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Harrisburg City: One Political Party’s Complete Catastrophe

Harrisburg City is a complete catastrophe.

By any measure, my beloved city and the home of my father’s family in an unbroken chain since 1745, is now a non-functional wreck. A shambles. A disaster.

Our combined city millage rate is an incredible, unbelievable, phenomenal record of 71 Mills! See the official Dauphin County millage rates below. Harrisburg City is at the bottom.

Those readers who do not understand what millage is, it is the local tax rate for public services like fire, water, police, sewers, and sometimes schools. Most Pennsylvania communities have a millage rate of about 6-10, total.

Millage rates are supposed to reflect the quality of public services that taxpayers receive. After all, we are paying these incredibly high tax rates for a reason.

But here in Harrisburg, we taxpayers have no such illusions or expectation of receiving much of anything in return for our hard-earned money. Most of our city taxes are squandered by unaccountable bureaucrats and politicized mayors who come and go, come and go, spending all the way. Our city council is completely non-functional, filled with bitter personality disputes and zero achievements for the actual people underwriting the bills.

And then there is the Harrisburg School District, a study in unabated and completely open incompetence and corruption. Our city school district has been run by the state, only to be set aside and allowed to fester and rot, for the whole public to see. And still nothing is done to fix it. The school children here, mostly black kids, suffer the worst, because for all their time spent inside four classroom walls, they actually get very little education.

And now the latest example of just how badly Harrisburg is run is revealed in a lawsuit by Michael Brenner, owner of the building where the Harrisburg City Public Works Department is housed. Brenner has leased the building to the city for many years, and he is owed $717,000.00 by the city in back rent, unpaid taxes, and damage to the building that the city cannot or will not fix.

For those readers who do not understand what a city Public Works Department is or does, it is the one place where taxpayers expect to see something happen, because it is all about the roads, streets, sidewalks, potholes, etc. No matter where you go in America, the city’s Public Works Department is the place where the can-do guys work, the guys who know how to fix things, weld things, bend metal, pour concrete, and operate machinery to get snow plowed and fallen trees out of the roads.

Except here in Harrisburg, it seems our city Public Works employees don’t do much of that kind of work on their own building. And it turns out the city won’t pay the owner the rent the city agreed to pay.

Folks, this is a failed government. This is a failed city. When the government cannot or will not pay its most basic bills, or properly run its most basic departments and school functions, then we have a failed government. Plain and simple.

And like almost every other American city with high taxes, poor services, failed schools, and bad government, Harrisburg shares the distinction of being overwhelmingly Democrat, black, and poor. And yet… black people run very few of the city’s functions! Those jobs are reserved for the oh-so-sophisticated White Liberals, who lord it over their Democrat plantation serfs like they are running one of their old Democrat plantations back in the 1850s Deep South.

This abject failure is the price of having just one political party in power, endlessly and forever. That one political party is the Democrat Party.

At some point, city residents will begin to ask the simple question: “What have I got to lose by voting for a different political party that has different ideas of how to run things?”

To my black city neighbors, all I can say is that the solution to this bad situation is fully in your hands. You are the majority of the voters here. If you want things to change for the better, and we know you do, then you can start voting differently. Vote for candidates who represent different values and behaviors than the same-old White Liberals who have led you down this proverbial garden path for how many decades….

Dauphin County 2018 Millage July

Why I am Suing Mayor Papenfuse

The following op-ed was published at www.pennlive.com, which is the new digital version of the former Patriot News newspaper. What I submitted  was edited a bit by the staff there, and they mis-spelled attorney Josh Prince’s name, among other mistakes or omissions. If you are interested in seeing the difference of thinking between liberals and conservatives, you are encouraged to read the comments section following the letter.  The conservatives keep on repeating the same basic, accurate facts, the same simple logic, and the liberals keep talking about their feelings, going off-topic, mocking and commenting on physical appearance.  This is one of those moments where taxpayers can get a glimpse of the failure of America’s educational system, where critical thinking has been thrown overboard in favor of teaching students to be politically correct on issues, like government overreach on gun ownership.

