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Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Letter March 2008 Citizen Proposed Agenda Items Begin Full Review Voter Registry/Purge
March 24, 2008
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Chairman Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky
Commissioner Vincent Vicites
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink
Dear Fayette County Commissioners:
Since the courthouse was closed Friday for the Easter weekend, I didn't send this request within a 48-hour period for consideration at the Commissioners' Agenda Meeting.  I hope that doesn't detract from such consideration of the request for Tuesday.
In a past administration (1998), at the request of citizens, the board of commissioners adopted meeting rules which included an opportunity for citizens to make a formal presentation for an agenda item or items for board review and consideration.  After meeting rules were expanded to include this feature, my recollection is only a handful of items were presented by citizens during following Commissioners' Agenda Meeting.  A couple of items were adopted as agenda items by a majority-board vote, and were subsequently considered at the Regular Business Meeting. 
I would like to propose reconsideration of the idea for the commissioners' Agenda Meeting of March 25, 2008.  There are four other items I would like to present to the board for consideration which could be adopted at a later Agenda Meeting.  If needed, supplementary material can be made available for those at that time.
Should an item/s be adopted by a majority board vote for placement on the Business Meeting of March 27, 2008, of course, the board would proceed as per public meeting requirements for consideration of such for either adoption or rejection.
Prosposed Citizens' Recommended Agenda Items
1.  Adopt a procedural rule which would enable citizen/s to propose Agenda Item/s to be considered for placement on the Agenda Meeting of the board of commissioners.
Reasoning:  Non-governmental agencies or organizations appear to have a greater opportunity than citizens who are not affiliated with any particular organization to access to local government.  Cases in point are the Fayette Chamber of Commerce with the Hotel Occupancy Tax,  (Tourism Alliance supports tax on hotel rooms By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard 03/19/2008), and as in the past and near future, Fay Penn Economic Development Council and its proposal (1999) for Keystone Opportunity Zones.
2.  Adopt a Resolution in support of federal legislation known as HR 5036.  Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 17, 2008, the bill known as the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 and sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt remains on-hold in two House committees.  State and local elected officials are being asked to support the bill which could provide local funding for the adoption of a paper ballot voting system in whole or in part for the Presidential Election of 2008. 
3.  Adopt a resolution for the county Voter Registration Commission/Election Board to authorize the Election Bureau to begin a full and official review of the county voter registration rolls which would include official mailings and a potential subsequent 'purge' of ineligible electors remaining on the rolls.
4.  Adopt two resolutions of understanding concerning state H.B. 2297, introduced by Rep. Cherelle Parker, and co-sponsored by Rep. Peter J. Daley which unanimously passed out of a state commerce committee.  The bill concerns Keystone Opportunity Zones and extensions of the program. According to a March 12, 2008 report Daley expedites governor's economic recovery plan
The first part of the proposed legislation would authorize local municipalities and school districts to extend expiration dates of existing undeveloped property within KOZs. It would allow a local option to choose a seven-year extension for the subzone or grant a seven-year extension in which zone benefits would not accrue until a company locates within the zone, at which point zone benefits would be in effect for 10 years from the dates of occupancy...
http://www.pahouse.com/pr/049031208.asp
One resolution of understanding would pertain to a rejection of any extensions for already designated KOZs in Fayette County or any swapping of lands in the zones, or subzones which involve already established KOZ designations for property zoned for development that could include hotels, conference centers, and housing developments.
The other resolution of understanding applies to rejecting any further proposals for Keystone Opportunity Zones in Fayette County while the state legislature continues to fail to provide for full property tax elimination, particulary regarding school property taxation, but not exclusive to that.
Thank you for your consideration of these proposals.
I will attempt to present these at the Agenda Meeting Tuesday.

Posted by pa/truthonline at 1:36 PM EDT
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Letter March 2008 Voter Registration Purge Ineligibles
Dear Commissioner
Re:  Fayette County voter registration rolls/database
A matter I would like to bring to your attention concerning election matters is the status of the county voter registration rolls/database.  Hopefully you will have several weeks to review this and related material and come to some determination about the situation.
Anything that encompasses carrying out the voting right of citizens should be pursued with protection of the right weighing more than so-called cost effectiveness and the like.
Costs elsewhere should be cut if necessary to carry out these required duties of office as I have noted in posts online .  (See below)
One of the citizen proposals I've suggested is the following:
 Adopt a resolution for the county Voter Registration Commission/Election Board to authorize the Election Bureau to begin a full and official review of the county voter registration rolls which would include official mailings and a potential subsequent 'purge' of ineligible electors remaining on the rolls.
The submission requests the commissioners to consider taking official action between the end of the Primary and Nov. 4, 2008.
Recently, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing on a bill submitted to the committee.  
http://www.rules.senate.gov/
As I watched some of the hearing, issues noted by panelists during the discussion brought back the concerns about the Fayette County voter registration database.
During testimony, panel members were focused on aspects of the Motor Voter Law of 1993, and the Voting Rights Act, and legislation presented by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D, Rhode Island) concerning Robo-calls and Vote Caging.
C-Span broadcast the proceedings of the Committee on Wed. 2/27/08. 
http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/cspan.csp?command=dprogram&record=561811633
To my understanding the bill is S. 2305 IS
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:1:./temp/~c110CDx68E::
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman, commented the new legislation appeared to have a potential impact on local election officials which might preclude election officials from determining the status of deceased persons, and removing such names from the voter rolls when the status was detemined per election laws.
While Sen. Whitehouse spoke on his legislation, the discussion remains unsettling.
Senator Bennett, Ranking Member, commented on the 'bloated' voter registration rolls around the nation and how that provides an untenable situation inviting tampering.  (He mentioned investigations continuing in a few states, including PA, regarding allegations concerning an ACORN voting registration drive a mere few years back.)
Other valuable points were discussed throughout the hearing (the latter portion I viewed).
I urge you to obtain information about the hearing, and subsequently voter registration management concerns noted by one of the panelists I heard, Bradley King, Co-Director, Indiana, Election Division. 
I urge you to consider initiating the county process (per federal and state law) to remove those names from the Fayette voter registration listing which are ineligible electors, those being names of deceased, and those confirmed to have established permanent residency out of the state, and others, remaining potentially on Fayette County's voter registration database. 
In your capacity as a member of the Fayette Voter Registration Commission, you may have some standing to present a motion or cause action for a review of the county's voter registration database, which reportedly consists of some 89,377 electors.
...After a population upswing from 145,351 to 148,644 during the 1990s, Fayette's residency slipped to 145,760 through July 1, 2006, according to the March U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

The number of registered votes has ticked steadily upward, with 89,377 listed through the April 16 close of registration...


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/election/s_507439.html
According to the testimony before the Committee, counties per federal law had approximately a 90-day window outside of an election to follow to meet those requirements.
A window of opportunity far greater than that presents itself between Pennsylvania's Primary and General Elections during this crucial Presidential Election year. 
Every Fayette County eligible voter's rights of course must be protected per our federal U.S.Constitution and PA Constitution. 
At the same time, It has long been recognized that a single instance of election and/or voter fraud waters down the rights of all others, however.
An accurate voter registration database is no less a right of all electors than any other, in my opinion.
It is unconscionable that county officials might continue to use 'lack of funding' as an excuse for not carrying out one of the duties of the elected office at the same time the county is about to spend $580,120 for a voting system. 
My comments on related election issues have spanned an almost 13-year period, unbelievably so.  Starting in 1995, I had approached then commissioners about the Election Board consisting of the same officials who comprise the board of commissioners (except in years when incumbents seek re-election), and requested the board look into appointments, or even separate elections, consisting of judges, attorneys, and in the case of elections, any qualified persons.
Since then, I've also requested the boards look into hiring of a county "inspector of voter registration."  All went unaddressed in previous years.
In Fayette lacks funds to cull registration roll By Chris Foreman TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, May 13, 2007, Fayette Judge Leskinen is quoted saying during the proceedings wherein Mark Roberts challenged hundreds of signatures on the petitions of his Democratic primary opponent, Sean Lally.:
"I think that the database should be upgraded so that married names and addresses are updated more rapidly, but that requires the expenditure of money that the county evidently does not have."
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/fayette/s_507440.html
Even given inflation, doubling, or tripling the cost, the price would be well-worth the effort of a necessary mailing conducted by the county.
According to Mr. Foreman's Fayette lacks funds to cull registration roll:
The Department of State also advises that counties may implement an annual confirmation mailing program by sending a notice to all registered voters.
 
But Fayette commissioners have never found room in the general fund for that expense.
While commissioners are about to find funding to make additional purchases related to our county voting systems, they should also do what has "never" been done before.
Find room to assure an accurate voter registration database before Nov. 4, 2008.
Thank you for your time.
Cordially,
Friday, March 23, 2007
Fayette Judge: county voter database needs update

http://netthetruthonline.blogspot.com/2007/03/fayette-judge-county-voter-database.html
October 20, 2007 Political Watch:  Government Intrusion Into Recreation (Net the Truth Online) What about spending some of that bond money for the constitutional duties the county commissioners are obligated to do - like making sure the voter registration database of some almost 90,000 names is squeaky clean - purged of names of the deceased, and other ineligibles?

The commissioners don't have a plan for ensuring every name on the voter registration database is eligible and accurate, but they'll quickly implement a first-ever Fayette County park, recreation, open space and greenway plan.
Fayette lacks funds to cull registration roll
By Chris Foreman
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Fayette's rolls again came under inspection this spring after incumbent Controller Mark Roberts challenged hundreds of signatures on the petitions of his Democratic primary opponent, Sean Lally. Leskinen and Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Joseph F. McCloskey ruled that Lally had enough signatures to stay on Tuesday's ballot.

In an interesting snag, Leskinen refrained from ruling on several women's signatures because of the possibility they might have married or moved since they registered but failed to inform the county.

The Pennsylvania Voter Registration Act permits valid signatures by persons who have moved or married, or both, since the November 2004 election, even if they haven't filed a registration change, according to Leskinen's written opinion in the case.

The exception is if the citizen already has voted once since moving.

"I think that is unfortunate," Leskinen wrote. "I think that the database should be upgraded so that married names and addresses are updated more rapidly, but that requires the expenditure of money that the county evidently does not have."

Senate Committee
Rules and Administration
Washington, District of Columbia (United States)
Robocalls and Vote Caging
Rules and Administration Committee holds a hearing, "Protecting Voters at Home and at the Polls: Limiting Abusive Robocalls and Vote Caging Practices." Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, and North Carolina state Attorney General Roy Cooper testify. Location: 301 Russell Senate Office Building. Contact: 202/224-6352

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080227/NATION05/388161541/1002/NATION&template=nextpage
S 2305 IS
S.2624 - A bill to regulate political robocalls.
Sponsor: Senator Feinstein, Dianne (introduced 2/12/2008)

http://rules.senate.gov/newsroom/Bills.html

Posted by pa/truthonline at 10:18 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Firearms protection org wants gun rights protected: warns about PA Clean Sweep movement
Do not miss this "debate."

