Tuesday, November 22, 2005

66: “A Trip to the Woodshed…and Hope!”

It’s time for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania to be taken to the woodshed. No offense intended to anyone but the Republicans, but they are in dire need of a good, old-fashioned butt whooping. I’d include the Democrats in this but for two reasons: first, they are the MINORITY party, and as such are NOT supposed to be in control of things in Harrisburg, and second, like their dishonest national leadership, they simply have no moral compass any more – they never met a lie they couldn’t tell. Hope still remains for the Republicans, albeit a mighty slim hope.

Now, up front, let it be said, there is slender evidence the Republicans are worthy of any redemption. Let us spell out their failures:

  • They have surrendered control of both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Democratic political machines, despite having clear majorities in both houses. Do not listen when they claim they have to deal with the Dems in order to get things done. There are, indeed, plenty of moderate Democrats to deal with.

  • They have allowed the Democrats to buy their honesty. Deals carved out of Act 71 (the infamous, unethical, and illegal gaming control act) allowed the Republicans a piece of the very lucrative pie that gaming will provide to a select few in Pennsylvania. No one will get rich off gaming in Pennsylvania except the investors who front some money toward building a casino somewhere, and the lobbyists and the politicians, who not only voted the legislation in while allowing themselves to own portions of casinos, but also are the ones who place individuals on the Gaming Control Board!

  • Once compromised, the Republicans followed with blind complicity while a pay raise was passed in an attempted midnight run past the taxpayers and voters before anyone noticed.

  • To their utter and eternal shame, it took FOUR MONTHS, and proof at the polls that the voters were more than fed up with their antics, to get them to partially repeal the pay raise. Partially. They failed to pass a repeal of the money already seized illegally by the judges and their fellow legislators.

In the midst of this stinking morass there emerges a pair of potential knights-in-shining-armor. A man who has shown integrity and common sense, and even a concern for history, Representative Paul Clymer (R-145th State Legislative District – Bucks County) voted against the pay raise in July, but did vote to pass the budget. [note: not passing the budget has the potential to create immediate harm to the tens of thousands of hard working state employees, while getting a portion of the budget repealed can be fairly easily accomplished, as we have seen, though it could be done much more efficiently!]. In the past, this man has supported many good causes, especially in the Gettysburg area where he has actively aided in the preservation of the monuments on the Battlefield, along with another Representative with integrity, Harry Readshaw (D-36th State Legislative District – Allegheny County). Readshaw also voted for the budget in July, but against the pay raise.

Both of these men have repeatedly resisted the Darth Vaders of legislative leadership, and not without some cost. It is amazing how the party caucuses punish their wayward members. For example, legislators who voted against the pay raise were stripped of any positions of leadership, such as committee chairs, which carry extra pay for the responsibility, and other legislators who voted for the pay raise were installed in their place. Other times, a member’s staff may be reduced, or even, the pettiness of making printing and copying of documents difficult. It is a process that really must stop. It is symptomatic of what is wrong in Harrisburg, power is held tightly in the fists of a privileged few, and they severely punish those who defy them.

In other words, no one is allowed to think for themselves, or even worse, to represent directly the wishes and needs of their constituents. Only the Darth Vaders can think, plan, and make deals.

Folks, we need another floor revolt. Leadership in the General Assembly has to be dumped. Perzel must go. So must Smith, Argall, and Feese, and their counterparts across the aisle, DeWeese, Veon, and Evans. In the Senate, it is Jubelirer, Brightbill, Mellow, Piccola, O’Pake, Thompson, and Fumo. This is the leadership that brought us to where we are today, with an illegal, and dangerous gaming bill, a secretive pay raise and its half-arsed attempt at an appeal, a property tax relief plan that has the Governor threatening to force the gambling money onto the school districts of the state, and a legislative leadership and Governor who are totally disconnected from the people. It has been far too long since Ed Rendell last strolled the aisles of Reading Terminal Market in Philly, eating the pierogis, and cheese steaks there, and schmoozing with the standholders and customers. He has sold his soul, and the souls of legislative leadership to the gambling industry.

Your soul was part of the package.

Paul Clymer is on the verge of introducing legislation to repeal Act 71 of 2004. That news warms the very cockles of this blogger’s heart. Clymer has a tough row to hoe, but it can be done, especially in the atmosphere of voter anger as exists today. He will have to get support in the Senate, and to garner enough votes to overcome the veto that Rendell will most assuredly apply. GettysBLOG is solidly behind this effort, as GettysBLOG asked the local representative, Steve Maitland (R-91st State Legislative District – Adams County) to sponsor the repeal of Act 71 some five months ago, and little interest was shown in doing so. To his credit, he has introduced a bill to the house that would require casinos to be at least 15 miles from an historic area, such as Gettysburg National Military Park. Of course, 15 miles moves the casino project to York Springs. Heaven help us.

Ed Rendell will be very angry at this effort. The stakes are phenomenal. We are not talking millions of dollars, we are talking billions. Rendell is in the pocket of the gaming industry, from which he has been extracting campaign contributions for national and local Democrats for several years, including his own campaign. Despite warnings from ethics watchdogs, he persists in the practice, even today.

GettysBLOG strongly supports the efforts of Representatives Clymer and Maitland, and hopes that you will contact your state representative and your state senator to urge them to seek redemption for past wrongs by repealing Act 71 of 2004, in its entirety. (It will make moot the failed Act 72 of 2004, if Act 71 is repealed. Not a bad thing. We need property tax relief, but not at the cost of putting the lives of Pennsylvania’s citizens, and visitors at risk.)

To contact your State Representative and State Senator, click on the following links and find your Representative on the alphabetical list. Click on his or her name. Contact information will be on the individual’s page:

House Membership List

Senate Membership List

Tell your legislators in no uncertain terms, to get on the bandwagon and support, through a veto over-ride, Representative Clymer’s repeal of Act 71 of 2004.

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!"--GettysBLOG


“Legislation without representation is tyranny.”

“Arrogance is a fool’s disease!”

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