Defense Didn’t Get De Notes In Perzel Case

Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis rejected an argument, July 29,  to dismiss charges against Former State House Speaker John Perzel and his co-defendants because prosecutors led by then Attorney General Tom Corbett had destroyed notes taken during witness interviews.

Perzel’s lawyer William Fetterhoff said the notes showed that prosecutors were abusive and intimidating to witnesses during interview sessions.

Perzel et al are accused of illegally using state computers for electioneering.

Perzel, a Republican, had represented the 172nd District which is in Philadelphia,

One has mixed feelings about this. Perzel was a hack and is probably guilty of something if not in letter but in spirit.

On the other hand, why destroy the notes?

Fetterhoff is also
attempting to show that Corbett did the same things in his elections
for which he is trying to put  Perzel  away.

Corbett got convictions in March 2010 against former state House Minority Whip Mike Veon,
a Democrat who represented the 14th District in Beaver County, and  two
aides for illegally using state money in the form of salary bonuses to
pay for electioneering.

Veon is serving a 6 to 14 year sentence. It should be noted that Vince Fumo got less time for a far
more serious and a far more blatant reign of destruction on the
Pennsylvania taxpayer.

Corbett strikes one as being a very ambitious fellow which is a trait to be feared in those who seek political office.

Sam Rohrer, if only you had won.

Corbett Gives Unions Sweetheart Deal

Corbett Gives Unions Sweetheart Deal —  This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

By Chris Freind

State workers in Pennsylvania just got an 11 percent raise.

In case you have been living under a rock, here’s a newsflash: We are experiencing one of the most severe recessions in our history, and there are no greener pastures in the immediate future. Common sense dictates that with high unemployment, decreased tax revenues, large deficits and, most significantly, massive pension obligations, governors would take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that their states, and citizens, remain solvent, especially when it comes to negotiating public-sector union contracts.

That happened in places like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, where true Republicans are in charge. Governors Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels and John Kasich took the heat and did what they had to do, reeling in the out-of-control taxpayer largess afforded to these unions.

But most amazing of all is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s remarkable success. Just last week, he pushed through a monumental union pension and benefit-reform package that will save taxpayers over $120 billion—and did so with heavily Democratic, pro-union legislative majorities. So effective was Christie that alongside him at the bill-signing was the Senate President—a longtime union member.

Contrast that to the deal just reached by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett with the largest state unions. Instead of acting in the best interests of the taxpayers footing the bill, he simply continued the Rendell legacy of keeping the cash register door wide open.

It’s bad enough the Governor rolled over on all the sweeping concessions he was seeking, but he ended up giving the unions a sweetheart deal.

Over the next four years, unionized state employees will receive an almost 11 percent raise and a guarantee of no furloughs. And remember, this significant bump is in addition to their three percent raise two years ago, four percent raise last year—and three annual step increases which averaged 2.25 percent during that time.


How do these pay raises compare to those in the private sector? With such high unemployment and underemployment rates, do you really have to ask? Most people are receiving no raises at all, not even cost-of-living adjustments. And those fortunate enough to still have a job have no choice but to hang on for dear life, praying they survive the next round of layoffs. Making matters worse, many have to also shoulder ever increasing healthcare costs, if they have coverage at all.

In addition to substantial retirement benefits, state workers have guaranteed healthcare, too. And while they will pay a bit more with this new contract, it’s still at a level way below many in the private sector.
It used to be that working in the public sector was a trade-off. You wouldn’t make as much money as in the business world, but the benefits were good and contracts were guaranteed. But all that changed as union contracts exploded upward—at the expense of taxpayers.

Now, in many cases, unionized public employees make more than their peers in the private sector, and retire on pensions and benefit packages that would make Wall Street financiers blush with envy. Of course, that has come with a price, especially in Pennsylvania, and now it’s time to pay the piper. State pension obligations go through the roof over the next several years, as annual taxpayer-funded contributions to the two state pension funds increase exponentially, ballooning from $800 million now … to billions per year.

