Governor McAuliffe More Waste, Hypocrisy
Here is more of the usual nonsense that in the past hasn't produced stable jobs paying a living wage or no jobs at all to the general public - just those in the government grant money stream.
Often these dubious projects get multiple grants funding using one grant to leverage another grant. In this way a select few can funnel millions into their pet projects and keep the public out of the process.
Government is most of the economy in this region which is riddled with corruption, graft, and class warfare. A legion of consultants, non-profits, and contractors rake in millions delivering little to the average citizen. They have their economy, others work fast food or receive SSI.
And what of the $3.3 million in ARC grants pilfered by Governor Terry McAuliffe and associates? A press release by the good Gov. April 18, 2016 noted these valuable efforts at diversifying the failed Appalachian economy:
Big Stone Gap Visitors Center $85,931 - like the Trail of the Lonesome Pine outdoor drama and the Coal Museum this has been here in one form or another for years and has produced nothing.
Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine - Appalachian Medicinal Herb Growers Consortium - Phase II: Processing herbs and adding more farmers $125,930. You have to be kidding me - Chinese herbs?? This is complete nonsense like the $650,000 farmers market in Abingdon that's open one day a week. Total waste.
Henry County Bassett Historic Train Depot Restoration Project $500,000. Another useless train station that needs to be torn down and will like Bristol produce nothing. Been around for years and has produced nothing. But that is just beginning of this massive level of waste in Henry County:
Future phases will include more street scape and facade improvements, trail links and the creation of venues to attract tourists in Bassett and Fieldale and signs in Stanleytown and Koehler.
In addition to the $700,000 Community Development Block Grant, additional funding for the first phase will be sought from other state and federal sources, community partners and area businesses.
The preliminary cost estimates for the entire $12.9 million revitalization improvements are: $7.6 million for Bassett, $4.9 million for Fieldale, $300,000 for Stanleytown and $15,000 for Koehler.
Hell this is costing even more than Bristol did.
Mountain Empire Community College Healthcare Simulation Access $100,000. Pork and a lucrative contract for the right people. This is in addition to a $72,309 grant from the Tobacco Commission - zero jobs for the general public again.
Town of Damascus Downtown Waterfront Asset Development $499,908. Total waste and pork. This is the same town the pilfered transportation and economic development grants to pay for a new library - where's the jobs? It's "transportation" due to a brochure rack near the door.
The Barter Foundation Inc. Expanding the Production Capacity of Barter Theater - Phase II $500,000. High class entertainment for the local wealthy and elite. This non-profit has been bailed out for years with economic development grants while those that were supposed to get a job can't afford to go there.
The Crooked (Money) Road Expanding the Crooked (Money) Road Brand $250,000. They've wasted millions on this worthless project already and can't produce a shred of proof of any job creation, etc. I asked for proof and they refuse to supply it. They won't even produce their IRS paperwork as required by law. This is more consulting and marketing income for a select few and has gone on for years. When do the working poor get a job?
Scott County, Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence - Duffield Satellite $142,937. This again is a few professional jobs for the selected few. We've had an identical center in Abingdon for several years wasting $4 million with nothing to show for it. The idea was to train people for non-existent jobs as a way to hopefully lure in jobs. Does that make sense?
New River Valley Regional Commission Old School Food Center at Prices Fork $500,000. They also got another $2.5 million for this insanity:
...converts the former classrooms of the old Prices Fork Elementary School into 16 two bedroom apartments, with 10 affordable and six market-rate units for people 55 and older. Phase I is funded in part with state and local HOME funds.
The second phase, which includes VCI funding as well as $500,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission funding, includes two components: (1) the Old School Food Center, which will provide innovative economic development opportunities for new or expanding local food-based entrepreneurs through the creation of a commercial incubator kitchen, farm-to-table restaurant, retail market, craft brewery and business competition with support services, and, (2) 16 new apartments with a mix of affordable and market rate units.
Would any serious private sector firm dare invest in such nonsense? They threw in the restaurant nonsense to qualify for economic development grants. And I thought Chinese herb farming was complete nonsense now I've heard it all.
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Planning Grants $122,625 - more consulting fees for the same select few.
This weekend (July 23) former Gov. Tim Kaine did years ago at Remote Area Medical in Wise, Virginia bitching about government healthcare - as he oversees millions in this kind of pork and waste that could have gone to help citizens that are not getting jobs and are in great need of dental care, etc. Medicaid and Medicare doesn't cover dental and most of the people at RAM are there for dental care because they lack the income to afford insurance. But I'm sure Chinese herbs will fix that problem right up.
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