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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 08/ 6/2010

McCain-Coburn stimulus report gets it wrong

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn received some attention this week for their report on 100 stimulus projects around the U.S. that “give taxpayers the blues.” Their aides, presumably, gathered information on projects that are wasteful, mismanaged or destroying jobs instead of creating them.

Two Virginia projects were included in the report. One checks out and seems to have its facts straight. The other…well, I’m guessing someone wanted to go home early without making a few necessary phone calls.

According to the report, Washington and Lee High School in Montross squandered $22,000 on a new concession stand, instead of maintaining core building functions. Says the report:

“Virginia has a leaky roof and poorly functioning HVAC system, which is why the school was provided resources for . . . a new concession stand? That was the reaction of at least one local member of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, Russ Culver, who noted that, ‘the concession stand is not a necessity as far as educating the county’s children.’”

The only problem is that Mr. Culver DID vote for building a new concession stand–but only after funding had already been found for the leaking roof and the HVAC. In a phone conversation Thursday, he said that while he expressed initial concern for the project, he approved it after school officials made their case and after the county board had already appropriated money for the maintenance projects.

Despite some fact-twisting here and there, the report seems to have waded through the agenda swamp to some solid ground. CNBC highlighted this week the other Virginia project included in the report: Lancaster resident Ron Edwards, who says boaters visiting his river-front restaurant have been blocked by the fallout from a dredging project.

To read more of this piece by Paige Winfield Cunningham, visit Old Dominion Watchdog here.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | August 6, 2010; 12:34 PM ET
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So it doesn't bother you at all that the federal government is raping your grandchildren's future incomes to pay for a freaking concession stand?

Why does this drivel get printed?

Posted by: jiji1 | August 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

You're right. Far better that the federal government spend trillions on missile defense systems that do not work, abstinence programs that do not work, nation-building invasions that do not work and trickle-down economic policies that do not work, all of which are hunky-dory with the group that professes to be for fiscal conservatism.
And you can cut out the hyperbole. I've had enough right-wing hysteria.

Posted by: krickey7 | August 6, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

government and school systems have to prioritize spending so they can meet their budgets just like small business and do otherwise, and they are doing otherwise,is robbing taxpayers of their hard earned money.

Posted by: tonyjm | August 6, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, a Post headline is not supported by the facts in the article, resulting in biased readers.

How do you reconcile:
"McCain-Coburn stimulus report gets it wrong"
"Despite some fact-twisting here and there, the report seems to have waded through the agenda swamp to some solid ground."

My son learned in 4th grade this year how to find the main idea of a story. Do the PostLocal editors need to go back to 4th grade?

Posted by: pparrydc | August 9, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

pparrydc, I don't think these interns are even being paid.

Still, pretty shameful for a fourth-rate newspaper.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 10, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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