Monday, June 30, 2008

Battle Anniversary: "Fight like the Devil!" - June 30

June 30, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Pettigrew
The sight that greeted Sarah Broadhead as she looked out her window on the west side of Gettysburg on the morning of June 30th, 1863 caused her to draw a sharp breath. There had been rumors, but the view of the Seminary and the ridge on which it stands was complicated by a large group of men, and the Confederate flags they were carrying. She would later write, “We had a good view of them from our house, and every moment we expected to hear the booming of cannon, and thought they might shell the town. As it turned out they were only reconnoitering.” She was looking at three North Carolina Infantry Regiments, some 1,800 men constituting most of a brigade under the command of Brigadier General James Johnston Pettigrew. Pettigrew, the highly educated and well lettered graduate of the University of North Carolina was the pride of his state.

Ordered forward on a supply gathering expedition, Pettigrew and his staff were anxiously searching the town and its environs for signs of Union troops. Numerous civilians questioned as to the presence of Union troops in the area gave a variety of answers, most of them based on rumors, but one thing became evident: there were many Union troops close by. It did not take long for their field glasses and telescopes to find the body of blue moving towards town from the south on the Emmitsburg Road. Mistaking a column of cavalry for infantry, Pettigrew turned his column around, 3 regiments of infantry, an artillery battery, and 27 empty wagons that were to have hauled the shoes, hats, and food back to their divisional camp near Cashtown on South Mountain. Instead, they returned almost empty-handed.

On his return to Cashtown, Pettigrew reported to his superior, Henry J. Heth, that there were large bodies of troops in and around Gettysburg and more were arriving all the time. Heth took Pettigrew to see their Corps Commander, General Ambrose Powell Hill. Neither Hill, nor Heth believed the report. Both graduates of the United States Military Academy, they had a disdain for the civilian soldier’s abilities, and Pettigrew was just that. Even though he was a battle-tested, wounded veteran of many engagements who had fought his regiments well, he was, and always would be, a civilian soldier, and not “one of them”, an Academy graduate. Hill and Heth graduated from West Point in the same class, 1847. Hill was 15th in his class of 38, and Heth was dead last. It did not matter. Heth was the nephew of General Robert E. Lee.

[Heth’s Division was not the advanced element of the Army of Northern Virginia, as that honor belonged to Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps, which passed through Gettysburg a week earlier on its way to York, and then north to Harrisburg. But Hill’s Third Corps was the lead of the main body of Lee’s army, which included Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s First Corps, still situated in the Cumberland Valley west of Hill’s advanced position at Cashtown.]

In a similar predicament to Pettigrew’s were his fellow brigade commanders in Heth’s Division. Brigadier General James J. Archer was a Mexican War veteran who joined the US Army before the war, and now commanded a brigade of Tennessee and Alabama troops. As such, he was a notch above Pettigrew professionally, as was Colonel John M. Brockenbrough, who was a graduate of Virginia Military Institute. Not so the fourth brigade commander under Heth, Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis, the nephew of Confederate General Jefferson Davis, and a pre-war politician in Mississippi.

[It was the same in the Union Army. Political and civilian officers were awarded commissions early in the war usually for raising a regiment, or at least a company. Major political figures such as Benjamin Butler, a Massachusetts Democrat, and his political and law student, Daniel Sickles, commander of the Third Corps, Army of the Potomac, and a key figure in the Battle of Gettysburg were exceptions to the rule. For the most part, the war was taken over by 1863 by the West Point graduates, and the civilian and political generals were relegated to side areas, or out of the army altogether. The West Point officers on both sides generally were much better all around officers, and had made the learning transition on maneuver and logistics concerning large armies, as the prewar US Army in which they served had, at most, 20,000 men…the size of a large sized Civil War corps.]

Pettigrew’s report was disbelieved. When forwarded to Lee, the report was also disbelieved based on the intelligence information Lee had at the time. Even so, the cautious Lee ordered Hill to advance on Gettysburg the next day and “feel” for the enemy. He was ordered not to bring on a general engagement. Hill ordered Heth to undertake the task and passed on Lee’s admonition to avoid spurring a large fight.

Buford
John Buford, Brigadier General, West Point ’48, commanding officer of the First Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, led his men up the Emmitsburg Road from Maryland into Pennsylvania and a few miles later, Gettysburg in the late morning of June 30. It was Buford’s command that Pettigrew had spotted from a long distance and mistaken them for infantry. At the time, the long column of blue-uniformed troopers may have been dismounted and marching by leading their horses, something cavalry did on the march to give both riders and horses a break while continuing to move.

Buford rode at the head of two of his three brigades. First Brigade, under Colonel William Gamble, comprised of the 8th and 12th Illinois Cavalry, and the 3rd Indiana, and 8th New York, was with him, as was the Second Brigade, under the feisty Colonel Thomas Devin. Devin commanded the 6th and 9th New York Cavalry, the 3rd West Virginia, and the 17th Pennsylvania. Buford’s Reserve Brigade, under newly promoted Brigadier General Wesley Merritt was left south of the area guarding the southwestern approaches to Gettysburg.

[Merritt, along with Elon J. Farnsworth, was promoted from Captain to Brigadier General (skipping Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel!) two days earlier in a last minute reorganization of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac by Major General Alfred Pleasonton, Corps Commander. Along with Merritt and Farnsworth, a young First Lieutenant was also springboarded to Brigadier General, and given command of the Michigan Brigade in Judson Kilpatrick’s Third Division of the Cavalry Corps. His name was George Armstrong Custer, last in his West Point class of 1861 in everything but equitation.]

Riding through Gettysburg just before noon Buford’s troopers were serenaded by the people of the town, particularly the young ladies and children. Showered with patriotic songs, some stopped to have flowers pinned on their dusty coats.

[These men were no longer the laughingstock of the Army. In the first two years of the war, the Union Cavalry had been ill used, poorly commanded, and severely abused when they came in contact with Major General James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart’s Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. In fact, an early war sentiment among the infantry was that “nobody ever saw a dead cavalryman.” But recently, with better commanders of the Army of the Potomac, and with a Corps Commander who excelled at the administrative side of running a cavalry unit, the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps distinguished themselves in battles along the gaps and passes leading into the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and at such places as Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville. Finally, a surprise attack launched by Army Commander Joseph Hooker on June 9th caught Stuart at a very vulnerable moment. Attacking across the Rappahannock River while Stuart was conducting a grand review for General Lee and assorted visiting dignitaries, Pleasonton’s forces, backed up by a corps of infantry interrupted the review and fought a series of pitched battles around a place called Brandy Station. Eventually Pleasonton grew timid and withdrew his forces back across the river, but not before serving notice that his cavalry had matured into an outstanding fighting unit capable of standing toe-to-toe with the vaunted Stuart. It was a lesson that was ignored by Stuart and Lee, and thus to be repeated throughout the Gettysburg Campaign.]