The last Governor and legislature kicked the can down the road last year, but that only gets you so far and, in the process, devastates the future of our children and grandchildren.

By caving in to the unions, giving them a contract that would be way too generous even in a strong economy, this Governor has chosen not to address the reforms necessary to keep Pennsylvania on solid ground, which will eventually lead to higher state borrowing costs and push the state closer to the abyss.

While we’re on the subject of the state’s finances, let’s set the facts straight about the current budget. Reducing the budget by four percent is a good thing, but was inevitable after the loss of federal stimulus dollars. Had he won the governorship, Dan Onorato would have signed a budget almost exactly the same as the one Corbett did. For that matter, even Governor Spendell, who never saw a spending increase he didn’t like, would have been forced to reduce the budget to close the $4.2 billion budget deficit—which, in reality, is closer to $7 billion because no one in Harrisburg wants to address the real fiscal situation.

The budget, which is constitutionally required to be balanced, was passed last year on ghost revenue: $400 million from the tolling of Interstate 80 (which never got tolled); $800 million raided from the MCARE fund (used to offset high medical malpractice rates) which, in all likelihood, will be ordered repaid by the State Supreme Court; federal Medicaid dollars that were budgeted to be $800 million but actually amounted to $595 million; and a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall after 10 months of last year’s fiscal year.

This shortfall seems to have simply vanished off the books. Of course, do that with your own business and you go to jail. So with the looming pension bomb and the real state deficit, it’s not a pretty picture for Pennsylvania’s future.

There was a way to address these issues and begin to reverse the state’s decline. Governor Corbett could have mandated a situation whereby union members would negotiate with their prospective employer individually, and free market-type incentives would allow for a fair offer—fair for the employee, and fair for the “employer” (the taxpayer).

So an offer would be made—salary, healthcare, benefits—and the individual could choose to accept or decline it. Which is exactly how it’s done in the free market. And for those who would claim it wouldn’t be “fair” to the state worker, you know what? There would be a line a mile long of qualified individuals ready and willing to accept such an offer. Accountability and efficiencies would increase, and unmotivated, bureaucratic sloths would be eliminated in favor of those willing to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

Sound simple and fair enough? It is, and it’s called the elimination of collective bargaining. It’s something successfully implemented in other states, but was incomprehensibly taken off the table by Corbett three months ago—while getting absolutely nothing in return.

The result: No pension reform and a lucrative union contract that the Governor says will be a net cost to the taxpayers of $164 million (which means that figure can be safely doubled).

The Wall Street Journal just labeled Corbett as leader of Keystone Cops. After this latest debacle, it’s hard to disagree.


Corbett Gives Unions Sweetheart Deal

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.?

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.? — This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

Last November, Pennsylvanians elected Tom Corbett to solve the state’s problems. But instead of leadership, they’ve received task forces and blue ribbon panels. In just three months, commissions have been formed to deal with Marcellus Shale natural gas (with a whopping 31 members), explore the core functions of government and figure out how to privatize liquor.

Sorry, but isn’t that why people elect politicians? Isn’t it their job to solve these problems?

Commissions and task forces are simply code for passing the buck and kicking the can down the road. We might as well just hang a sign that reads, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Blue Ribbon State.” And if GOP leaders don’t start following through on campaign promises, the only “Red” they’ll see is voter anger when the state turns Democratic Blue.


Since privatizing liquor is one of the only issues which enjoys a large consensus, and since it would provide billions to balance the ballooning budget deficit, it’s baffling why Corbett would punt away such political capital when he needs it most. Delaying the privatization initiative by instituting yet another study commission was a move that left many observers scratching their heads — and state store union employees punch-drunk with elation.

