Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tony Phyrillas: Hold legislators accountable for PHEAA mess

Pennsylvania's student-loan agency has been run into the ground by overpaid executives who wasted millions of dollars and politicians who were supposed to oversee the operation.

Who pays the price? Pennsylvania students and their families.

Read
"State's college students paying price for PHEAA's free-wheeling spending" in today's online edition of The Mercury for more background.

The agency is supervised by a 20-member board of directors consisting of members of the Pennsylvania Legislature and Gov. Rendell's appointees.

Below is a list of lawmakers who have served on the PHEAA board (some for decades) and were asleep at the wheel while the agency's finances were drained by executives.

Hint: Most of the people below will be on the ballot in November.

The following of lawmakers who served on the PHEAA board at the time of the spending scandals: Rep. William F. Adolph Jr.; Sen. Sean Logan; Rep. Ronald Buxton; Sen. Jake Corman; Rep. Craig Dally; Sen. Jane M. Earll; Sen. Vincent J. Fumo; Sen. Vincent J. Hughes; Rep. Sandra J. Major; Rep. Jennifer L. Mann; Rep. Joseph F. Markosek; Sen. Michael A. O'Pake *; Sen. James J. Rhoades **; Rep. James R. Roebuck Jr.; Rep. Jess M. Stairs; Sen. Robert M. Tomlinson.

* O'Pake, who served on the PHEAA board for 20 years, was recently replaced by Sen. Andrew Dinniman. ** Rhoades, another longtime board member, was replaced by Sen. Edwin B. Erickson.

Tony Phyrillas

Tony Phyrillas is a columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa. He received a first place award for Best Opinion Column in 2007 by Suburban Newspapers of America. He was also honored for column writing in 2006 by the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Elect Jim Taylor in Adams County Republican Primary

The biggest race in many years is upon us, and we do not refer to the Presidential Race.

We are voting on Tuesday for the future of Adams County. So, to work!

We are not endorsing Cathy Cresswell. Cresswell has a history here as director of the Adams County Economic Development Corporation. Cresswell liked to work in secret, hiding her efforts from the public. She is responsible for the plans to build a Walmart distribution center at the first exit north of town beside US 15. She is responsible for the plan to build a Walmart superstore on the ground that eventually became the focus of the casino effort. Oh, and yes, she had much to do with that effort, too. In secret. Fortunately, all three projects were defeated.

Cresswell is a lobbyist now, in Harrisburg. We look down on very few people but lobbyists are one class of people beneath contempt. She is supposedly on leave from her firm, but she has NOT said that it is UNPAID leave. Her husband also has an influential position with connections. We frown on oligarchic candidates.

Her campaign is well funded, and we are suspicious that the negative ads against both Alloway and Taylor came from her warchest. Much of her money is coming from those who back heavy, massive development.

Rich Alloway might be a good candidate but for several things. First, he received the blessing of the soon to be departed Terry Punt, a man who voted for the infamous pay raise a few years back. We took a dim view of Steve Maitland doing the same thing, and the difference is that Maitland to this day still refuses to return the money. Punt did return the money. Alloway also has connections to developers. And the tapping of his own replacement by Punt smacks of stuff we see in monarchies, and in the new Russia. It smells in both places, and it smells here.

And so we endorse Jim Taylor, Vietnam Veteran, and unabashed conservative Republican. Taylor makes no bones about his conservative connections to a Washington based PAC [something Cresswell felt was worthy of a negative ad!], nor does he hide his intent to work toward fixing the illegal alien mess we are in.

More appropriately, Jim Taylor vows not to accept a pension, nor a pay raise, nor any of the perks that are part of the political environment in Harrisburg. He will work to eliminate wasteful spending. We think that a great place to start would be in the House and Senate, which would be an excellent springboard to reducing taxes, another of Jim Taylor's promised targets.

We managed to get a good start on fixing the legislature when we elected Dan Moul, who has done an outstanding job since he was sworn in as the Representative from the Adams County area. We believe Jim Taylor would be a good match to work with Moul. The reformation of the Pennsylvania State Assembly is an end devoutly to be wished, and Jim Taylor is another step in the right direction.

Very few candidates come along with credentials and platforms as good as Jim Taylor's. It is a refreshing change, and we are overjoyed at the prospect of sending a solid conservative to Harrisburg.

Vote for Jim Taylor on Tuesday, and again in November!

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