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/12982?threaded=1&var=1

Firearms Owners Against Crime www.foac-pac.org

Please read the article on this web link under "SPECIAL REPORT" [full text
also below]. The fallout from this primary while on first glance seems great,
may in the end not provide the "freedom" you hoped for. As far as your pro-2nd
amendment gun rights in PA, you can kiss them good bye in PA. 12 years of
building to protect these rights have just been wiped out. Have a
constitutional convention, and this right will no doubt be the first to go since
there is
no one left to protect it. Only 6 Clean Sweep candidates passed the FOAC
(Firearms Owners Against Crime) survey as "pro 2nd amendment". Your gun rights,
hunter or not, will be on the chopping block within the first year, make no
mistake. Common Cause is drueling at the opportunity here to bring the anti-gun
grab in. The first law has already been proposed...a 1 gun a month law for PA.
This is what comes from running elections based on one single issue, to the
exclusion of all else that is important.

Dan
Pittsburgh
_____

PA Primary 2006a?”Political Backlash Or
Political Terrorism


This is an article that I had hoped I would never have to write but thus far
in the Pennsylvania elections, gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters have
been decimated in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Leading up to the
primary there were 30 retirements in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Of these retirements 23 were pro-gun supporters. In the 2006 primary election
15 incumbents lost in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives 13 of which
were pro-gun supporters. This leaves gun owners with a net loss of 36 pro-gun
legislators. I will be blunt-these are devastating losses. Perhaps the single
greatest loss was in the 6th District-Pennsylvania House of Representatives
where Teresa Forcier lost. Coming in a very close second is the loss in the 42nd
District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where Tom Stevenson also
lost. Some will say that they lost to opponents who are as pro-gun as they
are but the demographics of the District show that there is a very real
possibility that in November the challengers who unseated the incumbents will
very
likely lose to anti-gun opponents who WOULD support the next pay raise. Are
THESE examples of the Pay Raise opponenta?™s version of victory?

Between voter apathy and outrage over the pay raise, a number of our best
legislators have been sent to the unemployment line. Some justify this as an
acceptable loss to get at the really bad legislators, but will it really get at
the bad legislators? The answer is a resounding NO! Of the leaders in the
legislature who bullied, cajoled, and otherwise twisted arms to force
legislators to
support the pay raise /unvouchered expense account legislation only 2 were
removed, Senator Jubelirer and Senator Brightbill. The ones that remain are Gov.
Rendell, Supreme Court Justice Cappy, Senator Mellow, Representatives John
Perzel, Bill DeWeese, and Mike Veon. Considering political realities, it is very
likely that most of these remaining legislative leaders will remain once the
smoke clears in the general election of 2006.

Why is the above important? Because while all this anti-incumbent fervor is
sweeping through Pennsylvania politics, gun owners political fortunes will very
likely be thrown into the dark ages. There are 54 more pro-gun legislators in
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who have a contested race for the
fall. If gun owners do not get involved in this election we could very well be
handing to Ed Rendell and Sarah Brady our right to bear arms on a silver
platter. Of course you're probably thinking that the challengers to the
incumbents
are probably pro-gun but that would be a mistake! This is how the Election
breaks down at this point in time in our knowledge base as far as the candidates
(philosophically) on the gun issue:



Open Seats (two candidates/no incumbenta?”Remember most of these districts were
previously pro-gun): 11 Candidates Identified as Pro-Gun a?“ 55 are either
anti-gun OR unknown

Challengers to Pro-Gun Incumbents:

7 Candidates Identified as Pro-Gun a?“ 47 are either anti-gun OR unknown

**(Unknown means that they did not return an FOAC Survey or respond in any
way)

As you can see from the above, Firearms Owners Against Crime has an enormous
amount of work ahead of us just to communicate with and identify
(philosophically) the candidates and, frankly, we cannot do this without your
help! It is
also important to point out that a?˜everya?™ candidate for a statewide office
receives the FOAC questionnaire prior to the Primary and each winner will
receive
an additional one with a request to communicate with us on these issues.
Those that fail to respond receive a follow up and in certain cases more than
one. It is also worth pointing out that of all the candidates who refer to
themselves as a?˜Clean Sweepersa?™ nearly 80% are either anti-gun or refused to
answer
multiple questionnaires and yet not ONE has been rejected or removed from the
Clean Sweep roles due to an a?˜unconstitutional positiona?™ on YOUR Right to
Bear Arms. Isna?™t this why PA Clean Sweep wants ALL the incumbents removed,
because the Pay Raise was a?˜unconstitutionala?™?

At this time the legislature has before it the most pro-gun political agenda
ever offered in this state. This has been the result of years and years of
hard work, grassroots lobbying, and intensive discussions with legislators
through which we have built a level of trust and understanding. We are in danger
of
losing all of this in this period of political terrorism. In essence, the
group Pennsylvania Clean Sweep HAS put at risk all of our constitutional
freedoms
to make a Darwinian point about their narrow-minded view of the pay raise and
how politics works. Let's be frank, even if all of the incumbents were
removed, the political power structure of the behind-the-scenes movers and
shakers
would remain. One of the advantages of seniority and experience as a legislator
is that you are somewhat insulated on certain issues and can resist
manipulation. Since it does not appear that Leadership will be removed, then all
of
these new legislators will be at the mercy of the process that remains
unchanged.


Some of you will disagree with these points but, keep in mind, that these are
ones that have been developed and sharpened over a 20-year period of
involvement in politics. We have developed a unique, in our view, method of
dealing
with these issues by educating and communicating with all the legislators. We
only ask them to do the right thing by supporting issues factually and without
bias and absent political manipulation and strong-arm tactics. Effective public
policy must be based on the truth and this is the central point and
foundation of our approach to legislators that has gained us so much respect,
even from
those who are considered to be anti-gun.

Therefore, what we're saying is that the solution to issues like gun control
or even the pay raise is not some a?œwea?™ll show thema? attitude that ends up
leaving destruction in its wake with no REAL solution or recognition of how
politics works. The true solution is for a steady, continuous, intense
involvement,
on the part of citizens, in the political process. This has been shown
through our work over the long term to yield very positive results. The fact is
that
we don't discipline children in school with a nuclear bomb (the PA Clean
Sweep approach), instead we single out the perpetrators and discipline them
individually and this is exactly the approach that Firearms Owners Against Crime
has
when dealing with legislators at election time.

Basically it's up to you; do YOU want to sacrifice all the good will and hard
work that we've built up over this last generation as well as our Freedoms
and Rights for this pay raise issue? Unfortunately thus far the answer has been
yes in it least 13 districts but if more pro-gun legislators are unemployed in
November then once January 2007 rolls around WE WILL ALL RUE THE DAY!



Pro-Gun Incumbents Who Lost in 2006 PA Primary
District
Status
Party
LastName
FirstName
City/County
District 10
Incumbent
Dem
LaGrotta
Frank
Ellwood City

District 112
Incumbent
Dem
Belardi
Fred
Scranton

District 38
Incumbent
Dem
Ruffing
Kenneth W.
West Mifflin

District 100
Incumbent
Rep
Armstrong
Gib
Strasburg

District 102
Incumbent
Rep
Zug
Peter J.
Lebanon

District 125
Incumbent
Rep
Allen
Bob
Pottsville

District 130
Incumbent
Rep
Leh
Dennis E.
Douglassville

District 187
Incumbent
Rep
Semmel
Paul W.
Schnecksville

District 42
Incumbent
Rep
Stevenson
Tom
Pittsburgh

District 6
Incumbent
Rep
Forcier
Teresa
Venango

District 90
Incumbent
Rep
Fleagle
Patrick E.
Waynesboro

District 91
Incumbent
Rep
Maitland
Stephen R.
Gettysburg

District 97
Incumbent
Rep
Baldwin
Roy E.
Lancaster

End

Diamond's Response is chilling

Dan-

The Constitution of Pennsylvania has not been changed. The right of
the citizens to bear arms STILL "shall not be questioned."

If and when someone tries to change that, you will have an opportunity
to voice your opinion. If it's at a constitutional convention, then you
should run for delegate and get FOAC members all over the Commonwealth
to do the same.

I assure you I will be at the front of the pack if anyone tries to
abridge this particular right.

For those of you who DO think we ought to have gun control in PA, you
should consider why the right to bear arms is included in both our
Constitutions.

Was it for hunting purposes? NO

Was it so collectors could have nice shiny guns to admire? NO

Was it because they wanted a "wild west" mentality complete with
vigilante justice? NO

Was it for self-defense and the protection of our property? YES, YES, A
THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!

But it's not just to protect ourselves from common burglars... think
about it.

Dan, I spoke with Kim Stolfer early on and he expressed the same
concern to me. My question then was, and still is now: If this
legislature, as a body, does not give a hoot about the plain language
of Article II, Section 8 (and if individual members refuse to protest
when others violate it), why on earth do you think they'll treat
Article I, Section 21 any differently?

Now my questions to you are: Why were the results of the FOAC survey
NOT submitted to PACleanSweep so we could help educate any candidates
FOAC had concerns about? Why, instead, did a FOAC member go on Quinn &
Rose and recklessly accuse PACleanSweep of being a "lefty" group tied
to George Soros, among other ridiculous and unfounded claims?

PACleanSweep has also been accused of being a front for the extreme
right, BTW, another ridiculous assertion.

Plain & Simple Truth: Anyone who did not get re-elected was deemed by
the voters of their own district to be unworthy of re-election.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/message/12987?threaded=1&var=1&p=1

Diamond's Plans

http://www.russdiamond.org/issues.html#top

Abolish Property Taxes


Calling property taxes "unfair, punitive and unconstitutional," Russ Diamond, Independent for Governor, today published his proposal for abolishing all property taxes in Pennsylvania on his campaign website in both written and audio formats.

Diamond set himself apart from other gubernatorial candidates by pointing out that property taxes run counter to the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides for the protection of every citizen's right of "acquiring, possessing and protecting property."

"By taxing and threatening to take our property if we can't pay, government is violating a right it is specifically charged with protecting," Diamond said today. "Property rights are clearly spelled out in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution and are included among the most important rights we have.

http://www.russdiamond.org/cgi-bin/news.cgi?action=one&search_for=99917&search_field=4







Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:07 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006 10:04 AM EDT
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Sunday, 4 June 2006
Editorial headline promotes idea Marines are already accused (in court) of killing Iraqi civilians
This blog has moved to blogspot where it will be updated regularly (easier and comes up in search engines)

http://netthetruthonline.blogspot.com/

Only reading the headlines so I can enjoy my morning coffee, noon Propel, afternoon tea, and evening nightcap, OK as equally outraged as the Herald-Standard and with you on the open records and accountability of our state's legislature and judicial system.

Herald-Standard, Uniontown, PA Wows & Scowls

Scowl: Anyone predisposed to thinking poorly of the state court system (see "Pay Raise, July 2005") could find plenty of fodder in a ruling by Commonwealth Court against this newspaper. That court earlier this year dismissed our right-to-know lawsuit against state Rep. Larry Roberts, regarding disclosure of this taxpayer-subsidized telephone records.

Acting like a collective Quick-Draw McGraw, that court did so without holding a fact-finding hearing or taking into consideration Roberts' testimony during a January deposition. It's your money and we think you deserve to know how it's spent by state legislators like Roberts. But guess what? The state court system, like the legislature, is exempt from the state's open records law.

Because we believe strongly in the principle of public accountability of tax dollars, we're appealing to the state Supreme Court for a second time, spending our own money in the process. You're paying for Roberts defense in this six-year legal struggle. Clap if you think that's a good and appropriate use of your tax dollars...

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.asp?brd=2280&pag=460&dept_id=468517

Not with you on this - Should John Murtha and the media prove wrong, they should suffer consequences. The situation is that Iraqi witnesses in Haditha have accused Marines of killing innocent civilians. Haditha is a stronghold of so-called Insurgents, and one group has been deemed terroristic. What do you think poor and fearful Iraqis are going to say? Are they going to say, by the way, the terrorists have put the fear of death in us, holding guns and bombs to our heads, so we better not tell you what happened here that makes the U.S. Marines look like heroes.

