Government – The Blind Leading The Blind

Nearly two years ago, officials in Cobb County, Georgia purchased a shopping center at a cost of $5.75 million [taxpayer] dollars in hopes of converting the property into offices and a senior center. The local government officials planned on using federal dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist with construction of the senior center. 

Since the new location had to be used to consolidate administrative offices for seniors, the county had planned to use revenues from the sale of properties where those offices and the existing senior day care center were located, to help defray the cost of purchasing the shopping center, according to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

However, an idiotic but little-noticed federal regulation has thrown a major monkey wrench into the County’s plans.  Apparently, since the proposed center lies in the flight path of Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the county is barred from using federal HUD funding for the project. 

Pam Breeden, Cobb County’s Senior Services Director, explained to the Marietta Daily Journal that “[a]fter 9/11, the laws changed and they didn’t want to put anyone in danger.” County officials assumed that the property would be grandfathered in since the shopping center had existed for nearly 25 years. 

Two factors jump out at the observer of this incident.  First of all, is the unbelievably silly restriction on the use of HUD monies — that they cannot be used to construct or renovate a building that lies in the flight path of an airport.  The government apparently is worried that such a structure might become a target for terrorists because it is in a flight path!  This appears to be a conclusion reached by some government bureaucrats watching a tape of the two hijacked jetliners being flown into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.  Obviously, someone forgot to tell the Brainiacs who concocted this regulation that the Twin Towers were not in the flight path of an airport.  They obviously also were under the impression that only buildings in the flight path of an airport could be potential targets for a hijacker!  

The other distressing conclusion one is left with after learning of this latest example of government bungling is that one level of government does not communicate well with another level of government.  The right hand clearly knows not what the left hand is doing.  The blind leading the blind.

-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

25 comments Add your comment

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

May 11th, 2011
7:42 am

Well, we all know what happens when you ASSume something. Yet nobody will lose their job over making this decision. If someone cost my company that much money by not performing the function that was supposedly within their expertise, they would hopefully have a way to get to the front of the soup line.

jaider

May 11th, 2011
8:11 am

They spent ALL that money, but now have a budget crisis…….AND now county employees get furloughs…..no raise in 4 years, increasing insurance premiums, gas prices raising, food prices raising…but lets vote for furloughs for the employees….

carlosgvv

May 11th, 2011
8:50 am

Everyone should know that when you work for an entity that has no competition, like the Government, incompentence will always be the order of the day. All these people have to do is just show up for work. There is no incentive to do a good job.

Hillbilly Deluxe

May 11th, 2011
10:24 am

County officials assumed that the property would be grandfathered in since the shopping center had existed for nearly 25 years.

If you’re going to spend $5.75 million, shouldn’t you pick up the phone and make some calls, to check things out? Never assume.

angela

May 11th, 2011
10:31 am

Dr. Pangloss

May 11th, 2011
10:46 am

Carlosgvv, if you’re going to talk about incompentence, maybe you should learn to spell incompetence. It’d be a lot cooler.

carlosgvv

May 11th, 2011
11:10 am

Dr. Pangloss

It is good that we have someone here like you to catch our typos. We feel better knowing that even with your limited education and intelligence, something can be found for you to do.

Soli Hake

May 11th, 2011
11:34 am

I am definately a liberal but you are pretty damn cool with your commentaries. Awesome job!

retiredds

May 11th, 2011
12:36 pm

Well, Bob, since you are a Constitutional expert and your Republican buddies take the “rule of law” with utmost seriousness why don’t you just get them to file a bill in the Congress to change the law. Isn’t that an option you have. So, I would respectfully suggest that you quit whining and work through the process of making a change to this law. I bet you can do it, Bob, if you just try.

Proletariat Prose

May 11th, 2011
12:57 pm

The HUD funding/Flight path exclusion is a pretty good example of government bungling.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 11th, 2011
2:54 pm

We conservatives would also be distressed to note that a purportedly-conservative government made an economic decision pendent on other government subsidies, an inherently foolish calculus. One expects such behavior from ObamaCrats, but not from thinking people.