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/04/heres_why_im_suing_to_stop_pap.html#incart_2box_opinion

Harrisburg City makes legal mistake after legal mistake

I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Harrisburg City, over his unwillingness to comply with longstanding state law and remove anti-gun ordinances from the city laws.

Papenfuse is a 1960s-1970s-style liberal, for whom ignoring the law, subverting the law, abandoning the law, undermining the law all represent some vague “Yeah, man!” hippie stand against laws he personally believes are wrong.

The problem with this approach is that once elected to office, a mayor cannot pick and choose which laws to follow or ignore.  The rule of law requires that all laws be upheld equally, or changed through the political process.

Being an elected leader means that you accept the legal and law-making process.  But then again, Papenfuse is an adoring fan of Obama, who also believes that he is a Government of One, able to do whatever he wants, rule by fiat, contrary to democratic norms.

Under Papenfuse’s hippie-fist-in-the-air don’t-have-a-care approach, Harrisburg City is making huge legal mistakes right and left in this lawsuit.

Two days ago, our attorney, Josh Prince, scored a default judgment against the city for $21,000 plus additional costs.  The city lawyers failed to file the correct paper work, failed to correctly fill out the paper work they did file, and missed key deadlines, and so the city failed on many counts to respond in court to legal documents presented to them.

While Papenfuse struts and preens to prove some undemocratic point, the city taxpayers are on the hook for ever increasing amounts of legal fees and judgments.  Eric fails, and the taxpayers here pay for his arrogant attitude.

If this is not failed government, then nothing is.

The day after

The day after Netanyahu’s historic speech before the US Congress, people who care about real things, for good or for bad, are doing 180-degree analyses of its impact, the merits of the policy he advocated, the audiences he addressed, the politics behind, surrounding, and in front of him, and implications of a nuclear Iran for America.

Shocking was the news blackout by the major TV networks and NPR/PBS.

While Netanyahu was speaking, I dialed into WITF, the local NPR affiliate here in Harrisburg.  Instead of listening to Netanyahu speak, as any listener would normally expect if any other head of state were addressing Congress, I was treated to a sarcastic discussion about health care by advocates for ObamaCare.

NPR is already an especially egregious mis-use of taxpayer money, and this one latest example serves to illustrate how corrupt and intellectually bankrupt NPR, PBS, and their affiliate stations are, despite couching themselves as sources of real debate and substance.

NPR’s news blackout of Netanyahu is done for one reason: To serve the interests of the Obama Administration, which itself not only did not attend the speech, but also issued empty, juvenile statements immediately after Netanyahu finished.

If you are NPR and you are blacking out Netanyahu’s speech, then you are not a real news organization.  Rather, you are a political activist, an advocate, far from some kind of fair-minded arbiter of plain fact that you represent yourself to be.

Likewise, here in Harrisburg, the staff of the Patriot News has fallen all over themselves to protect Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse from the legal fallout of his decision to hold onto illegal anti-gun ordinances.

I am a plaintiff in a suit against the city over these illegal ordinances.  Yesterday our attorney Josh Prince scored a default judgment against Harrisburg City.

When people like Mayor Papenfuse engage in official lawless behavior, it’s not some sort of hip civil disobedience, it’s tyranny.  Government must absolutely live by its laws.  Papenfuse believes he is above the law, and that deserves a broadside by newspapers everywhere.  But like NPR and the mainstream media’s blackout treatment of Netanyahu, the Patriot News serves a different master – liberals at war with the foundations of Western Civilization. So Papenfuse gets away with legal murder.  Iran readies to commit nuclear genocide.

That is a hell of a thing to confront first thing in the day.

 

Justice in Palestine, by way of Harrisburg, PA

Palestine may never have been a country in history, and there may never have been a “Palestinian people” before 1968, but by God, there are a lot of calls for Justice in Palestine, and this past week, we finally got a good dose of it.

Benjamin Blutstein was the kind of young guy who pushed just about every button I have.  He wore his hair long, he had huge discs pierced into his ear lobes, he may have had a nose stud or nose earring, he wore frayed hipster clothes that mocked everyone around him, and he was a little arrogant, like I had been (maybe still am a bit?) when I was 20.

