Monday, December 18, 2006

Grove City Borough: 25 Years Without Tax Hike

Monday night, Grove City Borough Council unanimously passed the 2007 operating budget - the 25th in a row without an increase in taxes.

The property tax rate was held at 4 mills, which is the amount that some areas raise their taxes.

Of course, kudos goes to the finance and long-range planning committees for working with the borough employees to determine what the borough needs to run efficiently and effectively.

It is also important to mention the efforts of Borough Manager Vance Oakes. He came to the conservative stronghold of Grove City and made it better. His first budget is a very good one. Congrats!

On a personal note, this was my first budget as a councilman. The people on council take the process very seriously. A tax hike isn't allowed on the table. It's an honor to be with adults who are seriously concerned about the proper use of tax dollars.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Consumer Upadate Part 2: Grove City Tires for Less

You may recall my previous rant about Grove City Tires for Less and their apparent bait-and-switch move.

It seems that they have finally heard about my blog posting. They gave me a call today and offered to show me exactly what's wrong with my car.

I declined.

The owner, Jack Emery, notified me that the problem is that my cam bolts (the special $80 bolts) are worn out - thus the need to drill out my struts.

Luckily, I know about cam bolts. Cam bolts have a special shaft or washer (depending on the design) that is eliptical - you turn the bolt a certain degree and the oblong shaft changes the position of the part. My Jeep has them on the lower control arms for alignment.

Mr. Emery insisted that my bolts are worn out - apparently steel doesn't last as long as it used to. It seems 2002 was too long ago. My Jeep (another DiamlerChrysler product) doesn't have that problem. And I put my Jeep through a heck of a lot more than my Neon. I remember my regular shop adjusting rear cam bolts before.

When I upgraded the suspension on my Jeep, I replaced the cam bolts. Guess what? They didn't cost $80.

In all fairness, I'm trying to dig into the situation online. I do not trust Grove City Tires for Less. I'll talk to dealer technicians first, then other mechanics, then enthusiasts. I'll even dig into the Neon Technical Service Manual.

And if I'm wrong, I'll correct the post. No problem.

Mr. Emery wanted me to remove my post. I declined. He threatened to turn it over to his lawyer. I informed him of my First Amendment protection. He didn't flinch - neither did I. So be it.

I'm entitled to my opinion. If he wants the post removed, does he think that I wouldn't tell everyone I know, anyway? Besides, nothing in my post amounts to libel. And there is no actual malice, a key component of libel. I am acting with truth and fair comment protection clauses.

He has every right to start a site and tell the world that I am wrong.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Solution for Global Warming Found!

If you're a believer in global warming - the thought that man actually has the power to change the climate of the Earth, and that pollution is the worst in human history - then scientists have good news for you!

It seems that intellectuals have determined a small nuclear war would lead to a cooling down period for the Earth.
Using modern climate and population models, researchers estimated that a small-scale nuclear conflict between two warring nations would cause 3 million to 17 million immediate casualties and lead to a marked cooldown of the planet that could lead to crop failures and further misery.
This solution should please the global warming crowd and the overpopulation crowd. What a solution!

Of course, those of us who actually take time to use common sense recognize the silliness of this blog entry. I doubt anyone is advocating nuclear war to help the environment, but it does provide a great opportunity to discuss the lunacy that surrounds the environmentalist movement.

For decades, the anti-capitalist movement declared we were heading for a new ice age. Unfortunately, that theory didn't do much to stop industry. So, to further the anti-capitalist cause, they abandoned their beliefs to adopt the position that we were heading for global warming! Of course, this was brilliant - the media would push this without question and it would give environmentalists and governments the ammo they needed to stop global industrialization - particularly in the United States.

Here we are, two decades later, and every school child firmly believes the biggest threat to the world is global warming and the US economic engine. There are even tremendous amounts of college students who think the same thing.

Anyone can apply a little history, science, politics, and common sense and determine the threat of global warming. We know that the earth has historical trends of warming and cooling. We know that man - particularly Americans - have worked to make the environment cleaner than it has been in the last 200 years. We know that there are millions of people who hate the US and simultaneously feel guilty for everything that man (read: someone other than themselves) has done to the Earth.

We also know that we've drilled, mined, and nuked this planet hundreds of times over - with no effect to the Earth itself. It just smiles and keeps on spinning and lets us think we are significant enough to matter to its giant mass.

Of course we should be environmentally responsible, but to think we'll be the ones who destroy the planet is patently absurd.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mercer County gets a New Commissioner

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Kenneth A. Seamans, 67, of Wilmington Township, was appointed by the county’s four judges Monday night to replace Michele Brooks as the county’s sole Republican commissioner...It’s the second time in five years Seamans has been tapped to finish the unexpired term of a commissioner.

He was also appointed by the judges in 2001 to complete the last two years of Brian W. Shipley’s term....
Seamans is eager to help out the county, which is a good thing. He didn't run for re-election the last time and has said that he doesn't plan on it this time.

The really good news is that the judges ignored the recommendation of the Mercer County GOP and their buddy-buddy system. Many people applied only through the GOP, effectively sealing their fates. The smart ones applied to the judges. The clever ones applied through both.

What this all means is that the field is going to be awfully crowded during the primary. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Media Coverage of Grove City's Balanced Budgets

The Allied News covered Grove City's 25-year string of balanced budgets. It was picked up by sister paper The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Twenty-five years of not raising real estate taxes was celebrated by Grove City council earlier this week when members approved a tentative 2007 budget of $13,861,351, which will be supported by a 4-mill levy.

****

Vance Oakes, borough manager, was pleased with the budget.

Not raising property taxes in the borough for 25 years needed to be “pointed out,” he said. “I feel that’s a milestone.”

It’s Oakes’ first time putting together the budget for the borough after he left the borough manager’s position in Greenville earlier this year to replace Terence Farren in Grove City.

Ms. Cooney commended Oakes on his first Grove City budget. “I think you understand the conservative way this town operates,” she said.
Kudos to Vance Oakes, the department heads, and the finance committee for their hard work and cooperation for creating yet another balanced budget!

In an ironic twist, GC school board president Jane Rath was in the audience during the borough council meeting. She was there to praise the actions of the GC firefighters, who fought a fire at her residence, saving her house.

Anyway, Mrs. Rath chose to sit right in front of Oakes. Council members and Oakes began to discuss the budget and praise the effort of keeping the budget in line. I can only imagine how she felt sitting there hearing how one of the two political groups in town continually works to keep taxes low.

In other words, the other group continually works to raise taxes. Simply put, they don't work at all on behalf of the taxpayer. That group is the school board. Jane Rath's school board.

Get ready for the next election. Want to make a real difference? Run for the school board and be the difference.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Grove City Borough Celebrates 25 Years of Balanced Budgets

Budget shows no increase for 2007

Borough manager Vance Oakes presented Council with a balanced budget for the 2007 fiscal year. The $3.61 million budget marked the 25th year without a tax increase.

“I’m proud to announce the current millage rate of four mills will remain the same for 2007,” said Oakes.

The last increase was a 3-mil hike in 1981 to cover the costs of the then-new police and fire station.

“There were a lot of people involved in the preparation of this budget,” said Oakes. “Everyone put in a great deal of consideration and hard work to keep it balanced.”

“We’re quite pleased with Vance’s efforts,” said council president George Pokrant. “He continued the work that residents have come to expect. The department heads and council members should also be commended for their efforts. We didn’t want a tax hike to ever be on the table.”

“Vance has done a great job of completing the budgeting process and managing our fiscal responsibilities for the first time,” said finance committee chair Beth Cooney. “I believe he will continue to be an asset to the borough and the council.”

During the budget process, the borough manager works with the department heads to create a first draft version of the budget based on projected operating needs. The borough council finance committee and long-range planning committee then gives input on the spending plan along with recommendations on major capital improvements. The borough manager incorporates those recommendations and presents a second draft of the budget to the finance committee for review and changes.

According to an estimate from the Mercer County Assessment office, the total assessed value of all taxable property in the borough for 2007 will be $48,283,850—up less than 1% from 2005.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mercer County Commissioners: No Tax Hike for 2007

Re-election efforts are underway in the Mercer County Commissioners' offices. For the second year in a row - and the last budget before re-election - the Gang of Three passed a balanced budget.

Amazing. Welcomed, but still amazing.

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Commissioners Olivia M. Lazor and Brian Beader both said today there will be no tax hike.

Ms. Lazor, however, added officials will have to dip into the county’s nearly $6 million reserve fund in order to balance the budget. Neither she nor Beader were willing to disclose how much the county will be dipping into its reserves, or rainy day fund.

Commissioners cited health care cost increases of about 10 percent, salary increases of 2 to 3 percent and substantial shortfalls in state funding for human services as the primary reasons for dipping into the fund balance.
So, why complain about the commissioners for holding the line? The scary part comes when you look at the last few years:
Whatever property owners think of the absence of a tax increase, critics might argue the reserve was only available because of previous tax hikes from 2002 to 2005 that raised property taxes from 10.25 mills to 20.75, or a staggering 102 percent.
Residents should be outraged that there isn't a cut. We need a cut - a big one. When local school boards tag-team with the commishes and keep taxes going through the roof, people suffer. And it's time for it to stop.

