Democracy Rising Pennsylvania
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There's so much going on that it's hard to keep up with it all. Here's our best shot.
More Support for a Constitution Convention
Another reason for a Convention, Editorial, DuBois Courier-Express, Oct. 4
A chance to reform state government, Editorial, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, Dec. 23 (subscription only)
Let people tackle reform in a constitutional convention, Op-Ed by former Rep. Craig Dally, R-Northampton, Easton Express-Times, Dec. 27
Legislature works at its hardest when taking care of itself, Brian O'Neill in the Post-Gazette, Dec. 27
Constitutional convention: Roadmap to reform, Editorial, Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 28
It's time to reduce size of state Legislature, Editorial, Delaware County Daily Times, Dec. 28
PA Voters: Resolve in 2010 to demand smaller Legislature, Editorial, Pottstown Mercury, Dec. 31
Time for a constitutional convention, Editorial, Centre Daily Times, Dec. 31
What else you can do.
Many people have asked what more they can do after signing the petition. Here are four ideas.
1. Contact your legislators and ask them whether they will sign the petition and vote before the May primary election to put the referendum on the ballot in the fall. The more they hear from their own constituents, the more likely they are to act.
2. Contact the candidates for governor and ask whether they will sign the petition and make support for a Constitution convention a prominent part of their campaigns.
3. If you belong to groups like the Rotary, Kiwanis, VFW, church groups, etc., see if they're want a speaker from DR.
4. Ask everyone you know to sign the petition online. You also can download copies of the petition for circulating and signing. Click here.
The Bonus Scandal
Seven of the original 12 Bonus Scandal defendants will plead guilty on Wednesday to a variety of acts of public corruption including theft of service, conflict of interest and conspiracy. Four more are scheduled for trial beginning January 19. The 12th, former state Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Beaver, was acquitted of all charges last month.
A burning question among citizens is whether those who plead guilty will keep their pensions. As one DR Fan put it when returning a referendum petition, "Why should the people pay for their pensions when they (politicians) were stealing from them? If it were you or me, what would happen?"
Then there are the most recent charges against former state representative and former Revenue Secretary Steve Stetler, D-York; former House Democratic Everything Bill DeWeese, D-Greene; and DeWeese's district staffer Sharon Rodavich. All have been charged with multiple counts of illegally using tax-funded staff and offices for political campaigning.
For a face-off between DeWeese and DR President Tim Potts, click here.
Meanwhile, capitol denizens expect another leading legislator to fall victim to the Bonus Scandal. House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, recently was invited to appear before the statewide investigating grand jury. Such invitations typically are the precursor to a presentment, but Eachus was not among those most recently charged with criminal conduct in office. Click here for an AP story quoting grand jury testimony that implicates Eachus.
Whether or not Eachus faces charges, he faces a challenge from within his caucus. Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Delaware, has called for Eachus to resign as majority leader and for elections where Democrats can elect a new leadership team. It takes a two-thirds vote of the caucus to force new leadership elections, and so far there are no reports that Lentz, who is running for Congress this year, has the necessary support. Here's more from the Post-Gazette.
Sounds like the Bonus Scandal
We've had the feds investigating state and local officials. We've had the state investigating state officials.
And now we have a local district attorney investigating state officials as Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala has seized documents from the office of state Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny. Zappala is investigating whether Orie used her tax-funded office to campaign for her sister, Joan Orie Melvin, who was elected to the state Supreme Court in November.
The Post-Gazette offers two stories. The first describes the partisan political in-fighting that the senator's attorney claims are behind the investigation. The second describes allegations of dirty tricks in campaigns involving the Ories.
The Legislature's Surplus
For years, DR has complained about the surplus lawmakers keep for themselves even as they raise taxes, cut services and continue corruption in the capitol. See the Dec. 15th edition of DR News for our latest complaint.
But we've never seen the case made as well as the Post-Gazette did as the year of the 101-day-late budget came to a close. Click here. It's a great read.
Why wait 'til May or November?
Vote for Integrity now and help DR get off to a great start in 2010.
We can be reached at: P.O. Box 618, Carlisle, PA 17013
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