Thursday, November 21, 2013

Does Cartwright Stand with Clinton or Obama?

Democrat and Former President Bill Clinton joined the growing chorus of Americans, Republican and Democrat alike, calling for President Obama to keep his promise and ensure Americans can keep their current insurance plans.

President Obama famously said “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Based on Democrat Cartwright's continued action to protect Obamacare and his recent vote against honoring President Obama's promise, it is clear that Cartwright stands with Obama, not Clinton.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is Union Violence OK?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Initiative recently released a study: "Sabotage, Stalking and Stealth Exemptions: Special State Laws for Labor Unions."  The study found that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the states that protect violence or threats of violence from unions.

Take stalking for example.  Every state in the U.S. has laws against stalking.  Pennsylvania defines stalking as  engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another under circumstances that demonstrate intent to cause substantial emotion distress to the person.  The law goes on to specifically exempt from the definition of stalking any conduct by a party to a labor dispute.

Many other labor loopholes also exist under trespassing, harassment, and other threats of violence violations.  House Bill 1154 seeks to close the labor loopholes.  Only Republican Representative Garth Everett has signed on as a sponsor from the Northeastern delegation.

Harassment, stalking, and threats of violence should be illegal for all Pennsylvanians, including union members.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Transportation Bill Fails in PA House

The Pennsylvania $2.3 billion transportation bill fell apart yesterday.  Had it been approved, the bill would have spent $1.65 billion per year repairing our roads and bridges, $497 million for mass transit funding and $144 million for “multi-modal” transportation over five years.  To pay for it, the bill relied largely on increasing the fees on traffic citations, increasing driver's license fees, increasing vehicle registration costs, and lifting the cap on Pennsylvania's gas tax.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Boback, Heffley, Pickett, Toohil and Democratic Reps. Farina, Flynn, Haggerty, Kavulich, Mullery, Mundy, Pashinski voted against the bill.

Pennsylvania has over 25,000 state-owned bridges, the third highest number of bridges in the United States.  But, because our bridges are, on average, over 50 years old, we also lead the nation in structurally deficient bridges.  According to the most recent data, 1,521,632 children are bused to school every day, traveling Pennsylvania's decrepit roads and deficient bridges.

It isn't enough for the State Reps captioned above to simply say no to fixing Pennsylvania's roads and bridges.  If they cannot support the current bill, fine.  Propose your own.  Take responsibility for the assets put in your care or let someone else do the job you refuse to do.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Controller Bednar

It's somewhat expected for local politicians to lend their support or their endorsement to local candidates.  It is less common to see statewide office holders weigh in on a county election.  Nonetheless, Pennsylvania Democrat and current Auditor General Eugene DePasquale endorsed Democrat Michelle Bednar for Luzerne County Controller.

During the interview she was asked, in the context of concerns about the new form of government and a major tax increase on the horizon, what she wants taxpayers to know now that she will be taking over the position of county controller.  The best rendering of her response:
I would like to a, just to make sure a, just to make sure to say that I will be there for everyone and um, I will like tackle the job as to be there.
She was then asked about how she will work with the county manager and county council.  Again, the best rendering of her response:
I will be there to work, right, side by side with them, I am like, you know I will be there to, make efficient, umm job security, and umm, to, to be sure that I will work with them, like whatever, whatever should come up to, that to tackle a job, I will be there.
The crowd cheered at the conclusion of the interview.

As Auditor General, Mr. DePasquale understands how important the job of County Controller is.  His candidate, Michelle Bednar, won.  If she doesn't work out, if she doesn't tackle the job as to be there or make efficient job security, the good people of Luzerne County should remember that when his re-elect comes around in 2016.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

OMG Bill Courtright is going to be Mayor!

“When I was driving home, I said, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be mayor.”
Scranton Democratic Mayor-elect Bill Courtright
The Scranton Times-Tribune, 11/7/2013

At least a few thousand people in the City of Scranton were likely thinking the same thing when they learned that Bill Courtright was going to be their next mayor.

Two other points jump out from the interview:

Now that he has been elected, Mr. Courtright is going to meet with PEL.  PEL is Scranton’s recovery coordinator.  The larger point is that Mr. Courtright seems to suggest that he has not met with them yet.

Whenever a new leader is elected for a governmental body, there is typically a transition period.  The new administration typically selects experienced, educated individuals who can help evaluate the current landscape and make recommendations.

Mr. Courtright announced that Scranton will have a transition team.  And, in the spirit of nepotism that has plagued Northeastern Pennsylvania, Mr. Courtright’s brother will serve on it along with two other people that the mayor-elect wouldn’t name publicly.

Scranton, you have an enterprise with a few hundred employees and a budget that comes in around $100 million a year and you just selected a man best known for breaking bricks with his head to run it.

Does it surprise you that brick-head-elect also believes it is perfectly acceptable to make his first official act – naming his transition team – opaque in that he hasn’t disclosed all the names of the individuals that will serve and nepotistic in that the only named individual will be his brother?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Saga of Abound Solar Continues

Abound Solar...remember them?

They were one of President Obama's taxpayer-funded "green" energy companies that had some pretty serious ties to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Not only did this "green" company go bankrupt, but they also stand accused of leaving a mess of pollution in their wake that is going to take millions to clean up.

As more and more of President Obama's "green energy" investments fail, perhaps he will finally get to lay claim to creating a few "shovel ready jobs" least on the cleanup efforts.

Adding insult to environmental injury, equipment that could have been sold to pay for some of the cleanup or to repay the taxpayers for this boondoggle has gone missing.  Maybe when they find the missing equipment, they will also find a spare high-pressure pump laying around.