Re-election is coming. Lazor will likely not run again. Michele Brooks will be replaced this month as she heads off to Harrisburg. Beader will want to give it another go - but he's up to his eyeballs in problems. Now is the time for change.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mercer County to get Republican Commissioner

Brooks' replacement to be decided by judges

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
State law requires county judges to name a replacement. Applicants must have been a registered Republican voter on Nov. 5, 2003 — the day Mrs. Brooks was elected — to be considered for the post. The new commissioner must be Republican to maintain the board’s current political makeup. The vacancy won’t be official until Mrs. Brooks resigns or joins the state legislature in January.

Fornelli said all four county judges, including Thomas R. Dobson, Christopher St. John and John C. Reed, will participate in choosing the new commissioner.

Fornelli said he’ll set a deadline for applications and set up an interview schedule. Fornelli said those interviews will be closed to the public.

Sadly, the public won't have a say in who replaces Brooks, much like the GOP party bosses blocked the public from knowing how Brooks was selected to replace retiring representative Rod Wilt.

The irony is that the Mercer County GOP bosses won't have a say in the selection. They are able to offer suggestions to the judges, but the judges, according to The Herald, do not have to follow that advice, nor are they likely to follow it.

The county is fortunate in that Brooks won election, so she will no longer be a commish - rubberstamping everything the Dems tell her. Unfortunately, in perfect Brooks fashion, she's backtracking from the word she gave the people.
Mrs. Brooks initially said Wednesday she planned to step down Nov. 30, ending her tenure as a commissioner almost three years into her four-year term. Later in the day she backed off the self-imposed deadline, saying she will serve in office as long as possible.
I'm sure the voters of the 17th are glad to have her....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mercer County and Pennsylvania Election Results



EDIT: Looking for November 2007 Election Results? Click here!



November 2006 Results:

To read the Mercer County election results, click here.

To read the Pennsylvania election results, click here.

To find out about your Pennsylvania county's election results, click here.

Analysis to come....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Santorum, Swann Lose Election Efforts

Fox News has called both races in favor of the Dems.

We conservatives now have a long haul before us in finding, promoting, and electing another conservative in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, there is a tremendous Democrat powerbase ready to run the state, so at best, we may get another Specter-like Senator.

Conveniently, my life isn't totally consumed by whether or not certain politicians are elected. It just means I plan on working harder to make sure liberty is advanced in the new PA world of socialism.

Onward and upward!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I Support Rick Santorum

Simply put, Rick is a conservative. Is he the most conservative man in the world? No, but he is one of the most conservative in the US Senate. Pennsylvania needs him. The US needs him.

Rick clearly understands our national security struggles. He unapologetically supports the troops AND the mission. He knows all about international terrorism and can speak about it at length with true passion. Rick is fully aware that there is evil in the world and that evil is aimed at Americans simply because we're Americans.

Rick fights for the unborn. He has worked tirelessly to end the horrific partial birth abortion procedure. Yes, he has campaigned for pro-choice candidates, but Rick sees the big picture, which is my next point.

Rick is a strategist. He understands that you will not change American culture overnight. He recognizes that the liberals have been changing America toward socialism for the last 70 years. He knows who will be the best allies to make the changes. Sometimes that means reaching out to moderates in the party.

Rick is against wasteful spending. Sure, he has voted for some bloated budgets, but only after they were cut down from massive budgets. Sometimes pork-laden riders get tagged onto good bills, but Rick tends to support the good bills. Some call this selling out, but the system is flawed, not Rick. If the Congress worked as small towns (one item at a time), Rick would easily be one of the best fiscal conservatives in Congress.

Rick supports the Second Amendment. He fought the maddening rules and regulations that the Clinton administration tried to force upon the people. He fought the rediculous assaults on gun owners by the liberals in today's Democrat party. Rick continues the fight to this day. He understands the need for responsible gun ownership in a free society.

I urge fellow conservatives to go out and vote for Rick. He has a position of tremendous power in the Senate and can do great things for the Commonwealth and the country. He's a conservative. A good conservative. And he deserves your support.

Swann vs. Rendell

It's no doubt that Lynn Swann's handlers have run one of the worst campaigns in PA history. It took forever for Swann to declare his candidacy. When he finally did, he didn't say anything about his beliefs. Once he finally started talking about specifics, it was far too late.

Conservative pundits called him a puppet of the PAGOP. They called him a sham candidate not worthy of the office.

It's a shame, too. Swann is a great guy and he'd make a great leader. His handlers screwed this one up big time. Especially against a guy like Ed Rendell - the man who has taxed anything he could. The man who brought us corrupt gambling - before gambling has even started in the state! The man who has dragged our state down further than any thought possible. The man who worked with Algore to deny the military vote in Florida in 2000. How could you not beat Rendell?

Don't take your frustrations out on Swann. Take them out on Rendell. He's clearly the target and unfit for office. Swann deserves your vote. He's conservative - fiscally and socially. He's a successful businessman, instead of a corrupt career politician.

If you want a breath of fresh air, Swann is your man.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Found Guilty, Dems Depressed

The dictator at the top of Democrats' "love list" was found guilty of crimes against humanity today and sentenced to death by hanging.

Every person in the world with common sense is now thinking, "good riddance!"

Democrats are conflicted.

Do they say what is politically smart and rejoice at the verdict? Do they say what they want to say - something along the lines that Saddam was the best thing for Iraq and that Bush was unjust for doing this to him? Do they say what they are thinking, that Carl Rove told Iraq to end the trial right before the election to help the GOP? (Oh, yes - this excuse IS coming soon....)

Unfortunately for Dems, they have been on the wrong side of history for the entire Bush presidency. They focused on hating him instead of doing what was right. Going into Iraq was right. Getting Saddam was right. Sentincing him to death is right.

Instead of taking part of the American victory, they instead have to grumble and hope for the next American defeat. What a position to find oneself. They end up agreeing in principle with our enemies. You can take a quote from Al Qaida and match it perfectly with a quote from the Dem party.

The radical marxists from the 1960s want to take over Congress. Make no mistake about it - there is a lot at stake this election.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Troops Respond to John Kerry's Military Bashing

Once again, John Kerry has opened his mouth and firmly planted both feet in it. Once again, John Kerry has chosen to bash the men and women in America's military - the same soldiers who fight to give him the right to open his mouth in the first place.

In case you missed his comments, here they are:
...you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.
Rightfully so, politicians have jumped on the comments. Even the Senate-hopeful lapdog, Bob Casey, pulled the plug on a Kerry appearance in Philly. Of course, Casey stuck up for him - and took his money. That's principled leadership!

Keep in mind this isn't the first time Kerry has bashed our troops. Upon returning from Vietnam, Kerry slandered his fellow soldiers by accusing them of committing atrocities. Recently, he complained that our soldiers in Iraq were terrorizing women and children in the middle of the night. This man has no shame - nor any love for our military. He's an elitist snob of the worst kind.

The good news is that the troops themselves have responded. This pic is floating all over the Internet, all over the world:


Great pic - I couldn't have thought of that. Kudos to our soldiers for not putting up with that garbage. Let's hope that the voting public remembers this and keeps the Dems out of power for at least the next two years. Vote GOP!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Young Conservatives of PA set up Voter Fund!

Want to make a difference in the upcoming senate race? Want to see conservative values triumph over liberalism?

Please donate to the YCOP Voter Fund!

There are many groups out there that are working feverishly to remove all traces of conservatism from the state and from the country. Don't let it happen! YCOP is raising money for media buys all over the state and we need your help.

YCOP has developed some commercials (view them here), but TV airtime isn't cheap. With your help, we can make the final push to election day.



Please donate today! Please tell your family and friends! Even a $10 or $20 donation would be extremely helpful.

Don't Want To Donate Online? Mail a PERSONAL check to:

YCOP Voter Fund
PO Box 222
Camp Hill, PA 17001-0222

Please include your address, employer, and occupation

NOTE: This contribution must be made from your PERSONAL funds. Contributions from corporations are not accepted. Your contribution is not tax deductible as a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes.

Rant/Consumer Alert: Grove City Tires for Less - Bait and Switch?

Just a heads-up for the local readers...

It seems Grove City Tires for Less in Springfield Township (near the Prime Outlets) tried to pull a classic bait and switch on me yesterday. A bait and switch is when you lure a customer to your location with a great deal, then once that person is at the location, you start to load up on the fees.

They had a flyer sent out to people involved with the Grove City Chamber of Commerce with all kinds of tire and auto service specials. Of interest to me was the coupon for an all-wheel alignment for just $29.95. Alignments cost anywhere from $40-100, depending on the location and warranty.

