Government blows $50 million on a park in St. Croix

posted at 6:17 pm on February 11, 2010 by Cassy Fiano

Let’s recap the current economic state of our country. Our deficit has been quadrupled in one year. The unemployment rate is in double digit territory, the highest its been since 1982. We’ve lost 16,000 jobs a day since the stimulus package was passed. The public debt is around $11 trillion.

None of this keeps Democrats from spending money like Marie Antoinette on meaningless projects. The latest example? Congress blew $50 million on a park in the Caribbean — St. Croix, to be exact. The vote was almost exclusively along party lines, with every Republican and five Democrats voting against it, and 240 Democrats voting for it.

If you are hoping to visit the newest crown jewel in America’s park system chosen by Congress, throw away the car keys and open up your wallet. The 2,900 pristine acres of beachfront property were not cheap — or even in the United States.

The property soliciting accusations of “pork” from critics is the Castle Nugent National Historic Park. It’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands, about a thousand miles from Miami and an expensive jet ride to get there.

Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.

“This is a beautiful and important natural and cultural resource that is in danger of being lost forever,” Virgin Island delegate, Donna Christiansen, told House colleagues in January.

… “Now is not the time to spend up to $50 million dollars of the taxpayers’ money to buy nearly 3,000 acres of beachfront property on a Caribbean Island,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-Wash.), ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. “We can’t afford a price tag for a new park in St Croix, just as many Americans will never be able to afford a visit there.”

Democrats approved the purchase, even though the National Park Service has yet to complete a study on the purchase.

“We don’t have the money to do this,” said Rep Jason Chaffetz, (R – Utah). “Currently the National Park Service has an estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks. Why should the people of Iowa, Rhode Island or California or Utah have to continue to pay and supplement the people there on St Croix for this property?”

Residents of St. Croix of course support this. But most constituents don’t complain about pork when it benefits them.

The land is currently owned by the Gasperi family. Apparently, they want to sell the property to keep it pristine and to prevent developers from taking over:

The Gasperi family maintains it wants to sell the land to the U.S. government in order to protect it from developers. Critics in Congress say there is nothing stopping them from doing that. They don’t have to sell, or the family could impose a conservation easement on the land, preventing development forever.

“Sometimes you have to say, enough is enough,” Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah told the House in January. “We heard it is (the Gasperi’s) desire that this land not be developed, but preserved in its current condition. It seems to me they are in the perfect position to accomplish that goal as landowners.”

If the Gasperis don’t want the land to be developed, then they have every right to keep that from happening. There is no need for the government to get involved, but there was never a time when Democrats saw a bill with pork barrel spending in it that they didn’t like.

And of course, how can this really be justified when the National Park Service hasn’t even surveyed the area and has a $9 billion backlog for parks right here in the United States? Most Americans will never see this park. The parks here that they could afford to see are the ones that apparently need maintenance.

But then, maybe that’s an ideal situation for Democrats. They can afford to go see this beautiful, pristine park in the Caribbean without worrying about seeing any of us uneducated middle-class low-lifes. They certainly aren’t looking out for the best interests of their constituents. They don’t care about what constituents want. They’re completely out of touch with reality… and in control of our wallets.

If that’s not a nightmare scenario, then I don’t know what is.

Hat Tip: Moonbattery

Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more original commentary or follow her on Twitter!

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Isn’t St. Croix where they sent that woman Obama was supposed to be having an affair with?

ctmom on February 11, 2010 at 6:18 PM

The constant new-media publicity drip of outrages in the stimulus bill is wearing away the protective shield that the MSM has built around Obama.

GaltBlvnAtty on February 11, 2010 at 6:21 PM

It’s probably a set-aside for the victims of Gitmo.

RushBaby on February 11, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Let’s remember the Gasperi name, because something tells me they’re going to be indicted for laundering campaign donations before the decade is out.

If only we could figure out which party they’d turn to, we might be able to prevent it.