While I had watched him grow up, I did not know Ben well.  But I know his parents well, Dr. Katherine Baker and Dr. Richard Blutstein, an interesting and intellectual couple here in Harrisburg.  Katherine and I share an interest in environmental health, and Richard is our family pediatrician.  Richard has come a long way on the gun control issue, and many other political issues, over the past few years, and I enjoy his company a lot, while Katherine and I typically quickly deviate from environmental issues into taste testing Scotches and fine bourbons with many a toast and Brogueish “To Your Health”s.

When our home became one with the Susquehanna River and flooded in September 2011, Katherine and Richard took in our family for over a week.

These are great people, and while Ben may have been typical for his age and education, he was unusual in that he was a committed religious person who was also skilled with ear-splitting music that won him a surprising amount of respect among his peers.

A month after I had been sitting and talking with Ben, he was dead, killed by a large steel bolt blasted from a pipe bomb and which tore a hole through his jugular vein and killed him (and many others in his presence) instantly.

He had been sitting in a college cafeteria in Israel, with other American students.

Ben was the victim of a Muslim Arab terrorist affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, a successfully corrupt and semi-official terrorist organization backed by the European Union, Quakers, liberal Jews, American idiots, and bigots everywhere.

This past week a jury rendered a verdict in the murder case Ben’s family and nine other victims’ families had brought against the PA: Guilty as sin, you murderous bastards.

The award? Six hundred million US dollars, which even by today’s devalued standard is still a lot of money.

While much legal wrangling remains, the fact is that the scumbag terrorists at the PA are on the hook for a lot of money, much of it likely to come from US  and European taxpayers, ironically, to cover the costs of its peaceful religion.

In a region where nearly every single Jew was subject to the usual Muslim Arab Apartheid and forcefully ejected, between the 1920s and the 1950s, from their farms, their homes, their lands and their businesses — all still today under a violent, illegal, and uncompensated Muslim Arab occupation*, and can we now please admit that the regional Christians are also undergoing the same systemic Muslim Arab Apartheid treatment, we finally have a shred of justice.

For once, I say Thank God for Justice in Palestine!

__________________________________________

*The irony of the one million Jewish refugees from Muslim and Arab countries is pretty rich, because as soon as they landed in Israel, much of it purchased by Jews and Christians, the same people who had just torched their homes and stolen everything they had actually accused them of being guilty of the crime of occupation and, now rounded up into the Middle East’s only ghetto, named Israel, the Jews once again became a scapegoat and the sadist’s favorite target, an unjust political farce continuing to this very moment.

409+

Last week, under pressure to perform at an adult, professional level, the senior staff at the NCAA folded right before appearing in court.

The discovery phase of a lawsuit brought against the NCAA for its disproportionate over-correction of Penn State University was about to begin, and with a handful of damning NCAA emails already in hand, the meaty part of discovery would have exposed the heavy handed NCAA overlords for what they are: Incompetent, vacuous bullies.

The fictional Louis Freeh “report” aka Hit Piece and Flaming Bomb Meant to Humble Penn State has gradually yielded to the collective bits of disbelief and basic deductive logic surrounding the Joe Paterno Assassination aka The Oxbow Incident.

Knowing now what we already knew two years ago, the NCAA storm trooper and tactical nuke assault on one of the very few pristine colleges in the nation has blown up in the NCAA’s own face.

Yes, we got our 409 wins back, but we deserve so much more.

And to have undergone so much knee-jerk reaction injustice…..Penn State deserves compensation, to be made whole, to get back what we lost, if it’s remotely possible.

I want blood.

I want guts.

I want a shred of public justice for Joe Paterno and Penn State, and for the student athletes immorally saddled with faux guilt from the sick, distant actions of a man they’d never met, let alone heard of (Jerry Sandusky).

To begin with, the Joe Paterno statue immediately goes back to its original prominent place on campus.

Then, every member of the PSU board involved in the debacle issues a personal, hand written apology. And then each resigns. I’ve got a few names to go with that demand.

Then each NCAA staff member associated with the debacle issues a hand written apology, and then resigns.

