Monday, December 17, 2007

News from Montco

The election's over and now the fun starts. The Montgomery County commissioners race ended as it began, with two Republicans and one Democrat. However, instead of Jim Matthews, Tom Ellis, and Ruth Damsker, it is now Bruce Castor, Joe Hoeffel, and Jim Matthews. Traditionally, but not always, the senior commissioner is the chair, or at least has right of refusal. Traditionally, but not always, the two commissioners from the majority party marginalize the commissioner from the minority party. Last time this didn't happen was when Joe Hoeffel was the minority commissioner and he made a deal with one of the majority commissioners to marginalize the other majority commissioner.

Both the PA Water Cooler and Capitol Ideas are reporting on a CapitolWire story that Jim Matthew and Joe Hoeffel have made a similar bargain, wherein Matthews would be the chair and Hoeffel the vice chair.

Late today the PA Water Cooler posted the text of an email Bruce Castor sent to Matthews (and apparently shared with a number of others), asking Matthews not to ally himself with Hoeffel. Note the options he offers:

Even if we could agree on nothing else (which won’t happen), we still would be running the government together (as co-chairmen or alternating chairman or something) without empowering the Democrat.

Matthews as sole chair is not really included in that wording. So if both of them want to be chair, someone has to make a deal with the devil (sorry, Joe, just a figure of speech). It sounds like Matthews would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven, and that leaves Bruce Almighty out in the cold, as the snowball without a chance. (h/t John Milton's Paradise Lost, with apologies for the mixed metaphors)

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