"First rule in government spending," Hadden says. "Why build one when you can have two at twice the price?" But such spendthrift ways don't appear ambitious enough for the RMC."First rule in government spending," Hadden says. "Why build one when you can have two at twice the price?"
Well, it appears the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy saw Contact and decided even Hadden's spendthrift ways weren't ambitious enough: within only two or three miles of each other, the RMC wants built not one, not two, but three interpretive centers -- and all, one can assume, to be built with our tax dollars.
The Friends published a press release recently connecting the dots on the RMC's intentions. And although it might sound absurd, it's all true.
The RMC and its partners want the San Gabriel River Discovery Center at the Whittier Narrows Natural Area. They want the "Duck Farm on the San Gabriel River" less than three miles up the river from the natural area. And they want a Whittier Narrows "welcome center" on Rosemead Boulevard, again only a couple of miles from the site of the Discovery Center.
Friends board member Gloria Valladolid called the plan “indefensible and obscene” when placed in the context of the budget cuts that are eviscerating state, county and local services.
Spending $30 million on a "watershed education facility" (the Discovery Center) and who knows how much more on the Duck Farm and Whittier Narrows welcome center seems especially scandalous -- Can it get worse? you ask -- when you learn that the RMC simply gave itself $3 million for the Discovery Center without vetting the grant through its competitive grant process.
The RMC spends tens of thousands of dollars -- maybe into six figures -- developing its grant guidelines and then simply ignores those guidelines, doesn't even bother with a grant application, and writes itself a big, juicy check for what can only be considered a pet project.
It all reminds me of a line from another movie:
"It's good to be the king."