That’s what real leaders do when they fail badly.

And for those folks who really want to demonstrate their earnest attitude, I’ve got some old Japanese swords you can fall on. I’m tempted to serve as your second….to ensure a clean ending, of course.

A clean ending to a tragedy, a failure to protect little boys, a failure to act like grown men and women and apply justice carefully, a failure to protect the grown boys on the team and the many professional educators and students unfairly tarnished by the NCAA’s hasty, shoot-first-ask-questions-never attitude.

And then there’s the scholarships, the bowl money PSU lost. The opportunities unfairly crushed. How do we get all that back?

And Mr Louis Freeh, you may be ex-FBI, but I’m ex-Penn State Nittany Lion. Don’t meet me in a dark alley.

Big win for Perry County, and all Pennsylvanians

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Sheriff Carl Nace extremely well, and this afternoon he achieved a dismissal of the frivolous lawsuit brought by the Perry County auditors.

Recall that their suit sought personal information of concealed carry permit holders in Perry County, contrary to two different state laws.

Judge Zanic called the lawsuit “a fishing expedition.”

Here is the URL to Prince’s statement: http://blog.princelaw.com/2014/09/08/perry-county-auditors-complaint-dismissed/

Let’s look forward to the rally for Sheriff Nace, who stood strong for the people’s liberty. And let’s look forward to making the auditors pay for the unnecessary financial costs they foisted upon the Perry County taxpayers.

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

Perry County Ground Zero, Round II

By Josh First

Perry County, Pennsylvania, may be a deeply rural and tranquil place with just two traffic lights, but it is Ground Zero for the latest battle over your Constitutional gun rights.

The results of this battle have enormous implications for all Pennsylvanians, irrespective of where they live, because any legal holding will eventually apply not just to one county, but all counties and all citizens.

Unquestionably acting on political goals, the three county auditors recently sued the county sheriff, Carl Nace, demanding that he provide the names and addresses of concealed carry permit applicants his office processes. Nace refused, citing state law which seems crystal clear on the subject.

Much has been written here and elsewhere about this lawsuit and its genesis, so I will not re-trace those steps, but it is valuable to report back on where things stand as of yesterday.

Yesterday a hearing was held in New Bloomfield, Perry County’s seat of local government, on the auditors’ lawsuit against Nace. The hearing was intended to give both parties an opportunity to argue their case before a judge. The three county auditors are the plaintiff, and Sheriff Nace is the defendant.

I sat literally front and center in the court room, accompanied by Carl Fox and Jim Lucas, among many other wonderful citizens, activists, and concerned citizens. Carl Fox is president of the Duncannon Sportsman’s Association, and Jim Lucas is an engineer and well known political activist. Both Carl and Jim are involved in supporting Sheriff Nace and determining the background to the lawsuit. Both men believe the lawsuit has political purposes and goals, and is not some innocent procedural cause in the interest of perfect auditing everywhere.

Attorney Joshua Prince represented Nace, and attorney Craig Staudenmaier represented the three county auditors. The auditors were not present, either at the court house, nor at the hearing. Nace sat with his attorney in the court room.

Judge George Zanic sat directly in front of me with a clear line of sight between us, and I hope he wasn’t put off by my large prescription sunglasses, which I wear to keep summertime migraine headaches at bay, even inside. With my new, white, grizzled beard, wrap-around sunglasses, and unkempt end-of-summer hair, several people I already know approached me to learn who I was. One asked me if I was there for “the opposition,” and then laughed out loud when he realized who I was. That beard is coming off today! And yes, this is an indication that I am having a hard time letting go of the fantastic, if exhausting, summer I spent with my wife, kids, and friends.

Judge Zanic boiled down the entire argument to two points, one in each set of motions filed by each party. Zanic appeared most curious and skeptical about attorney Craig Staudenmaier’s assertions and claims about the need for the information, and the deficiency he says the county audit suffers from without the applicants’ names and addresses. More questions were asked of Staudenmaier than of Prince, and those questions for Staudenmaier were more pointed than those posed by the judge to Prince.

The judge was clearly having trouble understanding the plaintiff’s demand, or the need for the demand in the first place.

