Billman, Rozzi Spar Over Marriage Equality, Planned Parenthood

Tea bagger Jim Billman is attacking Mark Rozzi for supporting the constitution:

I thought the Tea Party ilk revered the constitution?  Aren’t these the morons who went around all summer in 2010 waving it at us and insisting we follow it?

Why then is he running this commercial?  The constitution guarantees equal justice for all.  The 14th Amendment provides for equal protection under the law.  That means we cannot have one law for straight people and something else for LGBT citizens.  That’s why Rozzi supports marriage equality, it’s the American thing to do.

Perhaps Billman wants to revert to times when “traditional marriage” meant you could sell your daughter, marry multiple women (as Mitt Romney’s grandfather did) or have to marry your sister-in-law if your brother died (even if you were already wed).

I have a question for Mr. Billman:  why should you have a right I don’t have?  That’s Unamerican.

I won’t comment on the Planned Parenthood part of the attack ad that’s for our staff to do.

Billman ran a commercial for a short while wherein he waved a wad of municipal citations and claimed he was being targeted by the City of Reading for running.  He seems to own a number of investment properties for which he can’t pay his mortgages (they’re for sale on a short sale basis) or keep up.  Many of these citations predate his running.  He’s a typical tea bagger:  the perpetual victim.

Here’s Mark Rozzi’s response:

As State Representative I will represent each and every member of my District, whether they are a man or women, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat. I am a strong supporter of individual rights. I also understand that millions of American women rely on organizations like Planned Parenthood for health care services including regular checkups, breast cancer screenings and reproductive screenings. Women have the right to affordable and quality health care. What we can’t do is listen to the extreme Tea Party voices like my opponent who make outrageous claims that there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” or that pregnancy from rape is something “God intended to happen”.

Update:  From Adrian Shanker, President of Equality Pennsylvania:

“Jim Billman’s offensive and frankly, ignorant, ad makes it abundantly clear that he is out of touch with a majority of Pennsylvanians who support marriage equality. There could not be a clearer choice in this election. Mark Rozzi believes in equality, while his opponent wants to ensure inequality for generations to come.” – Adrian Shanker, President, Equality Pennsylvania

PA BCEL: “Friends of Frank Denbowski” Doesn’t Exist

The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation (BCEL) told me this morning they have no record of Frank Denbowski’s campaign committee.  He is running for the State House in District 126, a seat currently held by Dante Santoni Jr.  State election law requires that any candidate spending more than $250 form a campaign committee and register it with the state.  They are then required to file periodic campaign finance reports with BCEL.  I have been searching the BCEL database for Denbowski’s reports for a week and finally drove to Harrisburg this morning to get them.  I was told no reports exist and that they have no record of “Friends of Frank Denbowski” being a legally registered campaign committee.

I spoke with Mr. Denbowski and he insists he has filed the appropriate paperwork and has time and date stamped receipts.  If he registered his Committee in February as he claims then BCEL should have a record of it.  Mike Fleck, consultant to the Denbowski campaign called me and stated “we confirmed they have our reports.  I don’t know why they couldn’t give them to you.”

Gov. Corbett’s budget cuts have cut the BCEL staff from 31 people to 20, a third of its previous size.  Considering the importance of election integrity if they are unable to process crucial paperwork in a timely manner all elections are suspect.  Voters have the right to examine all campaign finance reports prior to an election.  We are on the Friday before a Tuesday election day and BCEL is unable to provide me with documents the candidate claims to have submitted.  Of course had Denbowski done so electronically none of this would be an issue.  Mark Rozzi’s electronically filed campaign finance report has been online at the BCEL website for a week.  In 2012 it is inexcusable for a candidate to not be able to use basic technology.

Fleck told me he would scan their documents and send them to me via email.

I called the Department of State and asked why they are unable to produce documents when citizens drive there and request them.  They have no answer for me yet either.

Meanwhile I have been attempting to obtain these documents since 8:30 this morning and by 1:30 PM have nothing.  I’ll update the story as events unfold.

Update:  Three and a half hours after they were promised I still haven’t received copies of the documents from the Denbowski campaign.  I did get a copy of them from another campaign which managed to go to the Berks County Elections Services, obtain a copy (without state time stamps), scan them and email them to me. At this point I’m not sure I’d even trust them, too much time has elapsed to use Photoshop.  Until I get something from the PA Dept. of State I’m not saying the campaign committee was properly registered.

Update II:  The Department of State has sent the Denbowski campaign a letter stating their campaign finance report was filed on time.  Thus far no one has provided proof the Committee was registered.  I have been seeking this information all day.

State House District 126 Endorsement: Mark Rozzi

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: