KU Polling Place Change Stirs Controversy

Kutztown University isn’t actually in Kutztown but Maxatawny Township and students there have been voting on campus for a number of years.  The poll has been in the lobby and hallway of an athletic building with ample parking just outside.  It seems numerous complaints over the years from voters and poll workers prompted the Berks County Elections Commissioner Deb Olivieri to finally move the precinct four miles away to the Township building.  This happened when a suitable polling place became available for Maxatawny 1 which had been in the township building (out of the precinct) and now is in a church within its precinct.

Olivieri notified Tom Herman, Chair of the Berks County Democratic Committee, of the proposed switch on July 19th and on August 8th the County Commissioners (two Republicans and a Democrat often referred to as “the third Republican”) sitting as the Board of Elections approved the change.  Since then allegations of voter suppression arose as local Democrats saw the switch as an attempt to limit voter participation by KU students.

On the surface that might appear so as registered voters in Maxatawny 3 are comprised of 72% students at the University.  However when one looks at actual voter turnout it is abysmal except in presidential years.  In 2010 227 voters turned out but only 3 in that year’s primary.   2011 had 2 primary voters and 5 in the general.  2012 had 10 primary voters and 943 for the presidential general election.  This spring just one voter turned out for the primary.

As Commissioners Chair Christian Leinbach correctly pointed out college students generally have no interest in local municipal elections so those turnouts are very bad.  They do have interest in presidential races however and that is when KU students do turn out in large numbers.  Moving the precinct off campus and four miles away will have an effect in those races.  KU President Javier Cevallos has promised the Board the University will provide shuttle service to the polling place.  As long as the students are adequately informed about that availability I don’t this being a huge issue.

I’ve known Olivieri for years and she is a thorough and capable elections director and doesn’t do things on a partisan basis.   The thought that a Democrat would decide to disenfranchise fellow Democratic voters doesn’t make sense.  Berks County Democratic Chair Tom Herman had ample notice of the proposed change and had no reaction until after the fact and then shamelessly accused Olivieri of voter suppression.

The facts show that over eight years only 33% of the voter turnout in Max 3 were KU students.  If they really want a campus polling place perhaps they should vote more often and be more involved in the process.  I visit this polling place on election days because a local GOP committee person is known to practice active voter suppression there (like telling students if they vote they’ll lose their student aid) and I want to report on it if and when it occurs.  I never have trouble finding parking but have no personal knowledge of the physical facility because I don’t enter it.  I do know a lot of foot traffic into and out of the building are football players reporting for practice and other normal student activity not related to voting.  If this presents problems for poll workers moving the poll might make sense.  Olivieri obviously sincerely thought this change would be good.  Time will tell.

Update:  The numbers provided by Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, which I quoted here, are NOT accurate according to the County’s own website.  For example, in the 2011 primary election Leinbach himself garnered 94 votes at Maxatawny 3.  I am trying to contact him for an explanation.

Update II:  Leinbach is claiming his numbers were for registered students on campus only.  He presented them as voter turnout figures.  I will check the video for exact quotes.  If he intentionally misrepresented these numbers at a public, televised meeting to justify previous actions this is a serious matter.

KU: Tom Corbett is the Enemy

Students, faculty and organized labor met this morning on the Kutztown University campus to rally against Tom Corbett’s budget cuts.  Unfortunately it appears Republicans in Harrisburg are determined to ram this budget through in record time.   Hearings have been underway for a couple weeks and are set to wrap up in early April.  The House and Senate are looking to pass it by Memorial Day.

Cuts to higher education amount to 50%.  Schools like KU look to lose $24 million.  PSHE (Pennsylvania System of Higher Education) is seeing fewer cuts than the four state related universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) but these young people are looking at 33% tuition hikes, programs cut and faculty and staff losses.  

I wondered how many of the students there today failed to vote last fall.  The campus is just ten minutes away so I visit that polling place every election day to gauge how many students are voting.  Last fall (and in 2009) there were very few compared with 2008.  Unfortunately elections have consequences and failing to vote means seeing your dreams disappear.  Not voting means silencing your voice when it matters most.  Speaking out now is fine but speaking up every November is far more important.  

