Not Much Different…Except When Really, Really Different

On September 23, 2015, Amy Richards Harinath, identified in PennLive as county spokeswoman, told PennLive that:

“It [Dauphin County’s fall newsletter] is not much different from the newsletter that Swatara Township sends to its residents featuring photos of the commissioners,” she said.

Nothing like asking Tom Connolly for a copy of the newsletter. He’s not real hard to get in touch with…being a candidate for County Commiss and what not.

Yeah, um, Amy: it does not remotely resemble the DC newsletter. It kind of looks like you must not have even seen the Swatara letter before stating their similarity.

Connolly compared the two for me: “Dauphin County Fall 2015 Mailing paid for by tax dollars.  Front Cover 6 pictures of Current Elected Officials/ 6 Pictures of current Candidates. 14 times the Elected Officials names appear on this page. That would mean the Candidates names appear 14 times since all three are seeking Re-Election.

Dauphin County Newsletter, front

Dauphin County Newsletter, front

Dauphin County back cover of Fall 2015 Mailer. 10 pictures of Current Dauphin County Commissioners. 10 pictures of the Candidates for Dauphin County Commissioner. The names of the Current Elected Officials appear 10 times. The names of current political candidates appear 10 times.

Dauphin County Newsletter, back

Dauphin County Newsletter, back

Swatara Township Fall 2015 Newsletter Cover- No pictures of Elected Officials or Candidates. No Names of Elected Officails or Candidates.

Swatara Newsletter, front

Swatara Newsletter, front

Swatara Township Fall 2015 Newsletter back cover. No pictures of current Elected Officials or Candidates. No names of Elected Officials or Candidates.”

Swatara Newsletter, back

Swatara Newsletter, back

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Rob Teplitz for State Senate Millersburg Ferry Boat Cruise

Proud to host one of the Good Guys. There are so precious few. Honored to join such ethical and civic minded crew of the Current members of the Host Committee include Jane and Charles Batzel, Steve Todd, Alex Reber, Chris Dietz. Please RSVP as a member of the Host Committee to be added to the list! But regardless how little you can give, we hope to see you all on Friday!

Teplitz River Cruize

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Derry’s Right-to-Know

Why don’t our employees want our neighbor to view these records?

For full disclosure: Rich Suminski is a donor to my current campaign for Derry Township Supervisor.

PA’s Right-to-Know

“I suspect he will run to the press. If asked, the less said on this, the better, in my view.”

~ Neil Shader, Pa Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) press officer, to DEP Secretary John Quigley, regarding citizen Scott Cannon’s request for communications about him.

Meanwhile, Rich Suminski is suing to be able to read correspondences between the Republican majority of the Derry Twp Board of Supervisors – Marc Moyer, John Foley, and Justin Engle, our Twp Manager Jim Negley, Parks and Rec Director Matt Mandia, and HRG, our engineering consultant. He wants to see communications among that quorum of our elected officials. Derry so far is declining to show him, despite a ruling by the Commonwealth in Suminski’s favor.

Call it a hunch, but we will find similar statements in our public records between our Derry Twp employees, regarding citizen Rich Suminski’s request for communications about him.

Suminski Stays Silent

“Since there will likely be another hearing, I am going to reserve public comment until all the proceedings have ended,” Suminski told me. Fair enough. Probably a good idea. So I dug in.

For background, Suminski’s case is docket 2015-0060, with prior determination by the Commonwealth of PA in Suminski’s favor, of March 16, 2015.

Here is further detail and correspondence.

The Court Date

After over 5 months of no substantial movement to comply by Derry Twp, on August 28, this Motion for review of this issue was made in Dauphin County Courts:

Motion for in camera review of Withheld Records 8-28-15

Jill Henry, Derry Twp Right-to-Know (RTK) Officer who is also our Assistant Twp Manager, was directed to testify at a hearing, on Sept 2. Henry did not show up at the hearing, so Suminski’s team could not question her under oath, about Derry Twp’s ongoing refusal to allow Suminsky copies of what he says are public documents. This despite the following “Notice to Attend,” wherein Suminsky’s attorney – Craig Staudenmaier of Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall – states that Henry “may be subject to the sanctions authorized,” by PA Rules of Civil Procedure.

Notice to Attend 8-28-15

Jon Yost, Derry Twp Solicitor, who was also instructed to attend, did so. He met in chambers with presiding Judge Bruce Bratton and Staudenmaier prior to the hearing. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm.

At 2:30, one court official, male with light thinning hair and glasses wearing a grey suit entered and told another court official, female with short blond hair wearing a pink blazer and glasses, that “they went to speak to Judge Lewis.” Judge Lewis is Dauphin County’s President Judge.

The hearing convened shortly thereafter, more than an hour late.

Derry was ordered to turn over all documents to the court and to Suminski by Friday of that same week. Documents were ordered to be numbered or otherwise sequentially annotated, by Derry Twp.

“Boxes” of Records

Suminski confirms that “a small package of materials” was provided on the due date. “It is one and 1/4 inches” thick, he approximated. Yost told Judge Bratton that there were “boxes” of records, holding his hands many inches apart.

