A Look At The Pennsylvania Governor Candidates’ Different Plans For The Minimum Wage, Drilling And Marijuana Laws

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http:...

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-pa.html#gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All four Democrats running for governor want to get more revenue from natural gas drilling. But they have different plans for how to tax the extraction and what to do with the money.

All four want to raise the minimum wage, but they don’t all agree by how much.

When it comes to marijuana laws, they aren’t in lockstep either.

The May 20 primary will decide whether state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty, state Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz or York County businessman Tom Wolf will get the Democratic nomination for governor.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_25638608/look-at-pa-governor-candidates-different-plans-minimum

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Montco Official Says Keim Street Bridge Project Moving Forward

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — Not that she needed a reminder that all politics are local, but Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards still remembers one of the first calls she got on the historic night she and Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro made history by being the first Democrats to take the majority in 100 years.

“I’ll never forget one of the first calls I got on election night,” she said March 24 as she, Shapiro and Commissioner Bruce Castor conducted the last of their roundtable meetings around the county, this one at the Lower Pottsgrove Township Building.

“I said ‘hello’ and the voice on the other end said ‘so when is the new Keim Street Bridge going to be finished?’”

The answer, she gave Monday, is that the project is “moving forward.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140331/montco-official-says-keim-street-bridge-project-moving-forward

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Provisions Of The Pa. Transportation Funding Bill

Provisions of the transportation funding legislation passed today by the Pennsylvania Senate:

REVENUE

— Generates at least $2.3 billion per year after a five-year period by gradually increasing taxes and fees on motorists; generates $7.36 billion total over the first five years.

SPENDING

— Directs $1.65 billion per year to highway and bridge construction and repair by the fifth year, including $220 million annually for locally owned roads and bridges.

— Directs $476 million to $497 million per year to mass transit agencies by the fifth year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519767

Act 47 Cities Elect New Mayors Amid Changes

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – New mayors have been elected in four large cities under Act 47 status just as lawmakers are giving greater attention to urban fiscal issues.

Election Day brought victories to Democrat Bill Courtright in Scranton, Democrat Bill Peduto in Pittsburgh, Democrat Eric Papenfuse in Harrisburg and Republican Matt Pacifico in Altoona.

The mayors-elect came to office by various routes and campaigned on issues specific to their cities, but once in office they will face common problems with a shrinking tax base, greater demand for municipal services and the skyrocketing cost of unfunded pension obligations for municipal employees.

It could help matters that new elected spokesmen for cities will be on the scene while state lawmakers consider a wave of legislation to help municipalities address financial problems.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/act-47-cities-elect-new-mayors-amid-changes-1.1582982

Rodriguez Wins Race For West Reading Mayor

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A hotly contested mayor’s race came to an end Tuesday night in West Reading, with independent Valentin Rodriguez Jr. trumping two opponents to earn the seat with 290 votes.

Democrat Peter B. Gustis and Republican Kathleen Frymoyer trailed, with 151 and 150 votes, respectively.

Results were complete but unofficial Tuesday night.

Rodriguez will replace Shane J. Keller, who opted not to seek re-election.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=518345

Officials Announce Plans To Apply For Redevelopment Runding For Reading

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city’s plans to apply for a major revitalization zone went public this morning, as the effort won approval from local business and community groups, county officials and even colleges and state legislators that will collaborate on the effort.

“We’re a team,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat.

“We’re totally committed to work on a united effort to get a proposal in place,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said.

Council and the local businesses clearly are in on the effort, Council President Francis G. Acosta said.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515531

Anthony Weiner’s Bakery Meltdown: He Was Provoked, But Still…

Official portrait of United States Congressman...

Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s possible that New York Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was simply suffering from low blood sugar when he verbally attacked a man who tried to shame him Wednesday as Weiner campaigned in an Orthodox Jewish section of Brooklyn.

After all, his left cheek was bulging like a chipmunk when he heard someone in the bakery call him a “scumbag.”