Buford moved his men through town ordering Devin to bivouac his brigade north of the college in the open fields above town, and Gamble to set up his brigade camp west of the Seminary on the Chambersburg Pike.

Buford’s long years of experience as an Indian fighter out west before the war had taught him to be an excellent judge of terrain. Indeed, he was the man who initially decided the opening strategy of the Battle of Gettysburg, and how it would eventually play out. He reasoned that if he could hold the Confederates off west of town long enough for the Infantry to arrive and occupy the high ground southeast of town, he would have accomplished his goal and given the Infantry a large advantage in high ground, well suited for defensive positions, from Culp’s Hill, north around the upper reach of Cemetery Hill, and then south along the west side of Cemetery Hill and down Cemetery Ridge. He would need help, however, and later that evening he sat down near the Lutheran Seminary and wrote a letter to Union First Corps Commander Major General John Fulton Reynolds, telling him just that.

Stuart
James Ewell Brown “JEB” Stuart, 13th of 46 in his West Point class of 1854, where he was first exposed to Robert E. Lee. Lee was superintendent of the Military Academy, and Stuart was one of his prize cadets. Later, in 1859, after a few years fighting Indians out west, and dealing with the unrest in ‘Bleeding Kansas’ Stuart acted as Colonel Robert E. Lee’s aide during the suppression of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

At the start of the Civil War, Stuart, a young Virginian with piercing dark eyes and a large beard, was commissioned a Captain of Virginia Cavalry. In little more than a year he was promoted to Major General commanding the Confederate Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Stuart’s early war exploits after taking command are legendary. He led his entire command unhindered on rides around the Army of the Potomac – twice! He was a skilled commander, and a trusted officer serving under his old mentor, Lee. At the Battle of Chancellorsville, he temporarily took command of Stonewall Jackson’s Second Corps after Jackson was wounded by friendly fire. He fought Jackson’s men with skill the next day. By the time of the Gettysburg Campaign his reputation as a dashing and daring commander was encased in the lore of the South. It was about to come undone.

Ordered by Lee to screen the movement of the Army of Northern Virginia north into Pennsylvania, Stuart proceeded to go on an extensive raid through Maryland, capturing several large wagon trains full of food and supplies belonging to the Army of the Potomac. These wagon trains seriously slowed his movements north and he lost touch with the Infantry he was supposed to be screening.

Late in June, he found his route north into Pennsylvania at Littlestown blocked by Union Cavalry (Kilpatrick), which forced him to move east to Hanover, in southern York County, just above the Mason Dixon Line.

Hanover
As Stuart was heading toward Hanover, intent on occupying the town, some of his units were skirmishing with Union Cavalry – elements of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, stationed on a line southwest of Hanover and northward, screening the town from any advance on it by Stuart. The 18th was struck by two regiments of Stuart’s cavalry in two separate places, sending them reeling back through Hanover. Stuart then entered the town along with his advanced units (Chambliss’ Brigade) and some of his Horse Artillery, which he quickly got into play by targeting the retreating 18th Pennsylvania.

As this was occurring, more Union Cavalry under newly promoted Brigadier General Elon J. Farnsworth appeared suddenly on a large farm at the south edge of Hanover, and Stuart moved to attack. Nearly surrounded, Stuart made his escape by riding his horse like a steeplechase, leaping the hedgerows that divided up the fields, and at one point leaping a 15 foot ditch. Regrouping in town, he awaited developments. Farnsworth moved his forces into town and forced Stuart to withdraw to the west and south.

Judson Kilpatrick heard the sounds of the fight and raced south to Hanover. Custer took up a position northwest of town, and in the late afternoon, began an advance on the Brigade of Fitzhugh Lee. Ordering 600 men from the 6th Michigan to dismount, Custer led them through the brush, part way on hands and knees, to get within three hundred yards of the Confederate line and its artillery that was shelling the town. Custer’s men opened up and drove off the cavalry support defending the guns. A second, similar attack followed on and convinced the Confederates that they must disengage and move out to York after darkness fell.

Gettysburg
Buford had laid out his plan well. He had Gamble’s Brigade astride the Chambersburg Pike just east of the steep defile through which Willoughby Run flowed. Gamble’s men were in position on the next high ground east of the stream, now called McPherson’s Ridge, so named for the farm that sat on the ridge along the south side of the road. The road itself was lined on both sides with stout five-rail fence, and almost parallel to the road on the north side, a sunken railroad bed, still under construction and without rails ran about one to two hundred yards from the road. Devin’s men were formed on Gamble’s right, and extended north to the Mummasburg Road.

When he visited Devin that evening, Devin was in a high mood, and began predicting how easily they would dispense with the Rebels the next day. Buford rounded on him and angrily exclaimed, “No you won’t! They will attack in the morning and they will come booming—skirmishers three deep. You will have to fight like the Devil to hold your own until supports arrive. The enemy must know the importance of this position and will strain every nerve to secure it, and if we are able to hold it we will do well.”

Novus Livy

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Upcoming Events at Union Mills

A recent foray into northern Maryland yielded a stop at Union Mills Homestead, a beautiful historic site just below the Mason Dixon line, southeast of Littlestown, PA. You can stop in there pretty much any time and get a guided tour of the Shriver Homestead and Grist Mill. It is an idyllic setting along Route 97, just a few miles over the border into Maryland. You can almost immediately step back into the 19th century when you walk around there.

Beautifully and lovingly preserved, the homestead and gristmill are pleasant diversions from the 21st century's pressures.

Here are a few of the upcoming events:

--First up is Thursday, July 3. Union Mills was the starting point for Confederate General James Ewell Brown [JEB] Stuart and his cavalry division to advance on Hanover for their battle with Union Cavalry.

Events begin at 7:00 AM when a pancake breakfast with the troops begins. Breakfast ends at 11:00 AM.

--A real family outing on Sunday, July 13 when the Homestead puts on an Ice Cream Social from 1 to 4 PM. Clowns, wagon rides, and music. Also, the great tour of the Shriver Homestead and Grist Mill.

--July 19 and 20, Saturday and Sunday will find a Civil War encampment and living history demonstrations.

--Saturday August 2nd, 11 AM to 5 PM, the 38th Annual Old Fashioned Corn Roast Festival. And all you can eat corn roast with chicken and applesauce, tomatoes and roll and butter. A perfect way to celebrate the dog days of summer!

