Oligarchy has its privileges

September 10, 2010

Such as turning a tiny town’s treasury into your personal bank account:

Top managers for the city of Vernon, Calif., enjoyed pay and perks that outpaced some of the nation’s top leaders.

It is one of a growing number of California municipalities confronting questionable practices by municipal employees.

Vernon has only 90 residents, but top city managers were earning an astounding $1.6 million per year with some fancy perks, including first-class air travel around the world and $800-a-night hotel rooms.

“For these city officials to be receiving salaries larger than the governor, larger than the president of the United States is absolutely unjustifiable,” said Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies.

The city’s small homeowners association is outraged that their city leaders were living the high life, particularly in a town that recently laid off workers and cut health insurance because of budget problems.

At one angry council meeting, residents shouted, “Shame on you!”

Read the rest for other small California towns whose “leaders” live the high life while unemployment skyrockets and the state faces financial insolvency.

Maybe those pitchforks-and-torches mobs in the old movies had the right idea.

(via Gabriel Malor)

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Charlie Crist’s nightmare

June 6, 2010

This looks like one of those scandals that can just ruin a politician’s dreams: Jim Greer, the former Florida Republican Party Chairman recently arrested for stealing money from the party, now says he thought it was okay because Governor Crist told him to do it:

Gov. Charlie Crist personally signed off on his former Republican Party chairman’s confidential fundraising role with the state party, according to Jim Greer’s attorney, whose allegation contradicts the governor’s statement that he “didn’t know anything” about the deal now part of a criminal investigation.

State investigators say Greer and the party’s former executive director, Delmar W. Johnson III, secretly set up a shell company called Victory Strategies to divert party money and enrich themselves. Greer was charged Wednesday with fraud and money laundering.

But Greer’s attorney, Damon Chase, said Saturday that the deal giving them a 10 percent cut of party donations was legal. What’s more, Chase said Crist’s former right-hand man, now U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, first proposed the idea that they earn a fundraising commission to save the party money and replace the $30,000-a-month contract with fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke.

“You guys work hard. You deserve it,” Chase said Greer was told by the governor as they played pool in February 2009 at a Palm Beach golf tournament.

Crist is running as a Republican an Independent in the senate race, having fled the Republican Party after it was clear he would be crushed in the primary by former state assembly Speaker Marco Rubio. Oh, and he kept Republican donors’ money, too, after having promised to return it. Nice.

The problem for Crist initially was that Greer was his guy, appointed as party chair at Crist’s urging. Now, however, it appears that Crist may have encouraged Greer and his partner to help themselves to the party cookie jar. While Greer’s charge may or may not be true, and while the Republican primary is immaterial to Crist, now, it’s likely going to hang around all summer and into the general election, buzzing in voters’ ears.

And that may well cost Charlie the promotion he so desperately wants.

(via David Freddoso)


Links fiesta: Climategate, Smart Power, and more!

December 9, 2009

It’s a busy Wednesday today, so here are some interesting links to keep you amused and informed:

Climategate marches on:

  • While the world’s (so-called) leaders meet in Copenhagen to save us from a crisis that doesn’t exist, consider the following:
  • How climate alarmists are like hamsters trapped in a cage.
  • Solar geomagnetic activity is at an all time low. Expect things to get colder, in defiance of Al Gore.
  • The EPA has declared carbon dioxide a major threat to your health. Scientific truth be damned; this is all about a breathtaking power-grab by the Obama Administration, which is frustrated by resistance from Congress and the American people.
  • The Goracle may be a Green poet, but he has a tremendous tin ear.
  • Taking a break from her book tour, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin pens an article for the Washington Post (But I thought she was irrelevant?) condemning politicized science and asking President Obama to boycott the farce in Copenhagen.
  • And all that talk of transferring trillions to developing countries to help them fight global warming? Would you like to buy a bridge, too? Then again, if it crashes the conference, this double-cross would have to be counted a Good Thing(tm).

Smart Power in action:

  • Nile Gardiner in The Mail wonders why Barack Obama seems to hate Great Britain and if the “special relationship” can survive. John Steele Gordon calls it gratuitous arrogance. I don’t know. Our President-Messiah did promise us change, after all. He just didn’t mention that would involve trashing a century-old alliance.
  • Con Coughlin thinks it’s time Obama learned some manners.
  • Don’t worry, Britain, it’s not just you. Our new policy seems to be to hug our enemies and slap our allies. The latest target apparently is Norway, which has just awarded Obama a Nobel Peace Prize (for nothing). Even people who like him get slighted.

Bits and Bobs:

See ya later tonight or tomorrow, folks!