Monday, June 25, 2007

McNerney's earmark mania

Taking a step that few Congressional representatives have, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, made public his funding requests — known infamously as "earmarks." It's a smart political move that shows McNerney isn't shying away from his campaign pledges of supporting open government.

A quick glance at McNerney's requests shows a lot of local projects, including transportation improvements and even a $500,000 request to bolster the Tracy Unified School District's English-learner student program (a helpful request, because English-learners typically are at or near the bottom when ranked by state standardized testing).

A few other requests include several million dollars to expand a National Guard facility over the hill, allow the NG to establish a terrorist/natrual disaster response plan, extending the BART line and improving MacArthur Drive in Tracy from between Mt. Diablo Avenue and 11th Street.

The full list of 48 earmarks is available through this link.

Critics of McNerney will call this all "pork," his supporters will say it's a Congressman bringing needed infrastructure improvements and money back to his district. But, Tracy's Congressman is giving his constituents a powerful tool in rating his performance. And whatever the motivation behind this disclosure, it bolsters an already strong record in favor of open government, something that I wish more representatives in government would embrace.

1 comment:

Erdos56 said...

I dislike the practice of pork, and this list reinforces my distaste. Every one of these requests are better managed through grant request processes to appropriate agencies that are then reviewed by program managers who make decisions based on need, merit and agency priorities. Turning that process on its head in a political free-for-all effectively eliminates any oversight.

$2M for LCS EW system! I worked on a Navy grant for LCS and our work was vetted by the Navy, not by McNerney's office...