Friday, October 30, 2015

Montco DA Debate (Sort Of)

I listened to what was a scheduled debate between candidates for Montgomery County District Attorney.  One candidate was not able to attend.  The interview is now available online at the program's website and I encourage interested voters to listen for themselves.  I took rough notes, provided below.  They are not intended as a full transcript.  As always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.  Please visit the candidates' websites or contact the campaigns for further information.

A few personal comments are provided at the end. 

WPNV 1440 Comment Please, West Main Diner in Lansdale, October 28, 2015

Scheduled debate between candidates for Montgomery County District Attorney

Bruce Castor, Republican, had to cancel due to a family medical emergency

Kevin Steele, Democrat, had the entire hour to himself

Darryl Berger, interviewer

Opening Statement

KS: God, country, family come first.  I hope everything is okay with Castor.  I’ve been with Montco DA office for over 20 years, currently first Assistant DA.  Husband, father, coach kids sports, vp of local fire dept, president of Penn State alumni association right now.  Running because it is important to have a DA who will serve victims, stand up for victims, proud of the fact that we’ve been able to take politics out of the office, work with 146 people who come to work every day to do the right thing.

Q:  Penn state question.  James Franklin stay or go?

KS:  hope he stays.

Q:  Bill Cosby.  What is your take, you put out a commercial on this

KS:  The commercial outlines some of the differences between me and my opponent, talks about my record in the office and his record in the office.  Something people should be thinking about when they vote.  Former DA failure to prosecute when he had the opportunity.  Talks about some of the comments that have been made.  Something voters should look at.

Q:  Is it an open case?

KS:   can’t get into that, but that doesn’t prevent others from getting into that, victim’s attorney has made some comments and she is free to do that.

Q:  what was available when this was filed originally?  Were there other statements or only rumors?

KS:  if you look at Castor’s own press release back then he said he reviewed statements from others who had made accusations, other victims got things from Castor’s own file, also did a commercial saying he didn’t have other victims and I should have done something about it.  That commercial has been taken down.  In his own release he talked about other statements he had reviewed, other victims mentioned back in 2005. In terms of I should have done something.  That’s an interesting and tricky statement.  I’m not currently the DA.  I can’t speak about past or ongoing cases.  Maybe that’s something he should have thought about before he went on tv and talked about the victim.  Others can talk about it.  Victim’s attorney has been talking about it. 

Q;  Decision not to prosecute made in office by a group including current DA?

KS:  Castor was the DA.  He released a statement saying he decided not to prosecute.  Now we’re in a place where he’s trying to conceal what he did in that case by throwing a victim under the bus.  He has said things about this lady in the national media.  When you’re publicly dishonest about people you face ramifications.  I understand he is now in a civil lawsuit over statements he made about not prosecuting.

Q:  Did that compel Cosby to testify in civil case?

KS:  again revisionist history.  He’s taking claim for a settlement made in a civil case.  That’s not a role for a prosecutor to take credit for, getting a paycheck for a victim.  He’s indicated that he had a role in this somehow because he got involved in giving Cosby immunity.  Let’s break that down.  If you give someone immunity, that’s on behalf of the plaintiff in the civil suit.  Mentions an interview Castor did with Harry Hairston.  Victim's attorney said she had never met him.  Then to say that’s something he was party to.  Not only did he go to the press about declining prosecution, he didn’t go to the victim before he made that announcement.  It’s all revisionist history.

Q:  Castor said he sent a notification to attorney and they didn’t get it because of a faulty fax machine.

KS:  Maybe if you have contact with people and not send things out on a fax machine.  You have to talk with victims.

Q:  Castor’s lack of sensitivity.  What is role of DA in terms of relating to victims and families?

KS:  in the DA’s office we have a special role as ministers of justice.  We represent the victims, the community, the police.  There are things are in place in PA that represent our obligation to victims.   That’s part of what we have to do in working with victims.  We work with a number of agencies to make sure victims are taken care of.