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 6:24 PM

So, I wonder how many of our esteemed reps have flown down there on fact finding missions to study this park.

reaganaut on February 11, 2010 at 6:24 PM

“But then, maybe that’s an ideal situation for Democrats. They can afford to go see this beautiful, pristine park in the Caribbean without worrying about seeing any of us uneducated middle-class low-lifes.”

Could you just imagine what those middle-class low-life tourists would smell like, down there in that tropical sun?! Just ask Reid!

parke on February 11, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Seems to me the U.S. govt. is becoming the largest landowner in the world between Fannie and Freddie owning all the foreclosed homes and the continuing buying up of land as parkland (C’mon…St Croix???) and the Supreme Court’s dumping on property rights.

Christian Conservative on February 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

ctmom on February 11, 2010 at 6:18 PM

I remember reading about that rumor.

Vera Baker was relocated to the island of Martinique

conservative pilgrim on February 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

This stinks to high heaven. Will the blogosphere be the only place we hear of this story? Probably.

conservative pilgrim on February 11, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Yeah! Congress is really tightening their belts these days. In days past the Gasperi family would have gotten $150M for their property. So thank your Congressman that they are buying property in the territories for a 66% discount.

highhopes on February 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

I’m suffering from severe outrage exhaustion.

Cicero43 on February 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

So, I wonder how many of our esteemed reps have flown down there on fact finding missions to study this park.

reaganaut on February 11, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Given the weather in DC this week, I’m guessing all of them have reservations. I sure would.

highhopes on February 11, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Rumor has it that the “park” will be a compound for the Emperor Obama after he has fallen from grace…has to be close to his “friends” in the region…Chavez, Castro, et al…and vera close to Vera.

coldwarrior on February 11, 2010 at 6:31 PM

I think it’s time to take an idea from a horror classic~

Pigs blood thrown on Nancy and Harry~like Peta at a fur trader show!

HornetSting on February 11, 2010 at 6:34 PM

It’s all about draining as much US capital as quickly as possible.

This is why people feel so helpless. We are watching the thieves make off with everything and no way to stop them.

Decades of productivity, sweat, ingenuity, sacrifice and in one year we’ve been robbed blind and watching the collapse of the greatest country in the world.

ug…

katy on February 11, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Uhm, ST. Croix is part of the United States isn’t it?

Apologetic California on February 11, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Isn’t it weird that punks like Oakland avoid these threads.

CWforFreedom on February 11, 2010 at 6:44 PM

a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.

WTF?

Democrats and cotton planations go together … they’re inseperable.

Crooked bastards. I wish I could chase them all out with a very pointed pitchfork.

darwin on February 11, 2010 at 6:45 PM

They just. don’t. get it. They are hell-bent on forcing the hand of the people to rein them in come hell or high-water.

Join conservatives in an open forum at It’s About Freedom.

IronDioPriest on February 11, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Uhm, ST. Croix is part of the United States isn’t it?

Apologetic California on February 11, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Yeah, not the point. You want beauty, look at the freaking water! It’s free!

HornetSting on February 11, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Sad that there is a 9 billion backlog in shovel-ready jobs at National Parks that can’t get funded.

Jeff2161 on February 11, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Per Expedia, hotel on the beach + airfare for 2, $2866 for 1 week (6 nights). For $50mil, the government could send 17,445 of us for a week. Have a lotto, US citizens only, no government employees eligible, except armed forces.

Or they could give me the $50mil and y’all could all come over for a really big Tea Party rally, barbeque included, could rent a National Park for the weekend.

What say you, BarryO?

Robert17 on February 11, 2010 at 6:48 PM

The lies and deceptions of the Obama administration is over shadowed only by its total incompetence. How in the hell does someone this naive become the leader of the free world?

volsense on February 11, 2010 at 6:49 PM

“Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.”

Let that sink in for a while…

… just let it sink in, and realize how totally out of control the Democrats are.

And the only answer is to raise your taxes to pay for all of this crap.