Even more perplexing is that Corbett has a solid ally in House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who had been spearheading privatization legislation for years. Turzai had a right to expect that, with strong GOP majorities in both houses, the Governor would come charging out of the gate on an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign. Instead, Corbett felt compelled to reach into the “Business As Usual” drawer and pull out another meaningless commission, which looks increasingly like a bad political calculation.


Sometimes you have to walk out your door to realize that the grass really is greener somewhere else. For Pennsylvanians, that “green” is all the money saved by consumers in other states because they aren’t gouged when purchasing alcohol.

For the uninitiated, following is a primer for how the Pennsylvania alcohol monopoly works:

Pennsylvania is the largest purchaser of booze in the world. The state government, through the Liquor Control Board (LC, controls the purchase, distribution and sale of all wine and liquor. You might think that with such immense purchasing clout, its citizens would have outstanding selection and competitive pricing. But as any Pennsylvanian knows, that’s clearly not the case.

Interestingly, the LCB is charged with two distinct, and inherently contradictory, roles. While it’s responsible for raising revenue through the sale of wine and liquor, it’s also charged with controlling the sale of booze throughout the state. By definition, if the LCB is succeeding at one, it must be failing at the other.

Every bottle of liquor bought in the state comes with an added bonus: an 18 percent “temporary” tax, in addition to the 6 percent sales tax. So a $10 bottle jumps to $11.80 before the sales tax is calculated, totaling a whopping $12.50. In all fairness, the 18 percent tax was well intentioned—it was passed by the legislature to rebuild Johnstown after a devastating flood that destroyed the town.

In 1936. So much for “temporary” taxes.

Anyone who’s traveled outside Pennsylvania knows how refreshing it is to enter a grocery store and, remembering that you need a bottle of wine for dinner, walk two aisles over to the plethora of vino at your fingertips. Since others accomplish this with little difficulty, it’s incomprehensible that the nation’s sixth largest state can’t—or, more accurately, won’t—do the same.

It is infinitely more efficient when a private company, responsive to the needs of the free market (instead of bureaucrats), stocks its shelves with items that consumers want, at a fair market price. It is the core principle on which America was founded.

But Pennsylvania remains stuck in the Dark Ages, and what makes the sin mortal is that it chooses to remain there. It hasn’t dawned on the politicos in Harrisburg that they are losing untold revenue because of their Draconian system, with millions of residents crossing state lines to fill their liquor cabinets. (No offense to Governor Christie, but anytime New Jersey offers a better alternative, you know you have major problems).

And despite the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, if you’re caught bringing alcohol into Pennsylvania, it’s a criminal offense. In fact, such “criminals” used to have their cars confiscated for doing so.

To be fair, today’s LCB has made substantial progress in its operations and “customer service.” Not too long ago, all of its locations were “counter” stores, meaning that customers had to know exactly what they wanted before placing their order, since browsing was not permitted. The clerk would then disappear into the bowels of the store, only to return five or 10 minutes later, more often than not stating that they were “out of stock” and asking for a second choice. Now imagine this scene playing out at Christmas time, with 25 people in line.

But that’s not all.

Nothing in the store was chilled. No ancillary items, such as tonic water, were sold. No employees were permitted to offer advice. And no LCB stores accepted credit cards.

And all this because former Governor Gifford Pinchot, who as a young man became violently sick while imbibing in Germany, became bound and determined to make alcohol as difficult as possible to obtain.

But the LCB’s improvements amount to being valedictorian of summer school. The whole system has to be scrapped.

The ultimate irony is that the Keystone State, birthplace of American democracy and cradle of liberty, continues down the path of state control and government regulation, to the detriment of its twelve million citizens.

And what are liquor privatization’s chances? Dead for the spring session, possible in the fall and virtually nonexistent for 2012. With the makeup of the legislature sure to change next year, the time to take a “shot” is undoubtedly now.

The people have awakened from their stupor, demanding change. Instead, all they get is a (Pabst) “Blue Ribbon” commission.

Time for another drink.

