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Archive → August, 2013

Press Release from candidate Mindlin

Harrisburg Mayor Candidate Nevin Mindlin Disappointed but not Daunted
”I will not go away,” he says.
HARRISBURG: Despite a ruling by Dauphin County Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard Coates that strikes Harrisburg Mayor independent candidate Nevin Mindlin’s name from the general election ballot, the candidate vows to stay in the fight to secure a positive future for Harrisburg.
“My supporters and I are disappointed that the court found in favor of a challenge to the validity of my nominating petitions,” he says, “but our energy and enthusiasm have not waned.”
“The resurrection of the old Harrisburg political regime that took our campaign into court does not intimidate us,” he says. Mindlin avers that his main opponent, after winning the Democratic primary in April, is trying to coast to victory. “Instead of campaigning on the issues, behind-the-scenes operations came into play,” which, says Mindlin, “is an effort to divert attention from the need to debate critical issues facing the city, such as crime, blight, high taxes, jobs and education.”
“I have hundreds of supporters who believe I speak for them and who have confidence that I will provide strong, honest and accountable leadership for the City of Harrisburg,” he continues. “They want me to succeed and I want them to be assured that I will stay involved.
In an effort to open the electoral process and to assure voting rights for every citizen, Mindlin is considering an appeal to Judge Coates’ decision. In addition, he will confer with his advisors concerning how to position himself in the upcoming November election. No matter the final outcome, he will continue to demand transparency and meaningful discussion about Harrisburg’s future, going forward.
Nevin Mindlin has a thirty-five year track record of managing large organizations with complex budgets. Active in a number of civic and religious organizations, including Rotary, and Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy, he is also a founding member of Debt Watch Harrisburg. Mindlin is an honorably discharged veteran of the U. S. Navy and holds a Master of Arts degree in government with a concentration in urban studies and public policy analysis.

Eric Papenfuse silence says “I am as guilty as sin”

Eric Papenfuse is a candidate for Harrisburg City mayor. The day after he won his primary race this spring, he talked openly about choosing his staff and the new curtains in the mayor’s office. He had not yet run in a general election race against Independent candidate Nevin Mindlin.

Papenfuse says he’s not behind the flimsy legal assault on Nevin Mindlin’s candidacy for mayor, but Papenfuse sure hasn’t shown himself to be a stand-up guy and advocate for leaving Mindlin in the race.

Papenfuse’s silence about the ridiculously petty nature of this attempt to eliminate Mindlin from the race screams out “I, Eric Papenfuse, Am As Guilty As Sin,” and not innocent, as he claims.

Candidate Nate Curtis said it best about Papenfuse’s claim: “He’s lying.”

Eric Papenfuse represented himself as some kind of stand-up guy, with good values, who believes in good government. Well, here you have it: When the opportunity to really act on those values is presented, he walks away.

Papenfuse’s attempt to disqualify Mindlin is already boomeranging, with many voters I spoke with in the past days saying that they now question Papenfuse’s integrity and commitment to fairness. He looks desperate to win, like he’s willing to do anything to win. That is not the kind of person Harrisburg needs.

When minutes count, justice is only days away

Harrisburg City candidate for mayor, Nevin Mindlin, has waited since yesterday morning for a judicial holding. He’s waiting to find out if the integrity of Pennsylvania’s electoral law is best represented by redundant, arcane, unnecessary, petty requirements, or if those artificial things matter more than letting otherwise qualified candidates run for office.

Every hour that Mindlin waits, his campaign weakens a little. Every hour he waits is filled with doubt, supporters increasingly worn down by anxiety. It’s all a calculated wait, if you ask me. Sadly, Dauphin County is occasionally home to a highly politicized judiciary.

Sitting in the court room yesterday, I heard nothing to convince me that our citizens are served by a slavish adherence to confusing election laws. Over the past several years other judges around Pennsylvania have struck down or bypassed certain election law requirements, like petition circulators living in the same political district as the candidate. Their holdings excoriate the law, questioning how and why these requirements were invented.

Hopefully, Judge Bernie Coates is above the political fray. Hopefully, he looks to other judges who have recently held that representative democracy is best served by transparency and simple processes. Hopefully, the judge recognizes that Mindlin acted in good faith, in keeping with advice from county election staff, and reasonably. And hopefully the judge will himself act reasonably, and toss out this silly waste of time, and let Mindlin run for office.

My Day in Court…is Your Day in Court

This morning I joined mayoral candidate Nevin Mindlin and a contingent of other supporters and watchers in Dauphin County court. Judge Bernie Coates presided.