Given these seemingly conflicting facts, it is unclear whether all records were delivered to Suminski as directed. Hopefully Henry appears at the next hearing, so she can be asked under oath, for us all to hear.

New RTK Attorney?

Sarah Yerger is an attorney with Post & Schell. She sat with Yost during the hearing, although she did not go into chambers with the others, nor did she speak during the hearing.

Yost told the court that Yerger “will be helping Derry Twp with these matters going forward.” Retention of such a politically connected law firm might be in response to problems with RTK requests, as recently reported in The Sun. The Derry Twp Board of Supervisors’ Chair John Foley has stated, at a recent public meeting, that “We’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars answering” RTKs. The Sun reports that “Foley said the requests have been repeatedly submitted by a specific individual for several months.”

But a source with knowledge of how many RTKs Suminski may have filed tells me “I think [there] are 8 over the last 2 years.” If approximately accurate, that is only one every 3 months. Certainly not enough to warrant a high-priced Harrisburg law firm. It seems someone could handle that specific individual’s RTKs for a fraction of the price. BUT before we jump to that, let’s find out exactly what this extra work load is.

We should do something commonsensical (and relatively cheap), like comparing the extra workload to the existing staff workload, and determine if we need that extra help. Some shuffling of duties might solve the problem. That would save the expense of hiring a lawyer (which typically runs hundreds of dollars per hour), just to make sure our employees don’t show us more than they have to…if that is the goal of our tax expenditure.

How much we citizens are paying or will pay this RTK Attorney, and whether it is projected to be a net benefit or loss, is anyone’s guess. Finding out will, no doubt, require someone to file an RTK Request.

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POTUS 2016, and Every Political Race In America = “CORRUPTION”

Demand POTUS Candidates Call it That

$120 million for Jeb.
$67.8 million for Hillary.
An election projected to cost $10 billion.

Big donors are buying politicians. Lobbyists are writing our laws. America is in the midst of a corruption crisis and everybody knows it.

Just three presidential hopefuls – Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Larry Lessig – have been willing to publicly call the problem what it is:


Demand the others do, prior to receiving your support.

I am a local candidate, who has long called political campaign finance at all levels of both of the only two teams allowed at the table what it is:


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Bernie Sanders: Enough is Enough Rally IDEA

Over 40,000 new signers in a week and a half, and over 1,000 in one hour. The crickets (bought and paid for) on lame stream media over this can’t drown us out. The detached arrogance of The Political Class is staggering, given how easy it is to bypass corporate media nowadays. As they continue to pretend we don’t exist, let’s continue to exist…if only to spite them.

RSVP by clicking ‘Going’ here


Click “Going”

Tentative date: Saturday, October 17

The Mall, Washington, District of Columbia

Imagine if 100,000 of us all traveled to Washington D.C. to hear Bernie Sanders speak! Think of the message that would send! 100,000 people already gathered for Bernie across the nation on July 29, 2015. And we’ve taken over 36K RSVP’s in less than 1 week, for this IDEA. We can do it again, this time together in D.C.!

What you can do to make this happen:
1) RSVP by clicking ‘Going’ here:
2) Click on Invite to invite friends you know
3) Click on Share to spread the word about this Bernie event!

Continue building on the historic success and breadth of our July 29 Organizing Kickoff House Meetings, attended by over 100,000.

We must go directly to the public, busting through the billionaire’s corporate media firewall black out. It is purposely misinforming, distorting, and misrepresenting Bernie’s Agenda for America, and its massive unprecedented growth.

Join us, as we create an event that will tower over the billionaire’s corporate media firewall. We call to action our millions of fellow disenfranchised, disempowered, and disillusioned to join the political revolution, register to vote, volunteer, run for office, mobilize folks to get to the polls and vote, win and reclaim and save America’s democracy.


NOTE: This is only an IDEA at this stage. If we get enough RSVPs (100,000) we will submit to Bernie’s campaign team for endorsement and coordination.
TheBern is surging; not maybe and not just in NH, where he also beats Clinton.

Iowa State Fair 2015 Straw Polls (w/in party)

Sanders 52%
Clinton 42%

Trump 28%
Carson 18%

Others single digits

TheBern statistically tied HRC in NH averages (beating her in some), the only other state with primary polling so far.

New Hampshire Polling

TheBern is the only Dem steadily closing in on HRC’s lead:

Dem Polling Nationwide

Aug 24 UPDATE: Almost There !!!

88,000 have signed up as “Going”. Another 9,000 as “Maybe”.

Spread the word.  At 100,000, we will ask the campaign team for endorsement and coordination.

Aug 26 UPDATE – 100,000 +

Over 100,000 Going. Over 10,000 Maybe RSVPs. So far. #FeelTheBern

Conference call is scheduled, for Aug 26, 6 pm Central Time (7 EST)

Call will discuss how to “proceed in the best interest of the Bernie 2016 National Campaign” (See event for details)

We will ‪#‎FeelTheBern‬.
With no cash.
With no media.
With ridicule, lies and slander heaped daily.

We feel it anyway. Please join us.

Oct 7 UPDATE – Rally Date: November 28

The Rally date has been firmed up to Nov 28, at 10 am.  More info at this link:

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#‎WhatAreWeWaitingFor Rally for medical marijuana #‎MMJ

#WhatAreWeWaitingFor? on medical marijuana #MMJ?


#SB3 as-is will fly through, with a solid, bipartisan majority today, as it would have the day it passed the Senate overwhelmingly. As would have almost identical #SB1182 last session, were it to have been allowed to a vote.

And yet we wait.

88% of PA wants medical marijuana. Of the remaining 12%, 2% are undecided. This mirrors its 80%++ popularity in the USA.

10% of us could not keep something away from the rest of We The People, in a functioning democratic republic.

10% of us are keeping something away from the rest of We The People right now.

And yet we wait.

Vote on #SB3, which passed the PA Senate by a margin mirroring its popularity, and would do so today in the PA House.

Governor Wolf says he would sign it, unlike the guy he beat in a landslide, who said he would not have.

We have the upper hand. Let’s not let the few and shrinking number of opponents twist that around.

We continue to withhold medicine from our sickest, including kids and vets, in the name of some failed Drug War that has never kept one intoxicant from one person who could afford it.

And yet we wait…no more, PA General Assembly. No more! #WhatAreWeWaitingFor?

Tu, 9/22, 1-2 #‎WhatAreWeWaitingFor Rally for #‎MMJ
with Senators Mike Folmer (R) & Daylin Leach (D)
PA State Capitol

…and make a day of your trip to the ‘Burg!

One of the main reasons we need more choices at the ballot is so we can get action on widely popular initiatives, such as medical marijuana, which 85%+ of PA wants.

Tu, 9/22, 9 am State Government Committee hearing scheduled for SB 495, the Voter’s Choice Act, to allow more equal access to the ballots.

Hearing Room 1
North Office Bldg.
Harrisburg, PA

Sen Folmer, the Prime on #SB3 for #MMJ, is the Prime on this truly bipartisan bill, SB 495.  He Chairs the State Government Committee, which is hearing it on this day.

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Thoughts on Indictment of Former Harrisburg Mayor Steven Reed

(Last updated July 16, 2015) – Pretty damning stuff. We always knew our system was for sale. We never expected that the prices and conversations about it were so cavalierly and openly discussed. Just skip to former Harrisburg Council member Richard House’s testimony, for a taste.

I sat a few rows behind Reed at his Senate testimony, when he was asked point blank about his use of a special projects fund created at The Harrisburg Authority during his tenure. His answer, and I quote, because it was so brazen: “What special fund?” The most profound part was that none of the PA Senators hearing that could give Reed any specific info about this fund to help him answer. Maybe that will change now.

And remember Sen Mike Folmer’s prescient quote, during those same hearings. Why no one else thought of it, and everyone has ignored it till now is a huge mystery. I don’t think anyone will be able to after Reed is given clarification of the special projects fund created at The Harrisburg Authority during his tenure.

Folmer: “For the $328 million of debt, there’s almost $50 million of consulting fees,” he said. “What were they (third-party professionals, who signed off on high-risk financing deals) consulting?”

The reason is the same reason the underlying problems are allowed to continue unchecked nationwide at all levels: We are too timid to call The Political Class to task.

Yes, kudos to the persistent voices that wouldn’t shut up, even when we all called him rude and disrespectful. It was really just honesty all along…they oft sound the same.

Nevertheless, I look for this to lead to no structural changes to prevent its recurrence. We’ll pretend it is an isolated incident, and blame Reed and as few as he can get away with fingering as possible. It is systemic, by both broken parties and at all levels of government.

The Political Class – those who fund, pull the strings and profit so unimaginably off each of these isolated incidences – will again escape unscathed. And good thing: it needs all its resources to begin greasing the next set of skids, for the next swindle.

And this may be the misstep that brings The Political Class at least to a public shaming. They almost never are; they hide themselves behind a wall of legal mumbo jumbo that makes their brazenly immoral action perfectly legal, or so council has advised.. But I hope this is the case where they stepped too far…or that we found enough songbirds who have to squeal. I don’t expect any of them to actually get punished like you or I would if we stole a box of Twinkies from Turkey Hill, but a little embarrassment is good comeuppance.

Timely, if not prescient: Mike Fleck rats out mayor Ed Pawlowski link between campaign contributions and Allentown city contractors.

Thank God these problems are finally, at too long last, beginning to be connected to their true sources:

For-profit political campaign financing.

We can have it, or we can have a functioning democratic republic. We can not have both.

I hope we are NOT thinking this is just a problem with Mayors, or with one of the only two teams allowed at the political table (which George Washington warned us not to allow). Just look at the many costs we bear to provide for those who can afford “$46.8 million spent lobbying Pennsylvania officials and $8.2 million contributed to Pennsylvania candidates and PACs.”

How is your elected official – you know, the one who in theory represents YOU – doing in the Great Oil & Gas Lobby Giveaway?  Check, the list grows each campaign finance reporting cycle.

Campaign donors can and do exact unjust reward from those in every position at all levels of government, as a very few and I have documented for years…and as the lame stream media has largely if not totally ignored.

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