Sunday, April 30, 2006
Is Baker Pro Abortion?
While the schizophrenic Times Leader is out there filing frivolous lawsuits, we're reporting the news. In a 20thsenatorial exclusive, we have learned that a major Pennsylvania Pro Life group has slammed Baker in a letter to thousands of voters in the 20th Senatorial District saying she has a "pro-abortion position." In the "unendorsement" letter, the group says: "Don't let Lisa Baker fool you." and "Unfortunately, sometimes the rhetoric candidates use makes them appear to be pro-life when in fact they have a pro-abortion position."
Baker was questioned about the letter on Thursday, April 27th, but has not responded as of today.
Two of the candidates did offer responses.
Madeira said: "From the start, I have been saying that I am the only candidate who is “candid” with the voters about what I will do when elected and consistent with the Republican Party platform on the issues."
Haggerty said: "People have been questioning Lisa's position on abortion since we started this campaign. Every time she has been asked a question on abortion, her answers have been vague, ambiguous, and evasive. "
Vote For Candidates You Don't Know
Schizophrenic Wilkes-Barre Daily Instructs Us On Casting Our Votes
Hard to believe, but we got it wrong again. After believing that a well informed voter is the bedrock of upon which our government sits, the Times Leader has shown us the error of our ways. We thought we were providing a service to the voters of the 20th Senatorial District by letting you know who the candidates are, what they stand for, and calling them on statements that we thought were political double talk. Apparently that's not how you do it.
From the people who brought you, multiple endorsements in the same race, gutlessness in the defense of First Amendment rights, and raised the frivolous law suit to a new level, they have now told us (and we're not kidding) "Don't vote for a candidate because you know him or her." Let's repeat that. "Don't vote for a candidate because you know him or her." They actually printed that in their lead editorial on Friday. Dave Iseman, pictured above, must be thinking overtime.
So when you go to the polls on May 16, 2006, don't bother reading any campaign literature, don't watch any of the television ads, and certainly don't read the voters' guide. Just do like the Times Leader says: Vote for someone you don't know. Ignorance has done a lot for the Times Leader, maybe it can do the same for you.
Lodge #46 Endorses Baker
John Hancock Memorial FOP Lodge Endorses Baker
We received the following press release from the Baker camp. It is posted in its entirety.
LISA BAKER RECEIVES ENDORSEMENT
OF REGIONAL STATE POLICE UNION
Fraternal Order of Police, John Hancock Memorial Lodge #46,
Endorses Lisa Baker for State Senator
DALLAS– The Baker for Senate campaign is pleased to announce that Lisa Baker, Republican candidate for State Senator, has received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, John Hancock Memorial Lodge #46.
“The members of the lodge recognize Lisa’s support and mutual concern for issues facing law enforcement officers and the general well-being and safety of the citizens of the our region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “said Joseph E. Sarkis, president of Lodge #46.
“The Pennsylvania State Police provide critical police protection to much of the 20th Senatorial District, particularly our rural communities. I am proud to have the support of the John Hancock Memorial Lodge and am committed to making sure that we work together to improve public safety and police service throughout the region.”
The John Hancock Memorial Lodge #46 is comprised of over 350 active and retired members of the Pennsylvania State Police who live and work primarily in Wayne, Pike, Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties.
Pennsylvania Eagle Forum Endorses Madeira
Pennsylvania Chapter of Conservative Phyllis Schlafly Group Weighs In
The Pennsylvania Eagle Forum has endorsed Madeira in the 20th. Eagle Forum was a group founded by longtime nationally know Conservative Phyllis Schlafly. The group is primarily a pro life organization. For more on Eagle Forum click here.
We received the following Press Release from Madeira. It is posted below in its entirety.
Madeira for Senate Letter of Endorsement
On behalf of Pennsylvania Eagle Forum and my board of directors, I am proud to endorse David Madeira for Senate. David Madeira has strong pro-family values and citizen-leadership consistent with those of Eagle Forum.
Pennsylvania Eagle Forum strongly believes that David Madeira is a candidate worthy of our endorsement and will represent his district as an independent voice for sound government.
David Madeira’s real-world experience and strong proven leadership in his community and professional life are attributes that enhance his qualifications to serve as Senator.
Eagle Forum admires those with young families like David Madeira who are willing to take up the banner of defending the values they firmly believe in order to make our communities, state and country safe and secure for liberty to thrive.
Pennsylvania Eagle Forum urges you to vote for David Madeira, we believe he will prove to be a capable leader and independent voice for his constituency as well as Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Eagle Forum
Saturday, April 29, 2006
It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
We're On The Road Again
Since it's such a beautiful day, we're gassing up the VW Microbus and hitting the highways and byways of the 20th. We didn't make it to the debate last night, so if anyone wants to give us a report, drop us a line.
We'll be posting later today.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Candidates to Debate in Hamlin Tonight at 7:00pm
A debate will be held on April 28, 2006 at 7:00pm between the 20th District’s Senatorial Candidates at the J and J Lounge on Route 590, in Hamlin, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.
The candidates attending the debate are David Madeira, Lisa Baker, Mayor James Haggerty, Russell Bigus and Carl Sutton.
Sponsored by TV 13 and Gold Media.
Thanks for the heads up on this Dave Madeira, and sorry Bob, I guess no Democrats allowed.
Builders and Contractors Endorse Madeira
We received the following Press Release from Madeira. It is printed in its entirety.
Associated Builders and Contractors of Eastern Pennsylvania Endorses David Madeira
(DALLAS, PENNSYLVANIA) Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chapter of Eastern Pennsylvania announces their endorsement of David Madeira for District 20 State Senator. ABC of Eastern Pennsylvania chose Madeira out of four other candidates running for the position.
Mike Gibson, President of ABC of Eastern Pennsylvania, said “We are proud to endorse a candidate that strongly believes in returning government to the citizens of our Commonwealth.”
Madeira accepted the endorsement with gratitude. “I am happy to have Associated Builders and Contractors’ backing my campaign. Together we can ensure that business will thrive in Pennsylvania!”
Associated Builders and Contractors chapter of Eastern Pennsylvania headquarters is located in Allentown. ABC of Eastern Pennsylvania has approximately 200 active members in the commercial construction industry. Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. was founded in 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. ABC is made up of general contractors, construction managers, design professionals, subcontractors, suppliers and associates. ABC’s mission is to defend and promote the “Merit Shop” construction industry. For more information on Associated Builders and Contractors please visit http://www.abc.org/.
Madeira was recently endorsed by former Pennsylvania Congressman, Pat Toomey, and Pike County Commissioner, Richard Caridi. Madeira announced his candidacy in September and since then he has been active in setting up “Meet the Candidate” nights throughout the district.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Times Leader Sues Haggerty
Legal Experts Say Law Suit is frivolous (20thsenatorial Exclusive)
The schizophrenic Wilkes-Barre Daily filed a law suit in federal court against Kingston Police Chief Keith Keiper and Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty over the lack of a police blotter. 20thsenatorial spoke to two lawyers who have read the law suit and both say "frivolous" may be too kind of a word to use to describe it.
