Thursday, May 31, 2007

Congressional Website Bling

Campaigns and issue groups will sometimes make available “blogger bling,” badges, buttons, clever little graphics for bloggers and webmasters to have on their sites to show allegiance.

I started wondering if our elected officials did the same. The state house and senate offer templates with little option for personalization. The parties do the same for elected officials, again with little personalization. Our congressional delegation seems to have more leeway. Some are jazzy, some (cough cough, John Murtha, cough) are as basic as basic can be.

Beyond buttons for Thomas, the website for tracking legislation, I wondered what allegiances our congressional representatives showed. So I looked. There are a great many options for comparing their site but for the purposes of this post allegiances to larger organizations, beyond simple party membership, was the focus. Also, I looked only at what was on the main page and did not delve deeper. Should you wish to replicate this research or simply look at the sites yourself, the easiest way is to use politicspa as a jumping off point – it has a list of Pennsylvania representatives with links to their sites.

Three of our Democratic representatives have badges or buttons on their site for Democratic groups. Tim Holden (D-14) and Patrick Murphy (D-08) are members of the Blue Dog Democrats, though they use different images. Allyson Schwartz (D-13) is part of the New Democratic Coalition. Looking at the membership of each group these are the only Pennsylvanians mentioned. There may be other organizations out there, though, that simply don’t have badges or don’t have any Pennsylvanians.

Should you be wondering, both the Blue Dogs and the New Democrats are moderate groups. Patrick Murphy was named Blue Dog of the week earlier this year. I tend to be a bit skeptical about these things. However, there are 43 members of the Blue Dogs so clearly not everyone can be picked every year, depending on how many weeks Congress is in session. It is also possible that a Blue Dog is not highlighted each week.

Republicans like to announce their membership in caucuses. John Peterson (R-05) displays his membership in the Congressional Rural Congress. Tim Murphy (R-18) is part of the Mental Health Caucus (no jokes please). The lone Dem in the group, Mike Doyle (D-14 ),is part of the Autism Caucus. Having previously looked at Pennsylvanian involvement in caucus leadership I know there are more caucus members out there; that membership just isn’t mentioned on the home page.

John Peterson’s (R-05) site has a blog, though someone else writes the posts. Tim Murphy (R-18) also has a blog but appears to write his own posts, or at least no other authors were implied in the posts I saw.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Employee Free Choice Act

The Employee Free Choice Act, HR 800 and S 1041, is moving through Congress. The three main points of it are:

1. It strengthens financial penalties for companies that illegally coerce or intimidate employees in an effort to prevent them from forming a union;

2. It brings in a neutral third party to settle a contract when a company and a newly certified union cannot agree on a contract after 90 days;

3. It establishes majority sign-up, meaning that if a majority of employees sign union authorization cards validated by the National Labor Relations Board, the company must recognize the union.

For more info see the AFL/CIO site regarding the legislation. It looks like all of PA's Democratic representatives (plus Republican Tim Murphy) supported it. Sen. Casey has signed on as a co-sponsor. Sen. Specter has not. (h/t Mike in Chicago)

Full disclosure: I am a union member and have in the past and will be again this year, holding office in our local chapter.

More Resources on the Foodstamp Challenge

A few weeks ago I posted a note on the Foodstamp Challenge, wherein people try to eat on the average amount provided by foodstamps. It has proven to be an extremely popular post. Those interested in reading more on the topic should took at Rebecca's Pocket. The author of that blog is posting daily notes on her effort to eat organically on a foodstamp budget. She, like me, believes that access to purchasing options, a good supply of kitchen utensils, and some knowledge of how to cook, are essential. In addition to her own posts she has a list of other blogs writing on the subject. Well worth the effort.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nutter Consultant Does Good

Chris Cillizza (or more likely someone in a little tiny cubicle in the basement of the Washington Post) has been sending me his "The Fix" postings via email. Mostly they are way over my head but there was a tidbit in one that arrived today that had a local angle. Here is your gossipy nugget for the day:

What do Michael Nutter, the odds-on favorite to become Philadelphia's next mayor, and Steve Beshear, the front-runner to be elected Kentucky's next governor, have in common? A man named Fred Yang. Yang, a partner in the Democratic polling firm Garin Hart Yang Research Group, handled the survey research for both men's surprisingly strong victories in recent party primaries. Nutter, a former city councilman, won with a surprisingly strong double-digit margin in the May 15 vote, despite a seven-way field that included two sitting members of Congress. A week later, Beshear, who served stints as state attorney general and lieutenant governor, won 41 percent in the primary to avoid a runoff with free-spending businessman Bruce Lunsford. And, no, Yang and his firm aren't aligned with any of the current crop of presidential candidates. Let the courtship begin.

The full column is available here.

Media Matters Report on Faith

From the inbox:

Media Matters for America, along with Faith in Public Life and progressive religious leaders from throughout the country, held a press conference today to discuss “Left Behind: The Skewed Representation of Religion in the Major News Media,” a new report documenting the overrepresentation of conservative religious figures in the major news media. Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog organization; Faith in Public Life, an organization dedicated to increasing the strength and visibility of faith leaders working for justice and the common good; and the diverse group of progressive religious leaders called on major media outlets to provide a more balanced expression of religious values and views.

The full report is available at:

Big Bloggy Welcome to MalcolmXPark

Some has brought to my attention a relatively new local Philly blog, MalcolmXPark, at The writer provides restaurant reviews, local news, photos, real estate notes, and so on. Currently there is discussion on where to get good water ice. It looks like a great addition to the regional blogosphere.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lentz on I on Pennsylvania

Rep. Bryan Lentz, Democratic representative of Pennsylvania's, 161st state house district, is featured on episode 42 of "I on Pennsylvania," to discuss veteran's issues. Lentz, first elected this past November, is a veteran himself.

More Delay for Proposed SEPA Veterans Cemetery

On this Memorial Day it seems fitting to write about the new veterans’ cemetery slated for southeastern Pennsylvania. The VA’s preferred location is in Bucks County and there is land available but, as always in political matters, something is jamming up the works. But, more on that later.

First some background. There are currently three national veterans’ cemeteries in Pennsylvania. The one in Philadelphia (13.3 acres) is not taking any new internments, though family members of veterans already buried there may be added to the same plot. The Indiantown Gap National Cemetery (677 acres, 25 miles northeast of Harrisburg) and the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies (292 acres, near Pittsburgh, opened in 2005) are still accepting internments but that is a long way for those in the southeastern part of the state to go to visit their deceased family members. There is a state veterans’ cemetery in Erie, The Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Cemetery, but that also is a long way away. (see for more information)

Why are these cemeteries important? For one thing it pays a final honor to those who served in our country’s military. There are also other reasons. From the VA’s website ( we find this:

Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of our 125 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family.

The VA also spells out eligibility ( Those who chose to be buried in a private cemetery can receive a headstone and burial flag. There are some conditions that would allow for a burial allowance.

We tend to think of veterans cemeteries as places for those in their later years, but Bucks County has lost four soldiers in Iraq in as many weeks this May. Those and other families in the same tragic situation might like to have a place to bury their sons and husbands and for children to visit their fathers’ graves close to home. There are other circumstances in which veterans might seek out a veterans’ cemetery.

A good friend of mine died some years ago. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had a year or so to get his affairs in order, researching estates and related matters to ensure the most benefit for his minor children. As a veteran he was eligible to be, and elected to be, buried in a veterans’ cemetery; space was available in one near where they lived so they could visit his grave easily if they chose, and more of his estate could go to their college educations. My former stepbrother, who was making a career of the Air Force, died when he was 29. He had been partially or fully supporting his mother and there wasn’t much left over for burial. Fortunately there was a veterans’ cemetery near where she lived and where he grew up. He was buried there.

Veterans in southeastern Pennsylvania who wish to be buried in a veterans’ cemetery currently have to choose either the Harrisburg or Pittsburgh area, a long way for their families to visit. The VA has noted this and approved a cemetery for this area, as noted on their website:
The National Cemetery Act of 2003 authorizes VA to establish new national cemeteries to serve veterans in the areas of Bakersfield, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Sarasota County, Fla.; southeastern Pennsylvania; and Columbia-Greenville, S.C. All six areas have veteran populations exceeding 170,000, which is the threshold VA has established for new national cemeteries.

You might think that in an area as developed as southeastern Pennsylvania there wouldn’t be enough unused space to find several hundred acres available but that’s not true. There are two sites competing for the cemetery.

