Hilda Solis, a Congresswoman from California, is Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor. Solis is under fire for her husband’s failure to pay business taxes, and her own failure to disclose that she was involved with a union lobbying organization for which she sought federal funding. Solis’ conduct may have violated House ethics rules.

Another interesting item from Solis’ past has come to light. In 2003, Solis secured $1 million in funding for a $2.7 million teen center and skateboard park, in Baldwin Park, CA. As reported in the San Gabriel Tribune on September 27, 2003:

When the first line of teenagers file into the new teen center to use the climbing wall, an assortment of computers and game areas, they should thank Rep. Hilda Solis.

The city’s first teen center would not have been built without the El Monte Democrat’s efforts to secure $1 million in funding for its construction. The combined skate park and recreation complex, which is under construction, will cost $2.7 million.

So it’s no surprise the Baldwin Park City Council voted to change the name from Central Park West, the teen center and skate park location, to Hilda L. Solis Park. This marks the first time a park has been named after Solis.

A formal entryway will display her name on Badillo Avenue near Big Dalton Wash.

Solis beat out “Army Sgt. Atanacio Haro Marin, a Baldwin Park man killed in the line of duty in Iraq,” for the naming rights. The City of Baldwin Park concurrently issued an ordinance, as reported in the November 8, 2003 issue of the San Gabriel Tribune, that “with the opening of the Hilda Solis Park, Baldwin Park now mandates that skateboarding and similar activities are relegated to that park only.”

So Solis secures government funding for a skate park, the park is named after her (ahead of a city native who gave his life in Iraq), and the City of Baldwin park ensures that the skate park will be used by banning skateboarding anywhere else in the city. What a paradigm of pork barrel spending. Get government funding, aggrandize the politician, then create the need to justify the spending.