See my new blogspot postings (links here unable to highlight to click)

http://netthetruthonline.blogspot.com/

Net the Truth Online: Should the Iraqis' Accounts of Marines Killing Innocents Prove False Rep. Murtha and Media Using anonymous sources should suffer

Herald-Standard
Bad situation: Marines accused of killing Iraqi civilians
War is a messy business where mistakes can be made, but if it's true that U.S. Marines killed two dozen Iraqi civilians last November, including women and children, that misstep will only serve to further undermine an increasingly shaky U.S. mission.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.asp?brd=2280&pag=460&dept_id=468517

Posted by pa/truthonline at 8:17 AM EDT
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Monday, 22 May 2006
PA Clean Sweep Candidate's Mistrust Voting Machines Didn't Bother Voting For Self
A PA Clean Sweep candidate didn't trust the new electronic voting machines, touch screen, in his voting district, so he didn't approach election officials and demand to vote on a paper ballot.

Instead, Drake Minder stayed away from the polls on Primary election day, and didn't cast any votes, even one for himself.

Unfortunate and misguided. The candidate could have made a huge impact on the controversy over paperless electronic voting systems.

It's too bad the candidate didn't have anyone to advise him to test the claim that a paper ballot at the precinct is not available to voters in counties which adopted the electronic direct recording voting systems.

Had Net the Truth On-Line been aware of this man's plight, we'd have sent him all of our research on the Help America Vote Act and what we've found.

See my Vote Fixhttp://dirtline.tripod.com/votefix/

The paper ballot was never denied by federal HAVA regulations or by Pennsylvania law as a right of an individual to be obtained at the polling place.

The paper ballot access was not limited to only absentee ballots.

It could not be limited by any law, as the paper ballot access must remain part of any adopted voting system.

If an electronic voting machine system totally breaks down, paper ballots were at the ready as a backup.

However, that condition could not limit the paper ballot access at the polling place either.

Even if your county adopted only the electronic direct recording machines as the primary voting system, because other counties also adopted a dual system, which included both electronic voting systems, and paper ballots with optical scan, such as Lancaster County and Allegheny County, the individual in another PA county would have the legal right to demand a paper ballot at the polling place.

Otherwise, if the individual had been denied this right at the polling precinct, a civil lawsuit could have been brought if the individual was turned away from the polling place.

My suggestion is for Minder to learn from his mistake, and test the laws of Pennsylvania even further. He should have a write-in campaign in the Fall. The law has never been tested wherein a defeated Primary candidate, which Minder was, (even though he didn't vote for himself) could still win in November's election if the candidate received enough write-in votes to win in the General Election.

Of course, Minder would have to first come clean about his own mistake to not test the PA election laws which adopted HAVA, and federal laws, regarding paper ballot access at the polling precinct.

He could have a precedent-setting second chance in the Fall with a write-in campaign on his behalf.

Orloski prevails in state Senate primary
Will face Browne in November. Opponent Minder blasts voting machines, says he won't run again.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006
By MEGHAN SMITH
The Express-Times
Rick Orloski topped Drake Minder on Tuesday for the Democratic nomination in the state's 16th Senatorial District, according unofficial election results.

By a ratio of about 2 to 1, early numbers show voters overwhelmingly chose Orloski, who lost the race for the same district in 2002.




Minder's defeat marks his fourth and, according to the Allentown resident, his final loss.

"I'm outraged by the voting machines," Minder said Tuesday night. "I didn't even vote today."

He said he stayed home from the polls because he didn't believe votes from the new touch-screen system could be verified, characterizing the new process as "unfair" and "unjust."

"If we can't verify our vote, we can't verify anything," Minder said.

A part-time truck driver and former adjunct professor, Minder focused his campaign on creating more open government.

The 44-year-old PA Clean Sweep candidate called for property tax reform that would prevent municipalities and counties from taxing the first $25,000 of the assessed value of a home.

In previous elections Minder ran as an independent. He said Tuesday he was "discouraged" by Tuesday's results and has no plans to run for office again. He said he would give away his campaign signs to "anyone who wants to carry the torch."

http://www.pennlive.com/news/expresstimes/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1147840169221190.xml&coll=2


Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:52 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 10:58 AM EST
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Sunday, 21 May 2006
Shockwave? Shockwave shatters Pa. politics? PA Republicans Booted while PA Democrats Retained. Sock and Wave Bye-Bye
Shockwave, so says the Tribune-Review headline? Shockwave shatters Pa. politics.

What Election Returns have the trio of Trib writers been reading?

Trib writing Trio knows better, ya think?

No mention in the piece about how 4 to 1 more incumbent Republicans were defeated in the PA Primary Election. That's just misleading journalism, and likely has a hidden motive to make the ONE-SIDED regrouping look more than it is and like voters want both parties to embrace change in Harrisburg.

Not. A dozen Republicans facing direct Primary challengers were defeated in the Primary by their own base of fiscal conservatives.

Not. 3, that's right, just 3 Democrat incumbents facing direct Primary challengers were defeated in the Primary by their own base of liberal liberals.

Yet, this a massive shockwave of evidence of the choice for change, a shockwave that SHATTERS PA politics, and a message to all in both political parties in Pennsylvania to hurry up on those reform proposals.

What does expert political analyst G. Terry Madonna say? (NYT) As the party moves right, Dr. Madonna said, "the moderate Republicans may vote for Democrats now."

Can you hear the liberal laughing in the coffee houses now? The Republicans are tough on their own. Shhaa. They might catch on.

Washington Post headliner: Anti-Incumbent Voters Sent Messages Tuesday

The truth is, PA Republican base of ultra conservatives are holding their own representatives accountable, and would be doing that despite the July 2005 pay raise. John Eichelberger said as much in his comments.

Eichelberger was endorsed by Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik.

The pay raise and unvouchered expense accounts were added fuel to the fire.

Look also at the statewide turnout of voters for November 2005 approximately 25 percent, and according to at least one report for Primary election 2006 only 20 percent for statewide voter turnout - so telling. There has actually been a dwindling of interest among diehard politically party affiliated for such an important and key Primary election when only 20 percent turn out.

Shouldn't that tell us something? You bet it does. There is no massive outcry for overall change in government in Pennsylvania.

Those voters who care enough to go vote the one chance they get to send a message to their own political party are the core voters who will go vote for or against their own - and those voters amounted to a blip on the PA radar - 20 percent.

That Democrats retained Rep. DeWeese, Minority Party key architect of the infamous pay raise speaks volumes but the Trib trio of writers think that's a Shockwave that shatters PA politics?

Democrat Mike Veon, who even voted against the repeal of the pay raise was retained by Democrats voting for the status quo yet that's a shockwave that shatters PA politics?

Republicans booted; Democrats retained. That's the truth. Democrats Socked it to Republicans and are waving bye-bye... (Net the Truth On-Line)


Trib: 17 incumbent legislators defeated last Tuesday in the primary election, including the top two Republican leaders in the Senate. (Shockwave shatters Pa. politics By Brad Bumsted, Debra Erdley and Mike Wereschagin, Tribune-Review, Sunday, May 21, 2006)

NYT: A revolt among Pennsylvania conservatives gained national attention on Wednesday after challengers toppled at least 12 state lawmakers they deemed insufficiently committed to small government and fiscal restraint. (G.O.P. Conservatives Topple Veteran State Lawmakers in Pennsylvania By JASON DePARLE New York Times, Published: May 18, 2006)


Trib: In all, 61 of 198 incumbent lawmakers had primary opponents -- more than at any time in the last 26 years. (Shockwave shatters Pa. politics By Brad Bumsted, Debra Erdley and Mike Wereschagin, Tribune-Review, Sunday, May 21, 2006)

Trib: On Election Night, DeWeese, another architect of the pay raise, breathed a sigh of relief at his margin of victory and shouldered his share of the blame for the upheaval that had claimed his colleagues. (Shockwave shatters Pa. politics By Brad Bumsted, Debra Erdley and Mike Wereschagin, Tribune-Review, Sunday, May 21, 2006)

NYT: While conservatives were cheering, G. Terry Madonna, an election analyst at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., said the results could cheer Democrats, as well.

Dr. Madonna pointed to a special election in Chester County, outside Philadelphia, where a Democrat, Andrew Dinniman, won a Senate seat in a district dominated by Republicans. As the party moves right, Dr. Madonna said, "the moderate Republicans may vote for Democrats now."

On blogs and talk radio shows, conservatives have been engaged in an intramural debate about whether to work hard in the November Congressional elections or sit them out to punish Republican Party leaders... (G.O.P. Conservatives Topple Veteran State Lawmakers in Pennsylvania By JASON DePARLE New York Times, Published: May 18, 2006)

Shockwave shatters Pa. politics
By Brad Bumsted, Debra Erdley and Mike Wereschagin
TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, May 21, 2006

At 11 p.m. July 6, 2005, Pennsylvania's General Assembly finally had adopted a new budget, and lawmakers were wrapping up an 11-day session that had gone around-the-clock through the holiday weekend.
One last order of business remained before the summer recess -- a pay-raise vote that came in the early morning hours of July 7.

The political upheaval that vote triggered was about to become unprecedented in Pennsylvania.

Ten months later, after Primary 2006 votes were counted May 16, the overall toll became clear.

First, in November, a Supreme Court justice ousted on a retention vote;

• 30 lawmakers over the fall and winter decided to retire, rather than face the wrath of voters in the spring;

• 17 incumbent legislators defeated last Tuesday in the primary election, including the top two Republican leaders in the Senate.

This is the story -- gleaned from interviews with legislators, staffers, challengers and political observers -- of the 10 months of events that resulted in what defeated Republican Sen. Robert Jubelirer calls "a political earthquake in Pennsylvania..."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_454821.html

G.O.P. Conservatives Topple Veteran State Lawmakers in Pennsylvania
By JASON DePARLE New York Times
Published: May 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, May 17 ? A revolt among Pennsylvania conservatives gained national attention on Wednesday after challengers toppled at least 12 state lawmakers they deemed insufficiently committed to small government and fiscal restraint

Among those losing their positions in a Republican primary on Tuesday were the two State Senate leaders, Robert C. Jubelirer and David J. Brightbill, who had 56 years of incumbency between them and vastly outspent their upstart rivals.

Facing a tire salesman with little political experience, Mr. Brightbill, the majority leader, outspent his opponent nearly 20 to 1 and still captured just 37 percent of the vote.

"My campaign has always been about making Republicans Republican again," the winner, Mike Folmer of Lebanon, said. "Republicans have controlled the Legislature here since 1995, but the size, the scope and even the ineffectiveness of our government has continued to grow."

The results drew cheers from conservatives nationally, many of whom voice similar criticisms of Republican incumbents in Washington and have threatened their own revolts.

The Fiscal Restraint Coalition, a network of organizations calling for smaller government, sent out an e-mail message saying the election showed "that the fiscal restraint message is a winner."

Captain's Quarters, a conservative blog, said the election would "serve notice on the G.O.P. that it cannot take conservative votes for granted."

But others, while celebrating the results, saw danger for the party.

"It shows a very worrisome, elevated level of anger and frustration on the part of Republicans," said Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, which supports low taxes and small government. "In a primary, they can vent that by voting for challengers. The problem is, in a general election they stay home. It's a very worrisome sign for Republicans in Washington."