More pictures and video of today’s rally are below the fold…

Dr. Michael Gambone:

LaDuca Thinks Words Like “Faggot” and “Wop” Are Acceptable

Adam LaDuca, now the former Executive Director of the PA Federation of College Republicans, deleted numerous offensive statements from his blog The Truth Shall Set You Free.  Just because he deleted content (unethical by blogging standards by the way) doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared forever as he discovered yesterday.

Some remain like this one directed at an anonymous commenter:

thetrueconservative Says:

October 21, 2007 at 11:09 am

I didn’t say you didn’t save it? My point was that I’m not going to keep replying just to hear myself talk. You don’t want to hear it and you are too close-minded to try and grasp anything I’m saying, so I’m not going to waste teh space.

And how on earth am I like Nixon…please describe…I’d also find it funny that you claim my remarks are “homophobic” guess what, when gays stop calling eachother fags and queers, so can the rest of the world. It’s just a word. Just like I am a “WOP” I tell people all the time I don’t care if they call me that. It’s just a word and it does nothing to insult my character. If anything, it’s actually RECOGNIZING me as an Italian.

And still, you refuse to disclose your name, your employer, or anything else. Which leads me to believe still the same theory as before: you just want to try and tick me off and get me flustered. In all honesty, I couldn’t care less. I have put up with people my whole life like you trying to put me down, etc. and I really am numb to it anymore. So keep on commenting that I go to a tier four university, and I’ll keep allowing them to come through. Why? Because it has no effect whatsoever on where I’m going to go in life, all because one person in the region has to open their mouth to make themselves feel better.

And, I believe, you’re engaging in some sort of juvenile blackmail by threatening to send my comments to the Morning Call. People have written much worse about me, and you’ll probably take them out of context. See, I don’t really think you’re a homo, and even if you were, that’s your perrogative (spell check). I also don’t consider yourself to be an Islamo-Fascist, and again: if you are, then you’ll eventually be discovered or fly a plane into a building and die, one or the other. Again, that’s your decision. I couldn’t care less.

In all honesty, I sort of enjoyed this virtual debate with you, even though it wasn’t about an issue and it was about where I go to school, etc. But whatever, at least someone is reading my blog and bringing attention to it.

Have a good Sunday, sir. Would you be an NFL fan? The Eagles? Steelers? Someone else? I’m a Cowboys fan…yuck, I’d hope we can bounce back from that embarassing shellacking against New England.

Here’s the damning section again:  “I’d also find it funny that you claim my remarks are “homophobic” guess what, when gays stop calling eachother fags and queers, so can the rest of the world. It’s just a word. Just like I am a “WOP” I tell people all the time I don’t care if they call me that. It’s just a word and it does nothing to insult my character. If anything, it’s actually RECOGNIZING me as an Italian.”

Adam LaDuca doesn’t think using words like “faggot” and “wop” are offensive?  He should check with gays and more Italians.  If I called an Italian a “wop” it would be accepted as an ethnic slur and I would be properly condemned.

Adam LaDuca is a stupid, arrogant, ignorant fool.  Does he not know the origin of the word “faggot” which makes it so offensive?  Let’s educate him.  During the Spanish Inquisition when witches (mostly women with red hair) were being burned at the stake “faggots” meant firewood.  Faggots were the wood used to burn witches alive.  When they ran out of faggots for the fire they used homosexuals.  Yes, they burned gays alive with the witches and, so, gays became known as “faggots” because they were only good to use as kindling.

That’s mighty offensive and why the term is so offensive.  This is why it is NEVER acceptable to use this term.

This is the young man John McCain has used as his point person to organize Berks County and Kutztown University.  I contacted the McCain office in Harrisburg and they continue to refuse to comment.  I think their silence speaks volumes.

Campaigns Trying to Distance Themselves From LaDuca

Adam LaDuca and his racist, sexist, homophobic statements have made him toxic to Republican campaigns in Pennsylvanians.  Though telling me in an email he worked for Congressman Charlie Dent’s campaign in 2006 and writing on Dent’s current Facebook group that he volunteered for him this year the Dent campaign is pretending to never have heard of the young man.

Is it statements like this that the Dent campaign, nevertheless, is refusing to condemn?

