Susan Jane Goldner Removed From Lower Gwynedd Post — Susan Jane Goldner had her hearing, Dec. 8 before the Montgomery County Republican Party’s Ministry of Justice. It lasted 20 minutes and, as expected, ended with her being kangarooed from her post as Lower Gwynedd committeewoman.
Committeewoman is an elected position and she has held her post for five years. That means voters picked her twice.
“It is a sad day when a committeeperson like me gets removed in such a manner,” she said. “I will never apologize for being a hardline conservative and to think anyone can cast blame on me for why the moderate candidates lost so badly in this County is absurd.”
Ms. Goldner’s sins were Facebook posts criticizing — mildly, even constructively — Republican candidates last summer, and agreeing with a position held by a Libertarian candidate.
What she was saying was no different than what many (most) of the regular Republican voters were saying about this year’s Pennsylvania GOP field — and the strange lack of support for them by the party establishment.
Ms. Goldner said she was not allowed to present a complete defense and the tribunal rejected a request for continuances made by two different lawyers.
Still, she says it may all be for the best.
“(I’m) glad I stood up to them after five years of watching shenanigans go down in this God-forsaken local GOP defunct party. They are why decent people stay out of politics.”
Questions for the geniuses that run the Montco Republican Party: Do you have someone to replace her? Do you understand that political parties depend on popularity which means the broadest base possible? What exactly has Ms. Goldner wrote that is not different than what is expressed by many (most) of the voters whose support you seek each November?
Montco GOP Purging Citizen Advocates — The feckless, reckless Montgomery County Republican Party is speeding their spiral into oblivion by chasing away citizen advocates who threaten the privileges of party loyalists who loyally support raids on the public treasury even when the raids harvest a lower net than senior partner, co-conspiring Democrats.
The latest purge victim is Susan Jane Goldner, who has been elected to her precinct committee post in Lower Gwynedd since 2013. Ms. Goldner is accused of violating party bylaws for sharing an Americans for Prosperity Facebook post criticizing a vote by Congressman and GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta that massively hiked spending. She also allegedly committed the sins of expressing support on Facebook for a position by Libertarian Senate candidate Dale Kerns who wants to stop making drug addicts criminals; and giving constructive criticism on Facebook concerning the stalled campaign of 4th District Congressional candidate Dan David, who would crash and burn in his race to socialist Madeleine Dean.
Ms. Goldner has been summoned by GOP Chairwoman Elizabeth Preate Havey to appear before a disciplinary hearing on Dec. 8 where a kangaroo court is expected to remove her. She was given the bare minimum amount of time — five business days — to prepare her defense.
Ms. Goldner has said at least three fellow citizen activists –people interested in serving their neighbors not getting a job on the public payroll — have been pushed to quit since May.
This is a strong sign that the Montco political establishment is far more interested in being a fat junior partner than in governance.
The proposed Montgomery County budget for 2019 includes an unacceptable increase in funding for the Courthouse Campus project in Norristown. This initiative was originally estimated to cost a sizable $281 million but has suddenly risen to a shocking $406 million. That is a jump of $125 million, or 44 percent, for a plan that is already the most expensive capital improvement project in County history.
To make matters worse, I have received letters from politicians including Senator Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf and State Representatives Matt Bradford and Mary Jo Daley, as well as notes from various labor and trade unions, pushing me to vote ‘Yes’ on the enactment of a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”).
Doing so would mandate the use of union labor, thereby excluding 80 percent of otherwise qualified construction firms from participating in the bidding process.
Across the board, PLAs reduce competition and grow construction costs by an average of 20 percent. In this case, that means the Courthouse Campus project could balloon by an additional $80-100 million and reach a total expenditure of half a billion dollars!
Despite vast pressure from political insiders, I will not pander to lobbyists and special interest groups at the expense of Montgomery County taxpayers.
Therefore, I have asked my fellow County Commissioners for common-sense compromise to prevent the already bloated cost of the Courthouse Campus project from further spiraling out of control.
If my fellow Commissioners join me in rejecting a reckless PLA and agree to scale back the Courthouse Campus project to the initial cost of $281 million, I will vote in support of the proposed 2019 Budget to help give the residents, families and businesses of Montgomery County a bi-partisan victory.
Joe Gale Our Time Guest — Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale will be John Haenn’s guest on Monday’s (Dec. 3) edition of Our Time on WFYL. It airs 8:30 a.m. and can be heard over the air at 1180 AM or on the web at the station’s website.
Topics include the state of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and Gale’s re-election campaign.
Also appearing will be Bill Lawrence of BillLawrenceOnline.com.
Joe Gale Lieutenant Governor — Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale announced minutes ago on the Dom Giordano Show that he will be running for lieutenant governor.
Gale is a Republican. The primary election is May 15.
He says his goal is to end the culture of corruption in Pennsylvania.