At issue was the contention that Mindlin had failed to name a three-person committee to replace him, in case he dies or is incapacitated before the election, and thus is now disqualified from running for office in the first place. Attorney Ron Katzman presented the charge on behalf of a nameless voter who must be very proud indeed to serve as a political stooge seeking to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters.

Katzman made the argument that all rules that possibly could be followed must be followed, even if they are counter-intuitive and determined to not apply by the official elections staff. It sounded to me like Katzman was arguing that potential candidates for office really need to pay an attorney to carefully scrutinize the rules, so the already-onerous requirements are met. Mindlin said as much from the witness stand.

Attorney Herschel Lock represented Mindlin and made the argument that the law is vague, Mindlin followed all the clear requirements, he followed the advice of election officials, the rules and past legal holdings allow for his candidate papers to be amended, if needed, and Lock concluded by asking what sort of a voting system do Americans want: One that needs lawyers, or one that simply needs a few papers filled out?

My takeaway from the two-hour proceeding is that Pennsylvania’s election rules and forms are ridiculously onerous, and that the majority of these rules and forms serve no purpose other than to make it easier to disqualify someone for not dotting an i or crossing a t. As though dotting an i or crossing a t is what running for office is about…

Is it in the public’s interests to make it difficult to run for office? My answer, and I suspect yours, is that No, it should not be difficult to run for office. If you are crazy enough to put your name out in the public domain, and to subject yourself, your family, and your business to that kind of destructive scrutiny, then it should be easy. After all, finding candidates for office is at the core of our representative democracy. Procedurally, it should be easy to run, not hard.

Mindlin had his day in court, and I hope that he prevails, because his day is my day and it is your day, too. Freedom for Mindlin means freedom for all citizens.

It makes sense that he will win. But who ever said that politics makes sense? After all, Mindlin’s candidacy is being challenged on the flimsiest of grounds because his opponent, Eric Papenfuse, cannot stand up to him on substantive issues of ideas, trust, and job qualifications. Because of the apparent RICO violations involved with all of the Harrisburg City bond shenanigans, a strong mayor like Mindlin is a potential threat to the bipartisan parasite that feasted away on the taxpayers here. If Mindlin becomes mayor, people might actually go to jail. And because people might go to jail, and thereby expose even more alleged law breakers, who knows what kind of backroom political pressures are being exerted at the judicial level.

It is my hope that Judge Coates does what a good judge is supposed to do and what other Pennsylvania judges have been doing in recent years: Let the man run for office.

Harrisburg City mayoral race free-for-all shows weakness of rules-happy system

Watching all of the petty legal shenanigans unfold in our mayoral race reinforces the lesson that lots of rules works against democracy, and works in favor of rule makers.
Here’s a city in need of an independent minded leader, and both main political parties gang up to protect and promote the one guy, Eric Papenfuse, who is most likely to sell out the city taxpayers.
If you like democracy, and you want ordinary citizens to be part of the political process, then eliminate these arcane and unnecessary rules. They are barriers to legitimate political participation.
In our case, these silly rules are going to help protect the guilty (the bondsmen who issued faulty bonds that bankrupted Harrisburg) in both main political parties. And that tells us all we need to know.

What a week

This week started out wacky, with Oprah Winfrey claiming the death of would-be murderer Trayvon Martin was the same as the torture-murder of 14-year-old Emmit Till decades ago in the segregated South. Winfrey then went on to claim she faces all kinds of oppression and racism, not because people disagree with her odd personal views and decreasing credibility, but because she is black. There is no evidence to support her claim.

In the alternative, there is all sorts of evidence to support the claim that young black men are torturing and killing one another at record numbers across the nation. Not that it would be an issue, because the false notion that America remains a racist place must be kept alive, no matter how silly it appears. How sad for the young black men whose lives are disintegrating in front of the nation, that they have been abandoned by both blacks and white liberals. Perhaps they are mere cannon fodder in the larger culture war against traditional American values like responsibility, self-restraint, self-reliance, etc. On the left, it has always been the attitude that a few eggs must be broken to make the Saul Alinsky omelette…

But the fact is that this week is marked most by the wacky politics here in Harrisburg City. The nation’s first, best-known, and most broke city, if you break it down per capita.

To wit: Controller Dan Miller, a Democrat, won the Republican write-in vote in May, losing the Democratic race to arch-left-kook Eric Papenfuse, while former Republican candidate Nevin Mindlin won the Independent spot on the ballot.

Or did they?

Out of the blue came a young Mr. Nate Curtis, seeking the Independent spot, months after the issue was settled in the primary election. Republican establishment staffers were behind his candidacy.