Any time you stop in please spare a few moments for a visit to the gift shop. It is a delight, as the entire site.

GettysBLOG highly recommends a visit to this pleasant sliver of 19th century living.

For more information visit: The Union Mills Homestead website.

[A note: We will start posting our annual Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Posts tomorrow. Come back often as we sometimes post two or three a day. Enjoy!]

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Some Suggestions for Rep. Dan Moul

We think Dan Moul has been a great state Representative in the General Assembly. We have made the point in the past that he has already introduced more legislation in about 18 months than his predecessor did in 14 years.

But we are disturbed by the language in two areas of legislation that affect the entire state, and we would like Representative Moul to take up these issues in Harrisburg.

First, we think the state property tax law should be changed to remove any escape by a school district from a referendum on any tax increases. It should be obvious in this current climate that school districts across the state are avoiding referenda at all costs. Gettysburg Area School District is a case in point. If the district wants to raise taxes without a referendum all they need to do is run their budget up over a certain index [we presume that the "index" is a percentage increase], and then ask the state for a waiver of the referendum requirement!

The effect of this law has foist runaway spending on many taxpayers without leaving them any redress! Indeed, many districts are getting a jump start on future tax increases by enlarging their tax base so the "index" has more money in it every succeeding year. This builds in tax increases that pyramid every year!

As a result, many state tax payers will not see one penny of their tax rebate.

And that raises another issue: how can a tax rebate from 2007 taxes be used to pay taxes in 2008? This is simply wrong. And the legislature needs to correct this, and soon! There simply is no property tax relief in the legislation as it is written now.

The other issue is the potential legislation that would ban layoffs of state employees if the budget is not passed by 30 June. One alternative to this farce is to dock the pay of the legislators every day past June 30th each year without a passed and signed state budget.

We like the second part of that, as it is the responsibility, in part, of the legislature to pass the budget in a timely fashion each year. However, there is a missing party to all of this, and that is the Governor and his staff.

We believe that the fair and honest solution to this, is to dock the pay of both the legislators and the Governor and his staff, while making it illegal to furlough state employees if the budget is not passed. [The state employees have nothing to do with the budget process, and furloughing them punishes them, and their families, and the citizens of the Commonwealth who seek their services.]

So, Representaive Moul, what is your take on these issues and ideas? We'd love to get a response from you, and will post it here if and when we do.

[Note: Please be sure to vote in the two new polls dealing with these issues! See the top right of the page.]

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

GASD Proceeding with Stadium

To be perfectly honest, the Gettysburg Area School District board is not. Honest that is.

First, a capital project like an $8 million stadium should go before the voters as a referendum. It would be wise to offer alternative choices in the referendum.

But not our school board. They have been proceeding as if they have already sold this bill of goods to the voters/taxpayers.

They have not.

They instituted a tax increase -- a real whopper, in spite of state law to the contrary.

Here is how it was explained in the Hanover Evening Sun article by Heather Faulhefer two days ago:

"The tax increase exceeds the district's inflationary index of 4.4, which is set by state law. Under Act 1, if a tax increase goes over the inflationary index, the district would be required to ask voters to approve it, unless the district qualifies for one of several exemptions from the state Department of Education.

Gettysburg applied for and was granted referendum exceptions from the state. This means the district demonstrated to state officials the tax increase would be linked to factors beyond its control. Gettysburg applied for referendum exceptions for special-education costs and maintenance of local tax revenues.
The district will be using the money from the tax increase to help offset cost increases in the district.
This is easy. All the Board has to do is to build in enough increases into the budget to exceed the 4.4 index, indicating the factors of special education and maintenance of tax revenues is beyond their control! Then the state will waive the requirement that the tax increase be passed by the voters in a referendum! [Great work there, General Assembly! NOT!]

Pardon me, but who controls the tax revenue? The tax revenues the GASD will reap this year will truly be out of control, alright, but only because the GASD Board is out of control

Costs of salaries and wages total $22,239,697, a 4.66-percent increase from last year. The increase is due in part to the current teachers' contract, which provides a 4-percent pay increase for next year.
Why are salaries and wages rising more than the 4% pay increase agreed to in the teacher's contract? Who in the school district is receiving a large enough pay raise to add $146,782 to the payroll? And why?

Other significant cost increases come from purchased services, including transportation, energy costs, building repairs and maintenance and legal and audit services.

As it has done in the past three annual budgets, the district would also set aside 0.5 mills, or $307,768, toward future facility-improvement projects. Those projects include plans to build a new Warrior Stadium at the high school, according to Superintendent William Hall. The increase in facility improvements accounts for 12.5 percent of the overall cost increase.
12.5% of the $2.2 million increase in the budget equals $275,000. So the $307,768 is separate from the 12.5% set aside for the stadium [without voter/taxpayer approval!]. And the GASD board has been hoarding the $307,768 for three years, meaning they will now have nearly $1.25 million set aside for their stadium -- and all without getting voter approval for such fundraising from your taxes, and in spite of the promise to raise the money for the stadium from donations!

What the GASD Board is doing is pure horse manure!

Do the math. The increase is $2.2 million. There is $1.25 million sitting in a stadium slush fund. There is a $146,782 surplus allocated to salaries over and above the 4% increase guaranteed in the teacher contract. That is almost 1.4 million in excess budget. That should reduce the increase to about $800,000. We're sure more cuts could be made.

On top of all this, the GASD has apparently been paying an engineering firm to design and plan the stadium. Why is this happening when no approval has been given bythe voters/taxpayers of the district? There is more money already being spent on the stadium that should not be included in the budget, and it should further reduce the increase in the budget, and therefore our taxes.

And worst of all, where is the environmental impact study? There are wetlands that will be destroyed or otherwise infringed upon, based on the design!

GASD School Board members, and School District administrators are not doing their jobs!

Thanks to them you can kiss your property tax rebate good-bye!

Show up at the next school board meeting and let them know how you feel!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

School Tax Rebate? Forget it!

People throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who pay school real estate taxes are just now about to get the bad news. You will NOT be getting a tax rebate from the gambling monies collected by the Commonwealth. Not directly.

The money goes to the school districts directly. As a result, if your school district is raising taxes, you might see a smaller tax bill [reduced by the rebate], or you might see a smaller increase than what the school district is raising [also reduced by the tax rebate]. Either way, your tax bill will appear to either go down, or have only a small increase. But you will not see your property tax rebate check.