He said this applies to Republicans as well. He noted that Gov. Tom Corbett had Republican majorities in the House and Senate and while they couldn’t pass voter ID or defend marriage they did manage to give us the highest gas tax in the nation.
“The GOP establishment is worried about (my candidacy),” he said.
Jeff Bartos is the man the party bosses want. Gale says that Bartos, a well-connected businessman, has donated to Democrats and opposed him during his Commissioner race.
Planned Parenthood is ineffective at decreasing teen sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies. Actually, there is pretty good evidence that it makes things worse despite what one might hear from the group’s apologists.
Ask yourself why can’t a school district handle sex and health education itself? And while you are asking yourself that, ask how much Planned Parenthood is getting in tax money for its school-based clinics. The organization makes a whole lot of people very nice livings.
As Montgomery County’s watchdog and voice for the forgotten taxpayer, I have on multiple occasions exposed the Democrat Commissioners’ practices of catering to campaign donors, especially in the area of low-income housing.
My hope was that my shining a light on the shaded backroom governing practices of former Commissioner Josh Shapiro would put an end to politics as usual in Montgomery County.
However, since Commissioner (Val) Arkoosh assumed the role of chair of the board in November 2016 the practice of catering to campaign donors continues.
There comes a point where we can no longer dismiss these votes as isolated incidents and must call it what it is: A pattern and practice of raising taxes on county residents while awarding sweetheart deals to campaign donors.
In the past, the awarding of contracts to campaign donors was done mostly through the allocation of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds. However recently, Commissioner Arkoosh has been doing most of her catering through Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) which gives local taxing authorities the ability to give special tax provisions to a taxpayer for a limited period of time.
This is particularly concerning because Commissioner Arkoosh, with the help of former Commissioner Josh Shapiro who broke his no-tax pledge, has voted to raise taxes on the average county taxpayer every year she has been in office.
When looking at the most recent occurrence and then tracing back to prior votes, the facts speak for themselves:
At the meeting held June 15, 2017, Commissioner Arkoosh voted to award ELON Development Company, a development arm of the Altman Group of Companies, special tax exemptions for a low-income, senior housing project in Norristown.1 The developer, through another arm of the company, Glenside Partners, has made $1,000 in campaign contributions to Commissioner Arkoosh’s campaign committee, 2 $2,500 to the Shapiro/Arkoosh joint campaign account,3 and has given $1,000 to Former Commissioner Josh Shapiro’s campaign committee.4
At the meeting held February 2, 2017, Commissioner Arkoosh voted to award Developer Kevin Silverang special tax exemption for a project in the Borough of Hatboro.5 Kevin Silverang’s wife, Claudia Silverang has donated to $2,500 to the joint Shapiro/Arkoosh campaign account6 and a total of $14,500 to former Commissioner Shapiro’s campaign committee.7
Silverang is also the beneficiary of a sale/leaseback agreement in which the County sold its Human Services Building to Silverang for $17.5 million and then agreed to leaseback the building for $34.5 million in rent over the course of 15 years.8
At the meeting held December 1, 2016, Arkoosh voted to award Westrum Development Co. special tax exemptions as well as a tax forgiveness of $40,000 owed in County taxes (in addition to forgiveness of more than $750,000 in taxes owed to Norristown School District and Municipality).9 At that meeting, Michael Clarke, the Solicitor of the Norristown School Board, urged the Commissioners to vote for the project.10 Michael Clarke has donated $2,500 to Commissioner Arkoosh’s campaign account.11
These most recent examples are in addition to the other deals with donors which I exposed in the past. Along with this press release, I am including my previous releases that explain the catering to campaign contributors I brought to light last year.
Gale Loudly Objects To 2nd Consecutive Montco Tax Hike — Montgomery County, yesterday, Dec.15, approved a budget calling for an 11 percent tax hike over the strong objections of Commissioner Joe Gale who is the mandated minority Republican.
The hit to the citizens was even greater than last year’s 9.87 percent tax hike.
Yes, the budget includes a new tax category dedicated to fund Montgomery County Community College.
Montco will spend $409 million in 2017 which is $18 million more than this year. The average home owner will pay $66 more.
Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh called Gale “irresponsible” for daring to object to the budget, while Commissioner Josh Shapiro — who will be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general — said failing to pass the hefty tax increase would require the county to cut (county) jobs, funding for the community college and reduce pension payments.
Gale responded by outlining $7 million in cuts that would eliminate few jobs, keep spending to this year’s level and eliminate some contracts with favored consultants leaving the majority red-faced.
They passed the budget anyway, however.
The people of Montco are not stupid. Someone in government that is not a quiet lapdog but loudly warning the people of what is being taken from them could actually cause a change in power.
That would be nice.
Gale Loudly Objects To 2nd Consecutive Montco Tax Hike