↓ Archives ↓

Posts Tagged → mayor

Brown Shirts on the march…Who will meet them face to face?

Across America, especially at tech giants like Google and Facebook, and at university campuses, the brown shirts are on the march.

The original Brown Shirts were the early street thugs used by the Nazis to take control of German society in the 1920s and 1930s, from the streets to the families who walked on the streets, all the way to the top of the government.

Once in power, the Nazis imposed draconian speech and behavior codes, cowing the citizenry into obeying even the most horrendous, cruel laws that followed. Do we need to delve any deeper into the history of Nazism, and their mirror image, the Stalinists of Russia, to understand what is actually happening here in the Land of the Free?

Well, yes, you might take the time to read up on that history, because it is repeating itself here in America, with these “speech codes” at Google, Facebook, and college campuses.

These speech codes are often nebulous, hard to define, and aimed at eliminating the mere questioning of an extreme political and cultural perspective. Speech codes are purely political in purpose.

Both Facebook and Google have been in the news recently for summarily firing employees who even dare to question the politically correct beliefs at each company, who merely question the brown shirts values and behavior.

Another example is Ms. Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington State. Because she politely declined to make a custom floral arrangement for a same-sex marriage. She did this because of her religious faith. Agree or disagree with her, this is her right, but the ACLU and the State of Washington are using lawfare to drive this nice grandma into poverty. These two lawsuits against her, both commercial and personal lawsuits, one private the other “official,” are designed to crush this woman’s right to free speech and religious faith.

You would think Grandma Stutzman is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, but to the brown shirts at the ACLU and those running Washington State’s government, they don’t care. What they care about is driving Grandma into submission, and gaining control of America through intimidation and threats of lawsuits that can bankrupt people for living a Christian life.

And you say there oughtta be a law! Well right there is a good example of where America needs a law, to stop these kinds of punitive, fake lawsuits.

Maybe the best example of the worst speech code is the assertion of “white privilege,” the single most racist statement you will encounter in a full year of your life. This ugly example of racism sums up all of the other, gentler version of speech control, and you can go find videos of people physically assaulting “white” people because of the color of their skin, because that skin color is inherently evil, and bad, and…racist.

Yes, the irony of beating people with the wrong skin color is lost on the people who are doing it, those being the racist members of racist groups like “Black Lives Matter.”

Even if you are not physically beaten, if you do not obey the speech code, then you are shamed, bullied, fired, expelled, and personally destroyed. Or at least people will try.

Recall that about six years ago here in Harrisburg, a non-profit “environmental” organization called PennFuture tried to get a local meteorologist fired from his news station, because he had the audacity to disagree with PennFuture’s assertion about climate change (well, back then it was “global warming”).

This is thuggery, pure and simple.

And just like the Brown Shirts did on Kristallnacht, American brown shirts go on violent, destructive rampages from Missouri to New York to Berkeley, California. This is also thuggery.

On the flip side, try to imagine a large group of conservative Americans similarly forming up to express their political views through the use of street violence, and public shaming, and firing, lawsuits, and personal destruction. This group would be roughly the size of the existing organized speech code groups like BLM and its friends, about 30,000-50,000 active activists.

This conservative group would be highly coordinated, highly organized, with well-implemented transportation anywhere in the country, ready to go where needed pretty quickly.  Just like the BLM, Code Pink, Occupy and other paid activists groups.

Just think about that, and ask yourself how such a group would be portrayed in the media. It wouldn’t be positive, that’s for sure!

And yet we do in fact have a highly organized, increasingly armed, well funded leftist militia engaged in controlling speech and behavior across America, working hand-in-hand with the media. Right now they are pretty much unimpeded.

The Brown Shirts are truly on the march, right here, right now.

Question is, what are we going to do about it?

Who is going to go meet them face to face, nose to nose, to defend our Constitutional republic?