Q:  you worked with Castor, what do you think of him as a DA

KS:  Turn to where we are now.  Back when he was DA he did a fine job but things change over time.  You said in an earlier interview that he doesn’t need science and to say that now is irresponsible.  At a crime scene now we work with science and technology to do what’s right and take that before a jury..  I’ve been on the cutting edge of that.  I’ve worked on best practices committees.  We’re a model because of things we’re doing now. 

Q:  You are the lead prosecutor in case involving Kathleen Kane.  What can you say about the case?

KS:  Not a whole lot.  I am the prosecutor assigned to this case, with partner in Bucks County Michelle Henry (first ADA in Bucks).  We have a hearing coming up.  We’re proceeding with that case on Nov. 10th

Q:  Why the decision to bring in Michelle Henry, former DA now first assistant DA in Bucks?

KS:  when talking with others about cases involving statewide issues.  We have a great partner working with me to bring justice.  Not unusual.  I’ve gone to other places and worked with other prosecutors.  I took vacation and went out to Adams County and prosecuted a case with someone there.  That’s what we do, work together. 

Q: Castor indicated he would shift gears and you would be the lead prosecutor on the case.

KS:  I’ve heard the comments made about reviewing the case.  I don’t think that’s an opportunity that he’s going to have.  I saw his comment about basically putting the Bucks Co office to the curb.  When I got over the arrogance of a statement like that, this is an important case that people have worked hard on over a period of time.  To say you’re doing to change gears mid-stream is naïve to the extent we are involved with.

Q:  Was there a political conversation about making you the lead case given the context of the race

KS:  There’s no politics in prosecuting.  There’s no politics in the office now, or over the last 8 years.  That isn’t something we look at.  We look at doing the right thing. 

Q:  You are suggesting politics played a role under Castor’s term as DA

KS:  He’s testified federally about doing politics in the office.  That was in existence during his administration.  Last time he won the role as DA a month later he was running for another office.  That’s a pattern of politics being there.  I started in office over 20 years ago.  I have not wavered in that.  Worked my way up, now second in command.  Not a politician.  Maybe I’ve been naïve to some of this process.  I’m doing this because I want to make a difference in people’s lives.

Q;  You used to be a Republican, when did you change registration?

KS:  My change in registration doesn’t look at a change in my views.  I’ve always been fiscally conservative, socially progressive, looked at what is around me, local politics around me.  Gotten to work closely with county commissioners Josh Shapiro and Val Arkoosh, seen what they’ve been able to do and what they’ve bene able to do in Montgomery County.  Like others in Montco looking at where we are and who represents us in the right way.  If the Republican Party is one of Castor and Trump I don’t want to belong.  Change not based on wish to run.

Q:  Changes made internally after review of how decisions being made, some of that in the wake of charges of Bob Kerns, GOP head.  What have those changes been and what has effect been?

KS:  That also illustrates in important comparison on how you deal with mistakes.  This was based on a mistake in the reading of a lab report.  We embraced that and made changes in how we did things.  We embraced the victim first and did everything we could to make sure justice was done.  We handed that case off and it was successfully prosecuted by another agency.  We’ve won an award based on this.  We’ve put in checks and balances on how we handle things.  Embrace mistakes and change things. Go back to Cosby.  Castor filed to prosecute case, given a chance to change things, won’t apologize, now he’s part of a defamation case.  Make things right.  That’s what we did.  His arrogance leads him to not apologize.  You have to apologize.

Q: You were on a heroin task force

KS:  This is one of our epidemics.  Most significant issues that we have moving forward.  I’ve been on the forefront.  There is a heroin epidemic in Montco.  Usually a pattern where someone is involved with prescription drugs and then moves to heroin.  The task force looks at ways to deal with those issues.  Narcotics Prevention Education, go to schools and talk to kids, I talk with them police talks with them, then a mother or sister talks about what happens when they go down that track.  How we’re getting these prescription drug boxes so people can safely dispose of prescription meds so they don’t’ get into kids’ hands.  Quick story.  One of our undercover detectives was making a buy for cocaine, the dealer wanted to sell him heroine.  He said he didn’t have a market.  Dealer pointed to nearby school and said give it away there and you’ll have a market.  We are focusing on this issue and making a difference.  Another issue is dealing with addicts.  Having narcan in police cars and first responders’ cars.  Using drug dealers’ money to put this in all the cars in montco.  I’m very behind treatment courts, one of which is drug court.  It’s hard.  You have to be in there a lot.  It’s making a difference.  Recidivism numbers going down.  There’s a lot of work to be done.  I’m in the best place to take this forward.  I was captain of our narcotics unit, trained statewide. 

Q:  state forfeiture law, change?

KS:  We’re talking about people involved in dealing drugs.  Part of the forfeiture law, funds confiscated, done in a conservative way in Montco, make sure it’s the right thing being done.  If we have this money we don’t need to use taxpayer money for overtime or training or equipment or programs we have out there.  Narcotics Overdose training, reached over 16K kids, paid for by forfeiture money.  Amount per year varies, not a budgetary item, depending on investigation.  We hear people don’t want to come to Montco to do crimes.

Q:  role of technology, social media, csi, etc.  how does that change what prosecutors do?

KS:  Quick example, in Pottstown, they were afraid to have their children sleep by windows because of gunfire going on, 16 or 17 shootings between warring gangs, people wouldn’t cooperate.  We used wiretaps and were able to get in and understand organization structure, using technology to stop crime.  There was one man a gang was lining up to kill twice and we were able to stop that.  We have to make the good people feel safe and they are coming out now.  Last Friday I was at Hilltown Hightop (?) High School on a vacation day to help clean up the community.  That’s helping the community.  We do appreciate criminals to be stupid enough to post things on social media.  There’s investigative uses, and rules, in everything and prosecutors sworn to follow the Constitution.  We have a lot of hoops we have to jump through.

Q:  how would you use office as bully pulpit?

KS:  I think I’m doing it now and hope my history is clear to people.  Narcotics Overdose Prevention – I’m in the schools and trying to make a different to them.  Tell them how much I care about them and how I hope they do great things.    We have an obligation to protect the public.  We’re out there trying to make a difference.  That’s why we do a lot of education.  As issues arise it’s the mission of a prosecutor to be out on the forefront and make a difference.

Q:  Norristown

KS:  working with law enforcement community there.  Rate has actually gone down.  Have a 100% solve rate from 2013 forward in homicide, nationwide about 64%.  We are doing extraordinary things in those types of cases.  We’re making a difference there.

Closing Statement

KS:  I’m running for DA to make a difference in people’s lives.  Hope they will join in and backing me for this position, like law enforcement has.  They know Castor and me well.  All of the FOP throughout Montco, the four that we have, are backing me.  21 DAs across the state have endorsed me.  I did not go and become a defense attorney.  Stayed in this office to help victims and work with people, to find justice in these cases.  Have a history of taking most egregious cases. 

DB: Thanks Wayne Sharp for hosting.  Sorry both candidates can’t be here.  Scheduled well in advance so thought it best to continue.  We wish Castor well as he deals with a family issue.  I can only remember one other time when we only had one candidate.  Not unprecedented but unusual.  

Personal comments

Darryl Berger is a fantastic interviewer and is able to interject a follow up question or comment so effortlessly that it is hard to record when he spoke if it wasn't the start of a formal question.  Thus he actually had more to say than is recorded.

I've heard Bruce Castor several times over the years at debates and interviews.  In my personal opinion he has always been a bit of a publicity hound.  He seems to like the limelight.  Again, that's a personal view.

I've met Kevin Steele once, at a multi-candidate event.  I thought he was very sharp, very nice, and a little intimidating.  He had reminded me in some ways of people I know who have been police officers for years, keen-eyed and observant, slightly clipped speech, always aware of their surroundings.  Of course that was just one meeting.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Which State Representatives Make Their Expense Reports Public?

