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Harrisburg Mayor’s race gets negative – by the Golden Child

Mayoral candidate Eric Papenfuse is loading tons of utter nonsense into mailboxes across Harrisburg. His literature says that candidate Dan Miller is a Republican, which he is not. Miller remains a Democrat who won the Republican nomination. Papenfuse’s mailers are full of heavy handed negativity. Wasn’t Eric Papenfuse the Golden Child? The brainy product of Yale University, unwilling to stoop low to conquer?
Well, that’s just it.
A Yale education is probably a liability these days, as that and many other Ivy League schools teach politically correct talking points, and leave out the actual ideas debate for ‘stupid’ people who just do not know better.
Eric Papenfuse, you sold yourself as being above it all, but in fact you are deep down in the gutter. I just knew you would be.
You did, after all, invite domestic terrorist Bill Ayers to your bookstore. That always said it all for me.

Nevin Mindlin Endorses Dan Miller for Mayor of Harrisburg

Yesterday, one-time Independent candidate for Harrisburg City mayor, Nevin Mindlin, endorsed one-time Democratic candidate Dan Miller.

Miller is now running as the Republican-endorsed candidate, because he collected over 300 Republican signatures for that position on the ballot. Just in case.

Miller is a strong threat to the Papenfuse campaign that was literally measuring the draperies and assigning executive positions a day after winning the four-way Democratic primary, assuming they had de facto won the general election.

This race is a rare toss-up. What role the elected mayor has vis-a-vis the state-appointed Harrisburg Receiver (Gen. Lynch) is unclear, but at least it is a bully pulpit. The mayor can call for criminal investigations into the Harrisburg Debt Debacle, or he can not do so. Dan is likely to call for investigations, Papenfuse is disinclined.

With just weeks to go until Election Day, it is hard to know how this will end. One thing for sure I do know, and that is how politics makes for strange bedfellows….

Patriot News Editorial on Mindlin’s Toss from Ballot

“Infrequently” best describes how often an editorial by the local newspaper, The Patriot News, would appeal to me on logic, principle, or understanding of the facts. However, independent candidate Nevin Mindlin’s political assassination by both Democrats and Republicans is so notoriously egregious that the Patriot News stated the case pretty well, so here it is:

Commonwealth Court sides with mystery challengers to Mindlin’s candidacy: Editorial
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Patriot-News Editorial Board By Patriot-News Editorial Board
on October 07, 2013 at 10:59 AM, updated October 07, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Nevin Mindlin, the one-time independent candidate for Harrisburg mayor, is a candidate no more. He has been knocked off the November ballot by court rulings based on the mindlessly literal application of a nonsensical state law. With little time for an appeal to the state Supreme Court, he has decided against waging a write-in campaign.

Nevin Mindlin went to Commonwealth Court in September, seeking to get back on November’s mayoral ballot. Friday, the court turned him down.

Though Mindlin was an independent candidate, not affiliated with any party or organization, state law requires him to name a committee that would replace him should he leave the race. That requirement makes sense for a political party, but it makes no sense for an independent candidate. By definition, an independent candidate is independent of organizational structures that would be entitled to claim an independent’s slot on the ballot.

Knowing all that, Mindlin did not name that committee. The Dauphin County elections office accepted his petition, without any warning that his petition had any fatal defect.

None of that mattered to the lower court that knocked him off the ballot earlier this summer. And it didn’t matter to Commonwealth Court, which last Friday upheld the dubious ruling.

Commonwealth Court used a legal technicality to dodge the heart of Mindlin’s case. He said that the state law in question violates a right enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — freedom of association. In this case, the law forces Mindlin to associate with a “committee” empowered to choose some undetermined future candidate who could replace him, when the whole point of his candidacy is that he is independent of backroom-type arrangements like that.

Mindlin’s case is an example of the sleazy, insider political game-playing that fuels public disillusionment with elected officials and government.

The court’s hostility to Mindlin’s arguments also contradicts a well-established principle set by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in election cases. Courts in the commonwealth, when applying the election code, are supposed to construe the requirements liberally, “so as not to deprive an individual of his right to run for office, or voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice.”

Again, the Commonwealth Court used a technicality to completely ignore those claims under the state Constitution.

Mindlin’s campaign is the latest casualty of ballot bounty hunters, ordinary citizens who mysteriously come forward, armed with expensive lawyers, to press a legal challenge to a candidate’s filing papers.

Hired guns parse signatures for the slimmest possible rationale to disqualify them: using a first initial instead of full name, women whose maiden name and married name are different, imperfect handwriting, stray marks in the signature block.

Even if the candidate survives the challenge, (as third-party Allegheny County council candidate Jim Barr did earlier this summer), he or she has to expend precious time and money fighting in court.

These often-shadowy court challenges to candidates’ paperwork have a corrosive effect on public confidence in the integrity of the election system.

In a comment on PennLive, one reader said Mindlin “must have stepped on the wrong toes.” Another announced, “I won’t be voting for anybody; the best candidate just got bounced.”

Many have wondered who paid the legal bills for challenging Mindlin. But without any public disclosure requirements, the mystery money can remain secret.

All in all, Mindlin’s case is an example of the sleazy, insider political game-playing that fuels public disillusionment with elected officials and government.

Pennsylvania’s legislature could rewrite election law to strike the nonsensical provision that kept Mindlin off the ballot. The legislature could require those filing challenges against candidates to identify how they are paying for all that expensive legal work. The Legislature could lower the unreasonably high barriers now imposed on third parties seeking to get on the state’s ballot.

But as with so many dysfunctional aspects of Pennsylvania’s laws affecting politicians, those who get to make the rules are content with the status quo. After all, they got there by playing by the rules as they are – why would legislators want to change them?

From their selfish perspective, it makes political sense. But from the perspective of the citizen whom elected officials are supposed to serve, allowing ballot bounty hunters so much room to squelch candidates is nonsense.
(from http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/10/mindlin_off_ballot_commonwealth_court_bad_ruling.html#comments)

Sad day for Harrisburg City

Nevin Mindlin will NOT be appearing on the Harrisburg mayor ballot. He issued a press release that took to task the establishments of both parties. Nevin is a threat to the system that fed off of Harrisburg City and the surrounding area. So he was artificially squeezed out in an unprecedented legal move that contradicted established law. Very sad day for democracy and the forgotten taxpayer…

Words worth repeating

http://newslanc.com/2013/08/18/parties-at-center-of-attorney-general-investigation-of-harrisburg-incinerator-deeply-involved-in-lcswma-deal/

Nevin Mindlin for Mayor files appeal

In a show of strength and commitment, Nevin Mindlin filed an appeal today, challenging last week’s politicized court holding that threw him off the ballot.
If there’s one thing Harrisburg needs now, it’s a strong leader like Mindlin.

In Eric Papenfuse’s own nutty words

http://www.midtownscholar.com/home/billayersfeb5th.pdf 
You don’t see that any group asked Midtown Scholar to host domestic terrorist Bill Ayers in this announcement.
 
http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/01/why_i_invited_bill_ayers_to_co.html 

Papenfuse says he invited domestic terrorist Bill Ayers because we cannot improve our school system until we encourage students to become poets, artists and naysayers rather than graduates qualified to work for business.
 
Anybody but this guy for mayor.

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.