Our first legal expert who reviewed the law suit said: "You can only get into federal court on one of two conditions. First, the law suit must be between parties from two different states. This clearly does not exist, because both Haggerty and the Times Leader are from Pennsylvania. The second way to get into federal court is with a "federal question." The Times Leader is suing, as best I can tell, for a violation of a Pennsylvania statute. That is not a federal question."
He also questioned the timing of the law suit. "The newspaper files a law suit on a fact pattern that has existed for three and a half years. To file something 20 days before the Senatorial election is quite suspect, and at least to me, shows some ulterior motive. If they had this problem three and a half years ago, why not file the suit then? If their cause of action just arose, and they are being irreparably harmed, they could have filed for an injunction."
Our other attorney source said: "It appears the Times Leader wants Kingston to produce something just for the use of the Times Leader. State law does not require this. The State Police don't produce a police blotter. Why isn't the Times Leader going after them? This appears to be a personal vendetta against Haggerty. The state law also requires a written request. The Times Leader does not attach such a request as an exhibit to their law suit."
The Times Leader also accuses Kingston of conducting "secret arrests." We can only assume that these arrests must be done by secret police upon secret defendants, represented by secret defense lawyers, prosecuted by secret district attorneys, and then tried in secret courts by secret juries and secret judges.
We have not been able to confirm whether or not the Times Leader will be calling in the firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe (pictured above) as co-counsel to Attorney Ralph Kates, but then again, that may be a secret, too.
Baker's Blue Cross Connections
Bigus Questions Baker's Six Figure Job at Blue Cross
Bigus continued his assault on Baker's record. This time he's asking questions about her position she held at Blue Cross's Blue Ribbon Foundation. In another series of ads appearing in the Citizens Voice, Bigus asked four questions:
1. Why are Blue Cross Premiums Skyrocketing?
2. Why is there a $405 million dollar surplus at Blue Cross?
3. Who are the Executives/Administrators/Directors and what are their salaries?
4. When Mrs. Baker was working in government for Lemmond and Ridge, why weren't the Blue Cross problems addressed during those 20 years?
20thsenatorial asked the following questions of the Baker campaign about Baker and the Blue Ribbon Foundation.
1. When did she work there?
2. What was her position?
3. How did she get the job?
4. How many other people were considered for the position she took?
5. Wasn't her job created to keep her in the public eye after she was out of a job when Rendell took office?
6. Norton has personally heard Lisa say that the money the Foundation "gives away" is not from premiums. If this is true, where do they get the money?
We received no response from the Baker campaign.
A Comment on Comments
We Welcome Your Opinions
It is the policy of 20thsenatorial not edit, censor, or delete any comments posted on our blog, except under extreme circumstances. We must warn those who may be easily offended that some of the comments posted may contain what some may consider innappropriate or offensive language. We do not believe there is such a thing as offensive, obscene, or inappropriate language. We strongly believe the words of John Harlan, who said, "One man's vulgarity is another's lyric."
There is, however, one caveat. We will purge any comments that personally attack "non-public figures." Personal verbal attacks against any of the candidates are certainly fair game and will not be purged. All the candidates read this blog, so if they feel moved to comment on a personal attack, we will certainly post their response. Public figures also include any other politician or elected official, any campaign spokespersons, any of the 20thsenatorial staff, and any other person who has put themselves into the public spotlight. So with that said, comment away.
*W. Mark Felt dissents from this opinion, is very easily offended, and believes everything is obscene.
David Souter v. David Madeira
Madeira Speaks Out About Eminent Domain
20thsenatorial received the following Press Release from Madeira. It is printed in its entirety.
From: David Madeira for Senate
April 26, 2006
Madeira applauds legislatures efforts to preserve Property Rights.
Urges governor to sign immediately.
(DALLAS, PENNSYLVANIA) Yesterday, the Pennsylvania legislature unanimously agreed to begin the process of restoring the property rights of Pennsylvanians. The “Property Rights Protection Act”, Senate Bill 881 and its companion bill, House Bill 2054, will prohibit eminent domain abuse by restricting taking private property for private commercial uses, tightening the definition of “blight” that is used to condemn private property, and increase reimbursements to private property owners when eminent domain is exercised against them. The Supreme Court ruled last July in the Kelo v. City of New London decision that property could be seized by the government and then resold for private commercial uses.
David Madeira, candidate for the 20th District Senate Seat and strong opponent of the recent Supreme Court decision, was pleased by the vote. “Congratulations to the House and Senate for unanimously supporting this first step to restore property rights in PA. More work needs to be done to ensure that the definition of blight is not abused, but I urge the Governor to sign this into legislation immediately.”
At a meeting last evening, the Blooming Grove Republican Club asked the candidates for the 20th District Senatorial seat their stance on this issue. Madeira strongly supported property rights while Jim Haggerty, a lawyer, argued with the crowd, saying they did not understand the Kelo decision and how it is critical to democracy. He said that in a Democracy a majority of the people in a community should be able to take away private property rights for the “greater good.”
Susquehanna, Pike and Wayne Counties are currently facing one of the first backlashes of the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. The New York Regional Interconnect project plans to route high-voltage power lines that would dip into Susquehanna County and run east to follow along the upper Delaware River. The power lines will follow the Norfolk Southern rail lines that cross the river into Pennsylvania in several areas. The company is already talking about taking private property for this privately funded commercial project that will benefit New York City. This project will put companies, such as Kittatinny Canoes, highly dependent on the upper Delaware River for its business, in peril.
Madeira, who is against the project if it jeopardizes the scenic and cultural resources of the region, said “I am very concerned it will be destructive to the tourism-based economy in Pike and Wayne Counties. Not only will they take private property, but the project will damage a major source of income for many of these residents for the benefit of the residents of New York State.”
Madeira was recently endorsed by former Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Toomey and Pike County Commissioner Richard Caridi. Both will be formally endorsing Madeira at Erhardt’s Waterfront Resort on May 1st at 6:00 PM. For further details and to make a reservation, see his website at http://www.madeiraforsenate.com/
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Issue 7 ----- Property Tax
Candidates Express Their Views on Property Taxes
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the seventh of our questions.
What would you do to reduce the burden on property taxpayers?
Act 72 is the current law that through my actions as a superintendent, I have supported. The burden of property taxes must be addressed at the State level otherwise we continue to create unequal funding streams. Act 72 unlike its predecessor Act 50 of 1998 will provide money from the state level to have some relief occur.
Complete elimination of property taxes. This would protect our seniors from losing their life savings to the tax man, encourage home ownership for first time home buyers, and preserve open space by allowing people to keep property undeveloped without being taxed for the privilege. Economic analysis done by the Commonwealth Caucus demonstrates that this can be done with a broad-based, lower sales tax on items currently taxed in 18 other states.
I am a true believer in fiscal conservatism. By spending less, we can tax less. This is the primary key to reducing the overall tax burden. To further alleviate the burden on property owners, I am leaning towards the 4.5% overall sales tax.
I believe taxes must be based on one's ability to pay. I support shifting (revenue neutrally) from property taxes to income tax or sales tax with the approval of local voters. Reform of the tax system must be matched with reform of spending. I support giving taxpayers a strong voice when it comes to school spending increases that outpace inflation through local voter referenda.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire. Here's what we got from his web site:
As a school board member I voted to accept Act 72 with the hopes of easing the property tax burden of our citizens, especially older Pennsylvanian's. Secondly, Act 72 would limit taxing authorities and cap the amount of mils raised per year. This would promote better accountability of elected officials.