I've done this research before, and earlier this month posted a similar note on state senators.  State representatives have the option of making their office expense reports public, what they spend on rent, postage, staff, etc.  A list of state reps who do this are listed below.

I started with list of members of the PA state house from the state's web site, then used the caucus pages (, to find links to each state rep's page, then went through clicking on each link.  I scanned the links on the home page, and looked at the subject categories on the menu bars, mousing over them to see what options, if any, were on the submenu.  It is possible that expense listings are buried further on a site, but, honestly, if it takes more than two clicks to find it people aren't going to drill down far enough to find them.

Most state reps who list their expenses do so for months or years, some provide reports for all years they have been in office.  It is impressive.  Others list only the current month.  A few are in a separate "partial" category -- people who have some reports listed but aren't current.

As a Democrat I find the party distribution disheartening.  In this regard, it is clear, the Republicans are the party of transparency.  C'mon, Dems!, get it together and post your report!  It is also disheartening to see that some state reps I think very highly of don't make their expense reports public.

I make an effort to provide the due diligence necessary to provide accurate information.  However it is always possible that I missed something or made an error.  If so, I apologize.

Here is the list of state representatives who make their expense reports public:

House Representatives who list their expenses online

Madeleine Dean (D-153)
Jaret Gibbons (D-10)
Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-114)
Patty Kim (D-103)
Kevin J. Schreiber (D-95)

Stephen Bloom (R-199)
Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108), current month only
Bryan Cutler (R-100)
Russ Diamond (R-102)
Joe Emrick (R-137)
Harold A. English (R-30)
Mindy Fee (R-37)
Matt Gabler (R-75)
Keith Gillespie (R-47)
Keith Greiner (R-43)
Seth Grove (R-196)
Susan Helm (R-104) (last posted is June 2015)
David S. Hickernell (R-98)
Fred  Keller (R-85), current month only
Kate A. Klunk (R-169), June – Aug 2015 only
John Maher (R-40), his reports look a little different from other reports
Kurt Masser (R-107), last posted is June 2015
John McGinnis (R-79)
Steven C. Mentzer (R-97), current month only
Brett R Miller (R-41)
Mark Mustio (R-44)
Justin Simmons (R-131)

Jim Christiana (R-15), 2009-2014 (March?)
Mauree Gingrich (R-101), only April 2015
Kristin Hill (R-93), has links but they don’t work
John A. Lawrence (R-13), only July 2015
Jim Marshall (R-14), 2012-2014

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PA Progressive Summit Early Registration

Just a reminder, the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit is February 19-21, at the Hilton Harrisburg.  Early Early Bird rate is only $50. Rates go up this Saturday; save money by registering early. Senatorial candidates Fetterman, McGinty, and Sestak are confirmed.

SEPTA Special Schedule for Football Game

from the inbox:

As the region gears up for the national attention around the Temple vs. Notre Dame game on Saturday at 8:00 p.m., SEPTA will be making the following service adjustments:

·         Starting at 10:00am on Thursday, October 29th, SEPTA Bus Routes 17, 33, 44, and 48 will be detoured from Market Street between 5th and 8th Streets. These detours will remain in effect through 1:00pm on Sunday, November 1st due to ESPN’s College Game Day Live Broadcasts. Customers traveling to/from this area may wish to use SEPTA’s Market Frankford Line which has subway stops at 5th and 8th Streets along Market Street to avoid surface travel delays. Pedestrian access at 5th Street Station will remain unaffected by local street closures.
  • On Saturday morning, (4) additional trains will operate on the Market Frankford Line. These trains, departing from both 69th Street and Frankford Transportation Center will make all local stops. Riders heading to the Game Day Live broadcast can use 5th Street Station for easy access to Independence Mall. Riders connecting from Regional Rail trains can transfer at Jefferson Station to the Market Frankford Line at 11th Street Station. Free weekend parking is available at all SEPTA-owned Regional Rail Lots.
·         On Saturday evening, SEPTA will add (14) southbound train trips on the Broad Street Line beginning at 5:05pm. Operating in addition to regularly scheduled trains, these trains will make all local stops between Fern Rock Transportation Center and AT&T Station. The average trip time from Temple University/Cecil B. Moore Station is 19 minutes on local trains. AT&T Station is located adjacent to Lincoln Financial Field. Riders connecting from Regional Rail can transfer to the Broad Street Line at City Hall Station from Suburban Station and at Fern Rock Transportation Center. Additional northbound Broad Street Line service will be available at AT&T Station after the game ends. Riders connecting to Regional Rail should check their line’s schedule for late-evening departure information from Center City and Fern Rock.

