Monday, July 23, 2012


Oh, tee-hee:
Star of Romney 'My Hands Didn't Build This' Ad Received Millions in Government Loans and Contracts

... In a new TV ad, Romney features an offended New Hampshire businessman, saying, "My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? My son's hands aren't building this company?"

The New Hampshire Union Leader's John DiStato today reports that in 1999 the business in question, Gilchrist Metal, "received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority 'to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment'..." In addition, in 2011, Gilchrist Metal "received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008..."

The businessman, Jack Gilchrist, also acknowledged that in the 1980s the company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000, and matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center....
And if that isn't enough, as I've discovered, Gilchrist was also a subcontractor once on a piece of public art. Public art!

From the New Hampshire Weekly section of the January 31, 1999, Boston Globe:
In Flagstaff, Ariz., pedestrians, bikers and motorists traveling the storied Route 66 now have a new view in addition to a panoramic mountainscape. "Solar Calendar," a public sculpture by Amherst's Mary Boone Wellington, is part space-age Stonehendge, part modern sundial, part pastoral night light.

The sculpture, which Wellington designed and built with the help of Advanced Energy Systems of Wilton and Gilchrist Metal Fabrication of Hudson, consists of 12 free-standing metal and plexiglass columns, ranging in height from 6 to 17 feet, each a different color symbolizing a different month....
Presumably the sculptor got a grant -- your tax dollars, Flagstaff residents! -- to get this done, and she paid the rugged Randian individualists at Gilchrist to help make it.

And, um, a decade later, it's not exactly beloved by the citizenry:
A series of illuminated pillars alongside Route 66 at Postal Boulevard that cost taxpayers $50,000 several years ago is now gathering dust in a city warehouse.

City officials scrapped what some in Flagstaff facetiously dubbed the "alien outhouses" on Monday after a car hit the sculpture a few weeks ago. That accident exposed a 110-volt electrical terminal, creating a public hazard, said City Architect Karl Eberhard. This was the second time a car plowed into the expensive piece of art since its installation.

Named "Solar Calendar" by artist Mary Boone Wellington, the artwork has been plagued by problems, mainly in illuminating it.

The city had brought in various experts over the years in an attempt to fix it, Eberhard said, but estimates pegged the repairs at several thousand dollars. The city also made numerous attempts to contact Wellington over the years for a consultation but never received a response from the artist.

Several attempts to relocate the piece were also explored over the years but were eventually ruled out because it would have been cost-prohibitive....
I'm sorry it didn't work out -- it's kind of interesting:

But I know it's the kind of thing that infuriates right-wingers, and makes them shoot "Boondoggle!" And Romney's guy and his colleagues helped build it.


Anonymous said...

Great find. Great details. Just great!

Victor said...


Kind of like Mitt's speech yesterday about Obama's 'You didn't build that...", to 11 Galtian Ubermensch, 3 of whom are GOVERNMENT contractors, and he made the speech in front of their sign that says, "We Built That."
Not "I," but "WE."

Oh, and that sculpture looks like some old IBM mainframes stacked into a Stonehenge formation.
It' tough to judge from that photograph, whether I like it or not. It doesn't seem bad, at first glance.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Back in the 70s the city, or maybe the county, state, or feds, paid for erection of an abstract sculpture in downtown Pittsburgh composed of a dozen or so 20 foot long yellow metal beams tossed together in a heap.

I forget what the artist called it but everyone I knew called it the McDonald's Memorial French Fries.

It has since been removed to an out of the way roadside.

Too much public is art is bland, meaningless trash bought by tasteless committees.

I would like to believe that's owing to Republican sabotage.

But I don't.

: smintheus :: said...

DiStaso is a good example of a Republican who can't help but parrot talking points. Even as he (or maybe an unnamed source) is exposing Gilchrist for a phony, DiStaso provides the "you didn't build that" quote without the context.

Anonymous said...

If the sculptures' illumination system has never really worked, and the pieces aren't well-made enough to withstand fender-benders safely, does anyone else think it might be appropriate to blame -- gasp -- the fabricator?

And ask for that government money they didn't get to be given back with interest.