In Pennsylvania, the incumbents' fall was extraordinary. No Senate leader had lost a primary challenge since 1964.

"And we took out two last night," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative group in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania conservatives had long accused the Republican leaders of the Legislature of being too quick to go along with Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat. In two of the last three state budgets, Mr. Brouillette said, the Legislature approved more spending than Mr. Rendell had requested.

The smoldering anger among Pennsylvania conservatives caught fire last summer when the Republican-controlled Legislature approved pay increases of up to 54 percent for elected officials in all three branches of government.

"That was the Alamo," Mr. Folmer said. After an outpouring of criticism, the lawmakers rescinded the increase, but they could not rescind the anger.

In some races, the groundwork for a primary challenge had been laid. John Eichelberger, who defeated Mr. Jubelirer, the Senate president pro tempore, had been contemplating the race even before the increase in pay.

In doing so, Mr. Eichelberger said, he had the support of several wealthy Pennsylvanians, including Bob Guzzardi, a member of the Club for Growth who commissioned a poll of the district in the Altoona region by Kellyanne Conway, a pollster here.

After entering the race, Mr. Eichelberger received an endorsement from Mr. Toomey, who also helped him raise money. Mr. Toomey, a former congressman, is prominent among Pennsylvania conservatives for having nearly beat a moderate Republican, Arlen Specter, in a United States Senate primary in 2004.

Mr. Eichelberger, along with three other conservative challengers, created a campaign document, "Promise to Pennsylvania," modeled after the "Contract With America" that the Republicans used in 1994 to capture Congress.

It called for stricter regulation of lobbyists, term limits, tort reform and the vote of three-fifths of the Legislature before raising taxes. Three of the four signers won. The fourth is clinging to a narrow lead.

"People are just tired of Republicans who don't represent the bedrock conservative values of the party," Mr. Eichelberger said. "They're Republican in name only. If you're going to be a Republican, be a Republican..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/18/us/18repubs.html?_r=1&oref=login

Media Matters May 18, 2006 3:46pm EST

In further support of their assertion that Tuesday's results signaled potential election woes for incumbents from both parties, Balz and Cillizza cited the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, released May 16, which found that 55 percent of respondents indicated that they are inclined to consider a new Congressional candidate, while 35 percent said they preferred to vote for an incumbent. However, the Post report omitted other findings from the same poll showing that, were the elections held today, respondents would be more likely to vote Democratic by a margin of 52 percent to 40 percent.

The poll also asked respondents which party they would they like to see in control of Congress after the congressional elections, regardless of their own local race -- respondents preferred Democrats by an even wider margin: 56 percent to 33 percent. Further, a separate analysis of the poll published in the May 17 edition of the Post, written by Balz and staff writer Richard Morin, noted that "Democrats are now favored to handle all 10 issues measured in the Post-ABC News poll."

http://mediamatters.org/items/200605180011

Anti-Incumbent Voters Sent Messages Tuesday
By Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, May 18, 2006; Page A03

Pennsylvania voters dumped two Republican leaders in the state Senate and scared a GOP member of Congress, while Oregon voters sent a warning they are unhappy with the Democratic governor.

Cumulatively, the results Tuesday were the latest signals of brewing unrest that could threaten incumbents of both parties in the November elections.

Pennsylvania's Election Results

http://www.topix.net/state/pa

Pay raise backlash ousts top legislators (PA) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ^ | May 17, 2006 | Ed Blazina

via (Free Republic)

To: All
Despite some folks' willingness to believe that the true conservatives have risen up and ousted some RINOs from the PA legislature, the article title is quite correct.

I don't know about Brightbill, but Jubelrier has been a RINO forever. Are we to believe that the voters just now noticed this fact and marched to the polls to defeat him?

This is all about the manufactured issue of the pay raise. 'PA Clean Sweep' is, and always has been, about defeating Republican legislators and handing the state back to the loony left, as if having Scumbag Eddie in the Governor's Mansion isn't bad enough. For those who may not be aware, the founder of PA Clean Sweep is running for Governor as a 3rd party candidate in order to siphon off votes from Lynn Swann.

Hopefully a few hardcore Rats like Veon & DeWeese, who eked through their primaries, will be stomped in the general election.

However, it's whistling past the graveyard to believe that PA conservatives are now energized (having slain some RINOs) and will turn on en masse to defeat the other payraise grabbers and sweep Santorum & Swann to victory as well.

It may turn out that way, and I sure as hell hope it does, but as far as PA Clean Sweep is concerned, I guarantee that any anti-incumbent advertising or 'targeting' they do between now and November will be at least 90% anti-REPUBLICAN-incumbent, or pro-liberal-challenger.

25 posted on 05/17/2006 9:13:10 AM PDT by PermaRag


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1633622/posts

NOVEMBER 5th (2002) PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

http://www.wolfblockgov.com/wbgr/newsletters/news110602.pdf

Posted by pa/truthonline at 8:18 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006 11:09 AM EDT
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Saturday, 20 May 2006
PA Dems = Party Protectors with Eye on the Prize
Suspicions pretty much now confirmed.

PA Democrats would have liked nothing better than for the conservative Republicans to oust as many as possible incumbent Republicans in the state for whatever reason during the Primary election and that's what happened May 16, 2006.

According to an early AP Report Pa. Voters Oust at Least 13 Lawmakers May 17, 7:58 AM ET:

Sixty-one incumbents in the 253-member Pennsylvania legislature faced primary challenges Tuesday, the most since 1980, including legislative leaders from both parties.

As the results came in, at least a quarter of those candidates were locked in close races. Most of the challengers were recruited by PACleanSweep, a group organized at the height of the pay raise furor.

Swept from office were the Senate's No. 1 Republican ? President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer ? and Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, who lost to Mike Folmer, a tire salesman...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060517/ap_on_el_ge/primaries_rdp

Hmmm. Meanwhile, Democrat Minority Senate and House leaders remained unscathed.

Approximately a dozen state Republican incumbents were defeated in the Primary where they faced direct challenges. (AP lists 10) Meanwhile, only 3 Democrats were "replaced" by a Democrat opponent.

Even the most egregious Representative Democrat Mike Veon, who held steady and voted against repeal of the July '05 pay raise, was protected by loyal Dems.

PA Dems are Party Protectors with their Eyes on the Prize.

Yep, the Dems are laughin all the way to the coffee houses where they are planning how they can get PA Clean Sweeep's founder Russ Diamond and his partner in the anti-incumbency movement, Tim Potts, Democrat, who organized PA Democracy Rising, to make conservative Republicans angry enough to vote against Republican candidate for Governor, Lynn Swann in November...

thus the state would retain incumbent Governor Ed Rendell...

Don't think like a conspirator? Watch and learn...


Daily KOS
Taking the PA House; where we stand
by ortcutt
Tue May 02, 2006 at 04:37:30 PM PDT

This is a somewhat disappointing map. If Democrats are going to take the House, we will have to take some more of these Suburban Philadelphia...

But this is the 'throw all the bums out' year (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:ortcutt, LisaZ
with lingering ire over last year's pay raise. Since there are more Republican bums than Democratic, it should be to our advantage...

by Uncle Toby on Tue May 02, 2006 at 04:49:53 PM PDT

Yeah (0 / 0)
That's one of the things we need to work with. We need to make sure that their bums are thrown out and ours aren't.

PA Clean Sweep has a list of who the bums are.

http://www.pacleansweep.com/

by ortcutt on Tue May 02, 2006 at 04:53:44 PM PDT


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/2/193730/2610

Comcast News of note

http://www.comcast.net/news/politics/index.jsp?cat=POLITICS

May 15, 2006
Pennsylvania primary...by the numbers
Some facts and figures on Tuesday's primary election.

Sixty-one -- the number of incumbents facing primary challenges, including five legislative leaders, the most since 1980, when 68 had opposition.

One hundred and thirty-seven -- the number of incumbents with no opponents, three out of five.

Thirty -- the number of incumbents calling it quits voluntarily.

Twenty to 25 percent -- the typical turnout in a primary election. A higher turnout traditionally favors challengers. (Hint, hint.)

http://www.readingeagle.com/editor/archives/2006/05/pennsylvania_pr_1.html

State House races: Pistella, LaGrotta, Stevenson out; Veon wins Pgh. Post-Gazette
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
14TH DISTRICT
Veon renominated

Rep. Mike Veon, facing his toughest primary fight of the last decade, appeared to have beaten challenger Jay Paisley, winning the Democratic nomination.

Mr. Veon, the House minority whip, is seeking a 13th two-year term in Harrisburg. He was the only legislator to vote against the repeal of last year's pay raises, which outraged voters and grass-roots groups...

15TH DISTRICT
Rep. Biancucci wins

Incumbent Rep. Vince Biancucci, D-Aliquippa, defeated two challengers for his party's nomination: retired engineer Roger Strauss, 69, of Center, and Domenic Leone 49, a print shop owner from Hopewell...

20TH DISTRICT
Rep. Walko wins

Despite his unabashed vote for the legislative pay raise, Rep. Don Walko prevailed over three Democratic challengers who split the anti-incumbent vote...

50TH DISTRICT
DeWeese renominated

H. William DeWeese, state House Democratic leader, had little trouble dispatching his most serious primary challenger in years.

Mr. DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, easily defeated Robert Danko, the Fayette County treasurer who lives in Masontown. Mr. Danko has been county treasurer since 1990.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06137/690792-179.stm

Happy to belong to the Party of Principle

Donald Hoffman May 20, 2006
Primary election defeats pave the way for real reform ANOTHER VIEW

As it turned out though, this past Tuesday's Primary Election might have become one of the most inspiring elections in Pennsylvania history. The story was told in graphic clarity when I picked up The Morning Call Wednesday morning. Emblazoned across the front page, above the fold, was the headline ''PAY-BACK TIME.'' Under the headline, there was a Rogue's Gallery of five of the so-called architects and beneficiaries of the infamous legislative pay grab of 2005. And to my absolute glee, I saw in bold red letters, the word ''OUT'' stamped across the portraits of Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, Republican Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill, and Republican Rep. Paul Semmel.

Unfortunately, the word ''SAFE'' was stamped across the mug shots of Democratic House Minority Whip Mike Veon and Democratic House member Keith McCall, who both survived primary challenges, along with Democratic House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese. But as a Republican, their survival served only to reassure my own convictions regarding what I see as an obvious integrity gap between my party and the party of ''Fast Eddie'' Rendell. For my sake, I'm happy to be a member and supporter of the party that cleans up its trash and takes its scoundrels out to the wood shed for a thumping, rather than give pathetic affirmation to gluttonous pay grabbers like Mike ''Zoot Suit'' Veon. (He was the sole member of the state Legislature who voted against repealing the 2005 pay hike.) I'd say, you can't ask for a more clear choice in which camp of the electorate to belong to.


http://www.mcall.com/news/opinion/anotherview/all-hoffman5-20may20,0,3256392.column?coll=all-newsopinionanotherview-hed

PA Clean Sweep Yahoo Newsgroupers

desirous of internal state Majority Republican leadership change to Democrats...

Re: Oust Perzel Strategy...elect Democrats and Libertarians

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pacleansweep/messages

Posted by pa/truthonline at 8:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006 12:13 PM EDT
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Truth: PA Revolution One-Sided Party Verdict with 4 To 1 Republicans Down and Out
The election results now becoming more detailed across Pennsylvania reveal the May 16, 2006 Primary Election a Republican mini-revolt against high-spending and arrogant Republican Senate leaders and handfulls of rank and file leadership followers to amount to about one-dozen direct Primary defeats.

