Post-Gazette Supports Regressive Gasoline Tax

 Rob Rogers never met a tax he didn't like

Is there any kind of tax more regressive and harmful to the poor than a gasoline tax?  So much for all of the P-G’s rhetoric about the poor getting poorer while the rich get richer.

Also, how ironic is it that the P-G is using the “politics of fear” to get us to support this regressive tax?  “Support the gas tax hike… or you’ll end up driving right into the Mon river!”

November 30, 2006 at 10:09 pm Comments (0)

Nutter calls ousting as ward leader ‘illegal’


Mayoral candidate Michael Nutter continued to claim leadership of the 52nd Ward yesterday, calling a Tuesday night vote to oust him illegal.

During the meeting of ward committee people, Nutter was replaced by ward chairman and second-in-command Steve Jones. Jones did not return a call for comment yesterday.

Read on

A Democrat complaining about illegal Democrat Party tactics in Philadelphia?

What is this city coming to…

November 30, 2006 at 6:58 pm Comments (0)

It Ain’t Over

Pa Republicans are going to dig in in Chester County’s 156th district.

“It’s not over till it’s over, and it’s not over,” insisted Steve Miskin, an aide to the current House majority leader, Rep. Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney.


Despite claims Tuesday by House Democratic leader H. William DeWeese that Democrats would control the House by a 102-101 margin in 2007-08, Mr. Miskin said, “It’s premature right now to say it’s totally over.”


The Democratic candidate in the 156th House District race, Barbara McIlwaine Smith, leads her Republican opponent, Shannon Royer, by 23 votes, according to Chester County officials.

The 11 provisional votes won’t affect the outcome, but the ChescoGOP has five days to request another recount.

November 30, 2006 at 6:47 pm Comments (0)

Montco GOP Strife

DA Bruce Castor had commissioned a poll of the political climate in Montgomery County and had proposed to discuss the results in a forum with county party leaders and the pollsters.

Mr Castor writes

Many of you have called me in the last week. All of you expressed to me one or both of the following:


1. Chairman Ken Davis called you to say he didn’t want people to attend the poll presentation. He says the poll is invalid as a “push poll.” Bruce, you are known as a “straight shooter”, why would Ken say such things?


2. Are you, Bruce, willing to reconsider your decision to not run for County Commissioner?


Not to worry. I contacted our Chairman, who wrote that he has not (and is not) calling people to keep them from coming to the poll presentation. Those of you who thought he had done so, then, are mistaken. Chairman Davis further wrote that since he was not involved in the development of the poll, he could not be sure of the validity of the results. I understand his position in this regard clearly. To give Ken the comfort level he needs with the poll, I have invited him, along with Bob Asher, Tom Ellis, and Jim Matthews to attend a special briefing from the pollster in advance where they may question him on the validity of the polling results. I am convinced that the poll is accurate and I intend to base my own political strategy on it. Obviously, then, I am putting my reputation and credibility on the line. However, I respectfully suggest that you make your own decision on the poll and its validity after hearing what the pollster has to say on December 6th.

Read the whole thing.

November 30, 2006 at 5:43 pm Comments (2)

Philly Papers

The deadline looms…

Leaders of the largest union, the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, said they are most upset about company proposals to freeze and take over the pension plan, disregard seniority when it comes to layoffs and cut sick pay.


The papers’ nine other unions voted Thursday to extend their contracts through 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 9, said Joe Lyons, president of the Philadelphia Council of Newspaper Unions.


The newspapers were long part of Knight Ridder Inc., which was sold in March to McClatchy Co. McClatchy sold the Philadelphia papers three months later to Philadelphia Media Holdings, an investment group led by Brian Tierney, a former public relations executive who is now the papers’ chief executive, in a deal worth $562 million.


After the purchase, Tierney spoke optimistically of the papers’ futures. But since then, the news at the papers has only been bad.


Weekday circulation at the Inquirer fell 7.6 percent to nearly 331,000 in the six months ended Sept. 30, compared with a national decline in daily circulation of 2.8 percent. And last month Tierney announced that declining ad revenues would require contract concessions and other cost-cutting and that layoffs were unavoidable. The top editor has also since been replaced.

9 of the 10 unions representing the paper’s employees have agreed to extend their talks by a week, however.

Henry Holcomb, president of the [Newspaper] Guild, said its members are not interested in another lengthy extension because “it causes management to relax, then we’ll have a fire drill again.” The contract had already been extended one month.

The company and the Guild have clashed over management’s proposal to freeze and take over the pension, cut sick pay benefits and disregard seniority when it comes to layoffs.

Holcomb said he hadn’t heard directly from the council about its willingness to cross picket lines. If they do, they would be breaking a long Philadelphia tradition, he said.

The Guild’s best hope is that the newspaper delivery drivers also join them at the picket lines. The paper seems to have been lining up replacement reporters just in case… but with no drivers, there’s no papers.