Or it could just be that he’s had it, sick of being moralized at by people who are too dense to grasp that Weiner, who has already apologized for his mortifying sexual improprieties and begged his wife for forgiveness, has Moved On.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-anthony-weiners-bakery-meltdown-he-was-provoked-but-still-20130904,0,4884246.story#ixzz2e2AYiNS7
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Timeline Of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Scandal

English: US Rep. Bob Filner

English: US Rep. Bob Filner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Key dates in the sexual harassment scandal of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner:

Nov. 6, 2012: Filner, a 10-term congressman, is elected mayor.  He is the first Democrat in 20 years to lead the nation’s eighth-largest city.

Dec. 3, 2012: Filner takes office.

June 20, 2013: Filner communications director Irene McCormack Jackson confronts Filner at staff meeting about unwanted sexual advances.  Allen Jones, Filner’s deputy chief of staff, quits.

July 8: Filner’s fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, says she ended engagement, later says the mayor sent sexually explicit messages to other women and set up dates in her presence.

Read more: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/aug/23/timeline-of-san-diego-mayor-bob-filner-scandal/

Corbett Signs Bill Creating City Revitalization Zones

Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed into law the bill that will give Reading and other Pennsylvania cities a chance to create so-called City Revitalization and Improvement Zones to attract new businesses.

The 130-acre zones will be funded with public bonds issued by a local municipal authority running the zone.  The bonds will be repaid by local and state tax revenue raised within the zone.

The law resulted in large part from the work of state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, who noted that the original bill sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a Lancaster Republican, would have frozen out Reading.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=503396

Americans On Food Stamps

English: Logo of the .

English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number of people using food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased by an average of 13 percent a year from 2008 to 2012.  House Republicans dropped funding for food stamps from a new version of the farm bill.  Voting takes place Thursday.  Read related article.

Click here to see map of US with 2012 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation levels by state: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/food-stamps/

State Budget Action Takes Center Stage This Week In The House, But Will It Get Done On Time?

The House today is expected to begin debate on a $28.3 billion state spending plan for next year.

It is the House Republicans’ 2013-14 budget proposal, one of three that has been put on the table along with ones from Gov. Tom Corbett and Senate Democrats.

None of the three plans call for any increases in in broad-based taxes, such as the sales tax or personal income taxes.

Much of today’s debate is likely to  focus on amendments that reflect the House Democrats’ priorities that would raise the proposed total spending level to $28.7 billion.  The additional money they want to spend would be directed to K-12 and higher education and social services.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/state_budget_action_takes_cent.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Federal Budget Cuts Will Affect More Than Federal Programs, Officials In Scranton Say

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (...

English: Official photo of Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration will hurt everything from the local barbershop to the largest manufacturers in Northeast Pennsylvania, said members of a panel at Sen. Bob Casey’s office Friday in downtown Scranton.

With no deal between Congress and the White House in sight and just hours before sequestration kicked in at midnight, the Democratic senator and a cross-section of local civic leaders struck a dire tone.

“We don’t have a full sense of what will happen,” Mr. Casey said.  “If this goes a day or week, it will have an impact.  If it goes six months, the effect will be devastating.”

As the furloughs and cuts begin, sequestration will have an immediate impact not just on the government employees, but on contractors, and the communities where they live and spend.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/federal-budget-cuts-will-affect-more-than-federal-programs-officials-in-scranton-say-1.1452684

West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller Won’t Seek Re-Election To U.S. Senate

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. S...

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.

The 75-year-old Democrat’s decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire.

After about three decades in elective office, it was time to “bring more balance to my life after a career that has been so obsessively dominated by politics and public policy and campaigns,” he said.  “I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”

Mr. Rockefeller’s retirement was widely expected and puts the seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy for the party.  Within weeks of November’s elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vowed to run for the Senate seat in 2014, even if it meant going up against Mr. Rockefeller and his storied name.  Other Republicans also have been eyeing the seat in recent weeks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-national/west-virginias-jay-rockefeller-wont-seek-re-election-to-us-senate-669999/#ixzz2HgtUoBYB

Progress Seen In Last-Minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

English: President Barack Obama addresses a jo...