The first thing they did was put my car on a rack and do a computer diagnostic of the current alignment. The mechanic came out with a nifty color printout that showed the results. He then informed me that there would have to be an additional labor charge (here we go!) to fix the rear alignment.

It seems that they wanted to take my rear struts off to bore out the mounting holes to make them "adjustable." Never mind the fact that there is plenty of play in those struts - I know because I put them on myself and had it aligned by my regular shop since. This custom work would set me back $25 - surprise, surprise.

I went up front to tell the manager to forget about it. As soon as I was finishing up, the mechanic comes back tothe front with a diagram showing how my struts wouldn't work - and then he gave me more good news: I would need to buy a special bolt kit for the struts. The cost of these special bolts? $80.

My $30 alignment was going to cost me $135. I told the guy behind the counter "no" and asked for my car.

They probably saw some guy come into the shop with a plain-jane car and figured they could pull this off. I've been working on cars (mine and my friends') for nearly twenty years. I've never heard of anyone having to bore out mounitng holes on factory struts - afterall, how would the factory do an alignment before the car left the plant? Duh...

The sickening thing is how many people say, "Oh, really? Well, please fix it. I don't want my car to be unsafe!"

Bait-and-switch tactics are disgusting because they prey on those who are held helpless by "the experts" who are supposed to help them out and send them down the road.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Radial Islam and US Media Working Together

I'm not sure which is more repulsive - the way Muslims celebrate their holy month by killing as many people as possible, or the way the US media exploits the US military casualites to further the political ambitions of Democrats.

Either way, both groups are united by the common goal of getting rid of Republicans this election.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Senator Specter Speaks at Thiel College

US Senator Arlen Specter visited Thiel College in Greenville, PA today. He was in the area to stump for local candidates Congressman Phil English, State Senator Bob Robbins, and Mercer Co. Commish (and State Rep. wannabe) Michele Brooks. Oddly, none of them had the courtesy to appear with the state's senior senator - even though all three are moderates, too!

Specter spoke for nearly fifteen minutes before opening up the program to audience questions. He was in true "Arlen the Moderate" form. Below are the topics and the responses.

On moderates voting for Santorum, not Casey: "I don't expect (Santorum) to agree with all of my votes. I don't even agree with some of my votes after I have the opportunity to learn more. Santorum's seniority is very important to the state. I have nothing negative to say about Casey, but I think Rick could do more than Casey can do." "(Santorum) is in a tough race, but we are doing what we can to help him win."

On Casey bringing up Specter's name during the debate: "I thought it was a good tactic (laughter). Santorum is a very hard-working senator." He also mentioned Rick's position and what he can do in DC and in the future.

On the international front: "The United States faces enormous perils." Iraq is in a "state of chaos at present time." NoKo: "It is intolerable situation to have an unstable government with nuclear weapons." The multilateral talks with NoKo and Iran should continue, but the US should have "one-on-one negotiations with both." We should "show (Iran) a little respect, a little dignity" like Reagan did with Bresnev.

On enemy combatants: In the recently passed bill, "I opposed the suspension of Habeus Corpus" and "I think the Court will remove" the language allowing suspension. "There are parts of the bill which I though were important" so "I voted for it." "The Court is the final arbitor," but "I don't like it." If (prisoners) are enemy combatants, and you can verify that, they (the US) can detain them." "They are not POWs."

On wiretaps: "We have a bill that will preserve current cases...and other cases can be consolidated at the FISA court, then go to the Supreme Court" for review on legality of wiretaps. "If the President is able to show, and the threat is determined to be real, then (the US) can do it."

On student involvement in politics: Students should "be actively engaged in political and public life."

On current politcal atmosphere: "We have the fringes of both parties taking control. That is not good for America." The US "need to be governed by the center."

On campaign finance: "I am studying and...considering legislation for public financing" of campaigns.

On ethics, scandals in DC: "Just because there are a few bad apples doesn't mean the whole barrel is bad." "I don't think that's fair (for incumbants to be judged on Former Rep. Foley's behavior). Everyone should be judged individually." "It's odd to have (an FBI raid on Rep. Weldon's daughter) so close to an election." "I think he's an effective guy and an honest guy."

On the judiciary committee: "I asked (Ted) Kennedy why he didn't discuss (the Alito subpoena) when we were in the hall...it seems Kennedy thought he was chair of the committee" (laughter). "I don't ever run into (Kennedy) at the gym. He hasn't been in the gym since the Johnson administration - the Andrew Johnson administration" (laughter).

On potential SCOTUS nominees and their pro-life views: "I never believed in a litmus test. Because someone is pro-life doesn't mean they will upset Roe (vs. Wade). You can't pin a nominee down on how he or she will vote." "I'm against abortion, but I don't think government can control it." "The Court does make decisions that need to be recersed from time to time, but I think they have been a stabilizing force." "I'd like to televise the Court so the public can see the power that they have."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GC Murder Case: No Death Penalty for Scott Dunn

Scott Dunn will not be worrying about facing the needle for killing his wife, Brandi Montgomery Dunn, earlier this year in Grove City. Because of the nature of the crime, he will serve life in prison if convicted. Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Mercer County District Attorney James P. Epstein said Monday prosecutors “are not seeking the death penalty” in the case.

Epstein was able to offer only a limited explanation for his decision, saying if he went further he would be in violation of pre-trial rules that limit what prosecutors in Pennsylvania are allowed to say about a case.

He did note, however, that the decision not to seek the death penalty was made only after a meeting with the Mrs. Dunn’s family, as well as following a thorough examination of the evidence and the circumstances surrounding the killing.

Dunn...is facing charges of first- and third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and three counts of arson.
Unfortunately, with the death penalty off the table, Dunn is now in a position to plea bargain for a lesser sentence. With death on the table, he could ask for life in prison. Without the death option, he could plead to a 25-to-life sentence, calling it a "crime of passion."

Grove City residents are hoping there is justice in this particularly brutal murder. Dunn has pleaded his innocence and has come up with several stories to cover his tracks. Whether or not his crime was based on jealous rage is irrelevant. He was exceedingly violent. He tried to cover up his crime. He lied to anyone who would listen. He should spend his life behind bars.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Up-to-Date Debate and Election Coverage on SantorumBlog.com

Be sure to check out all of the great posts over on SantorumBlog. Click on over for extensive debate coverage. It's the number one Santorum blog in the country!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Debate - Santorum Talks, Casey Balks

I said it before, and I’ll say it again - Casey did a good job coming across as sophomoric and being awfully smug and sarcastic. I’m amazed that he spent a whole debate saying nothing, but acting like he deserves everything.

I’m amazed that everyone on the set could contain themselves.

Does anyone have any idea about Casey’s beliefs?

Santorum did a great job pointing out how Casey simply won’t/can’t answer simple questions. At first, it was painful to watch Casey speak, but the longer the debate went, the more comical it became.

Santorum did a great job of being passionate about his positions - and he wasn’t ashamed about it. He even brought up his passion during the closing remarks.

Santorum simply had a great command of facts. When asked if he could be a uniter, he had a dozen or so examples of bipartisan work he has done in the senate. Santorum also had a great command of Casey’s job - he knew more than Casey on some points.

It should be interesting to watch the polls. This late in the game, it is hard for Casey to avoid discussing something. I can’t believe his handlers are still going negative, negative, negative.

It has been said that the voting booth is a sacred place. When someone steps into that booth, they are all alone with the ballot. When they look at the ballot, very few people just guess - especially for the position of US Senator. People will look at the two names - and they will know how only one of them stands on the issues that face them.

Senator Santorum is that man. He is the only man who respects the voters enough to tell them where he stands on issues. He is the candidate.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Debate: Swann vs. Rendell

I saw the debate…

Eddie was…well…Eddie. He was polished, slick, smiled a lot, and talked on end how government’s role is to help people, create jobs, etc. His closing statement was fabulously done. He came across as that loveable uncle - sure he does some dumb things, but he’s still your uncle who smiles a lot and seems like he’s lots of fun.

Swann was pretty good in the debate. He went toe-to-toe with the 300-pound gorilla and held his ground. There were times I was practically yelling at the TV: “say this…say that!” Swann did a good job, though. He was forceful when he needed to be and charming when he needed to be.

Whoever wrote his closing statement should be fired then hung by his/her toenails. It was, without a doubt, the worst closing statement I have ever heard from a politician. It rambled, it didn’t wrap things up, and it could have easily been used to contrast the differences. He spent the first minute talking about healthcare! When he finally got to taxes, he was rushed and seemed to mention it in passing. He also mentioned the payjacking in passing. Oy!

Hey, Lynn - call me sometime if you want help writing that closer. I’ll do it for free.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scott Dunn has Timeline Layout Arraignment

Brandi Dunn murder trial not to start until early 2007
Descision on death penalty to come "soon"


Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA) :
Sheriff’s deputies brought Dunn, wearing prison orange and shackled at the wrists and ankles, into Judge Thomas R. Dobson’s courtroom Tuesday afternoon for a brief arraignment.

