Trivedi Announces Third Run For PA-06

Manan Trivedi, the last two times the Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District, announced this morning he will seek the seat for the third time.  Normally candidates for major office only get two tries at the apple before voters tag them as perennial losers.  Manan will attempt to negate that stereotype.  Since no other actual Democrat is running he has a great shot of winning the primary against an elephant in a donkey suit.

His statement this morning:

Manan Trivedi Launches Bid for Open Pennsylvania 6th  Congressional District

Committed to Pennsylvania’s Working Families – Building a Stronger Middle-Class

BIRDSBORO Pa – Launching a new campaign for the now open 6th congressional seat in Pennsylvania, Manan Trivedi spoke of his commitment and career to public service. As an a Iraq War veteran, primary care physician and father, Trivedi presented an agenda designed to create economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.

“This election is an opportunity for the people of the 6th District to say no to political gridlock, and yes to ideas that strengthen and grow the middle-class. As a father, doctor in the community and Iraq War veteran, I’m tired of politicians who help themselves instead of the people they’re paid to represent. As Congressman, I’ll only answer to Pennsylvanians, not political insiders — and work with local businesses to create jobs; provide strong support for public education so we prepare students to compete in a global economy; make sure we keep our commitment to our veterans and protect Medicare and Social Security for senior citizens.”

In addition to launching his new campaign, Trivedi also rolled out a list of supporters from across the region:

Wendell Young IV, President UFCW Local 1776 – “I was very pleased to hear that Dr. Manan Trivedi has decided to run for Congress representing the 6th Congressional District. Manan, a Primary Care doctor and Iraq War Veteran understands what it takes to put our nation on a path that provides jobs and other opportunities to our members and their children. Over the last eight years, Manan has been there for the people of the Sixth Congressional District and our members have returned that dedication by overwhelmingly supporting him in his last two campaigns.”

Kate Michelman, President Emerita, NARAL Pro-Choice America – “Today in Congress, women’s health and economic security are at risk because of those whose anti-choice ideology threaten a woman’s wellbeing. I know and support Manan because he is committed to defending and protecting the right of every woman to reproductive freedom and choice.  He understands that by ensuring the rights and health of women, you strengthen families and enable better control of their economic security.”

State Senator Andy Dinniman – “I’m supporting Manan Trivedi for Congress. His work ethic and experience in healthcare and the military will serve as strong assets for the people of the 6th District.”

Jake Long, Chairman of the Committee for Political Education and

Dennis Bomberger, Business Agent, BCTGM (Chocolate Workers Local 464) – “Manan grew up the son of two factory workers so he has a deep understanding and connection to the everyday lives of the working women and men of the BCTGM. We know we can always count on Manan to stand-up for our workers and their families. He will be an unwavering ally to them in Congress.”

State Representative Mark Painter – “I’ve known Manan Trivedi for years, and I’ve seen that he not only speaks the truth, but sticks to his beliefs and is willing to fight for what’s right. He has already served his country with honor, and is ready to serve us again in Washington. I am looking forward to working with him when he becomes our Congressman.”

Kathi Cozzone, Chester County Commissioner – “Chester County would benefit greatly from having Manan Trivedi in Congress. I have a great deal of respect for Manan and his service in the Navy, as a doctor in our community and as a wonderful father and husband. His well-rounded experience will suit him well as a public servant.”

John Hellman, Chester County Central Labor Council Delegate, IBEW Local 654 – “Our Pennsylvania working families work hard each and every day to make our commonwealth economically fair and strong. They deserve to have a congressman who will put forth the same amount of effort and in Manan Trivedi, we can be reassured they will.”

Monica Kline, PA Democratic State Committee, Lebanon County – “When Lebanon County was included in the new 6th district, I quickly got to know Manan Trivedi. His character and experience immediately stood out as a qualities that everyone from Lebanon County can respect: Hard work, Iraq War veteran, physician and caring for his young family. Just as I endorse Manan I encourage others to get behind him so that we can all work together to make a positive change in our county.”

Mayor Michael J. Speck, Phoenixville – “My endorsement for Congress is going to Manan Trivedi because I know he will be a strong partner for our borough. Manan understands how to bring people together to get things done and that’s precisely what Phoenixville needs to move forward.”

Cornell Wilson, Vice Chair, City of Lebanon Democrats and Lebanon City School Board Member – “I’m endorsing Manan Trivedi to be our next congressman because his unselfish service to our community and country is exactly what we need more of from our public officials.”

