Tuesday, June 28, 2005

26: “News of Note”

The Governor of our esteemed Commonwealth, one Edward “Fast Eddie” Rendell, has taken it upon himself to begin a drive to restore the section of the Pennsylvania Gaming Law (Act 71) struck down by the Commonwealth Supreme Court on July 22. The section allowed the Gaming Control Board to locate a casino anywhere in the Commonwealth it wanted, regardless of local zoning laws. Sadly, Act 71 contains no language allowing input by the local population on the decision where to allow the casino. Passage of this bill was, of course, representative government at its worst.

What “Fast Eddie” is going to run into is a drive to repeal said legislation, and give it the funeral it deserves. It will be a double funeral, as with it’s death, it’s companion bill, Act 72, will die also, totally bereft of its sole financial support. And good riddance, too. No one beyond homeowners really likes Act 72, and Act 71 is perhaps the worst piece of legislation ever written, in terms of infringing on the rights of the local populace, and the major ethical lapse that designated casino-owning legislators as the people responsible for appointing members to the Gaming Control Board.

Bad is bad, and these two pieces of legislative “we tell the people what they need” hubris deserve their own landfill. GettysBLOG has previously called not only for the repeal of these two acts, but a recall effort the likes of which has never been seen before. If you live in Pennsylvania, contact your state assembly representative, and state senator, and tell them you want these two bills repealed, AND that you are starting a recall petition on them to make sure they do act to repeal the bills. This prevents the representative from saying things like, “I’ll look into it.” Keeping the heat on by running a recall petition holds their feet to the fire, and boy, do they ever deserve it! After all, they wrote, sponsored, and passed these two pieces of governmental arrogance and they did so in a very cooperative bi-partisan effort.

This is not an issue of political parties, it is a grass roots political movement. Let’s look at the benefits. For Gettysburg, it means no casino. It means, in all likelihood, there will never be a casino in Adams County. For the 501 school districts throughout the state it means maintaining the status quo. [Note: For the record, many school districts opted to reject Act 72 funding and then promptly raised their tax rates! But that’s another essay for another day.] For homeowners, it means the bad news of no tax relief in sight, but the existing Act 72 law was incredibly unfair in its application. A better form of tax relief for homeowners is long overdue, and not some contrived, and stupidly (yes, stupidly!) cobbled piece of verbiage that existed solely to give legitimacy to Act 71. Details on the effort to repeal Act 71 will be forthcoming in a few weeks. In the meantime, please keep up the pressure on our local and state politicians.

And now to other business. It seems that Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court David Souter is about to become victimized by a stroke of his own pen. Last Wednesday, Souter and four other Associate Justices (Breyer, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Stevens) issued a decision expanding the government’s right to declare eminent domain and then turn the property over to a private developer (did someone just say, “That’s judicial corporate welfare!”?). But news just in from reliable sources report there is a move afoot to request Justice Souter’s New Hampshire home in the city of Weare so that a hotel can be built on it. Pardon me while I snicker and say, “there is justice!” Read all about it at
Free Star Media.

And finally, it is our sad duty to report the passing of a true giant in the field of American Civil War history. Shelby Foote, who’s segments in the Ken Burns PBS miniseries The Civil War convinced me that what he was telling us was legit because he was there, passed away last night at the age of 88. Foote was a longtime resident of Memphis, Tennessee, who favored writing by hand with a dipped pen as it slowed him down and paced his writing. His six novels were eclipsed by his epic three volume set of narrative history of the Civil War, which took him 20 years to write. He leaves a wife of 49 years, Mrs. Gwyn Foote.

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