Mrs. Dunn’s parents, John “Court” and Debra Montgomery, were among the few people in the courtroom, aside from reporters and police.

Dobson laid out the charges and the timeline for the prosection to share evidence with the defense and file pre-trial motions.

The defense has 30 days to file certain motions, such as to suppress evidence, change venue or plead insanity. Given the volume of evidence in the case, McEwen said Dunn’s attorney will likely ask for an extension of the deadline and the county will grant it.

District Attorney James P. Epstein has said it is rare for venue changes to be granted by the county court.

McEwen said Dunn could enter a plea at any time, but Misko said it’s “way too early” to talk about a plea bargain.

Jury selection for Dunn’s trial could begin in January or February, Misko said, and McEwen said that estimate is realistic.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wise Words from Ninety Years Ago

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

- William J. H. Boetcker (1916)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Religion of Peace" on the Warpath...Again

The Pope quoted some centuries-old commentary about Islam being a violent religion. Muslims go bonkers, claim they are peaceful, then go about killing Christians and burning down non-Muslim buildings.

Then, to prove how peaceful they are, a Somali Islamic leader demands the Pope be killed.

Ahhh, can you feel the love?

Rush, Boortz, Quinn, et. al. have asked the right question: can you name a peaceful Muslim act in the recent past?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Our Nation Marks Fifth Anniversary of Terror Attacks - Patriot Day

It was a clear, sunny day in Pittsburgh, too. I was sitting in a seven-story office building one mile south of the old Pittsburgh airport. A co-worker noted the first plane hitting the WTC. By the time I check the Internet, it says “two planes.” I’m a news junkie, so I checked out other sites and discovered there was a 4th plane (Flight 93) – and it was missing.

I was not shocked or stunned that day. It was more of a surrealistic dream.

Make no mistake, terrorists want to kill us…all of us. It doesn’t matter if you are a soldier or not. Man or woman. Black or white. Young or old. Conservative or liberal. Republican or Democrat. We are all targets and no amount of wishing will make it go away. No amount of reasoning will make them change their minds. What negotiations can you do with someone whose goal is your death? Perhaps you could offer your land. They still want you dead. You could offer money. They still want you dead. Your only bargaining chip is whether you die next week or next year. Either way, the Islamic terrorists want you dead.

Unfortunately, they are taught from childhood – even in the schools and the mosques – that anyone who is not a fundamentalist Muslim should be put to death. Our only hope in this world is that God opens their hearts to the fact that a life of death is wrong.

It has been five years since that Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Here is a very brief recap:
- At 8:45am, American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the north tower
- At 9:03am, United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower
- At 9:40am, American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon
- At 10:05am, the South Tower collapses
- At 10:07am, Flight 93 crashes into a lowly field outside of Shanksville, PA
- At 10:29am, the North Tower collapses

Over 3000 people were killed that day – office workers, firemen, EMTs, mothers, fathers, and children – nearly all of them were civilians.

The September 11th attacks were part of a campaign against the United States by Al-Qaeda. This campaign started when Osama Bin Laden trained forces in Mogodishu, Somalia. He was encouraged by how quickly we retreated when we incurred casualties – the Blackhawk Down incident. He called us a paper tiger. Al-Qaeda also launched attacks the World Trade Center in 1993, on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. They were at war with us throughout the 1990s, but we were not at war with them.

Our country, our military has taken the fight to the enemy. We have freed 50 million of our fellow humans from the crush of brutal dictators. We have been safe here at home. The first American action in the war against Islamofascism was over the skies of our Commonwealth as dozens of Americans gave their lives to protect countless others on the ground. No one knows when the last action will be. Some think retreating from Iraq will end terrorism. Some think that my grandchildren will be fighting this war.

We are to love and pray for our enemies – a difficult task when you hear them talk about how much they can’t wait to kill us…a difficult task when you see them dancing in the street and handing out candy when they use our civilian planes against us and when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in our atmosphere.

Christ doesn’t give us much direction for waging war – it wasn’t his specialty. We do know that he waged war against evil on the cross. He won. We also know he didn’t let evil destroy a loved one – Lazarus. We can only do what we think is right. Our nation has never been bloodthirsty. We fight to protect the innocent – our loved ones here at home. We also protect the innocent abroad: all of Europe – twice. northern Africa, the south Pacific, South Korea, South Vietnam, Grenada, Haiti, Kuwait, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

We may be forced to do more – as a lunatic leader of Iran threatens to wipe out certain countries when he acquires nuclear weapons. And we don’t know what other things may pop up in this world. Many would like to think diplomatic solutions are just around the corner – and it’s a great thought. Unfortunately, that thought is based upon the modern view that man is good. As Christians, we know that man is evil by nature. We can only try to be good. Some have made the choice that evil is the only way to live. Some choose violence, terror, death.

I choose life. I choose to pray.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

SantorumBlog.com Comments on National News Site

National conservative news site NewsMax.com picked up my comments for their feature article, Santorum Crushes Casey in Debate on the senate debate between Rick Santorum and Bob Casey, Jr. The debate was aired Sunday on Meet the Press, hosted by Tim Russert.
Writing at SantorumBlog, contributor Rich Talbert observed: "Casey was a dead stick when discussing Iraq ... was absolutely clueless about Social Security ... bombed with Catholics with the abortion pill ... dropped the ball on the pay raise ... but did a good job coming across as sophomoric and being awfully smug and sarcastic.”
The comments were lifted from dozens of entries about the debate on SantorumBlog.com.


Sure, I'm tooting my horn, but it's nice to see your work quoted in a national publication.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Santorum Debate Coverage

Get your hot-off-the-press debate coverage here: SantorumBlog.com

Casey got his lunch and his hat handed to him...and the door hit him on the rear on the way out. Nice.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sharpsville School Board Refuse to Reopen Budget

Despite Governor Ed Rendell's sweetheart re-election offer to school districts, the Sharpsville school board chose not to use that money to give taxpayers relief. The Greenville school board has been the only local board to do so.

According to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
The district’s state subsidy was $58,000 more than expected, and School Director Gerard Hanley said at last week’s work session that he wanted to see the extra money go back to the taxpayers.

Hanley made a motion at Monday’s meeting to re-open the 2006-2007 district budget to refund one mill of a two-mill tax hike. Each mill of taxes brings in about $60,000.

But Hanley was the only board member who voted to do so.
Kudos to Hanley for standing up for taxpayers!
“I’d love to give the people back the money,” said board member Burt DeVries after Monday’s meeting. “It just seemed like an impossible task.”

At the work session, district business manager Jaime Roberts gave the board several reasons the tax reduction was not feasible, including several items not budgeted for.

She mentioned a $37,000 decrease in earned income tax revenue to the district, capital improvements needed beyond a recent $500,000 loan and a 20-percent spike in electricity costs. She also said it would cost another $3,200 to mail out tax cards again.
Somehow I get the feeling that the residents wouldn't mind paying the postage bill to get a tax break....
Following Monday’s meeting, Hanley said he understood that the district did not know about the additional dollars until after their budget passed.

At that point, he said, there was still time to adjust the tax rate before sending out bills, which were mailed the first week of August. But he said he did not find out about the increased subsidy until several weeks after administrators did.
So, the administration failed to notify the school board that there were additional funds? Also, they could have reopened the budget a lot earlier, and saved that $3200 in postage?

Sounds like the voters in Sharpsville need to bring a little pressure upon their board members to reopen the contracts of the administrators.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Grove City School Board to Fleece Residents for $2 Million for Untimely Field Upgrade

The Grove City Area School Board voted to upgrade tried-and-true Forker field during the Monday night meeting. The $2 million renovation will replace the football field and cinder track with artificial surfaces.

No word yet on how the district intends on paying for the changes, but given the "track" record of this board, tax increases are all but guaranteed.

Although many would like to see new facilities, the money simply isn't available. Besides, many track runners were born on the cinder track and the football team went to the state finals a couple seasons ago, playing on the grass surface. Isn't football supposed to be on grass, anyway?

This desire to upgrade the facility now comes on the heels of the administration and board complaining that there isn't enough state money in the budget, despite huge increases from Governor Rendell.

Recently, the board and administration cut programs at the middle school to direct money to administrative pay increases.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lenny's Letter Debunked

Let's take some time to dig into the letter to the editor sent in by Grove City School Board member Leonard Clarke...

Point One: Criticizing the Critics - dealt with in the previous post. Case closed.

Point Two: Denegrating the School Board - Clarke thinks the critics are out the denegrate the successes of the school board. Sorry, but they have done that themselves. What are the successes? Take your time...think of something. Ultimately, what comes to mind? Tax hikes, big pay raises to administrators, hostility to critics.... Don't forget the $30 million in new spending that is comming! The teachers have been the success story - shame on the board for trying to take the credit.

