There are two topics that really hurt this past week here in lovely PA. Today, front page headlines covered all the state papers with 12 Democratic leaders being charged with a plethora of illegal activities concerning campaign funds, public tax funds and fraud.
The next topic is near and dear one for my local community. If you think state and federal politics are bad, have you ever sat in on Borough Council or City Council meetings? The idiocy is rampant and this situation takes the all time cake for our nationally registered Historic Boro.
On a national level, most folks are not aware of the scandals that have been prominent in PA politics over the past few years. One doosy was an after midnight session in which our fearless leaders passed legislation to provide themselves with pay raises. This didn't sit very well and a major "Clean House" campaign in the last elections to rid out the evil doers was a limited success. Now....we have a real whopper.
As if Pennsylvanians need one more reason to distrust state lawmakers. The public-corruption charges that rocked the Capitol and rippled through the state today read like a Hollywood script, tarnishing not only the accused but the entire legislative body as well, local lawmakers say.
"They make us all look like a bunch of bozos and crooks," said state Sen. Gib Armstrong, a 30-year veteran of the General Assembly.
There are the three House staffers who apparently got taxpayer-funded bonuses to do campaign work — but knocked off and went fishing instead. "We all joked that we are professional fishermen now," one told a grand jury later.
There's a 21-year-old female "ghost employee" who had an affair with a senior House staffer and was given a $36,000-a-year state job above a cigar store in Pittsburgh.
There are the motorcycle trips and basketball games paid for by taxpayers, not to mention the crux of the scandal — the millions of dollars apparently siphoned from the public treasury to pay for political campaigns.
"Former Democratic whip Mike Veon; Rep. Sean Ramaley, a Beaver County Democrat currently running for state Senate; and Michael Manzo, forced out in November as chief of staff to House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene, were among the 12 people who were charged.
So were former Lancaster County Democratic Committee Chairman Scott V. Brubaker and his wife Jennifer, two former rising stars of the local party who now live in Camp Hill.
This morning, three defendants were brought in handcuffs for arraignment by a Harrisburg district judge. Bail for Veon, Brett Cott and Stephen Keefer was set at $50,000 by District Judge Joseph S. Solomon. Veon declined to comment; neither Cott nor Keefer said a word to reporters. Court officials said a fourth defendant, Jeff Foreman, was arraigned on Thursday and his bail also was $50,000.
The eight others charged in the case were expected to appear before Solomon today.
Veon was the second-ranking Democrat in the House before losing re-election in 2006; Cott is a political strategist and former aide to Veon and House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene; Keefer is former director of information technologies for the House Democrats."
I'm not sure what the fall out of all of this will be for the election cycle, but PA residents have already been ticked for some time at the heavy handedness and sneaky "old crony" politics that has thrived in this state for many a year. I haven't heard yet what Governor Rendell has to say, but I'm sure those in the know are laying low! This just plain stinks on dry ice and then some. Not sure if the MSM will pick up this story, the fires are stoked in this political swing state and not for the good of the Democrats today.
Next up, if the above in all of its glory wasn't enough, our lovely local Borough Council has just insanely approved a construction addition on one of the most well preserved and still functioning historic church sites, possibly in the country. The St. Michael's Lutheran Church is listed on the National Historic Society registry and boasts an incredible undisturbed cemetery that dates back pre-Revolutionary War. If anyone here is a Revolutionary War buff, the prominence of the PA Riflemen during the war was very important and significant. Not only is the insane notion that an elevator and air condition constitutes legitimate reasons why you would tear out 275 year old windows and add a wing onto a pristine structure, all in the name of an "elevator" and "air conditioning" installation.
But hold on, it gets even better. The location of this new addition will reside directly over none other than a grave site of a Mr. Fred K. Powel, member of the 7th PA Military Regiment of the Revolutionary War. Date of passing: 1790.
In our efforts to make arguments to stop the development, we found that historians have been attempting to locate his grave site, having in hand a historic news article of his history in the regiment and PA Riflemen.
Well, yes, I have to admit today, I am one "Bitter" PA Democrat and Resident. Not all news is national news, but in my mind, deemed diary worthy.
If there are any Preservation experts out there, we would really like your input, asap. Of course, the idiots are already pulling in the trucks. It's sick!