I don’t know about you, but I usually hate it when the President, Vice President or presidential candidate comes to town. Local and state police close down the Interstate and all surface roads from the airport to wherever they are speaking, fundraising or staying. A couple years ago, Barack Obama arrived right at evening rush hour. The closure of the major Interstate created a traffic nightmare for thousands of workers trying to get home.
If you’ve ever watched their arrival and motorcade on the local news, you readily see just how many local and state law enforcement officers are involved with the traffic control. In today’s economy, many city, county and state governments cannot afford the extra expense of providing all of the special treatment involved in these visits.
Finally, one community has decided to do something about it. Newport Beach, California was the site a private fundraiser for Obama back in February. The event was held at a private residence. A number of Newport Beach residents believe that the Obama For America campaign should pay the city back for the costs incurred due to the fundraiser. The city has presented the campaign with a bill for $35,043.04.
Scott Mason, a neighbor to the residence where the fundraiser was held said,
“I don’t care what the political party is…I am not in the President’s party…if you are using the public sector to support fund-raising…you have to pay for that…Our country is broke…you have to pay for that.”
Kristen O’Brien, another resident in the area echoed Mason’s comments,
“It’s kind of ridiculous. Yeah, kind of ridiculous. He should pay it back. He should pit [sic] back to the police force. He should pay it back to the administration. He should pay it back to the city and the people of California.”
Dave Kiff, City Manager of Newport Beach was responsible for making the decision to bill the Obama campaign committee for the costs. He said,
“It is appropriate to treat it like a private event. We would bill the event sponsor.”
I applaud Newport Beach for their action and hopefully this will be a wakeup call to other communities to follow their examples and not let political candidates leach off of their already empty coffers.