Corbett’s Gang Muscles In On DRPA

Gov. Tom Corbett has cleaned the rodent-droppings from Pennsylvania’s vermin-infested  contribution to  Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) appointing himself as chairman and replacing five board members.

But will it be the case of “meet the new rat, same as the old rat”?

Corbett’s appointments — William Sasso, Joanna Cruz, Joann Bell, Walter D’Alessio and David Simon — are all heavy political contributors to the governor each donating at least $1,500, personally or institutionally, to his attorney general and gubernatorial campaigns with Simon and Sasso kicking in $29,500 and $22,000 respectively as individuals.

DRPA is a Congressionally-approved arrangement between Pennsylvania and New Jersey charged with overseeing the maintenance and development of the Philadelphia-Camden port district and much of the Delaware River crossings including the four big toll bridges. The 16-member board is split evenly between the states. All  New Jersey members are appointed to set terms by its governor. In Pennsylvania, six members are at-will gubernatorial appointments with the state’s treasurer and auditor general being automatically given seats.

Are Corbett’s picks going to be exterminators or just more bald-tailed looters looking for their cheese? One sign will be if crossing the Delaware gets cheaper and more convenient. Look to see what happens with the 20 percent toll hike schedule for July.

Hat tip Chris Freind.

AFP Gives Lesson In Right Blogging

The first event of Sam Rohrer’s tenure as director of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) can’t be said to have gone off without a hitch but today’s 8-hour RightOnline Training Seminar ended as a major success.

The event was not held at the Valley Forge Convention Center as scheduled but at the adjacent  Radisson Hotel. A raging windstorms snarled roads throughout Southeast Pennsylvania causing the start to be delayed for late arrivals. Then, just as things got underway, power went out throughout Montgomery County putting, for a couple of hours, the proceedings in the dim glow of emergency lights and making the prepared PowerPoint presentations a moot endeavor.

Using the restrooms at the prestigious facility became a ad hoc cellphone flashlight adventure.

Still, the presenters, many of whose names are recognized throughout the nation, improvised and taught their lessons sans technology at the technology-oriented conference.

And the lights really were on for most the day.

Rohrer’s opening remarks were followed by ones from Steve Lonegan , the former mayor of Bogota, N.J. who ran against Chris Christie in 2009 Republican New Jersey Republican gubernatorial primary. Lonegan is the director of AFP’s New Jersey chapter.

“The once proud Democratic Party of my union grandparents has now become the Democrat Party of government workers,” Lonegan said referring to the turmoil that the Democrats and government workers are now causing by bizarre, angry demonstrations in Wisconsin, which are filled with violent imagery.

The first session of seminars followed with noted blogger Erick Telford giving a lesson on basic blogging and Rich Shaftan of Mountaintop Media giving tips on how to handle the press. They were followed by long-time journalist Trent Seibert of Texas Watchdog who described ways citizen-bloggers could do investigative reporting.

It was during Seibert’s talk that the power went out, ruining an elaborate visual display he said he had prepared. This  ironically occurred while he was  pointing out how bloggers caused major grief to Oscar/Nobel/etc. winner Al Gore by exposing his energy hypocrisy.

Still Seibert managed to convey that audits are often overlooked means of exposing government malfeasance that Tea Party activist would do well to mine. He cited several useful websites, including one capable of generating  Freedom Of Information Act letters, whose links AFP would be sending to event attenders.

In describing the new power of blogs, it was either Telford or Seibert who said that it was a Montana blogger who exposed the lies Dan Rather told shortly before the 2004 election regarding President Bush’s Texas Air National Guard Service.  The one who did the exposing was from Georgia and the site on which the exposing occurred was FreeRepublic.Com

With the power out, the agenda was rearranged with talks by Pennsylvania State Rep Jim Cox (R-129) and Lonegan coming next.

