Wheatley Not Suitable For State Vice Chair

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf has selected Katie McGinty as his choice to lead the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and Rep. Jake Wheatley to be Vice Chair.  Traditionally the sitting Governor or Gubernatorial candidate gets to appoint the State Chair who is then elected by State Committee.  He/she gets to have the team they want going into the general election and on.  Current Chair Jim Burn however is refusing to go quietly and next weekend the PA Dems will wind up fractured because of Burn’s decision.

The selection of Wheatley as Vice Chair is interesting due to his anti-public education record and a past felony conviction in Michigan.  From PennLive:

Rep. Jake Wheatley Jr., D-Allegheny, pleaded guilty in 1992 to felony larceny and misdemeanor assault charges related to a fight in the parking lot of a Pontiac, Mich., shopping mall when he was 20 years old. He served two years of probation, and two newspapers reported in early 2003 he had the charges expunged shortly before he was sworn in.

He told the New Pittsburgh Courier in 2002 that he threw two punches and took someone’s coat, calling it a heated argument that turned into a brawl.

Wheatley, now 38, also was charged with assault on a female in Guilford County, N.C., in 1995, but that charge was dismissed, according to the district attorney’s office. A 1996 misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in Guilford County had been “dismissed with leave” in 1998 after Wheatley did not appear in court, said Joe Davis with the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office in a recent interview. But on Oct. 27, after the AP raised questions about the case, the charge was fully dismissed, Davis said. Wheatley did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

Why is he even in the State House?  Past Supreme Court decisions have determined that anyone convicted of a felony is to be barred from any elected office in the Commonwealth.

Wheatley has also voted for Republican anti-education bills supporting vouchers and, just this week, to deny seniority to teachers in the layoff process.  Republicans in Harrisburg have eviscerated K12 public education to such an extent that Mr. Wolf has a 20-25 point lead over Tom Corbett in the race for Governor.  Allowing our experienced educators to be layed off in spite of their seniority and in violation of negotiated contract agreements is shameful.  Some are already hesitant in supporting Wolf over education issues so backing Jake Wheatley for the post of Vice Chair will only exacerbate those misgivings.

I contacted the Wolf campaign for comment and their decision is to stick with Wheatley.  The Vice Chair must be male if Katie McGinty is Chair and they wanted someone from western PA and someone who could add some diversity to leadership.  They say the Representative is embarrassed by his past but has moved past those times.

Of course not all his transgressions are in the distant past.

Mark Critz’s Pants Are On Fire. Again.

Mark Critz is running fr Lt. Governor and is at his old games once more:  lying about his background.  Claiming he should be elected on may 20th because he’ll “balance the ticket” with a progressive Gubernatorial candidate what he isn’t telling you in that is that he’s a very conservative, anti-choice and anti-LGBT kind of guy.  His resume is also littered with questionable conduct.  When the Pennsylvania Democratic Party rigged the selection process in order to give him Jack Murtha’s old Congressional seat (which he then proceeded to lose to a Tea Party Republican) we caught Critz in several untruths.  Then we caught him in more.  A company for which he was business manager failed to pay taxes.  When we used his LinkdIn page to prove he was working at that company at the time he quickly changed the information on the page.

Now he says he was working as a staffer for Congressman Murtha in 2001.  That LinkdIn page said differently.

Critz worked for a company called Parkins Concrete which did road construction and got caught not paying state and federal taxes.  He claimed to be working for both the company and Congressman Murtha simultaneously in his online resume.  Then he claimed not to know about the unpaid taxes although it would have been his job to pay them.  The Cambria Crier caught our reporting on these issues at the time:

First, when The Pennsylvania Progressive questioned Mark Critz about being employed by Parkins Concrete for a year while working for Murtha’s office, he never answered the question but just changed his Linkedln page to reflected he had already left the company. Being employed by the company and Murtha is a direct conflict of interest.  Nor did the Tribune-Democrat raise the issue that while Critz was the business manager and bookkeeper for Parkins Concrete the company was assessed significant state tax violations and federal tax liens.

First of all, why is a man running for Lt. Governor after failing to pay state and federal taxes while the business manager at Parkins Concrete?  The late Congressman Murtha’s activities with several Defense contractors has been the subject of an FBI investigation which may yet touch former staffers.  He is currently working as a consultant for a fracking industry lobbying group.

He thinks he can provide “balance” to a Democratic ticket this November.  I think all Mark Critz offers is more of the same.

