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No Teacher Strike in Erie

Millcreek Twp teachers reached an agreement avoiding a strike that was slated to begin on Thursday.

Full Article Here(Free Reg Required)

January 31, 2007 at 11:38 pm Comments (0)

Mumia Street

Grrr.

There’s a movement afoot to rename a street in Harlem to honor Mumia Abu-Jamal, the jailed former Philadelphia freelance radio reporter convicted of the 1981 murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

 

A petition went online back in September, and has been slowly attracting support – 421 signatures so far. The author is named Jeremy Syrop, and his Web site is freemumia.com, where one can download posters that trumpet the cause:

 

“Now is the time for Harlem to name a street after Mumia,” they read. “His life is in great danger and a ‘Mumia Street’ could help create a momentum to prevent an execution and even win a new trial.”

 

A second, identical petition at another online service has garnered 37 signatures.

 

But a third petition is proving to be much more popular – that would be the anti-Mumia drive. It went up last week, and within 48 hours had nearly 700 signatures. By last count, it had 5,155.

I’m not sure how many streets Officer Danny Faulkner has (i can think of one section of Roosevelt Blvd around 9th St)… but there definately isn’t one in France.

Sign here… currently at 10200 signatures.

(tip o’the hat to TrekMedic)

January 31, 2007 at 9:47 pm Comments (0)

Political Hard Knox

Tom Knox is happy.

Tom Knox toured Mercy Vocational Training High School in Hunting Park Wednesday, thrilled with his surge in the polls, a surge that is the result of his two-month TV ad blitz touting his humble beginnings.

 

The millionaire businessman is the only mayoral hopeful who’s taken to the airwaves so far. Knox claims he’s willing to go 15-million dollars deep into his own pockets to try to win.

 

Knox claims as a true outsider he is the only agent of change in this five-man derby.

 

“We need to get rid of the lucrative no-bid contracts,” said Knox Wednesday, “and we need to get rid of the pay-to-play politics. You know in Philadelphia, you need a team of lawyers and a political patron, and you have to pay both of them in order to get something done, and that’s not right.”

On the other hand, YoungPhillyPolitics is not happy.

Below, Gaetano talks about the same rumor I have heard: That City Council, in response to the self funding of Tom Knox, is about to repeal the campaign finance limits for the Mayor’s race.

 

I know you guys weren’t effected by the PA pay raise debacle. Are you looking for your own version of it? In a time when Philly is looking for clean politics, you are going to only return us back to square one?

Well, we know City Council reads the papers.

It looks sleazy, to be sure, but are changing campaign finance limits really the answer? How about running on ideas?

State Senators Mike Folmer and John Eichelberger beat two of the most powerful men in Harrisburg last spring based on ideas like good, clean government, and a change from the status-quo. … and they did it with relatively little cash.

Armed instead with a powerful message — opposition to incumbents’ support of a 16- to 54-percent legislative pay raise in July — many challengers were able to compete and, in some cases, win with a lot less money than their opponents.

 

Republican Mike Folmer’s campaign spent $2 per vote to defeat one of the most powerful state lawmakers in Pennsylvania. Senate Majority Leader David “Chip” Brightbill, R-Lebanon, spent $75 per vote and lost to Folmer on May 16 by almost a 2-1 margin.

 

Still, outsiders like Folmer for the first time in recent memory collected significant contributions from conservative groups [YCOP, Club for Growth, etc. -ed.] and influential GOP contributors upset with the direction of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party and its legislative leaders.

… and there was a close call too.

The pay raise issue allowed two little-known challengers to garner a combined 52 percent of the vote against House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Punxsutawney. Smith still won, with 48 percent of the vote.

 

Harry Bodenhorn, of Cold Spring, and Barbara Chestnut, of Brookville, spent $278 between them. Smith spent $55,399. Stephen Miskin, Smith’s aide, said Smith spent most of his money on other House races.

 

Bodenhorn, an auto mechanic, substitute teacher and part-time deputy sheriff, said in an interview he didn’t spend a dime. He ran four years ago and still had yard signs.

 

Chestnut, a grocery store worker, spent $278 for gasoline reimbursement and a Web page. Chestnut said her campaign largely consisted of “knocking on doors, talking to people and handing out my cards.”

Complaining about Knox’s cash isn’t going to get you elected. Working hard is. YPP has the idea. But they’re thinking of targeting the councilpersons who are going to lift the cap.

The cap ain’t the problem. We all know what it is.

January 31, 2007 at 8:16 pm Comments (0)

Re: Ellis' Poll

Fitz, I think the whole idea of questioning the polling in a race where the overwhelming majority of voters don’t know the candidates should be questioned first. As in, why make that an argument?

The major factors are party identification and prior election results. It’s silly to argue margins of error when the “don’t know” or “never heard of” are so high. I’m not a statistician, but I seem to remember that MofE is independent of the size of the election. It is dependant on the number polled, but not the size of the potentially pollable.

In any case, Castor has the advantage, and it’s a strong one, because DA is a very high profile position. The question is not Castor vs (insert Republican here) because Castor beats everyone.

The big question is “Can the Weber / Castor ticket survive the primary intact?” All of the candidates have indicated that they’re willing to go to the voters, not the party convention in March.

For the general, Hoeffel is the big question. If he’s in, it’s a race for third. Can Weber top Damsker, the incumbent?