Stephanie Markstein, Chairperson of the West Chester Borough Democratic Committee – “West Chester needs Manan Trivedi in Congress. I fully support him because I know he will stand up for the entire community and will work to create an even stronger place to raise our families.”

Micah Mahjoubian, LGBT Rights Activist – “I support for Manan Trivedi because he believes in basic fairness and opportunity for all Americans.  He is outraged that in much of our country it is perfectly legal to fire someone or deny them housing just because they’re gay.  We need Manan in Washington to finally pass anti-discrimination legislation that protects members of the LGBT community.”

Frank Burstein, Chairman of the Limerick Township Democratic Committee – “Manan Trivedi represents what is best about Pennsylvania and our Democratic Party values. Our working families will be well served in Congress having Manan there advocating on behalf of their best interests and it’s why I am placing my support behind him.”

Manan Trivedi also received support from the following:

Dr. Harlan Kutscher, Berks County Democrats, Committeeman, Exeter

Chris Tarsa, Lebanon County Democrats, Chairman

Lani Frank, Democratic State Committeewoman, Chester County

Brad Kirsch, Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee Senior Caucus

Diane O’Dwyer,  Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 25

Dave McLimans, Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 4, Chester County Labor Council President

Stephanie Beemer McLimans, Chester County Democrats, Assistant Leader Zone 4, PA Democratic State Committeewoman

Bret Binder, Chester County Committeeman, West Chester

Bob Roggio, former Candidate PA-6

Bill Tricoski, Berks County Committeeman, Bechtelsville

Cindy Tricoski, Berks County Committeewoman, Bechtelsville

Mark Banfield, West Pikeland, Chester County Democratic Committeeperson

Diane Welsh,  Chester County Democrats, Assistant Leader Zone 25

Adam Swope –  Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 11

Bernice Hines Corbit- Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, Exeter

Sue Shaak, Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, St. Lawrence

Laura Henkle-Sauer, Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, St. Lawrence


McCord Leads Dems But No Endorsement

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party held its endorsement meeting yesterday amidst some fireworks between two of its prominent members but decided not to endorse in either the Gubernatorial or Lt. Governor races.  The large fields of candidates made it unlikely that any could gather the two thirds necessary to earn the coveted, but doomed, recognition.

An endorsement would mean that no State Committee member could openly support another candidate.  Though this seems to be significant recent endorsements have been the kiss of death for candidates in primaries.

Rob McCord came out of the vote as the leading candidate.  Take away Allyson Schwartz’s 49 votes from the Bob Brady controlled Philadelphia delegation and she had almost no other support.  This is a direct result of her ignoring the body at all three meetings last year, even one in her own backyard.  State Committee people like to see major candidates at their functions, be wined, dined and schmoozed and able to meet them and test their mettle.  They also remember who ignored them at endorsement time.

I asked John Hanger, trailing the field behind everyone but Katie McGinty, if he has a chance to win.  He seems to think so even though the three front runners will be on television heavily.  Jo Ellen Litz couldn’t even gather any of the three votes from her home county and got zero votes in balloting.  Max Myers, a Pentecostal minister pretending to be a progressive couldn’t even find anyone to nominate him.  McGinty’s poor showing also reflected her absence from meetings.  If these Committee people can’t get to see you and chat with you at some point they won’t vote for you.

Democrats also unanimously passed a resolution supporting labor unions.  The Koch Brothers have come to the Commonwealth trying to change the law so that union dues cannot automatically be deducted from paychecks.  This is a blatant attempt to weaken unions.  These deductions are actually negotiated in union contracts and are voluntarily allowed by each member who must sign a card allowing the deduction.  They cannot be used for political purposes under law.

This meeting was held at the opulent Hotel Hershey instead of the Hershey Lodge.  The NRA is ensconced at the Lodge while running its huge outdoors and gun show at the Farm Show Arena.  The two groups would not have mixed well.  As a result the meeting room for this meeting was rather small and very crowded.  Some observers had to watch from the hallway.  A lot of time was uselessly wasted at the beginning of the long meeting as each regional caucus chair stroked the Chairman’s ego with blessings and gifts.  I was waiting for one of them to kneel down and kiss his ring.

McCord did hold an impromptu press session during the counting of votes after the first ballot:

He and Jonathon Saidel, a candidate for Lt. Governor four years ago, got into it at a caucus meeting when a McCord staffer was denied entrance to the meeting.  They had to be separated before fists landed.  Again, this was ridiculous because, according to the DNC Charter ALL Party meetings are mandated to be open.  Since PA Democrats keep excluding people they keep having problems.  When will they ever learn?

