Monday, April 30, 2012

Marcellus Compact

from the inbox:
House Democrats today launched a renewed effort to fix Gov. Tom Corbett’s industry-friendly Marcellus Shale law (Act 13), offering a six-point plan – the Marcellus Compact.
Noting that the new law provides one of the lowest tax rates in the nation on natural gas drillers and weak environmental protections, House Democrats unveiled their Marcellus Compact – a promise to put the interests of Pennsylvanians first, rather than the oil and gas industry for whom, and by whom, Act 13 was written.
"House Democrats are committed to a strong Marcellus Shale law that puts Pennsylvania taxpayers, workers and families first, unlike the current law supported by Governor Corbett and his allies, which is a sweetheart deal for the multi-billion-dollar oil and gas industry," said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. "The Marcellus Compact places Pennsylvania’s priorities where they ought to be – with the people who live and work here, not with wealthy, multinational oil and gas corporations."
The Marcellus Compact includes components to:
· restore municipal zoning authority by eliminating Act 13’s override of local zoning provisions;
· ensure tax fairness for Pennsylvanians by imposing a reasonable statewide tax on natural gas drillers for the life of the well;
· protect critical natural resources by increasing environmental setbacks and bonding requirements;
· increase transparency and safety by establishing a public online tracking system for fracking wastewater storage and disposal; prohibiting drilling in floodplains; and placing a moratorium on discharging drilling wastewater into surface waters;
· guarantee the rights of patients to full medical disclosure and transparency when their health might have been affected by fracking chemicals; and
· make jobs a priority by establishing a Marcellus Shale Job Creation Tax Credit to provide incentives for companies to hire Pennsylvania workers.
"Taken together, all six of these bills represent the Marcellus Compact – our promise to put the interests of Pennsylvanians first," said Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre. "House Democrats promise to be the people’s voice and their advocate in Harrisburg, because it’s clear they’re not being heard by this governor or his Republican allies."
Hanna’s bill would ensure the big oil and gas industry pays its fair share of taxes in Pennsylvania, while Dermody’s bill would restore the zoning rights of communities to determine how best to regulate drilling – including in areas with streams, public water supplies, schools, playgrounds and churches.
In addition to Act 13’s weak fee and zoning override, the Corbett Marcellus Shale law also includes inadequate environmental safeguards that provide little real protection for the public water supply, air and land. That’s why Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Luzerne, and Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks, proposed bills that put the health of the environment ahead of the oil and gas companies’ interests.
"The Corbett Marcellus Shale law falls woefully short of providing adequate protections of our public water supply and critical environmental resources," Mundy said. "The Marcellus Compact – including my bill – aims to fix those glaring failures in this new law.”
"The Corbett-Republican Marcellus Shale Law gave the oil and gas drilling industry a free pass to wreak havoc on our water supply, our air and our land," Santarsiero said. "The Marcellus Compact corrects those injustices and puts the interests of Pennsylvanians first by protecting our environment for today’s residents and for future generations."
The Marcellus Compact also seeks to repair a distressing and potentially dangerous provision in the Corbett Marcellus Shale law which could prohibit doctors from providing critical health care information regarding drilling activities to their patients.
Rep. Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, is sponsoring a bill in the Marcellus Compact that would make explicit the right of doctors to get certain information from drilling companies and share it with patients and other medical providers without violating confidentiality agreements.
“Politicians shouldn’t come between doctors and their patients. Public health should be our primary concern when it comes to legitimate questions raised by medical professionals,” Bradford said. “Ensuring public health requires open dialogue between medical professionals, their patients and the public. My bill makes clear that neither politicians, nor multi-national corporations, should stand in the way of public health.”
The Marcellus Compact also places a top priority on creating jobs for Pennsylvania workers in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, is sponsoring a bill in the Marcellus Compact that would create a Marcellus Shale Job Creation Tax Credit program.
"The Marcellus Shale law ignores the needs of our workers and provides no incentives to help create jobs for Pennsylvanians," Mirabito said. "My bill in the Marcellus Compact is aimed at giving more Pennsylvania workers the chance to benefit from this incredible economic growth that the natural gas industry has brought to our region. Yes, this industry is creating jobs, but we can do better for our workers."
Dermody noted that House Democrats have taken the lead on pushing legislative strategies aimed at creating jobs and improving Pennsylvania’s economy. In October, House Democrats unveiled JumpstartPA, a 10-point plan to boost the economy and get Pennsylvanians back to work.

Hey Old Spice, What Does Freedom Smell Like?

As the primary household grocery shopper I spend a fair amount of time in the store aisles.  Lately I've noticed that all the Old Spice "fresh collection" anti-perspirant products have something in common.  See if you can spot it. 

Old Spice Denali anti-perspirant smells like wilderness, open air & freedom
Old Spice Fiji anti-perspirant smells like palm trees, sunshine & freedom
Old Spice Matterhorn anti-perspirant & deodorant smells like ice, wind & freedom

and so on.

My question is, what does freedom smell like?


Three PA Champions of Change

Over the past week the White House has announced a number of new "Champions of Change," people ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders who are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.  Pennsylvania is well-represented among those awarded. 

Here are three Pennsylvanians recently named Champions of Change:

Kevin Frank is President and CEO of York, PA-based Voith Hydro.  Kevin is a board member of the National Hydropower Association and currently chairs its CEO Council, which advocates for hydropower at both the federal and state level. He has used these positions to discuss and advance both the economic and environmental benefits of hydropower as the nation's largest renewable energy source.  Most recently, Frank led Voith Hydro's efforts to secure the contract for the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project in Iowa, the most recent large hydro project scheduled to be constructed in the U.S. The construction and completion of Red Rock will create and sustain jobs at both the site in Iowa and at Voith Hydro's headquarters in York, Pennsylvania.

Marian Robidas has been the principal of Jonestown Elementary School in the Northern Lebanon School District since 2005. Throughout her twenty-two years in education, she has been a strong proponent for active and authentic real-world learning, and for creating opportunities that allow students to do their own problem solving. Mrs. Robidas believes that a school cannot reach its maximum potential in educating students without the help of the community, and that it is never too early for students to begin learning about their community and how to best serve it. 