Miller announced Monday he was not running on the Republican ticket, only to announce today that he was. Well-funded bipartisan teams from the establishment wings of both parties have descended on Curtis, Miller, and Mindlin to challenge every aspect of their candidacies, seeking to knock them out and leave the Eric Papenfuse race for mayor uncontested.

No matter how arcane the arguments, these attacks on Harrisburg’s chance to finally elect a qualified, competent, independent-minded mayor highlight something we have heard before about Pennsylvania election rules and laws: They suck.

Green Party candidates like Ralph Nader have complained that Pennsylvania’s election rules and laws are obviously skewed in favor of the two main parties, and are designed to create a labyrinthine environment in which only the most carefully constructed candidacies can survive. And of course, the only people who can carefully construct such a campaign are members of the two private, taxpayer-funded
political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, the folks who wrote and interpret the election rules and laws.

Curtis is truly vulnerable, because he has not resided in Harrisburg for the past year. Residency requirements are pretty straight forward, and there’s nothing wrong with demanding that you live among the people you seek to represent for at least one year.

Mindlin is not a member of any political party, so he believes he is immune from the charge that his campaign lacks the otherwise – required campaign committee sitting in the wings, waiting to select someone else if Mindlin fails to actually run for the office he and he alone is running for. Say what? See? Very silly, arcane stuff, not at all in the interests of expanded democracy or representative government. It is designed to trip up, disqualify, and eliminate candidates who lack huge infrastructure behind them.

Miller wants Papenfuse to lose, and he has plenty of supporters who feel the same way, so he will fight to stay on the ballot.

It may well be a three-way race between Mindlin, Miller, and Papenfuse. Or, it could be litigated and determined that only Miller and Papenfuse have standing to run.

In the end, Pennsylvanians remain badly served by arcane laws designed to keep them out of the way and on the sidelines, eating the thin gruel served up by an entrenched two-party apparatus and their respective special interests. And I dream of Mindlin or Miller winning this November…

Obama’s Police State

IRS + NSA + DEA + DOJ snooping, spying, and prying against American citizens – you and me – = a definitive police state.

How odd that all of the advocates for freedom and against government power during the Bush presidency are now so…silent.

Apparently, oppressive government power is just fine when it’s YOUR party and your friends and your “side” that has it and wields it. That’s the take-away lesson here, for me: The self-appointed guardians of freedom were really after absolute power, after all, and they used all the touchy-feely language as a cover to give themselves credibility, so when they were the ones doing the oppressing, why then, it would be OK.

And you know what’s scary? ObamaCare has data collection and data reporting requirements much more invasive and risky and detrimental to individual liberty than what is happening with the NSA right now….

The War on Women

I dunno…Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, all three past or present elected officials still in office or running for office, and all three serial abusers/ users/ objectifiers/ harassers of women on the job and off….and all three are NOT Republicans.

We heard all about the supposed Republican war on women last year, and it didn’t make any sense to me, but here we have three public officials with lengthy records of using women, and…the silence is deafening.

Filner won’t resign from his mayor job, and both Spitzer and Weiner have no shame running again. If a Republican tried to get away with anything close to what any of these guys have done, he’d be lynched in the street.

Double standard, anyone?

Obama’s liberty-crushing snooping created Edward Snowden

Had Barack Hussein Obama stuck to his campaign promises, and maintained a transparent government dedicated to liberty, Edward Snowden would still be an unknown bureaucrat processing satellite intercepts of terrorists talking to each other.

So egregious, so outrageous, so destructive of personal liberty is Obama’s government, that Snowden could not stay silent. He resisted totalitarianism, and had to run to one of America’s enemies for safety. Obama owns this debacle.

And no, please don’t tell me that “Bush made him do it,” as it’s a dodge. It’s dishonest. It’s untrue. Obama and his supporters must be held accountable for the tremendous damage done to American interests. Not only is Obama’s domestic spying treasonous, his overt efforts to quash domestic political resistance by using the IRS as an enforcer is treasonous. Obama’s loss of Snowden and all the data he carried is treasonous.

It’s my hope and prayer that either Obama is impeached, or court martialed after his experiment in destroying America is finished.

Goodbye to Bob Durgin, radio host extraordinaire

Today WHP580 radio host Bob Durgin is broadcasting from the Radisson Penn-Harris hotel in Camp Hill. Bob has been a 25-year fixture in radio talk show life here in central Pennsylvania, and an effective one at that. I will miss his gruff voice, and uncompromising unwillingness to accept lame politicians. But Bob will still be around on his blog, www.bobdurgin.com