Monday, November 26, 2007

Deer Season in PA is Here!

Well, it has been here for archers.

For those who use rifles, it's time to blow up Bambi! Anyone who has nailed a deer with their car or has had vegetation destroyed by deer knows that there are way too many of them roaming around. Of course, with anti-hunting measures being passed in areas around cities, deer are flourishing to the point of being pests.

As city-dwelling do-gooders move into the "country" to get away from city life, they are seemingly too willing to drag the city life (and laws) to the country with them. They don't realize that man was created to hunt and that animals were made to feed man. After all, where do you think Applebees gets its meat?

Animal rights wacko: "How could you kill a poor, defenseless animal?"
Hunter: "Because they taste soooooo good! By the way...nice leather coat."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A History on Thanksgiving by Rush Limbaugh

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible, and this is what's not taught. This is what's left out. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims -- including Bradford's own wife -- died of either starvation, sickness, or exposure.

When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.

Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were collectivists! Now, Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.

He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. ... Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh?

What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years -- trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it -- the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently.

What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson, every kid gets. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future. Here's what he wrote: 'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing -- as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote.

'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.'

That was thought injustice. Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property.

Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' Bradford doesn't sound like much of a Clintonite, does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s?

In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.

The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.' Now, have you heard this before? Is this being taught to children -- and if not, why not? I mean, is there a more important lesson one could derive from the Pilgrim experience than this?

What if Bill and Hillary Clinton had been exposed to these lessons in school? Do you realize what we face in next year's election is the equivalent of people who want to set up these original collectivists communes that didn't work, with nobody having incentive to do anything except get on the government dole somehow because the people running the government want that kind of power.

So the Pilgrims decided to thank God for all of their good fortune. And that's Thanksgiving. And read George Washington's first Thanksgiving address and count the number of times God is mentioned and how many times he's thanked. None of this is taught today. It should be. Have a happy Thanksgiving, folks. You deserve it. Do what you can to be happy, and especially do what you can to be thankful, because in this country you have more reasons than you've ever stopped to consider.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tax-Hiking Jane Rath Resigns From School Board

Christmas might be coming early for Grove City area residents. School board president Jane Rath is leaving the tax-hungry body on December 1. She is accompanying her husband, who is relocating to South Carolina for employment reasons.

The board unanimously installed Bob Montgomery as the interim president.

Rath leaves a legacy of running a school board that has raised taxes every year of her presidency. Her policies have financially crippled many residents of the town. Of course, it’s all okay since the tax-dollar theft was “for the children.”

Her legacy also includes handing out lavish raises for administrators; firing a well-loved, respected, and successful teacher; gutting the middle school curriculum; advancing expensive and unnecessary building projects; numerous Sunshine Law violations; and a reputation for being incredibly hostile to citizens that dared speak at board meetings.

Her replacement is no better, as he has served as vice president and voted in lock step with Rath. He has also been outwardly hostile to citizens at board meetings. He once publicly shouted a question at board watchdog, Jason Reeher, asking “What would you do (about the tax-hiking budget)? Would you cut programs?” Montgomery voted to raise taxes instead, and then later voted to cut the curriculum. So much for the taxpayers – and the children.

One down, eight to go.

Mercer County Elections Director Jeff Greenburg just told me the following concerning her replacement:
“The person would be appointed in this case to serve the remainder of the term. That seat will be on the ballot in 2009.”
Of course, it would be incredibly interesting if Reeher would get on the board – even though we all know that the board would never, ever appoint him to fill Rath’s seat. But it would be interesting.

Keep in mind that Reeher nearly ousted Rath during the 2005 election and that no extra candidates ran for school board during the 2007 election. Fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grove Ciy Borough Votes to Advertise Balanced Budget

No surprise here...

Grove City Borough Manager Vance Oakes submitted yet another balanced budget, as prepared by Oakes and the finance committee. This budget marks 26 years of budgets without tax increases!

The budget holds the line on spending, holds taxation at the current 4-mil level, and avoids dipping into the reserves. The motion to advertise the balanced budget passed unanimously.

If no changes are made, the budget will be adopted at the December 17 meeting.

The budget is open for public review and comment. Perhaps members of the Grove City school board and administration can stop by and take a look. They haven’t passed a balanced budget in years. They just love their tax hikes!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veterans Recognized at SSG Shawn A. Graham Veterans Memorial Bridge Ceremony

This morning, we dedicated the Staff Sergeant Shawn A. Graham Veterans Memorial Bridge. The rain held off and well over 300 came to honor Shawn and other Grove City service members who died while serving.

Many, many, many thanks to those who helped make the dedication a very special moment for Grove City!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2007 Election Round-Up

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):

- Voter turnout lower than expected

Kochems will be new DA

Beader, Lechner, Ammann win seats

McClelland wins by slim margin

In the only Grove City race, Patrick Chapman defeated Jason Reeher. Joe Pisano, Jeff Hodge, and Michael Coulter were unopposed and will join Council in January. Jeff Black was unopposed in his re-election to Council.

Congratulations to all of the winners across the county! Remember: you serve the people, so do your best to follow the Constitution and don't be afraid to make tough decisions - even if they are unpopular.

