Sarah Palin’s money-pit of a sports complex

According to the Anchorage Daily News, former Palmer Mayor John Combs resigned Wednesday as Wasilla’s recreation and cultural services director because someone ratted on him about having a few beers while on duty at a boxing event at the city’s sports center. Also, someone, perhaps the same person, reported him as a possible drunk driver after he left the event.

He wasn’t. He only registered .06. The limit is .08.

Apparently, Combs has an enemy or two. In March, members of the Wasilla City Council proposed firing Combs ostensibly to save his $90,000 a year salary. The amendment didn’t pass.

Wasilla grudges can be fascinating. But the most interesting part of the story was about the financial shape of the Wasilla Sports Complex. Alaskans might recall that in 2002, Wasilla passed a .5 percent sales tax to pay for what was then billed as a $14.7 million multi-use center. The measure passed by only 20 votes, 306 to 286.

One of the major proponents of the center was then Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin. She and a group of boosters sold it the public by assuring them that it would be profitable.

Getting the tax passed was one of her biggest achievements while mayor. The vote’s slim margin, Palin said, was proof of the city’s fiscal conservatism.

How’s it doing now? In 2010, the city subsidized the center at a cost of $800,000. Things haven’t improved much since, according to the ADN:

The Menard Center has struggled financially in recent years since it opened in 2005. The center’s total operating revenues peaked at $728,000 in 2007 and dropped to the lowest level, $544,000, in 2011 according to a July report from Wasilla finance director Troy Tankersley. Total operating expenses, however, swelled from $789,000 in 2005 to $1,169,000, a 49 percent increase.

At least now the city will save $90,000.

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2 thoughts on “Sarah Palin’s money-pit of a sports complex

  1. LLCisyouandme

    So Combs gets a Mulligan because you attest that he must feel horrible? Or is it that we give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s a “good man?”

    His speed was fluctuating, and he was apparently weaving enough to cross over that line. These are both indicators of DUI. The fact that someone not impaired can cross over this line in making a turn is immaterial. It was one of a combination of his actions, and the complaint call, that prompted the stop. So it’s clear there was cause for Cobb to be stopped, regardless of the aspersions you cast at both the officer and the complainant. Alaska believes in enforcement enough to have a program like REDDI, and that is somehow bad because someone you like got caught up in it? Cobb then failed 3 of 4 sobriety checks. Will you be making the argument that because he passed one, that meant he must not have been DUI? Cobb then tested .06, which in some localities IS legally drunk, in most it IS legally impaired.

    Regarding what you call the “guff” he got for a Xanax out of the bottle: If he had the original bottle it came in (under his name of course,) OR the printout the pharmacy gives with the bottle, OR a copy of the prescription itself, having the pill would be inconsequential. NOT having any handy substantive proof is evidence that he probably couldn’t get it if he tried.

    This isn’t about Steve Menard; I don’t even care to know who he is. It is about someone with small town notoriety (Comb) getting treated like everyone else, then having an apologist (that would be the initial poster) implying that he was caught up in circumstance. It’s just one small word, but from the sound of it, Mr. Combs is being treated AS a criminal, because all evidence points to him, duhhh, committing a criminal act. There may be degrees of stupid or evil separating Mr Combs and Mr Menard, but they are both apparently not just “like” criminals, but actual criminals. Regardless of their honesty or goodness or respect or position, they both did wrong. Now, expecting that someone get off because of their notoriety or personality, that is truly a hick idea.

  2. The Dude

    The law states that a person can be charged with DUI regardless of the BAC limit. The fact that Mr. Combs was carrying a Xanax on him didnt help.

    That being said… The trooper stated that he “crossed the fog line.” That could be as simple as Mr. Combs pulling over a little to the right during a right turn, like EVERY driver in AK does (including Trooper Cox, I have seen him do it personally). The guff about the prescription is apparently because Mr. Combs didn’t have the prescription paper on him while carrying a pill. When was the last time you even saw your script, don’t those usually get faxed to the pharmacy? And yes, he was under the limit on BAC.

    I believe that the reason why the troopers took so long to file charges is because they know damn well that they don’t have a case. John Combs is a good man, and I’m very disappointed that he would drink even one sip of beer while on official business. This was clearly a mistake on his part and, knowing John, I’m certain he feels absolutely horrible about it and had no intention of tarnishing the reputation of the city of Wasilla. Every newspaper is treating him like a criminal to even more of a degree than that idiot that peed on a hotel mattress and set it on fire in Juneau (Steve Menard, in case you don’t remember), and that is absolutely not fair.

    I stand behind Mr. Combs, he is an honest man and I’m certain that if he was given a chance to make things right, he would bend over backwards to do so. As long as we have hick troopers, and hick assemblymen (and women), a hick wannabe-liberal newspaper (thats you Frontiersman), Wasilla will never be anything more than another hick town.

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