Astonishing defeats for Jubelirer, BrightbillWed, May. 17, 2006

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/14597854.htm

Meanwhile top state Democrats retained Senate and House leadership positions, including Mike Veon, who voted against repeal of the egregious pay raise. Veon was retained by a 60 percent margin! Rep. H. William DeWeese, Democrat and Minority House leader, was also favored by some 59 percent margin!


Unofficial Returns
2006 General Primary

http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionReturns.aspx?control=OfficeDistrictReturns&ElecID=12&OfficeID=12

Only 3 or 4 Democrat incumbents went down to direct challengers!

Yet, hear tell from the media, the overturn of some 15 or 16 incumbents facing direct challengers was a huge message to the Harrisburg entrenched.

Say what? I'm sorry, but Net the Truth Online just doesn't see it that way.

30 incumbents retired.

Challengers in those instances faced each other, not the incumbent. How many were anti-incumbency PA Clean Sweep opponents? In many cases, there were a more than a few facing off with each other in the same PARTY!

That occurred because PA Clean Sweep wanted to accumulate as many PA Clean Sweep candidates as possible to rack up a more impressive amount than its initial 13 in (2005) August.

Also some 109 candidates were claimed as Clean Sweepers, but not all were Primary candidate challengers to begin with. A Politically Incorrect article published May 2, entitled May 16, states only some 40 Clean Sweep candidates remained intact for the Primary!

So with only 40 or so Clean Sweep challengers, and overdosing of them in the same districts and in the same Party, that left many, many more opponents who were let's say 'establishment' challengers.


40

May 17, 2006

Payback time
2 Senate leaders, House veteran ousted in pay-raise backlash By John L. Micek

Call Harrisburg Bureau

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5boot.5284002may17,0,2619056.story

Overall, since not just mostly, but overwhelmingly 4 to 1 Republicans were defeated, consider that Republicans are staunch fiscal conservatives. When leadership ignores that basic tenet, economically conservative Party watchers start complaining. That's what happened after the state Republican leadership and rank and file opted not only for a humongous raise in salary last July, but also when legislators went over and above the PA Constitution to take the increase in the form of unvouchered expenses.

Avid Pennsylvania Republican party members across the state started complaining.

Along with them, in tandem, was the new organization started from a website effort to kick out all incumbents - PA Clean Sweep.

Media publicized the efforts by inviting Russ Diamond, founder of PA Clean Sweep, to an August Press Club Luncheon as the keynote speaker. The event was televised on PCN TV.

Since that August overview, the media has focused on the anti-incumbency movement almost exclusively.

Tim Potts, Democrat and organizer of the state version of Democracy Rising, and Diamond became joined at the hips to promote the anti-incumbency movement early, in time for the November 2005 municipal elections which included retention ballots for two state Superior Court Justices.

One Justice was defeated, Democrat Russell Nigro, by 51 percent while the second Justice, a Republican, was retained by 54 percent.

Even with that split, the anti-incumbent movement claimed overwhelming success and that belief was touted by the Pennsylvania media.

Now, the anti-incumbency movement claims the defeat of two Republican Senate leaders and two-dozen rank and file as a huge success for the anti-incumbency and reform movement.

There was statewide, however, only a 20 percent turnout of voters registered to vote in the Primary.


(Keystone Politics cites 20 percent http://www.keystonepolitics.com/Article3417.html)

And the defeated were overwhelmingly 4 to 1 Republicans.

Governor Ed Rendell faced no opposition in the Primary, yet, there was plenty of time after Rendell signed the pay raise into law for an anti-incumbent challenger to mount a campaign for Governor, even if that challenger had to switch parties to face-off with Rendell in the Primary.

Nobody stepped forward.

Democrats kept to the Party line with the exception of a few who had already been dissatisfied -

60 percent retention for Veon and DeWeese.

Only 3 rank and file Democrat DEFEATS.

Isn't that a message to Republicans? Ya'd think.


Sen. Jubelirer concedes defeat
(10:50 p.m.)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

By Dan Majors, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PACleanSweep made its mark on the Legislature tonight as Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer has just become the second legislative leader to concede a loss in the Republican primary.

Earlier this evening, state Sen. David J. Brightbill conceded to Republican challenger Mike Folmer, former Lebanon city councilman...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06136/690638-178.stm

Republicans have been flim-flammed again by the Democrats. Wonder whether Democracy Rising PA members voted for Gov. Ed?

Sure Micek, 16 direct challengers, a dozen of them Republicans, and 30 newcomers due to incumbents' retirements - that's voter outrage sweeping incumbents out of office.

We're in shock at the spin.

AP listing shows 10 Republican losses and 3 Democrat losses.


Wed, May. 17, 2006
Pa. incumbents who lost in primary Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA - Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly who lost during the primary election. Some races remain too close to call.

Senate:
1R. David J. Brightbill, R-Lebanon, majority leader.

2R. Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, president pro tempore.

House of Representatives:
3R. Gibson C. Armstrong, R-Lancaster.
4R. Roy E. Baldwin, R-Lancaster.
Fred Belardi, D-Lackawanna.
5R. Teresa E. Forcier, R-Crawford.
6R. Dennis E. Leh, R-Berks.
7R. Stephen R. Maitland, R-Adams.
Frank J. Pistella, D-Allegheny.
Kenneth W. Ruffing, D-Allegheny.
8R. Paul W. Semmel, R-Lehigh.
9R. Thomas L. Stevenson, R-Allegheny.
10R. Peter J. Zug, R-Lebanon.

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/14596958.htm

AI Says 15 losses

Friday, May 19, 2006

The 2006 Primary: House
All of the House?s 203 seats were up for re-nomination. To be sure, the House was much more affected by members not running (29 in all) than the half of the Senate in the primary. That left 174 incumbents running for re-nomination.

There were 159 incumbents that were re-nominated, with 119 of those not facing a primary challenger. That leaves 40 House members that beat a challenger to win his or her primary. 15 incumbents lost to a primary challenger and will not return to Harrisburg.

Again, looking at how the 174 incumbents fell on party lines and their vote on the July 2005 pay raise, Republicans who voted for the raise were hit much harder than the Democrats....

http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/blog/

AI TELLS IT LIKE IT HAPPENED, THANKS

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Fallout From the Primary Election
So, just how significant were the results of Tuesday?s primary election? With the legislature?s July 2005 pay grab on the minds of voters, there was a real increase in the number of primary challengers to incumbents than in previous years. That, coupled with retirements prior to election time, held the promise for change.

The biggest impact was the defeat of the Senate?s top two leaders, who were linked with the pay raise. The House leadership?the Speaker, minority leader, and minority whip?all held their seats, meaning that stewardship of that chamber remains firmly in place. The vote count in the races for the minority leaders (both won with roughly 60 percent of the vote) shows that voters in those districts are more concerned with having officials who can bring home the bacon, regardless of how self-serving the actions of those leaders were.

In the region, there were twelve House incumbents (11 Democrats and 1 Republican) that voted for the pay raise and faced primary opposition. Four of those twelve lost their seats and will not return to Harrisburg. It is interesting to note that the 1 Republican was one of the four.

It is hopeful that some incumbents will not be returning to the Capitol. But the fact that so many of those in support of the pay raise will be going back makes us wonder if any long-term progress will be made...

http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/blog/

G.O.P. Conservatives Topple Veteran State Lawmakers in Pennsylvania
By JASON DePARLE
Published: May 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, May 17 ? A revolt among Pennsylvania conservatives gained national attention on Wednesday after challengers toppled at least 12 state lawmakers they deemed insufficiently committed to small government and fiscal restraint.

In Pennsylvania, the incumbents' fall was extraordinary. No Senate leader had lost a primary challenge since 1964.

"And we took out two last night," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative group in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania conservatives had long accused the Republican leaders of the Legislature of being too quick to go along with Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat. In two of the last three state budgets, Mr. Brouillette said, the Legislature approved more spending than Mr. Rendell had requested.

The smoldering anger among Pennsylvania conservatives caught fire last summer when the Republican-controlled Legislature approved pay increases of up to 54 percent for elected officials in all three branches of government.

"That was the Alamo," Mr. Folmer said. After an outpouring of criticism, the lawmakers rescinded the increase, but they could not rescind the anger.

In some races, the groundwork for a primary challenge had been laid. John Eichelberger, who defeated Mr. Jubelirer, the Senate president pro tempore, had been contemplating the race even before the increase in pay.

In doing so, Mr. Eichelberger said, he had the support of several wealthy Pennsylvanians, including Bob Guzzardi, a member of the Club for Growth who commissioned a poll of the district in the Altoona region by Kellyanne Conway, a pollster here.

After entering the race, Mr. Eichelberger received an endorsement from Mr. Toomey, who also helped him raise money. Mr. Toomey, a former congressman, is prominent among Pennsylvania conservatives for having nearly beat a moderate Republican, Arlen Specter, in a United States Senate primary in 2004.

Mr. Eichelberger, along with three other conservative challengers, created a campaign document, "Promise to Pennsylvania," modeled after the "Contract With America" that the Republicans used in 1994 to capture Congress.

It called for stricter regulation of lobbyists, term limits, tort reform and the vote of three-fifths of the Legislature before raising taxes. Three of the four signers won. The fourth is clinging to a narrow lead.

"People are just tired of Republicans who don't represent the bedrock conservative values of the party," Mr. Eichelberger said. "They're Republican in name only. If you're going to be a Republican, be a Republican."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/18/us/18repubs.html

May 18, 2006

It's up to reformers to chart new path
Outraged voters swept incumbents out of office. Now newbies must determine agenda.

By John L. Micek
and Christina Gostomski Call Harrisburg Bureau

Now what?

That's the question facing Pennsylvania's political reformers now that it's clear voters demand continued change in the wake of last year's hefty legislative pay raises. The electorate, shaking off its storied lethargy, handed out historic defeats Tuesday to incumbent lawmakers.

Activists and the approximately 60 new legislators who will infuse new blood into the 253-member General Assembly next year must move quickly to further refine an agenda and to choose an articulate spokesman.

That's because until now the movement has been defined more by what it opposes (the raises and the autocratic Harrisburg establishment), than by what it supports — an accountable state government.

''If you look at the number of new faces, there is a critical mass,'' political consultant and former Penn State politics professor Michael Young said. ''Some of them are populists. Some of them are Republican conservatives. Some of them are tyros. It's not clear where that leadership is going to come from.''

Although the new face of reform may be unknown, the issues that will drive the restoration of public faith — lobbyist reform, campaign finance reform and property tax relief for homeowners — have been widely known for months.

So far, no one issue has emerged as the key one.

Tim Potts of the activist group Democracy Rising acknowledged that the meter is running and that the type of leadership being demanded now is unlikely to come from today's House and Senate leaders.

Rock The Capitol activist Eric Epstein hopes Tuesday's upsets will push ''rank and file [lawmakers]…to drive the agenda,'' rather than defer to party bosses. Rookies elected in November could play a role in any reform.

Even as activists and the new lawmakers-to-be adjust to their new legitimacy, Harrisburg's existing political class must find its footing on the state's suddenly reshaped political topography.

In the biggest display of voter outrage since 1980, 61 House and Senate incumbents faced primary challenges Tuesday. Seventeen went down in defeat, according to unofficial election results. Several close races could resurrect some careers if recounts favor the incumbents.