Customers are encouraged to pre-purchase fares in advance to avoid lines and delays when traveling to/from any of the weekends’ special events. For additional SEPTA travel information visit

PA in the WSJ

Pennsylvania-related mentions I noticed reading last week's Wall Street Journal

“The Aesthetic of Horror,” reviews an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Barrymore Laurence Scherer calls The Wrath of the Gods:  Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian a “deeply satisfying show.”  (10/21)

A sleep deprivation study at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine is the focus of “Long Nights in a Sleep Lab,” by Andrea Peterson (10/20)

Troy HealthCare LLC of Hazelton sells Stopain, a menthol gel.  A Thomas Jefferson University study found some people find it useful in treating migraines.  (“Can Peppermint Make Migraines Less Miserable?” by Laura Johannes, 10/20).

Weis Markets is mentioned in “Waves of Megadeals Tests Antitrust Limits in U.S.,” Theo Francis and Ryan Knutson  (10/19)

“Weight Gain Among Children Linked to Use of Antibiotics,” by Gautam Nair mentions  Geisinger Health System (10/22)

Congressman Ryan Costello is quoted in “Lew Fears ‘Accident’  on Debt Ceiling,” by Nick Timiraos and Kristine Peterson (10/22)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Online Gambling Poll Call

Today I took a call about online gambling in Pennsylvania.  It sounded to me like a push poll.  The bulk of it was listening to a series of statements about online gambling and then saying whether or not it affected my views.  At least I think that's what it was -- the woman on the phone was not a native speaker of English and had trouble with some of the words.  She kept calling racinos ratios.  At least I think that's what she meant.

Interestingly one of the first questions was the biggest issue facing the state.  I said the state budget.  The woman on the phone said a lot of people were saying that.  Later in the call there was a question on where I would want gambling money to go, with a list of options, one being schools and education.  I picked that one and, again, she said that's what most people were saying.

The gist of the questions was that people are gambling online and wouldn't it better if they were playing games based and regulated in PA instead of games owned by foreign countries and unregulated.  Wouldn't it be better to have that money stay in the state and benefit the residents?  I remember hearing that sort of argument regarding casinos and table games, etc.  It didn't make sense to me then.  It doesn't make sense to me now.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

PG on Money in PA Supreme Court Race

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an interesting article on the financial contributions from Koch Industries intended to influence the Pennsylvania Supreme Court judicial race.  Read more at "More negative ad airing in state Supreme Court race," by Chris Potter (10/21).  The ad cited is a negative ad aimed at Kevin Dougherty.

Sustainable SEPTA

modified press release from our friends at SEPTA:

Today SEPTA’s Board approved two sustainability projects that will reduce energy consumption and improve resilience – at no cost to the Authority.

The two projects –first, an $18.2 million energy retrofit of SEPTA five facilities and railcar fleets with high-efficiency technologies; and second, an estimated $26.8 million natural gas plant to power part of SEPTA’s Regional Rail system and its largest bus garage – will be financed entirely through energy savings guaranteed to SEPTA under the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA).

