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Fiorina takes aim at local stimulus project

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina got a big surprise Monday when she tried to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's support of federal stimulus funding.

September 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina got a big surprise Monday when she tried to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's support of federal stimulus funding.Fiorina picked the wrong location to use as an example of how her Democratic opponent supports a stimulus program that wastes money. Boxer says federal stimulus money has worked and put people to work. Her opponent calls the stimulus bill a failure.

Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, used a vacant lot as the backdrop for continuing attacks on Barbara Boxer's support for the federal stimulus bill. The owners, New Horizons, wanted to use stimulus money to turn it into a daycare center.

"The stimulus bill that Barbara Boxer promised would bring help and hope and jobs to the state of California, that stimulus bill has failed," said Fiorina.

In a statement Boxer's campaign says the senator voted for the Recovery Act because it provided jobs, as well as the largest middle-class tax cut in history.

Less than a mile from the Fiorina news conference, there's a new 30-unit low-cost housing development funded, in part, by stimulus money.

Glendale gave New Horizons $131,000 in stimulus money and $210,000 in federal block grants. New Horizons admits the economy has hurt expected donations and the project will not be built at this time.

"After more than two years, all of those federal funds have already been spent, and yet this lot behind me is still empty. Not a bit of construction has been done and the lot is now actually up for sale," said Fiorina.

What Fiorina did not know is that New Horizons sent a letter to Glendale last month acknowledging the family center's financial problems.

Fiorina was using the empty lot as an example of throwing good money after bad. The company never reported publicly that it would return the money, so Fiorina was unaware of the plan.

But in the letter, New Horizons says the $310,000 that was allocated and spent on the development project will be reimbursed. And the money will come from the sale of the properties.

The news took Fiorina by surprise, but she rolled with it.

"It doesn't change the fact that we have examples of waste of taxpayer money all throughout this state and all throughout this nation," said Fiorina Monday.

Fiorina praised New Horizons for doing the right thing by promising to return the federal money. In an Eyewitness News poll two weeks ago, conducted by SurveyUSA, Fiorina was two points ahead of Boxer. That is effectively a tie. In two previous polls Fiorina also held a slim lead over Boxer.


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