Democratic Party's waste: millions spent on useless projects

A bus stop intended to protect women and LGBT people from the sun and provide safety is the latest of the Dems' dubious expenditures.

Who came up with the idea? Why was this done? These are some of the questions that are begged by several of the controversial projects proposed and implemented by the Democratic Party. The latest is a bus stop intended for women and people from the LGBT community. Many Democratic-led expenditures have been dubious, especially knowing their intended purpose.

Relating their cost to their usefulness, this is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. We take a look back at some of the cases that sparked outrage among Americans.

La Sombrita: the bus stop designed to improve safety and protect from the heat

La Sombrita was the latest peculiar expenditure from the Democratic Party in California, specifically in Los Angeles. The local Karen Bass Administration approved the project, which consists of a bus stop with a pole and a small roof that casts shade and is illuminated at night. In addition, it is designed exclusively to provide security, lighting and protection from the sun and high temperatures for women and LGBT residents of the city.

How can it possibly provide increased safety and be a shelter from the heat? According to Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), the organization that designed them, La Sombrita "was based on an advisory committee of residents made up of women and gender minorities who identified the lack of shade and lighting at bus stops as their main concerns." Therefore, the local government decided to carry out this initiative.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) installed the first one at the intersection of 3rd Street and Union Avenue, replacing the previous bus stop. According to KDI, La Sombrita falls under the Gender Equity Action Plan carried out by the local government.

Each La Sombrita will involve a public expenditure of about $7,500, or 85% less than conventional ones costing $50,000, the organization says. It is now known if this is the real price of traditional bus stops, nor is it known if they need to be replaced. KDI claims that each La Sombrita can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

The initiative was not well received. Social media was flooded with criticism of the project backed by Los Angeles Democrats, calling the project wasteful. "What in the absolute waste of tax dollars is this?" one user noted. "This has to be one of the most useless expense of government funds in some time," stated another tweeter.

Irony-filled criticism also came for the size of the shade-casting roof, which can barely protect one person from the sun. "How many people can be shaded at one time?" one user questioned on Twitter. "Where is the shade though?" another user wondered upon seeing a photo of La Sombrita.

Three avant-garde litter garbage cans that "are not subject to scavengers"

Remaining in Californian, in August 2022, Lisa Zhuo, San Francisco's city manager, announced that they had acquired three new models of litter bins, one of which will be installed in the city of San Francisco. Three new models of litter garbage cans to replace the city's 3,000 existing bins.

These three models, called Soft Square, Salt&Pepper and Slim Silhouette, cost San Francisco taxpayers $20,900, $11,000 and $18,000 respectively. In other words, an expenditure of almost $50 million.

Zhuo said that the "idea that we need to have a trash can that works for San Francisco came from seeing how the current cans are not working. ... It's not containing trash, it's being broken into frequently." The manager stated that the garbage cans should also have designs "to save [the city] in the long term."

The replacement of the garbage cans has been widely criticized, even by former senior officials of the local administration. Former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney doubted the effectiveness of the new system and the cost to the city. "Why are we still doing this rather than putting out a bunch of different types of cans that already are produced, that are much cheaper, that are already performing well?" he asked.

Twitter users joined Haney's criticism of the cans as a superfluous expense:

A $1.7 million toilet

Staying in California, in October 2022, a scandal known as Toiletgate came to light. It concerned the installation of a public restroom in a San Francisco park. It cost $1.7 million, much more than bathrooms in many homes. In fact, even California Governor Gavin Newsom was outraged by the proposal and decided to suspend state funding for the project.

Half a year later, in April 2023, the project was reactivated but with a nuance: instead of one bathroom, two would be installed with those $1.7 million. The second would be located in another city park, approximately one mile away. The supervisors in charge of accepting the proposal gave the green light.

Decorating embassies, the goal of the Obama administration

The above three projects are not the only dubious projects from the Democratic Party. Back in 2013, the Obama administration's State Department spent $1 million on a granite sculpture to be placed at the American Embassy in London, the British newspaper Daily Mail reported.

This luxurious acquisition was part of the Art In Embassies program that the department created to decorate its branches, and it was awarded $2.5 million in federal funds.

Another of the Obama administration's superfluous spending at embassies was the purchase of 12,000 crystal wine glasses for $5 million, according to the Daily Mail. That is, about $417 per glass.