Why I Won’t Be Coverin the PA Dems This Week

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is convening Friday and Saturday in nearby Lancaster but I won’t be covering their activities.  A lot of resolutions and business are on the agenda but the powers that be (primarily the corrupt Bob Brady) will block everything once again.  I won’t be there however.  I’m fed up with Democrats violating their national charter by closing public meetings.  I’ve now been kicked out four times including at the last meeting when Fadia Halma evicted me from a By Laws Committee meeting.

In previous Party meetings Jack Hanna has thrown me out of the Southwest Caucus twice and Berks County Chair illegally closed a County Committee meeting and I was told I had to leave.

The DNC national Charter says that ALL Democratic Party meetings are open to the public.  That includes the press.  Closing these meetings tot he press or kicking me out of them is direct violation of their national Party rules.  I’ll no longer spend my time and money going to their meetings simply to be tossed out.  No more.

The By Laws Committee meeting at the last Party conference was very important.  The Progressive Caucus had proposed a by laws change prohibiting County Chairs from unilaterally dismissing duly elected committee people because they don’t agree with their politics, the Democratic candidates they choose to support (in unendorsed campaigns) or because they simply don’t want them.  Philadelphia County Chair Bob Brady and Berks County Chair Tom Herman have both been guilty of such actions.  I left the Democratic Party five years ago because of Herman’s actions against me when I chose to support Mike Morrill for the 126th State House seat against turncoat Tom Caltagirone.

So this by laws change was personal for me and I went to the By Laws Committee to witness and report on what transpired.  Ms. Halma told me the meeting would be closed and I had to leave.  Then Bob Brady killed the proposal behind closed doors.  I presume there was smoke leaking from under that closed doorway.  Doing business in smoke filled rooms continues in today’s Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Blog Update

I apologize for the lack of posting the past three weeks.  Our old house went under contract a month ago and the last weeks were hectic and frenetic going through all the hassles and wrinkles of preparing to close.  The deal did finally close last Friday so my time will begin reverting back to normal.

Things have been rather quiet on the state level with only one statewide race so there hasn’t been a lot about which to write and comment.  Since I no longer interview or cover Democratic candidates thanks to that undemocratic Party constantly throwing me out of their required “open” meetings things have quieted down considerably.   If you’re wondering why I’m not attending and covering your events ask Fadia Halma why she chose to block me from the By Laws Committee meeting at the last Democratic State Committee meeting.  Jack Hanna has kicked me out of two of his Southwest Caucus meetings and Berks County Chair Tom Herman tossed me out of one of his “open to the public” meetings.

The DNC Charter requires that ALL Party meetings be open to the public.

PA Dems Meet This Weekend

Pennsylvania Democrats are meeting tomorrow and Saturday at the Hershey Lodge.  The winter meeting is always interesting because it is their endorsement event.  Judicial races on the ballot this year means Friday night receptions as the candidates attempt to wine and dine the State Committee members.  The ones with the best (and freest) booze and food usually win.  I’ve actually overheard Committee people say they vote based on who has the best spread.

A lot of potential 2014 candidates should be found roaming the halls, chatting people in the bar and in the restaurant.  Tom Wolf is about ready to launch his gubernatorial effort and this week Brad Koplinski commenced his campaign for Lt. Governor.  Brad is a good guy but if Dems want to oust Gov. gasbag another unbalanced (east/west) ticket might doom them.  Not having anyone from SE Pennsylvania helped put Corbett in the Governors Mansion.

There will be interesting resolutions coming up for a vote.  I expect a lot of talk about fracking this weekend.  Snow is also expected though not enough to cause the problems they had a few years ago in Lancaster.  

I’m wondering if the Democrats are ready to apologize to me for kicking me out of the Southwestern Caucus meeting last summer.  As a result of this breach of Party rules I stopped covering their candidates.  It was the third time it happened in violation of the DNC Charter and, well you know, three strikes and you’re out.

I plan on asking various officials how they feel about the Party being so closely tied to predator priest protector Rep. Thomas Caltagirone.  Here’s a nifty quiz for them:  explain how Graham Spanier is to Jerry Sandusky as Tom Caltagirone is to child molesting priests?  How much do they want to be compared with The Second Mile?  How close do they want to be to the guy who blocked reform legislation that would have gone after those predatory priests?

Another Black Eye For PA Dems

Remember the debacle the Pennsylvania Democratic Party underwent when they rigged the vote for Mark Critz after Jack Murtha died?  We exposed that misadventure and now have another one to report.  It seems things haven’t changed under Chair Jim Burn.  Executive Board votes for special elections are still being rigged for Party insiders as in the recent case of Chelsa Wagner’s State House seat.  