I know first hand about dealing with taxation and the need for low taxes to make conditions favorable for business and foster job creation. I am committed to addressing reform of our property tax system and the way we fund schools in Pennsylvania. The current structure of education funding unfairly burdens our senior citizens, farmers, and is problematic for young families who want to buy a home. I fully support a meaningful local property tax reform -- but will not allow it to come at the expense of a quality public education.
Toomey to "Formally" Endorse Madeira
Event Planned for May 1, 2006
The Madeira campaign has announced that runner up to Arlen Specter and former Congressman Pat Toomey will "formally" endorse Madeira at a rally at Ehrhardt's Waterfront Restaurant, Route 507, Hawley, Pennsylvania. The charge for the event is $25.00. Details and Directions can be obtained at 570.675.2887.
In a mailer to Republican voters, the Madeira campaign shows a letter from Pat Toomey to Madeira. Toomey says: "I see you as the only true conservative candidate for the 20th District Senate seat."
Is Baker a Flip Flop?
Questions Arise on Baker's Position on Paying For State Police (20thsenatorial Exclusive)
I guess you have to take the good with the bad. For a candidate who has based much of her campaign on her famous and influential friends, she sure backs away from them when they support or supported unpopular ideas. First questions arose, and are still arising as to Baker's true stance on the abortion issue. Baker's Two Biggest Named' supporters (Charlie Lemmond and Tom Ridge) are both pro-choice, Baker says she's pro-life, but pro life groups aren't buying what she's selling. Now an issue has arisen as to Baker's position on paying for State Police services.
In 1999, Baker voiced support for a $70.00 per person annual tax for townships of 5,000 or more people who did not have their own police force. She was quoted in the Pocono Record as saying, "(T)he administration believes that communities have an obligation to provide for public safety and those who can afford to do so but can't are draining services." See Pocono Record Article. She said it was "a matter of equity."
When asked by 20thsenatorial about the former support of the police taxing issue, Baker spokesperson, Brian Grove responded that "Lisa has made her position clear regarding state police coverage in the district:"
"Lisa Baker supports increasing the number of state police to provide much needed help to the many communities that rely solely on them for service, without levying additional fees or taxes on our local governments or citizens.
One of government's fundamental responsibilities is to ensure the safety of its citizens. In addition to cutting back or eliminating their police forces, there are many communities in the 20th District that have never had a police force. Lisa supports increasing the number of state troopers to provide much needed help to these communities and to assist with the issues the 20th District will experience as a result of gambling.
Moving forward, Lisa believes state government needs to provide support for local communities to make it easier for them to work together, where appropriate, in providing numerous services including police and fire protection, planning, zoning, among other areas of potential cooperation. She will work with local government officials to encourage this cooperation and, where appropriate, regionalization of services so they are cost efficient and effective for our citizens."
At least two other candidates aren't buying Baker's rationale. When told that Madeira said Baker supports a police tax, Brian Grove shot back with: "Mr. Madeira's assertion is completely untrue."
Madeira supported his assertion with this. Referring to an event at which the police tax subject was raised, Madeira said: "... Lisa spoke after this gentleman's question, obviously knew all about it from her history with the Ridge administration, and did not answer the question anyway. In fact, I am not aware of where she 'has made her position clear' on this issue. I don't know how my assertion was 'untrue' when her last public statement on this issue was supportive of the tax ..."
Haggerty, when reached for a comment said: "This is another example of Baker trying to have it both ways. She wants the endorsements of pro choice people, but says she's pro-life. When it comes to the police tax, she supported in 1999, now she's says she against it."
The other candidates were asked for a comment on this issue, but did not respond.
A Case for Public Education
20thsenatorial received the following press release from Sutton. It is printed in its entirety:
A Case for Public Schooling
It was Noah Webster who said that universal public education was essential to the preservation of liberty in a self-governing electorate. Although our current system of public education may have its flaws, it is the duty of our state to provide education to our young people.
I take offense at Mrs. Madeira’s statements concerning public education. While attending graduate school at Western Maryland College, I helped put myself through school by substitute teaching. This was very rewarding, although attending classes in the evening made for a long day. I do not consider substitute teaching as the “lowliest job on earth.” That is a total degradation and a poor choice of words because there are no lowly jobs on earth. Any person who goes to work in any job deserves the respect of his fellow citizens. I value hard work and I don’t look down on people’s occupations. My work ethic has been instilled in me from the generations of my family that came before me. If my grandfathers were alive today, they could tell you what types of jobs they had to do to survive. They worked hard so that their descendants could have better opportunities. My grandfathers would consider substitute teaching an honorable position. They considered their jobs honorable as well because they took pride in their work. They also placed a high value on education, probably because one wasn’t given to them.
My current employment as a psychotherapist has given me the opportunity to work in over 25 different school buildings in the Wyoming Valley. Our schools are filled with many exceptional teachers and thousands of really “good” kids.
The socialization aspect is more than just learning how to converse with others. It is about learning to share, learning to cooperate, and learning teamwork. It is about being able to look around at your classmates and being able to appreciate their accomplishments, their creativity, and their differences. In public school, you learn how to compete, whether it is for the best grades, the neatest science project, or being elected class president. Competing against others is a skill that a child needs to develop for the future because it soon becomes a fact of life.
Most importantly, schools have highly trained, specialized teachers who know their material. I know very few adults who are masters of calculus, physics, Spanish, wood shop, world literature, and civics combined. And the idea that a third grader is capable of self-exploration and teaching him or herself is almost absurd.
I have no other way to close, but to thank my own teachers. I am a product of public schools, Northwest and Canton Areas. I had many terrific teachers in both districts. I respect those parents who choose to home school their children, but I also believe they should respect the public school system. Not doing so is an insult not only to our teachers, but also to the majority of our young people that are in public schools.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Do unto others...
A Personal Message to the Candidates and Their Supporters
We travel a lot throughout the district, and we see a lot of things. We happen to love seeing political signs scattered throughout the district. It's part of what we live for. There is, however, one thing that annoys us to no end. We will drive by a particular intersection on a Tuesday and see a sign for Candidate A. The next day we drive by and see a sign for Candidate B. Candidate A's sign is now either knocked down or missing. We have one thing to say about this. CUT OUT THE CRAP.
All of you have spent a lot of time and effort putting up your respective signs, so don't be tearing down your opponents' signs. We're not going to name names, ... yet, but before you start saying "not me" or "not my supporters," remember we were not born yesterday. When one of your signs is up today, but gone tomorrow and another candidate's sign appears in the same place, we know who dunnit. Let's not cast blame, but please from this day forward, instruct your workers or volunteers on these two simple sign rules.
1. Do not tear down, take down, burn, fold, spindle, or mutilate an opponents ' sign.
2. Do not place your sign directly in front of your opponents' sign. There's plenty of room a couple feet down the road.
Norton, Buzz, Mark, & Walter
Issue 6 ----- Abortion
Candidates Express Their Views on Abortion.
