Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 40 124_wk_40

November 19, 2021 10:28 AM



De Blasio Hatred of Trump May Cost Taxpayers $30 Million

November 15, 2021


Even as New York City becomes increasingly unsafe, Mayor Bill de Blasio is focusing on spending $30 million of taxpayer money to remove former President Donald Trump’s name from all city property.

As Eric Trump put it, “New York is being overrun by crime and homelessness, and people are fleeing in record numbers, yet this mayor’s focus is using $30 million of taxpayer money to settle political scores.”

After the Jan. 6 Capital riot, de Blasio said he would pull the Trump Organization’s longtime concession contracts to run the historic Central Park carousel, Wollman and Lasker skating rinks in the park, and the Trump Ferry Point Golf Course in the Bronx.

But kicking out the Trump Organization would have closed the two skating rinks six weeks early, creating an outcry from skaters and the decision was reversed, allowing the contract to run out instead, the New York Post reported.

The new rink operators raised rates, costing a family of four $109 to enter, rent skates and rent a locker, compared to the $95 when the Trump Organization was running it.

Also, rather than allow Trump to continue running the Central Park carousel, the iconic ride remained closed for all of summer 2021, only reopening Oct. 16 with a new operator.

Now, de Blasio is so determined to kick the Trump Org. out of the Bronx golf course — for which Trump still has 13 years left on its contract to run — that he’s fine with spending $30 million of city taxes to end it early.

Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., both Democrats, and residents are objecting to de Blasio’s decision, the Post reported, in part for fear of losing the 150 jobs there.

De Blasio’s willingness to spend $30 million and lay off 150 people shows that he cares less about the New York City residents he’s supposed to represent than he does taking care of a political vendetta.



California AIDS Office Workers Stole $2.7 Million While No One Was Watching

November 16, 2021


“Do we know what this is?”

That’s what Marisa Ramos, acting chief of the California Office of AIDS, replied when staff pointed to about $1 million of billings from a company no one had heard of.

It turns out the company, Web Tech Solutions, was invented by staffer Schenelle Flores to help bilk the office of $2.7 million of taxpayer funds to pay for her trips to Disneyland, concerts and sporting events, according to a report by The Sacramento Bee

The California Department of Public Health recently released new details about the fraud following a lawsuit by The Sacramento Bee seeking the release of records.

Flores oversaw fiscal operations for the HIV Prevention Branch of the California Office of AIDS when she used contractor for the office, MLB Distributors, to bankroll her trips by billing the state for the cost, The Bee reported.

MLB chief financial officer, Leon Pick, gave Flores his debit card number after she asked for the information to streamline payments, which she then used on trips to Disneyland, concerts, and sporting events, the newspaper reported.

Flores worked with Christine Iwamoto, a former manager inside the California Department of Public Health, to create a second phony company to bill the office for $450,000 for public relations work that was never performed, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In February, Flores pleaded guilty to defrauding the state and, in late October, Iwamoto, a former manager inside the California Department of Public Health, also pleaded guilty.

Iwamoto received $450,000 and 312 $100 gift cards from the scheme, prosecutors said.

A state agency being defrauded of $2.7 million in taxpayer funds should be enough to motivate the State of California to reform its billing and payment policies so corrupt bureaucrats have less power.


New NYC Ferry Costs $100 Million – Sits Docked and Unused

November 17, 2021


For the thousands of immigrants who entered the southern border illegally in 2018, the Biden administration is considering awarding each as much as $450,000 for separating migrant children from their parents.

During its zero-tolerance approach to border control, the Trump administration stopped everyone crossing the border illegally and children were separated from their parents and put on a separate administrative track.

Now, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is “perfectly comfortable” paying migrant families who crossed illegally and were separated, the New York Post reported.

The Biden administration is in talks to offer immigrant families around $450,000 per person, according to people familiar with the matter, as a way to resolve lawsuits filed on behalf of parents and children, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The total potential payout could be $1 billion or more, The Journal said, as the American Civil Liberties Union is representing families in one of the lawsuits and has identified about 5,500 children separated at the border over the course of the Trump administration.

Around 940 claims against the federal government have so far been filed, The Journal reported.

The suits allege the government subjected them to lasting psychological trauma, as some families were broken up with no way to track and later reunite them, government investigations found.

The lawsuits claim some of the children suffered from heat exhaustion and malnutrition, and were kept in cold rooms and provided little medical attention, The Journal said.

While children — who had no say in being brought here illegally by their parents or by smugglers — should have their basic needs met while in government custody, there should be a resounding “no” to the idea of using taxpayer funds to settle for $450,000 a piece.



1977 Federal Study Considered Why People Are Rude on Tennis Courts

November 18, 2021


Throwback Thursday! 

If you’ve ever exhibited rage on the tennis court, the National Endowment for the Humanities has a study for you.

In 1977, the NEH won a Golden Fleece award from Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who gave the awards for wasteful and nonsensical spending, in this case for giving a $2,500 grant — $11,000 in 2021 dollars — to Arlington County, Virginia, to study why people are rude, cheat, and lie on the local tennis courts.  

“The federal taxpayer should not be taxed to determine why tennis can't always be a ‘love game,’” Proxmire said when doling out the award.

The NEH gave the grant “to determine why tennis players hog the courts, become frustrated when they have to wait to play, and what responsibility local tennis players have in trying to help the county solve its problem with overcrowding on the courts,” Proxmire’s press release said at the time.

The NEH justified the grant by saying that tennis players lie about how long they play and resist requests to prove local residency on un-monitored public courts.

They also wanted to find out why tennis players get frustrated when they have to wait for hours or go from court to court to find an open one on which to play. The vandalism of tennis nets, cables, cranks and lights was also cited as a serious problem, Proxmire said in 1977.

The county matched the $2,500 grant to hire both a professor of sociology and a professor of ethics and philosophy to consult and to conduct a survey of the attitudes of about 300 players towards the local tennis regulations, as well as hold two public meetings to guide the local tennis players in role playing activities.

“The taxpayers of this country have been aced for some pretty stupid projects in the past, but a grant to study tennis court etiquette is the biggest default to date,” Proxmire said.



National School Boards Association Collected $17.5 Million From School Districts (Taxpayers)

November 19, 2021


The National School Board Association is mostly funded by taxpayers. Local school districts pay dues to the association to join as members.

National School Boards Association Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven and President Viola Garcia wrote the now-famous Sept. 29 letter to President Joe Biden that asked for federal law enforcement “to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

This prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland to send a memo to the head of the FBI, directing the FBI to look into parents who raise their voices at school board meetings.

But since then, the NSBA board of directors have disavowed the letter that demonized parents who push back against schools boards and administrators.

The NSBA, a federation of state associations that represent locally elected school boards, apologized to its members in an Oct. 22 letter.

In 2019, the NSBA had $19.2 million in revenue, according to their filings, and most of which — $17,455,669 — came from “program services.”

The services section of their website states, “NSBA develops and offers unparalleled programs and services to enable its members to be their most impactful. From executive development to resource provider, NSBA creates opportunities to connect, share and learn from peers and from the best thinkers, strategists and managers.”

Americans should be wary of handing over taxpayer dollars to an association who asks the Attorney General to sic the FBI on parents at school board meetings.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

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