Thirty legislative seats were left open by incumbent retirements, the largest number since 1992. The new class of November winners will take office next January.

The ranks of chastened legislators came from both parties and both chambers, but most were Republicans who hailed from southwestern and central Pennsylvania, where anger over the pay raise was the greatest. Lawmakers last year raised their salaries 16 percent to 34 percent, only to repeal the windfall months later under extreme public pressure.

The two highest-profile victims were Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair, and Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, R-Lebanon...

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/state/all-insideelectmay18,0,5553767.story

PRIMARY ELECTION 2006
Incumbents hang on
By Jaime North
The Daily Item
May 17, 2006
LEWISBURG ? Freshman challenger Malcolm Derk, a 24-year-old Freeburg borough councilman, lost his bid Tuesday to unseat incumbent Rep. Russell Fairchild, R-85 of Lewisburg.

With an overwhelming 66 percent of the vote in Union County, Mr. Fairchild held on to win the Republican primary nomination, although he lost to Mr. Derk in Snyder County 1,014 to 821...



http://www.dailyitem.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060517/NEWS/605170319/-1/NEWS11

The Revolution of 2006!
Historic election sets new direction for General Assembly 05.17.06


HARRISBURG, PA ? Yesterday?s primary election represents a tectonic shift in politics as usual in Pennsylvania. Although history favored incumbents at the ballot box in both primary and general elections, the defeat of 17 incumbents (pending official results) in 2006 overcame the previous record of 15 incumbents in 1980.

The resounding defeat of Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and Majority Leader David ?Chip? Brightbill demonstrate voters? lingering outrage over last year?s legislative pay raise and the unscrupulous financial and legislative practices in the General Assembly.

http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/index.cfm?mainContent=/research/index.cfm§ion=newsreleases&articleID=1580&articleType=28

Analysis: GOP results bode poorly for November vote
Republicans' anger could drag down Santorum, Swann
Thursday, May 18, 2006

By James O'Toole and Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Incumbents of both parties were targeted by state pay raise opponents in the months leading to Tuesday's primary, but the day's victims were disproportionately Republican.

Champions and casualties of that upheaval agreed that it would have consequences in November in and beyond the legislative races. In particular, several experts suggested, the evidence of disaffection among core Republican voters presents challenges for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and gubernatorial nominee Lynn Swann in promoting the big GOP turnout they will need in November.

"One message you have to take away is that rank-and-file Republican voters are very angry with incumbents,'' said Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, an influential conservative lobbying group. "It's a mistake to conclude this was all about the pay raise. This has been brewing for some time and it's about dissatisfaction with elected Republicans who have abandoned a commitment to limited government.''

Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger, who took the most prominent GOP scalp Tuesday in wresting the Republican nomination from incumbent state Sen. Robert Jubelirer, R-Altoona, said that GOP estrangement with Mr. Jubelirer and other legislative leaders preceded last July's abortive pay raise effort.

He said a poll of the Blair County district taken last June, two weeks before the July 7 pay raise vote, showed widespread dissatisfaction with the incumbent over issues including his support of several tax increases.

A variety of leading conservatives, including Mr. Toomey, have voiced similar criticisms of the fiscal performance of the Bush administration and the Republican majorities in Congress. At a pre-primary meeting of the Republican Assembly, a group dedicated to prodding the party toward its conservative roots, Mr. Toomey said that many Washington Republicans had "lost their way" in abetting a fiscal culture of deficits and pork barrel spending.

"There is unquestionably discontent within the Republican Party,'' former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton, an unsuccessful candidate for his party's gubernatorial nomination, said Tuesday night. Mr. Scranton, along with Mr. Toomey, was among a cadre of prominent conservative Republicans who worked for the ouster of Mr. Jubelirer and other incumbents they characterized as complicit in the budget approaches of Democrats like Gov. Ed Rendell.

While no friend of Mr. Jubelirer, Mr. Scranton did agree with him Tuesday in describing his ouster as part of an anti-incumbent impulse that went well beyond the Republican Party.

"There is a strong feeling in Pennsylvania to 'throw the bums out,' " he said...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06138/691139-178.stm

Posted by pa/truthonline at 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006 6:02 PM EDT
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Thursday, 18 May 2006
PA Primary election verdict given by ONLY 30 percent turnout
30 percent turnout for the one of the most media publicized, change-promoted election in PA politics...

All incumbents of both the Republican and Democrat parties in Harrisburg were the targets of dissatisfaction with how state legislators conducted business in Harrisburg. The most egregious affront was a July 2005 pay raise offered by Senate and House leadership.

Dispite the deserved public outrage and calls for change of leadership and kicking out all incumbents, Governor Ed Rendell had NO OPPOSITION in the Primary. Why not?

Many incumbents faced no Primary challenge.

Overall the election results are indicative that the media can influence the voters as those areas with the heaviest blanketing of negative news produced the largest turnover of the power in election districts.

Voters unkind to incumbents

GOP’s top two senators ousted

The Tribune-Democrat

The voters have spoken. Indeed. Whether casting an eye toward a July 2005 legislative pay raise or simply making a statement that status quo in Harrisburg is not acceptable, those who went to the polls Tuesday – albeit relatively small in number – sent shock waves across the commonwealth.

If change in leadership is what they sought, that is what they will be getting in January. Among those taking a fall in statewide races in the name of voter backlash were:

n Sen. Robert Jubelirer, R-Altoona, considered by many one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania and a prime sponsor of the ill-fated legislative pay grab. The 32-year veteran was soundly defeated by Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger...

In another stunning upset in Cambria County, Scott Hunt, 23, a recent college graduate, defeated seasoned politician Joseph Veranese, an Upper Yoder Township supervisor, for the Republican nomination for the state House’s 72nd district seat.

Veranese carried the GOP committee’s endorsement. Hunt will face longtime Democrat incumbent Tom Yewcic of Jackson Township.

For those who predicted last summer that the pay raise – passed without public hearings or floor debate in the early hours before Legislature adjournment – would come back to haunt incumbents, the election apparently was sweet payback...

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/editorials/local_story_137143129.html


Voters' verdict: Harrisburg change necessary
By Alison Hawkes, For the Herald-Standard
05/18/2006
HARRISBURG - Election Day Tuesday was conclusive: Pennsylvanian voters want a change.

Not since 1978 during a massive series of indictments on public corruption have so many lawmakers lost their seats. Not since 1964 has a legislative leader toppled to defeat, and Tuesday brought down the two Senate Republican leaders.

Political analysts say the vote to remove at least 14 incumbents, along with 30 retirements, is historic and three other possible upsets are too close to call.
All of the primary upsets and retirements leave a huge cadre of lame duck lawmakers sitting it out until November. A power vacuum in the Senate may spur on a jockeying for control. And scores of sitting lawmakers are facing November challengers that may have them worried more than ever about keeping their political skins.

The upsets could very well impact the still unsettled property tax debate, and throw a wild card into state budget negotiations coming up in less than a month. With top Senate leaders on their way out, the chamber's Republican spot on the Gaming Control Board could change, possibly throwing a wrench into the approval of 14 slots licenses across the state.

Sen. Tommy Tomlison of Bucks County said it's too early to tell all the implications of a change in Senate leadership, or even when it would come. The Senate cancelled plans to return to session next week...

The sheer number of guaranteed newcomers next year - nearly one-fifth of the Legislature - makes the chances of reform in state government a real possibility. Political analysts say the vote to remove 17 incumbents, along with the 30 retirements, is historic.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party was gloating that all the Republican incumbent losses could bring them new seats in November, although the assessment seems unlikely for all but a few swing districts. The only southeastern lawmaker to lose was freshman Rep. Sue Cornell, whose Montgomery County district has the potential to switch to Democrat. In Bucks County, Rep. Matt Wright is facing a tough Democratic challenger in the fall in Chris King, and he knows it.

"He's a young bright guy and he works hard and he has some motivation behind him," said Wright, a pay raise supporter. "It will be a very, very difficult race - no doubt about it."

Democratic incumbents - including the two top House Democratic leaders, H. William DeWeese (D-Waynesburg) and Mike Veon of Beaver County - for the most part skirted by safely.

One of the surprise defeats was 20-year incumbent Frank LaGrotta, who was tossed out by 25-year-old law school graduate Jaret Gibbons in Lawrence County. A number of the incumbent upsets came from low-financed, political novices. LaGrotta said the thought of his losing was "nowhere on my radar screen." He hadn't faced a primary opponent since he was first elected in 1986...

http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16654439&BRD=2280&PAG=461&dept_id=480247&rfi=6

Defeats leave power vacuum in Pa. Senate GOP leadership By The Associated Press
Thursday, May 18, 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - When voters kicked out the top two Republicans in the state Senate, they created a power vacuum that will likely lead to intense jockeying among ambitious GOP senators.
In the coming months, observers expect some GOP senators to audition for the jobs, giving floor speeches and helping their fellow lawmakers to advance pet legislation and fund re-election campaigns.

The defeat of Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer of Blair County and Majority Leader David J. Brightbill of Lebanon County in Tuesday's primary election shocked legislators, staffers and lobbyists...

In the Nov. 7 election, 14 Republican senators face challenges from Democrats. The parties normally elect their officers for the next two-year session right after the general election.

Some observers say there are no obvious successors to Brightbill and Jubelirer since many of the party's rising stars in recent years have gone elsewhere, like Congress.

Corman, Senate Republican policy chairman Joe Scarnati and Senate GOP whip Jeffrey E. Piccola — all seen as potential successors to the top GOP positions — declined to speculate about who will seek a promotion.

"It's really too soon to see who will emerge and go for that position," Scarnati, of Jefferson County, said. "But one thing's for certain: The Senate Republican caucus will survive and stay in the majority."

Republicans currently hold the majority in the Senate, 29-21.

They lost one seat Tuesday when a Democrat won a special election for Thompson's vacant Chester County seat — believed to be the first time a Democrat has held that seat since before the Civil War. The victory by Andrew Dinniman has given Democrats hope that they can seize the majority in November.

A rift in the GOP — as evidenced by Tuesday's defeat of at least 11 Republican legislators — and President Bush's low approval rating could mean trouble for the Republicans in November, said Sen. Robert J. Mellow, the chamber's Democratic leader from Lackawanna County.

"With an election like this, there could be a surprise or two," Mellow said.

A power shift could leave Mellow in line to become president pro tempore, a position he briefly held from 1992-94.

The president pro tempore appoints committee chairs and, along with the majority party floor leader, controls the flow of legislation and negotiates the final form of major initiatives with the governor and House of Representatives. Because of that seniority, legislators who hold that position are generally able to benefit their districts more so than rank-and-file senators.

Jubelirer and Brightbill, who will have served a combined 56 years in the Senate come November, each manage a staff of about a dozen aides — more than twice the size of most other senators. Also answering to them are about 100 lawyers, computer technicians, public relations staff, researchers and secretaries.

If anything, the Republicans will have to select leaders who appeal to the party's more conservative voters in Pennsylvania's central and western counties, where a backlash against last year's pay raise has erupted, some observers said...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/s_454439.html

Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:33 AM EDT
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Sunday, 14 May 2006
Media reports still issuing commentary in news not just delivering the news
So less than 50 percent of residents of the state of PA are dissatisfied... are those voters who will actually vote come Tuesday, Primary election day in PA?