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the sixth of our questions.
What is your position on abortion?
I don’t believe government can or should make personal decisions for individuals and families; however, I do not approve of abortion. Government’s role must be to support life by providing assistance to individuals and families.
I support the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act and oppose the use of taxpayer funding for abortion. I will work to increase funding for alternatives-to-abortion programs, promote adoption, and ensure that all pregnant women have access to high-quality health care.
I certainly like to consider myself as pro-life. For me that means that I am pro-life from inception to resurrection. Life should be treated with respect and dignity throughout all its phases. I support Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act and I will not work to make the law more or less restrictive.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire. We did, however, steal this info from his web site. We should respect life from the moment of conception until Natural Death.
I am a proud pro-life candidate and have been rated "Pro-Life" by the Pennsylvania Federation for Human Life. I believe in the sanctity of human life and therefore am decidedly against abortion and legislation proposed to make abortions more accessible. I feel other options such as natural family planning and adoption should be utilized to prevent unwanted pregnancies, rather than terminating a living human life form.
Abortion, like slavery, is a question first and foremost of human rights. Does one person have the right to take the life of another? Abortion stops a beating human heart and I will work hard to ensure that every PA child is welcomed into the world and afforded the most basic human right – Life.
I am Pro-life, with consideration for the health of the mother, incest, or rape.
Felt Temporarily Suspended
Norton Cites Misuse of the Blog
20thsenatorial has temporarily suspended W. Mark Felt from his duties at 20thsenatorial due to his using the blog for personal purposes. "A command decision had to be made," Norton the Blogger said. "And, I am the decider. I belief W. needs some time to reflect on his actions." Felt promoted his new book, A G-man's Life, (available at Amazon for $16.98 as of Sunday, April 30, 2006) during the absence of Buzz the Intern. "Even though W.'s contribution to this blog is invaluable and his book has received great reviews, the rules are the rules --- NO EXCEPTIONS. Maybe after writing 'I will not use the blog for personal purposes' 1000 times, W. will have learned his lesson."
In the interim, Buzz the Intern, recently released from his service to New York State, will resume blogging until Norton's return.
Baker Receives Endorsement of FOP Lodge #36
Local Police Lodge Endorses Baker
20thsenatorial received the following Press Release from the Baker camp. It is printed below in its entirety. We asked the other candidates for comments, but only received a comment from the Haggerty camp, which is posted below the Baker Press Release.
Lisa Baker receives unanimous endorsement OF FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE, WYOMING VALLEY LODGE #36
DALLAS – The Baker for Senate campaign is pleased to announce that Lisa Baker, Republican candidate for State Senator, received the unanimous endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Wyoming Valley Lodge #36. Lodge #36 represents members of local police departments in throughout Luzerne County.
“After careful consideration of Lisa’s background and qualifications, our decision was helped by the many local officers and elected officials who stand behind her integrity and commitment,” said Ron Rebo, president of Wyoming Valley Lodge #36.
“We appreciate Lisa’s long history of working productively with the law enforcement community and her understanding of the issues that are important to us and the communities we serve.” said Joe Mangan, lodge vice president.
“Law enforcement is one of the most important core functions of government and the men and women who serve us in this critical role deserve our support and appreciation. I am proud to stand with the members of Lodge #36 and thank them for their support.”
I am the only candidate who has more police officers on street, created special units for narcotics, and led a department that is recognized throughout the state as a powerful anti-drug force.
A Classic in the Making
New Book By Mark Felt A Must Have
The new book, A G-Man's Life by Mark Felt is a must have. The reviews on this book have been almost as tremendous as the book itself. The book chronicles Mark Felt (Deep Throat's) times as a high ranking FBI official. Mark Felt is best known as the corroborating source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein while uncovering the Watergate scandal.
Felt, a very honorable man, kept his identity a secret until last year. Felt's book is available at Amazon for $16.98 as of Sunday, April 30, 2006. If you order it with Bob Woodward's book The Secret Man, you'll get free shipping. Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. And please buy it fast, because I don't know how many years I have left to enjoy the profits.
Monday, April 24, 2006
I'm in Charge Here
Buzz the Intern Needs Bail Money
In the words of my former friend, Alexander Haig, "I'm in charge here." When Buzz decided to do a road trip this evening, we seemed to drift into New York State. We were up in Northern Wayne County trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive "Carl Sutton for Senate" signs.
The New York State police pulled over the Microbus for unequally sized tail lights, and it turns out that Buzz had a couple too many unpaid parking tickets in the town of Port Jervis. The only thing I carry in my wallet is my Medicare card and an old picture of J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson, so I didn't have the money to bail him out. I figure a night in jail would do him good, anyway. Maybe I'll bail him out in the morning.
W. Mark Felt
Buzz and W. Hit the Road
With Norton out of town, and the 20thsenatorial Esso gas card in my hands, W. Mark and I are going to hit the road. We plan on checking on the landscape of the 20th, so if you see us in your neighborhood, be sure to give us a holler.
Issue 5 ----- Education
Candidates Express Their Views on Education
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the fifth of our questions.
How would you improve the quality of education in the Commonwealth?
I am the product of a quality public education. I am very fortunate to have attended some of the best colleges in the country. I was able to do this with an educational foundation built in the public school system. By controlling the costs of education, we can get more for every tax dollar. The current system of financing public education primarily through property taxes is unfair on the many senior citizen property owners.
I support greater local control of school districts and favor the elimination of unnecessary mandates placed upon them.
Distribution of state monies for education must be more equitable, particularly for rapidly growing school districts.
I support tough educational standards and accountability.
I support continued state funding for the Head Start Program, after-school day care, education and nutrition programs.
Competition! Monopolies increase cost and decrease quality - at the grocery store and in education. I support school choice where parents make the key decisions with the money for education following the student. Increased local control with reductions in state and federal mandates which tie the hands of good teachers and school boards to innovate will mean that not only the rich can have the opportunity to give their children the best education.
IÂm a strong believer in public schools. What we need to do is have a state-wide curriculum for all subjects. Each district should use the same books for major classes. The state should make bulk purchases and sell books and supplies to schools at a discount. The state also needs to promote agriculture in the classroom, including allowing FFA students the option of taking academic courses to help prepare for college.
Overall I believe that the quality of education in Pennsylvania is one of the highest in the nation. There are however certainly some issues that need to be addressed. Funding is probably the root of all the issues. Without the money, early childhood programs do not move forward, pupil support services do not improve and college tuitions continue to increase.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire.
* Candidates were limited to a 75 word response to each question.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
To Set The Record Straight
We have had some inquiries as to the similarity in appearance between Norton and Art Garfunkel. Although Norton is a huge Art Garfunkel fan (he doesn't particularly care for Paul Simon,) Norton is not Art Garfunkel. If I had a dime for every time someone asked me if Norton was Art Garfunkel, I'd have somewhere in the neighborhood of $15.25.
Times Leader Says Sutton Could Be A Spoiler
Schizophrenic Wilkes-Barre Daily Quotes Experts on the "Sutton Factor"
The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, in an article by mbuffer, believes that Sutton could be a spoiler in the race for the 20th. They quote former Home Rule Guru Tom Baldino of Wilkes University. Baldino says the contest is “wide open” and will be close. "Sutton could end up being a spoiler," Baldino said.