Then think of the Billions that were hidden in slush funds of TARP and STIMULUS, given to the Unions, ACORN, and the lobbyists to keep them in power and pay for endless graft, greed, and corruption, in bills we were never allowed to read.

Let THAT sink in for a while…

Had enough yet?

Seven Percent Solution on February 11, 2010 at 6:51 PM

Putting the merits of deficit spending aside for a moment I will tell you the government got an incredible deal on the land. Even on St Croix an acre with a view goes for between $150,000 to $500,000. Beachfront is unheard of.

The VI is not expensive to get to.

St John, by ferry from St Thomas, a smaller island of which 2/3′s is a US National Park gets more than a million visitors.

There are very few things the government does right but buying pristine land and converting it to the National Park system is one of them. When you next visit a National Park near you, remember someone somewhere had the foresight to donate or sell the land to the government. Not to be forgotten someone at the government was smart enough to buy it at a huge savings before it was developed. If you ever have the pleasure of taking an island tropical vacation and wonder what it must have been like before Columbus came, visit St John. You will get down on your hands and knees and thank the National Park for getting the land.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Naive? Him and how many dem reps?

Sickening. Jerks.

WitchDoctor on February 11, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Hey, when did they sneak this Cassy person in on me?

cntrlfrk on February 11, 2010 at 6:55 PM

If you ever have the pleasure of taking an island tropical vacation

SNORT

Yah, we just paid 50 million so people can take nice tropical vacations. Well, the ones with money that is.

Great.

Why not just start buying up islands while we’re at it? It’s just money. heck we could just start grabbing coastline all over the US. Put some money folks pockets while were at it. It’s not like we’re broke or anything.

WitchDoctor on February 11, 2010 at 6:57 PM

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Nobody would object to the family donating the land.

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 7:02 PM

too bad we have NO national Republican Party or leadership…..IF we did, they would be buying 30 second spots every night of the week on TV with this type of ad…simply lay out and then say this was brought to you exclusively by the current Democratic leadership….

You could do one for TARP, PORKULUS, Government Motors, Cash for Clunkers and Murtha Airport too……it would open the publics eyes to who is doing this to us since the State Run Media won’t ever report this…..

SDarchitect on February 11, 2010 at 7:03 PM

The real question to ask is who owns the land contiguous with
this new park.

thgrant on February 11, 2010 at 7:06 PM

Yeah, not the point. You want beauty, look at the freaking water! It’s free!

HornetSting on February 11, 2010 at 6:46 PM

I’m just responding to inanity of the writer’s claim that the US Virgin Islands is not part of the United States.

Apologetic California on February 11, 2010 at 7:07 PM

Nobody would object to the family donating the land.

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 7:02 PM

True enough but even at 50 million it is ten cents on the dollar. For the record this was a Bush initiative.

http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=20963&folder_id=250

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 7:11 PM

for those in the 5th CD, Va, please note that Dem Tom Perriello voted for this. note also that he voted for cap ‘n trade & obamacare. get out to vote for Republican Robert Hurt.

kelley in virginia on February 11, 2010 at 7:13 PM

True enough but even at 50 million it is ten cents on the dollar.

Well let’s hope Greece doesn’t offer its national debt to Congress for a 90% markdown, then!

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 7:13 PM

The unemployment rate is in double digit territory, the highest its been since 1982.

In the 1980s the Clinton Administration decided to stop counting long-term discouraged workers (people who had given up looking for a job for more than a year).

This resulted in the number of discouraged workers in their stats to drop from the 5 million range to less than 500,000.

4.5 million unemployed were simply not counted and are still not counted today (U3 number vs U6).

Therefore today’s actual percentage of unemployed is at its highest level since the Great Depression.