Cox noted a big difference between Gov. Tom Corbet and his predecessor Ed Rendell in that while Rendell would have a press conference at the drop of a hat, Corbett has been avoiding them. He said he hoped it was because Corbett was deliberately preparing a case to make to the citizens regarding his plans for the state. Cox said we will know on March 8 when he makes his budget address.

Cox said there were 98 new faces in the State House since 2007 and 110 since 2005 so the chance for real reform is good.

He said there has already been some significant rule changes. Uncontested resolutions — such as those honoring a Little League championship team — can now be voted on in bulk saving the legislators about an hour and a half a week. He also said bills are now going to be almost complete coming out of committee allowing more time to study them and less time for sneaky amendments.

Cox said he is concerned about various plans being aired to shrink the size of the legislature as this would result in representation that is much less responsive to the citizenry.

He said his crusade to abolish property taxes is advancing and a property tax relief caucus has formed in the House which now has 91 members.

Lonegan said that New Jersey led the nation in economic growth from 1776 to 1976. He said it’s now 48th. He said that while The Garden State’s property tax rate was the third highest in the nation by the 1960s it had neither a sales nor income tax. He said that  in 1966 tax a “temporary” sales tax strongly supported by the New Jersey State Education Association was passed to ease the property tax burden. The tax was made permanent in 1970 and raised to 5 percent. Six years later a income tax was added.

Lonegan said the rates continued to rise and that the state now has among the highest sales and income tax rates in the country and the highest property tax rate.

He said the NJEA is now pushing to consolidate school districts “to save money.”

The post lunch seminars featured Ethan Demme of Keystone Conservative talking about social media; Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity giving advice on the media skills for which she is noted; Telford describing the power of online video; and Shafton explaining how to interpret polling.

The day would down with a panel discussion  consisting of Demme, columnist Chris Freind and New Jersey blogger Rob Eichmann; followed by a talk by Guy Benson of

During the panel discussion Freind noted that he picks on both parties and described how he was harshly critical of Gov. Corbett’s $42 million plan to bail out Aker Shipyard. Lonegan chimed in that Christie just OK’d a $260 million bailout of an Atlantic City casino.

Benson encouraged all Tea Party people to stick to truth and the high road in dealing with their opponents despite the temptation to do otherwise regarding their hypocrisy concerning claims of desire for civil debate.

The event ended with a call by Lonegan for Pennslvania Tea Party members to pressure State House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-165) into letting HB 42 come to a vote. HB 42 — The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act — protects the rights of patients to pay directly for medical services, and it prohibits penalties levied on citizens and businesses for declining to participate in a particular health plan.

Clouds On The Right For Corbett

Allegations are circulating among the more conservative elements of the Tea Party Movement regarding corruption in the State Attorney General’s Office run by Gov.-Elect Tom Corbett.

The allegations have been sent in an email by Edward D. Martino, a Lancaster County activist and private investigator, who claims that the office has destroyed thousands of documents; pays 40 percent to collection agencies which is eight times higher than neighboring states; and awards no-bid contracts to the agencies.

Martino says he has interviewed “various people that either are presently working for Mr. Corbett, or have previously worked in his office.”

He would not say who it was he interviewed. He did say he did it on his own.

Pa Continues To Top Nation In Teacher Strikes

Obviously, Pennsylvania teachers are not in it “for the children.”

The Keystone State, as always, led the nation in teachers strikes last year with eight matching the ’08-’09 total and up one from ’07-’08. And we are not talking close contests here. More than half the school strikes in the nation occur annually in Pennsylvania.

And for what? The average salary for a Pennsylvania teacher in 2007 was then $54,970 for 190 days work, which was behind six states that prohibited such a child-hating practice.

Gov-elect Corbett has said he might support banning teacher strikes and adopt a mandate for binding arbitration to solve disputes. Binding arbitration for teachers, however, would be against the state Constitution as StopTeacherStrikes.Org clearly points out.

And considering those who would likely do the picking for the arbiters, the problem could conceivably be made worse.