The Times Leader also uses political quote machine, G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor and pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. G. said "Baker could end up winning because the other four candidates split up the 'anyone but Baker' vote."
In the Republican race for the 20th state Senate District, Lisa Baker sounds like the incumbent, and her opponents treat her like the incumbent.She is expected to spend the most campaign money, and establishment Republicans back her.Wilkes University political science professor “It’s difficult to call anyone a front-runner,” Baldino said. “All had opportunities to raise money and get names out.”
See the entire article at Sutton Factor.
Issue 4 ----- Constituent Services
Candidates Express Their Views on Constituent Services
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the fourth of our questions.
What will you do to better serve the residents of the 20th District with constituent services?
I entered this race to show that a person could win this seat without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. By doing this, I am not tied to special interest groups or big money. I have no one to pay back except every resident of District 20. That’s the best service you could give constituents.
I plan to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all current operations to determine where costs can be reduced, procedures can be streamlined and services can be enhanced.
For 20 years, I have been committed to providing service that is user-friendly, customer-focused and responsive to the citizens I have served. My experience in government has taught me the importance of maintaining a continual presence and direct, open lines of communication with area residents.
I hope to be an active and aggressive lawmaker who believes that our region has a great deal of untapped potential and I will work tirelessly for better jobs and a better economic future.
As a small businessman, I know how to deliver service to my “customers”. Accessibility is critical. I will apply the listening and problem solving skills I have learned in 16 years of private practice and during my service as the President of the State Chiropractic Association. But most important, I will work everyday to get state government out of the pockets and off the backs of working families who want nothing more from their government than to be left alone.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire.
I plan to:
1. Publish a weekly e-mail newsletter.
2. Hold at least one town meeting per year in each of the counties in the 2oth District.
3. Guarantee a quick response to any question or concern.
4. Keep an "open door" policy.
5. Host and attend a weekly breakfast for constiuents visiting Harrisburg.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
This is the first of my 20thsenatorial commentaries. I would like to thank Norton the Blogger for giving me the opportunity to "blog." I originally thought he said "clog," to which I said "I haven't done that since the 1960s, and that was only after a few stiff Manhattans." I first met Norton at the 100th annivesary ceremony of Lawrence Welk's birth in Strasburg, North Dakota. We were the only two there, so we immediately struck up a freindship. But that's enough about Norton, after all, he hired me to add the wit and experience of a seasoned newsman to this sometimes pathetic blog.
The other day, I was channel surfing through AM Radio, looking for that 24 hour a day Lawrence Welk station, hoping to catch "The Early Years' Hour," when to my horror I heard the cacophonous voice of former Homeland Security Director, Tom Ridge. He was ballyhooing Lisa Baker for Senate like a used car salesman pitching a low mileage 1994 Ford Escort. He said she was "smart and intelligent." Where I come from, the definition of "smart" is "intelligent." Why didn't he just add in "astute, brainy, bright, brilliant, clever, keen, knowledgeable, perspicacious, quick-witted, sharp, shrewd, and wise."
Then I realized that this was the guy who took 18 months to devise those "stupid and unitelligent" color coded threat levels. Let me see if I can remember them: White means a little dangerous, Off White means a little more dangerous, Pale means more than a little dangerous, Ecru means lots of danger, and Eggshell means extreme danger. Alas, now I understand the "smart and intelligent" comment.
I think it would be better if Mr. Ridge spent his spare time figuring out what shade of red Ted Kennedy's face turns after the third martini. Maybe he could develop a warning system for that.
And that's the way it is.
*The views, opinions, conclusions, conjecture, hypotheses, ideas, impressions, inclinations, inferences, judgments, notions, sentiments, speculations, suppositions, theorems, theses, and viewpoints of Walter I. Kronkyte are not necessarily the views, opinions, conclusions, conjecture, hypotheses, ideas, impressions, inclinations, inferences, judgments, notions, sentiments, speculations, suppositions, theorems, theses, and viewpoints of the administration, authority, bosses, brass, directors, execs, executives, front office, head, management, staff, and top brass of 20thsenatorial blog.
Issue 3 ----- Gay Marriage
Candidates Express Their Views on Gay Marriage and Civil Unions
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the third of our questions.
Do you favor legislation allowing civil unions for homosexual couples?
In 1996 a law passed that defined marriage as a civil contract between one man and one woman. As it stands, I support that law. I do think that it is possible to allow civil unions to have similar benefits as extended to those through marriage without having to change Pennsylvania’s Constitution.
I do not favor legislation allowing civil unions for homosexuals.
No. I support the concept that marriage is solely the union of a man and a woman.
No. Marriage is between a man and a women and I support a constitutional amendment to prevent activist judges from overturning the will of the people on this issue.
Bigus did not respond to our questionnaire and we did not find this issue addressed on his web site.
As your next State Senator, I will support the appointment and confirmation of judges who respect our faimly values, including the protection of our traditional institution of marriage.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I May Get in Trouble for This, but...
Hi, it's Buzz the Intern. The boss is away, so it's just me and W. Mark hanging out at the 20thsenatorial office suite. W. Mark is dozing off, as he does most of the day. Norton is probably on his third Shirley Temple at the airport bar. His flight was delayed.
I know Norton is big on anonymity, but I think we should be seen as well as heard. I'd like to thank our staff photographer, Marmaduke Wetherell, for the only known picture of the 20thsenatorial staff with the VW Microbus. That's me on the left and Norton on the right.
A Case for Homeschooling
Melanie Madeira Speaks to the Issue of Homeschooling (20thsenatorial Exclusive)
20thsenatorial asked David Madeira about the home schooling of his five children. He told us his wife could answer best. Here is Melanie, in her own words:
I'd like to answer your questions regarding handling homeschooling 5 kids. I get asked that (and many other) question very often. Most of the time people want to know WHY I homeschool, so I'll begin there. Before David and I married, I taught school for a year as a substitute (the lowliest job on planet earth!) teacher at 5 districts. I realized 2 main things during that year: 1. Kids "these days" are really crass and foul-mouthed (It is quite shocking to hear 1st graders using the "f" word and telling dirty jokes). 2. There is a great deal of wasted time during the school day.
I determined that public school was not the environment for my children, should I have any. I also felt I could give my future children a better education at home in less time than a typical school day. A light usually goes on in a person's head when I ask them why people use tutors. They use tutors because one -on -one education is much quicker! You can also zero-in on a child's learning style- which in my humble opinion is a huge reason for so many kids falling behind in school. That is a topic I talk about with many people. I would love to see a restructuring of public schools based on learning styles and getting back to "old fashioned" curricula. If you're interested, we can talk about that another time.
I'd like to stress that I am not anti-public school. I am just anti-status-quo. Too much polictical correctness and too many regulations (NCLB) have made teaching more cumbersome. There also is that little fact about our teachers not being the same quality today as they were 40 years ago-but I'll leave that subject alone- for now. :-) Instead of teaching kids facts for them to spew out for a specific test, we need to get back to teaching them to THINK. I am frequently dismayed at the lack of common sense or communication skills kids possess.