UPDATE August 11, 2017: Last night, while reading a positive Washington Post article about violent anarchists, it occurred to me that something is in the air here. If a little-known blogger in Central PA is writing about it, and then the Washington Post is promoting it, then this is a timely subject. The Washington Post article was full of beautifully staged photos of the black-clothed anarchists, obviously trying to make them more personable, more understandable. In this article, everyone on the streets who is not an anarchist is repeatedly described as “right wing,” though none of the leftists, liberals, etc are ever described as left wing, though the Washington Post needs no analysis to uncover its hard-left bias and purpose. Legba Carrefour is photographed with a wooden baseball bat over his shoulder, posing like a badass tough guy. Whether he is or is not (I say he is not) a true tough guy, or if he only pretends to be a tough guy when he is surrounded by hundreds of rampaging violent packs of fellow fools, it is not important. What is important is that America has a growing problem with violent Brown Shirts clad in black, and their enablers all the way up to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama, all of whom say nothing negative about these violent thugs, but actually seem to encourage them. Meanwhile, on the other side, we have RINO Republicans everywhere at every level engaged in influence peddling, using government to enrich themselves, and essentially blocking patriots from safeguarding America.  Something has to give way.

UPDATE August 13th: If the awful violence in Virginia is any indication, the crazy, violent left has managed to provoke the right wing crazies, who for decades have been an embarrassing and irrelevant speck of dust on our national political stage. They are the other side of the Black Lives Matter coin- racist, ignorant, and spoiling for a fight. Until now, no one bothered with them, because they were meaningless. Intriguingly, Virginia governor Terry McCauliffe refuses to rebuke or condemn BLM or any of the other violent leftists who attacked police, peaceful protestors, and white bystanders long before the biggest violence broke out. McCauliffe is only condemning the two dozen Nazi flag waving idiots and the murderous guy who drove his car into the communist flag waving idiots who attacked his car. To Governor McCauliffe, violence is only bad when it’s not his people doing it. It’s just fine when his people do it.  President Trump correctly identifies all racism and all bigotry and all violence as unacceptable. And so we see what force is behind most of the political violence in America now: radical anarchists and their sore loser Democrat enablers. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are just as responsible for this violence as the goons in the street, because they could easily call for it to end. Although now I’m starting to wonder if they could reel it back in, even if they wanted to. They’ve set a forest fire decades in the making. Can anyone put it out….?

UPDATE August 15, 2017: As the actual facts begin to trickle out, mostly in the form of video of the march and the violence, and review of official Charlottesville city documents, one thing is clear: The mayor created the conditions for the violence to happen. The mayor knew exactly what he was doing when he arranged to have the previously permitted kook right march moved from Emancipation Park (formerly Robert E. Lee Park) to an open area, so that the kook left would surround the marchers on all sides. Also, the city police were instructed to contain the kook right marchers and only allow them to exit by walking through the violent throng of Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA thugs surrounding them. This meant that no matter what, physical contact between the two sides was guaranteed. On top of this, the city police were instructed to not make arrests. So the net result is a city administration that coordinates with street thugs and its own police force to bring terrible violence upon peaceful protestors. The neo-NAZI marchers may be morons, but they have a right to march peacefully, which they were doing until they were attacked by the moron leftists. The mayor is an accessory to the murder of the woman, and the US Justice Department should bring charges against the mayor for his direct role in guaranteeing violence and the suppression of the permitted marchers’ civil rights.

And even more to the point, the mainstream media has continued to act as a partisan political arm of one political party. I saw a screen shot of CNN actually writing “Trump defends racist marchers,” which is a complete and total lie. At a certain point these attacks on Trump are an attack on the political process, because these are undocumented political contributions to a political party. The Federal Elections Commission needs to start documenting these political contributions by political organizations formerly known as “media” and “the press.”

And even more to the point, where on earth are Obama, Clinton, and Sanders? Why are they not denouncing the leftist violence? Do they really want street battles reminiscent of Weimar Germany, when the kook left Communists and the kook right NAZIs battled each other across the country? Do we really want that kind of political instability? Dear liberal friends: You really do not want this kind of instability.

Harrisburg’s Mayoral Race: Not Even One Lesser of Many Evils

Here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we are cursed with the single-party dominance that is the bane of nearly every other American city.

