Tuesday, April 18, 2006

130: “The Tip of the Iceberg”


It is only the tip of the iceberg. Campaign contributions. It’s all you are allowed to see.

Just how good friends are David LeVan and Ed Rendell? How about $41,000? That’s how much LeVan and his wife paid to “Fast Eddie’s” campaign over the past two years. Don’t take my word for it, go look it up yourself at the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website. [Click here for
Contribution Search.]

That kind of money is not donated to a candidate just because one wants to see that candidate win. That kind of money buys influence. A lot of influence. And if you are already an old friend, well then, you haven’t just bought influence, you’ve bought yourself the best that candidate can provide.

In this case, “Fast Eddie” got himself elected Governor, and got his gambling bill passed by the General Assembly (although they had to do an end run around the Constitution to pass it). In that gambling bill “Fast Eddie”, as Governor, gets to place a man on the Gambling Control Board, the group that decides who gets a license and where they can put their casino.

That’s more than “influence”, that’s a direct connection. You can also understand that when “Fast Eddie” declared the Gettysburg casino a bad idea, he also put in the same breath that he didn’t make the decision, the Board does. People didn’t pay much attention to that. But consider this: all the Board members are political appointees – by the governor, and by the leadership of both houses of the General Assembly. Take a look at the list published by WGAL Channel 8 yesterday, that lists some of the major investors of proposed casino licensees and where their money went. [Click here for the
Campaign Donations List of Casino Hopefuls.]

Now, please, understand, in Pennsylvania, these are the only contributions that the law requires be made public…political campaign contributions.

So ask yourself this question: If this is only what the law requires to be declared and made a matter of public record, how much other money is going in the same directions that is not a campaign contribution, but perhaps a ‘gift’, or a ‘payment in kind’? Perhaps something else. That’s the part of the iceberg you are not permitted to see.

Not only are the odds stacked against you in the casinos, the odds are obviously stacked against you in State and local politics.

Right now, the biggest influence on state and local government throughout Pennsylvania is from the gambling industry. No, not the lottery. Not the punch-boards at your local social club. Not the bingo games at the fire hall, and not the office football pool. Gambling, as in casinos.

[For the record, we refuse to use the word ‘gaming’. Purely and simply it is gambling, and nothing else. So we refer to Act 71 as the Gambling Bill. We call the Board it created the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Commission (although they do not control the gambling, they control only who can make money from it.) So rather than the innocuous euphemism the politicians use, we call it like it is. And in gambling the house always wins, and you lose.]

It would be nice to say that the suspected $1 billion from the gambling industry that is being sunk into Pennsylvania is improving our infrastructure, lowering our taxes, enhancing our educational systems, or caring for our aging population. Not one cent is going to that. It is all going to campaign spending, and to line the pockets of rich investors and powerful politicians. That, quite simply, is called ‘graft’.

We have said here more than once that a developer will build and run. Indeed, Bob “Somebody has to build it so it might as well be me” Monahan has already done so. Here is the man who has the effrontery to put the Great Seal of the United States on his monstrosity called “Gateway Gettysburg” (what an absolutely ugly layout, full of ugly buildings!). Here is the man who got his project, and now has moved his family to the Washington, D.C. area. Monahan couldn’t even wait until it was finished. He got out of town quick. He is certainly not as popular here as he once thought he was.

Monahan also owns the property where the Gettysburg Casino is supposed to be built. It now sports a sign as the “Future Home of the Crossroads Casino, Spa, and Resort. Effrontery. The investors do NOT own that property yet. That won’t go through until the license is granted.

Thanks, heaps Monahan. You’ve certainly done Gettysburg proud. No wonder you ran out of town like a scalded cat! Yeah, you made a movie because you had a vision one night on Little Round Top. But you had to premier it in D.C. first, where the fat cats are located. And here in Gettysburg, a premiere of a movie about Gettysburg? Who are you trying to fool, Monahan? Your vision was of neon, not of gun flashes.

Bob Monahan got off cheap. He only needed to contribute $10,000 to Terry Punt over the past two years. Terry Punt doesn’t live in Gettysburg, so he could care less what happens here.

Get it yet? These folks buy favorable legislation from the leadership in the General Assembly, and the governor. In fact, the Gambling Act, Act 71 of 2004, was passed in the same unconstitutional manner as the Midnight Pay Raise was passed last year. Your legislators and other politicians, including your County Commissioners, Township supervisors, and Township zoning boards are for sale. And they will not allow anything as archaic as a State Constitution to keep them from delivering their enabling legislation that will make tons of money for their campaign contributors, and themselves, no matter what the public wants, no matter what the public good is on the issue. They don’t care. Money talks.

Disgusted? Don’t move to another state – it will soon be just as bad there, if not already so. Don’t withdraw and vow never to vote again! That is unconditional surrender to these cretins holding elected office at all levels in Pennsylvania. It is said we are a nation of laws, so beat them at their own game: vote them all out of office!

It requires a commitment to vote in both elections this year. It requires campaign donations of your own to selected candidates (go to
Operation Clean Sweep for a list of true patriots who have volunteered to run against these “pigs” now holding office.) It requires that when you go behind the curtain in the voting booth, you do not cast a vote for a straight party ticket. Go in that booth with the foreknowledge of who the incumbents are and choose someone else. If no one else is running against them, write someone’s name in. Be prepared!

And of course, before you vote, GettysBLOG!

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