Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Act One Tax Grab Goes Down in Flames

All across Mercer County, voters told Governor Rendell and greedy school boards to "shove it."

Every school district defeated Act One, the proposal to shift some of the school tax burden from property taxes to income taxes. The state government called this "tax relief," but the voters recognized it as pure bunk.

The draconian part of the proposal was that schools would be able to go after your property taxes AND your income taxes. Egads. Given the propensity of the Grove City school board to raise taxes every time someone sneezes, imagine how devastating this would be to the residents!

Voters did the right thing by shooting down this latest tax-grabbing attempt.

More news: The Herald (Sharon, PA)

Breaking Down the Alcohol Vote

Yes, it passed.

It's indeed a shameful stain on the values-based traditions of Grove City. We spend thousands of dollars and man hours telling kids to say "no" to drugs and alcohol, but when it comes time to act, we tell them that alcohol is the solution to problems. Some claimed that alcohol was the only way for downtown Grove City to survive - ironically, the 300-foot rule will keep alcohol from downtown.

Shame on us.

The truth of the matter is that the vote only passed by the margin of 802 to 727 (52.45% to 47.55%). Seventy-five votes. Sadly, only 1529 residents made the effort to vote on the issue.

This may be a win, but it is hardly a mandate.

More numbers...

Ward One
- 22.10% turnout
- Alcohol passed 147 to 142 (one person didn't vote)

Ward Two
- 35.17% turnout
- Alcohol rejected 132 to 171 (four people didn't vote)

Ward Three
- 29.78% turnout
- Alcohol passed 111 to 93 (all voted)

Ward Four
- 47.93% turnout
- Alcohol passed 249 to 142 (two people didn't vote)

Ward Five
- 32.45% turnout
- Alcohol rejected 163 to 179 (two people didn't vote)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

2007 PA Primary Election Results are in

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

Grove City results are in!

Council Ward One: Michael Coulter defeated Beth Cooney.

Council Ward Four will have someone on the ballot. A write-in candidate received 44 votes.

The Act 1 "We Want ALL of Your Money" school tax grab was defeated, 1840 to 909.

The "Tell a Big Enough Lie Long Enough" Alcohol Referendum passed, 802 to 727. Clearly a win, but a meager win at that. Definitely small enough to be challenged in the future. Only 1529 residents voted, and it passed by 75 votes. Clearly not a proud moment for Grove City.

2007 PA Primary Election Results can be found here.

Coulter Wins!

2007 Primary Update: Michael Coulter defeated Beth Cooney for Ward One in Grove City.

Election results coming shortly...

Primary Election 2007

Today is Pennsylvania's primary election day.

Here are the basics with a That's Rich prospective:

- Vote "no" on the alcohol referendum. We simply don't need it and the pro-alcohol folks prove it - they have yet to prove my op-ed wrong and they continue to spread the myths. Particularly the downtown anchor restaurant myth.

- Vote against any tax changes with the school district. They are going to raise taxes every year, anyway. And if you think it's bad now, wait until those thieves get their hands on property AND income taxes!

- Don't vote for a single school board member. They are going to win since there are no opposing candidates, but don't give them the satisfaction of high vote counts. Remember - these are the folks who take more of your money each year without remorse.

- Ward One for Michael Coulter for borough council. It's time to bring integrity to that seat. He has a boatload of education and experience - and he's a good, honest family man.


As always, I'll post the results and links to Mercer County election results as soon as they are available.

Now, go vote - it's your duty as an American!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Steve Steigerwald and Jack Cline: Good Cop, Bad Cop?

The Allied News ran a double feature Allied Forum in the Saturday paper. One by Steigerwald and one by Cline. Both were pushing the pro-alcohol position.

Steigerwald offered his view of a grand vision - a flourishing Grove City, vibrant with alcohol flowing from anchor restaurants. Business booming, people having a great time - hooray, hooray.

Cline's piece was aimed at my Allied Forum piece. Well, actually, it was aimed at me. The DUI defense attorney basically called me a liar then went off tangent talking about anti-alcohol Christians being the same as Bin Laden. Really.

The interesting part of both pieces - coupled with the ad that Steigerwald took out - is that they both continue to push the myth: an alcohol-serving anchor restaurant in downtown Grove City.

With the 300-foot barrier from churches, where will this place go? Tower Church, Grace United Methodist Church, and Church at the Crossroads dominate the entire first block. Solid Rock Assembly of God is right in the middle of the second block. Ooops.

Steigerwald insists that there is his building. And he's interesting in selling his building. Well now...guess what everyone in town is discussing? People are buzzing that Steigerwald is only pushing the alcohol to sell his building. I don't know if that's true, but it's the talk of the town.

