti-late term abortions (so called partial birth), (2) pro NRA measures, (3) changing the constitution to prohibit "flag burning", (4) declaring illegal immigrants "fellons" (5) prohibiting gays from rights given to married couples (6) tax cuts for the rich, including to the wealthy 1% who benefit from abolishing the so-called "death tax", (7) prohibiting investigations of Bush's Iraq lies, (8) prohibiting Democrats from participating in the legislative process in the House of Representaitves, (9) Drilling for Oil in arctic wildlife refuges, or (10) raising the dept ceiline Walsh is on board with many of those things, as are many Republicans. The question will be wether CNY does and if he represents the district with those extreme positions.

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the topic of Veteran Affairs, I find it disturbing that Walsh would appropriate such a great deal of funding to such a trivial cause while ignoring important legislation regarding veterans. Why does Walsh balk at the chance to sign onto bills such as HR25, "Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2005," which would provide much needed financial support to aging veterans and patriotic Americans who served during WWII? 261 members of the House are already cosponsors of this bill and 41 Senators, including Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, have signed onto the Senate version. It would seem any responsible member who claims to support our troops (both past and present) would surely cosponsor such important legislation. 261 cosponsors and Walsh is nowhere to be found...

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to credit Walsh for the pork for educational institutions but let's not forget that he agreed to cut funding for student loans and grants. So maybe the kid lucky enough to be studying in the new science building is better off. As for the poor bastard borrowing his way through OCC, not so much.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEVENTY-FIVE GRAND IS PEANUTS COMPARED to the million he gave to a handful of old cronies in their eighties in Syracuse for "research". Nice way to supplement your GE pension and Social Security. Sell the government rehashed research from the sixties. Set up a nonprofit in a no-tax building and with a $1M grant from Jim Walsh and give out no-show jobs to your your buddies in the nursing home.


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