County Getting Million$ of Earmark$

While they rail against runaway spending, three of the region's members of the U.S. House of Representatives have millions of dollars of their favorite projects funded in the latest fiscal measure, according to a published report.

Overall earmark requests made by Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, total a little more than $6.1 million, according to the analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense. The congressman's Web site identifies his requests as including $1.3 million for a regional emergency communications network, $263,000 for a Solana Beach and Encinitas shore protection project, and $476,000 for a system to aid public health officials in the event of a bioterrorism attack, reports the North County Times.

Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who slammed the stimulus bill and is casting himself as a government watchdog as the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has $12.1 million worth of earmarks in the bill, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. His requests include $2.8 million of his own and $9.4 million in earmarks made with other representatives.

Because all the earmarks involve requests made last year, freshman Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon, has no project funding in the bill. But there is more than $28 million sought by his father, Duncan L. Hunter, who held the seat for 14 terms before stepping down last year to wage an unsuccessful run for the GOP presidential nomination.

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