In Gettysburg, it is the latter. Gettysburg Area School District [GASD] is committing highway robbery based on a mistakenly assumed mandate by the voters. The tax increase of nearly 5% [1.98 mills] is not only exorbitant, but is also going to have money diverted for the new $8 million Professional Level Football stadium supposedly to be built behind the school on some wetlands.

GASD School Board, who approved the increase last night at their meeting, seem to feel that a bunch of them who were elected last election were elected because they favored changing the income plan for the stadium from direct contributions to tax money -- your tax money. Never mind that people were still in a "vote the incumbents out" mode.

We conducted a small poll of readers recently giving three options:

  • Modify the current Warrior Stadium --- 50%
  • Make no changes other than routine --- 50%
  • Construct a new $8 million stadium --- 0%

We are going to reactivate the poll. We hope you will participate in it if you have not already done so.

The original plan was to have the stadium built at a cost of $3 million. We think folks could stomach that if the stadium would be built on ground that is not a wetland, or near a wetland. People think that perhaps rebuilding current Warrior Stadium to add locker room and storage, public bathrooms, and concession stands underneath the grandstands is the way to go. Cheaper, the field is already there, and for the year or so it would take to do it the team could play at the Gettysburg College stadium. They play Friday nights, the college plays Saturdays.

Regardless, the new kids on the school board are completely mistaken about their supposed mandate. There was no mandate. There was no public debate on the stadium. There was no advertising campaign saying "vote for these five people and they will get the new stadium for you."

Folks, gas is $4 per gallon. Township and county taxes are going up. School taxes are rising on 5.2% pay increases for teachers [and the much higher paid administrators!] as well as the new stadium.

We do not need an $8 million dollar stadium now. It is a pipe dream by a bunch of yuppies who think because they have enough money, the rest of us can spare $8 million in school taxes over the next few years. This is the same group of folks who sat by with their pockets covered while their local country club went bankrupt and folded.

Hello? Anybody home on the school board? We don't have that kind of money. And give us our tax rebate! Let us decide what to do with it. Besides, if you pay your taxes as part of your mortgage, then this year's increase in your mortgage payment will be only $90 per month instead of $105.

We hope you are angry now dear readers. Please participate in our polls at the top right of the page.

And please start expressing yourself in letters to the editor of the Gettysburg Times and the Hanover Sun. Let your outrage show.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review: Tip of the Spear

One of the things we take great enjoyment in is reviewing books, and doubly so for those who are friends. We have been extremely remiss in this activity over the past year and are far behind in our reviews. We plan over the next few weeks to remedy that, starting right now.

Russ Diamond became our friend a few years back when he launched perhaps the greatest voter rebellion in the history of our nation. He had a great deal of help in moving this along, primarily from the inept and hubris-filled members of the Pennsylvania State Assembly, and the Commonwealth Judiciary. When the legislature passed a pay raise for themselves and the state's judges in the wee hours of the morning during budget negotiations in July of 2005, hardly anyone noticed. But when the news hit the next day it was greeted with absolute outrage across the state. The legislature had not only voted itself and the Judiciary a huge pay raise, but had violated the state constitution by allowing the members to immediately benefit from the raise instead of waiting until the next session of the legislature in January. This was done by means of a particularly ugly little device called an "unvouchered expense", which members grabbed up right away, and which eventually counted toward their retirement funds.

The source of this device, and the advice to the legislature, again violating laws [as the League of Women Voters has now sought to remedy by accusing the former Chief Justice of the Commonwealth Supreme Court of collusion with the legislative leadership], was allegedly Chief Justice Ralph Cappy.

The legislators later repealed the raise, and many, but not all, gave back the unvouchered expense money they drew. The Justices fought off a legal challenge to their right to keep the raises -- in their own court, thanks mostly to Chief Justice nominee Ron Castile.

All of this is detailed in Diamond's new book,
Tip of the Spear, just out from Raintree Books [ISBN 978-0-9801079-0-6].

Tip of the Spear is a fascinating chronology of every step of the seventeen month battle between the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, represented in large part by Diamond's organization, Operation Clean Sweep, and the greedy, hubris-filled members of both houses of the State Assembly. Along the way, personal roadblocks were thrown in front of Russ which would have derailed a lesser person. But with dedication, and an enormous amount of personal will, Diamond dealt with a family debacle, compounded by over-reactive police. While Diamond will not point to politics as the cause for the problems, one can easily see the connections.

Nor was Diamond's road to success with Clean Sweep a smooth one, as the organization eventually fell into internal strife of the most bitter kind. Through it all, Russ Diamond remained undaunted, and eventually ran for Governor of Pennsylvania.

But the measure of his success comes in the form of Clean Sweep victories at the polls. First up was a sitting Supreme Court Justice, Russell Nigro, who was voted out of office in the November, 2005, General Election, and a close call for another sitting Justice, Sandra Newman. This forced the legislative leadership to sit up and pay attention. Hubris, while still present in abundance, suddenly started to melt away. The legislature saw the growing list of candidates who signed on to Clean Sweep's slate and realized they must take action to placate the voters. Nevertheless, in spite of repealing the pay raise [while leaving the raise in effect for the Judges, and the "unvouchered expense" in place for the legislators] just before the General Election [with one dissenting vote - unrepentant House Majority Whip Mike Veon] they continued on their "privileged" way, burying their heads in the sand, and doing nothing to finish the job of the repeal.

The following spring in the Primary Election, several dozen legislators were ejected from their potential candidacy for reelection by still-angry voters, with Clean Sweep candidates winning many nominations. [We joined in this effort by devoting much space and time to unseating a particularly glaring example of legislative greed in Representative Steve Maitland, who unapologetically kept his unvouchered expense money, and used it to pay off his swimming pool, and his tuition to law school. But at least he is no longer drinking from the Public Trough in Harrisburg! He was replaced by hard working Dan Moul who hit the ground running and has not stopped, sponsoring more good legislation in two years than Maitland did in fourteen.] But President Pro Tem of the Senate Bob Jubelirer, and Senate Majority leader Chip Brightbill lost their reelection bids in a shattering denouncement by the voters of the Commonwealth.

Operation Clean Sweep was far from finished.

By the fall General Election, Clean Sweep candidates were on the ballot in dozens of districts throughout the state, and running for either the House or the Senate. And many of them won. When all was said and done, scores of incumbents were either defeated in the Primary, defeated in the General Election, or chose not to face the wrath of the voters at the polls and retired. The effort culminated in the defeat of another member of the Pay raise cabal, the Zoot Suit-wearing Mike Veon, House Majority Whip, and a very close call for Bill DeWeese, the House Minority Leader. The leader of the cabal, Speaker of the House John Perzel faced a post election rebellion in the ranks, and lost his speakership.

