Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What do Stacy Sellers and Jaime Herrera have in common?

Who here isn't familiar with the Sellers debacle?

Sellers, who, at the time was mayor of Washougal, felt compelled to go to Vegas on "official business." While she was there, she decided that the taxpayers of the city of Washougal should pay for her alcohol, and some high priced meals.
Stacy Sellers is having a tough week. Perhaps she deserves one, since, according to the local version of Pravda, Sellars charged, among other things, a "...$57 'surf and turf' dinner. An $88 bottle of wine. A $72 bill at the Eye Candy Lounge & Bar." while on some sort of "official trip" to Vegas.... although why a trip to Vegas for the mayor of Washougal would be official is, perhaps, a subject for another post. (Take some time and run a google search on the "Eye Candy Lounge & Bar" for pictures of others engaging in some distinctly "non-mayor" like activities. I guess what happens in Vegas is reported in the Columbian.)
Just yesterday, KOIN 6 reported on Brian Baird's abuse of the travel system where he decided he needed to spend a fortune to go on vacations masquerading as a "fact finding trip," a trip that a local travel agent booked for roughly one half the cost charged by Baird.

Erstwhile political opportunist Jamie Herrera seems to share the traits of both Baird and Sellers.

In August of 05, Herrera went on one of these "fact finding trips" to Spokane, where Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA05) maintains a district office.

Instead of sending one of her own staffers already in Spokane for this "fact finding," McMorris-Rogers instead seems to have sent Herrera. That sending Herrera was apparently a complete waste of money is a subject for another post. That issue aside, here is the rather disturbing travel voucher, filled out by Herrera and signed off on by her boss and mentor, Congresswoman McMorris-Rogers.

Now, the questionable aspect of this trip aside, where the main issue of concern for me comes to the fore is here:

Somehow, Herrera managed to spend $475.48 for meals on a 3 day trip to Spokane... and her boss, McMorris-Rogers, approved that cost!

Are you kidding me?

I used to LIVE in Spokane. That much money would feed a family of four for three weeks, and Herrera went through that BY HERSELF, in THREE DAYS?

Shades of Stacy Sellers.

And, just like Jon Russell, who approved Seller's charges since he was in overwatch of the credit cards for Washougal, McMorris Rogers approved this outrageous charge paid for by the taxpayers of the United States.

It seems to me that Sellers and Baird and Herrera are all the same... and Russell and McMorris-Rogers blow off this kind of stuff all the time.

As for me, I don't want any of them either in my government... or in elective office.

Because if any of them gave a damn about us... we wouldn't have heard about any of this.


Lew Waters said...

I would love to see that meal tab.

aneurins said...

Amgen Helix is in Seattle. That might account for the high cost of meals, especially if she was staying at a place like the Westin downtown.

Kriss said...

If she stayed at the Davenport and bought lunch and dinner for one other person each of the three days, that might explain it. However, if I hear you correctly, what you are saying is that government officials shouldn't be staying at the most expensive hotels and eating the most expensive meals and then charging it off to the tax payers. I agree...if they want us to conserve, then they should be conserving too.

I have the same complaint about Obama. For example, why did it cost 5 million dollars to move him into the White House? I could move for less than $1,000. Why did he take his wife to dinner in New York and spend the money for a security contingent, airforce 1 etc all at tax payers expense?

As a counselor, I know that one of the ways people learn is by example. So...people in public office seem to just be doing what is modeled for them by others who are in office. If McMorris-Rogers spends that kind of money and has no ethical or moral problem in doing so, what is there to stop Stacy Sellers and Jaime Herrera? They are just modeling what they see. That is not to say that what they see is correct, by any stretch of the imagination.

Just a guy said...

I've stayed at the Westin myself. Typically do to catch a Mariner's game. I easily manage to eat, even in Seattle quite well, for a great deal less than $160 a day...

Herrera wants to be our representative in Congress. Her less than paper thin resume' aside, the first thing I would demand of her is that she show the money of the taxpayers some small level of respect, a feat that it became increasingly difficult for Baird to pull off, as his expense account shows.

That she would spend this much money in 3 days for meals speaks to a contempt for us that she expresses to many who know her, and many who have worked with and for her.

It speaks to something I don't want representing me.

Thanks for coming by, A.

Just a guy said...

Kriss, the problem she has is that she can't claim other meals that she bought for anyone else. She's limited to reimbursement ONLY for meals that she, herself, consumed.

Here, locally, we had the mayor of Washougal try and claim reimbursement for some serious alcohol charges she ran up in Vegas.

I find it hard to believe that Herrera could run up this kind of bill without alcohol being in their somewhere. But of course, I'm always willing to learn, and I'm sure Herrera can provide the receipts in question, or CMR's office can do it.

I would be more than happy to post them here as well.

But the overarching issue is this: if Herrera didn't respect our money as a low level staffer, what does that mean she'd do as a Congresswoman?

Kriss said...

Well stated...I didn't think about the alcohol component. Well Washington residents....ask for a detailed report! I believe there is "just a guy" that could do that!

Lew Waters said...

Don't forget either, Herrera is "pledging," "I will place more value on saving your money than spending your money. My only test will be what's in the best interest of Southwest Washington, our families and our country."

At nearly $60 a meal, which I find hard to believe without alcohol on the tab, how does that benefit Southwest Washington our families and our country?

Or, are we to believe that she means now? You know, like when our kids were small and we got on them about still acting up and they answer, "I mean it this time, Dad."