Let’s take a minute to look at how politicians pass out the pork.
Here is a press release from the Governor’s office.
Gov. and Mrs. Steve Beshear today launched Kentucky’s Adventure Tourism initiative in Knott County. This plan opens more areas of the state as tourist destinations for biking, hiking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, off-roading and horseback riding.
“Here in Kentucky we can offer wilderness, with the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Cumberland Mountains, the Red River Gorge and a set of lakes and rivers unmatched by any other state,” said Gov. Beshear.
Kentucky’s Adventure Tourism initiative allows the state to enter into agreements with private property owners for the public use of land for outdoor activities without fear of facing liability issues.
This all sounds good right, more tourism, more money for economically distressed county, good public relations for the Governor and maybe a few bucks for private property owners.
But I’m not sure how this really works. You see, this program looks to be a legacy from the Fletcher administration. The Kentucky Flex-E Grant Program for implementation of the comprehensive Adventure Tourism Plan for economically distressed ARC Counties has been around since fiscal year 2006.
The money is administered by GOLD (Governor’s Office for Local Development) these are the waiters in the pork passing process.
According to the application guidelines the only entities eligible to apply for Kentucky Flex-E Grants are:
• Local units of government (including special districts, area development districts (ADDs), school districts) and post secondary education institutions in or serving distressed Appalachian Kentucky counties.
• Non-profit organizations and citizen groups located in or serving distressed counties which have an on-going mission and an established, administrative organization that supports pursuit of the mission.
I don’t see the local property owners being involved unless they are part of the local political power structure, like say the Knott County Fiscal Court.
I don’t know if the Adventure Tourism Park System, in Knott County, is involved in this little pork passing exercise? But it looks like it could be.
We Make Things Happen Corporation, in partnership with Summit Engineering, Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon and Economic Research Associates have been commissioned by Knott County Fiscal Court to assist in developing an Adventure Tourism Park System made up of a series of trails throughout the county.
Now I know it is probably only coincidence that folks that work for Summit Engineering, according to the Registry of Election Finance, have donated $86,800.00 to various political candidates, including Steve Beshear.
And I’m sure that by spending money with one company that as most of it’s’ offices in Tennessee and Alabama and another company with it’s' office in Los Angeles that those bucks will be churning through the economy.
And who could possibly question spending money with a Mom and Pop operation in Bowling Green whose references include Frankfort bureaucrats?
Doesn’t this whole thing just smell a little funny? Talk about a piece of government accounting that looks like it needs a financial audit.