Gov. Deval Patricks free wheels for welfare recipients program is revving up despite the stalled economy, as the keys to donated cars loaded with state-funded insurance, repairs and even AAA membership are handed out to get them to work.
But the program - fueled by a funding boost despite the states fiscal crash - allows those who end up back on welfare to keep the cars anyway.
Its mind-boggling. Youve got people out there saying, I just lost my job. Hey, can I get a free car, too? said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).
The Patrick administration decided last month to funnel an additional $30,000 to the nearly $400,000 annual car ownership program.
The program, which is provided by the State Department of Transitional Assistance, gives out about 65 cars a year, said DTA Commissioner Julia Kehoe.
The state pays for the cars insurance, inspection, excise tax, title, registration, repairs and a AAA membership for one year at a total cost of roughly $6,000 per car.
The program, which started in 2006, distributes cars donated by non-profit charities such as Good News Garage, a Lutheran charity, which also does the repair work on the car and bills the state.
Kehoe defended the program, saying the state breaks even by cutting welfare payments to the family - about $6,000 a year.
If you look at the overall picture, this helps make sure people arent staying on cash assistance. Its a relatively short payment for a long-term benefit, Kehoe said.
But Kehoe admitted about 20 percent of those who received a car ended up back on welfare, and while they lose the insurance and other benefits, they dont have to return the car.
Given the states fiscal condition, paying for AAA and auto inspection costs is outrageous, said Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R-Wakefield). There are so many families out there trying to deal with layoffs and pay cuts. You have to wonder what the states priorities are at this point.
Applicants for cars must have a job or prove they could get one if they had the car in order to qualify. Once they have the wheels, they must send DTA their pay stubs to prove they are employed.
To get the cars, they must be unable to reach work by public transportation and have a clean driving record. The program is only available to families on welfare with children.
Kehoe said the bulk of cars go to places with less public transportation, such as Fitchburg, New Bedford and Lowell.
I cant believe there are no restrictions on how they use the car, Jones said. I just dont see this as a core function of government.
Besoeker you see where they bitching about the lottery not making enough money in GA too pay for all the tuitions? But every damn time i go too a convenience store i have too wait in line for my beeer 30 minutes for the dumbasses too get all their tickets scanned
Robert C. Murtha Jr. for years has made a sizable living working with companies which rely on Pentagon contracts over which his uncle, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), holds considerable sway.
He has maintained that his uncle played no role in his defense-related work, much of it secured without competition. Newly obtained documents, however, show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power in his dealings with the military. The documents add to mounting questions about Rep. Murtha, whose use of federal earmarks to help favored defense companies and his relationship with a former lobbying firm are under scrutiny by federal investigators. The congressman has used his control over Pentagon funds to build a hub of defense-related industry in his congressional district and has also won generous campaign donations from the companies.
Robert Murtha, an engineer, benefited from some of the defense contracts when companies brought him in to manage a small portion of the work. Even when the main contract shifted to a new company, he continued to be paid as part of that work. Some former business associates and employees told The Washington Post they thought the role played by Robert Murtha's companies was unnecessary.
Jeff Curtis, an engineer who worked for Robert Murtha's company in 2001, contacted The Post to say that he and some co-workers did virtually no work on a project to make kits to test for biological agents. Curtis said he remains "furious" that taxpayer dollars were wasted.
"I was always thinking, 'Why is the government paying this company?' " said Curtis, 29, now doing engineering work in North Carolina. "If it's fair to have this kind of no-bid work, I'll start a company and do it for half as much. Because this company didn't do anything."
In e-mails obtained by The Post, Robert Murtha told a business partner in 2001 that there were conditions for "keeping funds flowing." Part of the federal work, he said, must be channeled to Johnstown, Pa., his uncle's hometown.
"This has been a requirement for what I do to get dollars through," Robert Murtha wrote in an e-mail to a senior company official with National Micrographic Services Imaging Inc. of Silver Spring, the lead contractor on a project to produce biological weapons test kits.
Robert Murtha, 49, recently called it "unfortunate" that some critics assume his family ties led to government contracts.
"We do good work," he said. "If we're not doing our job well, we wouldn't be doing our job."
He did not respond to requests for comments on the e-mails or his dealings with contractors.
Rep. Murtha's office requested questions in writing but did not respond to them.
The documents obtained by The Post, including e-mails and invoices submitted by Robert Murtha, appear to contradict his assertions that his uncle played no role in his extensive Pentagon business.
Members of former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign reportedly devised a "doomsday" strategy over his affair with Rielle Hunter in which they would destroy his bid for office.
Several unnamed former campaign officials said they had prepared a plan in which they would sabotage Edwards' campaign if it appeared he would secure the Democratic nomination, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reported on Sunday.
"They were Weasels Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign -- they were going to blow it up," Stephanopoulos said.
The strategy was apparently put together in secret in December 2007 after months of denying rumors that Edwards was having an affair with a woman and had also fathered a child with her.
The revelation comes as Edwards' ex-mistress is reportedly interested in seeking a paternity test for her 1-year-old daughter after Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, sparked fresh questions over whether the father might be her husband.
The former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate denied being the father of Frances Quinn Hunter during a TV interview in August. But Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that aired on Thursday, didn't sound so sure. "I've seen a picture of the baby," she said. "I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea."
So says the co-enabler ...
On Wednesday, one day after Oprah's production company released excerpts of the interview, The National Enquirer reported that Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' former mistress, is working with a lawyer to seek a paternity test from him.
That's a reversal from last August, when Hunter's attorney Robert Gordon released a statement saying she "will not participate in DNA testing or any other invasion of her or her daughter's privacy now or in the future."
Edwards said at the time that he would "welcome" a paternity test, and that because of the "timing" of his affair "it's not possible that this child could be mine." But he indicated that his apparent willingness to take the test would lead nowhere unless Hunter consented.
"I'm only one side. I can run only one side of the test, but I'm happy to participate in one," Edwards said at the time.
It's unclear whether Edwards would be as willing to submit to a test if Hunter is on board with the idea.
Too bad the campaign workers had a 'contingency' plan and didn't do the right thing in the first place. Why on earth would you work on a political campaign when you know the candidate is a first-class louse?
If John Boy was truly serious about his offer for a paternity test, he could have just sent a sample of his DNA to a laboratory somewhere for analysis. Then when the other woman changed her mind, doing the paternity test would have been simple.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
05/11/2009 17:33 Comments ||
"Too bad the campaign workers had a 'contingency' plan and didn't do the right thing in the first place. Why on earth would you work on a political campaign when you know the candidate is a first-class louse?"
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.