Lindsay Baxter is a Project Manager for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC). Prior to joining PEC, Baxter served as the first sustainability coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh, in the Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. In her role with PEC she now works with communities ranging in population from 75 to over 300,000 to implement sustainability efforts that reduce environmental impacts, address climate change, help local governments save money, and improve quality of life for local residents. Key programs she works on include the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative and the Mon River Town Program, a community and economic development initiative along the Monongahela River in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thank You Message from Kathleen Kane Campaign

from the inbox:

We did it!
I want to personally thank everyone for helping to make Tuesday night's historic Primary victory possible for our campaign.  Your unwavering support was truly the difference, and my family and I are incredibly appreciative for everything you did.   

Our fight, however, is not over and we all must remain focused on the end goal of electing the first-ever Democrat to the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General.  I am truly honored to represent the Democratic Party in this fight and will continue to work hard every day to ensure our victory in the fall. As your next Attorney General, I promise to safeguard our families from crime, continue to defend women’s rights, ensure the protection of our environment, and make certain our elected officials know that no one is above the law. I can’t thank you enough for your support.  Together, we are going to make history once again this fall!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Previous Post on the Foodstamp Challenge

There have been a number of articles in the press recently about the Foodstamp Challenge, people who are not on foodstamps trying to feed themselves and / or their families on a foodstamp budget.  Almost exactly five years ago I wrote a post, The Foodstamp Challenge, on that subject.  It has been a popular post, in large part due to the fact that bloggers with larger readerships linked to it.  While a little dated at this point I think it still makes some interesting observations, especially about why I and my friends might be able to live on the foodstamp budget but people who actually need them would not. 

This is blatant self-promotion, I know.  Apologies. 

Note From Adam Lang

Some time email pal and Philadelphia Republican Adam Lang was on the ballot as a potential delegate to attend the Republican National Convention.  The numbers weren't on Adam's side this time and he sent out this thank you to his supporters:

I would like to thank everyone for their support in my campaign for Delegate to the National Convention.  Even though I didn't win one of the seats, it was still an important race to run.  Even though I will not be going to the Convention to talk and push for issues that are relevant to the Philadelphia metro and other urban areas, I will still continue to do what I do locally.  I will still be there fighting for ethics, transparency and data-driven policy for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Again, thank you everyone for the support.

Affordable Care Act Impact on PA

from the inbox:

President Obama’s health care law – the Affordable Care Act – gives hard working, middle-class families the security they deserve and includes a number of important provisions that help control health care costs.
One way the law helps hold down health care costs are new rules that generally require insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of other activities like advertising, executive bonuses, or overhead. If insurance companies fail to meet this standard, they must provide a rebate to their customers.
The law calls this the “medical loss ratio” rule, but it’s commonly known as the 80/20 rule.
Yesterday, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 1,064,019 consumers in Pennsylvania will receive $104,533,779 in rebates solely because of the 80/20 rule.  This includes 21 percent of enrollees in the individual market in Pennsylvania for an average rebate of $243 per person.  Rebates to consumers will be delivered by August 1.  You can read the full report by visiting
And even if you don’t you receive a rebate, you may be benefitting from the new rule. Many insurance companies changed the way they do business or lowered their premiums to comply with the 80/20 rule.  
The 80/20 rule is just one way the Affordable Care Act is already making a difference. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:
·         2.5 million more young adults have health insurance on their parent’s plan.
·         5.1 million people with Medicare saved an average of $635 on the cost of their prescription drugs. And everyone on Medicare can get preventive services like mammograms for free.
·         Insurance companies cannot raise your premiums by 10 percent or more with no accountability.
·         It’s illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. And in 2014, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition will be illegal. 
While some want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny your coverage or jack up your rates whenever and however they pleased without any accountability, we are committed to moving forward, implementing the Affordable Care Act and delivering the benefits of reform to the American people. For more information on the new health care law, go to

SEPTA Lottery Winners!

from the inbox:

SEPTA would like to congratulate a group of employees who won Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot.
The 48 employees will share a prize of nearly $173 million. They purchased the winning ticket at the Newsstand at the Gallery.
At this time, the employees wish to remain anonymous.
The employees work in departments throughout SEPTA Headquarters. The group is made up of people of different ranks and positions, including both union and administration/management.
The group consists of a wide-range of people. Some have worked for SEPTA for as little as two years, and others have been with the Authority for nearly 40 years.
SEPTA is extremely pleased to see this group of dedicated employees share in this good fortune.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PoliticsPA Political Ad Contest

Our friends at PoliticsPA are having a contest for best political ad in a number of categories.  Scoot on over to and vote for your favorite ad.  Right now there are only two nominations and one of them is from me.  Hop to or the ad I voted for will win by default!

Class Act: Patrick Murphy Thank You Email

Patrick Murphy sent out a note to supporters, thanking them for their work on the campaign.  As always, it is classy note:

All I can say is thank you. I will never be able to adequately express how grateful I am to each and every one of you for standing with me over the last year.

Whether you made a donation, shared a message on Facebook or told a friend about us during lunch -- your efforts built the kind of statewide grassroots campaign I could only dream of when we started out.

This fight is over, but the fight for our Democratic values in Pennsylvania and across the country goes on. I might not know what’s next, but I promised you I would never stop fighting for what’s right. I’ll keep that promise.

Thank you, again. I’m truly blessed to have you by my side.

Bucks Write In A Success

Harry Arnold stepped up as a candidate in the 142nd state house district.  It was too late to be added to the ballot.  Bucks County Democrats planned a write in strategy.  These are notoriously difficult to do.  However, volunteers staffed the polling places and were able to win enough write in votes to put Arnold on the ballot in November.  John Cordisco, county party chair sent out a warmly worded note of congratulations and thanks.

Paul Drucker Office Opening

Paul Drucker, Democratic candidate for the 157th state house district, held his campaign office opening this evening.  His remarks, as provided earlier in the day, were as follows:

Tonight we began my campaign to return fairness to Harrisburg.  A return to fairness is more than just a slogan, it is an explanation of the differences between me and my opponent.  I support increased education funding, job creation and economic growth, improving and modernizing our infrastructure, environmental protection and women's rights.  These policies are fair to the residents of the 157th and all Pennsylvanians.  