Part of that answer lies in the margin of victory of the Weber/Castor ticket in May. A big win looks good. A close shave and/or a Matthews, Ellis, Harper, Govberg win will make things very, very bad for the Montco GOP come November.

At that point, look for the establishment leadership to blame Castor for all their problems.

January 31, 2007 at 7:56 pm Comments (0)

Re: Ellis's Poll

Ellis’s pollster claims his poll is better because his sample is 400 compared to Castor’s poll that had a sample of 300. As a political scientist I can speak somewhat authoritatively on this issues. First, 300 is an excellent sample size for statewide races.  The increase in accuracy of Ellis’s poll is meaningless for a countywide race. It is even more meaningless at this point in the process because polls are used to get general feeling not direct results. 

January 31, 2007 at 7:40 pm Comments (0)

Right To Know Expansion?

When everyone’s a reformer, anything is possible.

“My style is going to be to encourage openness across the board,” O’Brien told about 75 people at a luncheon opening the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s two-day government-affairs conference at a downtown hotel.

 

The Philadelphia Republican, who appointed a special panel to examine potential government reforms in the wake of a political firestorm ignited by the short-lived legislative pay raise of 2005, said he supports changing the state’s Right-to-Know Law to include a presumption that all government records, except specific ones, are open to the public. The present law guarantees access only to certain categories of records.

 

“There has to be a respect for privacy, there has to be a respect for ongoing police investigations” and similar situations, O’Brien said of prospective exceptions.

 

O’Brien said he also would support removing the Legislature’s present exemption from the Right-to-Know Law. He promised to meet with Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, who said last week that Senate Republicans are backing a plan to extend the law to cover legislative spending that is expected to reach $341 million this year.

January 31, 2007 at 7:39 pm Comments (0)

Montco Commish Polling

Last night (January 30th) the Montco Commissioner Tom Ellis had a presentation regarding the results of his “rebuttal” poll that was taken earlier this month.

The Evening Bulletin was there.

Ellis said Republicans should boast about their accomplishments while at the reigns of county government over the last 100 years, and the past four years in particular.

 

The poll showed voters favoring a generic Democrat ballot by 37 percent, with 36 percent favoring a generic Republican ballot.

 

“Yes, the Democrats are getting stronger. We know that, but the issues are there and the issues are on our side,” [Susquehanna Polling Associate's Jim] Lee said to the gathered Republican committeemen.

 

The poll showed that 63 percent of Montgomery voters believe the county is going in the right direction, but 58 percent didn’t recognize Tom Ellis and only 19 percent favored him.

 

Lee criticized another poll commissioned by District Attorney Bruce Castor for undersampling – Castor’s pollster sampled 300 likely voters while Ellis’ sampled 400 – adding that his poll has a higher degree of accuracy.

Despite claims that “it’s not an issue”, the Protection From Abuse order is still an issue.

Ellis’ poll did ask voters how much the allegations impacted their choice, but made no mention of physical abuse, only verbal and emotional. Lee said he wasn’t aware of any physical abuse allegations and only worked with the data he was given.

 

Fifty-four percent of polled voters said it was a non-issue.

 

Former County GOP Chairman Frank Bartle wasn’t convinced. Since 58 percent of voters didn’t know who Ellis was, Bartle said asking them which candidate they would vote for is a “crapshoot.”
Bartle likes Ellis personally, but believes that Castor and Weber are stronger candidates.

 

“I think that without a doubt, they make an outstanding team for the Republican Party in Montgomery County. They have impeccable credentials. They are as bright as any two people in the county, and I think they have tremendous opportunity to make an outstanding and lasting impression for the Republican Party and the county, which has been lacking,” Bartle said.

I think the response, or lack thereof, of the Democrats is most telling. They’re not saying a word. Typically someone would be out there pointing the finger at Ellis… and after the primary, if he makes it, that day will come. Attacking Ellis on that now, would only further boost Castor’s lead. They’re hoping he sneaks through.

January 31, 2007 at 5:59 pm Comments (0)

Re: Ed Helps Ed's Addicts

Mark, it’s only a matter of time before gambling addiction is covered by Ed’s looming health care plan.

Eddiecare will save us…. and them too.

January 31, 2007 at 4:45 pm Comments (0)

Re: Race for Philly Mayor

Daniel Urevick-Acklesberg advises a grain of salt when looking at the Keystone mayoral poll.

January 31, 2007 at 4:03 pm Comments (0)

Ed helps Ed's addicts

People with gambling problems and addictions have a friend in Pennsylvania. From PRNewsWire:

In anticipation of increased demand for help from problem gamblers and their families the CCGP will on February 1, 2007 expand their call referral network to provide 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week, year-round services from specially trained gambling counselors.

 

“We promise you will never get a busy signal, there will always be a live person taking your call and offering hope and help,” says the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania, Jim Pappas.

 

“This will allow us to refer callers to the closest Gamblers Anonymous, GamAnon or gambling counselor statewide, no matter what time of day, no matter how many callers are calling in at one time,” stated Joanna Franklin, Coordinator of Education and Training for the CCGP. The CCGP was incorporated in 1985 and has worked to offer prevention, education, referral and public awareness information on Problem and Compulsive Gambling.

 

The CCGP has received funds from the Pennsylvania Lottery since 1997. [emphasis mine]

Nice, Ed.

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January 31, 2007 at 3:48 pm Comments (0)

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