English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.

Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.

Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.

At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes.  They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=439707

A Comeback For Anthony Weiner?

Official portrait of United States Congressman...

Official portrait of United States Congressman (D-NY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Just when you thought it was safe!

One year after resigning from Congress following news he had emailed lewd photos of himself to women, married former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner desires a return to politics, according to New York news outlets.

“The disgraced former congressman—who’s sitting on a $4.5 million campaign war chest—is mulling a bid for citywide office next year and ‘seriously considering’ a mayoral run,” sources told the New York Post. The newspaper reported that Weiner has spoken with former staffers about returning to work for him.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/comeback-anthony-weiner-142709357.html

Weiner Admits Tweeting Lewd Photo

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

How to put this delicately…

Does anyone else see the irony in the above headline?  A man named Weiner tweeted a photo of his….well, you get the idea.

U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just got married last July.  Today, Weiner admitted having online sex relationships with “about six women over the past three years”, after his botched cover-up attempt failed.

We should feel good knowing that Mr. Weiner never had “sex” outside of his marriage, HOWEVER he continued to have online relationships with other women after he in fact DID get married.  Ummmm…does anyone else find comfort in this revelation?  Mr. Weiner also stated he “believes” the women he sexted were all adults, but he does not actually know their ages.

Another juicy bit of irony here is that former President Bill Clinton officiated at Mr. Weiner’s wedding. 

Ya gotta love politics!

Joe Hoeffel Will Not Seek Relection

Joe Hoeffel

Image via Wikipedia

Embattled Montgomery County Commissioner, Joe Hoeffel will not run again.  Instead, he will support Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards.  Shapiro and Richards are running as a team and joined Hoeffel at a news conference where he announced he would not seek relection. 

It looks like Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor will run again.  Castor was not involved in the Sunshine Law charges leveled against Commissioners Matthews and Hoeffel.  The three commissioners have had a strained relationship and frequently made headlines in local papers with their squabbling.

The Republican nominating convention will be held on February 9th and the Democratic Nominating Convention will take place on February 15th.

Let us hope whoever wins can work together for the good of Pennsylvania’s third largest and second wealthiest county!

Funeral Services For PA State Senator Mike O’Pake

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

Viewing and funeral information for Pennsylvania State Senator Mike O’Pake has been announced.  Senator O’Pake was a devout Catholic and services will be held at his beloved St. Margaret’s RC Church, 925 Centre Avenue in Reading, PA.

Public viewing times are Sunday, January 2, 2011 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Monday, January 3, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at noon.  Interment will be private.

Senator O’Pake was a true public servant who worked tirelessly for all the people of Berks County.  He will be sorely missed.

Two Pennsylvania Mayors Elected To Higher Office

The mayor of McKeesport, Jim Brewster (D) won the 45th District State Senate seat on Tuesday.  Brewster has been involved in McKeesport politics for many years, first serving a ten-year stint on city council and then as mayor for the last seven years.  The mayor has helped improve conditions in McKeesport and hopes to do the same thing in Harrisburg.

On the other side of the state, 3-term Hazleton Mayor, Lou Barletta (R) finally ousted 13-term incumbent Paul Kanjorski (D) on his third try and is headed off to represent the 11th Congressional District is Washington, DC.  Mayor Barletta made national headlines when Hazleton passed an immigration law which is being challenged in a federal case by the ACLU.  Barletta said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Barletta feels being in Congress is the best place to address the immigration issue.

Some Thoughts About Onorato’s Loss In Allegheny County

This is an interesting article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Dan Onorato’s unsuccessful bid for governor and what went wrong for him in Allegheny County, where he should have won handily over GOP rival Tom Corbett.  I found this article insightful.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10308/1100517-455.stm