So what to do? It’s not complicated. Teachers acquired their right to strike in 1970 with the passing of Act 195 .

Section 401 reads It shall be lawful for public employees to organize, form, join or assist
in employee organizations or to engage in lawful concerted activities
for the purpose of collective bargaining . . .

Change the first four words to read It shall be unlawful. Repeal articles VI, VII, VIII and IX.

Problem is solved. Taxes drop and schools improve. Win-win for everyone but the child-haters.

Corbett Taps 2 Tea Partyers For Transition Team

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has tapped Diana Reimer, a co-founder of the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots and statewide coordinator for the national Tea Party Patriots organization, as a member of the Budget, Pensions and Revenue Committee of his transition team. He also picked Ana Puig, who co-chairs the Kitchen Table Patriots of Bucks County, for a spot on the teams’ Education Committee.

The transition team has 400 unpaid members serving on 17 committees.

Hat tip to Bob Guzzardi of LibertyIndex.Com .

GOP Up In Pa

The  Reuters/Ipsos poll released, today, has Republican Pat Toomey up 47-37 percent among likely voters over Democrat Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Among registered voters, a category historically more favorable to the Democrats, Toomey is up 40-37 percent.

Meanwhile, the latest Rasmussen Poll has Toomey up 45-39 percent among likely voters with Toomey ahead 48-42 percent if leaners are factored in.

In the governor’s race, Reuter/Ipsos has Republican Tom Corbett head of Democrat Don Onorato 49 percent to 34 percent.

In other election news, Sestak has launched his first attack ads in which he accuses Toomey to be in the pockets of Wall Street and features a CNBC interview from 2007 in which he advocates ending corporate income taxes.

The ad buy is estimated to cost $110,000 and will run in every market but Philadelphia.

Toomey has responded saying he was just trying to explain to consumers that it is they who ultimately pay for taxes on corporations, and that he recognizes that a 0 percent corporate income tax is is “impractical for a host of reasons”.

Some friendly advice, Joe. You are living in a greenhouse on the “capitalist tool of Wall Street” matter so be careful about throwing stones. It’s not like Toomey ever voted to take $700 billion in taxpayer money to bailout Goldman Sachs et al. That’s not his name there in the yes category of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

It’s funny that even though the TARP bailout was pushed by President Bush most Democrats voted for it and most Republicans voted against it.


Kimmett Suit Derail Corbett Or Smoke Sans Gun?

A pending civil rights lawsuit against state Attorney General Tom Corbett who is the GOP’s nominee for governor is the simmering subject of discussions in the blogosphere with rumors about a pending autumn surprise that would derail his candidacy.

The case was filed Aug. 11,  2008   in United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Thomas D. Kimmett and Sherry E. Bellaman by attorney Donald A. Bailey and amended two months later. The amended complaint names Corbett and nine others in the state attorney general’s office as defendants. 

Bailey is a former congressman and state auditor general but has acquired a reputation about being a little quick in filing a lawsuit.

Kimmett worked as a senior deputy attorney general according to the complaint and Ms. Bellaman was his assistant.

Kimmett alleges that Attorney General’s office unlawfully gave breaks to tax delinquents and unlawfully paid commissions to collection agencies. He also alleges that they ruined his chance of promotion after he complained about it to the Department of Revenue by running “him in a circle between the two Agencies.”

In the amended complaint, Kimmett says that “immediately after Kimmett filed the original suit the defendant’s (sic) Roman, Keiser, and others in the Attorney General’s office began a retaliatory program of harassment and ostracism”  and acted  “to alienate him from his assistants including the plaintiff Sherry E. Bellaman”

According to the court, the last action taken on the matter was a phone conference in April and no trial has been scheduled.

A phone call was placed to Bailey’s office to provide him a chance to elaborate.
Kimmett Suit Derail Corbett Or Smoke Sans Gun?
Will Kimmett Suit Derail Corbett Or Smoke Sans Gun?
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