In today's Inky, on p. 18, in a continuation of a front page story on the legislative payraise repeal, we find this paragraph:
[Rep. Frank] LaGrotta intially voted for the raise, took it, and just last week voted to repeal it, given the public's anger. "I voted to repeal it. What else do they want from me?" a frustrated LaGrotta asked. "Do they want my firstborn child?"
You see, he's started to get emails that he was the next to go. While I don't live in Lawrence County (not even sure where it is in the state), I can take a stab at answering his question.
No, voters do not want your firstborn. Some of them are having trouble taking care of the children they have. They're lucky to get the kind of cost of living raise you get annually, let alone a nice plump raise. I'm also willing to bet that if most of them turned in expense account vouchers without receipts, in order to take the raise early, they'd be fired.
Another quote from the front page:
Rome is burning and the empire is crumbling," said State Rep. Thomas C. Petrone (D, Allegheny), who took the raise but later donated it to charities, including those for the widows of two U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. "I hate the thought that I made one mistake over 25 years that could wipe out all my good accomplishments."
I had a commuting buddy, that I would sometimes walk and talk with on part of my travels to and from work. He had a low level job at an apartment complex. I was away on another assignment for awhile and when I came back he was nowhere to be found. I asked around and found out he'd been fired. I wonder how many mistakes he made. A receptionist once told me that someone came into her building and complained that a groundskeeper had intentionally sprayed her. The receptionist called in the complaint. The supervisor she called said "Okay, we'll fire him." That was it. Not "we'll ask his side of the story" or anything. He was just fired.
A lot of people are fired every day for making no mistakes at all. Marriages dissolve because someone made one mistake over 25 years. I read the statements from these legislators and the sense of entitlement that comes through astounds me.
As for Judge Russell Nigro, who was not voted in for another 10 year term on the state Supreme Court, let me link to a posting at the Inky's blog, blinq. Here is a brief excerpt from Blinq, taken from a John Baer column:
During one week, last April 11 to 18, he [Nigro] spent $1,280 at restaurants in Philly, Ambler and Pittsburgh. This, to me, seems abusive.
In an interview, Nigro says he eats out more than others because he's not married. He says meals charged to taxpayers are for "court-related business" with other judges, lawyers or law clerks, some in fairly large groups. He says, "I don't like lawyers buying me anything."
A lot of unmarried men (and women) go home and have cold cereal for dinner, or open a can of something. Soup is popular, I hear. As for me, I go out for lunch about every 6 weeks with a group of women from work. If we spend more than $10.00 each, it's a big deal. On days that I don't pack in leftovers I buy a slice of pizza ($1.99), two tacos (about $2.00), or a mid-morning breakfast sandwich that serves as breakfast and lunch ($3.25). Sometimes I splurge and get a tuna sandwich and a bag of chips (I won't say what that costs, in case Mr. Jane reads this.) What Nigro spent on meals that one week would pay my mortgage for a month. I can understand his not wanting the lawyers to buy his lunch, but is he implying that he bought everyone else's? Split the check!!!