The VA has said it would like 200 contiguous acres for the new cemetery. They have found such a plot in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County; it is part of an area called the Dolington Tract. The VA announced in January, 2006, that it would buy 200 acres of Dolington from Toll Brothers, who had hoped to build on it.. The area is near I-95 for ease of travel in the region and according to Dan Fraley, director of Veterans Affairs for Bucks County, there are 60,000 veterans in Bucks (Katalinas, 5/18). Toll agreed to sell the land to the VA in return for a zoning ordinance (see discussion of this at the April, 2006 Upper Makefield Board of Supervisors meeting) that would allow them to build 80 houses on one nearby tract of land and 90 on another, known as the Melsky tract, currently owned by the Council Rock School District. Here is where it gets sticky. Council Rock isn’t sure it wants to sell the Melsky tract (Peterson, 5/18). Last week at a Council Rock School Board meeting the board voted to “subtmit revisions made to a previous counterproposal regarding the sale…” (Gentry, 5/25). Toll has made the sale of Dolington to the VA for the cemetery contingent on the purchase of Melsky (Hellyer 5/15). So, no Melsky, no Dolington, no cemetery for Bucks.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-08) has said he hopes the cemetery can be built on the Dolington tract. In an editorial in the Intelligencer on May 23 he writes in part:
As your congressman I am cognizant of my role as an advocate but remain respectful of the role of local government in settling this matter. I remain hopeful, as this is still the preferred site, not just for those in Bucks County but to the VA. Dolington was always the first choice.

He also points out the neighboring Wrightstown has agreed to set aside land for future use of Council Rock if needed.

However, the VA, while still preferring Dolington has begun to look at other options. A smaller tract, 173 (or 186 depending on the source) acres, is available in Chester County. That area was formerly the home of a hospital and buildings on it would need to be demolished first. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-06) has been advocating for the VA to consider the Pennhurst site (Peterson, 5/18; Phucas, 5/13; Katalinas 5/18)

One hates to inject partisan politics into a situation like this but a quick check of, shows that Bruce Toll has contributed to a number of Republican candidates and officials in Pennsylvania, including Jim Gerlach, and Mike Fitzpatrick, who proceeded Murphy as the 8th district congressman, as well as Jim Greenwood, whose retirement in the 8th district opened the door for Fitzpatrick.

I hope this matter can be settled quickly. If the VA prefers the Bucks County and it has the larger number of acres then it seems like the better choice to me. But, either way, it is a sad but true fact that people are dying daily and the least we can do is give them a place to be buried.


Gentry, Kendra, “More changes delay Melsky tract,” Intelligencer 5/25/07

Hellyer, Joan, “Vets encourage board to sell Melsky tract,” Intelligencer 5/25/07

Katalinas, Theresa, “VA looking at alternatives,” Intelligencer 5/18/07

Murphy, Patrick, “Honor of national cemetery long overdue,” Intelligencer 5/23/07

Petersen, Nancy, “VA seeks a new tract for veterans cemetery,” Philadelphia Inquirer 5/18/07

Phucas, Keith, “Gerlach’s quest continues for veterans cemetery," Times Herlad 5/13/07

Off Topic: Notes from the Fridge

Found on the Casa Jane refrigerator this weekend, a note which said:

Dear Dad,

You cann't hide the bbq chipes from us.

And it was true, the empty bag was in the trash. Mr. J will have to find a more secure spot for his food stash.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

PA in the WSJ

We at Casa Jane send out good thoughts and gratitude to the nation's veterans on this Memorial Day weekend.

PA Politicians

John Murtha is quoted in “War-funding bill nears final passage in Congress,” by David Rogers. The gist is there are limits on what a Democratic congress can do when a Republican is president. (5/25)

Now this is very intriguing, in “A political tool goes corporate,” by John D. McKinnon we find this paragraph. If anyone knows any details please feel free to share!

Some experts caution that the techniques of campaigning aren’t sure-fire. A Temple University professor, Kevin Arceneaux, says he found that one microtargeting campaign actually made targeted voters less likely to support the intended beneficiary, a Democratic candidate for the state House in Pennsylvania.

PA Businesses

Briefly noted: Morgan, Lewis, & Bockman (5/23)

Jennifer S. Forsyth writes on 5/23:
Muvico Entertainment LLC has signed up to put in a move and entertainment complex at Uptown Worthington, a 100-acre, mixed-used community being developed at the site of the former Worthington Steel factory in Malvern, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

Three Pennsylvania farmers are mentioned in “With corn prices rising, pigs switch to fatty snacks,” by Lauren Etter (5/21)

Hershey’s Chocolate World is discussed in “More pop for corporate museums,” by Betsy McKay on 5/21. Hershey’s Chocolate World is frequently brought up in my house, too, usually by children asking for another visit there.

Other PA

Joe Frazier’s legal troubles with his daughter are briefly outlined in “Round One (Best of the Law Blog),” by Peter Lattman (5/23)

The Sushi Economy by Philadelphia Magazine writer Sasha Issenberg is reviewed by Henny Sender on 5/23

Bob Nusbaum, a Pittsburgh area financial planner and two of his clients are profiled in “Financial planning for the not-yet-rich,” by Jeff D. Opdyke (5/23)

In a list of target amounts of electricity from renewable sources, Pennsylvania is looking for 18% by 2020, according to “Senate pushes utilities on ‘green’sources,” by John J. Fialka (5/25)

Penn professor Barry Ziober is mentioned in “Coaxing cancer researchers to take your money,” by Amy Dockser Marcus (5/22)

Wharton professor Peter Carrelli is quoted in “Corporate tuition aid appears to keep workers loyal,” by Erin White (5/21)

Other Interesting Tidbits

Social networking and politics outlined in “BO, U R So Gr8,” by Amy Schatz (5/26)

“Industry by industry: the stars and their stocks” (numerous authors 5/21) highlights 44 stock analysts. Of those 4 are women and 5 (all male) are easily identifiable as non-white (photos are included). Just noting this.

Friday, May 25, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed the Pennsylvania House or Senate this week, and mention of any noteworthy resolutions. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountant friends at PICPA have provided their usual informative weekly update.
Other updates this week:

PA GOP Senate
PA Democratic Senate
PA GOP House
PA Democratic House


Nothing caught my eye.



HB13 Prior Printer's Nos. 38, 1439, 1447.Printer's No. 1536. An Act amending the act of February 2, 1965 (P.L.1860, No.586), entitled "An act encouraging landowners to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting liability in connection therewith, and repealing certain acts," further providing for liability of landowners toward recreational users, persons or property for acts or acts of omission by recreational users.

HB 1286 By Representative D. EVANS. Printer's No. 1543. An Act to provide from the General Fund for the expenses of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments of the Commonwealth, the public debt and for the public schools for the fiscal year July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, for certain institutions and organizations, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007; to provide appropriations from the State Lottery Fund, the Energy Conservation and Assistance Fund, the Hazardous Material Response Fund, The State Stores Fund, the Milk Marketing Fund, the Home Investment Trust Fund, the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, the Tuition Payment Fund, the Banking Department Fund, the Firearm Records Check Fund, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority Fund, the Tobacco Settlement Fund and the Health Care Provider Retention Account to the Executive Department; to provide appropriations from the Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account to the Judicial Department for the fiscal year July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008; to provide appropriations from the Motor License Fund for the fiscal year July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, for the proper operation of the several departments of the Commonwealth and the Pennsylvania State Police authorized to spend Motor License Fund moneys; to provide for the appropriation of Federal funds to the Executive Department of the Commonwealth and for the establishment of restricted receipt accounts for the fiscal year July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, and for the payment of bills remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007; to provide for the additional appropriation of Federal and State funds from the General Fund, the State Lottery Fund and the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly Fund for the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments of the Commonwealth for the fiscal year July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.

SB 650 By Senators LOGAN, RAFFERTY and WASHINGTON. Printer's No. 680. An Act amending the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the Liquor Code, further providing for special occasion permits.

HB 33 By Representatives GEORGE and SURRA. Prior Printer's No. 58.Printer's No. 1418. An Act authorizing and directing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Governor, to lease to Pine Township, Clearfield County, a certain tract of land situate in Pine Township, Clearfield County, for a consideration of $1.

HB 131 Prior Printer's No. 157.Printer's No. 1414. An Act amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, prohibiting fees for police services.

HB 588 By Representatives HALUSKA, BELFANTI, CAPPELLI, DALEY, GEIST, HERSHEY, KOTIK, MARSHALL, SEIP, SOLOBAY, STURLA, SIPTROTH and CALTAGIRONE. Printer's No. 654. An Act amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for purposes and powers of municipal authorities.

HB 747 Printer's No. 874. An Act amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for a special license and license auction to hunt one elk.

HB 778 Printer's No. 845. An Act amending Title 30 (Fish) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for classification of offenses and penalties, for chemical testing to determine amount of alcohol or controlled substances and for operating watercraft under influence of alcohol or controlled substance.

HB 781 Printer's No. 900. An Act redesignating the Maple Avenue Bridge on State Route 271 in the City of Johnstown, Cambria County, as the Colonel John Joseph Tominac Memorial Bridge.

HB 834 Printer's No. 950. An Act relating to hours of employment of health-care employees; providing for penalties and remedies; and imposing powers and duties on the Department of Labor and Industry.

HB 876 Prior Printer's No. 1031.Printer's No. 1446. An Act amending Title 71 (State Government) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for the employer contribution rate.

HB 881 Printer's No. 1035. An Act amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for exceptions to unlawful use of lights while hunting.