Both projects will be designed and built by a certified energy savings company (ESCO) that specializes in energy efficient technologies to be deployed at each project location. Together, the $45.0 million in energy projects reflect a continued commitment to “budget neutral” implementation of SEPTA’s award-winning Sustainability Program. The ESCOs will be responsible for providing private capital and a savings guarantee; if the savings do not materialize, the ESCOs will be responsible for covering the difference in repayment. For this reason, SEPTA is able to use the self-funding approach to improve its environmental performance without utilizing the Authority’s own capital resources.

Energy Retrofits, SEPTA Facilities & Railcar Fleets SEPTA has finalized the design of an $18.2 million project with Constellation to retrofit five SEPTA facilities and railcar fleets with high-efficiency technologies. Construction will begin in Fall 2015. Facilities and railcar fleets to be retrofitted include:  

o Southern Bus Garage (1934 Johnston Street, Philadelphia)
o Berridge/Courtland Shop (200 W. Wyoming Avenue, Philadelphia)
o Fern Rock Shop (5801 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia)
o Germantown Shop (6721 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia) -

o Regional Rail (Silverliner IV, Silverliner V, Push-Pull Fleets)
o Broad Street Line (B-IV Fleet)
o Norristown High Speed Line (N-5 Fleet)

The retrofits reflect a broad range of improvements including: LED lighting, building insulation, HVAC controls, and water conservation. In total, the retrofits will generate more than $26 million in guaranteed energy savings over 17 years, an amount sufficient to pay for the entire project and still provide additional net savings to the Operating Budget.

Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Plant, Midvale Complex, North Philadelphia SEPTA has selected Noresco, LLC as the ESCO to design an estimated $26.8 million Combined Heat & Energy (CHP) Plant at SEPTA’s Midvale Complex in North Philadelphia. The proposed CHP plant would use twin natural gas generators to power the Wayne Junction Substation (serving the old Reading Railroad network) and Midvale Bus Garage (SEPTA’s largest, housing more than 300 buses) with clean, abundant and low-cost Pennsylvania natural gas.

Noresco will now conduct an investment grade audit (IGA) to determine the optimal configuration of the CHP Plant. To maximize the efficiency of the gas-powered equipment, the design will size the plant to provide base load power while assigning peak loads to the commercial power system. Excess heat from the CHP plant will cover the heating load at three additional nearby SEPTA facilities. Importantly, the CHP Plant would provide SEPTA with a resilient source of power in the event of a regional electrical grid outage, allowing trains to continue to operate to transport passengers safely to their destinations, even during a blackout. If the IGA determines the CHP Plant can be self-funded under the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Savings Act, the plant could be operational by 2017. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

PA in the WSJ

PA in the WSJ

Here are a few Pennsylvania - related items I noticed in the Wall Street Journal last week.

Tuesday, Oct. 13
"Casino Glut Adds to Racetracks' Woes," by Jon Kamp -- There is a note on the effect of Pennsylvania and Maryland casinos on gambling in Delaware is mentioned.

"New Mission for Videogame Heroes:  Save the Symphony Orchestra" by Sara E. Needleman -- The focus is on symphony orchestra's performances of videogame music, with a noteable mention of the Philadelphia Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

Wednesday, Oct 14

"Companies try 'Firm 40' Workweeks," by Rachel Feintzeig --Allentown based myHR Partner, Inc is mentioned.

Thursday, Oct 15

"Hurdle Rises for Job-Seeking Nurses," by Anna Louie Sussman -- Megan Goodman of Downingtown is quoted.

Friday, Oct 16

"Men Who Beat Gay Couple Avoid Prison" -- Another bit of bad publicity for Philadelphia

One non-PA article of note.  "Deficit Shrinks, but Spending Fight Goes On," by Nick Timiroas (10/16).  "The budget shortfall fell to its lowest level since 2007 ...."  Good news all around.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Which State Senators Make Their Expense Reports Public?

