Saturday, February 2, 2008

John Boozman: Corrupt or Incompetent?

Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody says that the city had to spend over $318,000 to hire a bigtime Washington lobbyist to get a dime in federal funds for local economic development, transportation, housing and public safety projects during the last four years. "They would not have happened without this,” said Coody of the payments to the lobbyists, indicating that he doesn't think much of Congressman Boozman's performance. He now wants the City Council to approve another contract this year with Van Scoyoc Associates for $84,000 plus expenses.

Does this mean that Congressman
John Boozman doesn't know or care enough about our local needs to read a letter from our city leaders requesting federal funding and respond by trying to help? Does this mean Boozman is so incompetent that he needs a lobbying firm to identify what's in the federal budget? Does this mean that Boozman is so corrupt that he won't lift a finger or deliver a little local pork unless some hired lobbyist takes him to dinner and makes the pitch for us? Wouldn't Boozman have been as responsive as Coody was in getting funds for the Chamber's priority CMN Business Park road project without our hiring a lobbyiist for them? Do we really need to spend $400,000 in city funds to get federal pork that won't even cover the cost over runs at the new sewer plant?

Maybe so. You'll remember that six weeks ago Congressman Boozman tried to claim
personal credit for getting millions in earmarked pork projects for Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas, after he had voted against the Omnibus Budget Bill containing those funds. Either he was stupid or assumed that we were. Maybe Mayor Coody should ask our lobbyist to get Boozman to vote for these projects instead of flip-flopping around with his votes and hogging credit for the porkfest of spending federal funds. Otherwise, we're just wasting local tax dollars so Coody can go on trips to DC and have a good time with the Cowbirds. Why don't the Cowbirds hire their own lobbyist, you ask? Why would they when they can get the city taxpayers to do it for them?

I was glad to read in today's paper that the proposed boondoggle had been pulled from the "consent agenda" and will now be discussed at next Tuesday's council meeting. Before the City spends another $84,000 on a Washington lobbyist, we need some answers. Mayhaps Congressman Boozman will show up and explain why he needs us to hire a fancy Washington lobbyist to get him to do his job.

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