May 13, 2006

Rendell's lead over Swann rises to 55%-33%, poll shows
Increase attributed to TV campaign. A third say they could change their minds.
By John L. Micek
Call Harrisburg Bureau

| Gov. Ed Rendell doubled his lead over Lynn Swann in the past month, but a third of Pennsylvania voters could change their minds before November, a new Quinnipiac University poll has found...

...Voters should also pay attention, Alcivar argued, to the 47 percent of Keystone State residents in the new Quinnipiac poll who say they're very or somewhat dissatisfied with how things are going in Pennsylvania. That, he claimed, was a more accurate barometer of Rendell's leadership....

More...

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5qpollmay13,0,3909176.story?coll=all-news-hed

Rendell leads Swann by 22 points in poll
Rendell leads Swann by 22 points, poll says

Saturday, May 13, 2006
BY SHARON SMITH
Of The Patriot-News
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell enjoys a 22-point lead over his Republican challenger Lynn Swann, a new Quinnipiac University Poll shows.

If the election were held today, 55 percent of those surveyed said that they would vote for Rendell, while 33 percent would vote for Swann, according to the poll.

The poll surveyed 1,487 Pennsylvania voters between May 2 and May 8 and has a 2.5 percent margin of error...

...Lenny Alcivar, Swann's campaign spokesman, dismissed the poll as not credible. He pointed to other polls that show the race between Rendell and Swann as being much closer. For example, the IssuesPA/Pew poll released earlier this week put the two candidates within 1-point of each other. A recent Patriot-News/WGAL-TV Keystone Poll showed Rendell had a 14-point lead over Swann.

More...

http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/1147511127157270.xml&coll=1

See how the next article's reporter makes commentary within the news article. Actually, Swann said all along the plan was for the long-term, rather than the short-term. Spokespersons for Swann's tax reform plan highlighted the fact the proposal would necessitate an amendment, but the media focused instead on tax experts who criticized the plan as "unconstitutional." also, by using terms like for the first time, vague, still unreleased without attributing the sentiments to somebody critiquing Swann's plan, it is the "journalist" who is commenting. That's fine, when the article is on the opinion page of the newspaper, but not when the article is considered a news article.

May 12, 2006

Swann's tax plan would need constitutional amendment
He's vague on details but says relief would take up to three years.

By John L. Micek
Call Harrisburg Bureau

| Republican gubernatorial hopeful Lynn Swann has acknowledged for the first time that his still unreleased property tax plan would probably require a constitutional amendment.

During a campaign stop in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the former Steelers star said it could take up to three years before homeowners see real relief.

That's roughly the same amount of time that Swann has accused Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell of wasting on his efforts to deliver tax relief to homeowners.

''You're asking me if it's going to take two or three years to get it done if there's a constitutional challenge,'' Swann said in a report published Thursday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ''Yes, there will be, and it will take that amount of time.''

In a brief question-and-answer session at a Pittsburgh high-tech company, Swann also derided last week's aborted compromise on tax reform as a ''Band-Aid'' to a problem that requires a permanent solution.

''If you want to have real reform and do something meaningful for the long term, you're going to have to dig down deep enough to make sure that it's foundational,'' he said.

Swann has so far released only one major component of his reform plan — capping local property taxes. Voters will have to wait until May 22 to learn the full details, his campaign said Thursday.

Meanwhile, experts have suggested that Swann's cap proposal could run afoul of a constitutional requirement that mandates uniform taxation.

And in a best-case scenario, changing the constitution to avert that problem could take years. Amendments must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be sent to the voters at a statewide referendum.

Swann's campaign said Thursday that an amendment will be part of a reform package that will also include short-term relief. However, they would not say what that relief was...


http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/state/all-a6_5swannmay12,0,4306240.story

Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:43 AM EDT
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PA Media Pushing Non-Existent Voter Discontent as Primary Arrives
Yet again, how large is the voter discontent with PA incumbent legislators who voted themselves hefty pay raises last summer, and took them in unvouchered expense accounts? The article Voter discontent a determining factor for Pennsylvania incumbents (By KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press Writer) only gives half the story.

...Pennsylvanians increasingly have adopted a throw-all-the-bums-out attitude, reflected in part in last Wednesday's survey by the Pew Research Center that showed nearly half of Pennsylvanians are dissatisfied with the state's direction...

In the near term, Tuesday's state primary will be a barometer of the public mood. Nearly 350 challengers have filed to run for the 253-member legislature, the largest number of candidates in 14 years.

The pay raises - ranging from 16 percent to 54 percent - already cost at least one incumbent his job. Last November, voters denied Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro a second term, two days after the pay hikes were repealed.

More...

The situation was actually one Justice was retained, by a 54 percent margin. So the voter discontent last November was split.

It appears the same is the case as the Primary 2006 election arrives Tuesday, May 16.

Nearly half are dissatisfied with state direction? That leaves half up for grabs.

Another poll recently revealed half of the voters polled would actually retain their own legislator this time around!

That sentiment is after the massive publicity given to so-called reform of government groups like PA Clean Sweep, Democracy Rising PA, and others.

Tim Potts of Demock-cracy Rising PA continues to spout need for reform of the PA Constitution, rather than focusing explicitly on altering the people who ignored the PA Constitution's Compensation clause.

The true story will reveal itself Tuesday.

Day of decision
By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, May 13, 2006


Everybody's watching Tuesday's primary elections to see if the bipartisan tsunami of reform set in motion by the Legislature's thwarted pay-grab last summer is going to sweep away any incumbent state House and Senate members. Most eyes are on the challenges to the veteran party leaders who orchestrated or abetted the salary-jacking. For some savvy pre-election analysis, I called Tim Potts, the founder of Democracy Rising PA (DemocracyRisingPA.com) and one of the state's most effective, most respected reformers: ...

Q: Which party is most in danger of being hurt or improved -- or just changed -- by the election?
A: I don't have any sense of that because I think that the people are not looking at it as a party problem but as a government problem. You would think that the Republicans would have more to lose, because they have been in control of the Legislature for 14 years. It's not an irrational argument for people to say, "Well, gee, 14 years you've controlled the House and our Senate - and where's our property tax relief?" But the Democrats haven't exactly been a force for change and improvement, either.... There really isn't a difference between the parties. It's not a partisan problem, it's a government problem. We need to reinvent our government in a way that actually responds to the needs of citizens - that addresses the real problems that we have, whether they are economic or social or anything else, and that people have confidence that it's working for their benefit. We don't have that now. The Issues.PA poll that came out yesterday shows that confidence in government is at an all-time low. That reputation is well deserved. The people in office have not done a good job. Period. End of story....

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/steigerwald/s_453653.html

Yep Tim, that's Demock-racy.

In actuality, legislators are supposed to follow the dictates and limitations placed upon them by the PA Constitution, not follow the whims of people who may change their minds on what they want from one day to the next.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/steigerwald/s_453653.html

May 14, 12:01 AM EDT

Voter discontent a determining factor for Pennsylvania incumbents

By KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press Writer

STEELTON, Pa. (AP) -- If Pennsylvania is a barometer, an Endangered Species List could be taking shape for incumbents in this fall's elections as increasing voter anger spreads across the political landscape...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/PA_BATTLEGROUND_PENNSYLVANIA_PAOL-?SITE=PAGRE&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-05-14-00-01-37

Voters may use primary for payback
Uproar over legislative pay raise puts some incumbents in danger
Sunday, May 14, 2006

By Ed Blazina, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tuesday's primary election will go a long way toward determining whether the same type of changeover will follow the furor over last year's pay raises. In the five-county area, 22 state House seats are being contested, with many high-profile, long-term incumbents facing serious challenges for the first time in recent memory...

Grass-roots opposition

Additionally, there are organized efforts to oust incumbents this time around. An organization known as PACleanSweep took flight shortly after the July 7, middle-of-the-night raises were approved, with the nonpartisan goal of defeating all incumbents, whether they voted for pay raises or not. Other groups such as Democracy Rising and Rock the Capitol have joined calls for substantial changes in Harrisburg.

Those groups haven't offered much financial help -- often a candidate's biggest need -- but they have provided organizational advice and kept beating the drums for political change.

G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, said the anti-incumbent movement is strong but isolated. While it is a big issue in southwest and southcentral parts of the state, "it was never really a statewide phenomena," he said.

In those regions, though, the issue is strong. That's important because some of the top legislative leaders live in those areas: Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer, R-Altoona; House Minority Leader H. William DeWeese, D-Waynesburg; and Rep. Mike Veon, D-Beaver Falls, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, and all are facing serious challenges for the first time in years...

"For me, if you have 15 or 20 incumbents lose, it would be a seismic event," said Mr. Madonna. "It would be a tsunami across the state. If five or six lose, it would be a yawn."

Should one of the top leaders lose, it would be "a huge attention-getter" because caucus leaders hold so much power in the current environment, he said.

Regardless, there will be a lot of new faces in Harrisburg next year because 27 incumbents chose not to seek re-election...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06134/690023-85.stm


Voters hear touchscreen instructions
By Jerry Storey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Daniel Gimmel, of Connellsville, turned the wheel on the eSlate of the electronic Hart Voting System and pressed the enter button with confidence.
He was one of the visually impaired clients of the Fayette County Association for the Blind who last week learned how to vote on the new electronic system.
Gimmel and the others could hear the instructions for placing their vote through headphones.
Tuesday's primary election could be the first time that many in Fayette County residents with visual impairments will be able to cast their ballots without help.
The old lever machines required a companion or an election official to pull the levers.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/fayette/s_453076.html

Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:20 AM EDT
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Saturday, 13 May 2006
Polls show pollsters determined to sway voters for change
Polls show pollsters determined to sway voters for change, pocket change...

Up and down, dropping, diving, climbing, flying... the only ones who care about the ever evolving poll numbers in the PA race for governor are the pollsters, who make big bucks when polls do what, something exciting...

Swann promotes job growth via tax cuts
By Mark Houser
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 11, 2006


Trying to bolster support in his home territory, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann brought his economic stump speech to Pittsburgh on Wednesday in a visit to a North Shore firm.
Not far from the site where football fans once cheered the former Steelers receiver, Swann met with employees in the conference room of Confluence, a maker of investment management software, to reiterate his platform to promote job growth through tax cuts.

"We've got to focus our attention on the economy of tomorrow, the new industries of tomorrow," Swann said.

Swann, 54, of Sewickley Heights, hopes to unseat Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell in the November election. Both candidates are unopposed in Tuesday's primary.

Yesterday, Swann continued to push for $1 billion in cuts to corporate, income and inheritance taxes. He said that, if elected, his administration would cut state spending by 5 percent or more to offset lower tax revenues.

He did not introduce any new specifics in an economic platform Rendell supporters have criticized as vague.

"Given that he has not identified a single spending reduction, it's not just hard to take seriously -- it's hard not to laugh," Rendell spokesman Dan Fee said.

Swann criticized Rendell for failing to deliver on a promise to cut property taxes.

He also mocked the governor, who said recently that he signed a controversial legislative pay raise bill last year to "kiss a little butt" in Harrisburg.

"Certainly, I'm not going to buy a supply of ChapStick," Swann said.

On property taxes, Swann said only that he would put a cap on them, something he conceded could require amending the state Constitution.

Asked if he would reduce property taxes, Swann said, "We have to have reform. If in the reform of property tax, we get a reduction, then that's the route we go."

Rendell currently has a wide lead over Swann, according to a Tribune-Review/WTAE Channel 4 Keystone poll released last week.