HB 892 Printer's No. 1045. An Act designating a portion of State Route 74 in Perry County as the Marine Lance Corporal Jason L. Frye Memorial Highway.

SB 21 By Senators DINNIMAN, PILEGGI, RAFFERTY, ERICKSON and BRUBAKER. Printer's No. 29. An Act authorizing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to enter into an agreement or other legal instrument with Chester County to alter use restrictions and reversionary covenants on real estate conveyed to Chester County, situate in Newlin and West Bradford Townships; and making inconsistent repeals.


HB 112 By Representatives EACHUS, MUNDY and CALTAGIRONE. Prior Printer's Nos. 134, 413, 1354, 1471, 1633.Printer's No. 1639. An Act amending the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921, further providing for effect of act on existing laws and, in insurance holding companies, for definitions, for acquisition of control of or merger with domestic insurer and for acquisitions involving insurers not otherwise covered; establishing the Insurance Restructuring Board; providing for its powers and duties; establishing an account; providing for health care reporting; and making an inconsistent repeal.

SB 34 By Senators C. WILLIAMS, COSTA, MUSTO, BOSCOLA, FONTANA, FOLMER, WOZNIAK, WASHINGTON and MELLOW. Prior Printer's Nos. 67, 893.Printer's No. 1045. An Act permitting a mother the freedom to nurse her child in public; and providing that breastfeeding may not be considered a nuisance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct or obscenity.

SB 691 By Senators GREENLEAF, McILHINNEY, KASUNIC, WASHINGTON, TOMLINSON, STACK, CORMAN, COSTA, RAFFERTY, FUMO, LOGAN, FERLO, BROWNE, BOSCOLA, ERICKSON, TARTAGLIONE, KITCHEN, WOZNIAK and FONTANA. Printer's No. 736. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for veteran plates and placard.

SB729 Prior Printer's Nos. 797, 988.Printer's No. 1047. An Act requiring the posting of certain governmental salary information on the Internet.

SB 779 By Senator ARMSTRONG. Printer's No. 875. An Act designating a portion of State Route 462 in Lancaster County as the Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Robert D. Lapp, Jr., Memorial Highway.

SB 782 By Senators M. WHITE, BAKER, MUSTO, PUNT, CORMAN, GORDNER, STOUT, FERLO, BRUBAKER, RAFFERTY, COSTA, FONTANA, PICCOLA, RHOADES, C. WILLIAMS, WOZNIAK, EARLL, BROWNE, FUMO and STACK. Prior Printer's No. 876.Printer's No. 1046. An Act amending the act of July 10, 1984 (P.L.688, No.147), known as the Radiation Protection Act, further providing for definitions, for powers of Environmental Quality Board, for licensing and registration fees, for nuclear facility and transport fees, for creation of special funds, for response program and for transportation of radioactive material; and making repeals.

SB 815 Printer's No. 909. An Act amending the act of July 6, 1989 (P.L.169, No.32), known as the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act, further providing for underground storage tank environmental cleanup program and for underground storage tank pollution prevention program.

SB 795 By Senator ARMSTRONG. Printer's No. 887. An Act making an appropriation from a restricted revenue account within the General Fund and from Federal augmentation funds to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rough Notes from Montco Commissioners Debate

Montgomery County Commissioner Candidate Debate 5/23/2007
Penn State Abington, sponsored by the Rydal Meadowbrook Civic Association

These are my notes from the first Montgomery County commissioner candidates’ debate. I hoped to have more links to background articles but they are proving hard to find on the free internet. Let me look more over the weekend and maybe there will be a post just on that later. As always, these are rough notes and I apologize for any errors or misinterpretations. There were two cameras present so hopefully the debate will air at some point and you can watch for yourselves.

The Intelligencer’s take on the debate (“Candidates stake their turf,” by Jacob Fenton) is available online.

Penn State Abington is a beautiful campus which believes not only in landscaping and good on-campus signage but also has signs along the street leading to special event parking.

Association President Jim Carroll presided over a brief business meeting, noting that the organization has been in existence 59 years and is the oldest consecutively operating civic association Pennsylvania. Former association president Julie Greenbaum pointed out elected officials, former officials, and candidates in the audience. It is a long list and has not been included, for fear of leaving someone out or getting the spelling wrong. At the county level, Democrat Peter Amuso ( and Republican Risa Vetri Ferman (, candidates for district attorney, Democratic prothonotary candidate Mark Levy and treasurer candidate KC Carolina were present.

State Representative and Deputy Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, not to mention Rydal resident Josh Shapiro (D-153) spoke briefly. He gave a brief outline and what was voted on in the House today (budget) and mentioned talking recently with the lt gov of South Carolina.

Larry Kane moderated the event. He said the county had four outstanding candidates. On the Republican side incumbent Jim Matthews is joined by current district attorney Bruce Castor ( The Democrats are fielding incumbent Ruth Damsker and former congressman and county commissioner Joe Hoeffel ( Kane addressed a question to one of the four and allowed the other three to comment if they wished. There was a lightning round at the end.

Question for Hoeffel: Do we need county commissioners with all the other department heads and staff in the county?

H: County commissioners are like chief executives with legislative and policy making authority. Half of the county budget goes to human services. There are other matters such as planning and environmental cleanups.

D: Montgomery is the third largest county in the commonwealth with an annual budget of $600 million. One third of the budget comes from real estate taxes the rest from grants from the federal government.

Question for Matthews: Is there waste in the government?

M: doesn’t see it. It takes two months to review budgetary requests. Likes the idea of three commissioners not one, a lot of economy is pursued at commissioner meetings

Question for Castor: Did you always get the money you asked for from the county?

C: Yes, got the money asked for. There are other practical things the commissioners do, such as roads, bridges, prisons. The county government runs relatively well.

Question for Matthews: property tax reassessment?

M: no, the expense of reassessing is substantial, around $16 million

D: Damsker and Hoeffel have no plans for reassessment. Among their priorities is transparency in government.

C: Damsker announced on a tv show that she was in favor of reassessment. Castor and Matthews are opposed.

H: No on reassessment. Taxpayers don’t want it nor do he and Damsker. The chairmen of the board of assessment appeals is the co-chair of the Matthews / Castor campaign.

Q for Damsker: Should the county get involved in local zoning or planning matters?

D: Zoning is a local issue then submitted to the county planning commission. Traffic and congestion are frequent problems. We need smart growth.

C: As DA? [LK: No, as county commissioner] There are planning committees. The commissioners might get involved as mediators.

H: It can be helpful for elected leaders to help community groups especially where industry has more money and lawyers. The county planning commission is nonpartisan and a good group.

M: County government is up to its neck in development in Abington. He initiated a new county comprehensive plan with plans for growth. Commissioner advise local planning groups. For instance, in Abington there are many good things going on but the township needs more work on riparian buffers and historic preservation plans. [LK has to cut him off because of time constraints.]

Q for Castor: bidding process

C: We should choose what is best for the county, look at price and the quality of the work. Let the county row officer chose what is best. Refers to the forensic lab bid and says there are a lot of broken hearts in lab murder cases and they shouldn’t be broken further.

H: look at price, qualifications, best value. The county is not consistently using a bid process for professional services. Castor referred to the labs bid. That decision was flawed. Castor says the he was not aware of the bad process used and Hoeffel believes him. There should be an RFP process and the commissioners should hold the purse strings.

M: If it is such a flawed system why are we paying the same property taxes we paid in 2002? There has been a unanimous vote on every RFP for the last 7 years.

D: Matthews referenced the Xpand contract. She did vote for it but was not aware of secret meetings. [Something about a lawsuit with commissioners Matthews and Ellis subpoenaed and emails and the county solicitor]. She learned about this from a reporter.

Q for Hoeffel: property tax reassessment

H: No. He wants to reinstate the ban of campaign activity by [lists offices] and again mentions the chairman of the board of assessment appeals being co-chair of the Matthews / Castor campaign.

C: Quotes from an article on Damsker and reassessment. When Hoeffel was last in office he approved reassessment.

D: She was tax collector in Cheltenham in 1997/98 and understands the confusion people have. In 2004 Matthews said 2009 would be a good time to reassess.

M: Provides a long list of accomplishments and we are talking about secret meetings. Damsker had a question and when it was answered she voted on XPand.

Q for Mathews on regional planning

M: Has worked since 6/04 to get several townships, such as Upper Moreland, Hatboro, Abington, and Jenkintown, the Eastern Corridor group, to work together. They have $160,000 from Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to do a regional plan, especially of the 611 area. He has already called Michael Nutter and can work with Nutter.

H: We need regionalism, need to improve SEPTA. We will find Michael Nutter willing to work with the counties. Traffic is a concern. The steps Matthews has taken are good. We need to do more with open space and trails.

C: He formed a regional task force to serve warrants. Tells Matthews that if he is the victim of secret meetings and has been bugged to let him know [reference to John Street office bug]. Says Damsker called him a criminal.

D: Never said the DA was a criminal. She talked about the process. The county solicitor said there were gaping holes in the contract process. Back to regionalism. She agrees with what everyone has said. Emergency services are working regionally.