To a rival within the GOP:  “OUR PARTY FREED THE SLAVES, OUR PARTY WAS THE FIRST IN FAVOR OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE,

AND OUR PARTY IS THE PARTY THAT BELIEVES ANY PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY CAN

WORK THEIR ASS OFF TO GET WHERE THEY WANT TO BE AND NOT HAVE TO RELY ON

THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SO. So guess what, I know this is poor on my part, but f**k you and I

hope you have people praying for you somewhere, because you sure need it with a mind like that. How

DARE you insult me personally. Way to take a cheap shot and cower behind a screen of hate and

inaccuracies.”

“you fuckin prick i hope you burn in hell for your personal attacks. I can’t imagine what

else you say to other people. YOU are what gives people a bad reputation for not being a true human

being and a true American. Let’s just all rip eachother a new one because we are self-centered, pathetic,

stuck-up elitists who think they control the world. Why don’t you go slit your own throat, since you

seem like one to support Islamo-Fascist-type discipline for those who you don’t like. Let’s see, because

I’m not a rich faggot like you, you seem to have the authority to try and belittle me.

Show face, bitch. How’s Tuesday at 11am in the SUB. I’m sure other KU students would love to see the

prick behind thes horrendous comments fo yours

I’ll say one thing for LaDuca:  he has an obsession with Black women’s lips and every man’s genitalia.  He appears to me to be a classic example of the self loathing, closeted gay Republican.

He’s also a hypocrite who pretended publicly to condemn the racist Kutztown College Republicans MLK Day affirmative action bake sale while bragging about it online.  What do you think of this riff he took against liberals?

Activities: College Republicans President, Webmaster …

Keystone … Accounting Club

Favorite Quotes: Heard this from Rush today:  “Feminist male

partners. What? What is a feminist male

partners. We all know feminists’ partners have

batteries.” HAHA that’s hilarious (if you

don’t get it you’re pathetic.)

And,  in case none of you liberal nimrods

noticed,  REPUBLICANS were the ones to free the

slaves…REPUBLICANS were the first to favor

women’s suffrage…REPUBLICANS were the first

to elect a woman to congress…and

REPUBLICANS were (and still are) the party to

shrink the government to keep them distanced

from your lives while restoring personal

responsibility to the individual.

I am SICK of flaming liberals, both on the

campus of Kutztown University,  in the state of

PA, and the nation. You have zero to no basis

for your arguments and when you HAVE an

argument,  it’s personal in nature and has

nothing to do with the topic at hand.  So do all

of us a favor and go have an abortion,  you will

kill off your own kind.  Or go be a homosexual,

so you can’t reproduce. That might sound “insensitive” but it’s true.  You

know there ARE reasons why things are the way

they are and should be.  It’s quite funny that you

attack someone for having their beliefs (which

actually make logical sense) but then when

someone chastises you for your own,  you get

bitchy and cry and have to change the subject

I do like the battery joke, that’s funny.

LaDuca also has said he was contaced by John McCain’s presidential campaign to be their point person at Kutztown University (from Facebook):

Displaying the only wall post

See All

Adam LaDuca wrote

at 2:12pm on August 22nd, 2008

Hello everyone,

First welcome back to Kutztown; I hope all of your move-ins are going smoothly.

Second, I have been contacted by the John McCain campaign. They need our help for Berks county and they specifically asked that the KUCR be heavily involved.

THIS SATURDAY (TOMORROW) at 1:45PM, the Berks Victory office coordinator Skip Salveson will be meeting at the Subway on Main Street to do a door-to-door from 2-4pm. IF YOU CAN ATTEND, PLEASE CONTACT HIM ASAP AT 717.306.8951

MCCAIN IS NOW RUNNING WITHIN 4-5 POINTS OF OBAMA IN THE STATE OF PA AND BERKS IS BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT COUNTY FOR THE SENATOR TO CARRY.

If you cannot make it, no worries, but they offered to take names for internships, jobs, etc.

ALSO, AS A REWARD, there is a get-together afterwards with a VIP server. The person serving dinner is a likely/potential VP pick. The name has not been released just yet because the campaign headquarters has not cleared the man’s name.