My opponent has taken the wrong position on these issues.  He is out of step with the priorities of his constituents and out of touch with what is fundamentally fair to the people he supposed to represent.
I am grateful for the strong support I received from our community this evening, and I am honored that Lou Beccaria, Pete Goodman and Robin Greene could be here to discuss the challenges we face as a Commonwealth.  We have big challenges to overcome in Pennsylvania.  I am excited to return to Harrisburg to work on overcoming those challenges.  We have a bright future in Pennsylvania, but only if we recognize the importance of investing in that future.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anna Quindlen in Philly Tomorrow

from the inbox:

On Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, Anna Quindlen, celebrated novelist, social critic, and staunch supporter of reproductive rights, will provide the keynote address at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania’s 16th Annual Spring Gathering in Center City, Philadelphia. [blogger's note:  Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.]

Anna Quindlen is a former Newsweek and New York Times columnist who has provided audiences with her perspective on events of the day for more than 30 years, delicately balancing the political with the personal.  A Pulitzer Prize willing journalist and bestselling author, she began her career at age 18 as a “copy girl” for The New York Post, joining The New York Times a few years later.  She eventually became the third woman in the paper’s history to write for its influential Op-Ed page when she began her award-winning column, “Public and Private.”  Ms. Quindlen’s bestseller, One True Thing, was made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger, and her bestsellers Blessings and Black and Blue were both made into TV movies.  And her new novel, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, is being released on April 24, 2012.  A staunch supporter of women’s reproductive rights, Ms. Quindlen speaks passionately about gender equality, women’s leadership and the driving force of women in our society. She's on the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was Chair of the Board of Trustees at Barnard College for eight years. She holds honorary degrees from more than a dozen American universities.

In addition, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will present this year’s Freedom Keeper Award to the Pennsylvania senators and representatives who worked to defeat legislation intended to impede access to a full range of reproductive health care – including affordable, safe abortion services. 

Individual tickets are $85 each.  Sponsorships begin at $300 for two guests.  $1,000 and up sponsors are invited to a small, private reception with Ms. Quindlen.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Election Tuesday, April 24th

Remember to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24th.  Statewide Republicans have presidential and senatorial primaries.  Democrats statewide have an Attorney General primary (Murphy has my vote).  Six state house districts have special elections to replace representatives who resigned to take other offices or jobs.  Some state house (and state senate?) districts have contested primaries. 

It's the dry run for VoterID so take some id with you.  If there is a problem please ask if there is a list to get on for help getting the right kind of id.  This is an important time to find out how many Pennsylvanians don't have the kind of identification needed.  Older women who have been or are married may have additional hurdles getting proof of identity across name changes.  Older Republican widows may be just as likely to be caught up in this as Democrats.  I subscribe to the theory that VoterID bills are designed to impede Democratic voters but, as in many things, think that there are unintended consequences for Republican voters as well.  We need to make sure problem areas are addressed, or at least identified, now so they can be smoothed out before November.

Regardless, please vote.

Where Obama and Romney Agree on College Costs

While they may be miles apart on most things, there is one aspect of college costs that President Obama and  his presumed Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agree on.

Romney has taken some flack for his answer to a  high school senior who, at a townhall meeting in Youngstown, Ohio, asked about the costs of college.  Here is an excerpt from a New York Times blog ("Romney in Ohio:  Want College?  Can't Afford It?  Too Bad," by David Firestone, The Loyal Opposition 03/05/2012):
“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” he said, to sustained applause from the crowd at a high-tech metals assembly factory here. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”

There wasn’t a word about the variety of government loan programs, which have made it possible for millions of students to get college degrees. There wasn’t a word urging colleges to hold down tuition increases, as President Obama has been doing, or a suggestion that the student consider a work-study program.

And there wasn’t a word about Pell Grants, in case the student’s family had a low enough income to qualify. That may be because Mr. Romney supports the House Republican budget, which would cut Pell Grants by 25 percent or more at a time when they are needed more than ever.

Granted Mr. Romney could have gone into some detail about funding options, but his initial point, to shop around, is solid advice.  People should consider the cost factors of colleges when selecting a school or helping their children select schools.  Someone who takes 5 or 6 years to complete a 4 year degree, amassing loans of $100,000 to earn a degree in a field that pays  $30,000 might be setting him or herself up for long term financial trouble.

President Obama calls for colleges to make cost data easy to find.  Here's an excerpt from a press release today:
Providing better data for families to choose the right college for them: The President is calling for a College Scorecard for all degree-granting institutions, designed to provide essential information about college costs, graduation rates, and potential earnings, all in an easy-to-read format that will help students and families choose a college that is well suited to their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their career and educational goals.

In addition to beautiful landscaping and gleaming gyms families need to look at costs.  AP and Honors courses can help students test out of or skip over some of the basic classes.  

The Inquirer had an excellent story today, "Community colleges' crunch time," by Rita Giordano, pointing out that some students are taking advantage of community colleges for the first year or so of college, living at home instead of dorms, and then transferring to four-year schools.  

One caveat -- three Harvard scholars did a study of for profit colleges and found that students who attended them had greater debt and lower income than students who attended more traditional colleges and universities (See "For Profit post secondary school sector:  Nimble critters or agile predators," by David J Deming, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence F. Katz, Feb. 2012, 42 page pdf)

Student Loan Issues

Several items hit the inbox today concerning student loans.

According to the White House:

Americans now owe more tuition debt than credit card debt, and student loan borrowing is more common now than it was a decade ago. At a time when the average student loan debt is $25,000 and tuition prices continue to rise, students are borrowing more than ever to complete their degrees.
On July 1, 2012, the interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans are slated to double from 3.4% to 6.8%. To out-educate our global competitors and make college more affordable, Congress needs to stop the interest rate on these student loans from doubling.
If Congress doesn’t act before July 1, 2012, interest rates on loans for over 7.4 million students will double. And for each year that Congress doesn’t act, students rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the life of their loans.
As he did in his State of the Union address, President Obama is calling on Congress to put forward legislation to stop interest rates from doubling. The President is calling on Congress to reward hard work and responsibility by keeping interest rates on student loans low so more Americans get a fair shot at an affordable college education, the skills they need to find a good job, and a clear path to the middle class.