Gormm on February 11, 2010 at 7:14 PM

gormm: on a lefty Virginia blog, they were going on & on about how unemployment was much, much higher than the White House claims. I thought, well…..these people are finally catching on. ha ha. no, they were saying that because so many people were un employed, the govt had to spend MORE money to find them jobs.

kelley in virginia on February 11, 2010 at 7:16 PM

I think the GOP should use this pork in an ad:

We ARE the Party of No: No to spending $50 million of your hard earned tax dollars for beach front property in St. Croix

Then keep going with all the other pork the Dems approved…

SouperConservative on February 11, 2010 at 7:19 PM

I have to keep reminding everyone this was a Bush initiative. Opportunities to add to the National Park system can’t be passed up.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 7:34 PM

this was a Bush initiative.
patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 7:34 PM

If so …so? dimwit

CWforFreedom on February 11, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Opportunities to add to the National Park system can’t be passed up.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Of course they can. Of course they should be. We don’t have unlimited maintenance, we don’t have unlimited personnel, we don’t have unlimited funds for acquisition, THEREFORE, there shall be a limit to seized opportunities for the National Park Service. This seems like a good one to pass up.

I see no benefit to the nation or environment that couldn’t have been gained if the Wildlife Conservatory Fund hadn’t bought the land instead, anyhow. There would have been a benefit to the nation in terms of reduced pork.

Chris_Balsz on February 11, 2010 at 7:48 PM

I’m just responding to inanity of the writer’s claim that the US Virgin Islands is not part of the United States.

Apologetic California

I’m pretty sure that nowhere in that piece I said that St. Croix was not part of the United States. It’s a territory, yes, but it isn’t a state. I guess I should’ve been more specific and said that there was a $9 billion backlog on parks in the continental United States.

Better?

Cassy Fiano on February 11, 2010 at 8:04 PM

With your mentality Chris we would not have a National Park system. There are always a number of reasons we should not add or start a Park system. Thankfully those voices are not listened to. The land only comes up once. If it is passed on it is usually developed. Half the time they have to break land up into smaller plots to pay death taxes. The current family has owned it for over 50 years. I would not be surprised it this or other taxes are part of the equation.

The tens of millions that have visited a National Park understand this purchase. What you should demand it that $50 million be cut from the budget to pay for this timely purchase. At least then we will have wisely spent our money for once.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Cassy Fiano on February 11, 2010 at 8:04 PM

But they are citizens who can’t vote in Presidential elections.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Government blows $50 million on a park in St. Croix

What do you have against St. Croix State Park? It could create jobs from Forest Lake to Sandstone!

There might even be some pork in there for the Cheeseheads from Baldwin and Turtle Lake!

Wha? Not the St. Croix river park between Minny And Wisc?

Sorry. Never mind.

Bruno Strozek on February 11, 2010 at 8:26 PM

well, patrick neid, you are right about one thing: at least we’ve spent our money on something that has worth.

but with global warming, st. croix will be underwater next week & then the money will be wasted like all the rest.

kelley in virginia on February 11, 2010 at 8:31 PM

St John, by ferry from St Thomas, a smaller island of which 2/3’s is a US National Park gets more than a million visitors.

There’s already one park.

Yes, it’s probably a bargain–if we didn’t owe trillions. There are lots good ideas…and they’re all federal programs. Not to mention the bad ideas, which are also federal programs.

Government exists to do those few things we can’t accomplish privately or individually or locally. But we’ve been using it for everything under the sun, including suntans. Heck, we even think government can control the sun.

But it ends up controlling people.

Noel on February 11, 2010 at 9:04 PM

“Residents of St. Croix of course support this.”

Coming from a resident of St Croix, my husband and I are disgusted by this!
There are already about 5 other National parks on St Croix and this new one is located on the least attractive part of the island, it is basically a desert! Yes, it’s pristene, beach front property, but it is so ugly.
People working on the historic Columbus Cove national park are complaining that they don’t even have enough support from the VI govt and now they went and bought yet another area!!

jjoyy on February 11, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Un-effing-believable.

Time to get a video camera and start walking the streets in Harvey, Robbins, Dixmoor, Dolton, Riverdale and the south side of Chicago to ask Jesse Jackson’s and Bobby Rush’s supporters when was the last time they vacationed on the beach in St. Croix, and what do they think $50 million, plus millions more per year could do for them.