In August, 2011 and April, 2014, I researched the legislative websites of all of Pennsylvania's state senators, looking to see which, if any of them, posted their expense reports on their websites. The legislative expense reports provide information on what the senators spend on rent, office expenses, newspaper subscriptions, etc.  Campaign spending reports are a different animal altogether.

In 2011, only one state senator, Republican Jeff Piccola of the 15th district, put his reports on his website.  In 2014 there were two, Democrat Rob Teplitz, who was elected to the 15th when Piccola decided not to run for another term, and Republican Lloyd Smucker of the 13th district.   Also in 2014 several Republican senators included a section called “It’s Your Money” that connected to information on the state budget but not their own spending.

There is a standard template for Democrats and Republicans but there is a lot of individualization, too: color schemes, links, types of information can all be customized.   You can find links to all of the Republican state senators' sites at:; Democrats are at:

Last month I decided to update the research and see if any more senators are providing their expense accounts.  I looked at the home page of each senator's site, and reviewed all of the links available on the main menu (mouse over the main menu bar to see the links on that topic).  It is possible that some senators included their expense reports on a secondary screen menu, but that seemed unlikely, and honestly, who is going to drill down that far?

So, who posts their expense reports?  Republicans Ryan P. Aument (36th district) and Democrat Rob Teplitz (15th district).  I have met Sen. Teplitz a few times and find him extraordinary; this is just more evidence of his exceptional character.  Teplitz's quarterly expenses are listed under the "about" tab.  Aument has a section under about the "about" tab called "It's Your Money" that lists some personal expenses.  He has nearly a year of monthly expenses listed but I looked at all of them and all have a total of zero.  So, while he gets credit for posting something, his information has no value.  However, he does provide his office rent, salary, and the zeroed out expenses for a state care or reimbursements.  That's something.

Again, some other Republicans had the “It’s Your Money” section, and this time it sometimes included information on their spending, their salary, whether or not they use a state car or take per diems, and a few offered their office rents. 

Those including the “It’s Your Money” section, with at least some personal expenses are:

A couple of others mention that they don’t or won’t take per diems but provide no other information.

So, on full disclosure the number is the same, one Democrat and one Republican.  Massive kudos to Aument and Teplitz. (Although Aument does not provide the detail Teplitz does he at least makes the effort of posting reports)  Hats off to the Republicans who are providing at least partial information in the “It’s Your Money” section of their site.  Raspberries to the Democrats who do not seem willing to offer this kind of information.  You know, I bet if they asked nicely the Republican webmaster would share the “It’s Your Money” formatting.  Because right now the Republican state senators are trouncing them in the transparency department.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

SEPTA's Annual Food Drive Starts

SEPTA's annual program with Philabundance, "Stop Hunger at Your Station" will be held Oct. 19th through Oct. 30th.  Riders can donate food or money at select stations.  Details will be forthcoming.

Monday, October 12, 2015

State Budget Mess in WSJ

Mark Peters and Kris Maher highlight state budget battles in Pennsylvania and Illinois in their Oct. 7th Wall Street Journal article, "State budget fighters fester."  We do not come out of this looking good.  The article mentions school districts and social service groups taking out loans to function while they wait for the governor and the legislature to get their act together.

It's not like the budget deadline snuck up on everyone; we all knew the budget was due months ago.  This is self-inflicted damage.  There really isn't anything more to say.  It's a complete failure.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Christine Donohue Ad Released

Christine Donohue, one of the Democratic candidates for PA Supreme Court Justice has released a campaign ad.  (available here)

from the press release:

Donohue, who has never lost an election, led the ticket in the 2007 Primary and General elections for Superior Court and won nomination for Supreme Court Justice in May earlier this year in a crowded six-way Democratic Primary. She has never before aired a television campaign ad in any of her winning campaigns.

 Donohue, a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law who practiced law in Pittsburgh for 27 years before being elected to the Superior Court,  has the highest recommendation for Supreme Court Justice from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is the longest serving appellate court judge in the race. Her campaign reported having $510,000 cash on hand in the most recent campaign finance report.