That same email gave state data numbers.  There are 393,582 Pennsylvanians with Stafford student loans, with an estimated savings per borrower over the life of the loan at $1,008, for a state total of $396,732,672.00. 

The President is also making a series of suggestions on ways to make college more affordable:

·         Reforming student aid to promote affordability and value:  To keep tuition from spiraling too high and drive greater value, the President has proposed reforms to federal campus-based aid programs to shift aid away from colleges that fail to keep net tuition down, and toward those colleges and universities that do their fair share to keep tuition affordable, provide good value, and serve needy students well. These changes in federal aid to campuses will leverage $10 billion annually to help keep tuition down. 
·         Creating a Race to the Top for college affordability and completion: The President has proposed incentives for states to maintain their commitments to higher education through a new $1 billion investment.  The Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion challenge aims to increase the number of college graduates and contain the cost of tuition by rewarding states that are willing to systematically change their higher education policies and practices. 
·         Kicking off a First in the World competition to model innovation and quality on college campuses:  The President is proposing an investment of $55 million in a new First in the World competition, to support public and private colleges and non-profit organizations as they work to develop and test the next breakthrough strategy that will boost higher education attainment and student outcome, while leading to reduced costs.

·         Providing better data for families to choose the right college for them: The President is calling for a College Scorecard for all degree-granting institutions, designed to provide essential information about college costs, graduation rates, and potential earnings, all in an easy-to-read format that will help students and families choose a college that is well suited to their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their career and educational goals.
·         Redoubling federal support to tackle college costs:  The President has already made the biggest investments in student aid since the G.I. Bill through increases to the Pell grant, and by shoring up the direct loan and income-based repayment programs. In his State of the Union Address, the President also called on Congress to make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent and double the number of work-study jobs over the next 5 years to better assist college students who are working their way through school. 
Building on Landmark Federal Investments to Make Higher Education More Affordable
The President has set the goal for the U.S. to be first in the world in college attainment by 2020. To achieve this bold goal for our nation’s future and to prepare students to compete in the 21st century global economy, the Obama Administration has championed landmark investments in student financial to make college more affordable for all American families: 
·         Increasing Pell Grants: The President has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,635 for the 2013-14 award year – a $905 increase since 2008. The number of Pell Grant recipients has increased over that same time by 50 percent, providing college access to millions of additional students across the country. 
·         Helping Responsible Students Manage Student Loan Debt: The Administration’s “Pay as You Earn” plan expands income-based repayment to enable 1.6 million responsible students who are current on their payments to take advantage of a new option to cap repayment of student loans at 10% of monthly income.  These changes will reduce the burden of student loans in a fiscally responsible way.

·         Expanding Education Tax Credits: President Obama established the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009 to assist families with the costs of college, providing up to $10,000 for four years of college, university, or community college tuition for families earning up to $180,000. Over 9.4 million students and families benefit from the American Opportunity Tax Credit each year.  President Obama has called on Congress to make this tax credit permanent and prevent it from expiring in 2012.


Paul Drucker Op-Ed on the Environment

Paul Drucker, Democratic candidate for the 157th state house district, has released a statement on environmental matters.  Here is an excerpt:

Environmental protection is a priority for the residents of the 157th District. Protecting our environment means protecting our quality of life and protecting the legacy that we will leave for our children.  As a legislator, I developed a strong record on protecting our environment.  In our community, I have worked with the Turnpike Commission, the Great Valley Association and environmental groups such as Trout Unlimited to ensure that infrastructure and highway expansion projects dealt appropriately with environmental issues such as rainwater runoff and soundwall construction.  I have always been and will always be dedicated to environmental protection.

Environmental protection is fundamentally about fairness and responsibility.  Natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region is the biggest environmental issue facing the Commonwealth, and it must be handled responsibly and fairly.  We must embrace the economic benefits of the natural gas boom while protecting our land, air and water.

Read the whole statement on his website at

Green Ribbon Schools in PA

from the inbox:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined today by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to announce the first-ever U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, a list including 78 schools that span 29 states and D.C.
The announcement was made during a visit to Stoddert Elementary School, one of D.C.’s two honorees.
“Science, environmental and outdoor education plays a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition program that opened in September 2011. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.

Pennsylvania schools on the list:

Radnor Middle School
Wayne, Pennsylvania
Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
A.W. Beattie Career Center
Allison Park, Pennsylvania
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Keystone Progress Voter Guide

Our friends at Keystone Progress have created a voters' guide.  It is very user friendly with colorful icons.

Give it a look see at:

Write in Campaign in District 142 (Bucks Co)

Bucks County Democrats are hoping to garner 300 write in votes in state house district 142, currently represented by Republican Frank Farry.  Democratic Middletown Party Chair Harry Arnold is hoping to get enough write in votes in the primary to be on the ballot for the general election in November. 

There is a small map of the 142nd district on Rep. Farry's site; you can check this if your aren't what your district is.  It looks like parts of Langhorne and Feasterville-Trevose and other nearby areas. 

Upper Darby Schools to Cut Arts and Music

Faced with massive mandated budget cuts the Upper Darby Public Schools has proposed cutting classes for art, music, library instruction, and gym at the elementary level.  Teachers would be laid off.  (Read more at "Upper Darby School District's cutback proposal hits sour note with parents," by Linda Reilly, Delaware County Daily Times, 4/12).  Foreign language and technology classes at the middle school would be eliminated. 

The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation issues this comment:

The Board of Directors of the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation understands that the decline of state subsidies has created difficult decisions for the Upper Darby School District Board of School Directors. We find the proposal to cut professional music and art instructors from the elementary schools disconcerting. The value of the arts in a child's life has been documented in numerous research studies. Because we see the necessity of the arts in the school district, we respectfully ask that the Upper Darby School District Board of School Directors look for other options. Eliminating elementary arts classes would have a significant, detrimental impact on the lives of the students.