Then down to Crete, Beecher, Kankakee, Monee, and Streator to ask the farmers and the country folks if they think Debbie Halvorsen spending $50 million in St. Croix was a good idea.

Jaibones on February 11, 2010 at 9:07 PM

If Bush didn’t spend it, it isn’t waste. Or evil, for that matter.

misterpeasea on February 11, 2010 at 9:15 PM

neid tool.

CWforFreedom on February 11, 2010 at 9:38 PM

If that’s not a nightmare scenario, then I don’t know what is.

Moving the terrorist trials and building a terrorist prison in beautiful, pristine St. Croix.

BDU-33 on February 11, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Its time to tar and feather these f******

daesleeper on February 11, 2010 at 10:12 PM

I’m looking forward to Obama’s comments on “St. Crowix”.

ziggyville on February 11, 2010 at 10:14 PM

Mr Reid, the house across the street from me is for sale at a bargain price, should the government snap it up and turn it into a national park??? When Bush proposed this, we didn’t have a 14 Trillion Dollar Deficit To say this bunch in Washington is spending money like a drunken sailor is inaccurate, a drunken sailor quits spending when his pockets are empty!! That 50 mill could have been better spent on needed maintenance on National Parks that we already operate.

Mini-14 on February 12, 2010 at 12:24 AM

Which are already “Shovel Ready” jobs.

Mini-14 on February 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Most Americans will never see this new park, but the self declared elite will be able to enjoy it. And that after all is the point.

Wouldn’t want hoi polloi messing up your vacation now, would you?

MarkTheGreat on February 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Most Americans will never see this new park, but the self declared elite will be able to enjoy it. And that after all is the point.

Most Americans will never see Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National park, the Grand Tetons, the Everglades, etc either. But the tens of millions, thru several generations, that have made a point to visit these parks are elites?

patrick neid on February 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Mr Reid, the house across the street from me is for sale at a bargain price, should the government snap it up and turn it into a national park???

Yes if it sat on 2900 pristine acres with one of the largest coral reefs in the USVI. Absolutely.

patrick neid on February 12, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Most Americans will never see Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National park, the Grand Tetons, the Everglades, etc either. But the tens of millions, thru several generations, that have made a point to visit these parks are elites?

patrick neid on February 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Good point! Reading over this thread is enough to make even a moderate Republican like me feel condescending to the so-called conservatives on this thread. I get the picture of them as a bunch of obese unhappy people clinging to their home entertainment centers and fatty foods. Going to a park would be too much effort for them.

thuja on February 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM

With your mentality Chris we would not have a National Park system. There are always a number of reasons we should not add or start a Park system. Thankfully those voices are not listened to. The land only comes up once. If it is passed on it is usually developed. Half the time they have to break land up into smaller plots to pay death taxes. The current family has owned it for over 50 years. I would not be surprised it this or other taxes are part of the equation.

The tens of millions that have visited a National Park understand this purchase. What you should demand it that $50 million be cut from the budget to pay for this timely purchase. At least then we will have wisely spent our money for once.

patrick neid on February 11, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Whenever I am presented with a false choice of “all or nothing” I’ll take nothing.

If your argument is that either we take EVERY proposed National Park, or stand for no Park System at all, I vote for no National Park System at all, beyond what you can build with your money. Because as I say, we don’t have unlimited money or personnel.

Most Americans will never see Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National park, the Grand Tetons, the Everglades, etc either. But the tens of millions, thru several generations, that have made a point to visit these parks are elites?
patrick neid on February 12, 2010 at 8:43 AM

Good point! Reading over this thread is enough to make even a moderate Republican like me feel condescending to the so-called conservatives on this thread. I get the picture of them as a bunch of obese unhappy people clinging to their home entertainment centers and fatty foods. Going to a park would be too much effort for them.
thuja on February 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Apparently, yes, you’re the elite. It’s a damn shame you need our obese unhappy money for your vast tracts of useless land.

Chris_Balsz on February 12, 2010 at 12:29 PM