The people had spoken. Legislative leadership was turned out of office, and other guilty incumbents joined them. Also Clean Sweep scored a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court, and a near miss on another one.

In
Tip of the Spear, Russ Diamond names names, takes no prisoner, and pulls no punches. This book is a political thriller from real life, and John Grisham could not have written it any better.

We urge all of you to buy, borrow, or otherwise obtain this book and read it. It will eventually become a primer for citizen involvement in the electoral and legislative process. Diamond's leadership shines through as he sustained a successful effort to maintain citizen involvement for seventeen months, through three elections. In the end, when you finish the book, you'll do what we did: cheer!

Bravo to Russ Diamond and Clean Sweep, and bravo to Diamond for
Tip of the Spear!

You can purchase
Tip of the Spear directly from Raintree Books [click here].

We expect a movie to be made out of this!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GNMP: 2008 Anniversary Battle Walks

One of the joys of visiting Gettysburg Battlefield during the Anniversary Days of the Battle is the fantastic Battle Walks conducted by the historians who work in the Park: Interpretive Rangers, and Licensed Battlefield Guides. Visitors should plan to go along on these walks, which are free. Enjoy as many as possible, with the recommendations added after the schedule. These are not to be missed. Here is this year's schedule:

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg, PA 17325
717/334-1124 phone
717/ 334-1891 fax

2008 Anniversary Battle Walks
July 1, 2, 3, 2008

Join Park Rangers at Gettysburg National Military Park and Licensed Battlefield Guides for a series of free guided walks that discuss the three days of the battle of Gettysburg and its impact. Each program is approximately three hours in length and involves up to two miles of walking. Some of the terrain is moderately difficult. Water, headgear, sun protection and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

July 1 10:00 a.m.

“The splendid lines of the veterans of the army of Northern Virginia swept down upon us”
Last Stand of the Union 1st Corps on Seminary Ridge.

By the afternoon of July 1, 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg had been raging for over eight hours, as an accidental meeting of the two armies had turned into a full scale engagement. Although elements of the Union army had repulsed the initial Confederate thrust that morning, by 2:00 p.m. the Army of Northern Virginia renewed its assault. After hard fighting along McPherson’s Ridge, the Union 1st Corps fell back to Seminary Ridge where they prepared to make a final stand. The Confederates sent forward fresh troops to sweep away this last vestige of organized resistance west of Gettysburg. Meet Historian D. Scott Hartwig at Auto Tour Stop 1, Reynolds Woods, to learn of this desperate Union stand. Park along the ridge side of Reynolds Avenue. Parking is also available at West End Guide Station and along the right side of Stone Avenue. (Please keep all of the vehicle’s wheels on the pavement.)

July 1 2:30 p.m.

“We sleep here in obedience to law; when duty called we came, when Country called we died.”
Brig. Gen. George Doles Brigade on July 1st
As the battle escalated west of town, it also grew in size to the north with the arrival of Maj. Gen. Robert Rodes’ Confederate division on Oak Hill. The first of Rodes’ men to go into action were a brigade of Georgia soldiers lead by Brig. Gen. George Doles, who advanced across “the plain”…north of Gettysburg against the Union 11th Corps. Join Ranger Matt Atkinson as he follows in the footsteps of Dole’s men during the fighting that followed. Meet at the James Gettys Elementary School parking lot, State Route 34 North. Part of this program takes place on school property. Smoking is prohibited on any school property, including in the parking lot and on the grounds.


July 1 6:00 p.m.

The Damned Dutchmen Are Running Again!
Conventional wisdom through the years has held that the 11th Corps units deployed north of town on July 1st retreated in disorder when attacked by Confederate forces. But is this what happened? Was the 11th Corps routed? Or, did the large number of foreign born soldiers in the corps offer a scapegoat for defeat? Meet Licensed Battlefield Guide Wayne Wachsmith at Barlow’s Knoll to explore this story and learn what really happened to the 11th Corps that day. Park along the right side of East Howard Avenue. (Please keep all of the vehicle’s wheels on the pavement.)


July 2 10:00 a.m.

“The enemy was…attacking our whole front at different points.”
In the Footsteps of Maj. Gen. Winfield Hancock
Nicknamed “Hancock the Superb” for his leadership in 1862, Gettysburg was Maj. Gen. Scott Winfield Hancock’s first test as a corps commander. By the battle’s end it proved to be his supreme performance of the war, confirming that he deserved his famous sobriquet. No more was this true than on July 2, 1863. Join Park Ranger Eric Campbell as he traces the movements of Gen. Hancock along the Union line that day, and recounts his actions, which were critical in staving off possible disaster for the Army of the Potomac. Meet at 2nd Corps Headquarters marker, just beyond the High Water Mark Area, Auto Tour Stop 15. Parking available at the National Cemetery parking lot.


July 2 10:00 a.m.

“War Had Done Its Work”
The Story of 3 Farms Before, During and After the Battle: A Family Program
This walk is recommended for children ages, 8-14, accompanied by an adult or guardian. Before this now sacred ground was the site of one of the most famous battles in world history, this rolling pastoral landscape was owned by individual hard-working farming families who made their living from the soil. Join Ranger Barb Sanders as she examines not only the tremendous sacrifices made by three families (the Weikerts, Trostles and Klingels) to operate their farms but also how the fighting of July 2, 1863 swept across their properties and impacted their lives. These included not only the direct battle damage suffered by each, but also the military uses of the farmsteads as headquarters and hospitals. This program begins at Father Corby statue on Hancock Avenue. Park along the right side of Hancock Avenue. (Please keep all of the vehicle’s wheels on the pavement.)


July 2 2:30 p.m.

“This force advanced against my line.” - David Gregg.
The Struggle for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge

During the late afternoon of July 2, 1863, Brigadier General David M. Gregg ordered the 10th New York Cavalry to dismount and advance against the 2nd Virginia Infantry of the famous Stonewall Brigade. Other units were deployed to support and a spirited fight unfolded on Brinkerhoff’s ridge east of Gettysburg. The true significance was much greater though, as the fight became the measure for where the famous July 3 cavalry battle occurred at East Cavalry field. More significantly, the placement of two Union cavalry divisions between the Hanover and Heidlerburg roads, froze three Confederate infantry brigades from attacking Cemetery and Culp’s hills at the decisive moment of the three day battle. Meet Ranger Troy Harman to trace a hidden gem of a story that occurred 145 years ago to the hour. Directions and meeting place available at the information desk.