While Rendell is supported by 49 percent of statewide registered voters compared to Swann's 35 percent, Swann is ahead of Rendell in every Western Pennsylvania county except Allegheny, the poll showed.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/election/s_452698.html

Lefty Taegan Goddard mentions the new Quinnipiac numbers in a story headlined In Pennsylvania, Rendell Opens 22 Point Lead.

Oh, and by the way, he tells us:

However, a new IssuesPA/Pew poll shows the race a virtual dead heat, with Rendell ahead 30% to 29%.

http://www.swannblog.com/

Posted by pa/truthonline at 10:53 AM EDT
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Rendellian accounting
Rendellian accounting
Friday, May 12, 2006


I find it amazing that Gov. Ed Rendell has allowed his advertising message to focus on his balanced budget and his commitment to education. It would be easy for all of us to have a swollen bank account if we didn't pay our bills.
I recently received a letter stating that my first-grader qualified for a state-funded literacy program. The program provides a tutor for a child so that he can become proficient at his grade level. Sounds good on paper, right?

The program was described as state-funded and free to the families. When I called to arrange for the tutor, the individual fielding the calls mentioned that my family would have to pay for the tutor and hope to be reimbursed in the future.

She said that Pennsylvania had never actually paid for the program. In fact, if anyone ever receives the promised money, it would first go to families who paid out-of-pocket for a tutor three years ago...

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/opinion/letters/send/s_452911.html


Posted by pa/truthonline at 9:23 AM EDT
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Thursday, 11 May 2006
Minutemen Efforts to Squash Illegal Aliens Lawbreaking Sabotaged by U.S. Government
Mexican government has been given the location of Minutemen by USA - that is not true, says a report in today's Washington Times, Post, whatever, so says Fox 'n Friends hosts.

Sure, we believe that isn't true.


Posted by pa/truthonline at 10:05 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 May 2006
Bob Novak: Valerie Plame was outed by Aldrich Ames
On Fox News this morning, guest Robert Novak was asked about Valerie Plame.

Novak responded he was advised not to speak by his lawyer, but it's been known that spy/traitor aldrich Ames outed Valerie Plame.

July 18, 2005, 8:01 a.m.
Did the CIA ?Out? Valerie Plame?
What the mainstream media tells the court ... but won?t tell you.

With each passing day, the manufactured "scandal" over the publication of Valerie Plame's relationship with the CIA establishes new depths of mainstream-media hypocrisy. A highly capable special prosecutor is probing the underlying facts, and it is appropriate to withhold legal judgments until he completes the investigation over which speculation runs so rampant. But it is not too early to assess the performance of the press. It's been appalling...

http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200507180801.asp

Monday, July 11, 2005 10:16 p.m. EDT
Deputy AG: Valerie Plame Leak Not Illegal

The White House press corps lapsed into a full-blown feeding frenzy on Monday over the news that Karl Rove is identified in emails from Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper as someone who mentioned that Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA - just days before her name was revealed by columnist Robert Novak.

But the former deputy attorney general who helped draft Intelligence Identities Protection Act - which Bush critics insist was violated when Valerie Plame was identified to Novak - said earlier this year that it's unlikely any laws were broken in the case.

Writing in January in the Washington Post, former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Victoria Toensing explained that she helped draft the 1982 law in question.
Said Toensing: "The Novak column and the surrounding facts do not support evidence of criminal conduct."

For Plame's outing to have been illegal, the one-time deputy AG explained, "her status as undercover must be classified." Also, Plame "must have been assigned to duty outside the United States currently or in the past five years."

Since in neither case does Plame meet those criteria, Toensing argued: "There is a serious legal question as to whether she qualifies as 'covert.'"

The law also requires that the celebrated non-spy's outing take place by someone who knew the government had taken "affirmative measures to conceal [the agent's] relationship" to the U.S.

Toensing said that's unlikely.

In fact, the myth that the Intelligence Identities Protection Act was violated in the Plame case began to unravel in October 2003, when New York Times scribe Nicholas Kristof revealed that she abandoned her covert role a full nine years before the Novak column.

"The C.I.A. suspected that Aldrich Ames had given [Plame's] name [along with those of other spies] to the Russians before his espionage arrest in 1994," reported Kristof. "So her undercover security was undermined at that time, and she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons."

The Times columnist also noted that Plame had begun making the transition to CIA "management" even before she was outted by Novak, explaining that "she was moving away from 'noc' ? which means non-official cover ... to a new cover as a State Department official, affording her diplomatic protection without having 'C.I.A.' stamped on her forehead."...

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/7/11/221829.shtml

July 15, 2005, 8:27 a.m.
Who Exposed Secret Agent Plame?
How about the least likely suspect?

This just in: Bob Novak did not reveal that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent for the CIA.

Read — or reread — his column from July 14, 2003. All Novak reports is that the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson is “an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Novak has said repeatedly that he was not told, and that he did not know, that Plame was — or had ever been — a NOC, an agent with Non-Official Cover. He has emphatically said that had he understood that she was any sort of secret agent, he would never have named her.

As for Novak’s use of the word “operative,” he might as easily have called her an “official,” an “analyst, or an “employee.” But, as a longtime newsman, he instinctively chose the sexiest term (one he routinely applies to political figures, too, i.e. “a party operative”).

Reread Novak’s article, and you’ll also see that Novak in no way denigrates Wilson. On the contrary, he talks of Wilson’s “heroism” in Iraq in 1991. And nowhere in his column does he say — or even imply — that Wilson was unqualified to conduct the Niger investigation or that Plame was responsible for getting him the assignment — merely that she “suggested sending him.”

Even so, it is unclear whether Novak’s sources may have committed a crime by talking to Novak about Plame. That would depend on a number of variables involving what they knew about Plame and how they came to know it. A prosecutor would have the power to compel Novak to testify regarding what was said to him and by whom.

Is this splitting hairs? Not at all. In Washington, plenty of people are acquainted with CIA operatives who are not working undercover. For example, when a CIA analyst wrote a book under the pseudonym “Anonymous,” it was widely known that Anonymous was the Agency’s Michael Scheuer. Before long, someone revealed that in print. No crime was committed or alleged — no classified information had been disclosed, no NOC had been exposed.

So if Novak did not reveal that Valerie Plame was a secret agent, who did? The evidence strongly suggests it was none other than Joe Wilson himself. Let me walk you through the steps that lead to this conclusion.

The first reference to Plame being a secret agent appears in The Nation, in an article by David Corn published July 16, 2003, just two days after Novak’s column appeared. It carried this lead: “Did Bush officials blow the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security — and break the law — in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?”

Since Novak did not report that Plame was “working covertly” how did Corn know that’s what she had been doing?

Corn does not tell his readers and he has responded to a query from me only by pointing out that he was asking a question, not making a “statement of fact.” But in the article, he asserts that Novak “outed” Plame “as an undercover CIA officer.” Again, Novak did not do that. Rather, it is Corn who is, apparently for the first time, “outing” Plame’s “undercover” status.

Corn follows that assertion with a quote from Wilson saying, “I will not answer questions about my wife.” Any reporter worth his salt would immediately wonder: Did Wilson indeed answer Corn’s questions about his wife — after Corn agreed not to quote his answers but to use them only on background? Read the rest of Corn’s piece and it’s difficult to believe anything else. Corn names no other sources for the information he provides — and he provides much more information than Novak revealed.

Corn also claims that Wilson “will not confirm nor deny that his wife …works for the CIA.” Corn adds: “But let’s assume she does. That would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish Wilson …”

On what basis could Corn “assume” that Plame was not only working covertly but was actually a “top-secret” operative? And where did Corn get the idea that Plame had been “outed” in order to punish Wilson? That is not suggested by anything in the Novak column which, as I noted, is sympathetic to Wilson and Plame.

The likely answer: The allegation that someone in the administration leaked to Novak as a way to punish Wilson was made by Wilson — to Corn. But Corn, rather than quote Wilson, puts the idea forward as his own.

Keep in mind that from early on there were two possible but contradictory scenarios:

1) Members of the Bush administration intentionally exposed a covert CIA agent as a way to take revenge against her husband who had written a critical op-ed.

2) Members of the Bush administration were attempting to set the record straight by telling reporters that it was not Vice President Cheney who sent Wilson on the Africa assignment as Wilson claimed; rather Wilson’s wife, a CIA employee, helped get him the assignment. (And that is indeed the conclusion of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee.)

Corn’s article then goes on to provide specific details about Plame’s undercover work, her “dicey and difficult mission of tracking parties trying to buy or sell weapons of mass destruction or WMD material.” But how does Corn know about that? From what source could he have learned it?

Corn concludes that Plame’s career “has been destroyed by the Bush administration.” And here he does, finally, quote Wilson directly. Wilson says: “Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames.”

Corn has assured us several times that Wilson refused to answer questions about his wife, refused to confirm or deny that she worked for the CIA, refused to “acknowledge whether she is a deep-cover CIA employee.” But he is willing to say on the record that “naming her this way” was an act of treachery? That’s not talking about his wife? That’s not providing confirmation? There is only one way to interpret this: Wilson did indeed talk about his wife, her work as a secret agent, and other matters to Corn (and perhaps others?) on a confidential basis.

If Wilson did tell Corn that his wife was an undercover agent, did he commit a crime? I don’t claim to know. But the charge that someone committed a crime by naming Plame as a covert agent was also made by Corn, apparently for the first time, in this same article. No doubt, the independent prosecutor and the grand jury will sort it out.

Criminality aside, if Wilson revealed to Corn that Plame worked as a CIA “deep-cover” operative “tracking parties trying to buy or sell” WMDs, surely that’s news.

And it is consequential: On the basis of Novak’s story alone, it is highly unlikely that anyone would have had a clue that Plame — presumably under a different name and while living in a foreign country — had been a NOC. At most, her friends in Washington would have been surprised to learn that she didn’t work where she said she worked.

But once Corn published the fact that Plame had been a “top-secret operative,” and once he quoted Wilson saying what exposing his wife would mean — and once Plame posed for Vanity Fair photographers — anyone who had ever known her in a different context and with a different identity would have been tipped off.

But they would not have been tipped by Novak — nor, based on what we know so far, by Karl Rove. Rather, it appears they would have been tipped off by Joe Wilson who, the publicly available evidence strongly suggests, leaked like a sieve to The Nation’s David Corn.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

more...

http://www.nationalreview.com/may/may200507150827.asp

I think this whole story is a crock. Wilson was apparently approached by the CIA when the VP's office asked them to check this Niger story. Why the CIA would ask a member of the former administration to check out a lead about proliferation when he had no expertise in that area is a mystery. That they would ask a man who's wife was an undercover operative to go publicly is beyond belief. If you read the original times editorial he wrote: "What I Didn't Find in Africa" NYT, July 6, 2003, he describes his investigation as publicly talking to government officials, asking them if a sale took place. Surprise! The Nigerian government officials denied they had violated UN sanctions by selling Uranium to Iraq. Wilson states he didn't even file a written report, and that the CIA likely didn't view his investigation as conclusive. Wilson then stepped into the fray by writing the Op-Ed BEFORE anybody had printed his, or his wife's name anywhere, apparently thinking his public interviews with government officials had refuted a line in the SOTU that refered to a Brittish intelligence report about an attempted buy somewhere in Africa. Now, if your wife is an undercover operative, it's not very smart to ...

Posted by: Abbie Normal on March 2, 2004 at 7:49 AM

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=3390



Posted by pa/truthonline at 8:32 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006 9:12 PM EDT
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