Once again, Grove City will not have control of the licenses. The power rests totally with the Liquor Control Board. Cline claims that we can sue if we don't like who gets the license. That isn't control! That's reaction.

Alcohol is not progress. Please vote "no" on the alcohol referendum. Don't let anyone force their values on Grove City's grand traditions.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Debunking the Alcohol Myths

On Tuesday, May 15, PA will hold its primary elections.

Grove City residents will decide whether or not they want to turn the borough into a wet town, allowing the sale of alcohol on a drink-by-drink basis.

We already know about the dangers of alcohol to your physical, emotional and spiritual self. In the past several weeks, there have been some myths and falsehoods spread about concerning the alcohol referendum itself. Here are some of the myths.

“Alcohol equals progress” myth: Words mean things. That is why the pro-alcohol folks have latched onto the word progress. Who would vote against progress? Facts do get in the way, though.

The April 2007 issue of the non-partisan Pennsylvania Borough News (PBN) magazine noted that wet and dry boroughs are statistically the same. They wrote “per capita income and housing values were nearly identical as were poverty rates, immigration rates, and taxes. In addition, dry boroughs had higher rates of home ownership.” Where’s the progress?

“If you serve it, they will come” myth: Some argue that more young people will move to the area if there are more trendy alcohol establishments. PBN magazine found that “dry boroughs had a higher percentage of youth and a lower percentage of senior citizens…and higher percentages of households with children.” In other words, if you want a youthful borough with a strong family base, keep the borough dry.

“Wettest dry town” myth: People drink in their own homes and vets drink at their private clubs, but Grove City is not alone. There are a whopping 690 dry municipalities across the commonwealth. Of those, there are 210 dry boroughs that still allow alcohol sales within the town limits. All boroughs allow vets’ clubs to serve alcohol. No one is trying to keep alcohol from homes, but Grove City residents have traditionally voted to keep it from spilling into the streets.

“GC Council can control who gets the license” myth: The council has absolutely no control over who gets the two automatic licenses. The first two that get past the Liquor Control Board get the license. We can only beg and hope that the LCB allows two upscale restaurants. They might grant two stripper bars instead. Either way, the borough has no control – we give up our sovereignty to determine what happens within our city. Do you want the LCB to determine who sets up shop in Grove City, or do you want residents to make those choices?

“GC Council can control where the licenses are granted” myth
: The council has no authority to make a special alcohol zone. We can only put them in residential, commercial or industrial zones – and the borough has lots of housing in each zone. Would you want a bar next to your house? I can’t imagine anyone would like the noise until 2:00 am. Would you want your Grove City neighbor to suffer thorough that?

“No one would open a dive bar in Grove City” myth: Perhaps we wouldn’t see a stripper bar or dive bar open right away, but what about in five, ten or fifteen years? I can’t imagine any town became wet just to become a dumping ground for dive bars, but they happen. There are scores of towns all over western PA that were once beautiful, but over time, for whatever reasons, became dumpy. Alcohol sales are a great catalyst for such a change.

“Downtown anchor restaurant” myth
: Alcohol establishments have a 300-foot barrier to keep them away from churches, schools, playgrounds and charitable organizations. There are three (with a possible fourth) churches downtown. Where would this anchor restaurant go? They need a large footprint for serving space and parking. Those trendy spots (Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, etc) also require a ton of traffic. That is why you see them near large urban centers and not in small towns. A wet license won’t bring one here, period. You’ll notice how they aren’t even setting up shop at the outlet mall. There isn’t enough traffic there, either. They can’t even get a Bob Evans.

“Restricting free enterprise” myth: The Libertarian part of me doesn’t think we should limit the chances for businesses to grow. The Conservative part of me sees where an alcohol establishment can quickly challenge public safety. If someone gets a drink at a mythical anchor restaurant, they have to go home eventually. They’ll be getting into their cars right when the alcohol is entering their bloodstream. Then they’ll be driving through your neighborhood where your kids are playing. Clearly, this isn’t healthy for the safety of the town.

Pro-alcohol folks want you to think of alcohol as progress. Economically, it does virtually nothing. It is nothing more than a hindrance. Facts show that it damages and drives out families, which in turn slowly kills the town. Families come here because of the quality of life in our town, and once the town turns wet, it will be exceedingly hard to become dry again.

Grove City is not a dying town. We have over 200 years of tradition based upon a strong set of moral values. We are a charming, religious, and safe small town. We didn’t need to be a wet town for the first two centuries and we don’t need it to be a strong Grove City in the future.