The lack of political competition means that voters and citizens are offered few choices, and a very narrow band of philosophical differences to choose from.

Like most other American cities, Harrisburg is dysfunctional, broke, mostly black, and run by the Democrat Party. American blacks vote overwhelmingly for Democrats and the corrupt special interest groups that hover about them, like the teacher’s unions.

Until American blacks start asking themselves why they keep voting for the failure and poverty that the Democrat Party has afflicted them with since the days of Southern slavery and Jim Crow, these cities will remain in their broken status.

Even state capital cities like Harrisburg. Our city’s school district is the worst in Pennsylvania, because it is dominated by the teacher’s unions. With bad schools, would-be taxpayers flee to school districts where they get something positive for their property taxes. And where their kids are more likely to get a decent education.

And to be fair, while you are more likely see better financial success in a conservative-run city, the fact is that cities dominated by a single party of any sort become playgrounds for careerists and corruption.

So here we are, with Eric Papenfuse as our current mayor.

Eric’s big claim to fame is that he graduated from Yale University. Seriously, I am not joking. Eric uses that assertion as if it is the beginning and dramatic ending of any policy discussion. It is as if he is stating “I am simply smarter than you, because I went to Yale, so discussion is over.”

Yale is like all the other Ivy league schools: Utterly worthless. Yale’s Politically Correct indoctrination has dumbed down students, not made them smarter. The liberal Borg mentality brooks no questioning, no competition.

As a human, if you do not question, then you do not develop critical thinking skills. Simply being “right” on a long list of leftist talking points does not make a person smart. It makes them intellectually inferior, even disabled. I believe this is why so many liberals get crazy mad when they are debated – they simply lack the ability to logically, calmly debate.

I will always give credit where it is due, however, and even sweaty faced Papenfuse has some achievements under his belt.

By withholding expenditures, the city now has some money. And some departments are actually functioning for the first time in a long time, like trash pickup and public street sewers.

Eric’s main political ally, Alex Hartzler, has felt comfortable enough to continue to make risky, low-yield redevelopment investments in bombed out ghettos. This generates new home sales and a new tax base, a sense of security and community. The private market can work, if allowed to work.

Laugh at these small accomplishments if you will, Harrisburg was on a trajectory to become another Detroit.

And to be fair, being the Harrisburg mayor is probably an unwinnable job, regardless of party or of personal charisma. It just may be one of those roles that in the current environment cannot be done well by anyone. The constraints are tight, the flexibility is low, and the wildcard variables are numerous.

A fractious and unimpressive city council does not help, either.

So it makes sense to make no predictions or endorsements in this race.

Even with six or seven mayoral candidates to choose from, it doesn’t appear that we even have a lesser-of-two-evils to choose from. They are all disasters.

Papenfuse has his hands full with city council member Gloria Martin, who may win simply because of  identity politics. If she wins, we may go forward, we may go backwards.

It is doubtful anyone could tell the difference.

—————————————–

May 11, 2017 UPDATE: Jennie Jenkins has been recommended as a strong mayoral candidate by someone whom I and many other Harrisburg City voters look to for guidance and leadership.


May 14th UPDATE:  I learned Jennie Jenkins is a former city police officer. Great! Who was apparently fired or dismissed or who voluntarily left the police force because she was accused of stealing $350 from a police benevolent association fund. She’s suing various city leaders over this and says all charges were dropped. Patriot News reporters say almost all the charges were dropped, except one light misdemeanor that included no admission of guilt, repayment of whatever sum got misplaced, and ARD. Like I said above, the list of mayoral candidates is not super strong.


May 14th UPDATE: Mayoral candidate Anthony Harrell describes himself as a patriotic Iraq war veteran (thank you for your service, Anthony) who supports Second Amendment rights. His writeup in the recent print version of the Patriot News is the first I’ve heard of him. Definitely the kind of candidate Harrisburg needs. But no one knows he’s a candidate, except him.