Welcome (or welcome back) to public service!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2007 Election Results for Mercer County, PA

The polls close at 8:00pm. Once they tally the votes, they are posted online.

You can find the results from any race within the county here: 2007 Mercer County Election Results

The Pennsylvania results can be found here: 2007 Pennsylvania Election Results

I hope you voted!

Election Day 2007!

Time to get out of bed and go vote! It only takes a few minutes out of your oh-so-important life.

If you aren't sure about the issues, take a quick look down the page for my roundup of election articles and press releases.

By the "no" on retaining judges. Don't forget about the illegal pay raise! The judges enabled it to happen - then they took the money! **Judge Joan Orie Melvin fought to return the pay raise from the beginning. Her integrity shows that she deserves retention.

Remember: if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Best wishes and happy voting!

Monday, November 05, 2007

George Pokrant's Non-Secret Secret

Does Borough Council President George Pokrant Have Too Much Power? Some have made that assertion. I’ve heard claims from the Tin Foil Hat Society that Pokrant has forced policy down Council’s throat. I’ve also seen Pokrant referred to as a dictator.

The truth be told, Pokrant is the president of Council. It’s his job to shape policy. And Council apparently totally approves. In January of last year, Pokrant was voted unanimously to retain the title of president. Either all of Council swoons at the mention of his name, they are terrified of him, or they approve of his work.

First choice – I doubt it. Pokrant is a nice guy, but Clark Gable he isn’t.
Second choice – I doubt it. This isn’t Jersey. Grove City isn’t known for its coercion tactics or contract hits.
Third choice – We might be on to something. There is no doubt that at least two folks on Council aren’t members of the Friends of George Club, but they still voted for him. So, either they still approve of his work or they are cowards for not voting for their principles.

And let’s be honest. Things run so smoothly here (thanks, Borough Manager Vance Oakes!) that the common choices before Council come down to deciding parade routes and whether or not to allow a festival in Memorial Park. Sometimes we even approve the lowest bid on a project or approve a new construction tap-in for our sewer system. Tough stuff.

Sure, there are some tough decisions, but those have full council support. Infrastructure repair? Unanimous. Passing budgets? Unanimous.

There are ten adults on Council. All of them are capable of reason and thought. All of them are fully able to talk to their constituents. All of them are invited to every Council regular meeting, committee meeting, work session, and executive session. It’s up to them – as adults – to show up and represent their constituents.

Anyone who has sat in a work session or committee meeting knows that Pokrant typically talks little, focusing on keeping the discussion on track. He waits until all members have been able to share their views before he weighs in. Hardly a case of someone dictating policy.

Either we all approve of Pokrant’s work, or we are all fools.

Of course, I’ve already discussed the ridiculous notion of Pokrant and solicitor Tim Bonner having secret meetings. Here’s the truth – if Pokrant needs to talk to Bonner about an issue, he runs it by Council first. Oh, the secrecy!

Let’s also discuss the alleged virtual meetings that happen over e-mail. Here’s the context: Pokrant e-mail: “Should we have a meeting about subject X?”
Council reply: “Yes.”

Of course, in 2007, are we are supposed to make phone calls to determine if we should meet? Wouldn’t that be a type of virtual meeting? Maybe we should just have mandatory nightly public meetings to determine if we need to have a meeting…. Of course, don’t forget the cost of constant meetings – we have to light and heat that borough building! E-mail is simply a quick and easy way to determine how to meet.

But what about secretly discussing policy? So, if two Council members discuss an issue, then that’s a public meeting? What about when a citizen talks to a Council member or two? Should that be advertised as a public meeting, too? Where are the minutes from all of those meetings? If I go to a car show and bump into the Mayor and another Council member, is that a quorum?

Confused yet? You should be. I’ll put it clearly. There are no policies being determined via e-mail. If there needs to be a decision about something, it is brought before a quorum of Council, in public, at the borough building.

Finally, let’s examine the thought of Pokrant hand-picking candidates. Again, this is another laughable accusation. Every election, people with political minds (politician or not) wonder who will fill a vacant seat. Sometimes, no one does. How does that serve the public? Most often, politicos know of someone who may be interested and they ask.

I’ve done it. I helped my brother-in-law run for school board in 2005. I asked around when there wasn’t a candidate running in Ward 4 during the primary. Besides, how many people would ask someone that they totally disagreed with to join their political office? “Hey, you and I don’t agree on a single thing…why don’t you run for Council?”

Mercer County Voting Guide Roundup

The Herald (Sharon, PA) has several news stories/press releases about the upcoming races. If you’re a political junkie – or simply a concerned citizen – read on!

Longer ballot, bigger issues

County commissioner candidates weigh in on Woodland Place, jail

McEwen says his experience unmatched

Ammann is back, wants to call shots

Hard choices aren't new for Lechner

Beader sets sights on another term

Goodwin, Kochems face off for district attorney office

Hofius challenges McClelland in recorder race


As always, I'll post up the results as soon as I can get my hands on them. Be sure to visit often throughout the evening and Wednesday morning as results are reported.