Parents have set up a website: (note:  opening page has music / video).  As a parent one of the most common fears I have heard over the years is that in times of budgetary distress art and music would be cut.  In Upper Darby that seems to be happening.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two Infographics

Two really interesting infographics have crossed my screen lately. 

One from Resurgent Republican, shows the importance of the Hispanic vote. (h/t The Fix)

How much more do women pay for healthcare?  This infographic will tell you (h/t Obama campaign)

Philly Bar Association Run

from the inbox, for the Support Center of Child Advocates:

The Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk is a perfect fitness opportunity for the entire family.  Avid athletes, recreational runners, walkers, and even children participate in this annual event which attracts nearly 1500 area runners, lawyers, students, and families participate.

The race will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2012 starting at 8:30am at Martin Luther King Drive, just behind the Art Museum. 

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Kids' Dash!

Children ages 5-10 will love running in this FREE 200-yard non-competitive Dash! The Kids' Dash begins immediately after the Run/Walk start. All participants will receive a Race give-a-way. Child-friendly activities offered all morning. Registration is required for each child. A parent or guardian must be present. 

Team Competition
Law firms and companies may enter 5K Run teams. 

Neill Clark Challenge
Neill W. Clark has won the Legal Competition for a historic 13 consecutive years!! His friends at Philadelphia Runner will award $200 to the first registered Philadelphia Bar Association runner who beats Neill's 2011 time.

Win with Philadelphia Runner!
When you beat your 2011 Race time, you'll receive a Brooks gift at Philadelphia Runner. So, start training now to take Brooks home with you. All recipients who beat their 2011 Race time will be notified by email.

Packet Pick-Up
Pick up your Race packet in advance when you register by May 13, 2012. Packet pick up: Friday, May 18, 2012 10:00am-7:30pm Philadelphia Runner 1601 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

20% off Brooks!
Receive 20% off Brooks footwear, apparel & accessories at all 3 Philadelphia Runner stores for registered participants. Visit for store locations.

Additional Information
For the 5K Run, silver bowls will be awarded to the 1st place male and female runners; Philadelphia Runner gift certificates will be awarded to the 1st place male and female runners in each age group; and commemorative awards will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers, both male and female, in each age group. T-shirts will be given to all participants who finish the Run or the Walk. 

Registration Fees:
5K Run - General Registration $25.00
5K Run - Philadelphia Bar Association Members $40.00
5K Walk - General Registration $20.00
5K Walk - Family (Immediate family members in same household) $60.00
Kids' Dash (200-Yards) $0.00     

Math and Polls

Kathleen G Kane, one of the Democratic candidates for Attorney General, released a poll today.  John Micek posted the full poll memo on his Capitol Ideas blog.  It doesn't have cross tabs so I can't drill down very far, but there are some interesting points.  The Kane campaign says the poll puts her ahead 42% to 33% (as reported by politicspa).  Math is not my strong suit but I'm not sure where those numbers come from.  Kane is listed as having a very favorable rating of 30%, her primary opponent Patrick Murphy 33%, for favorable it is 24% for Kane and 25% for Murphy.  That doesn't add up to 42/33 to me. 

The poll was a robocall poll, with recorded questions not live operators.  The poll memo states that only home phones were called, so those with only a cell phone would not be included.  It also states that results for the over 55 age range was overrepresented.  I hope they all have photo ids. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Green Sleeves (Please)

Catching my usual daily news shows via CNN, Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett.  Both had segments with two experts, one from each party.  Cooper's segment featured Mary Matalin and Cornell Belcher.  Burnett's featured one of Jon Huntsman's daughters and a former presidential speechwriter.  It's great to see more women among the talking heads on tv.  In this case one thing that struck me was that while both men wore a standard suit and tie, the women were wearing a sleeveless shirt or dress.  A jacket would have given the women a little more gravitas.  A sweater even. 


from the inbox:

According to data released by the AFL-CIO today, CEOs of S&P 500 Index companies were paid an average of $12.9 million in 2011 – a 14 percent raise. In stark contrast, the average wage for Pennsylvania workers in 2011 was $44,070 – a 2.4% percent increase that barely keeps up with inflation.

Pennsylvanians can see how their salaries stacks up next to Pennsylvania CEOs’ using the newly designed Executive PayWatch, a searchable online databank that provides direct comparison of top CEO pay to the average wages of workers.

The Paywatch database will also display a list of highest paid CEOs by state.

Special Election on Tuesday

This coming Tuesday Republican voters can select a presidential candidate.  Democrats have a choice between two Attorney General candidates.  There are other state level candidates on the ballot, including Auditor General.  Some districts have contested primaries (the Babette Josephs / Brian Sims race being one of these).

However, six state house districts have special elections.  If you live in the following districts, you will have the opportunity to elect someone who will take office immediately and serve until the end of the year.

22nd (Chelsea Wagner)

134th (Doug Reichley)
153rd (Josh Shapiro)
169th (Dennis O'Brien)
186th (Kenyatta Johnson)
187th (Jewell Williams)


I like to bake, not everyone does, but often don't have the time required to start from scratch.  It's odd the things we judge women by.  I'm old enough to remember Geraldine Ferraro's vice presidential run in 1984, and the news reports of someone asking her if she could bake blueberry muffins.  Is that a requirement for vp candidates? 

So perhaps I am a little oversensitive to references to women and baking.  Mitt Romney kind of stepped in it yesterday when he sat down at a picnic table in Pittsburgh and asked asked if the cookies were homemade.  He looked at one of the women at the table when he asked.  Then he said they probably came from a 7/11 bakery or something.  (see video here from wpxi).  

The optics of this are just bad.  Women may still be the household cook most of the time, but men are a lot more involved with meal preparation than they used to be.  There's no reason to automatically assume a woman was responsible for the food.  Also, why assume something had to be homemade?  When is the last time Romney cooked anything?  Time devoted to baking is a poor measure of a woman's worth.

And why diss 7/11 bakeries?  A lot of people, myself included, have been known to pick up baked goods at mass retail outlets.  As it turns out these particular cookies were from a well-known local Pittsburgh store, the Bethel Bakery.