Marty Schmotzer, the former Allegheny County Deputy Clerk of Courts who stole $50,000 from taxpayers and reneged on $25,000 to the IRS received but 25 legitimate votes from the Party’s Exec Board to fill the special election nomination for Wagner’s vacant seat (she is now Allegheny County Controller).  The State Party by laws are quite clear on the procedures:  fifty members vote and 26 votes are required.  By the close of the voting Schmotzer had 25 votes.  Here’s the really amazing part of this scandal though:  Burn added fifteen additional voters.  Nothing in the By Laws permits this and it has never been done before.  

The “powers that be” decided Marty was their man for this special election even though it’ll be impossible to win.  If I’m a Republican I simply pour money into direct mail and radio ads reminding voters of Schmotzer’s dishonesty and run away with this seat.  I could win this one with a ham sandwich.  Burn seemed to think differently though and forced the guy through by packing the Board and thumbing his nose at the rules.  

March 8, 2012

State Rep. Tim Kreiger wants to do away wit the state database used to verify potential gun owners.  Gun dealers (except those at gun shows) must check a buyer’s record through the database before selling a firearm.  Sounds like common sense to me.

A 16 year old Reading youth had charges of aggravated assault and robbery dropped by Republican Judge Scott Lash in Berks County Court.  This was the Thun Trail case where a 65 year old man shot two of the three youths and killed one of them.  The Castle Doctrine law made his summary execution of the boy legal.  How serious could this incident have been if a conservative Judge dropped the most serious charges?

Now that six House seats will be filled on April 24th the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has sent Executive Board members notice of their suty to select candidates.  The man who once stole $50,000 from taxpayers then stiffed the IRS for $25,000 in taxes is the leading nominee to get the nod to run for Chelsa Wagner’s seat in Allegheny County.  Nothing like simply handing a seat over to the GOP folks.  I can see those mailers now…

How many of the 50 member board will vote for the non crook?  Any guesses?

Fox News is blaming the President for gas prices after letting George W. Bush off the hook.  Facts are that it was Bush’s deregulation of speculation in commodity markets which caused high prices.  Media Matters had a bit of fun exposing Fox’s hypocrisy:

What do all these Republicans have against women?  Don’t they realize its a very, very bad strategy to piss off half the population before an election?  Who in the world came up with this idea?  Its so bad Rick Santorum thinks single moms simply produce criminals.

As conservatives (both Republican and Democrat) cut and slash our social safety net, cutting programs for the poor, the unemployed, the down and out, the elderly, children and the disabled extreme poverty has increased substantially.  While the rich keep getting richer with tax breaks, loopholes and corporate welfare the poorest have gotten worse.  Extreme poverty has doubled in 15 years.  This means people going hungry, without heat, without shelter, without adequate clothing.  Sales of mansions, yachts, private planes and other luxuries are at record levels along with corporate profits.  That trickle down they’re always talking about?  It’s that warm stuff getting dumped on you which used to go to your local sewage system.

In good news researchers at Penn’s Wistar Institute are making progress in the fight against AIDS.  The effort bolsters patient’s immune systems allowing doctors to remove them from anti-viral drugs.  This is happening right here in Pennsylvania.

In Tennessee a private prison company is demanding a 90% occupancy rate for twenty years in return for buying the state’s prisons.  The privatization of government continues as taxpayers fund government for profit instead of good government.  So much for the public interest when laws are then passed justifying more arrests and detention in order to fulfill contracts with such corporations.  Remember Kids For Cash?  This is simply Adults For Cash.

Congress lost its leading liberal voice this week when Dennis Kucinich lost his primary to Marcy Kaptur.  Republicans redistricted the two seats into one.

Rep. Donald Payne, Congressman from New Jersey, passed away this week.

Why do MRI’s cost $1,080 here and only $280 in France?  One reason is that many imaging clinics are owned by doctors who then send their patients to themselves for scans.  Guess who pays for all of this?

Democratic Candidate Stole $50,000

Now that special elections have been ordered for the six vacant House seats in Harrisburg the Pennsylvania has a clear choice for a candidate to fill Chelsa Wagner’s seat.  Now the Allegheny County Controller her seat remains there until redistricting and two candidates have emerged vying for the nomination.  It is up to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to choose a candidate…will they pick a crook or a progressive?

Marty Schmotzer seems to be the front runner in spite of his sorry record.  From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

Twelve years ago, Schmotzer was charged with stealing $50,000 from county taxpayers while working as a deputy clerk of courts in the 1990s.

After receiving a loan from his brother about six months after pilfering the public money, Schmotzer repaid it. He even threw in an extra $925 in interest, as if he had borrowed the money from a bank instead of the clerk of court coffers.

The IRS also went after them for $25,000 in back taxes.  Schmotzer got off the theft charge because the DA didn’t prosecute in time but there seems to be no doubt he stole the $50,000 from taxpayers.

The other choice is Erin Molchany.  From her website:

Erin Molchany has dedicated her life to her community.

As Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP), she brought people together to make Pittsburgh a better, more diverse, and more prosperous place to live. She worked tirelessly to retain Pittsburgh’s young people by connecting them to our community and encouraging them to stay and invest in its growth and prosperity.

Erin came to Pittsburgh for school and stayed to serve. While working her way through college at Duquesne University, Erin dedicated herself to helping others. She worked at the Emergency Services Department of the American Red Cross. There she learned the importance of community leadership and how our community comes together in difficult times. That our community was only as strong as it was united.  And that good leaders could make our region better.

Erin shared this experience into the Coro Center for Public Leadership where she directed the Community Problem-Solving Fellowship, the Emerging Leaders in Public Affairs and the Women in Leadership programs. These programs taught Pittsburghers the skills they needed to succeed personally and professionally while encouraging them to succeed at home and help build our communities.

Erin’s tireless devotion to the region won her an appointment to Pennsylvania’s You Lead Initiative. As Co-Chair, she fought to make Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania, a better place for young entrepreneurs to invest their time, energy and passion.

In 2006, Erin was elected Vice President of the board of Directors for the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) where she promoted economic development, public safety and a thriving business district. During this time, Erin became a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Non-Profit Partnership (GPNP) participating on the GPNP’s Public Policy Committee.

Which candidate do you think the Dems will nominate?  My guess is the crook.  He would fit in well in Harrisburg…

Update:  The Allegheny County Democrats endorsed the crook by a vote of 79-28 with 9 others supporting Shawn Lunny.  The State Party Executive Board now votes on the candidate.  They normally give great weight to what the county organization does.

Kane May Have Violated Federal Election Law

Kathleen Kane wants to be Pennsylvania’s Attorney General but seems to be having trouble obeying federal election law.  In a telephone conversation Monday her media person Joshua Morrow insisted to me that she had never been an executive at her husband’s firm Kane Is Able.  Patrick Murphy’s campaign alleged that she had made FEC contributions saying she was and that the firm was anti-worker and anti-union.  The Kane campaign never contested those facts, just that she had never been associated with the company.

Yet on numerous occasions she filed legal forms with candidates and campaigns listing her occupation as an executive at Kane Is Able.  These include monetary contributions just last year to Bob Casey’s Senate re-election campaign and previously to Joe Sestak’s Senate race, Arlen Specter in 2010 and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  That last contribution dates to October of 2006.  The FEC posts all documents online in their original form and contributors to federal campaigns must fill them out for every contribution.  This means Kane stated her official occupation, for federal election purposes, numerous times as Executive, Kane Is Able.

Is the Kane campaign lying about her record or did Kathleen Kane commit federal election law violations?

Here are links to some of the documents:

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Morrow contacted me ordering me to retract a statement I published from the Murphy campaign and said “I’d be sorry if I didn’t.”  When I double checked the facts I found their statement was entirely accurate.  I then told Mr. Morrow that I thought their attacks on the Congressman’s war record were unworthy and backfiring.  It’s never a good strategy to impair an opponent’s service to their country, especially when, in Patrick’s case, he was awarded the Bronze Star for that work.

The Murphy campaign kindly provided me with the official narrative written in granting him the award for his work in the Judge Advocate’s Office where he did, indeed, prosecute terrorists.  Specifically, Sheikh Tohma and Sheikh Moyad, a top lieutenant of Moqtada al Sadr.

It is unbecoming to attempt to mar the record of a war hero in order to achieve elective office and Ms. Kane should be ashamed.  The words of her manager were totally speculative and completely unfounded.

I contacted Mr. Morrow for comment but he hasn’t responded.

Democratic State Committee This Weekend

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is meeting Friday and Saturday in State College where three candidates are vying for the coveted endorsement for Attorney General.  Patrick Murphy, Kathleen Kane and Dan McCaffrey are contesting for that nod though it isn’t likely any will receive enough votes.  My prediction is that western Pennsylvania political bigotry (they refuse to ever support anyone from Philadelphia) will line up behind Kane.

I won’t be covering this meeting.  The last meeting in Somerset saw me as the only press in attendance at the general meeting.  Since Democrats threw me out of the last of their meetings I attempted to cover in violation of national rules I won’t be covering them again until I get an apology.