Citing general auditing standards, Judge Zanic referred to his own experience as a professional and as a former district attorney. Zanic disagreed with Staudenmaier about what information is necessary for any audit, let alone a county audit that was successfully completed by another firm when the auditors failed to do their own.

Prince did an excellent job in all respects, demonstrating a clear and quick knowledge of the governing statute, related laws, and the facts. Prince was articulate, clearly well prepared, and he stayed with Nace after the judge departed; both men answered questions from citizens and reporters.

Staudenmaier was often halting in his explanations, seemingly confused at times, and he argued in circles, often failing to directly answer the judge’s pointed questions. Some of his answers were rudimentary and elicited grumpy mutters from the audience. As soon as the judge left, Staudenmaier shot out of his seat, grabbed his papers, and fled out the back of the court house, through a hallway and door off limits to the audience. He took no questions from anyone in the court room, nor from anyone outside the court house.

Channels 43 and 27 were there, as was the Patriot News. Kudos to reporter Dennis Owens for pointing out that the auditors were not present at their own hearing, which is unnecessarily costing the county taxpayers a lot of money.  Their absence raises questions about just how seriously they take all this mess they have created.

Uniformed sheriffs and deputies from at least 15 counties were in attendance, in support of Sheriff Nace.

The court room was about 85% full.

“I hope to have a decision for you very soon,” said Judge Zanic.

Here is my take-away:

1) A person can draw their own conclusions about the quality or necessity of elected officials who take taxpayer money, who initiate unnecessary and expensive litigation, and who then do not show up in public or even at their own hearing. You cannot kick the hornet’s nest without getting stung, and then complain about it, but that is what these three auditors are doing. What they have said, and what their spokesman attorney Craig Staudenmaier has said, is that these three feel unhappy about the negative reactions their citizens have had over this lawsuit. Some counties do not have auditors, and it seems that the three in Perry County have proven they are either unfit or not needed. Perry County should either eliminate the office of county auditor, or vote these three out of office.

2) Perry County should do everything it can to determine who is behind the auditors’ lawsuit, including determining who paid Staudenmaier. This should be done to determine what political forces are in play (CeaseFirePA? Bloomberg? Soros? The Democratic Party of Pennsylvania? A local elected official?), and why they are present, and also let’s see if the people who started this expensive mess can then be held accountable and pay for it out of their own pockets.

3) Perry County should prepare to recover any costs or legal fees associated with this lawsuit, whether from the three auditors or from someone else who may be accountable. I think that Joshua Prince is representing Sheriff Nace for free, but no one should have to spend time defending someone from a frivolous lawsuit at their sole expense.

 

 

Ken Matthews, local reporter extraordinaire

WHP580 AM radio has long been a source of news for those hungry for accurate reporting outside of the establishment media liberal agenda.

Bob Durgin was the lovable, garrulous, crotchety, cowboy hat wearing local man-on-the-street news guy from 3:00 to 6:00 daily, and his news items shaped a good deal of local, regional, and state politics.  Because Durgin worked in the state capital region, he was listened to by a population of political activists.  So when the PA state legislature midnight pay raise happened, Durgin was on the soap box, giving vent to his frustration.  He inspired an entire movement and generation of political activists; existing activists like Gene Stilp, Russ Diamond, and Eric Epstein were bolstered by having weekly access to his show as guests, and often sitting in for Durgin when he went on vacation.

After Durgin retired, Ken Matthews was hired by RJ Harris to run the 3-6 slot.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Ken was going to make it during his first couple of months at the microphone.  His listeners missed Durgin’s style, and they missed Durgin’s local content.  It is a tough place to be, following three hours of Rush Limbaugh, and the natural inclination is to talk about national and international issues.  After all, these big issues best reflect the great principles and ideas that guide government, both good and bad.

So Ken’s callers were hostile towards him.  They didn’t like his style, his voice, or his views.  It was a rough transition, and it came through the radio like a sharp thumb in the eye.

But to Ken’s credit, he dove into the Central PA culture and took a crash course in our ways and our people.  There is a reason that this region is the most politically and culturally conservative area in America.  Our people here will always fight the good fight, and they want to be knowledgeable about politics.