Q for Damsker: will you pledge not to raise taxes?

D: Yes, keep taxes low in ’08 and lower taxes. Put into place an inspector general.

C: That would be another salary, another secretary, another typewriter. Going back, the county commissioner [Damsker] has written to the Attorney General that the DA [Castor] is a criminal.

H: The letter to the Attorney General didn’t call anyone a criminal, but referred to the RFP that went out on Castor’s letterhead. The bids were rigged. The DA is thin-skinned. Every large government has an inspector general.

M: Looks back whimsically to three months ago when they had a collegial government, and 3% unemployment. Now were are being told about increasing government reform. The votes were unanimous. They were informed votes. Now they are being questioned.

Q for Castor, are you thin-skinned?

C: After 23 years in the courtroom you can’t be thin-skinned. The letter went out from the coroner and the DA. The section of the letter about geographic requirements was in the coroner’s part. Commissioner Damsker has a lot to answer for.

D: She asked for an investigation from the Attorney General on the lobbying contract and did the same on the lab contract. The lab is a good lab but the process was bad. The DA’s office has only used one lab.

M: It’s the season, politics. These are all created issues.

H: The controversy was first raised by Republican County Controller Eric Kretschman. Castor says he didn’t know about the geographic requirement limiting the bid to only firms in Montgomery County and Hoeffel believes him.

Lightning Round

Q for Hoeffel, are you ashamed of anything you’ve done?

H: Not that I’m willing to talk about

Q for Damsker, if you and Hoeffel both win, which of the Republicans would you want for minority commissioner?

D: pleased to serve with either

M: same, don’t care

C: If the Democrats win he wants Matthews to the be minority commissioner

Q for Castor, are you angry about the controversy on the lab bid?

C: Yes, angry that the lab that has solved all these crimes is being wronged

Q for Castor, will you serve a full term if elected?

C: Giving considerable thought to never running for anything again

Q for Matthews, you resemble President Bush, is that a problem?

M: No

Q for Damsker, Politics is tough and you are all good candidates, is it hard to pick on them?

D: No we are not picking on individuals.

Q for Damsker, is there a difference between Republicans and Democrats?

D: yes!

Q for Hoeffel, why you?

H: He has a commitment to Montgomery County, wants open honest government in the county. We’re the outsiders.

M: Only veteran of the four candidates, ran a business, met payroll, didn’t run for office until age 50, likes the job.

D: was a social worker, good background as half of the county’s budget goes to human services, can accomplish things

C: lived in the county his whole life, grew up in Baederwood, still teaches Sunday School there. The population of the county has doubled because people like it here. Let’s not have change for change’s sake.

LK: We have four fantastic candidates

For further information:

Montco controller to review county contracts,” Diane Marczely Gimple, Morning Call 3/30/07 (on forensic labs)

Corrections and Coming Attractions

Earlier this week I wrote about Tullytown councilman Joe Shellenberger and said he was serving in Iraq. This is incorrect. He was in Afghanistan but should be home this weekend.

Last night I attended the Montgomery County commissioner candidates debate and hope to post my notes this evening.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shapiro's Plans for Campaign Finance Reform

Rep. Josh Shapiro, of the Pennsylvania House's 153rd district, has sent out an email outlining his plans for campaign finance reform. Someone forwarded it to me. Shapiro co-chairs the Speakers Commission on Legislative Reform and also serves as Deputy Speaker of the House. Here are his suggestions:

During our Commission deliberations, I offered a campaign finance reform proposal that would limit campaign contributions and require more disclosure and transparency by:

· Capping contributions from individuals and political action committees (PACs) to candidates at $2,300 and $5,000 respectively. This would bring state races in line with the limits set for federal races like congress.

· Allowing candidates to exceed those caps by a factor of three only when their opponent spends more than $250,000 of his or her own money.

· Requiring that candidates file campaign finance reports to disclose the amount and who they receive contributions from at least quarterly in a non-election year and 9 times in an election year. Under current state law, candidates need to only file once in a non-election year and a minimum of 5 times in an election year. This will make sure the public knows who gives what to whom, when they give it and how much is contributed.

· Mandating disclosure of all contributions greater than $50 within 24 hours of receiving the contribution during the 30 days before the primary or general election.

This common-sense, bipartisan proposal will improve our politics in Pennsylvania , clean up elections, limit the possibility and appearance of corruption in our system and level the playing field so there is more competition.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Damsker Hoeffel Poll Numbers

The Montgomery County Commissioners race is starting to heat up, now that the uncontested primaries are over. On the Democratic side we have incumbent Ruth Damsker and former congressman Joe Hoeffel. A number of people (myself included) think the race will hinge on who gets third place. Joe Hoeffel and Republican Bruce Castor, currently the county's district attorney, are assumed to take the top two spots. Damsker will duke it out with incumbent Republican Jim Matthews.

This is borne out by a poll from Bennett, Petts & Normington. The The telephone survey was conducted among 500 likely voters on May 9, 10 and 14. The sampling error for the poll is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

From the press release:

Hoeffel leads the trial heat match-up with 49 percent of the vote. Damsker is currently third with 30 percent, four points ahead of fellow incumbent James Matthews. District Attorney Bruce Castor, who is running for county commissioner, ran second in the poll with 42 percent of the vote.

With the margin of error that puts Damsker and Matthews neck and neck.


In the poll, nearly half of all voters (48 percent) said they would like to see the Democrats win a majority on the board of commissioners. Only a third (33 percent), said they would like to see the Republicans in the majority. In response to another question, only 36 percent of the respondents said the Republicans have done a good job managing the county and deserved to be elected, while 53 percent believe the Republicans have been in power too long, and it is time to give the Democrats a chance.

Former Montgomery County commissioner Jim Maza and state party committeewoman Joanne Olszewski are serving as Damsker and Hoeffel's campaign co-chairs. Tony Heyl has come on board as finance director. The campaign website is

Blinq Alert!!!

Yesterday I posted a note suggesting the Inquirer resume allowing comments on Dan Rubin's Blinq blog even if it isn't currently being updated. Today comments are enabled again. I don't know what to do with all this newfound power!!! ;)

Anyhoo, all you Blinq-ies can go over and tell Dan hi and that you missed him. Or complain about something. I'm sure he'd enjoy hearing from you either way.

The URL is

Monday, May 21, 2007

Joe Shellenberger Comes Home Soon!

Joe Shellenberger, who serves on the Tullytown council, is coming home soon, or so I am told (hope this is correct). He has been serving in Iraq Afghanistan. There has been some controversy because he has not been allowed to vote by either phone or Internet while on active duty. All members of the council are Democrats so it is not a partisan issue. In any event, it will soon be a moot point. Say a prayer that all goes well and Joe soon resumes his place in Tullytown.

Veterans History Project Training Workshop

When I was in first grade my father served a tour of duty in Vietnam. My parents bought matching tape players and we would send tapes back and forth so we could hear each other’s voices. That Christmas Ma put the tape player under the tree so Pa could listen to us opening our presents. I still have the tapes but I think they are too old to hear. A few years ago a friend with recording equipment offered to transfer them to a more modern medium but the first ones he checked were empty so we assumed the rest were also. After reading about the workshop sponsored by Rep. Allyson Schwartz I dug them out. It would be worth the effort to try them all. The idea of my children listening to the voice of the grandfather who died before they were born, sometimes with the sound of shelling in the background, gives me goosebumps.

If you are interested in learning how to preserve the memories of veterans please consider attending:

Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz announced today a special initiative to honor American war veterans. In partnership with the Library of Congress, Schwartz is working with organizations and individuals from across the 13th district to capture stories and memories of veterans, including World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq veterans.

On Thursday, May 24 Schwartz will host a Training Workshop on how citizens and organizations can participate in the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress.

“My father, a Korean War veteran, has shared many stories about his service with me, and I in turn have shared those memories with my own children. I cannot say enough about how important it is that we preserve the histories and memories of our nation’s veterans. These stories offer a priceless window into the sacrifices and courage of our veterans and their families. Particularly as our World War II and Korean War veterans grow older, it is essential that we capture and preserve these legacies now. I am honored to partner with the Library of Congress on this initiative,” said Congresswoman Schwartz.

Veterans History Project Training Workshop

WHAT: Veterans History Project Training Workshop

WHERE: Northeast High School, 1601 Cottman Avenue / Philadelphia 19111

WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

The 21st Century GI Bill Legislation

Last week I mentioned that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Patrick Murphy (of Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district) had introduced legislation to expand the G. I. Bill. (See details later in this post.)

Here is the website for current benefits. It looks confusing to me and some are only eligible to people who served for a short time.

Murphy’s bill, HB 2385, is now available in Thomas for you to read; Clinton’s S 1409 should be added shortly. I looked at the House version and did not see anything that contradicted what was sent out in the press release last week. One note, if I read correctly, graduate school is exempt. Those who graduate with a commission from the service academies are ineligible. There is also language to spell out who else is and isn’t eligible and to prevent people from receiving the same benefit under two different programs. I found it acceptable but read for yourself if you have questions. The microloans program for entrepreneurs is very intriguing and I think it would have the potential to spur at least a few real economic powerhouses.

