Monday, April 24, 2006

An Interesting Contrast

I've been doing some research for a "catch up" interview with Joe Hoeffel (sorry the questions are late, Joe) and found a passage from 1984 that offers such a contrast to the Inquirer article in my previous post that I have to post it.

From "When the House is no longer home," by Russell E. Eshelman, Jr., Philadelphia Inquirer Dec. 20, 1984:

[then State Rep. David] Sweet, in an interview this week, recalled an earlier time, when Hoeffel and he roomed together in a second-floor apartment across from the Capitol.

The room was without a phone, which worried Hoeffel, becasue his wife was in Abington, near the end of her pregnancy.

It's 12 or 1 o'clock in the morning, and this guy who runs the place starts pounding on the door [to tell Hoeffel his wife was having the baby].

At the time the article was written Hoeffel's oldest child was four, so this event could have taken place no earlier than 1980. Think about that, roughly 25 years ago we had state legislators sharing an apt that didn't have a phone. How many of you didn't have a phone in 1980, even when you traveled on business? Even college dorm rooms had phones in 1980 (at least they did at the college I went to). There has been a significant change in the level of expectation among our elected officials. By the way, Hoeffel's legislative salary at the time the article was written was $30,000.

Jus thought I'd throw that out for comparison.


eRobin said...

I'm thinking we should provide dorm-style housing for them. It's got to run less than $2.7M a year. Anyone who wants "better" can pay for it themselves.

LVDem said...

I don't know Robin... that place would turn into Animal House in about 3 days. There are a lot of men up there and not enough adults to put them into time out when the time comes. On second thought, it might have enough entertainment value to give it a go.

I think a blow up mattress and a sleeping bag should be enough. Heck, to show our generousity, let's give them a pillow. Some of them need a lesson in humility.

AboveAvgJane said...

I could go for an apartment complex, but I think a suite arrangement, with two or three bedrooms sharing a kitchenette, would be adequate, given the number of days the legislature is in session. Keep some cans of soup, microwave popcorn, cold cereal on hand, plus the carry out phone numbers on the fridge. It would be just like home, well, my home anyway. Maybe even a pool, for late night parties after those July session votes.

albert said...

can we please get that on C-SPAN4?

Jake Miller said...

I wish those who were elected to represent the little people started to do so again. What do you think Hoeffel's law school buddies thought of this? He was probably the butt of every joke for the next month. Definitely not the lavishness that many have grown accustomed to.

AboveAvgJane said...


I found another article written as Hoeffel was leaving the state house after losing his first run for Congress. Some of his fellow legislators were a little harsh.

caseyhasabat said...

As for the idea of a dorm, I have an idea to earn money from it.
Lets put all the legislators in one big dorm, put cameras everywhere, and sell it to the networks. (Fox would but it) It could be a cross between Big Brother and the Surreal life, and perhaps the legislators could be forced to pass tax relief to get their weekly supply of food. I think this has possibilities!!!!!

AboveAvgJane said...

Ben tried to post this comment last night but blogger wouldn't cooperate:

I tried to post this as a comment but Blogger was being less cooperative than George W. Bush facing an independent investigation (Hey-o!)

Anyway, using the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator (, it looks like a salary of $30,000 in 1980 equals more than $72,000 today, which is about what the salary is today, I think.

(I had to plug in the figure of $5,000 and multiply by 6, since it only lets you plug in figures under $10,000.)

Anonymous said...

The legislative pay in 1980 was $ 25,000 until it was raised to $ 35,000 in 1983.