Photos are beneath the fold:

 Allyson Schwartz photo DSCN3202_zps1e6609d5.jpgwidth=300

Rob McCord photo DSCN3207_zpsd3dfdb3f.jpgwidth=300

Rob McCord photo DSCN3209_zpsc5697754.jpgwidth=300

Allsyon Schwartz photo DSCN3210_zpse808ef71.jpgwidth=300

PA-13 Endorsement: Daylin Leach

I endorse Sen. Daylin Leach for Congress in the 13th District.  I’ve known the State Senator for a few years and he’s one of my progressive heroes in Harrisburg.  He has consistently led the fight for progressive issues, a leader and not a follower.  No one has been a more steadfast supporter of the LGBT community in the state legislature over the years.  I cannot imagine a more worthy successor for the Democratic seat being vacated by Allyson Schwartz as she seeks the Governors Mansion.

I really like Rep. Brendan Boyle also but his track record in Harrisburg is much shorter than Daylin’s.  There’s simply no way I cannot support Leach regardless of whoever is running.  I know very little about Valerie Arkoosh and Marjorie Margolies has a long history of ethical issues.

PA House Dems React to Gasbag’s Budget

The Pennsylvania House Democrats reacted to Gov. Gasbag’s latest budget this afternoon with this statement.  They’ll be holding a budget Twitter exchange at 7PM if you follow them at PAHouseDems.

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State House Democrats today said Governor Tom Corbett’s budget plan extends a four-year streak of failed policies, broken promises and wrong priorities.

Corbett presented his proposed 2014-15 state budget to a joint session of the General Assembly today.

The $29.4 billion spending plan locks in most of the nearly $1 billion in cuts Corbett made to public schools in his first year in office, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to higher education and health care. Corbett’s plan also would add another $881 million in corporate tax breaks, bringing his total corporate favors to $2.1 billion since taking office.

“For three years, Governor Corbett has been moving Pennsylvania in the wrong direction,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. “This budget proposal does virtually nothing to change that trend, failing to reverse his wrong-headed budget cuts and continuing to put corporate interests ahead of working, middle-class families.”

House Democrats noted that Corbett’s budget proposal includes a significant increase in Pennsylvania’s debt to pay for new, election-year education programs and small increases in a handful of other programs. But the vast majority of his cuts to public school classrooms would remain.

Corbett’s public school cuts have forced hundreds of school districts across Pennsylvania to raise property taxes, cut academic and extra-curricular programs and charge activity fees. In addition, his cuts resulted in more than 20,000 public school employees losing their jobs.

The governor’s budget includes no plans for restoring those jobs. In fact, House Democrats said, his budget continues his failed economic policies that have moved Pennsylvania to nearly dead-last in job creation.

Pennsylvania is ranked 48th among all states in job creation and 41st in projected job growth. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate of 6.9 percent continues to be above the national rate of 6.7 percent.

“Governor Corbett likes to talk about promises. What about his promise to the people of Pennsylvania that he would usher in a new era of prosperity?” asked Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre. “Not only has he failed to lead us to prosperity, he has actually driven Pennsylvania further behind than we were three years ago. Governor Corbett’s economic policies have been an abysmal failure.”

House Democrats continued to urge the governor to immediately expand Medicaid to cover an additional half-million uninsured Pennsylvanians, rather than his Medicaid privatization alternative that is unlikely to receive federal approval. Medicaid expansion would bring tens of billions of dollars into the state economy and create tens of thousands of new health-care jobs, according to independent estimates.

His refusal to expand Medicaid, enact a reasonable tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, or close corporate tax loopholes have all short-changed Pennsylvania taxpayers. And those policies have resulted in a more than $1 billion budget deficit of Corbett’s own making, House Democrats said.

“Governor Corbett dug a budget hole for Pennsylvania through three years of failed policies and wrong priorities,” said Democratic Appropriations Chairman Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny. “Now, he is playing political games and using one-time budget gimmicks to balance his election-year budget. It’s disingenuous and fiscally irresponsible.”


Pets Are No More Than Kitchen Chairs

by Walter Brasch

     In Johnstown, two abandoned puppies died from starvation and freezing weather in an unoccupied house.

     In Lancaster County, two puppies were left in a backpack in freezing weather.

     In Centre County, a dog was frozen to the floor of its doghouse.

     In Edwardsville, a woman abandoned 19 dogs after she was evicted from her mobile home. Seven dogs had died of starvation. The others were near death.