Homeschooling (I will use HS from now on) enables the teacher -usually mom- to focus on a student's strengths and weaknesses and adjust the material for the child. By "adjust" I mean using various source materials and identifying each child's learning style and teaching to it. Here is an example: Our second child, D.J., had a terrible time learning to read and write. I even waited until he was 7 to begin - I would "try him out" periodically to see if he was ready. He could write letters at that point, but not read. The process ended at age 9 when he finally was writing with 0% backward letters and reading fluently with terrific comprehension. He also has great self-confidence and someday wants to be a writer and paleontologist. Had he been in public school, I have NO DOUBT he would have been labeled dyslexic. He was writing 85% of his letters backwards and his words mirrored. He could even write a word with a pencil in each hand going forward and backward at the same time. That sounds really neat, but actually indicated confusion in the brain -it didn't know which side should be dominant.
Because I taught him at home, where he felt safe (emotionally), we were able to begin a slow, steady trip toward reading. It was very hard for him; often he felt stupid and embarrassed that he could not read like his sister or cousins. As time progressed, so did D.J. Had he been in school, he would have been not only labeled, but ridiculed and teased and probably never have learned to read. I am proud to say that he writes fabulous stories and is now working his way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is 10.
That is just one example of why HS works. I teach differently to each of my children. Now, I should point out that I don't teach them MYSELF the whole time. They actually teach themselves. I do most of the teaching for 1st grade and some for 2nd. From then on, they mostly do "self-teaching". Most HS'ers do not do school this way (I think more should). I use this type of curriculum because I feel it best prepares children for real life. What boss wants to spoon-feed his employees? When they go to college no professor is going to spoon-feed his students. It just makes common sense -we should teach our kids to become adults.
Now, it is true, a good HS education is not just a good curriculum and organization. Your kids have to be willing to do the work. Which means, they have to be at least fairly obedient and responsible. I am really proud of my children, they are really good kids. I have to say we have a blast being together all the time. Does that just happen? No, of course not. To get to the point at which we have arrived means starting when they are babies; loving discipline, consistency with rules, having a good relationship between spouses, having rules with relationship with the kids, the list goes on and on.
It would take a book (which I plan on writing some day) to talk about all we have done to make it possible to HS effectively. It takes tons of patience, organization and the will to stay on target that out-weighs the pressure to give up (we all have THOSE days!) I am thrilled we made the decision to HS. Yes, sometimes it's tiring and days can be repetitious and I don't experience so-called "self-fulfillment". The results I see in my children make me proud we chose this path for our family. If you would like me to elaborate even more on a certain aspect or other questions, just let me know.
Issue 2 ----- Police Protection
Candidates Express Their Views on Police Protection
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the second of our questions.
Many communities in the 20th have cut back or eliminated their police forces, further burdening the state police. How do you make sure the people of the 20th have adequate police protection?
Police protection is a legitimate function of State and Local Governments and we need to strengthen both state and local law enforcement by reducing the size and burden of state government in areas where they do not have a constitutional mandate so we can redirect resources where they should have been all along.
The safety and security of it’s citizens is the responsibility of the state. As with so many issues when local elected officials feel the burden of excess taxes, they search for ways to halt additional tax increases. The general assembly should provide financial incentive to help local municipalities support their local police departments.
I am the only candidate has put police officers on street, created special units for narcotics, and led a department that is recognized throughout the state as a powerful anti-drug force. I am well aware of the lack of local departments in much of the district and will seek to help start local police service. The State Police would play a better role as supplementary assistance rather than a first-line solution.
Apparently, Baker supports a plan whereby local communities of 5,000 or more people would pay $70.00 per person per year for State Police protection. See http://archive.poconorecord.com/1999/local/exd26977.htm.
Bigus did not respond to this question.
Most communities seem to appreciate having a local police force. Tax money should first be allocated to programs which everyone benefits from, such as police and fire protection. Unfortunately, money gets spent on senseless projects which take away from these programs. It goes back to being fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ money and providing them with beneficial services.
Issue 1 ----- Gun Gontrol
Candidates Express Their Views Part 1 Gun Control
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 Questions. Over the next few days, we will post their answers. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's one of our questions:
What is your position on gun rights or gun control?
Article I Section 21. of the PA Constitution “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” What part of “shall not be questioned” do you not understand?
I believe a person has the right to bear arms. I agree with waiting periods for handguns. The government has the responsibility of protecting people, so common sense dictates that your average citizen shouldn’t have automatic weapons. Personally, I am a hunter and a sportsman.
As a member of the National Rifle Association, I believe that any law-abiding citizen has the right to bear arms. I do not favor restricting any law-abiding citizen from the right to carry or own firearms. I am also against efforts to infringe the privacy rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Bigus did not answer our survey, but it does say on his website that he is a member of the NRA, and we have heard him claim he is the only sportsman in the race.
Baker also did not respond to our survey, so we had to go to her website. After looking at her "Mike Dukakis in a Tank Photo," we gleened this from the website. "As a wife and mother of avid sportsmen, Lisa opposes any legislation or regulation that attempts to restrict the rights of law-abiding individuals to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. "
I started hunting when I was 12 years old and I still hunt. I still have my first BB gun from age 8. It’s not in good shape! Having served for almost 30 years in the Army National Guard, I have trained with many weapons safely. The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act is our current law. At this time, I do not feel that this law needs to become more restrictive.
Kronkyte to Join 20thsenatorial Staff
Veteran Journalist will be Doing Editorial Posts
Veteran newman, W. Imnot Kronkyte will be doing some guest editorials for 20thsenatorial. Kronkyte will be analyzing the race from an outsiders prosepctive. His post will appear periodically between now and the election.
Welcome aboard, W.
Times Leader Questions Haggerty on Pay Raise
Haggerty Says His Position Has Not Changed
The Times Leader, well known for its own schizophrenia, is questioning Haggerty on the issue of legislative pay raises. It says Haggerty's position has changed, but deciphering subtleties has never been the forte of the Times Leader. Everything is black and white at 15 North Main Street. I guess it helps sell the papers.
Bigus used the phrase "namby-pamby" in his response to Haggerty's statements on the pay raise. I guess ten years as an elementary principal and you start to speak that way. Baker said she wants any compensation package to be "fiscally responsible." Now Russ, that's not only "namby pamby," but we don't have a clue what that means.
Anyway, here's the article:
The state Senate candidate says he’s OK with raises, but not when legislators do it themselves.
By RORY SWEENEY firstname.lastname@example.org
It might seem like splitting hairs, but Jim Haggerty, Kingston mayor and state Senate candidate, says there’s a difference between the apparent contradictions of his statements in the media and a campaign flier he’s been sending out.
“I didn’t support the concept that legislators’ salaries should never be raised,” he said of his comments in a recent Times Leader article, but added, “I don’t support the Legislature … deciding what their pay raise is.”
As for taking pay raises that are tied to inflation and decided by an independent commission, he said, “Would I think that would be unreasonable or try to fight that? No.”
Russ Bigus, principal of Regis Elementary School in Forty Fort who is running against Haggerty for the Republican nomination for retiring Sen. Charles Lemmond’s 20th District seat, said Haggerty’s quibbling is “a typical politician statement.”
