(all emphasis is mine)
Senator Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, facing a tougher re-election year than in previous campaign cycles, engaged in a recent trip around her state in early July calling it the “Jobs for California Tour.”
The Contra Costa Times reported that Ms. Boxer traveled for two-days on a “campaign blitz” across the state touting job-creation successes while lobbing an attack on Republican challenger and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
However, was the California Senator more concerned about attending political fundraisers during this “jobs tour” as opposed to talking to private sector business owners struggling under a difficult economy and likely panicking over massive legislation she voted in favor of?
Ms. Boxer, who demanded in May a moratorium on West coast oil drilling and suggests Americans should collectively check their tire pressure as a means to save energy, flew into her home state on a private jet to attend political fundraisers in various cities and touted the much ballyhooed stimulus plan, passed by Democrats as reason for job growth.
On July 8, The Independent covered part of Senator Boxer’s tour. Jerry Roberts writes about her Santa Barbara fundraiser:
Senator Barbara Boxer alighted in Santa Barbara Tuesday, promoting her reelection platform of “jobs, jobs, jobs” and reviling her Republican opponent as a greedy failed executive out of step with Californians on issues ranging from abortion to assault weapons.
On a two-day barnstorming tour of the state, Boxer flew in by private jet for about 90 minutes, attending a fundraising rally for the local Democratic Party in Hope Ranch. As she did at earlier stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the incumbent Democrat trumpeted her support of the $869-billion federal stimulus bill, saying the measure created or saved several hundred thousand jobs in the state that would have been lost had GOP rival Carly Fiorina been in the Senate.
According to The San Francisco Examiner, Ms. Boxer was quoted as saying at a San Franciso fundraiser “Doyle Drive provides direct access to the Golden Gate Bridge, and carries more than 100,000 commuters each weekday. The road has deteriorated since its construction in 1936, and is being replaced in a project that is expected to wrap up in 2013. Boxer called the project ‘the biggest job construction site in the Bay Area,’ and an example of how ‘we’re putting people back to work … and we’re doing it all over the state.’”
However, recovery.gov shows something different about the Doyle Drive project according to last Friday’s recent 2nd quarter data release. Over $83 million was awarded to this project, yet the latest government numbers show that only 17 jobs were created, and the project is less than 50 percent completed.:
|Award Number||Q101153||Funding Agency||Department of Transportation|
|Total Award Amount||$83,281,437||Project Location - City||Oakland|
|Award Date||12/24/2009||Project Location - State||CA|
Project Title: DOYLE DRIVE - In San Francisco at Doyle Drive (Partial). Contract #4 - SB Battery Tunnel, at-grade
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
Final Project Report Submitted: No
Project Activities Description: Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction
Quarterly Activities/Project Description: This is a Pavement Reconstruction, No Added Capacity project by the California Department of Transportation. The project is described as: In the City and County of San Francisco on Route 101, Doyle Dr and Richardson Ave from Broderick St. to Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza and Route 1, and from the
Jobs Created: 17.25
Description of Jobs Created: Jobs are created or retained in the construction and construction management industry such as laborers, equipment operators, electricians, project managers, support staff, inspectors, engineers, etc.
Ms. Boxer even gave credit to the stimulus for jobs that the government stimulus had nothing to do with. The Wall Street Journal pointed out on July 8:
Her story, however, began to get a little ragged at another stop, a lithium-ion battery plant in Los Angeles, where Ms. Boxer ducked a question about why, if the stimulus was so successful, California’s unemployment rate is higher than it was a year ago. “We are a long way from where we have to be,” she answered weakly. Then the president of the battery company was left to correct the record on another point: The 100 jobs the plant added in the last year were unrelated to the stimulus.
During one fundraising stop in Monterey, Senator Boxer reportedly said she does not believe there is enough support on Capitol Hill for a second stimulus plan, but believes that “the next round of stimulus should come from private industry, one reason why she wants California to take the lead in the emerging clean energy technology’ field.”
During her “jobs tour,” on July 8, Vice President Joe Biden stumped for Ms. Boxer at a Bay area fundraiser, The San Jose Mercury News reports:
The campaign of Republican senatorial nominee and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina issued a statement earlier Thursday saying Boxer and Biden are stumping on an economic stimulus package that has failed to deliver enough jobs for California.
“Either way, the fact that Biden is in California raising money for Boxer tonight represents the Obama administration’s increasing concern for her political future,” Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said, citing new Field Poll numbers that show Boxer leading Fiorina by three percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error.
In a last ditch effort to help preserve her own party’s jobs through political fundraisers, Ms. Boxer’s “jobs tour” seemed to function more as a booster club for the Democrats’ failing stimulus program than anything else, and a well publicized trip around her state will do little to change California’s 12 percent unemployment rate.