Kalin Press Release
After Rep. Jeremy Kalin (D-17B) pandered to the media about the bridge stipends, he followed with a letter to Lt. Governor and Commissioner of Transportation, Carol Molnau, on September 20, 2007. His press release can be viewed here.
In it, he adds six more issues to the petty one above. (See our previous post.) He should be given a 15 yard penalty for "piling on." This is unsportsmanlike conduct. Molnau is trying to restore Minnesota to normality after the collapse of the most used bridge in the state. She’s as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof with work, but Kalin has to badger her. Kalin is more interested in politicizing a tragedy than creating a climate for the Transportation Department to get the job done timely and properly.
Ignoring the fact that he had already admitted that as a legislator he knew of the $300k stipend for each of the three losing bridge bidders, now he condemns the $1.5 million in stipends as frivolous spending. He ratchets up his rhetoric from the $900,000 expected stipend to $1.5 million. He should have expected the extra $600,000 in stipends when liberals pushed for light rail in the bridge design.
Whatever waste is discovered after investigating the "absence" of a Mn/DOT employee during the bridge collapse will not go very far toward repairing one of the "...endangered bridges..." he is so concerned about. The employee review will tell if discipline is needed, but any potentially wasted dollars are less than minuscule compared to the cost of repairing one deficient bridge. Where is his sense of proportion? Political opportunists make voters cynical.
Why does a liberal suddenly become concerned about frivolous spending when he voted for frivolous tax increases a few months ago? What is $600,000 compared to $5,000,000,000 proposed in bills by the Dems? It’s frivolous when he says it’s frivolous and he ignores the fact that light rail was included in the bridge design by a Republican administration on the insistence of libs.
Kalin does not have a sense of proportion. What is the importance of starting the Rush Line Commuter Bus service compared to the replacement of the failed I-35 bridge? The commuter delay caused by the congested North Branch TH 95 bridge is nothing compared to no bridge over the Mississippi River. Like a petulant kid, Kalin has to have answers to his petty questions now. It would be good for Molnau to ignore him; answers will be forth coming after the crisis is handled.