Pork and blowhards

Glenn or Wilbur?

Glenn or Wilbur?

Another attempt to ban earmarks in the U.S. Senate failed this past Tuesday, but Republicans surely will target bills heavy on appropriations during the coming fiscal year. But what would happen in Sacramento if GOP lawmakers actually got rid of earmarks?

Last year, some $135 million in earmarks funded projects in U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui’s district. But if the GOP has its way, decision makers that know nothing about Sacramento would be choosing how these dollars are spent.

“The reality is that each community has unique needs that may not be on the radar screen of other Members of Congress or the Administration,” Matsui explained, via e-mail, “so it is incumbent upon Members to fight for the needs of their constituents at the federal level.”

Basically, Matsui reminds that if Republicans end earmarks, the federal deficit won’t be lessened and, instead, Sacramento could even lose out on the following projects, which received federal funds last fiscal year:

• $63 million to the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency to begin construction on Folsom Dam flood-storage improvements

• $38 million to Sacramento Regional Transit District to extend light rail’s south corridor service to Cosumnes River College

• $14 million to protect 5,000 feet of flood bank along the Sacramento River, which is “seriously threatened” by erosion

• $6.3 million to raise the levees between Watt and Howe avenues

• $4.5 million to the American Burn Association and the UC Davis Regional Burn Center to improve outcomes for combat burn victims

• $2.5 million to ensure 100-year flood protection for the south Sacramento area

• $800,000 to Technikon to accelerate development of renewable-energy technology

• $350,000 to Sacramento State to pay for equipment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics labs

• $280,000 to the city of Sacramento to bolster school attendance

Earmarks for fiscal year 2011 have yet to be approved but will be hashed out in the coming term. (Nick Miller)

Economist Henry Ford?

Fox News personality Glenn Beck will take over Sacramento’s movie theaters this week. But only for a day: On Thursday, December 2, at 8 p.m., Beck will lecture in Pittsburgh—but his chat, titled “Broke: Restarting the Engine of America,” will be broadcast live at local theaters, including Century Downtown Plaza 7, Stadium 14, and theaters in Natomas, Elk Grove and Citrus Heights.

And, like any good Glenn Beck argument, the logic is fuzzy. On www.glennbeck.com, it does its best to clarify: “Glenn will use his own inimitable style to compare the United States economy to a 1965 Mustang. Glenn will illustrate his argument that—like an automobile engine overburdened with add-ons and faulty repair work—Washington’s misplaced focus has caused the United States economy to fall from its former position as a model of performance and efficiency.”

It’s worth noting that Beck never has taken any college economics courses. Nor has he worked as an auto mechanic. But at $20 a ticket, his lecture will cost about as much as an oil change. (N.M.)