September 13, 2010; Source: Glendale News Press | Carly Fiorina’s standing, in our estimation, dropped a bit when she declared her haircut better than opponent Barbara Boxer’s, but that was better than the low blow she took at the stimulus by whacking the troubled New Horizons day care center. The day care center had planned to expand, combining federal stimulus funding with private donations, but the charitable money didn’t come through during the recession. As a result, the stimulus money went unused, and the nonprofit finally had to sell its vacant development site to get rid of the $7,000 monthly mortgage payment burden.

Fiorina condemned Boxer for the failed stimulus by calling the day care center “a demonstration  . . . of this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.” When asked by reporters if she was aware that Boxer had no role in picking or funding the day care center, that it was a decision of the Glendale City Council, the former Hewlett Packard executive said it wasn’t relevant, that Boxer is responsible anyhow.

Neither Fiorina nor the press seems to have grasped that the problem of many nonprofit construction projects like New Horizon’s is that they depend on multiple sources of funding (in this case, stimulus as well as block grants plus private donations and private financing).  Sometimes, the projects don’t come together because of one or another of the funding sources failing to follow through.  Maybe Glendale might have been better served to see the New Horizons project put together with some firmer funding commitments before putting stimulus and block grants into the mix. Maybe New Horizons might have conceptualized a smaller, more do-able project. But Fiorina’s stimulus condemnation was facile and poorly aimed.—Rick Cohen