Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warner rock star treatment ... Staunton NL questions use of non-profit facilities

"How come Gilmore wasn't invited for a celebrity jaunt in the famous limo? " -- Staunton News Leader, 7/22/08

I can't believe I'm going to say this but ... I agree with today's Staunton News Leader editorial. In fact, I wrote about this issue twice last week on this blog, questioning the use of tax-subsidized non-profit organizations and city resources to welcome a political candidate who, in this case, happened to be Mark Warner who is running against my candidate of choice, Jim Gilmore.

The NL editorial board also looked questioningly on the red carpet treatment that was afforded Mark Warner at the expense of taxpayers. They wrote:
... what looked out of place was Beverley Street closed down so Warner could use a microphone outside the Dixie Theatre and tell his supporters what he would do for Virginia if elected. He didn't seem like a politician stumping for support — he looked more like a celebrity offering his fans cherished face time.
Not only was Beverley Street closed down but the parking in that entire block of the Dixie Threater was blocked the day before which disrupted shopping at all the stores along that end of the street. The microphone set up on the stage on the street that Warner used to address 50-75 people made me wonder if Democrats thought more people would show up ... otherwise, that small group could fit inside the Dixie Theater.

Saying they have nothing against candidates campaigning through the Valley, the News Leader added:
But when the city and publicly funded entities like the Dixie Theatre and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library roll out the red carpet for a campaigning politician, something is wrong.
The Staunton Performing Arts Center put in the request to have Beverley Street closed, and it was done. Then he was whisked away for a ride in President Wilson's Pierce-Arrow for a trip to the presidential library. The pomp and circumstance would be wonderful for an elected representative who has actually gotten something done for the library, but for a candidate? How come Gilmore wasn't invited for a celebrity jaunt in the famous limo?
When taxpayer money supports organizations, their respective boards need to be careful how they get played by political parties welcoming candidates.
Wonder how much taxpayer money was spent to have police on standby and the street closed down ... wonder how much revenue was lost by local businesses who suffered through blocked parking on Wednesday and a blocked street on Thursday ... wonder how much it cost the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Blackfriars to open their facilities and welcome Mark Warner? How much did it cost to have the Pierce-Arrow carry Mark Warner around town?

And, most of all, I wonder who made the decisions for all of this to take place.

See McCloskey's political cartoon.
See Chris' post here.

Cross-posted at Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore
Jim Gilmore for Senate

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