It reminds me of John Kerry's "cheesesteak moment" in 2003 when he asked for Swiss cheese on a cheesesteak.  Incidents like that just demonstrate that a candidate is out of touch.  Many Americans have bought food at a 7/11 at some point.    Generally speaking national candidates try to fit in with the masses; this won't help Romney in that regard.

It bothers me that questions like "did you make these or pick them up at the 7/11?" still get asked, especially of women.  I like to bake but that isn't my greatest selling point as a person.  I know a lot of women who don't bake and they manage to contribute to society in a number of ways. 

Note to anyone going to a picnic or potluck:  Don't assume women are responsible for the food or that it's okay to look down your nose if something is store bought.  The most acceptable response when people put food in front of of you is "Great!  Thanks!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Babette Josephs Video

State Rep. Babette Josephs, who is facing a primary challenger for the 182nd district, has released a campaign video.  The video is a breath of fresh air in what has become a race of sharp elbowed attacks.  Josephs is filmed giving a travelogue of her district, stopping at her district office and a variety of places she has helped, including a dog park. 

The film was made by local filmmaker / politico David Scholnick.  The Campaign Group should take a look at his work.

Young Women Don't Like MItt Romney

Chris Cillizza wrote a blog entry for this "The Fixx" blog at the Washington Post, on the possibility of a permanent gender gap between the main political parties.  Looking at the demographic data accompanying a presidential poll, Cillizza noted:

The number that really stands out is that among women between the ages of 18-29, Obama is beating Romney by 45 points. Yes, 45. While Obama is leading Romney among all 18-29 years old by 28 points (61 percent to 33 percent), the fact he is down by such a vast margin among young women has to set off red flags in Republican world.

What GOP strategists have to hope is that as these women age, their views on the two parties change. Or, that this massive gender gap among young women is unique to Obama and Romney and won’t be replicated when other candidates run for president in four, eight or twelve years time. Or that the intense focus on contraception and other women’s issue during the Republican presidential primary process is temporarily skewing Romney’s numbers negatively among young women.

Read the entire post, "A permanent gender gap problem for Republicans?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another PA Werewolf

Hollywood can keep it's sparkly vampires, all the hunky tv werewolves are from Pennsylvania.  Joe Manganiello, who plays Alcide Herveaux on HBO's "True Blood," is from Pittsburgh, and has a degree from the University of Pittsburgh.  NBC's Grimm also features a "blutbod" named Monroe, played by Philadelphian Silas Weir Mitchell.  He's a reformed werewolf, though, preferring pilates to predation. 

Our Cars, Ourselves

Cars, cars, cars.  They've been on my mind a lot lately, for various reasons.  So it seemed time for an automotively themed blog post.

PA Home to Fuel Efficient Cars

There will be more information on this released on Thursday but the teaser press release today was intriguing:

Motorists in Pennsylvania are fuming over exorbitant gasoline prices, but are paying noticeably less because of the more fuel-efficient cars they drive, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council to be released Thursday.

 I look forward to seeing the details on this, could be interesting.

Personal Experience

Rental cars give you the opportunity to do a long-term test drive.  A few years ago I had a rental Ford Fusion for a few days.  It was a great little car.  I liked it a lot but the back window was a bit restrictive for my comfort level -- it felt like I couldn't see as much as I'd like or could see in other cars.  When it was time to buy we looked at some Ford Fusions but, like everyone seems to, ended up with a Toyota Camry.  Just as a personal aside, if you need to buy a car and want a good deal without a lot of fuss or hassle, try buying a used rental car.  These are usually just a year old.  They have high mileage but have been well-maintained.  Our last two cars have been Enterprise Rental castoffs.  The one before that was a used rental as well but I can't remember what rental company it was.  Recently I had another rental for a few days.  It was a Chrysler 300.  I loved it.  The digital display was very cool and included a rear camera display so the driver can see what is going on behind the car when it is in reverse.  Just above the digital display there is a retro clock, complete with hands instead of a digital numbers.  If I had excess cash I would consider buying this car.

Caddy Owners -- Nice People

This interesting note from "Cadillac turns to a 28-year old to reinvent the 'standard of the world'," by Dane Slate in Fast Company 1/19/2012:

"It took us a while to get to this," Partalo says. "I needed to know what makes a man choose Cadillac over BMW or Lexus. So I traveled to nice restaurants around Chicago, Detroit, L.A., and New York. I interviewed the valets, those pimply 18-year-olds. What makes car owners different? They dress and tip the same. It's in how they react when the valet scratches their car. I heard consistent stories: Lexus owners don't say anything and immediately call the police and insurance company. BMW owners scream at him--'I'll have your job!' That sort of thing. But Cadillac owners pat him on the back, say, 'It's gonna be all right, kid; we'll figure it out,' and then tip him anyway and drive off."

How cool is that?

Philly Needs a Space Port

When I looked at Congressman Chaka Fattah's 2011 FEC reports there was something interesting in the 2nd quarter report.  There were donations from a number of big names in the private space flight industry.  The general counsel of Science Center, the VP of the United Space Alliance, Elon Musk who is the CEO of Space X, Gwynne Shotwell who is the president of Space X, and an executive from Space Exploration Technologies. 

Fattah is on the House Appropriations Committee and one of his subcommittees, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, where he serves as the Ranking Member, oversees NASA and the National Science Foundation. 

Today, Fattah tweeted a link to a Yahoo article, "NASA clears SpaceX for cargo run to space station," by Irene Klotz (Reuters 4/16). 

All this leads me to wonder, why doesn't Philly have a space port?  Granted our occasional severe winter weather could be a drawback.  However, we have some refinery space available now to handle whatever fuel these space planes use (I have no idea what kind of fuel this would be or how it is stored -- I'm just making stuff up here).   Several areas of the city could serve as our version of Mos Eisley, so we're covered there as well.

Space ports might need engineers but we have several engineering schools in the area.  Penn State has the only aerospace engineering program in the state but Rutgers has a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree.  Rowan, Drexel, Univ of Delaware, and U Penn all have engineering schools. That should be enough to supply all the engineers a space port would need.  I imagine all those schools would add classes or areas of emphasis suited to the industry's needs. 