May 14th UPDATE: After previously waging jihad against and attempting a political suicide attack on the Harrisburg Civil War Museum that caused city residents to shake our heads in mystified disbelief, Eric Papenfuse now says the place he wanted to bomb into rubble is actually “a valuable city resource.”  Uhhhhh, OK. Like we all know, the list of Harrisburg mayoral candidates is pretty weak. This is the best we’ve got….

 

 

Eric Papenfuse, you owe Robert Ford an apology

The following story is found at http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/06/harrisburg_artsfest_veteran_st.html#incart_m-rpt-2.

The other day, a Harrisburg Police officer aggressively harassed an old Marine dressed in his uniform, accusing him of stolen valor.  That is where people wear military uniforms and medals they are not entitled to wear.  They do it to make themselves appear better, cooler, tougher.  Turns out, the old Marine, Robert Ford, was in fact honorably discharged from the US Marines a long time ago, and the uniform he proudly wore was given to him by the US Government.  He had just finished performing “Taps” at a Memorial Day ceremony and decided to walk over to ArtsFest along Front Street and the Susquehanna River.

American citizens cannot be expected to put up with this kind of over-reach and abuse of power.  It is official malfeasance, which is actionable. Harrisburg City has real crime problems.  This is Bad Government, Exhibit A. My God, what is happening here?

Questions about this videotaped and photographed event abound:

a) Will Detective (!) John O’Connor offer an apology to Ford?

b) Will Detective (!) O’Connor be demoted or terminated for his wildly unprofessional, threatening, bullying behavior of a free citizen?

c) Will Mayor Papenfuse have anything to say? Will he do anything?

d) Will Harrisburg police Captain Deric Moody also apologize, or be demoted? Moody’s behavior is almost worse than O’Connor’s, because he compounded the initial antagonistic behavior and then tried to cover it up.

Folks, Harrisburg is in trouble, deep trouble, and unless elected officials are quick to get these kinds of situations under control, a festering culture develops.  Recently I discovered that yet another city agency is once again making bad decisions in a vacuum.

Mayor Papenfuse, an apology from your police officers is Job #1.  Other elected officials should chime in, too.

 

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.

 

If you want freedom, you are going to have to fight for it

Nevada senator Harry Reid changed the US Senate rules last year, which may not sound like a big deal.  But those rules had been in place for about 215 years, a significant portion of America’s existence.

The former senate rules ensured that a slim majority of senators could not win important votes by a slim majority of votes.  Important votes like confirming federal judges, whose stamp on the nation’s character lasts for decades.  Some federal judge nominees are extremists, nakedly partisan political activists who only wear the black robes for effect, not because they are truly dignified and above the political fray.  The former rules prevented those extremists from being confirmed to the bench unless a super-majority of US senators agreed.

Harry Reid’s rule changes allowed his party to ramrod through a whole freak show of kooks, anti-American anarchists, and other assorted wing nuts.  These are not people dedicated to serving American citizens; these people are at war with the America we grew up with.  They think that Communism only failed because the Soviets didn’t implement it correctly, not that Marxism is a bad idea.

Last week I sat about ten feet away from where US Senator Pat Toomey was speaking at the Perry County Republican Committee Fall Dinner (kudos to county chairman Don McClure for getting Toomey to speak to us).  Sure, Toomey said a lot of good stuff.  But then he dropped a bombshell, even worse than his ill-fated anti-gun legislation last year: If the Republicans regain the US Senate in two weeks, they will return the Senate rules back to the old set.

Toomey said that this would be done to “prove” that Republicans are “better” than Democrats.

Well, what the hell, Patrick?  The liberals are playing to win, to win everything, to win all the power, to take over the entire nation, and the Republican party establishment is engaged in a game of checkers.

In Houston we got to see what Liberals-Gone-Wild really looks like, as the new mayor there served subpoenas on many of the pastors in the city, who had dared to exercise their First Amendment rights and oppose the mayor’s policies.  In other words, the only free speech under liberals is speech that they approve of, using the full force of government coercion to achieve their goal.  In other words, we are in a fight for survival, for the basic core of American democracy.  We have to win this fight, because if people like the Houston mayor win, if people like Barack Hussein Obama win, every citizen loses.