July 2 6:00 p.m.

Lt. Gen. James Longstreet: Culprit or Scapegoat?
This program will examine Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s role in the fighting on July 2 including his approach march and his actions during the fighting that followed. The program will also examine the actions of other officers and how they impacted Longstreet’s performance that day. Meet Ranger Karlton Smith at the Longstreet Statue at the Amphitheater on West Confederate Avenue.


July 3 10:00 a.m.

“...a view to pass around the hill occupied by the enemy on his left.”
Longstreet’s July 3 Flank Attack Examined

One of the biggest “what ifs” of the Battle of Gettysburg involves whether General Robert E. Lee should have followed General James Longstreet’s resolve on July 3, to extend the Confederate right beyond the Round Tops. Longstreet authorized an after-dark scouting party to search for ways “by which we might strike the enemy’s left” and actually began to implement a tactical turning maneuver early on July 3 before Lee cancelled it. If historians are obligated to investigate “the road not taken” to understand the one that is, then Longstreet’s partial attempt falls somewhere in between. Join Ranger Troy Harman for a hike around Big Round Top and a full investigation of this story. Walk begins on South Confederate at the Texas Monument and ends along Howe Avenue behind the Round Tops. Car-pooling is recommended.


July 3 1:00 p.m.

“It is Not a Little Surprising That General Lee Should Have Reckoned So Largely Upon the Result.”
A Critical Assessment of the Confederate Intentions and Capabilities Behind the Confederate Bombardment on July 3rd
This program examines the intentions end the overall effectiveness of the Confederate cannonade of July 3rd. What was Lee precisely attempting to accomplish with his artillery? Was it possible for the Confederates to have achieved more than they did? Meet Park Ranger Bert Barnett at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory (Battery B, 108th FA) Building on West Confederate for answers and insights to this phase of the battle. Park in the Armory parking Lot.


July 3 3:00 p.m.

The Attack and Repulse of Longstreet’s Assault (“Pickett’s Charge”)
Walk in the footsteps of the Confederate soldiers during their ill-fated assault on the Union center, or stand with the Union defenders on Cemetery Ridge. A team of rangers will follow the route of Maj. Gen. George Pickett’s Division from Seminary Ridge to Cemetery Ridge, and another ranger will focus on the Union defense that repulsed the attack. To walk the route of Pickett’s Charge, meet at the Virginia Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 5. The Union defense program begins “Ranger Program” sign at the National Cemetery parking lot.

July 3 6:00 p.m.

The “Other” Round Top
Little Round Top is one of the most recognizable terrain features associated with the American Civil War. But just to the south and looming 120 feet above is the hill for which Little Round Top was named—Big Round Top. Although rarely visited today, Big Round Top has its own fascinating story to tell. Standing in the path of the Southern Infantry on July 2nd and converted into a Union fortress on July 3rd, the hill played a key role in the fighting. Following the war visitors enjoyed the view from its summit and like many other areas of the field veterans placed monuments along it slopes. Join Licensed Battlefield Guides Timothy H. Smith and Garry Adelman as we explore the “Other” Round Top’s trails, folklore, fortifications, historic photos, unique rock formations, monuments, observation towers long gone and the truth about the cavalry fight near the “D-Shaped Field.”. This walk will include rough terrain and some strenuous activity. Meet at the 10th Pennsylvania Reserves monument on South Confederate Avenue. Park at the Big Round Top parking lot, or along the right side of South Confederate Avenue. (Please keep all of the vehicle’s wheels on the pavement).

Wow! What a lineup of great tours presented by quality historians.

Here are some tips to make your walks a bit better.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on the weather before the walk and dress accordingly.
  • Take protection from the sun. A wide brimmed hat is recommended. Sun block is in order.
  • Wear long pants and comfortable walking shoes. Sandals can get you in trouble. Some of the walks go through underbrush which may contain brambles and thorns.
  • Take along some bottled drinking water.
  • Don’t over eat before the walk.
  • If you have a walking stick, take it along. It can help you on slopes, over walls and over rough ground.
  • Stick to the trail your guide sets for you. Venturing afield could put you in an encounter with bees, or other wildlife.
  • Prepare for insects! Use something like Off.
  • Don’t load yourself down with too much camera equipment. Travel light.
Most of all, enjoy your walks, there are new bits of history introduced every year during these walks. And if you miss something, make sure you tune in to the Pennsylvania Cable Network [PCN] starting on July 1 for videos of some of the walks. It’s not as good as being there, but the camera and microphone do catch all of the talk from your guide. Often, PCN will broadcast the current year’s walks starting in the late afternoon or evening of the 1st.

Don't forget to take our new poll on Battle Walks at the top of the right sidebar!

Don't forget to visit the new Visitors Center and Museum during your visit!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 16, 2008

GNMP CELEBRATES WITH A CIVIL WAR MUSIC CONCERT

This note passed along by the GNMP staff. The Wildcat Regimental Band is not your average Civil War band. These fellows are absolutely terrific!

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg, PA 17325
717/334-1124 phone
717/ 334-1891 fax

GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK CELEBRATES WITH A CIVIL WAR MUSIC
CONCERT


The Wildcat Regiment Band, Civil War era musicians representing the 105thPennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, will perform a free concert outdoors at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center on June 21 in conjunction with the Gettysburg Festival from June 19 -29. The early Wildcat Regiment concert will begin at 11:00 AM. The Grand Concert will begin at 3:00 PM. Bring blankets and lawn chairs for your seating.

The Wildcat Regiment Band represents the regimental band of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The 105th Regiments was recruited in 1861 from the "Wildcat" congressional district made up in part by Indiana and Jefferson Counties. With Bandmaster Bruno J. Pino conducting, this modern re-creation of the Wildcat Regiment Band utilizes original instruments and reproduction hand-made uniforms. The concert at 11:00 AM will explore "The American Brass Movement: Bands and Bandmasters of the American Civil War" and will feature original musical instruments of the period.

The Gettysburg Festival features ten full days of celebrating America through Music, Theater, Film, Art and Dance from June 19 through 29. To find out more go to the
website http://www.gettysburgfestival.org/.

For more information about the Wildcat Concert or other participants of the Gettysburg Brass Band Festival please contact Park Ranger Evangelina Rubalcava, c/o Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, Gettysburg PA 17325, or call (717) 334-1124 x3251.
Be sure to catch the Wildcat Regiment Band on June 21st! You'll not regret it!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flash Alert: Tonight on PCN: Tip of the Spear

This just in from friend and Citizen Patriot-Hero Russ Diamond. We urge you all to tune in tonight to find out more about this man and the PACleansweep operation. Russ Diamond made history in Pennsylvania.

