News & Notes April 23, 2012

Tomorrow is election day, don’t let bad weather keep you from exercising your right to vote.  People in Syria are dying in the streets fighting for this right.   On the other hand don’t allow Tom Corbett to rob you of your right to vote.  They’ll be rolling out the Voter ID program though the law says you don’t have to produce an ID until the November election.

Matt Cartwright got the endorsements of three Northeastern PA papers.  Marybeth Kuznick is also racking up endorsements for her House race.

The Reading Eagle isn’t running the news that Frank Denbowski broke state election law.

Denbowski isn’t alone.  Marty Schmotzer didn’t even file a report.  The difference is we already knew Marty was a crook.

The DCCC points out how Jim Gerlach voted to give the Dallas Cowboys a tax break.  Their vote would provide all major sports teams owners another cut.  Have those crumbs trickled down to you yet?  Ronald Reagan promised they would.

NARAL’s pro-choice voters guide is available here.

This week there will be a major women’s rally in Harrisburg.  Join us on April 28th at 10AM on the Capitol steps.

Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer is already tangled up in a web of cronyism and corruption.  That didn’t take long.

It appears fracking is already destroying fish in the Susquehanna River.  Will Corbett’s DEP do anything?

Two notable trials are going on this week:  Roger Clemens and John Edwards.

Wal-Mart spent millions bribing Mexican officials so they could build stores.  How much did they spend here?

The Catholic League got all in a lather over a skit Jon Stewart did.  They responded by showing him amidst fire on the day Jews use to remember victims of the Holocaust.  Very bad idea…

New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson says bullying of gay teens is simply teasing.  Sure, hundreds of kids commit suicide every year over “teasing.”  She lost her Congressional seat over ties to George W. Bush’s GonzalesGate.  Should we tease her about that?

Education Voters PA has endorsed several candidates:  Erin Molchany, Shauna D’Alessandro, Duane Milne, Babette Josephs, James Roebuck and Sen. Patricia Vance.  Milne and Vance are moderate Republicans being challenged from their right (Tea Party).

Mitt Romney stepped in it when he dissed a famous Pittsburgh bakery.  Just when he was making progress trying to win the battleground state this fall he stepped in a pile of sh*t.  Maybe he still has time to come to Philadelphia and say how bad Tastykakes are…  Then he can throw up outside Pat’s Steaks.  Go to Lancaster and say something bad about scrapple?  He may as well try for the whole enchilada!

We’re finally getting some rain.  The last six months have been very dry, months we normally see considerable precipitation.  Climate change is affecting us and rivers are so low we can’t go kayaking.  I drove up along the Delaware Saturday, a stretch I’ve paddled many times, and was shocked at the low levels.  How will climate change affect our state in the future?  Here’s how.

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.  

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.