November 30, 2006 at 5:28 pm Comments (0)

Losing Your Voice

The Patriot-News covers the lamentations of mid-state legislators who have lost their voice with the new Democrat majority.

The midstate members said they fear the change in House control leaves southcentral Pennsylvania with a diminished voice in the Legislature, especially with the ouster of Senate Majority Leader David “Chip” Brightbill, R-Lebanon. He lost to Mike Folmer in the Republican primary, then Folmer won the seat.


Some midstate Republicans worry that they will have a tougher time pressing for matters important to this region, such as guaranteeing extra state aid for fast-growing school districts. Other fights loom over changing funding formulas for systems as diverse as roads, aging and mental health/mental retardation to better reflect population shifts.


“I thought we were about to take a small step forward” in terms of legislative power and influence in the House, Nickol said, noting the impending rise of four midstate Republicans to committee posts. “Now, we’re taking a bigger step backward.”


The eight southcentral Pennsylvania counties had 25 House members in the Republican majority — nearly a quarter of the membership.

It’s unfortunate, indeed, but I bet a number of these guys were involved in all of the schemes that helped lose that majority. Casinos, pay raises, spending hikes, tax hikes, etc.

November 30, 2006 at 1:43 pm Comments (0)

Street: I’m Not Guilty


T. Milton Street Sr., 67, appeared very briefly in federal court in Philadelphia to enter the plea.
Prosecutors said that soon after his brother took office in 2000, Street began hiring himself out as a high-priced consultant to companies that wanted to do business with the city. One firm paid Street, who is a longtime hot dog vendor, a $30,000-a-month consulting fee and required him to do no work, authorities said.


He and two other businessmen face charges of mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns and related counts.


One of those businessman, Matthias A. Schwabe, plans to plead guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return and plans to testify against Street, his lawyer said.


“If the government wants him to be a witness, he will,” said Harvey A. Sernovitz, the lawyer for Schwabe, 38, of Malvern.


Schwabe had worked for one of the companies that hired Street as a consultant, Philadelphia Airport Services, as facilities maintenance manager.

I haven’t seen any pictures of Milton Street’s court appearance. Given his latest public image, I’m going to go out on a limb and say his jacket was from the House of Sanford.

Update: Hmm. See for yourself.


November 30, 2006 at 1:38 pm Comments (0)

Knox For Mayor

Another name in the field for Philadelphia mayor.

Tom Knox.

Standing just down the hill from the public housing project where he was born, businessman Tom Knox today declared himself a candidate for mayor.

A millionaire who made his fortune running an insurance company, Knox has been angling for the run for months, establishing a “Knox for Philly” website and running advertisements touting his opposition to gun violence. Today’s declaration made it official.

In announcing his campaign, Knox vowed to “take the For Sale sign off of City Hall,” a slap at the Street Administration which has found itself a target of federal corruption probes.


His website is

Tom joins a field already crowded with career politicians including US Rep Chaka Fattah, former City Councilman and current State Rep Dwight Evans, City Controller Jonathan Saidel and former Councilman Michael Nutter. Union leader John Dougherty is also rumored to be interested.

November 30, 2006 at 1:33 pm Comments (0)

Fake Driver’s Licenses for voting, or just for profit?

Apparently, there is villainy afooot.

Thieves targeted equipment for producing state drivers’ licenses in what state police say was a sophisticated burglary of the PennDOT Photo and Exam Center in the Hanover Industrial Estates Tuesday night.She labeled the incident “sophisticated” because whoever did it had to be familiar with the building’s layout and security system, and was aware of what computer equipment was important.“Whoever did this definitely knew what they were doing,” Brogan said.The perpetrators also did not attempt to take any money from the center.


Fake drivers’ licenses are desirable to people who want to hide their real identities, or to those who are not eligible for legitimate drivers’ licenses.


State police notified the FBI, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in Harrisburg and Gov. Ed Rendell’s office about the incident.

I’m intrigued at what sort of alarm system was used since it was so easily thwarted. And since they have alerted the FBI, I wonder if the USCIS (INS) or Homeland Security will be alerted? Hazelton township officials should be wary of this.

November 30, 2006 at 1:18 pm Comments (0)

Every Recommendation

…. except one.

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

Because plans for implementing the commission’s recommendations are still fluid, Democratic officials would not speak for the record. But aides on the House and Senate appropriations, armed services and intelligence committees confirmed this week that a reorganization of Congress would not be part of the package of homeland-security changes up for passage in the “first 100 hours” of the Democratic Congress.

“I don’t think that suggestion is going anywhere,” said Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee and a close ally of the incoming subcommittee chairman, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.). “That is not going to be their party position.”

Heaven forbid the Democrats have to reform the system they promised to reform.

November 30, 2006 at 1:12 pm Comments (0)

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