Point Three: Students First - board member Bob Montgomery angrily asked then-candidate Jason Reeher if he would dare cut programs to help the budget. Then Montgomery, Clarke, and the rest of the board raised taxes AND cut programs. They didn't just eliminate "Yoga for Beginners" either - they eliminated crucial programs. Gotta pay for those pay raises somehow.

Point Four: Quality, Stable and Progressive Education Plan Needed - Odd that the quality programs from the last 100 years aren't good enough. Somehow, Clarke is trying to peg the board's problems on the teachers, students, and parents here. The same lessons that taught students for the last 100 years still hold relevance. Sure, some things have changed, but basic teaching principles haven't - and GC teachers are doing a fine job. Unfortunately, the board isn't.

Point Five: Waaaah! The State isn't Paying Us Enough! - It's an election year, and Governor Ed Rendell has just dolled out big money to school districts so they wouldn't have to raise taxes. The Grove City school board is raising taxes anyway. What a surprise! Let me guess...it's for the children.

Point Five: Using Seniors as Political Pawns - this is the one point that really irks me, and it proves that Clarke and his ilk are waaaaaaay out of touch. Us "watchdogs" have been saying for years that increased property taxes hurt those on fixed incomes and those with low wages (actually, they hurt everyone). This is a FACT. Just because Clarke has been in academia all his life and probably has a huge pension, doesn't mean that someone making $20,000 per year isn't affected. I have a relative who has lost his house by continually raised property taxes. If Clarke wants to close his eyes, plug his ears, and sing "la-la-la I can't hear you!" then that is his perogative. He has money. He isn't hit hard by his tax increases. He doesn't think anyone else is, either. Clarke is flat-out wrong. Again. If our commonwealth has the second amount of seniors in the country, quit taxing them senseless!

Point Six: Slots aren't the Way to School Money - congrats, Mr. Clarke, you guys got one right. Shooting down Act 72 was the right thing to do. Of course, you'll remember that I stood up and urged the school to vote that down, too.

Point Seven: School District Equal to Business - I can't believe I have to debunk this one again, but they must love it over there at the school board. They love to refer to Superintendent Robert Post as a CEO since he is over a $27 million budget and 300 employees. First of all, a school is non-profit. If a non-profit business were run the way the school is, they'd be out of business. If a non-profit wants money, they have to do fund raising. They have to ask the public for money. The school board (and administration) just takes money from the citizens without asking. A for-profit business couldn't work this way, either. They have to produce a good, market it, then sell it. If they want more money, they have to produce more goods. What has the school board sold you lately? If a business can't earn more money, they have to cut costs. When has the school board cut costs? In the real world, a CEO tells the employees, "sorry, we don't have any money this year, so no raises or extra expenditures."

Point Eight: Poor Post is Underpaid - who really cares what other administrators make across the state? This school board continually jumps off the bridge just because others do it. Maybe all of the other superintendents are overpaid! The school board never considers that one.... I would be willing to bet our district could find a superintendent for $80,000 per year - and he would love his job, love the students, and love the staff just as much. Giving Post $110,000 per year doesn't make him the best.

Point Nine: Post Keeps Saying, "I Don't Need a Raise" - yet the school board gives him huge raises, anyway. Post may sound altruistic, but for some reason, I keep missing the news story where he turns down the pay increase. That is an option, you know. Hey, school board - if you are looking for ways to cut costs, don't give a pay raise to a man who says he doesn't want one! Think of how many computers his annual raise would buy...wow.

Point Ten: I'm Proud to Raise Your Taxes - Clarke ends his letter by voicing his pride to serve on the school board. Good for him - he should be proud of community service. Let's just see if he's honest about it. Put that in your campaign flyer, Mr. Clarke: "I'm proud of raising your taxes. Someone who makes $110,000 per year needed it more than you. Don't forget the administrators who make $70,000...$80,000...even $90,000 per year. After all, you make enough money - I know this because I make enough and so do my friends. If you liked the last several tax hikes, wait until we drain $30 million from you for two unnecessary building projects. You'll feel proud, too! By the way...don't criticize me."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Grove City School Board to Citizens: Don't Question Us!

School Board member Lenny Clarke felt compelled to criticize school board critics (a bit hypocritical, eh?) in the Grove City Allied News and Slippery Rock/Grove City Eagle.

The essay wandered over different topics and had several flaws. I'll go over those flaws at a later time.

Clarke's basic proposition was that there is a problem with "self-proclaimed watchdogs" in the community. As a public official, he should expect that citizens are going to watch his actions. He should welcome it - and listen to it. After all, citizens (and voters) have the right to watch over elected officials. His assertion that citizens should mind their own business is insulting.

- A school board that raises taxes every year needs watchdogs.
- A school board that cuts curricula needs watchdogs.
- A school board that seeks to restrict free speech of citizens needs watchdogs.
- A school board that gives outlandish raises to administrators every year needs watchdogs.
- A school board that wants to spend $30 million on unnecessary building projects needs watchdogs.
- A school board that is hostile to any citizen that dares question them...you get it.

Too bad this school board doesn't.

Friday, July 28, 2006

"World Trade Center" Movie

One quick question about the latest 9/11 movie: Why aren't the liberals screaming "too soon!" about this flick like they did with "Flight 93"?

Oh, that's right...it's an Oliver Stone movie.

From what I have read, he actually avoided pushing politics in this movie. Perhaps the catcalls from Manhattan will be heard after some of the libs actually see the movie. I know the MoveOn crowd is going to hate it....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Greenville School Board Axes Tax Hike; No Word From Grove City Board

Greenville school board showed some fiscal responsibility last night by repealing the slated tax increase for the upcoming school year. The latest PA budget had generous funding increases for schools, so the board felt it necessary to revisit the taxation issue.

From The Herald (Sharon, PA):
The board Wednesday adopted a revised version of the 2006-07 budget for the second time this year. Directors adopted the final budget in June, along with a 1.5-mill tax hike. That budget was revised from a preliminary budget with a proposed increase of 2.95 mills that the board adopted in February.

****

The board’s budget and finance committee recommended directors reopen the $16,207,386 budget and rescind the tax increase.

****

“A consensus was reached to provide relief to local taxpayers. This was an opportunity to utilize the state allocation to balance the budget and to offset the tax increase,” said Dennis Webber, who chairs the budget and finance committee.
Grove City area residents can now wonder if they will get the same treatment from their school board. Given that the administration continually tells residents that "we're due" for an increase, and that the board hasn't shown any fiscal responsibility in recent years, the residents shouldn't hold their breath.

Of course, miracles do happen (such as an upcoming election year), so residents have a slight hope. On the other hand, we're talking about the same board that raised taxes directly before the last election, fully aware that voter apathy would grant their re-election.

We'll see...and I'll keep you informed.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Montgomery House to be Razed

The charred remains of the house where Brandi Montgomery Dunn was killed will be demolished beginning July 24. The one-story ranch structure, owned by Brandi's parents was set ablaze in the early morning of January 14, 2006.

Both the prosecution and the defense have granted approval to complete the demolition permit, which is pending with Grove City Borough. Thomas Construction will handle the work.

Scott Dunn, Brandi's husband, is currently in jail without bond awaiting trial in the murder.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Grove City School Board Preparing to Hand Out up to $30M

During a Building and Grounds Committee meeting tonight, the school board announced that building a new middle school and athletic facilities "must be done." Without determining how to pay for them, Superintendent Robert Post outlined the damage to the taxpayer:

Middle School
- Will house grades 6-8 (Washington Kidnergarten Center would be retired)
- Complete construction within five years
- Cost: $18.5-22 million

Athletic Facilities
- Have field ready for 2007 academic year, starting construction by May
- Two possiblilities: Forker or new facility
- Revamp Forker Field; Cost: $850K-2 million
- Build new facility behind hilliew Elementary; Cost: $5.8 million

All told, the fleecing of the taxpayers can be nearly $30 million!

The board all agreed that they should act quickly in moving the projects ahead. They all agreed that the projects must be done.

Call me a skeptic, but why do we need the new projects? I ran track with some of the best runners in Pennsylvania - and they competed weekly on the Forker Field track. Sure it is the only cinder track left in the county, but it is still a solid surface.

A couple of years ago, the GCHS football team was the second best in the state - playing on Forker Field. Sure it gets muddy throughout the year, but isn't that football?

The middle school building was totally remodeled twenty years ago. It still looks great! The problem (with the administration) is that the building is decades old, so you naturally replace buildings that old, whether they need to be replaced or not. Each year, Dr. Post says, "we're due" for a tax hike - now he is saying it for buildings.

Once again, the district is not being fiscally prudent. We would love to have new buildings and new athletic facilities, but we simply can't afford them. The school board cannot live within a budget - they show this year after year when they vote to raise taxes. The citizens must live wthin their means - we can't steal from our neighbors to build new houses simply because we want one or "we're due."


*On a side note, thank goodness for blogs. This information was announced without any of the Old Media present. Now that you have the info, spread the word and stop the liberal school board!

