April 23, 2010

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Google has begun the process of choosing communities in which to test their ultra high-speed fiber network projects. One of the cities in the hunt is Topeka, Kansas. Topeka's Mayor renamed the city "Google" for a month and the search engine giant even went so far as to rename their site "Topeka" as an April Fool's joke.

There is a group calling itself Think Big Topeka that has been pushing hard to attract Google to their city, but a local member of a national, right-wing front group attempted to inject the Tea Party movement into the project as well as her own private company - and failed:

Former House Majority Leader Shari Weber was fired as executive director of the Kansas chapter of an organization dedicated to training tea party activists and other novice political aspirants in the art of campaigning for elective office.

Her departure from the Topeka office of American Majority, led nationally by a son of former U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, was linked to an attempt to piggyback her start-up online employment company to Think Big Topeka's effort to have the capital city named host of Google's experiment with an ultrafast fiber-optic Internet system.

Jared Starkey, owner of a Topeka software development company and part of the loose-knit group promoting Topeka's bid for the Google project, said Weber approached several people participating in Think Big Topeka with an idea for promoting her company, Cyber Job Centers, by drawing upon goodwill emerging from City Hall on behalf of Think Big Topeka.

Starkey said he was concerned Weber was attempting to co-opt Think Big Topeka for personal gain. He said it didn't make sense for Weber to privately advance the notion of obtaining local taxpayer funding for Cyber Job Centers while publicly leading the Kansas chapter of an organization dedicated to limited government and free markets.

"I told her that Think Big Topeka was not a political organization and not a political tool," Starkey said. "They were very persistent." Read on...

Did you catch that? A person who makes a living training Tea Party wannabes was trying to get taxpayer dollars to advance her own company. I'm SHOCKED! I'm also shocked that Weber was actually let go for something that should have pleased the Tea Party gods. I applaud Starkey for calling her out. Who knows, perhaps Google will reward him and the city of Topeka for keeping the teabaggers out of their project?

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