     In Monroe County, police found three dogs, each in a plastic bag, abandoned along the side of roads. Each was dead. One had been shot.

     All the cases were reported the past two weeks.

     Four years ago, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) rescued 253 dogs from the Almost Heaven puppy mill near Allentown. “It was the most horrific house of horrors I had seen,” says Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania HSUS director.

     “When you walked into the kennel,” says Speed, “you got slapped by the stench of filth and disease.” The kennel had a make-shift “hospital.” “If they got better, usually without treatment,” says Speed, “they went back to the kennel; if they didn’t, they died.”

     The owner had been convicted twice before of animal cruelty. This time he was given a three to six month jail sentence.

     Sentences for animal abuse and cruelty in Pennsylvania are minimal. For killing or mutilating a domestic animal, the fine is usually no more than $50-$75, and jail time is usually no more than 30 days, if it’s even imposed.

     The reason the penalty is so small is because Pennsylvania, like most states, believes pets are nothing more than chattel. Like a kitchen chair, an animal may be bought, sold, traded, or thrown away. Pennsylvanians may kill their own pet, and there are no charges-“as long as the death was done humanely,” says Speed. “You can choose where to allow an animal to live and when and how to allow it to die.”

For many breeders, dogs are nothing more than crops. The good crops are sold. The bad crops are destroyed.

     Pennsylvania, especially in the south-central region, has a national reputation of being one of the largest “puppy mill” farm areas in the nation. Regulations passed during the Ed Rendell administration improved the conditions of the breeding kennels, and eliminated many that failed to meet minimal standards of care. When he was attorney general, Tom Corbett was vigorous in enforcing those new regulations. However, enforcement declined significantly during Corbett’s first two years as governor. Part of the problem was that he appointed an individual to head the Office of Dog Law Enforcement who had been a banker and not qualified for the position. That has recently changed with a new appointment.

Last year, Pennsylvania shut down 44 unlicensed kennels, and revoked the licenses of four kennels. But the problem, says Speed, “is the number of unlicensed kennels and breeders who used social media to sell to individuals throughout the country, and who have informal contracts with pet stores to supply puppies.”

Most cases of animal abuse aren’t reported; those that are reported usually don’t result in charges being filed. The problem, says Speed, “is that humane officers are so overburdened by the calls they take that they can only pursue the calls of the most egregious cruelty.” If you’re going to abuse an animal, says Speed, “you’ll probably get away with it.”

     One of the reasons for a lack of humane officers is the cost to train, employ, and insure the officers. Those costs aren’t borne by taxpayers but by non-profit organizations.  About 70 percent of all costs for county dog wardens come from license fees. Wardens often spend their time enforcing dog licensing and kennel licensing laws.

     The State Police now have an animal cruelty liaison officer to assist the humane animal police officers.

     A contributing factor to animal abuse is the nature of what has become a “throw-away society.”

     Some people get a pet and then find out it’s just too much trouble to care and feed it. Maybe, they just got new carpeting and the pet sheds. Some people get a pet-whether it’s a puppy, kitty, bunny, canary, gecko or whatever-and decide a grown-up pet isn’t as “pretty” or as “playful” as it once was. Or, maybe, they just decide to trade a husky for a pug. And then a couple of years later, they trade the pug for a furry golden retriever. Perhaps, a pet becomes ill, and the owner decides that a hundred or so dollars is just too much money to cure whatever problem the pet has. So, it’s off to the local shelter to trade that pet in for another one.

     Every year, about 2.7 million healthy and adoptable pets in the United States are killed by the staff of animal shelters, according to the best data the HSUS can determine. But most shelters won’t release the number of those killed. “It’s a PR problem for them,” says Speed, pointing out that the shelters “are afraid of public outcry or backlash.”

The shelters prefer to use the term, “euthanized,” but the reality is that animals that are abandoned or voluntarily placed in shelters and are not adopted within a few months are usually killed. Most shelters in Pennsylvania are usually full, so when new animals are taken in, others must be killed to make room. The problem is so severe that the state now has a new job classification, euthanasia technician; these individuals will now be licensed by the Animal Veterinary Board.

     Spaying and neutering dogs and cats is only one way to help reduce the problem. But, until the people’s elected representatives believe that animals are more than chattel and crops, and are willing to write stricter laws and back them up with a budget for enforcement, not much will change.

     [Walter Brasch’s latest book is the best-selling critically-acclaimed investigation, Fracking Pennsylvania.]