Opinion

A boondoggle? Needing a police boat here isn’t one | In Our Opinion | Dec. 11

One has to wonder how many nasty letters the offices of Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and John McCain received this week after they released their second “stimulus checkup” on the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recover Act. Many, no doubt, from the 100 that made the list, including a few from City of Bainbridge Island employees.

There at No. 6 stood this incriminating paragraph: “The tranquil hamlet of Bainbridge Island, Washington, received $190,000 to upgrade a patrol boat for which it has little need – while it considers downsizing its police force.” The city wants the FEMA stimulus grant for a technology upgrade, which, the senators deduced, would be the city’s second trip to the trough since the boat was purchased in 2007 with a $646,000 Homeland Security grant.

The interim city manager, chief of police and president of the department’s Police Guild appropriately blasted the politicians (hypocrites) for their inaccurate and insentive assertions. Why do we need a patrol boat? Maybe because we live on a island due west of Seattle and, if you dopes in D.C. hadn’t noticed, we’re surrounded by water. You know, as in, a water highway.

And all of this happened just a few days after news stories (not ours) chided the police department for accepting a couple dozen used riot helmets when the island hasn’t had a riot for who knows when. Nevertheless, they are legally required.

It’s doubtful we even belong with some of the list’s doozies, like the $1.9 billion on top of $12 billion already spent (not) to clean up Hanford Nuclear Plant waste. Two university studies stood out for those of us with a sense of humor: No. 61, Meth and the Female Rat Sex Drive ($30,000), was initiated after women meth addicts said it worked for them; No. 62, Mice and Alcohol ($8,408), researchers came begging after humans said alcohol causes navigation and memory problems. Really?

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