CAGW Names Park Service Director Porker of the Month



For Immediate Release

Contact:  Leslie K. Paige    202.467.5334

December 21, 2011

Luke Gelber    202.467.5318

 


(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis its December 2011 Porker of the Month for continuing to coddle the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Washington, D.C. at the same time the NPS has a $10 million backlog of unmet maintenance needs. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has estimated that the additional police and sanitation efforts imposed by the protesters have cost the city $1.6 million since October, an amount that he has justifiably requested be reimbursed by the federal government.  As other cities close down the occupier camps, people are flocking to the nation’s capital, where they have been welcome by the NPS with both open arms and open taxpayer checkbooks.


The protesters arrived in D.C. on October 1 and have since been sleeping overnight in tents and preparing meals in the parks, despite federal regulations that permit camping only in areas designated by the NPS.  No such provision has been granted for any park in D.C.  Mayor Gray told NBC Channel 4 that while the city sets aside money each year to handle protests, it does not have “this kind of money.”  He added that the protesters have the right “to exercise their First Amendment right,” but that he would not “tolerate the breaking of the law.”  The mayor’s concerns have been echoed by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on December 12, 2011, asking why protesters have been allowed to damage McPherson Square’s $400,000 in stimulus-funded rehabilitations, including new grass, light poles, trash cans and paint.  “While the merits of this stimulus funding are debatable,” wrote Chairman Issa, “we can all agree that once the federal government had invested the funds, no government agency should have allowed it to be damaged or destroyed.”  D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has noted that the occupiers’ activities have become increasingly provocative, which requires greater use of scarce police resources.  At least 70 people have been arrested in D.C. for drug use, public urination and other nuisances.  The Greater Washington Board of Trade went on record saying that the lengthy presence of congested and unsightly tent cities has adversely impacted tourism in the nation’s capital.    


A December 17, 2011 Washington Post story addressed growing tensions between the protestors and District officials, who were not consulted by NPS officials when the permits were granted for the months-long protests.  Costs of cleanup in other cities have reached into the multi-millions of dollars. In Denver, Philadelphia, Oakland, New York City, and San Francisco, public officials have removed the occupiers for reasons that include public safety concerns and the diversion of scant police resources to deal with the camps. 


For turning public parks in Washington, D.C. into magnets for occupiers from all over the country, flouting long-standing rules regarding overnight camping, putting all taxpayers at risk for costly lawsuits and millions of dollars in cleanup costs, while repeatedly complaining about the  $10 million backlog of unmet NPS maintenance needs, CAGW names NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis its December, 2011 Porker of the Month.


Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.


 

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