Murphy notes that this program sets up public/private partnerships, with a price tag of 4 or 5 billion.

As full disclosure let me state that two of my siblings bought their first houses with VA loans. Let me also add that one sibling went into the army at 18 as a high school graduate, took time out for college, and retired twenty some years later as an officer with a graduate degree. So it could be said that I would be biased in favor of educational and housing benefits for veterans and active duty service members.

This weekend I talked with one of Mr. J’s sisters. Her middle child served in Bosnia and Iraq. He is currently going to school on the existing veterans’ benefits but having to work two jobs to keep up with tuition and bills. Mr. J’s sister is active in a group that prepares and sends care packages to the troops overseas. She told me (with permission to mention it here) that she started doing this in February, 2003 and never dreamed she would still be doing it in May, 2007. She thought the war would be long over by now.

The least we can do for people we put in harm’s way is give them proper medical care, educational benefits, and loan assistance for housing and business opportunities when they get back. The transition from military to civilian life, even for those who have jobs waiting for them, can be difficult, to say the least. If you doubt this, ask someone who has done it. The social payoff for the first GI Bill was enormous. Edward Hume, in Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream, notes:

Educations would be made possible for fourteen future Nobel Prize winners, three Supreme Court justices, three presidents, a dozen senators, two dozen Pulitzer Prize winners, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 450,000 engineers, 240,000 accountants, 17,000 journalists, 22,000 dentists ¬ along with a million lawyers, nurses, businessmen, artists, actors, writers, pilots and others. (h/t Dan Fraley, Bucks County Director of Veterans Affairs)

Details on HB 2385

Eligibility: The 21st Century GI Bill of Rights Act of 2007 will guarantee eligibility to all servicemembers -- Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserves -- who have served since September 11, 2001 and deployed overseas in support of a combat operation. Eligibility will also be extended to Active Duty personnel who have served a minimum of two years on Active Duty since September 11, 2001, and National Guard and Reserve personnel who have served a minimum aggregate of two years on Active Duty since September 11, 2001.

The Clinton-Murphy bill will:

Increase Education Opportunities. The act will fund undergraduate education for servicemembers - eight college semesters of tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other educational costs (commensurate with costs paid by non-veterans). The education grant also can be used for specialized trade or technical training, and certification and licensing programs for both veterans and disabled veterans. Participants will not be required to pay into the program to receive grants.

Increase Veterans Housing Opportunities. The act will exempt Veterans from paying loan fees and expand opportunities for veterans to purchase, build, repair or improve a home by increasing access to low interest loans through the Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guaranty Loan Program for homes valued up to $625,000. The current program requires loan fees and is capped at the conforming loan rate of $417,000.

Increase Veterans Entrepreneurial Opportunities. The Clinton-Murphy bill would establish a Veterans Microloan Program, administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration. The program would provide Veterans microloans for entrepreneurial ventures up to $100,000 with interest rates capped at 2.5 percent and without requiring collateral. The program would also direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide Veterans counseling, technical assistance, and community outreach assistance.

Endorsements: The 21st Century GI Bill of Rights Act is endorsed by veterans service organizations, including: The Reserve Officers Association, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, AmVets, Military Officers Association of America, and the Non-Commissioned Officers Association. The act is also endorsed by family and wounded servicemembers organizations, including: The National Military Families Association, Wounded Warrior Project, and Salute America 's Heroes of Ossining, New York. The bill is supported by education organizations, including: American Association of State Colleges and Universities; State University of New York College at Cortland, Cortland, New York; Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; Adelphi University, Garden City, New York; Canisius College, Buffalo, New York; Mercy College of New York, Dobbs Ferry, New York; and National Center for Women & Information Technology. The bill is also endorsed by housing leader the National Association of Realtors and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a leading national advocate for microloan programs.

It should be noted that Sen. Jim Webb introduced a bill that concerns solely educational benefits in Feb.; it was cosponsored by 13 other senators, including Sen. Clinton and Pennsylvania’s Sen. Casey. If you search Thomas for gi bill you will find about 14 other bills introduced that expand or amend the gi bill in some way. They seem to all concern educational benefits and most some very specific part of it. All appear to be languishing in committee somewhere. This is the only one I see that also touches on housing and business assistance. Almost all of them have a pitiful number of cosponsors. Come on, here, folks, let’s pull together and get something done on this.

Quick Notes to the Inquirer

A few thoughts on things noted in the Inquirer:

1) As long as Pennsylvania has two congressional representatives with the same last name (Patrick Murphy, Tim Murphy), please use at least first initials when listing voting records. Tim Murphy may not be in the immediate reading area but I still think it is confusing to see just "Murphy" on the list. First names are used in the list of the first bill in the column but on subsequent bills only last names are used.

2) Please turn on the comments function for Dan Rubin's Blinq blog. I know he isn't posting there regularly at present but it would be a nice place to respond to his printed columns.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bennett vs Dent in '08?

From ("Keystone Dems Steeling for Run at Rep. Dent After Failed ’06 Bid," by Greg Giroux) , on the 15th congressional district, currently held by Republican Charlie Dent:

The Democrats appear to have a consensus candidate in Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, a local Democratic activist and past candidate for Allentown mayor who heads the party organization in that city, the 15th’s most populous.


Dent reported raising $184,000 in the first three months of this year and had $221,000 in his campaign account as April began. Bennett said that she has received pledges of $162,000 thus far.

Schwartz Profile in CQ Politics in America

Congressional Quarterly will be releasing the new CQ Politics in America later this month. The new guys's profiles are online but returning congressional representatives' profiles are only available through a subscription service or the print (it is a standard library resource). I did get a sneak preview of Allyson Schwartz's profile. Here are some highlights:

Schwartz is on her way up in the House, and fast. In her second term, she won a coveted seat on the Ways and Means Committee, the only sophomore to secure such a plum assignment. A formidable fundraiser, she also was chosen to help Democrats develop more donors among women across the country. And she is mentioned as a potential future Senate contender.

Even as a freshman, Schwartz got a taste of the tax, Social Security and Medicare issues she will now address on Ways and Means. She was given a seat on the Budget Committee, the only Democratic newcomer assigned to the panel in the 109th Congress (2005-06).

In 2006, Schwartz repeatedly spoke out for improved homeland security policies and the more effective use of federal funds for U.S. security. The suburban Philadelphia lawmaker criticized government spending being redirected from cities to small communities. "Homeland security funding should be based on risk not politics," she said. Schwartz also pushed for the screening of all cargo coming into the country by ship or airplane.

Health care is her specialty. A Pennsylvania state senator for 14 years before her election to Congress, she calls her state's Children's Health Insurance Program "one of my proudest accomplishments," and wants to expand the joint federal-state version to cover most American children who do not have health care coverage. She also wants to tackle broader problems of health care coverage and affordability, but says "the health care agenda is something that I hope to get done in my next term and in future terms. It's not all going to happen in one fell swoop."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

PA in the WSJ

It was another slow week for the Keystone state in the Wall Street Journal. That may be just as well. Last year the WSJ gave us a fantastic deal on home delivery. We knew it was a teaser and that the piper would present a bill in time. Sure enough the renewal notice came in the mail and it is for quite a bit more this year. Mr. J and I are trying to decide if it is worth the money to continue.

PA Politicians

In “Campaigns embrace use of text messages,” by Amy Schatz, we find this passage:

A handful of politicians have experimented with text-messaging in previous elections. Howard Dean tried it when he sought the 2004 Democratic nomination, and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum used text messaging to reach out to female voters last year. (5/15)

Former Rep. Pat Toomey is quoted in “Giuliani raves signal Republican split,” by Jackie Calmes (5/16)

PA Businesses

Brief mention – Rippletech of Conshocken, a data-access intelligence provider (5/17)

Brief mention – II-VI, Inc. of Saxonburg, a crystal-growth technology company (5/15)

Mylan of Canonsburg is highlighted in “Mylan is now big generics player after deal for unit of Merck KGaA,” by Andrew Dowell, Gangolf Schrimpf, and Dennis K. Berman (5/14)

More Mylan in “Will Mylan be next to go?” by Robert Cryan and Rob Cox (5/15)

Hershey is mentioned in “Milk prices pressure food firms,” by Anjali Cordeiro (5/16)

Other PA

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg of Philadelphia’s CHOP is quoted in “Helping overbooked kids cut back,” by Sue Shellenberger (5/17)

The University of Pennsylvania expects to admit fewer students from its waiting list this year, as noted in “Hopes dim for kids on college wait lists,” by Anjali Athavaley (5/16)

According to “Free eats sell bad ballpark seats,” by Adam Thompson and Jon Weinbach (5/16) the Philadelphia 76ers are considering charging higher prices for less appealing seats, sweetening the deal with free food.