Don't Tread

May 11th, 2011
3:05 pm

…and liberals can’t understand why putting the government in charge of healthcare is a bad idea.

Civilian

May 11th, 2011
3:40 pm

Makes sense to me. If I were a terrorist looking for a target, Marietta Ga would be at the top of my list. Thank goodness for our government looking out for us.

Tigers Woody

May 11th, 2011
3:42 pm

“We feel better knowing that even with your limited education and intelligence, something can be found for you to do.”

What a cry baby. You must get picked on a lot at school.

Logical Dude

May 11th, 2011
4:20 pm

I’m sure that at the time this piece was snuck into the bill, the writer knew EXACTLY who would be denied federal funds. its usually a political opponenent or political payback.
and THEN we see the law of unintended consequences in such a case as this. Years later, and much too late to do much about it except run it back through congress to fix it.

yeah, I know. . . .congress never fixes anything. . .

carlosgvv

May 11th, 2011
4:43 pm

Tigers Woody

Do your parents know you’re on this site? Do they know where you are? Run along home now. Theres a good boy.

LiteFoot Joe

May 12th, 2011
12:16 am

Cobb County is very good about NOT checking up on things – like the traffic lights that go blinky-blinky in the night, and some woman gets hit and the kid gets killed… but does the light get FIXED? No. It got turned off.

Cobb County *literally* buries its mistakes sometimes. So, we have a flight path blocking the free flight of money from hand to hand, we have a kid dead from being hit after the street light was not working, and we have a deficit. A rather L-A-R-G-E deficit. So, who’s got the Lamborghini in the driveway?

We need to do a few things as a County… You know? like the following…
Sell the Cobb County Airport. Sell the Golf Course. Stop re-doing the landscaping when designing new buildings. Don’t scrap perfectly good fire stations in favor of building the Taj Mahal less than 1,000 yards away… things like THAT. We need to actually hold the real crooks accountable and go after the folks who got a cut of the deal. RECALL Timmy Lee… stuff like that, too.

Not Blind

May 12th, 2011
8:13 am

In Gwinnett we would be finding out that they paid double what the property was worth and that some politcal campaign contributor was the benefactor of the inflated purchase price.

Tigers Woody

May 12th, 2011
9:28 am

Do your parents know you’re on this site? Do they know where you are? Run along home now. Theres a good boy.

HA ha…thats very funny. What a wimp

Proletariat Prose

May 12th, 2011
9:30 am

Cool the way Obama dismantled Trump’s candicacy with a couple of lines last week. Trump, you’re fried. You’re finished. Go away. nobody wants U2B president of anything but the “I hate rosie O” club.

and cut your hair

moron

Dr. Pangloss

May 12th, 2011
10:12 am

My limited education, Carlosgvv? By that do you mean my four degrees?

Tigers Woody

May 12th, 2011
10:38 am

My limited education, Carlosgvv? By that do you mean my four degrees?

Carlosgvv’s only defense for his own short comings is name calling and pettiness since he lacks the capacity for original or meaningful thought. You know the type, the squirt on the playground that calls you a name and runs home to his mommy.

Dr. Pangloss

May 12th, 2011
11:19 am

And, of course, the private sector never screws up.

The BP oil spill.
The Massey Coal disaster.
Union Carbide killing 15,000 people in Bhopal.
The exploding Ford Pinto.
The Firestone tires that burst into flame.
The neverending stream of auto recalls.
The Titanic.

Proletariat Prose

May 12th, 2011
11:53 am

The trolls on this board, who’s deft texts read like short-bus trash talk, are not so much like the blind leading the blind as they are like the dumb leading the dumber. (deft, blind and dumb is no way to blog, sirs)

bwa

Painful Truth

May 13th, 2011
2:50 am

You only need to read the replies of political blogs for a few days before you begin to wonder if allowing people to vote is such a good idea.

Excellent article though.