“It’s a simple question, like anything else. Mayor Haggerty, do you support a pay increase for legislators, yes or no? And he gives this big, namby-pamby response.”
Haggerty countered by saying his experience shows he’s not a greedy politician. He said he’s been mayor since 1998 and, 'I haven’t sought a pay raise, haven’t asked for one and don’t want one.”
He’s called Bigus’ statement that he won’t take a pay raise, much less vote for one, “one of those sound-bite solutions.”
He said the best solution in Harrisburg is a committee of politically uninfluenced citizens who decide when to dole out more money to the legislators.
The other three candidates running for the Republican nomination are: Lisa Baker, a top aide for former Govs. Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker and for Lemmond; David Madeira, a Dallas chiropractor; and Carl Sutton, a Dallas Township resident and psychotherapist for Northeast Counseling.
Sutton is fine with the current system, where legislators can approve raises for the next term, because voters can vote out legislators before they receive the increase. He said the bigger problem is perks legislators receive.
Madeira wouldn’t vote for a raise and said an independent salary board is the way to go, though he is more concerned with the legislative pension system.
Baker wants the entire compensation package evaluated to make sure it’s “fiscally responsible,” said Brian Grove, her campaign manager.
He said, “she wouldn’t support any future increases.”
Luzerne County GOP Hold Rally
Every Candidate and Their Brother was There
As a going away present to myself, I attended the Luzerne County Republican rally last night at the American Legion in Kingston. All the 20th senatorial candidates were there, along with most, if not all the candidates for Republican State Committee and the open House seats. In the words of the political consultants --- "No persuadables."
I got to watch the 20th candidates in action, and I must say, they have all fine tuned their campaign techniques. As the election draws closer, events like this, while necessary to the party faithful tend to be a waste of time. I don't believe anyone in that room didn't already know who they were voting for..
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Where Do The Candidates Stand?
Multi-Part Series Begins Tomorrow
20thsenatorial will begin a multi-part series based on the answered we received from the candidates to our questionnaire. Most of the candidates have been working hard, but some haven't finished their homework assignment. They know who they are. So get your answers in if you haven't already done so.
Since this series will be mainly cutting and pasting the candidates answers, I have entrusted this job to Buzz the Intern. Buzz has been studying hid Blogging for Dummies book for the past few days, and he assures me he will be ready. Unfortunately, where I'm going there are no computers, so it's possible when I return, the blog will be shut down, the VW Microbus will be totaled in a ditch in Northern Wayne County, and I'll be scrounging up bail money to get the old Buzzer out of the Pike County jail.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Pike County Republican Women's Dinner
The Pike County Council of Republican Women their annual dinner on Sunday, April 30, 2006, at Woodlock Pines in Lackawaxen. The cocktail hour will begin at 6:00 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $28.00 per person. For more information, please contact Yolanda Goldsack, Chairwoman, at (570) 686-4177.
The Republican candidates for the 20th Senatorial District are expected to attend.
*W Mark Felt will not be in attendance due to a prior engagement.
Pictured above is the Roebling Aqueduct, erected by John Roebling, the engineer who built the Brooklyn Bridge, in 1848 for the D&H Canal Company. Used as an vehicle bridge today, it once carried barges from the Lackawaxen River to the Delaware. We drove the VW Microbus across this a few weeks ago, but then we realized that cut rate car insurance Buzz the Intern got for the Microbus wasn't valid in NY State.
Buzz the Intern, Here's the Keys to the Blog
Norton Takes a Break
I'm taking a long needed vacation, but the blog will continue in my absence. I will be turning over the reigns of the blog to Buzz the Intern as of 5:00pm on Friday. Buzz will have full editorial control, so if you have any complaints, it's his fault. On the other hand, if he does a great job, you can compliment me on my fine judgment.
In addition to turning over the blog to him, I'm giving him the keys to the VW Microbus. I have, however, taken the liberty of placing a "How's My Driving?" bumper sticker on the back of the bus. Don't be afraid to e-mail me if you see Buzz going over the 55mph speed limit, illegally parking, or commiting any other traffic violations. I'll be bringing back presents for all of my loyal readers.
20thsenatorial Questionnaire Makes Voting Easy
Last week, 20thsenatorial sent questions to the candidates. We believe all of the candidates received the questions, although despite repeated requests, we believe that a certain candidate still thinks our e-mails are spam. YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE OUR E-MAILS IF YOUR SPAM BLOCKER IS NOT ACCEPTING 'email@example.com.' This is your last warning.
Here are the questions.
1. What will you do to better serve the residents of the 20th District with constituent services?
2. What is your position on legalized gambling in Pennsylvania?
3. What is you position on abortion?
4. What would you do to reduce the burden on property taxpayers?
5. How would you improve the quality of education in the Commonwealth?
6. What is your position on tort reform?
7. What is your position on gun rights or gun control?
8. Many communities in the 20th have cut back or eliminated their police forces, further burdening the state police. How do you make sure the people of the 20th have adequate police protection?
9. Do you favor legislation allowing civil unions for homosexual couples?
10. Pike and Wayne County are the two fatest growing counties in Pennsylvania. How would you protect the environment and still allow residential and commercial improvements?
11. What is your position on the state of eminent domain law in Pennsylvania in light of Kelo v. New London.?The Kelo decision (All 58 pages) can be seen at this link. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/23jun20051201/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-108.pdf
12. What are you thoughts on last year's legislative pay raise?
13. Who's your favorite blogger?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Wake Up and Smell the Constitution
Well Respected 1st Amendment Lawyer Responds to the Gutless Editorials
Over the last few days, the 20thsenatorial staff has been in contact with Attorney Lawrence Otter. Attorney Otter has successfully challeneged prohibtive speech ordinances throughout the State of Pennsylvania.He has never lost a legal challenge in some 50 plus cases. Here is his response to the Times Leader and Citizens Voice editorials regarding the State Police's action in taking down political signs in public rights of way.
What part of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution* and Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution** do the Editorial writers of the local newspaper NOT UNDERSTAND.
Political signs are as old as the republic.
The Times Leader correctly opined that:
“CAMPAIGN SIGNS SPROUT each spring in these parts almost as reliably as the daffodils.”
What is not acceptable is their removal by the state police.
(If they were a safety hazard I would be forced to agree about removal of a traffic hazard)
But what it sounds like to me is a typical “yard sign” posted in the right of way near a state highway.
THIS IS PROTECTED POLITICAL SPEECH
A FUNDAMENTAL AMERICAN VALUE AND RIGHT!!!!!!!!
The First Amendment “has it fullest and most urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office.” Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Cent. Comm., 489 U.S. 214, 223 (1989). Freedom of speech is just as important in primary elections as it is in general elections. “Speech concerning public affairs is more than self -expression, it is the essence of self government." Garrison v. Louisiana , 379 U.S. 64, 74-75 (1964). “The maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people and that changes may be obtained by lawful means, an opportunity essential to the security of the Republic, is a fundamental principle of our constitutional system.” Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, 369 (1981).
The newspaper writers need to go back for a refresher course in high school civics.
Maybe this needs to be tested in Court?