Ken Matthews has now mastered the audience’s interests and passions, and he has really hit his stride.  Last week Ken reported on the frivolous but dangerous lawsuit against Perry County Sheriff Nace, by liberal county auditors seeking concealed carry permit holders’ information. Did the Patriot News report on it up front? No.  But, surprisingly, that liberal activist newspaper had an incredible interview with citizen activist Jim Lucas, after the fact.  So Ken is having an impact.

Ken’s reporting awakened a sleeping giant in otherwise pastoral, tranquil Perry County.  Ken is a hero.

Perry County’s tranquility is often seen as being simple and backwards by outsiders.  As a guy who grew up in very rural farm country, I can tell you that the outward tranquility masks a soul of steel and resolute commitment to American liberties.  City slickers do not understand that.  Here comes the political surprise, folks!  The hornet’s nest was knocked down with a broom handle, kicked, and then a swarm of angry hornets poured forth.  The implications for the 2016 state senate race in the 15th PA senate district are huge.  Perry County voters are now riled up.

Thank you to Ken Matthews, a friend of our Second Amendment rights, and a fantastic local reporter.  We are pleased to have you wearing Bob Durgin’s big cowboy boots.

Court testimony proves criticism of Corbett natural gas policy is partisan, unfair

If you have been following the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund lawsuit against the Commonwealth, over its natural gas policies on public lands, then you’ve no doubt been reading the testimony of former political appointees from the Pa Gov. Ed Rendell administration.

The lawsuit is being ably reported in the Patriot News.

Former DCNR secretaries DiBerardinis and Quigley have testified that their boss, Governor Ed Rendell, was the one who dropped the natural gas extraction bomb on the State Forests in his gluttonous rush to gain as much money as he could to fund his wild history-making over-spending.

I won’t bother to repeat their testimony here, but it is not pleasant.  They are not covering up for their former boss.  Instead, they are laying it all out there, describing how the public interest was subverted by greed and political malfeasance.  These are two good men, devoted to the public interest.  Kudos to them.

Here’s the thing: Rendell is a Democrat.

Here’s the thing: Then, and now, Rendell was not roundly criticized for his public land gas drilling policies by the very environmental groups who represent themselves to the public to be non-partisan, fair-minded, honest brokers on environmental policy and issues.

Instead, in extreme contrast, since even before his first day in office, Governor Tom Corbett has been vilified, excoriated, badmouthed, cussed, maligned, and blamed for everything that is wrong, and right, with the public policies he inherited from the Rendell Administration.

And this gets to the point here: A lot of the heat that is created around environmental policy issues is accompanied by very little light.  That is because most environmental issues are innately politicized, and partisan, before a valuable discussion about their merits can be had, in the public interest.

In other words, the by-now old narrative goes like this: Republicans always stink on green issues, and Democrats are always blameless little innocent blinking-eyed babes on environmental issues, even when they are wearing the red devil suit and sticking Satan’s trident deep into the public’s back.

In the interest of good policy, this partisanship must end.  The mainstream media, run by liberals, is only too happy to carry on this unfair, inaccurate narrative.  But conservatives can overcome that if only they will cease ceding the battlefield to the partisan groups who roam it at will.

Instead of cavalierly writing off everyone who cares about environmental quality as an “environmental whacko,” which is the standard conservative reaction, and it is wrong, recognize that environmental quality is important, but what is also important is how one goes about achieving that goal.  This critical policy nuance seems to be lost on most conservatives.

Also, call out the Statists/ Socialists who mis-use environmental policy as a means to achieve their larger Marxist goals of wealth redistribution.  These people are not ‘environmental whackos’, they are anti-American socialists who have hijacked an important issue and commandeered it to suit their larger purposes.

Want to win?  Want good government?  Want fair coverage of political issues?  Then fight back!  Meet these folks on their own battlefield, and defeat them using good policy that is grounded in science and public-interest goals.  The Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Fund lawsuit court room testimony is an excellent place to begin this fight.  It is loaded with ammunition in the interest of honesty, accuracy, and fairness.