Friday, May 18, 2007

weekly legislative update

No bills were introduced or voted on in the Pennsylvania House or Senate.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Events Next Week

Some items for your calendar next week:

Tuesday, May 22nd. Barack Obama will be in Philly on Tuesday, May 22nd for a fundraiser at The Electric Factory. Doors open at 4 pm, event starts at 5. Tickets can be purchased at:

$50 general admission, $25 student

Wed May 23rd, Candidates forum, Montgomery County Commissioners, 7:30 p.m. at the Penn State Abington campus, Sutherland building. Republican candidates Jim Mathews and Bruce Castor, Democratic candidates Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker. Larry Kane will moderate.

Thursday, May 24th Training session on Veterans History Project

In partnership with the Library of Congress, Rep. Allyson Schwartz is working with organizations and individuals from across the 13th district to capture stories and memories of veterans, including World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq veterans.

On Thursday, May 24 Schwartz will host a Training Workshop on how citizens and organizations can participate in the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress.

"My father, a Korean War veteran, has shared many stories about his service with me, and I in turn have shared those memories with my own children. I cannot say enough about how important it is that we preserve the histories and memories of our nation's veterans. These stories offer a priceless window into the sacrifices and courage of our veterans and their families. Particularly as our World War II and Korean War veterans grow older, it is essential that we capture and preserve these legacies now. I am honored to partner with the Library of Congress on this initiative," said Congresswoman Schwartz.

Veterans History Project Training Workshop

WHAT: Veterans History Project Training Workshop
WHERE: Northeast High School, 1601 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
WHEN: Thursday, May 24
3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

The goal of the Veterans History Project is to establish a permanent national collection that preserves the experiences of war veterans by creating videotaped or recorded interviews and gathering written memoirs, as well as wartime letters, diaries and photographs. This collection will capture the experiences of war veterans from all service branches, the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, and the civilians who supported them. The Veterans History Project website honors veterans and others by listing the names of those who have been interviewed and contributed materials.
In fall 2007 Congresswoman Schwartz will host a tribute event honoring the veterans, volunteers and organizations who participated in the Veterans History Project.

Congressional Websites

Two Democratic congressional newbies, Patrick Murphy of the 8th district and Joe Sestak of the 7th district, have sorted out their official websites. Check out and Murphy wins the cuteness award for having a puppy photo of his dog on the “kids’ corner.” Second term congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has been up and running for some time at

Patrick and the Presidential Hopefuls

Patrick Murphy and Hillary Clinton have introduced legislation in the House and Senate respectively for a new G.I. Bill. Earlier this year he was an original co-sponsor of the House version of a Senate bill introduced by Barack Obama (HR 787) on the war in Iraq.

That’s two of the three top Democratic presidential hopefuls. When will John Edwards come knocking?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reviewing the '06 elections

While everyone gathers their thoughts to review yesterday's election, there are some interesting articles in the special 2007 case study issue of Campaigns & Elections magazine on 2006 races in Pennsylvania.

PA-06 (Jim Gerlach vs. Lois Murphy) is discussed in "How a GOP Congressman Won a Swing District in '06," by Mark Campbell

PA-10 (Chris Carney vs. Jim Sherwood) is discussed in "Discussing the Difficult: The Carney vs. Sherwood Race in PA-10" by Margie Omero and Jon Anderson

I also found "Beware the Bloggers: Lessons from the Lieberman Campaign" by Marion Steinfels of interest.

Class Act: Dwight Evans

I signed up for email alerts from all five Philadelphia Democratic mayoral candidates. All sent me at least a few emails. Some of the city council candidates sent me a fair number of emails. Showing the class and organization that was clear during his campaign, state Rep. Dwight Evans was the first to get in touch since the election. Late last night a blast email went out thanking his supporters. It said, in part,

Throughout the course of this campaign it was clear that the residents of Philadelphia want change; they want quality education options for their children, they want access to well-paying jobs; they want a well-run and efficient city government that is responsive and accountable; and most importantly, they want their neighborhoods to be safe.

We can make Philadelphia the safest big city in America, but we will only do so by working together—and that is what I plan to do.

I am confident that Michael Nutter will be a great mayor for Philadelphia and I look forward to working with him everyday to build a safer Philadelphia that we can all feel safe and secure in. However, Michael Nutter and I will not be able to do this alone; we will need all Philadelphians to join us in the fight against violence.

We will need you to join us by having more qualified and skilled residents working in our criminal justice and education systems, and we will need you to join us by taking responsibility and getting involved in our communities to teach young people right from wrong.

In that sense, our campaign really has just begun.

Rep. Evans will continue to represent Philadelphia in the state house.

Electoral Update

While the mayoral primary is settled, some of the statewide judicial races are still a little close to call. The Superior Court results have a few candidates closer together than the percentage of votes still out. One of the Philadelphia city council races looks like it might still be in play, or is a good possibility for a recount. Stay tuned!

In the suburbs things are a little clearer. Steve Santarsiero and Diane Marseglia will be the Democratic candidates for county commissioner in November. No surprises in Montgomery County. In Delaware County the Democratic candidates for the Court of Common Pleas look to be Frank Daly and Mike Farrell. Delaware County Democratic candidates for county council appear to be David Landau and Ann O’Keefe.

Election Results Resources

Our electricity went out at home this morning and only came back on as I was going out the door, so this is a rare "from the office" posting.

Here are some resources for election results:

The Next Mayor


PA Dept of State


It is interesting to note how hard it is to find full election results the day after.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ask for a Seat at the Keystone Politics Table

If watching the primary elections has spurred your interest in politics and you are looking for a way to get involved, consider contributing to the political blogosphere.

Keystone Politics, a statewide political site, has been around since 2004. Recently they have increased the number of people who can contribute.

They want to become more aggressive in challenging the mainstream media, asking tough questions, and participating in open government and oversight initiatives.

According to the email I received

We're looking for a few specific needs, but we're looking for general contributors as well.
* 2008 Presidential Race
* 2008 Congressional Races
* Western PA
* PA Blogosphere

See for more information.

12 Year Old Wins Philadelphia Mayoral Primary

It's Michael Nutter! He has won the Democratic primary for mayor of Philadelphia. It is widely acknowledged that the turning point in the campaign, that put him ahead in the polls, is the television and YouTube commercial featuring his young daughter, Olivia. This is the perfect time for her to ask for an increase in her allowance.

Voter Notes

In my precinct I was voter #3 at 7:05 this morning. Another precinct votes in the same building and had had 4. Unfortunately the tables, etc., had not been set up the night before and the building only opened at 6:45 so things were a little chaotic.

Last night I was out at one of the kids' activities, which is also a voting spot. People were setting up the tables, etc. there. Someone had also brought in campaign signs and the like.

This is out in the 'burbs. No idea what is happening in the city.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Today's Robocall Roundup & Other Election Thoughts

Casa Jane has received 3 robocalls so far today. One was on local school board elections. Another was from Gov. Rendell encouraging us to vote for C. Darnell Jones for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge. The third was from Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll encouraging us to vote for James Deleon for Superior Court Judge.

ACM at A Smoke Filled Room has a good overview of the Philadelphia elections. Young Philly Politics and The Next Mayor have good information also.

My personal notes:

For mayor of Philadelphia, please vote for Michael Nutter or Dwight Evans. Please do NOT vote for Tom Knox.

For Supreme Court Judge, please do NOT vote for Willis Berry. I favor Debra Todd and C. Darnell Jones here. There's another judge running but he put the letters NFL in all of his ads and my eyes just glaze over and shift to something else.

But whatever you do, VOTE!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Few Other Candidates

There are a few candidates I intended to write about before the primaries but time is running out so let me just say a few words and give their websites.

Ellen Green-Ceisler is running for Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Her website is I've been reading about her reform efforts in the papers for some years. Her biography is very impressive.

Marc Stier, founder of Neighborhood Networks, is running for City Council at Large. Read more at

PA in the WSJ

It was another slow week for the Keystone state in the Wall Street Journal this week.

PA Politicians

Nothing again this week.

PA Businesses

John Spence and Michael Corkery write “Toll expects tighter lending to extend slump in housing” on 5/10.

Pittsburgh-based Wheeling-Pittsburgh Corp is highlighted in “A labor union’s power: blocking takeover bids,” by Bernard Wysocki, Jr., Kris Maher, and Paul Glader (5/09)

“American Eagle’s success breeds doubters,” by James Covert (5/09) discusses the Warrendale company.

In an article on larger companies, like Verizon, using small business to tout their services, West Chester based is mentioned.

Other PA

In “Germ fighters,” by Paulo Prada, Dr. Robert Capparell says “Heck, we should get vaccinated for hepatitis A here in the U.S. There was a huge outbreak in Pennsylvania [in 2003], when 500 people got sick from the same restaurant.” (5/12)

John Granger, who teaches English at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne is the author of “Who killed Albus Dumbledore” and is currently working on a second book at Harry Potter, from “Last hurrah for ‘Harry’ offshoots,” by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg (5/10)

Those who followed the press/blog posts on the female law students who were threatened and harassed on the AutoAdmit website will be interested to know that a Penn student who was the “chief education director” on the site lost a job because of the issue. Writer beware!