Grove City School Board Tables Free Speech Restriction Policy

The Grove City School Board chose to table a controversial new policy that would drastically limit the free speech rights of citizens who attend Board meetings.

During the Educational Services Committee, chairwoman Sue Schepp announced that the policy would be tabled. President Jane Rath noted that it should be removed from the agenda for the regular board meeting.

This move is partially surprising, as the school board typically steamrolls over the will of the citizenry. One can only hope that they are feeling some pressure from the public and they will kill the policy.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Scott Dunn To Face Jury

From The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Scott A. Dunn will go to trial on charges of beating his wife Brandon “Brandi” C. Dunn to death and setting her body and parents’ Grove City home on fire to cover up the crime.

District Judge Lawrence Silvis held all charges against Dunn to court after a three-day preliminary hearing that wrapped up Wednesday in which a dozen people testified, including police and fire personnel, friends, a neighbor and Mrs. Dunn’s father, John C. Montgomery.


It is good to see this case moving on to a full trial. The PSP and GCPD did a good job of getting their ducks in a row before arresting Dunn. The preliminary hearing showed that. Good job to the EMS and fire crews, as well.

After the testimony, it will be interesting to see if Dunn seeks a plea. The DA has reserved the right to seek the death penalty. As smoothly as the preliminary hearing went, Dunn has to know that his goose is cooked. But he won't be the first fool to try to beat the system.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Grove City School Board Considers Limiting Free Speech, Part Two

Here's a great Butler Eagle letter to the editor from Jason Reeher (also posted as a comment under my previous Free Speech Attack entry):
GC 'notice' plan is wrong

If there is a way to limit free speech, the Grove City School Board will find it. A recent policy proposal would limit citizens' participation at board meetings, requiring a seven-day advance notice on the subject to be discussed. The intent of this outrageous policy is clear: the board is attempting to stem a swelling tide of public criticism.

This strategy of limiting public participation is not surprising. This is, after all, a school board that has over the last two years engaged in such acts as ignoring state audit recommendations, skirting the Sunshine Act and firing a good teacher for no apparent reason. The board also has the unpopular habit of raising taxes and cutting student programs to pay for administrative raises.

The seven-day notification of intent to speak at a public meeting is an assault on free speech rights. Residents have no idea what the school board will be addressing until we see the agenda for that evening's meeting.

The proposed policy would prevent any citizen from speaking against an agenda item. This is a crucial consideration: If you were to attend a board meeting and saw that the board was planning that evening to raise taxes or fire a teacher or reinstate districtwide corporal punishment, you would be permitted to say nothing.

Residents should be appalled.

Why is the school board requiring a seven-day advance notice of potential criticism? Can you imagine the Lincoln-Douglas debates under such a rule? "I'd love to address your concerns about slavery — can you give me a week and I'll get back to you?"

The Grove City board's proposal is a disgusting abuse of power and an affront to residents.


Obviously, board president Rath is trying to shield her fellow members from criticism before the next election. Why else have the policy? It has never been needed. Rarely do citizens even show up for the school board meetings. When they do show up and try to speak against board policy, the board members and administration become openly hostile. A couple members have broken into temper tantrums in the recent past. One member laughs at citizens' concerns.

The board has a lot for which to answer, but limiting free speech will only help fuel the opposition. 2007 should be fun....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

It's July 4th, the day we declared our independence from the tyranny of the British monarchy. We fought hard, lost over 4000 brave men, and secured our little spot on the globe. Happy birthday, America!

Since then, many more have fought the good fight to secure our freedoms and to liberate allies all around the globe. Thank you to all the servicemen and women who have signed up and answered the call. Thank you to those brave souls who gave everything for the cause of freedom.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Brandi (Montgomery) Dunn Murder Case Update, Day Two

Here are some news stories from today's trial of Scott Dunn:

Youngstown
WFMJ, Channel 21
WKBN, Channel 27

Pittsburgh
KDKA, Channel 2
WTAE, Channel 4

The trial is scheduled to resume on July 5, 2006.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Brandi (Montgomery) Dunn Murder Case Update, Day One

Here are some news stories from today's trial of Scott Dunn:

Youngstown
WFMJ, Channel 21
WKBN, Channel 27
WYTV, Channel 33

Pittsburgh
KDKA, Channel 2
WTAE, Channel 4

Surprise, Surprise - It's Brooks for Wilt's Seat

As it was widely known, Michele Brooks got the nod to replace Rod Wilt in the 17th district. Despite the secret committee, anyone who knows a smidge of Mercer County Republican politics knew that Brooks was going to be chosen.

As reported in The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Mrs. Brooks passed with flying colors as the committee, made up of 14 Republicans from Mercer, Crawford and Lawrence counties, unanimously picked her on the first ballot to be the Republican nominee in the fall.

Mrs. Brooks will face Lawrence County Democrat Frank Weaver.


Sure, the 17th district no longer has a conservative to represent them, but then again, Mercer County will no longer have a RINO Commissioner voting in lock step with the liberals on each issue. Maybe there is now hope for Mercer County - now we can push to have at least one conservative as commish.


EDIT: The Herald had this pic on their home page (and front of the paper) - the caption is mine:

Michele Brooks reacts to the news that she's getting a free car, free healthcare for life, free meals, a daily wad of "walking around money," a $60,000+ per year job, and the privilege of voting for her own raises.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Grove City School Board Considers Limiting Free Speech

Cue up the Darth Vader music, comrades...

President Jane Rath and the rest of the school board had a "first reading" of a new policy concerning public comments during school board meetings. They go as follows:

- Public discussion can only last 30 minutes.
- No citizen may speak for more than three minutes.
- No citizen may speak to any board member, other than the one directing the meeting (typically president Rath).

Keep in mind that very rarely do citizens attend school board meetings. Also, if they do attend, very rarely do any citizens speak. So, why the change? If I want to criticize tax policy, I should be able to take a reasonable amount of time to lay out my case. If I want to speak about a great baseball game, theater production, or band concert, I shouldn't be limited to three miniscule minutes.

This is pure politics and abuse of power, folks. Rath just won re-election. She has nothing to lose by pushing this along. She can use her power to shield the five members who face re-election next year. There is no good reason why this policy should take effect. No citizen rambles on and on during meetings. With this change, the public cannot take full advantage of the Constitution to face elected officials and question their actions...well, as long as you keep it under three minutes and direct your comments to Der Kommissar.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brandi (Montgomery) Dunn Murder Case Moves to New "Courtroom"

As reported by The Herald (Sharon, PA), the murder trial of Scott Dunn will be held in the Borough Council chambers of the Grove City borough building. The courtroom of District Justice Lawrence Silvis was deemed to be too small for the anticipated crowd.
Intense community and media attention focused on the case prompted the move to the larger venue. The hearing is set for June 27 and 28.

Dunn, 27, of 469 Branchton Road, Slippery Rock, is accused of beating his wife Brandon “Brandi” C. Dunn, 22, to death and setting fire to her body inside her parents’ home at 109 E. Washington Blvd. the morning of Jan. 14.

Dunn is facing charges of criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and three counts of arson. He has been held in the Mercer County Jail without bond since his arrest April 10. In Pennsylvania, anyone charged with a crime that carries a potential life or death sentence — like homicide — is not eligible for bail.

Grove City School Board Raises Taxes Yet Again

Last night, the Grove City School Board raised taxes a full two mills. Under the direction of Board President Jane Rath, the tax hike went through with generous pay increases to administrators. Superintendent Bob Post saw his salary jump to $112,000 per year, while Assistant Superintendet Tom Bell saw an increase to $98,000 per year.

At a time when Grove City residents see an average yearly income of $35,000 per year, raising taxes to pay for generous salary hikes is deplorable. The school district only uses about half of the tax income on in-class expenditures, so this latest tax grab clearly isn't for the children. Shame on the liberal Grove City School Board!

Here's a gem of a quote from Rath (courtesy of the June 14, 2006 Allied News): "We gave raises to great employees tonight."

Doesn't that make you warm and fuzzy inside? They raised taxes so administrators can make even more. I have no problem with people trying to make more money (duh, that's capitalism!), but I have a problem when public servants get big hikes when the citizens clearly can't afford to pay them! Jane Rath and company obviously can't live within a budget when it comes to your money, but I bet her checkbook is in the black. If she tried living like she runs the school board, she'd be bouncing checks everywhere (or robbing banks to pay her debts). Either way, she'd be a felon.

Think about that the next time you see a school board member or administrator haugtily walking around the town...or motoring about in their Volvos.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mercer County Commissioner Michele Brooks Eyeing Wilt's Seat

Tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Now that state Rep. Rod E. Wilt has announced he won’t seek re-election, the political maneuvering has begun to find his replacement on the ballot.

Less than a day after Wilt made it official Nov. 30 would be his last day in office in Harrisburg, Mercer County Commissioner Michele Brooks surfaced as a potential candidate and she was quick to acknowledge her interest in the position.