Here’s the thing that people like US Senator Pat Toomey just do not understand, that they will never understand: A gentlemanly duel with the liberals will not succeed.

Instead, a bar room brawl is what is needed, and frankly, it is what is desired by the disaffected grass roots activists who otherwise fuel the Republican party.

If you want to hold onto your freedoms, you’d better fight like hell to hold onto them, fight at least as hard as your opponent, if not harder.  That means letting the people who changed the US Senate rules learn to live with that change under Republican administration.  The Republicans should run the US Senate for at least one year, maybe two years, under Harry Reid’s new rules.

Any Republican senator who cannot support this stance is not really committed to winning back the America that the liberals have dramatically damaged over the past six years.  Republican senators who are only committed to the meaningless game of checkers, to the effete gentlemanly duel, what are they doing there?

Step aside, Patrick.  The rest of us are rolling up our sleeves and grabbing something solid and heavy to set this situation right.  That’s right, that heavy lifting is always left to the grass roots activists, isn’t it….

No snow plows: Harrisburg’s new policy

Former Harrisburg mayor Linda Thompson had issues, no question about it, and she’d probably be the first to admit it.

But at least she got the snowy streets plowed.

This is something the new “brilliant” administration is not doing. They’re a failure on this basic count.

I guess that if your election competition is artificially removed, so that “winning” is practically guaranteed, you might think that it’s easy, this governing stuff.

If our streets are not going to be plowed, then what is the role of government?

UPDATE: Fifteen minutes after this post went up, a snow plow cleared a lane here in Uptown Harrisburg.  First time all winter. I cannot claim responsibility, but I will admit to being surprised. I had been under the impression that the city’s snow plows had all been sold off to pay for Andy Giorgione’s incinerator debt.

Curious things afoot in our American republic

Some time ago, actually not too long by the measure of human history, Communists, Capitalists, and Fascists fought each other in the streets of Weimar Germany.

Each fought for what they believed in. What the Fascists and the Communists believed in was equal amounts of totalitarian evil, served up slightly differently. Only the capitalists had a track record, and it was a successful one that had led Germany to a place of such prominence and financial success that human nature and poor judgment had then sought to use those riches for imperial gain and human subjugation.

Weimar Germany was bad for every German. What naturally followed on its heels – Nazi Germany’s National Socialism – was bad for the entire world.

Capitalism creates such great wealth, across such a large number of people, that like bees to honey, the evil inclination of human nature is drawn to it with bad intentions.

Politicians of all stripes cannot keep their hands off of the private money created through capitalism. Whether it’s high taxes to fund government grants to preferred political allies, or outright confiscation/ theft and wealth redistribution, politicians always seek to appropriate capitalist success for their own careers and their own ends.

Yesterday I had the unfortunate experience of watching New York City’s new mayor, Bill deBlasio, get sworn in. De Blasio is a kook, a radical whose communist views are well known. No one can predict for certain what will befall the Big Apple after one term of his management, but it probably won’t be pleasant to watch from Pennsylvania (he is first-off aiming to end the handsome cab business, where tourists get pulled around in horse-drawn carriages in Central Park). And my New York friends will probably suffer significant losses to their home values, businesses, and other investments they have made in the area. Wealth would naturally flee de Blasio’s presence.

One cannot help but be intrigued by the similarity between Weimar Germany’s otherwise unremarkable circumstances, and those America is sliding into today: High unemployment, sliding currency value, inflation, and increasingly hot friction wherever mutually exclusive political interests collide.

Human history repeats itself so often that it’s both kind of silly to even suggest that America will become another Weimar Germany, and it is also silly to blow it off and pretend it isn’t happening.

De Blasio has his sights set on other people’s private wealth, and he is likely to lose a great number of wealthy people from NYC as a result. What is more worrisome is the friction that will arise and ripple out as he presses forward and is met with the natural resistance reasonable people expect to greet thievery.

