February is Black History Month and so two members of the Pennsylvania House decided to celebrate by inviting their fellow Representatives to a special lunch. Rep. W. Curtis Thomas and Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown dressed in traditional African garb for the occasion and were thereby shunned by racist House Republicans.
In the PA Supreme Court arguments this morning Justice Debra Todd was forced to read the Commonwealth’s stipulation that no verified case of voter impersonation fraud has ever happened in the state. Gov. Corbett’s lawyer was actually trying to back off that statement to the extent she felt it necessary to read it into the record. The stipulation is definitive: there has never been a verified case of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Why then did State Representative Rick Saccone claim otherwise yesterday? Is he delusional or a practiced prevaricator?
I called his office this morning for comment and am awaiting a response for his conduct yesterday at The Blue Flame Restaurant in Pleasant Hills. Saccone represents a district in Allegheny and Washington counties and is a former professor according to his official website. Professors are trained and expected to deal in facts not fantasy. I suppose this explain why he’s no longer a professor.
According to sources who attended the event when the question of voter ID was raised Saccone claimed voter impersonation fraud is rampant. Of course that was either a bold faced lie or Saccone is delusional. I asked his office if he is, I’m looking forward to their response. Worse, the woman who asked the question was then subjected to shout downs including one man who yelled “shut your mouth!” Amidst this intimidation and abuse Rep. Saccone failed to call anyone out for their abusive behavior, stop the verbal assaults or apologize to his constituent for the treatment was accorded at his event.
What does this say about the man’s character? I asked that also of his Harrisburg staffer. She claimed several Republican House members cited personal cases where they say someone tried to impersonate them at the polls. Of course this is hearsay and all of these claims are based on disproven urban legends. Some of our State Representatives need to discover Snopes.com. Urban legends are no basis for writing legislation. If so perhaps Rick Saccone should spend time writing laws against dragons and unicorns. They’re as much of a threat as voter fraud.
If Rep. Saccone does not justify his failures of character exhibited yesterday where is his sense of personal responsibility? I await his response.
State Rep. Joe Brennan was all over TV in the Lehigh Valley last week following his arrest for domestic violence and DUI. After having choked his wife and beating her on their front porch he drove off drunk. This wasn’t Brennan’s first brush with alcohol abuse issues and some thought he was a ticking time bomb because of alcohol issues.
Now that he exploded Lehigh Valley Democrats are in a conundrum: he’s politically radioactive and they don’t want to lose the seat. The State House is the Dems only chance to stop Tom Corbett, Mike Turzai and Daryl Metcalfe’s radical agenda and every seat is crucial.
The pressure on Brennan to resign so Dems can name a replacement (they already have someone lined up) is getting high. He has surrounded himself with lawyers so it’s become difficult for anyone outside the powerful and influential to contact him about the consequences. Those who are are putting a lot of pressure on him to do the right thing.
What separates this from Sen. Lisa Boscola’s repeated brushes with DUI are the domestic assault charges. The fact he beat his wife takes his case to another level which is unacceptable to voters. There’s no way he can hold this seat after the intense media glare. It seemed every time I looked at WFMZ news last week I saw Brennan. Will he have the decency to do the right thing? Tune in.
First off, a bit of a disclaimer: I’ve advised Joe on his campaign in an unpaid capacity. Joe Haas has what it takes to win this seat from Republican Gary Day. Day is an extremist conservative who is one of ALEC’s supporters in Harrisburg. He’s out of touch with a District which can be won by a Democrat. Recent Dems have been snake bitten there, John Ritter coming down with a serious illness and Archie Follweiler getting fleeced by a campaign consultant… Joe Haas can win this seat through good, moderate positions and hard work.
Attorney Bill Bispels repeatedly labeled himself a libertarian at their debate which puts him on the right wing. He took several progressive stands but is, essentially, a one issue candidate calling for a complete moratorium on fracking.
Such a position is unrealistic. There’s way too much money in shale gas to ban such extraction. What we need to do is regulate it heavily so our water supplies are protected, keep it away from valuable river systems, tax it adequately and insure everyone’s water supply is safe. These are the positions Haas has taken and reflect a more common sense approach. He also is running a strong pro education position and would use gas extraction taxes for public education. He also has shown a strong willingness to get out and campaign. I haven’t seen any inclination of that from Bispels and this is what it takes to win a House seat. These are Districts where candidates can knock on most doors and talk with voters. Bill hasn’t shown any proclivity to do that. Haas is a bright young man with extensive experience operating campaigns and would bring a positive approach to Harrisburg representing the 187th.
I met with Mark Rozzi this afternoon for an interview. The small business owner is running for Dante Santoni Jr.’s open seat in House District 126. This includes much of Reading along with Muhlenberg, Temple and Mt. Penn. This is my House District and I was very interested in who was considering making a run and was hoping a pro choice candidate would emerge whom I could support. Mark Rozzi is that candidate.
Two other Democrats are running, Jerry Delcollo and Frank Denbowski. Delcollo isn’t a factor. Frank is someone I’ve known for eight years and I’ve always thought he was a good man. He served in several capacities with the City of Reading most recently as Chief of Staff to former Mayor Tom McMahon. There was a lot wrong with that City Hall, scandals about mismanagement and inefficiencies. Checks sent in to City Hall couldn’t even get cashed before they expired. Entire shoe boxes full of checks would intermittently be found sitting in someone’s office while the City bled money and laid off workers. Through that all I could support Denbowski if he were truly pro choice and pro marriage equality. He is not.
Mark Rozzi is and brings a breath of fresh air to Berks County politics. While many of those around Denbowski are spreading vague rumors and lies about Rozzi he has maintained a positive, focused campaign. I think it says something about a candidate when his campaign runs a gutter effort. The candidate is always ultimately responsible for the campaign run of his/her behalf and this has reflected badly on Frank Denbowski. If someone can’t run an honest campaign how can we expect them to be an honest legislator?
Here is my interview with Mark Rozzi: