11/03/2006

Final Round-Up

Ok, ok, I know I've been slacking. But just to prove my point, I've gone to considerable trouble to compile a list of reasons why you shouldn't cast a vote based on the local newspapers' endorsements.

Election day is almost upon us & this state really needs some help. Are the same old dinosaurs going to wake up Wednesday morning with a new outlook on life & sudden motivation? No, they're not. If anything, they'll be more secure in their greed & self-serving agendas.

There are a lot of important issues facing voters across the state. One's personal view of abortion & smoking are hardly relevant for a state legislator. So do not blindly support a candidate merely because the popular local paper endorses him/her.

Visit www.vote-smart.org to get the scoop on the candidates. It's a non-partisan site offering information on candidate positions, campaign finance sources, incumbent voting records, public statements, interest group ratings & much more.

Our local media is doing a horrible disservice to voters by ignoring the real issues & focusing on two hot-topic but essentially inconsequential non-issues. If you don't believe it or feel the previous examples given may be coincidental, just visit these links to see for yourself:

In the 46th district, the PG endorsement goes to the candidate lacking a specific plan to reduce the size of the legislature. This is also the candidate who would choose to raise income tax & sales tax to eliminate property taxes. The other candidate would like to find alternative funding for schools so as not to overburden taxpayers or drive down consumerism. Unfortunately, the guy with the better ideas & more comprehensive plan also doesn't support a smoking ban. Sorry but this kind of logic couldn't help me to find my way out of a paper bag. Thanks but no thanks.

With elections looming, our local media missed a prime opportunity to demand answers from the candidates. An October 11 article introduced the findings of a Harrisbug study that proposes creating and/or raising regional taxes to fund our transportation deficit. The problem with that is 1) our taxes are already quite high 2) we pay a ridiculous gasoline tax 3) taxpayer funds for roads & bridges are continually diverted to bail out mismanaged & unapologetic quasi-governmental public transit like PAT & SEPTA.

Please lawmakers, take more of my hard-earned money, charge me more for gas, force me to drive on crappier roads & then give my money to PAT so that they can raise prices, cut services & pay more drivers triple their base salary in overtime wages.

This is a huge issue crucial to our state & region. In order to make an informed & educated decision as to a candidates qualifications, how about asking their views? Why not ask candidates to provide solutions, proposals or at least some vague suggestions? Our infrastructure is exponentially more important than whether or not you can smoke in a bar, yet the topic hardly receives lip-service in comparison.

It doesn't hurt to add that our state legislature costs more than $431 million per year & our state budget has increased drastically (which dramatically out of step with inflation & with comparable states) under our current leadership. Why isn't the local media focusing on this waste in light of our infrastructure crisis?

And although the PG has endorsed Jason Altmire, they still deserve to be chastised for defending Melissa Hart's rotten voting record in an Ad Watch article on October 24.

The piece states that Ms. Hart did in fact vote with the President 89% of the time (or more) but contends that this is a lower number than other Pennsylvania Republicans. What does that have to do with anything? Her vote is her vote, regardless of what anyone else is voting.

Some other politician votes against his/her constituents more often than Ms. Hart does, so that somehow absolves Ms. Hart from her duty to represent those who elected her to office? Certainly not. It has no bearing whatsoever on the matter.

The article also questions Altmire's choice to criticize 9 specific Hart votes by reasoning that these particular votes all took place among party lines with very few defectors.

So what? As my mother would say, if every other Republican legislator jumped off of a cliff, would you jump too, Melissa? That's no excuse for ignoring the voices of your constituents. She is a representative of the voters, not a representative of her party. If she'd prefer to serve the party then she should bow out of elected office & become a paid employee of the GOP.

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