Graton is a beautifully scenic, quiet unincorporated Sonoma county community with a population of less than 2000. I’ve driven through it many times in my life. It’s got a great, dedicated all-volunteer fire department. Now I’m the last person to demand that any fire fighting organization make do with sub-par facilities. But $3.5 million? That seems like an excessive amount. Graton needs a non-leaky place to keep its fire engines, right? It doesn’t need anything close to $3.5 million to accomplish that.
I know, it’s said to be a loan, not a grant without strings. But considering the huge deficit our government has been running up, I think this loan is ill-advised. Should a tiny community like Graton even take on a loan like this? Or do the folks in charge there believe that they will never have to pay it back and it will end up being a grant after all? “Uncle Sugar” is handing out money to everybody else to all sorts of non-essentials, why not to Graton for a fire station costing far more than it should?
And who did Bill Bullard, deputy chief of the Graton Fire Protection District, thank for her assistance in procuring this $3.5 million loan? You don’t have to guess. He said, “I want to credit Congresswoman Woolsey’s office for helping make us a much stronger candidate for this grant.” Did you notice he said “grant,” not “loan”?
At all levels in our country – federal, state, county, and city or unincorporated community – we still have “leaders” who don’t know the meaning of fiscal prudence. Sure it will create some temporary construction jobs, but this project is putting this little community into debt, meaning that, if the residents do have to pay back that loan, their taxes will be raised to do it. Why wasn’t a less costly solution proposed by Graton? Probably because they know as well as anyone how the federal government has been throwing around money, and with Lynn Woolsey’s help, they could and did get some of that. Problem is, we’re all going to have to pay the piper for these trillions currently flowing out of Washington.
As usual, I’m afraid Lynn Woolsey didn’t do the right thing in this case.