“A long love affair with Bach brings ‘Passion’ to Pennsylvania,” by Barrymore Laurence Scherer (5/09) discusses the Bethlehem Back Festival.

Other Interesting Tidbits

Former Vice President Dan Quayle reviews “Tales from Q School: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major,” by John Feinstein. (5/12)

The largest Spanish-language broadcast in the US is working with grass roots groups to encourage Hispanics residents with green cards to become citizens. If effective this would have the potential to influence the ’08 presidential vote. From “Univision gives citizenship drive an unusual lift,” by Miriam Jordan (5/10)

Hmm, maybe it does take a village. “As child obesity surges, one town finds way to slim,” by Tara Parker-Pope tells all (5/10)

Click for PA Firefighters

Firedog and Circuit City are sponsoring a contest, Salute Your Local FIrehouse. People have written essays on why their local firefighters should be given $100,000. The only Pennsylvania company in the running is Newtonville, in Bucks County. You can cast a vote for them by clicking here and selecting Newtonville.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to vote on this. Sorry for the late notice. It's a worthwhile cause. Note: You will be asked for an email and be asked to confirm your vote.

Friday, May 11, 2007

weekly legislative update

This is a list of bills that passed either the Pennsylvania House or the Pennsylvania Senate or both. The list of sponsors is included only if it ran 3 lines or less in the original format.

Our accountant friends at PICPA have also provided a weekly update, as have the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats.


HB906 Prior Printer's Nos. 1058, 1264, 1417.Printer's No. 1526. An Act amending the act of July 31, 2003 (P.L.73, No.17), known as the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Act, further defining "volunteer ambulance service"; further providing for guidelines and procedures, for award of grants and for expiration of authority; providing for publication and notice, for special provisions; and repealing an obsolete act.

HB 17 By Representatives MARKOSEK and GEIST. Prior Printer's No. 42.Printer's No. 1262. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further defining "serious traffic violation"; and further providing for employer responsibilities and for unlawful activities related to equipment standards.

HB 239 Prior Printer's No. 269.Printer's No. 1441. An Act amending the act of May 1, 1933 (P.L.103, No.69), known as The Second Class Township Code, further providing for connection to water system.

HB 369 Prior Printer's No. 433.Printer's No. 1401. An Act amending the act of June 24, 1976 (P.L.424, No.101), referred to as the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act, further providing for the payment of death benefits to members of emergency personnel teams.

HB 842 Printer's No. 957. An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for program of continuing professional development.


SB 431 By Senator PUNT. Printer's No. 162. An Act authorizing the release of Project 70 restrictions on certain lands owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Game Commission, being conveyed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in return for the imposition of Project 70 restrictions on certain lands being conveyed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, solely for the use of the Pennsylvania Game Commission in Adams County.

SB 537 By Senators GREENLEAF, ERICKSON, RAFFERTY, BOSCOLA, WOZNIAK, MUSTO, WONDERLING, STOUT, TARTAGLIONE, O'PAKE, COSTA, LOGAN, FERLO, WAUGH, KITCHEN, FUMO, STACK and WASHINGTON. Prior Printer's Nos. 581, 930.Printer's No. 982. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for the offense of fraudulent airbags.

SB 740 By Senator CORMAN. Prior Printer's No. 809.Printer's No. 946. An Act authorizing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to grant and convey to Centre County, certain lands situate in Benner Township, Centre County; and authorizing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to grant and convey, at a price determined through competitive bidding, certain lands situate in Benner Township, Centre County.

SB 755 By Senators ERICKSON, TOMLINSON, RAFFERTY, PILEGGI, GREENLEAF, WONDERLING and STACK. Printer's No. 831. An Act amending the act of May 11, 1889 (P.L.188, No.210), entitled "A further supplement to an act, entitled 'An act to establish a board of wardens for the Port of Philadelphia, and for the regulation of pilots and pilotage, and for other purposes,' approved March twenty-ninth, one thousand eight hundred and three, and for regulating the rates of pilotage and number of pilots," further providing for certain charges.

SB 105 By Senators MUSTO, M. WHITE, FONTANA, STOUT, RAFFERTY, TOMLINSON, WOZNIAK, RHOADES, GREENLEAF and WASHINGTON. Prior Printer's No. 137.Printer's No. 922. An Act amending the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, authorizing the members of the Environmental Quality Board to retain independent legal counsel to the performance of its duties.

SB 467 By Senators ARMSTRONG, COSTA, RAFFERTY, WAUGH, BOSCOLA, FERLO, ORIE, FOLMER, BRUBAKER, PICCOLA, SCARNATI and STACK. Prior Printer's No. 512.Printer's No. 940. An Act amending Title 65 (Public Officers) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for a penalty.

SB 699 By Senators GREENLEAF, COSTA, RAFFERTY, EARLL, FOLMER, RHOADES, KITCHEN, REGOLA, WASHINGTON and WAUGH. Printer's No. 745. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing, in child victims and witnesses, for admissibility of certain statements.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Diane Marseglia, Candidate for Bucks County Commissioner

Previously I profiled Steve Santarsiero, a Democratic candidate for Bucks County Commissioner. He is running as a team with Diane Marseglia. I had hoped to write a profile of her before the primary as well but she has been active in the community for a number of years and there is a lot of material to sort through; I've barely made a start. However, I would recommend those in Bucks County review their combined campaign site,, and Diane's biography in particular. She has been a township supervisor in Middletown Township since 1998 and worked on or with a series of community boards and organizations. Her chosen occupation is social work.

A Quick Look at Debra Todd, Candidate for Supreme Court Judge

Debra Todd is also running for Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. Her website is She is rated as "highly recommended" by the state bar association. In part their recommendation said:

The Candidate has served on the Pennsylvania Superior Court since her election in 1999. On the court, she is known for her passion for the law, her academic approach to decision making and her thoughtful, thorough scholarly opinions. She brings a breadth of experience from an active civil litigation practice, which has been expanded because a majority of her time on the court is devoted to criminal matters. She has continued her involvement in a variety of community service endeavors, especially those dealing with young people. She has a strong commitment to the law and to the improvement of the court system, both of which have helped instill public awareness of and confidence in the judiciary. The Commission believes the Candidate has the intellectual ability, personal integrity, strong sense of fairness, and diverse practical and academic experience to serve with distinction on the highest court. She is highly recommended for this position.

In addition to her legal degree she has also earned an LL.M., Master’s Degree in the Judicial Process. Her thesis, “Sentencing of Adult Offenders in Cases Involving Sexual Abuse of Children: Too Little, Too Late? A View from the Pennsylvania Bench,” was published in the Penn State Law Review (v. 109, p. 487+). I tracked it down but it's around 70 pages long and that's a big much to slog through before primary.

Personal Note: I heard Judge Todd speak at a forum and exchanged a few words with her in person. She was impressive.

In Today's Mailbox: C. Darnell Jones for Supreme Court Judge

The postal fairy brought me more goodies today. One was a letter from Gov. Rendell asking me to vote for C. Darnell Jones for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge. To quote from Rendell's letter:

Darnell Jones was elected to the Philadelphia court of Common Please in 1987, and now serves as its President Judge. In his twenty years of service, Judge Jones has presided over more than a thousand cases, and was recently selected as one of America's top 500 judges. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as well as senior faculty member of the National Judicial College where he teaches state trial judges and U.S. Military judges.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association, said President Judge C. Darnell Jones "enjoys the respect of his peers and an excellent reputation in the legal and social community. The Candidate is extremely hard working, intellectually curious and is a dedicated, dependable community servant...He is highly recommended for this position."

In coincidental timing a glossy full page ad from Judge Jones himself arrived. His list of credentials is indeed impressive.

Personal note: I heard Judge Jones speak at a candidates forum recently. He was very eloquent and, dare I say it, judicial. I left with a very high opinion of him.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Shapiro Legislation on Doctors

Deputy Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, Josh Shapiro, Democratic represenative of the 153rd district, has introduced new legislation that will help the state attract and keep doctors. According to his press release:

Shapiro's proposal (H.B. 1093), which has 42 co-sponsors, would create a
medical school loan forgiveness program for doctors who promise to
practice in Pennsylvania for 10 years.

Read more information on Shapiro's bill here.

In the Mailbox

Today Tim McCormick, Democratic candidate for superior court judge sent me a postcard telling me I am a super voter and asking me to keep up the good work. This is interesting because never before has any candidate acknowledged my voting record. I appreciated it. One quibble -- his campaign website is not listed anywhere on the postcard. Should anyone else have received the same card and noted the same thing, here is the URL:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thoughts on Reform

The State Senate State Government Committee is taking up five aspects of government reform. Here are my thoughts on them:

redistricting reform -- absolutely, my top concern

legislative term limits -- don't like this one

reducing the size of the legislature -- no on this one, too

prohibiting lame duck sessions -- yes

initiative and referendum -- yes

Campaign finance reform is not on the list but it would be at the top of mine if it were there.