“Income inequality” is his byword, and it’s just another way of saying he’s going to steal from the makers and give to lazy takers, using the coercive power of government force and threat of loss of liberty for dissenters. Other politicians are watching de Blasio, and they have already signaled their inclinations to follow his lead in their local venues.

It is difficult to imagine a more explosive arrangement or set of circumstances. Once again, one is reminded of either the 19-teens and 1920s, or even the 1850s in America. Such incompatible political philosophies are afoot, banging into one another, and one must win, and one must lose.

I hope de Blasio loses. I hope. To think otherwise is to be against the very American republic that first created the wealth he is now after.

and then there is that political aftermath…

Well, ya win some and ya lose some, right?
My hope is that Harrisburg mayor-elect Eric Papenfuse will deliver on his promises, although the gun control stuff is a waste of time. I am no fan of Harrisburg losing its assets and still not being out of debt. My opinion is that Harrisburg’s investors made a bad investment, they were sold a bill of goods by the bondsmen, and the accountability for rectifying that goes back to the guys who issued the bad bonds. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the municipal debt debacle. This race was marked by the impact of tons of cash, artificial legal shenanigans, and the purposeful delay of justice so that the one candidate standing in Eric’s way could not get his footing, until just weeks before Election Day.
That’s not good for democracy.
In Susquehanna Township, one again hopes that outcomes will not be as bad as they appear to be. Voters who vote against their interests intrigue me. The township school district appears headed toward even worse infighting and more losses of good staff. Property values correlate with public schools, so….. Good luck!
And finally, congratulations to judge-elect Bill Tully, a highly qualified, hard working, earnest man who will be an outstanding judge for all citizens of Dauphin County.
Vic Stabile won his seat on the PA Superior Court, congratulations!
And I am so pleased that the election season is now behind us, so I can get out and do some more hunting and fishing.
–Josh

Harrisburg Mayor’s Race & More

Dauphin County, PA, Election Round-Up: All Politics are Indeed Local, So Vote & Protect Your Property Values

By Josh First
November 4, 2013

Voters tend to get most excited about, and participate most in “big” presidential elections, but three local political races are about to be decided in two days, and each one has a direct impact on home values in Dauphin County, on your taxes, your kids, on businesses and your friends’ and families’ jobs. Here they are.

Judge

Despite performing zero reporting about the incredible primary race this spring for judge, and very little reporting about the general race between Bill Tully and Anne Cornick, Harrisburg’s local part-time newspaper The Patriot News suddenly had the evident deep wisdom and cultivated knowledge to make an “informed” endorsement Sunday. No, their endorsement would never, ever, ever be political ((cough, cough)). While they are both lawyers, Tully is Cornick’s professionally experienced senior by about two decades, has an impressive resume several pages longer than hers, and he is eminently more qualified to be the next judge. Most political races have a Yin and a Yang, a black hat and a white hat, a positive and a negative, a qualified candidate and a foil highlighting the superior candidate’s abilities, and we’ve got that here. Vote for high quality over politics, for quality over the foil, please; vote for Bill Tully.

Susquehanna School Board

How often do we hear of school board races actually meaning more than, at most, how much our property taxes will be rising? Well, this school board race in Susquehanna Township actually means a lot, not only to residents of Susquehanna Township, but to every citizen living around it. Much more than school taxes rides on the outcome of this election. As goes one domino, so goes another next to it. Lower Paxton Township, this is about you, too.

Susquehanna Township was, at one time, the successful Yin to Harrisburg’s painfully struggling Yang of a school district. It was a study of contrasting similarities, shared goals, and an example of multiracial harmony. Not necessarily any longer. The quality of the Susquehanna School District hangs by a thread. It is riven by all kinds of cross-cutting forces, not the least example of which includes last week’s announcement of the resignation of administrator Shawn Sharkey (can a more appropriately named ‘villain’ be conjured in fiction?), reportedly for sleeping with an under-age student. Resignations of high quality administrators and staff, and fierce interoffice politics, have been raging throughout the district for several years. Leadership is needed in this vacuum.