Tonight on PCN
Tune in to "PA Books" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) Sunday June 15 at 9:00pm as
PACleanSweep's Russ Diamond discusses his book "Tip of the Spear" with host Brian Lockman.

"Tip of the Spear" is a 452-page chronicle of Diamond's experiences and unique perspective as the leader of the group that led the charge against the 2005 legislative pay raise, successfully fought for the first non-retention of a Supreme Court justice in Pennsylvania history and fielded over 110 candidates in the 2006 electoral cycle that saw a massive 24 percent turnover in the General Assembly.

The book provides insight into the beginnings of the explosive movement, commentary on Pennsylvania's political landscape and a behind-the-scenes look at PACleanSweep's tumultuous inner workings.

Check your local TV listings for the PCN channel on your cable system.

About
"Tip of the Spear"

In the summer of 2005, Pennsylvania state government revealed its seedy underbelly when the General Assembly gave itself and others an unconstitutional middle-of-the-night pay raise.

In response, the people of the Commonwealth awoke from a long slumber and rose up in defiance of the Political Class. They made history - and the reverberations are still being felt. Things may never be the same again in the Keystone State.

Beneath the battles of right versus left, liberal versus conservative and Republican versus Democrat, the Establishment strained to maintain power and continuity. Traditional political ideologies took a back seat as the very fabric of the Political Class was torn apart.

In 2005-2006, Pennsylvanians got a taste of what happens when the ivory-towered crowd is running scared. But what we read in the papers and see on television is never the whole story. Follow the journey of one individual who just happened to get caught in the middle of it all and observed it from a unique perspective...
Get
"Tip of the Spear" from Raintree Books

Read Excerpts from
"Tip of the Spear"

About
PACleanSweep
PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to reforming state government in Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit http://www.pacleansweep.com/.
We highly recommend that you tune in to PCN's PA Books tonight at 9:00 PM. It will be a fascinating time, and the book will provide readers with insights into a contentious time in Pennsylvania government that will amaze, astound, and infuriate!

Stay tuned for our review of Tip of the Spear -- coming soon!


GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 13, 2008

News, Views, a New Look and a New Poll Feature

Welcome to the new look GettysBLOG. Please bear with us while we make a few tweaks and add a few features. And please stop by regularly to participate in our polls. We will try to have a poll up weekly.

Today's "News and Views" takes on a cinematic theme. Enjoy.

"The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"
This item from today's Harrisburg Online was no surprise to us.

"A group of GOP State House Members called for the resignation of State Gaming Board Chairwoman Judge Mary D. Colins and the other Board Members because the group claims the Chairwoman "lied" about the amount of money coming to resigned Executive Director Anne Neeb...last month, the Board said Neeb would receive $60,000 in salary until the end of her contract in September, but now the Board says she will get an additional $60,000 consulting contract...the Board says no one is resigning..." Harrisburg Online

Nope, no surprise there. Anne Neeb left her last job in Louisiana just ahead of a probable corruption indictment over expenses she claimed. Is there an indictment from Pennsylvania around the corner for Ms. Neeb? Certainly some very questionable events have occurred since Neeb took over at the Gambling Commission. Two of the licensees are in trouble: our old friend Louis DeNaples has been stripped of his ownership at Mt. Airy for alleged perjury in testimony before the commission, and the owner of a City of Pittsburgh licensee is likely to default on his plan for the casino in that city because of financial woes.

These blunders by the Gambling Control Board are inexcuseable. These potential problems should have been sniffed out by Neeb and others at the Board. To paraphrase Hamlet, "There is something rotten in the state of Pennsylvania", and the Gambling Control Board is it.


"Semi-Pro"
Gettysburg Area School District [GASD] is planning on instituting an historically high tax increase, in no small part thanks to the boondoggle they call New Warrior Stadium. What was originally planned to cost $3 million, now will cost $8 million, and that is before the usual 50% markup during construction. For that much money one expects a facility on the scale of Hershey Park Stadium. What could possibly be a reason for such extravagance? Granted, the yuppies control the school board, but this is wretched excess. Why not spend the money promised by the Foundation to expand the current Warrior Stadium into a better facility, with locker rooms for home, visitor, and officials, decent bathroom facilities on both sides of the field and concession stands at each end.

That way, the scene of past glories on the gridiron for Warrior Football will remain the scene of future glories. Facilities will be there for the team to use for practice, and if the school district has dreams of hosting big playoff games, they'll have a venue to do just that. It will be a faster fix, and a better, more suitable fit. It will reduce the tax increase, and more importantly, it WILL NOT ENCROACH AND THREATEN THE WETLANDS BEHIND THE HIGH SCHOOL, as the current plans do. Current plans call for pathways through the wetlands for fans to traverse! That is absolute lunacy!

GASD taxpayers need to stongly express their views about this. In the meantime, please express yourself in our feature poll at the top right of the page!

"Crude Impact"
A developer in Straban Township is trying to shoehorn 800 homes onto a little over 300 acres. That is an ugly, small plot development, what they call "High Density Housing". First, in today's economy, and today's housing market, who in their right mind will build 800 new homes? This kind of profligate development is what got us into the current housing bust! The question is: why in the world would a municipality even entertain something like this since, like the proposed casino in Pittsburgh, it is likely to sit moldering unused, becoming an eyesore, and eventually costing enormous sums of tax dollars to resolve the failure of the development down the line. Your supervisors and zoning people, especially in Straban, Mt. Joy, Butler, and Cumberland Townships are not doing their jobs! Their failure is your future tax hikes to clean up failed development.

Elected officials in area municipalities that are allowing their townships to become bedroom communities for D.C. and Baltimore, or the malls to cater to those commuters, need only look to the gas pump the next time they fill up to see this is an idea of yesterday, not of today, and not of tomorrow.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2008: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

GettysBLOG: Monahan out of control!



Local developer and egotist Bob Monahan, who breaks the law daily by illegally using a facsimile of the Great Seal of the United States as his corporate logo, is now asking the burghers of Hanover to use the law to put money in his pocket. This greedy man is trying to further develop the area around the North Hanover Mall and the Eisenhower Boulevard strip that houses the Super Walmart, Lowes, Bon Ton, etc. He wants to add more mall to the area, so he is asking Hanover to use eminent domain on existing businesses to develop Eisenhower and Route 94 into a road system capable of handling his expected customers.

