This has been quite a news week locally with one local politician making an announcement that caught many by surprise while the another one seeks to move from state government to Federal service.
Of course, the first representative is Speaker of the House Keith McCall who announced earlier this week he was leaving office to spend time with his family. After 28 years of service to District 122 constituents, McCall will be missed. Our loss though is his family's gain and I want to wish him and his family well and let them know his service will be missed by his constituents.
On the other hand, State Sen. David Argall who just won an election to replace the late Sen. James Rhoades announced almost simultaneously that he was throwing his hat in the ring of Federal service by challenging US. Representative Tim Holden for his seat in Washington DC. Although this is only the first few days of his announcement, I have a feeling this will be shaping up to be quite a race in Schuylkill County.
Weatherly's police department also made the news this week quite dubiously when Officer Anthony McFadden was arrested and charged with making over 170 calls to a 15 year old minor in the community. State police described the calls as "phone sex" with the girl. Obviously everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but if this is what it seems, McFadden should be locked up and have the key thrown away for his violation of public trust in one of the most disgusting ways possible. This is the second time in several years that police misconduct in the small community has embarrassed the town.
In Lansford, the big news this week seemed to be the fines imposed on Bennett Verta for his derelict building. Verta was fined $9,000 for several building violations on his property that sits adjacent to the Panther Valley Stadium. At one point part of the roof had blown off the building. The building which at one time was a car dealer is now an eyesore in the community and I hope it is made safe before someone gets hurt especially inside the stadium.
Returning to Harrisburg, I think we can describe recent events as "how quickly they forget". Our embarrassment of a governor pushed and prodded the legislature to pass slot machine gambling as a way to provide property tax relief. Wonderful. Except the greedy politico couldn't keep his hands off the money and before we knew it, Governor Spendell pledged revenue that didn't even exist as it was before the bill was passed and gave it to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to build new sports complexes. That money came off the top before any money was allocated to us, the taxpayers, for property tax relief.
Most of us got a hundred dollars or so in "relief" for this unfair form of taxation which to me is a slap in the face to us. To add insult to injury, the greed of the governor shows no bounds as table games have been pushed through the legislature as a way to save 300 jobs allegedly as well as balance the budget. Has anyone noticed that apparently these boneheads think that we forgot about property tax relief? The people of this commonwealth have been deceived again by its state leaders with gambling not paying to remove this unfair and arbitrary tax instead it is being used for their spending whims.
How much money does the state of Pennsylvania need to operate anyway? Twenty eight billion dollars isn't enough? Give me a break. If leaders could be held accountable for their spending the way the normal taxpayer is, they would all be in a debtor's prison. How quickly we slide down the gambling slope in this state. What amazes me is the double standard that exists. If I wanted to run a gambling establishment for my own gain, I would be thrown in prison, but for some reason monopolies are okay if the government runs them. This state would license air if it could find a way to measure it.
I think our state leaders need to go back to school and learn what a budget is, realize at least 12 percent of their state is unemployed and most of their senior citizens are struggling to survive on less and less, and start living within their means. That means taking a hard, honest look at what you are spending money on, Governor, and start being more responsible.
I'm pretty sure when all is said and done this governor's tenure will go down in history books as one of the most embarrassing and awful terms in recent state history. At least it's almost over.