PLEASE MAKE EVERY ATT

I asked Mr. LaDuca about this last evening and he denies any contact between himself and the McCain campaign.  So was he lying when he posted the above at Facebook or was he lying to me last evening?  Recall he also lied about all this racist crap at the beginning of the week.  I contacted the McCain Pennsylvania campaign asking if they are using LaDuca but they have yet to respond.

When I spoke with Shawn Millan, Charlie Dent’s campaign manager he seemed somewhat incoherent.  He kept asking me if I was Howie Klein although I repeatedly introduced myself with the name of this blog.  Once he finally decided I wasn’t Howie he proceeded to distance himself from Adam LaDuca.  When I asked if Dent would condemn the statements made by his volunteer and former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania College Republicans he refused.

College Republican Leader References the “N” Word

The President of the Kutztown University College Republicans and Executive Director of the Pennsylvania College Republicans referenced the “N” word in a Facebook posting yesterday after I exposed his previous racist rantings.

Adam LaDuca first accused me of reporting falsely before admitting he wrote the inflammatory materials on a KU network at Facebook open to all members of KU at Facebook.  Anthony Pugliese, State Chairman of the PA College Republicans has sent emails stating LaDuca is being fired for his racism as soon as they determine his successor.

What does it take to be fired as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania College Republicans if this sort of conduct, with an African American about to be nominated for president, is tolerated?  It paints all Pennsylvania College Republicans as racists is what it tells me.

Here is LaDuca’s post from yesterday:

Adam wrote a note.

The Racial Infighting that is the Democratic Standard

Racial infighting among Democrats, which marred the presidential primaries, has flared up again at the party’s convention in Denver, where a black Hillary Clinton delegate is accusing a black Barack Obama delegate of calling her an “Uncle Tom.” Delmarie Cobb of Chicago told FOX News Monday…

Continue Reading…

“*Now here’s the problem I have with this story. That someone can use a term such as Uncle Tom within their party and no one says boo. Ironic, considering that is a blatant racial slur towards a black/African-American person. But then again, I also find it hilarious that the “N” word was symbolically “burried” and yet blacks/African-Americans continue to use it amongst themselves. A bad word is a bad word. I wouldn’t expect myself or anyone else to use it, so why do they? Finally, something as petty as calling someone an “uncle tom” really is pathetic. Can’t the Obama campaign come up with SOMETHING more original than that. Honestly, using a racial slur against someone who just so happens to be supoorting another candidate. Petty and stupid.”*

LaDuca is referencing a Fox News story in which Delmarie Cobb accused a fellow Black delegate of calling her an “Uncle Tom” for supporting Hillary Clinton rather than Barack Obama.  According to the AP Emil Jones says he called Cobb a “doubting Thomas.”

Who knows?  What I do know is that LaDuca is stupid and ignorant.  Besides having a closed mind he has no concept of context.  When a Black person uses the “N” word with another Black person it has a completely different context from its use by a White person.

White people use the term as a racial slur just as they use other derogatory slurs for people of other races, religions and sexual orientations.  When used by someone outside each group these are insults.  Some are used within the groups, among their own, as terms of endearment to establish solidarity against the bigotry and intolerance Mr. LaDuca has exercised.

Adam LaDuca doesn’t get it.  It’s a shame his education at Kutztown University hasn’t better prepared him to be a better person.  I understand the Kutztown environment can be one of intolerance.  The Pennsylvania Dutch can be very bigoted.  I sat in a Kutztown restaurant last spring where three elderly couples were having lunch and one openly said “I’ll never vote for a n*****.”  

Being exposed to such community bigotry is no excuse however.  I was raised in a very white culture.  Few Blacks at school and very few people different from us.  Going to Penn State was a cultural awakening.  My best friend was Jewish and I interacted regularly with students from all backgrounds.  It taught me to take each person as an individual and not prejudge anyone.  It served me well.  When I got my first job some of best relationships were with minority people working for competitors.  We became great friends.

Adam LaDuca is missing getting to know many great people because his prejudice, and those of his Republican cohorts tolerating his intolerance, cannot allow him to see beyond the color of a person’s skin.  It is his loss.

P.S. Joining a Jackie Robinson Facebook group the day you are outed as a racist doesn’t make you tolerant Adam.