Feud Grows Between Reading Mayor and Newspaper

There’s an old saying in politics:  never get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel.  Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer has engaged The Reading Eagle and this the newspaper struck back with a headline story about the Berks County Elections Board investigating his campaign finances.  The story is bogus is because I investigated this (and had the story last August 21st) and found nothing improper or illegal in Spencer’s actions.

Berks County Commissioner launched the probe as a personal vendetta wasting thousands of taxpayer funds (that’s the real story) trying to go after Philadelphia union boss Johnny Dougherty.  The IBEW local gave Spencer’s campaign $30,000.  They used ten grand of it for election day activities (get out the vote operations) and then handed ten thousand each to two Philadelphia City Council candidates.  Philadelphia rules cap such contributions at $10,000.

Candidates always spread money around to each other and through other entities.  Scott himself gave the Pennsylvania Republican Party a ton of cash which they used to post direct mail pieces on his behalf.  Mark Scott and their ilk do so so negative attack ads don’t have their own names on them.  If what Spencer did was “money laundering” then so did Scott.  The problem is there’s no law against it.

Yesterday I published a response from Mayor Spencer’s office attacking The Reading Eagle for its failure to disclose an obvious conflict of interest.  Let me do an aside right now that I take no sides in this conflict I’m simply reporting what is happening.  Reading City Councilwoman Donna Reed is Vaughn Spencer’s chief political foe.  Her husband is the direct supervisor of the reporter covering City Hall.  The Eagle has never disclosed this conflict when reporting on the mayor.  The newspaper has run many negative stories about him (and he’s given them enough to write about) done by Don Spatz without ever disclosing he reports directly to Reed’s husband.  Today’s headline story is again written by Spatz with no disclosure.  It is an obvious response to the Mayor charging them with ethical violations.

Tit for tat and guess who’s going to lose?  Hint:  it won’t be the guy who buys ink by the barrel.

News & Notes December 21, 2011

Ignorant conservatives like to lie about hospitals refusing to treat people who are without insurance.  They do and they do it every day.  This case happened right in the Lehigh Valley. Heaven help us though if we criticize these leeches on society.

The riots at Penn State following Joe Paterno’s justified firing cost the town $190,000.  Thirty eight arrests and a another huge black eye for the university also cost our reputation.  He’d already announced his retirement so was it worth it?

Jane Orie’s retrial will begin in February and I can’t wait.  How much evidence will she fabricate this time to abort yet another attempt to hold her personally accountable for her misdeeds?  She had to sign a waiver in order to retain her high powered attorney since he may be called to testify in the altered documents portion of the trial.  Of course she can always claim duress later and appeal to the state Supreme Court where her sister sits thanks to their corruption, for which she is on trial.

As state revenues sink gas drillers continue to exploit our common resources for private profit without any extraction taxes.  Here’s a neat graphic showing the increase in wells:

Russ Diesinger, a school board member in Berks County, is running for the State House in the 130th District now held by Tea bagger David Maloney.

Philadelphia based Comcast stole $160,000 in payroll from its employees.

HBO has given “Hung” the short end of the stick.

Rick Santorum is OK with income inequality.  Of course he is since he’s one of the 1% biggest protectionists.

As people all over the world deal with increasing climate change species are disappearing, migrating and adapting.  Still, stubborn idiots continue denying this is happening.  They’ll do so until it kills them then they’ll scream bloody murder that we failed to deal with the problem.  On the plus side Texas may become inhabitable in just a few years after its water dries up and the state burns itself out.

Gays are approaching presidential candidates and challenging them on their homophobia.  The latest is Newt who replied that gays should simply support Obama.  I thought leaders, especially presidents, were supposed to represent us all?  Of course American government stopped representing anyone except the 1% long ago.  At least Gingrich isn’t pretending otherwise.

Things in Wisconsin have gotten ugly as Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters try to sabotage the recall effort against him.  He doesn’t even seem to comprehend that faking someone in a campaign ad won’t be researched and exposed.  His “small business owner” turns out to be a billionaire who outsources jobs.

CWA Strikes Verizon

The Communication Workers of America struck Verizon over unfair labor cutbacks this week and began picketing outside offices in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and in Philadelphia.  In spite of huge profits the communications giant is seeking to roll back hard won gains in wages, benefits and work rules.  Ten thousand Pennsylvania workers went out on strike last weekend.  From the AFL-CIO:

Harrisburg, Penn. (August 7, 2010) – More than 45,000 workers from New England to Virginia went on strike just after midnight at Verizon Communications. The workers are represented by the CWA (Communications Workers of America) and the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).

Since bargaining began last month on July 22, Verizon has refused to move from a long list of concession demands. As the contract expired, nearly 100 concessionary proposals remained on the table.

“Verizon’s demands would take much of its unionized workforce back to 1960s levels of wages, benefits and working conditions,” noted Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale. “They insist on these Draconian demands despite Verizon’s 2011 annualized revenues of $108 billion and net corporate profits of $6 billion, Mr. Bloomingdale added.”

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder explained that this will not be a traditional strike. “We need to shine a light on Verizon’s obscene corporate greed into all of our communities. If you think they’re not setting the stage for stripping your wages, benefits, pensions, and collective bargaining, you’re wrong. Today its Verizon, tomorrow in may be you!” Mr. Snyder said.”

“Verizon workers, Pennsylvania’s working families want you to know your fight is ours,” added Mr. Bloomingdale as he encouraged all workers throughout the Commonwealth to attend an action or strike rally at a location near them in a statewide communication distributed widely Sunday.

Strike rallies are planned for Monday, August 8th at 8 a.m. in Pittsburgh outside the Verizon offices at 416 7th Avenue, in Harrisburg at Strawberry Square and in Philadelphia at 9th and Race Street.

Additional information can be found here.

Support our brothers and sisters from Verizon and do what you can to aid them in this noble effort.  Efforts to bust unions and hurt working people have been going on all year all across the country.  If there’s a picket line near you there are several things you can do to help.  You can go join them, take them cold water, snacks and sandwiches.  Let them know we all support them.

Labor $$ Supporting Medaglia

I traveled to Harrisburg yesterday to secure a copy of Larry Medaglia’s campaign finance report.  It is interesting as these always are.  He has only 20 individual supporters.  Other than Peter Giorgi of Giorgio Foods ($15,000) none are significant.  His money is coming from Senator Dominic Pileggi ($25,000) and the Pennsylvania Republican Party ($181,330) in in-kind contributions (direct mail pieces).  When going through Pileggi’s reports I noted dozens of organized labor unions contributing to the Republican Senator.  These include:

AFL-CIO,Carpenters, IBEW, IUPAT, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Steamfitters, SEIU, AFSCME, Teamsters, Plumbers Local 27, Iron Workers, cement masons, Western PA Laborers, Sprinkler Fitters, Bricklayers, Reinforced Iron Workers, IUEC, Asbestos Workers and Sheet Metal Workers.

Pileggi contributed $25,000 to Larry Medaglia.  Republicans all across the nation, in partnership with their GOP Governors, are now trying to attack worker’s rights to organize and engage in collective bargaining.  GOP State Senators in Wisconsin are leading this effort and this special election is going on in the shadow of those union busting efforts.

So why are so many labor unions supporting Republicans?  Their money is now flowing to someone who has avowed to bust public employee union pensions (though Medaglia will accept his own).