Lawrence M. Otter
Attorney at Law
[formerly from Hazleton, Luzerne county]
P.S. IN CASE YOU FORGOT:
*UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT -
Freedom of Press and Speech; Libels
Section 7. The printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever by made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty….
You Wanna Be A Star
20thsenatorial looking for A Few Good Men (Actually one, and it doesn't have to be a man)
Have you ever wanted to be a named plaintiff in a famous law suit? Is Ernesto Miranda one of your heroes? Do you have the courage to stand up for what is right? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, we have a job for you. There is no pay or fringe benefits, but you will be famous (at least among those who value free speech as much as they value the air they breathe.)
We need a warm body to challenge the Pennsylvania sign law. The State Police say it's legal, the constitution says its not. Lawyers are standing by to represent you. We need someone to stand up and be counted. It doesn't matter who you support in this election. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polls Out by the End of the Week
We're Gonna Make You Wait
20thsenatorial has become privy to two separate preference polls for the Republican side. On the Democratic side, we have determined that Bob McNamara is the prohibitive favorite, and like in 1948, they have stopped polling on the Democratic side. Buzz the Intern is sifting through the results of the first poll as we speak, and we expect the second poll results to be in our hands by the end of the week. Once we receive the second poll results, we will publish both poll results together.
*W Mark Felt did not supply nor verify any information in this post.
Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Amendment
State House to Vote Soon on Gay Marriage Amendment, Senate Bill is in Committee
There is a bill pending before the State House (HB 2381) and State Senate (SB 1084) which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution as follows:
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth, and neither the Commonwealth nor any of its political subdivisions shall
create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.
The Pennsylvania Constitution outlines the procedure for amendments in Article XI:
Proposal of Amendments by the General Assembly and Their Adoption
Section 1. Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate or House of Representatives; and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be entered on their journals with the yeas and nays taken thereon, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall cause the same to be published three months before the next general election, in at least two newspapers in every county in which such newspapers shall be published; and if, in the General Assembly next afterwards chosen, such proposed amendment or amendments shall be agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each House, the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall cause the same
again to be published in the manner aforesaid; and such proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted to the qualified electors of the State in such manner, and at such time at least three months after being so agreed to by the two Houses, as the General Assembly shall prescribe; and, if such amendment or amendments shall be approved by a majority of those voting thereon, such amendment or amendments shall become a part of the Constitution; but no amendment or amendments shall be submitted oftener than once in five years.
We have asked the candidates for their positions.
Monday, April 17, 2006
You Can't Hand Those Things Out Here
Two Hundred plus years ago, a rabble rouser named Thomas Paine put out a pamphlet called "Common Sense." It outlined the grievances the colonists had with King George III and espoused the call for revolution. During a three month period in 1776, his pamphlet sold more than 120,000 copies. He sold his pamphlet on the public streets and the public rights of way.
In 2006, when we try to express our views in the public right of way in Pennsylvania, the State Police threaten us with citations. There are many rights we take for granted in this country, and unfortunately, the right to free speech is one of them. When the State Police took down the signs of the 20th Senatorial District candidates and threatened to write citations, why weren't we all outraged? Why did local newspapers just assume the State Police were within their rights?
Let the word go forth from this time and blog, the public right of way is public. We encourage all good Americans to post political signs in the rights of way of our highways and byways. Be Thomas Paine for a day. Whether it's for your favorite politician or expressing your disgust with PennDOT or the State Police, put up your signs. Put up your signs. Put up your signs. Make us proud.
We will be posting the legal opinion of a well known expert in Pennsylvania Election law either later today or tomorrow.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
IT WAS a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Welcome to 1984
Why is it so hard for the local media to understand that our rights are being trampled by "the man." In the past two days, two major area newspapers either didn't care or were too lazy to take the time to do the research. I guess it's easier to pick up the phone and call some pencil-pushing troglodyte at PennDOT and get her opinion than it is to read the law yourself. See Another Gutless Editorial. If they had, they would realize that "the man" can't rip down political signs on public highway rights of way. After our meeting with legal counsel, (MAYBE THE NEWSPAPERS COULD TRY THIS SOME TIME) one thing became abundantly clear. "The man" can't take down political signs in the public rights of way regardless of what their "law" says.
Political signs may not be pretty and some are left to litter our highways and byways months after the election is over, but political speech is often not pretty. We have a 1st Amendment right for free speech for a reason. It is the basis of a free society. And, just because the speech isn't pretty or isn't what we agree with, we still have that right. The Courts understand this, so why don't the newspapers who rely on the very same rights?
Since the newspapers won't do their job, we will do it for them. So while they're enjoying their Easter dinner, we'll be reading Rappa v. State of Delaware, the case where the 3rd Circuit Federal Court ruled that the Department of Transportation couldn't rip down signs on public rights of way, because to do so VIOLATED THE 1ST AMENDMENT. A blog will follow.
So Times Leader and Citizens Voice, are you afraid you may offend some readers if you stick up for free speech rights that aren't popular?
The 20thsenatorial staff would like to extend our wishes to all of our readers for a Happy Easter with your families, that is if the State Police don't find a repealed 1862 law which outlaws Easter Egg Hunts in a time of war.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
1st Amendment Update
Citizens Voice Just Don't Get It
The attack on basic fundamental rights continues and the best the Citizens Voice can do is write an editorial entitled: "Political signs will be missed." See Gutless Editorial. How about "Basic fundamental rights will be missed if nobody has the courage to stand up to the bullies in the Pennsylvania State Police."
20thsenatorial is meeting with an attorney this morning to discuss this blatant attack on our rights to place signs in public areas. We will be doing a feature story on this tomorrow, hopefully.
* Before we get a boat-load of comments on the incorrect grammar in the sub-headline, we meant to put "don't."
Times Leader Endorsement Update
Times Leader continues to meet with candidates for endorsement.
The Times Leader editorial Board is continuing to meet with the Republican candidates for the 20th Senatorial District. The editorial board, pictured to the left, is asking the tough questions of the candidates. We are not privy to the questions, but the Times Leader allegedly posts audio clips. We can't find them on the site, and we don't think the Leader will post the entire interview. So with that in mind, we will post the Top Ten Questions asked by the Times Leader editorial Board.
Top Ten Questions Asked by the Times Leader Editorial Board:
10. Will we be able to collect unemployment benefits after Knight-Ridder sells us and a new company shuts us down?
9. Will you sign our anti-nepotism pledge where you won't get jobs for unqualified relatives and instead follow our policy here at the Times Leader, where we just hire the unqualified?
8. Are you in favor of taxing all foreigners living abroad?
7. Do you think because Lisa Baker is the only chick in the race that she'll get the women's vote?
6. Do you realize that these interviews are just a sham, and that we are going to endorse whatever candidate we want regardless of your answers?
5. Where exactly is the 20th Senatorial District?
4. Isn't Haggerty an idiot for not listening to us on this police blotter thing?
3. Aren't we the smartest bunch of people you've seen in a room in a long time?
2. Who is Charlie Lemmond, and where have we heard that name before?
1. Who the hell is Norton the Blogger and where does he live?
*W Mark Felt did verify some of the information in this post.