Database gives new look at local stimulus funding

Kudos to the brilliant journalists at ProPublica, who have compiled and put online a national database showing stimulus projects in every county in America.

Data on stimulus contracts, grants and loans for each county are juxtaposed with demographic information such as the local unemployment, median household income and poverty rate. Here are links to the greater Bay Area counties’s pages — Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, San Joaquin, Solano, Napa and Sonoma — and here’s a statewide survey for California.

My initial pass through the numbers found the alarming fact that, of these counties, Napa County so far has received the largest chunk of stimulus money per capita – $467 – with the next-closest being Alameda County at $297. But most of Napa’s $62.3 million is $53.4 million from the Defense Department – no, not for missile silos beneath those verdant vineyards, but toward an Army Corps of Engineers contract with an Alaska-based construction firm for parts of a massive flood-control project.

Meanwhile, Contra Costa County clocks in at $157 per capita – right near the middle of the Bay Area pack – while Marin County has recieved the least per capita, at $56.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The “brilliant” writers at ProPublica are another Left-wing excrescence intended to counter Fox News, Matt Drudge and co. Visiting ProPub’s website, I was struck by how many big names in the news media lent their prestige to this enterprise. I wonder if any of them read this site. Reading a nice little piece on careless gas drilling in rural Pennsylvania, I found it had a basis in truth. The story fit nicely with the guiding principle of ProPub, to “expose” corporate America’s mistakes without trying too hard to report the other side of the story.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    PS: The method used to collect the “Stimulus” data makes sense up to a point. If you check the San Francisco data, there’s a helluva lot of Pell Grant and HUD Section 8 cash. How does this count as “stimulus” money?

  • Josh Richman

    ARRA provided $17.1 billion nationwide to eliminate a shortfall in the Pell Grant account and to increase the maximum allowable grant from $4,850 to $5,350 in the 2009-10 academic year and to $5,550 in the 2010-11 academic year. I believe it also included about $2 billion for Section 8 housing rental assistance, plus $4 billion to HUD to modernize public housing and make it more energy-efficient.

  • Common Tater

    $585,000.00 to BURGER KING in CC County!! What in the name of sweet leaping lizards is that all about?

  • Elwood

    I am so gratified to see more of my tax dollars going to Section 8 housing.

    My compassion overfloweth.