Manta, which keeps track of small businesses, lists 133 aerospace businesses in Pennsylvania.  That seems like enough to form a noticeable cluster.  Finding a place to put a rocket gantry might be tricky but wouldn't it be fantastic to see something like that on the edge's of the city skyline.  Yes, given the safety concerns that probably isn't feasible -- it would have to be further out away from high population areas. 

All the same, I ask again, why doesn't Philly have a space port?  If Rep. Fattah is on such friendly terms with people like Elon Musk maybe he can invite them out and have local engineering schools and relevant small businesses, along with government officials, talk with them and see what they can cook up.  Rocket scientists are smart people.  They should be able to come up with something.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Romney on the Dignity of Work

This past January Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, talked about his efforts to move people off the welfare roles, including the parents of young children.  Here are part of his remarks:

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney in New Hampshire. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’” (Source:  "Romney:  Mothers on welfare need jobs to have the 'dignity of work'." by Pema Levy, TPM 4/15/2012

It always seems odd to me that when women with wealth stay home with children it is a virtue and when women without money stay home with children they are being lazy and lack dignity.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shapiro: First 100 Days Report

Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, has issued a statement / speech on the first 100 days of the new administration.  Text available on Facebook.  (You do not have to have a Facebook account to access this post).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two National Constitution Center Events

Two interesting upcoming events at the National Constitution Center:

No matter their party affiliation, voters are invited to join fellow citizens to celebrate our freedom to vote during the Primary Palooza Party.  Beginning at 5:00 p.m., guests can submit their six-word stump speeches, experience the Center’s new exhibits and interactive programs, compete to win prizes during presidential trivia and election-themed quizzo games, and watch the returns.  Light fare and a cash bar will be available.  Admission to Primary Palooza is FREE and includes access to the Center’s main exhibition, The Story of We the People, and the award-winning theatrical production Freedom Rising.  For a special $5 rate, guests also can experience From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen.  Reservations for Primary Palooza are recommended

Throughout the 2012 presidential race, the National Constitution Center is serving as a hub of election activity, both onsite and online.  Address America: Your Six-Word Stump Speech will give museum visitors the opportunity to share their six-word stump speeches using new iPad touch screens and view them on projected displays in the Center’s main exhibition.  Entries also can be submitted online beginning on April 24 at, where submissions will be displayed in dynamic charts, maps and word clouds that reveal information about election priorities across geography and party affiliation.  Online users will have the opportunity to “remix” their submissions as well as the submissions of other users, and connect to objective information about election issues, the candidates, and the Constitution.


In an era of congressional gridlock, political polarization, and waning public trust in government, can congressional leaders overcome partisan divides for the benefit of all citizens?  Or do voters need to take action and change those who are serving in Congress? 
University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Harvard Professor Dennis F. Thompson will discuss these issues and their new book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It, with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the National Constitution Center.  Admission is $7 for members, students and teachers; $10 for non-members; and FREE for 1787 Society members.  Reservations are required and can be made online at

Vote in DVRPC's Classic Towns Photo Contest

from the inbox:

Online voting for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC) first ever “I Love Classic Towns” photo contest kicks off on Sunday, April 15.

The public can vote for their favorite images by visiting the Classic Towns website at  The deadline to vote is May 14.

To date, more than 600 images by both amateur and professional photographers have been submitted for the contest, which launched on Feb. 14.

The contest is part of DVRPC’s innovative Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia program and is designed to engage the community in showcasing the region’s unique neighborhoods in both the city and suburbs.

At present, there are 20 towns designated as Classic Towns by DVRPC. They are: Ambler, Ardmore, Bordentown City, Bristol Borough, Collingswood, Germantown, Glassboro, Haddon Heights, Kennett Square, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Manayunk, Media, Merchantville, Moorestown, New Hope, Overbrook Farms, Phoenixville, Souderton/Telford, and West Chester.

Photographers entered photographs from these towns in seven different categories including: community, local history, main street, parks and recreation, people, residential, and seasonal.

Once online voting has closed, the photos with the highest votes from each category will go before a panel of judges that will select winners in each category as well as the overall winner. Winners will be announced by July 31, 2012.

Each winner will be awarded $100 for the top image in each category. In addition, a $500 Judge’s Choice prize and $300 Voter’s Choice prize will also be awarded. The photographs will then become part of a traveling exhibit.

The “I Love Classic Towns” photo contest is co-sponsored by Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, N.J. and Collingswood, N.J.

Judges include Karen Chigounis, director of Arts Education Programs and associate curator at the Perkins Center for the Arts; Meredith Edlow, visual assets manager for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, and David Maialetti, photojournalist at the Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Notes from 153rd Debate (Dean / Mattiacci)

Yesterday, on Tuesday, April 10th, the League of Women Voters held a debate between the two candidates for the special election / primary in the 153rd state house district.  Democrat Madeleine Dean and Republican Nick Mattiacci are running to fill out Josh Shapiro’s term, and as their party's primary candidates for general election the November. 

I attended the debate and took notes.  This is not intended to be a full transcript.  Voters and other interested parties should research the candidates or contact the campaigns for clarification.  I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Due to a directional mishap I missed the introductory comments and the first part of Madeleine Dean’s opening statement.  Comments later in the evening indicated that some questions were distributed to the candidates in advance and others were taken from the audience.

Opening Statements

MD:  I am a mother, former small business owner, teacher.  Concerns are education, economic environment and the elderly.

NM:  Asks how many LWV members are in the audience.   Asks how many are registered Republicans.  [Mattiaci is told by the moderator that this is an inappropriate question as the LWV is a bipartisan organization.]  I’ve knocked on 4,000 doors.  People want good jobs, good schools, good government.  Not running to be a Republican representative but happen to be a Republican.  Don’t agree with all Republican ideas.  Disagree with cuts to education.  Reduce corporate tax rate from 9.99 to 6.99.

Q1:  Campaign finance reform, references campaign contributions in previous elections from Marcellus Shale industry and educational voucher supporters

NM:  Polls show that Pennsylvanians favored Marcellus Shale drilling and vouchers but candidates and officials should not pander to special interests.