Making it all worse, racialism and apparent racism are at the core of a dangerous and divisive move to segregate the school district. Demands of a group of school board candidates led by Jesse Rawls would divvy up the district’s teaching and professional positions by the representation of citizens’ skin color, not the content of their character or their credentials. Nothing to do with quality, education, or training: Jobs assigned strictly by shades of pink and brown. Sound fair and reliable to you? Making matters worse, Rawls has been alleged to have unrepentantly called one of his opponents a kike, as in the equivalent of The N Word for Jews.

Oh, the sad irony of the magnificent 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, being invoked to establish just another regime of racial control. Are good citizens really going to vote for that?

Property values and much more depend greatly on the quality of the school district. If voters want some order brought to the chaos in the Susquehanna School District, then vote for Bob Marcus and Bruce Warshawsky, whose sole focus is on academic excellence. Imagine that: The simple, basic pursuit of school/ teacher/ student excellence as central to educating the kids of Susquehanna Township School District.

Mayor of Harrisburg

Voters hate making a decision between one mediocre candidate and another. That is probably what Harrisburg citizens face on Tuesday, with the stellar Independent candidate Nevin Mindlin artificially run out of the race and removed from the ballot. Once again, The Patriot News made an odd, nakedly political endorsement in this election that bore no resemblance to the facts surrounding the candidate they endorsed, those same facts reported in their own newsprint.

Candidate Dan Miller is a Certified Public Accountant who has served as Harrisburg’s Controller. He has extensive local government experience, as well as business experience. He also has a persnickety personality and does not always listen well, as my Mom used to say. Collaboratively, and not combatively, is how Harrisburg’s next mayor must run things. Can Miller do that? One hopes.

Candidate Eric Papenfuse has very little government experience, and his business experience is running an alternative book store serving organic, free range, expensive teas. As a former candidate myself, I appreciated that his bookstore became a center of official political debates run by Harrisburg Hope, a political group we then learned was designed to support Papenfuse’s candidacy. But he’s still not real qualified to be mayor.

More to the point, two key things really speak to Papenfuse’s likely leadership direction, the first being his 2009 invitation and hosting of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, an extremist now posing as an educational “expert,” at his bookstore. Papenfuse has given varying reasons why he served Ayers’ purposes, including recently telling me on a call-in radio program that Ayers is deserving of “free speech.” Well, lots of evil people also deserve free speech, but what kind of person would actually facilitate giving them a platform? Answer: The same kind of person who is also associated with Occupy Wall Street, Eric Papenfuse.

The second indication is a letter to the editor Papenfuse wrote (Patriot News, January 30, 2010) about his bizarre vision for public education, specifically citing Harrisburg University and Harrisburg SciTech. Advocating for teaching Harrisburg’s disadvantaged inner city students to be “radical thinkers,” instead of “workers,” Papenfuse wants inner city students to be schooled in anger, poetry, street theater, and activism. Forget getting an accounting degree, a chemistry degree, an IT degree, or eventually a law degree. Forget being a constructive, positive contributor to society who can earn a living and support a family. No, according to Papenfuse, Harrisburg’s kids must be cannon fodder in his, and Ayers’ social unrest movement, perpetually living on government handouts, perpetually at war with their fellow Americans. This is an obvious recipe for disaster for Harrisburg’s students and their families. Let’s ask the voters of our great city: Do you want your kids to be Eric Papenfuse’s political cannon fodder? Or do you want them to get ahead in life?

If Miller is a snip-snap, too-smart-for-you accountant, perhaps too assured of his own correct thinking, Papenfuse is on the cusp of introducing radical, ultra-divisive politics to Harrisburg the likes of which we have never before seen. Dan Miller has my vote, not because I am enamored of him, not because I think he is the best thing since sliced bread, not because I think he is the best candidate hands-down. But he is a damned sight better, and better qualified, than Eric Papenfuse. I hope you will vote for Dan Miller for those simple reasons alone.

Stay in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page.