This is why the supervisors in Conewego Township have been pushed to zone for a bypass around McSherrystown. Monahan wants his "good buddies" from Adams County to not have to ride the bumpy main drag in McSherrystown at 20 MPH, when they can sail around it on a smooth new highway, right through scenic farm country....until he extends his mall westward along the bypass.

We thought David LeVan held the title for greed and irresponsibility for the Gettysburg-Hanover area. No longer. Bob Monahan wins it going away.

Robber Barons
A disparaging term dating back to the 12th century which refers to:

1. Unscrupulous feudal lords who amassed personal fortunes by using illegal and immoral business practices, such as illegally charging tolls to passing merchant ships.

2. Modern-day businesspeople who allegedly engage in unethical business tactics and questionable stock market transactions to build large personal fortunes.

Monahan has bought into many of the businesses involved in the proposed new Eisenhower Boulevard road system. He is quoted in the Hanover Sunday Sun as saying:

"The properties that I have ownership in will fully cooperate in this process. [Eminent domain land taking] It's up to the other owners whether they want to cooperate."

Gads, he sounds more like Ming the Merciless than Ming did!

He has apparently invested heavily in the campaign funds of elected officials from both Adams and York Counties and their local leaders in the townships between Gettysburg and Hanover, as they are the ones who make the decisions on development. Apparently the Conewego Township folks have declined his backing, and are digging in their heels against the McSherrystown Bypass.

This petulant, greedy, egotist has already blighted the Hanover area more than one person should be allowed, and the Gettysburg area in retaliation for losing out to Kinsley Construction of York on the NPS Visitors Center. Now he has gotten back at Gettysburg and he wants to get more payback from Kinsley's area. Kinsley is constructing new offices along rural PA 116 between Hanover and Gettysburg. Anyone driving from Gettysburg will pass this new edifice on their way to the shopping areas in Hanover, York County, owned in whole or in part by Monahan, and perhaps even drive on the new McSherrystown Bypass, that will proably be called the Bob Monahan Memorial Highway, sporting the facsimile of the Great Seal of the United States, no doubt...after all, he'll get Federal dollars for his highway.

As for the burghers of Hanover, they need to remove their collective heads from where they presently are, and look around them. These folks are suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because they have been assessed a share of the cleanup money for the Chesapeake Bay. Then they authorize developments like what Monahan has done and is trying to do, even fostering it by considering the use of eminent domain [a wretched excess the discussion of which will wait for another day, but thank you Mr. Justice Souter, all the same!].

Look boys and girls, you cannot have it both ways: either shut down Monahan or pay the money, which, by the way, will increase dramatically with the new development of Monahan's that you apparently favor.

You cannot pave over huge swaths of farmland and expect there not to be a price paid by others "downstream". Heretofore the environment downstream, that is in the Chesapeake Bay, has paid the price in pollution, resulting in the killing off of much of the crab and shellfish fisheries in the bay. It's not dead yet, but it is dying and its death will affect us all. [Where will the Bay City Restaurant and store get their wonderful seafood if the Bay dies?]

So the Commonwealth agreed, along with Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, and the Federal Government to share the cost of the cleanup of the bay. Since Hanover is ensconced deep in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, they are assessed a share of the cleanup. And the more they pave over, the higher that share will get.

Don't your taxes go up enough without that being added to them?

But your taxes are going up anyway. They will pay for the infrastructure to allow Monahan to build this new extension to his Empire of Greed and Revenge. He will reap front end loader buckets of money from this, and you will reap higher taxes.

Just say "NO", to the Monahans of the world. Enough is enough. And while we're at it, let's see the US Attorney take the action he should have taken two years ago and force Bob to strip the facsimile of the Great Seal of the United States off his empire. It is against the law.

CHAPTER 33 - EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA, AND NAMES

-HEAD-
Sec. 713. Use of likenesses of the great seal of the United States,
the seals of the President and Vice President, the seal of the
United States Senate, the seal of the United States House of
Representatives, and the seal of the United States Congress

-STATUTE-
(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of
the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the
President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal
of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House
of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or
any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any
advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other
publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or
other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for
the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to
convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the
Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or
instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated
by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly
manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either
separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any
likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any
substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the
article for the official use of the Government of the United
States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
six months, or both.
(c) Whoever, except as directed by the United States Senate, or
the Secretary of the Senate on its behalf, knowingly uses,
manufactures, reproduces, sells or purchases for resale, either
separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any
likeness of the seal of the United States Senate, or any
substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the
article for the official use of the Government of the United
States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
six months, or both.
(d) Whoever, except as directed by the United States House of
Representatives, or the Clerk of the House of Representatives on
its behalf, knowingly uses, manufactures, reproduces, sells or
purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article
manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seal of the United States
House of Representatives, or any substantial part thereof, except
for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the
Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
(e) Whoever, except as directed by the United States Congress, or
the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of
Representatives, acting jointly on its behalf, knowingly uses,
manufactures, reproduces, sells or purchases for resale, either
separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any
likeness of the seal of the United States Congress, or any
substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the
article for the official use of the Government of the United
States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
six months, or both.
(f) A violation of the provisions of this section may be enjoined
at the suit of the Attorney General,
(1) in the case of the great seal of the United States and the
seals of the President and Vice President, upon complaint by any
authorized representative of any department or agency of the
United States;
(2) in the case of the seal of the United States Senate, upon
complaint by the Secretary of the Senate;
(3) in the case of the seal of the United States House of
Representatives, upon complaint by the Clerk of the House of
Representatives; and
(4) in the case of the seal of the United States Congress, upon
complaint by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the
House of Representatives, acting jointly.

-SOURCE-
(Added Pub. L. 89-807, Sec. 1(a), Nov. 11, 1966, 80 Stat. 1525;
amended Pub. L. 91-651, Sec. 1, Jan. 5, 1971, 84 Stat. 1940; Pub.
L. 102-229, title II, Sec. 210(a)-(d), Dec. 12, 1991, 105 Stat.
1717; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, Sec. 330016(1)(E), Sept. 13,
1994, 108 Stat. 2146; Pub. L. 105-55, title III, Sec. 308(a)-(d),
Oct. 7, 1997, 111 Stat. 1198.)
So, take out a dollar bill and turn it over. Compare the Great Seal of the United States to the one at the top of the page here. It is a facsimile, or a likeness of the Great Seal, and such use is proscribed by law as noted above. As a former member of the State Department of the United States, Emperor Bob should know better than to display a facsimile of the Great Seal for crass commercial purposes. He is not entitled to do so.

Just say no to Emperor Bob Monahan! Enough is enough!

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We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“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

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