“I’m strongly considering putting my name in the hat for the nomination and looking forward to possibly serving the people of the 17th District and continuing to serve the public,” the Jamestown Republican said Wednesday.

The northern Mercer County-centered district stretches from Crawford to Lawrence County and includes Greenville, Jamestown, Sandy Lake, Reynolds and New Wilmington.

William Kirk, the Mercer County Republican Committee chairman, explained a committee will be appointed to select Wilt’s replacement on the ballot. Committees in all three counties are seeking resum├ęs and letters of interest from Republicans who would like to be considered. The deadline is June 16.


Brooks has been woeful as a commish. She has made some truly bad decisions. She has consistently voted with the two democrat commissioners. She's not a conservative - not even close. She will never fill Wilt's shoes, but she will get his seat.

Brooks has the connections she needs. She's very close with State Senator (and fellow RINO) Bob Robbins. She's very close with Mercer County Treasurer Ginny Steese Richardson, who is deeply rooted in the area. If Brooks wants the seat, it will be hers. And District 17 will be worse off for it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rod Wilt Withdraws Name for Re-election!

The Herald (Sharon, PA) has this announcement:
State Rep. Rod E. Wilt, in a stunning announcement, has decided to withdraw his name from nomination for re-election in the November general election. The veteran legislator will fulfill the rest of his term, which ends on Nov. 30.


NEWS FLASH: I spoke with a representative from his office who noted that "[Wilt] is stepping down to spend more time with his family."

I got the chance to speak to Wilt this afternoon. He noted, "I've got ten years in (the legislature). It's time to move on." He reiterated his desire to shift his priorities and spend more time with his family. He also stated that he was fortunate to serve. Wilt said that he hopes to work to see another conservative take his place.


Wilt has been one of the staunch conservatives in the state legislature. He routinely aligns his votes with Dick Stevenson and Daryl Metcalfe to keep spending low and liberties unassailed.

Wilt represents the 17th District, covering parts of Crawford, Lawrence, and Mercer Counties. There was no news of his departure listed on his Web site.

Wilt has consistently earned high scores on the Commonwealth Foundation Liberty Index. On the most recent report card, Wilt placed seventh, earning an “A” for his score of 88.05. Metcalfe placed first with a 93.23 and Stevenson was ninth with a 77.62.

Most recently, Wilt has stepped forward to support the Marriage Protection Amendment, and he has called upon Governor Rendell to hire more PA State Troopers.


Stay tuned for more on this story....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Memorializing Sgt. Shawn Graham

Memorial Day 2006 was especially important this year for the Graham family. This military family from Grove City knows the importance of the holiday, but this year, they remember one of their own. Shawn Graham was killed in Iraq last year.

Flashback: Shawn Graham remembered

This Memorial Day, the Herald (Sharon, PA) had a write-up about Shawn. Staff writer Tom Davidson crafted a really touching piece.
The flat tombstone at Crestview Memorial Park in Pine Township is surrounded by monuments marking the graves of members of the Greatest Generation. Those World War II veterans were among Sgt. Shawn A. Graham’s heroes.

“They put him right there by the big flag pole,” Graham’s mom Kathy said. “That would make him so proud.” His father sure is. Tom Graham is a Vietnam veteran and former Marine who served in the National Guard before retiring last year when he turned 60.

Tears well in his eyes as he talks about his son. “He always wanted to be in the military,” Tom said.

Shawn’s mom put it differently: “He was probably born to be a warrior.”

He was born in 1971 when Tom was stationed in California. Tom’s unit named the younger Graham an honorary Marine.

The allure of the military stayed with him as he grew up, his parents said. As a Boy Scout his favorite game was “capture the flag” — a war game for kids — and after he graduated from Grove City High in 1989 he enrolled at Slippery Rock University, then joined the National Guard.

He wanted to do more, however, and decided to become a Marine.

“When he went down to join the Marines, he wanted infantry,” Tom said. “It’s something the recruiter tried to talk him out of because he did so well on the ASVAB (the military achievement test), but he got his way.” He spent a decade in the corps, then he moved to Texas where he worked for MCI.

After 9/11 he was reactivated, served a year, then enlisted in the National Guard, where he was a decorated sharpshooter. “He still had his sense of duty,” Tom said.

He married Jeannette Vilalpando on Aug. 12, 2004 while living in Texas. Shawn called and said he was going to marry Jeannette “so if anything was to happen” she’d be taken care of. “I think he knew something was going to happen to him,” Kathy said.

He was the latest member of his family to serve oversees in the War on Terror. His brother Nicholas, who serves in the Marines, was with the initial tank battalion that stormed into Baghdad. Dad Tom had served in Afghanistan.

Shawn finally got the chance to go to Iraq in January 2005. “Don’t doubt the Graham,” was one of his favorite sayings, Kathy said.

“He was happy to be a soldier, happy to serve in Iraq and was happy to be doing what he was doing,” she said. Shawn felt for the Iraqi people and wanted to make a difference. “Shawn said ‘Mom, we’re lucky living the way we do,’ ” after he saw the living conditions in Iraq.

He said he was going to send money home so his mom could buy clothes at the Salvation Army and send them back so he could distribute them. She told him to keep his money and sent boxes of supplies to him for the Iraqi people.

“That’s the kind of person he was,” Kathy said. “He was a leader, he always thought of things to do.”


The rest of the article can be found here. It is definitely worth reading to see what kind of patriot Shawn was, and what kind of family the Grahams are.

A companion piece can be found here. Also a must-read.


Thanks again, Shawn for all you have done for this country.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Victory in Pennsylvania!

Citizens across the commonwealth turned out yesterday to turn out several payjacking incumbants. While many outside the state view it as another primary election, the citizens of PA recognize it as historic.

According to the AP:
Sixty-one incumbents faced primary challenges Tuesday, the most since 1980. At least 14 were defeated, and six other races were too close to call early Wednesday.

Swept from office were the Senate's No. 1 Republican — President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer — and Majority Leader David J. Brightbill. It's the first time in more than 40 years that any Pennsylvania legislative leader was voted out of office.

Rush discussed the situation on his radio show today. He called it a revolution. It started in Virginia, then in North Carolina, then in Ohio, and now in Pennsylvania. Conservatives are taking back the party, one election at a time.

It's hard to beat an incumbant, but several were sent packing by qualified candidates who wish to see change in Harrisburg. It's been a long time since the entrenched politicians have realized that they were sent to serve, not to take, take, take.

Check GrassrootsPA for total coverage.

Congratulations to all of the successful challengers!


Congratulations to Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania! Want to help make a difference? Click on the YCOP link and find out how!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jane Rath's Conflict of Interest?

Actually, there are two. The first is that she calls herself a Republican, then hikes your taxes every year. Just be honest and make the switch, Jane - you'd get along well with Rendell and his ilk.


The second one is far more sinister - if it were true. It is just a theory. Of course, it would be very hard to prove. There is a great problem in Pennsylvania with property taxes. Hundreds (if not thousands) are losing their homes each year because of rampant tax hikes. My wife's uncle lost his home. School boards (especially in Grove City) are guilty for raising taxes year after year. Jane Rath is the president of the GC board.

Mrs. Rath also sells houses for Grove City Realty - a fine organization, through which I purchased my house. I do not know how successful Rath is in her trade, but I do know that GCR has their signs in front of most of the houses in the Grove City area.

As Rath continues to raise property taxes, people continue to lose their homes. As a result, Rath has more opportunities to sell more houses. She'll sell you a house, then tax you out of it, then sell it to someone else.

I would love to say that this conflict doesn't exist, but how can you be sure?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

WANTED for Theft of Taxpayer Money

They take and take without asking. They only spend half of the tax money inside the classroom. These are the fraudulent ones - the tax wasters.


Robert Post, Superintendent







Tom Bell, Asst. Superintendent







Valarie Phillips, Business Manager







Jane Rath, School Board President







Bob Montgomery, School Board Vice President







Lenny Clarke, School Board







Jim Crow, School Board







Barbara Hedegore, School Board







Susan Herman, School Board







David Rothman, School Board







Sue Schepp, School Board







Sharon Shipton, School Board

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Grove City School Board and Administration Out to Steal Your Money (Again)

No, this is not a repost. It's real. The Grove City School Board and administrators are out for your money once again - to the tune of two more mills!

Flashback!
Last year's tax attack, Part 1
Last year's tax attack, Part 2
Last year's tax attack, Part 3

Here is a recap from GC School Board watchdog, Jason Reeher:
Some public officials will never learn. If you live in Grove City School District, it’s not a matter of if the school board will make another bad policy decision, but when. The latest wrong move is the tentative budget for the 2006-2007 school year. As is fitting for a board that loves to raise taxes, this newest budget includes yet another tax increase - two mills, to 49.5.

This tax increase is particularly troubling, because it comes on the heels of two particularly terrible board decisions. The first was last year’s administrative pay raises; the second is the recent cutting of programs for students at the Middle School. It is clear that the GC school board is committed to administrative desires while disregarding the needs of students.

For his part, Superintendent Dr. Robert Post "recommended" the tax increase. It’s funny how easy it is to recommend that residents’ incomes be cut while your own salary continues to grow.

Post argued that the state isn’t paying their fair share of public school costs. This is true. It also indicates a need to cut administrative costs—and not programs for students. The Superintendent also said that the state isn’t paying its half, so the taxpayers of Grove City must pay more. This is untrue. The school board has the power to reduce costs by cutting administrative salaries or even administrative positions.

Worst of all, Post said that Grove City is at the lower end of the state’s public school tax scale, and thus can "afford to pay more." This is a specious argument. All taxes—especially property taxes, which amount to legalized, government-sponsored theft--are already too high! Just because GC’s taxes are a little lower than some doesn’t mean an increase is in order. The thief who steals the least is still a thief.

Board member Bob Montgomery blamed the County for not "having more new homes on the tax rolls, then every else has to pay more." So does a school board that increases taxes every year, Mr. Montgomery.

Board member Jim Crow laughed and snickered throughout the discussion on taxes.

I will ask the board to reject this tentative budget, to roll up their sleeves and cut administrative costs--even administrative positions, if that what it takes. Post and the board should stop blaming the state and county for tax increases, and start taking responsibility for their actions--and their over spending.

As for Crow, tax increases are no laughing matter. His cavalier attitude and this board's willingness to increase community costs while cutting programs for students instead of administrative salaries is despicable.

We should challenge our local school boards to roll up their sleeves, put students first, and present budgets that are within their means.

It's time to fight back. Spread the word.

Jason's comment about "[t]he thief who steals the least is still a thief" is equally powerful and true. You have no choice about paying taxes. Post and his ilk wish to use the barrel of a gun to extract money from your pocketbook. However, Post can make the choice to reduce spending and save the Grove City area residents from even more taxation.

If the board wants to spend money, perhaps they should hire retired GC Borough Manager Terry Farren, who was able to avoid tax increases for his entire 23-year tenure!

So, who wants to be a school board member? Five seats will be up for re-election next year. Fiscally conservative? Concerned about the state of the school? Send me an e-mail! 2007 will be our year!

* For full disclosure, Jason is my brother-in-law, which makes him even more right! :)

Friday, May 05, 2006

What is Your Price Tag for Socialism?

People are angry about gas prices. They have jumped up and stayed up for the last few years. It's been hard on the budget!

Many people take the easy route and blame the oil companies, despite the facts that show other factors cause the oil price to change and that the oil companies only make 8.2% profit...not exactly a bragging point.

People are clammoring for government action. Socialism. It's shocking how "red-blooded Americans" are so willing to abandon the American way to save money on gas. The amazing thing is that a $1.50 increase in the price of gas is all it takes for some to jump into full-blown socialism. $1.50.

What is your price?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tax Big Oil Companies! ...yeah, right.

Many people (who know nothing about economics) are calling for big taxes on Big Oil. Some are asking for a "windfall profits tax" (I'm not sure how you call an 8.2% gain a "windfall"), while others want to remove tax incentives.

Here's a "secret" for all you socialists: corporations do not pay taxes!

Do you actually think that there is one guy who sucks up the tax increases? Corporations are made of people. Employees, shareholders, etc. When you raise taxes, that gets passed on to all the people involved in the company - including customers!

If you raise taxes on Big Oil, you damage employee salaries and benefits, you deflate stock value (do you have a 401K?), you reduce supply, and you increase prices at the pump!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Off Topic - 2007 Jeep Wrangler

I know this isn't within the normal range of my blog topics, but scores of people are finding this site by searching for the new Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. I am a Jeep nut, after all.

So, to satisfy the seekers, here are links to information and opinions about the new Wranglers:

2007 Wrangler




2007 Wrangler Unlimited

Monday, April 24, 2006

Price Gouging at the Gas Pumps

I'm sick of the sky-high price of gasoline. I drive over 700 miles per week, and as stingy as my employer is, fuel costs are out of hand. I'm sick of gouging.

Without any though of reducing profits, they take and take and take. They have no concern about the devistation done to the pocketbooks of consumers. They have no plan to reduce the damage they do.

I'm talking about the government. A HUGE portion of the cost of gasoline is taxation. There are federal and state (and sometimes local) sales taxes, in addition to the taxation of the oil companies as they seek, drill, extract, refine, transport, and sell fuel.

By the time the government is finished, the oil companies only reap a "windfall" of 3-9% profit. Nearly every company in the country does better than that! Don't get caught up in "record profits" and CEO bonuses. The oil companies are in business to make money - and their stockholders expect it. Their job isn't to give you dirt-cheap gas. Don't forget - they only make 3-9%. Microsoft and McDonald's makes tons more than that.

Before you have a knee-jerk reaction and want to blame Big Oil, remember who is really taking your money. They spend nothing in research an development. They spend no time to drill, refine, or transport. But they will gladly tax as much as they want for their pork projects and mismanagement of highway dollars.


In case you were wondering, there are other factors for high gas prices:
- China is buying huge quantities of oil these days (high demand)
- Americans continue to increase travel time for work and vacation (high demand)
- We haven't built a refinery in 30 years and ours are at full capacity (low supply)
- Enviros won't let us drill in Alaska or off the coastlines (low supply)
- Enviros require us to have over 50 differnt formulations of gasoline for pollution control (low supply, high cost)
- Venezuela is now run by a communist dictator (unstable supply)
- Iran's president is threatening to nuke anyone and everyone (unstable supply)
- African countries are in constant state of civil war (unstable supply)
- Oil speculators and traders continually inflate the prices as they see fit (unstable pricing)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Of Checkbooks and Stadiums

Consider this scenario: You have a fine back yard where your children like to play. It’s not the best yard in the world, but your kids perform well on it. You get the desire to improve your yard – to make it better and fancier

But along with the change comes a steep price. Like your neighbors, you make the median household income of $34,598. The upgrade to your back yard is a sizeable portion of your budget. You simply do not have the cash on hand to pursue this effort.

You have two choices: either abandon the upgrade until you can save enough money or cut out parts of your budget to make the upgrade fit. You decide neither option is acceptable, so you make a third choice. You rob your neighbors to pay for improvements to your property - and your neighbors can do nothing about it. Sadly, they are too apathetic to do anything about it.

Each year, the Grove City Area School Board shows that they cannot live within a budget. They want more money each year and raise your taxes to get it. They want to upgrade the back yard – the football and track complex – and they are making the third choice. And you are the neighbor.

Sadly, no one attends school board meetings. Perhaps it is out of fear or apathy. Perhaps the public has seen how dissidents are treated at the meetings. No one has made a full-on bid to replace the board members during recent elections. The public has accepted that each year, they have to cut back their budgets as the board confiscates more and more.

Your family has to live within a budget. You are not allowed to rob your neighbor. Sure, it would be nice to have a better, fancier back yard, but we clearly can’t afford it. And the school board needs to finally understand that. If they don’t, imagine the ramifications of tax increases to fund a complex that may cost as much as $5 million – if they manage to keep that within budget.

Ohio has it right. The school boards have to put forth a bond issue and the citizens vote on tax increases. If the issue is defeated, the board has to wait until they have the money or simply find another way.

Our board could take some cues from what other governing bodies do when money is tight. The obvious answer would be to say “no” – but that would be unpopular when the member is about the town. Conveniently, there are other ways to raise capital:

- Cut spending! The amount of waste in government spending is appalling. There are always places to cut, including large increases in salaries. The board raises taxes “for the children” then gives it to administrators, instead. If taxes must be raised, that means that we can’t afford it. Residents aren’t piggy banks. Our median salary is half (or even a third) of what the administrators make.

- Modest increase in ticket prices. If you enjoy the games, pay a little more to watch them. A quality team in a quality location calls for an appropriate price. Of course, the increase can’t be extreme because that would actually chase fans away.

- Fundraising. The marching band just sold tons of fruit to fund a trip to Florida. What can the football and track teams sell? How about the football and track boosters? I bet they could do a fabulous job raising funds for the new complex.

- Donations. A large portion of the downtown revitalization is being funded by private donations. People in western PA love high school football – I’m sure people would love to donate. Maybe a buy-a-brick type of promotion would work.

- Advertising. You see billboards around the baseball field fence, so find some prime spots at a new stadium.

- Pay-to-play athletics. Although this isn’t popular, it is one way to generate much-needed cash. Adults pay for activities all the time, so this is one of those great “character builders” you heard from your parents. Remember, it’s a privilege to play a sport – not a right.

- Sell naming rights. It works for every big-league sport, so why not in Grove City? I’m sure some companies would love to have the chance to advertise to thousands at each event. Perhaps USIS Field at General Electric Stadium? Don’t forget to name the track, too.

There you go – some revenue-generating ideas that fund a lovely back yard without robbing the neighbor.