Ross Schriftman, whose opinion I think well of, spoke on the topic today to the State House Reform Commission.

Tivo Alert

A few items for your viewing pleasure.

Dwight Evans is having his last pre-primary webchat tomorrow at 7 p.m. Simply go to and join in.

Also, on PCN this week, 30 minute interviews with supreme and superior court judge candidates. I really hope these are replayed again before the election. I initially tried to take notes but the interviews were more conversational and it was too difficult to capture nuance and the intricate stories told. Last night I watched the interviews with Judge Anne Lazarus and Judge James Deleon. Lazarus was, as I would have expected, very knowledgeable and personable.

Judge James Deleon was a pleasant surprise. When I heard him speak at a recent judicial forum he spoke a little about his background but each candidate had very little time. Listening to him talk and answer questions at length for half an hour was a real education. His family background is a great story. I cannot do it justice but, trust me, you want to hear it if you can. Deleon himself is clearly dedicated to community service. The list of organizations and groups he works with is impressive, yet not so lengthy as to be unbelievable.

If you have a chance to watch these interviews please do so.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Very Quick Look at Frank Daly

Frank Daly is on the ballot for Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Public service runs in the family. His grandfather was Senator Congressman John Burrwood Daly, who pushed for social security legislation in the 1930’s. The Delaware County Times provides more family history:

How bad can a guy be when his uncle was the late Hubie Ryan of Frog Pond fame and one of my all-time favorites, and he is a first cousin to Frank Ryan, one of the great halfbacks in county history?

Not only that, but his political mentor was the late Jim "Apples" Gorbey, former Chester major and eventual federal judge. What's more, proudly displayed on his office wall is a photo of him with two more rather prominent Republicans, President Ronald Reagan and Mr. Ridley Township, Nick Catania. Like I say, the guy can't be all bad (2/09).

If I have my Frog Ponds right, this is a place I have eaten in and can vouch for it being a local landmark.

In 1992 Daly ran for the 7th congressional district against Curt Weldon. Daly was the mayor of Media for 10 years, has been an attorney for over 30 years and holds a graduate degree in taxation. Under his leadership Media rebuilt its aging water and sewer treatment system, kept taxes down, reduced burglary rate and revitalized its shopping district. (10/23)

More recently he has been in the news for representing the family of an under-18 volunteer fireman who was killed in the line of duty recognized on the fireman’s memorial, and for his family to received federal death benefits (more info here).

In a ranking by the county’s bar association Daly, who is a Democrat but cross-listed on the ballot, came in third behind two Republican Republicans (4/23). Daly’s appeal is bipartisan. Media is a Republican borough in a Republican county yet he was elected and re-elected mayor there.

I did my usual research on him but found that most of the relevant information was already on his campaign website. One quote I found and liked that wasn’t there is this from his 1992 congressional run.

“I am sailing against the wind,” he said in an interview (4/11)

Bon voyage!


Gebhart, Ed, “Politics aside, Daly valiant in latest fight,” Delaware County Times, 2/09/07

Kanaley, Reid, “Deep in the heart of Delco, ….” Philadelphia Inquirer 10/23/1992

Kanaley, Reid, “Endorsed she declines to return the favor,” Philadelphia Inquirer 4/11/1992

McKee, Jason, “Common pleas judge candidates judged by county bar,” Delaware County Times, 4/23/07

Taylor, Leon, “Social security vote has paid off,” Philadelphia Daily News 8/15/1985

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Brief Look at Matt Ruben

Matt Ruben, Democratic candidate for an at large Philadelphia city council seat, has a long history of involvement with civic and community organizations in the city. He came here as a college student in 1992 and stayed, something we as a region would like to encourage others to do.

His reason for running may best be summed up in this quote:

”It’s substance, and it’s leadership style. People and businesses come to places because of perceptions. If Philadelphia were perceived as a better-managed city, that might do more to bring business and jobs.” (12/31/06)

As a graduate student at Penn he was on the university vending task force, something that brought him into contact with then pretzel vendor T. Milton Street. He advocated for affordable, quality health benefits, and against employee outsourcing, supported the graduate student unionization movement, and earned the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Within the community, he was been involved with Pennsylvania Direct Action Group, which planned peaceful protests during the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia. In addition, this information is found on his campaign website:
In 1994 he co-founded the Youth Health Empowerment Project (Y-HEP), a teen peer outreach program promoting AIDS prevention and adolescent health. Matt helped secure city startup funds, and then raised nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to grow the program over the next five years. Currently in its 13th year, Y-HEP provides street outreach, a teen drop-in center, a medical clinic, skills-building discussion groups, and a trauma therapy program.

From 2002 to 2006, Matt served as President of the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association (NLNA). Northern Liberties is from Front Street to 7th and from Spring Garden to Girard. In recent years the area has seen increased development which has meant increased demand on aging water pipes. He took his position seriously. In 2005 after a water main break flooded the area he is quoted in the Inquirer (7/24/05) as saying, “There needs to be a systematic analysis of the infrastructure that lies beneath our feet.” He included sewer, gas and power lines in the list of items he wanted surveyed. Under Ruben’s leadership the town watch was increased and a neighborhood email list was started to alert people to crimes in the area. He also worked to prevent a strip club from opening in the area, citing incidents of violence near a clubs owned by those wanting to open the club in Northern Liberties. His concerns included the impact valet parking (since there was not adequate parking on site) would have, with cars being shuttled to multiple off-site lots, for the hundreds of customers and employees. NLNA is also trying to set up a community center that could also house the association.

According to his campaign site, “In 2006 Matt received the 181 Points of Light Award from State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas and was appointed to the Community Advisory Board of the Wireless Philadelphia initiative (”

Most recently Ruben has been noted for his work against locating casinos in his area. Again his concern is the impact on the area. NLNA is one of the organizations asking casinos to form a special-services district near the casinos to keep the areas clean and landscaped. To work with other affected areas, NLNA joined an umbrella organization, the North Delaware Avenue Unity Coalition.

As a personal note, I met Matt briefly at one of the mayoral forums. He is very personable and, while his efforts and accomplishments in the city are extensive, he is soft-spoken and pleasant. I hope that Matt continues to play a role in the city’s future; it would be easier to do if he were in elected office but those in civic and community organizations also have a voice.


Bahadur, Gaiutra and Adam Fifield,” Flood is unleashed after main breaks,” Philadelpia Inquirer 7/24/05

Eichel, Larry, “Crimes Challenge, ctiys chagrin,” Philadelphia Inquirer 12/31/06

Geringer, Dan, “Go-go away – gentleman’s disagreement,” Philadelphia Daily News 4/04/06

Ginsberg, Thomas, “Stay Calm Protesters Urge Police,” Philadelphia Inquirer 7/19/00

Lucey, Catherine, “Northern Liberties: We need more cops,” Philadelphia Daily News 8/31/05

Marder, Dianna, “Milton Street Steps into Penn Vending Fray,” Philadelphia Inquirer 6/06/97

Moore, Tina, “Gaming hopefuls upping the ante,” Philadelphia Inquirer 5/28/06

Ruben, Matt, “Keeping scores: editorial,” Philadelphia Daily News 5/03/06

Shields, Jeff, “Planners hopeful on city’s role in slots,” Philadelphia Inquirer 10/26/06

Slobodzian, Joseph “Northern Liberties, then, now, and forever,” Philadelphia Inquirer 10/24/06

Slobodzian, Joseph, “Worries surface after water-main break,” Philadelphia Inquirer 10/10/05

PA in the WSJ

It was a slow week for the Keystone state in the Wall Street Journal this week.

PA Politicians

Unless I missed something, no Pennsylvania politicians were mentioned this week.

PA Businesses

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System is now investing in hedge funds. Read all about it in “As funds leverage up, fears of reckoning ruse,” by Randall Smith and Susan Pulliam (4/30)

There is a mention of Philadelphia’s Cooke & Bieler, LP in an article on Jones Apparel in “Will Boneparth meet his Waterloo?” by Rachel Dodes and Joann S. Lublin (4/30)

Small business web sites, with mention of Vintage Tub & Bath of Hazleton, is the subject of “In search of traffic,” by Kelly K. Spors (4/30)

“Saying no to Penelope,” by Greta Anand (5/01) has the story of a father’s search for experimental drugs to help his 4-year old. One of the drug companies profiles is Netropix of Malvern. (5/01)

Advanta of Spring House gets a mention in “Credit cards try to lure small business,” by Robin Sidel (5/05)

Other PA

A Nazareth, PA resident is mentioned in an example in “Pushing paperless: the pros and cons,” by Eleanor Laise (5/02)

U Penn has a mention in “Colleges seek to address affordability,” by Jane J Kim and Analji Athavaley (5/03)

Two weeks in a row! Marisa Weiss a Philadelphia oncologist who runs is quoted in “Breast-cancer fall gets focus,” by Tara Parker-Pope (5/03)

A U Penn grad is mentioned in an example in “Cost of Caribbean crime grows,” by Joel Millman (5/04)

Other Interesting Tidbits

Nothing grabbed me.