MD:  Campaigns are expensive.  Candidates are required to report large contributions from special interests.  Would like to see something like federal limits, but these do not limit outside organizations like superpacs.

Q2:  privatizing services, for example the Turnpike, prisons, schools, should there be referendums on this?

MD:  Government has a role to play in some areas, references the Luzerne “kids for cash” scandal.  Shouldn’t privatize prisons.  State liquor stores brought in $100 million and PA has a low rate of underage drinking.

NM:  Privatization is not the solution, just a quick fix.  References privatization of Chicago Parking Authority.  Government regulation is warranted.

Q3:  Public education, 3 most important things you would want to improve.

MD:  As a teacher and a mother, education central to who our children become.  Corbett slashed education.  We need to wisely spend.  Restoring strong nutrition program, strong pre-K program, and full day kindergarten.   Bottom up review of education funding, not top down.  Funding right kinds of programs.  We have good schools.

NM:  We have good schools here because we care.  Accountability.  Education is 30% of the state budget.  Against Corbett cuts.  As a Republican and part of the majority I could make sure we get our fair share.  Cuts are because Gov. Rendell didn’t fund the pension fund.  Champion special education.  Teacher accountability.  Student accountability.  Challenge our children.

Q4:  Environmental protection

NM:  State has responsibility for clear air, and water and open space.  Studies show Marcellus Shale drilling has not negative impact on drinking water.  Concern about lack of transparency with fracking chemicals.   Since this involves interstate commerce the federal government could get involved. 

MD:  Very concerned about fracking.  Foolish to think slurry chemicals, not revealed, not having an impact.   Corbett signed Act 13 which includes a gag order for doctors – they can’t tell patients an illness could have been caused by natural gas drilling.  Clean air and water in the PA Constitution.

Q5:  Voter ID.  Anticipate challenge.

NM:  There will be a challenge and that is our right in a democracy.  Integrity of voter right is important.  Don’t believe it will disenfranchise voters.  References case of someone impersonating Eric Holder and voting.

MD:  Eric Holder case – person didn’t not sign in and could not vote.  There is a practice run for voter ID at the special election / primary.  Fully in place in November.  Zero cases prosecuted by Corbett.  Student IDs without expiration dates can’t vote.  Fewer than 10 cases in 10 years documented.  Elderly widows who don’t drive have to get birth certificate and marriage license to get proper ID.

NM:  PA not the first state to do this.  No study shows that this disenfranchises voters.  Ten cases is ten too many.

Moderator:  Eight counties don’t have DMV offices.

NM:  I will personally take care of this.

MD:  System not broken.

Q6:  If you had a magic want what legislation would you want signed?

MD:   Look at what has passed.  I would be the opposite of the current majority.  I would reverse a lot of it.

NM:  I do have a magic wand so if you want a representative with a magic wand you should elect me.  I would lower the corporate tax rate.  Close Delaware loophole.  Tax Marcellus Shale to hold line on school taxes for the elderly.

MD:  Corporate tax and real estate tax required a Constitutional change.

Q7:  Women’s right to choose, yes or no

NM:  Can’t give a yes or no.  Need to move away from this as a way to judge candidates.

MD:  Like C. Everett Koop I believe an abortion is a failure, but I believe in a women’s right to choose.

Q8:  Stand your ground laws

NM:  Believe in the Castle Doctrine.  Haven’t read Stand Your Ground.

MD:  PA has one more layer than Florida.  Only entitled to self-defense if opponent has a gun or other weapon.  Disagree with this legislation.

Q9:  School vouchers

MD:  I teach college freshman and see students prepared and not so prepared.  Went to Abington Public Schools.  Want full funding for public schools, not in favor of vouchers.

NM:  Oppose.   Vouchers would take money away from public schools.   However, there are bills that would take voucher money out of the general fund and only for lower performing schools.

Q10:  casino gambling

NM:  Doesn’t have the negative impact we thought.  Saves seniors money.

MD:  It is here.  Used for property tax relief.

Q11:  Fracking before impact understood

MD:  No.

NM:  More needs to be done to assure it is okay.  Studies have not shown any conclusive proof.

Q12:  Act 13, nominal tax on fracking, municipal rights

MD:  Can’t have just local control, but strong state oversight.  Legislation is troubling because reduces local oversight.

NM:  Wastewater – state needs to get more involved.

Q13:  Madeleine Dean, will you resign from Abington Township Board of Commissioners?

MD:  I’m the commissioner for Ward 7, enjoy that.  If you’d told me a year ago that I would be running for state rep I wouldn’t have believed you.  I don’t know when I’d resign.  Would not want any conflict of interest to arise.

Q14:  Abington Township passed a proclamation urging state to pass non-discrimination, HB 300.  Should the township pass such a law?

MD:  In favor of HB 300.  Basic question of human rights.

NM:  Discrimination should not be allowed.  Would support this on a state level not a township level.  Discussion has not shown any instance of discrimination on the local level.

MD:  State has failed to pass it.

Q15:  Salary of legislative body is 2nd highest in country.  Should we have a part time legislature?

NM:  Salary is what it is.  I don’t know what it is.  Just to run had to give up job and benefits.  Have 2 young kids.  Gave up so much because committed to this job and this job only.  No longer has dental insurance and wife broke a tooth.

MD:  Reform of our state legislature.  Are we overstaffing our state legislature?  It is a full time job.

Q17:  Support dissolving state liquor board?

NM:  No.

MD:  No.

Q18:  Nick, where have you been?  Why getting involved now?

NM:  Got law degree, then job in Philly Parking Authority, got a masters degree in [missed this], with my wife for 13 years, 2 sons, ages two and a half and almost one.  Getting involved now  because want to represent interests of district.  Won’t toe party line.

Q19:  Madeleine, why declare candidacy just days after winning commissioner’s seat. 

MD:  Wasn’t only days.  Not opportunistic but seizing an opportunity.

Closing Statements

NM:  Dean always giving party line answers.  My candidacy is independent of ideology or party.

MD:  Lived here for 52 years, raised children here.  Honored for this chance to serve.