Wednesday, November 30, 2011
State Auditor General speaks out against proposal to privatize the state’s liquor stores
Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner said Wednesday he would not support a proposed legislation to privatize the state’s liquor stores, calling it a bad deal for taxpayers and consumers.
“In certain instances I support privatization because I believe it can be beneficial in appropriate situations,” Wagner said in a prepared statement. “However, I oppose privatizing the state’s liquor stores because the negatives far outweigh any potential benefits.”
Wagner, a Democrat, said during a news conference this morning that the Department of the Auditor General’s analysis concluded that privatization would lead to higher prices on many popular wine and spirits and would fall short of collecting the $470 million the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board transfers to the state’s General Fund every year.
The plan, proposed by state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, has the backing of Gov. Tom Corbett. In late October, Corbett’s office released a consultant’s report that projected the privatization of liquor and wine sales in the state would generate as much as $1.6 billion from the sale of wholesale and retail licenses alone.
Corbett called Turzai's proposal “the place to start” in the simmering legislative debate over privatization.
Wagner has suggested that the General Assembly “could greatly improve customer convenience by changing the Liquor Code to allow all state liquor stores to be open seven days per week, 12 hours per day, which would eliminate any rationale for privatization.”
Wagner is expected to testify against privatization at hearing before the House Liquor Control Committee this afternoon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
As a resident of Delco, what do you think of the proposal?
Check out details on the county's upcoming budget hearing; Festival of Lights
The annual Festival of Lights for Peace ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Dec. 3 at Rose Tree Park off Route 252 in Upper Providence.
The ceremony will feature remarks from Delaware County Council, holiday music by Springton Lake Middle School Chorus, an appearance by Santa Claus and lighting of trees in the park. The newly renovated Rose Tree Tavern will also be open during the ceremony from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. for tours.
"I can't wait for all the residents to have a good time," said Mark Manfre, the county's director of Parks and Recreation, during the county council meeting Tuesday.
The Festival of the Lights will run nightly from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. through Jan. 2.
Delaware County Council will conduct a public hearing on Dec. 7 about the 2012 county budget.
The hearing will take place from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. in the county council meeting room in the Government Center, located at 201 W. Front St. in Media.
The preliminary $323 million spending plan
, which was released in early November, called for a 2.3 percent tax hike.
Council is slated to approve the final budget at the Dec. 13 county council meeting.
Former candidate nominates himself for upcoming county council vacancy
A Ridley Township Democrat defeated in the Delaware County Council race a few weeks ago has nominated himself for an upcoming vacancy on county council.
During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s county council meeting, Keith Collins said he wanted to recommend “a good friend of mine” to fill an anticipated vacancy on council. There will be a vacancy in January when current county council Chairman Jack Whelan will resign to take office as the county’s top prosecutor.
Whelan won in the race for Delaware County district attorney earlier this month. His four-year term on county council does not expire until January 2014.
When Whelan resigns, council will have the opportunity to appoint someone to finish out his term. The person who is appointed will fill the seat for two years and then the seat will be up in the 2013 municipal election.
Collins submitted his nomination
in an envelope to county Solicitor John McBlain.
“I recommended someone very close to me — myself,” said Collins in an interview after the meeting.
As a resident of Delco, do you think Collins should get the nomination?
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Pileggi for U.S. Senate?
In a Facebook message this morning Pa. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, said he was considering a run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
Here is the message Pileggi posted:
"I have been approached by a number of people about the possibility of running for U.S. Senate. I'm flattered by the question, and I have deep concerns about the direction our nation is taking in many areas, including historically high levels of unemployment, the spiraling national debt, and the federal government's attempt to take over health care. I have made no decision but will continue to listen regarding how I can best serve our Commonwealth and our country."
Do you think Pileggi
would make a good Casey challenger?
Monday, November 28, 2011
Corbett says he is 'working behind the scenes' to preserve refinery jobs
Gov. Tom Corbett recently stated his administration has been "working behind the scenes" to help preserve jobs at three jeopardized refineries in Marcus Hook, Trainer and Philadelphia.
Kelli Roberts, a spokeswoman for the governor, confirmed Monday that Corbett reaffirmed his commitment to help the refineries during an appearance at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last week.
"He has been working with the (Pennsylvania) Department of Community and Economic Development officials and local leaders to ensure that we find a good path forward for those properties," said Roberts.
Roberts declined to elaborate on details, saying it was best to keep information about ongoing negotiations confidential at this time.
Sunoco announced in September that it would close its Marcus Hook and Philadelphia refineries if a buyer wasn't found for those facilities by July. Three weeks later, ConocoPhillips executives stated they would close the Trainer facility if a new owner wasn't found by the end of March, although United Steelworkers Union officials said they believe January is more likely.
If the three refineries shutter, it could result in the loss of about 2,600 jobs directly related to the refineries and another 5,000 to 6,000 ancillary jobs associated with those area industries.
Check out what's on tap for the Nov. 29 Delaware County Council meeting
During the Delaware County Council agenda meeting Monday morning, council went over items that will be up for a vote at Tuesday's regular business meeting.
The agenda meeting was about six minutes long. Tomorrow's meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the Government Center in Media. countycouncil11-29
Friday, November 25, 2011
Who are Delco's 'Movers and Shakers?'
For the Delaware County Daily Times annual holiday series, we are looking at writing 10 profile articles about "Delco's Movers and Shakers."
These people can be prominent public officials or people who should receive credit for their work behind the scenes.
The series will run late next month.
As a resident of Delco, do you have any suggestions for nominations?
Weigh in here. We want to here from you.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
County discusses local resources for victims of sexual abuse
At the Delaware County Council meeting Tuesday, county officials discussed information about local resources available for victims of sexual abuse.
Here are some numbers:
-Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-932-0313 or local police departments.
-The county's Child Sexual Abuse Center in Media at 610-891-5258.
-The county's Children and Youth Services (CYS) also investigates referrals of physical abuse and neglect at its Upper Darby office at 610-713-2000 or the Chester office at 610-447-1000.
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, stopped by the county council meeting. Leach briefly discussed issues facing legislators in Harrisburg such as legislative redistricting, transportation needs and education reform.
County council ratifies submission of grant
Delaware County Council ratified the submission of a grant application Tuesday in the amount of $20,000 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the Innovation Advisors Program.
“We’re going after this grant,” said Delaware County Executive Director Marianne Grace during a county council agenda meeting Monday. “It will be great if we can get it, but we’ll have to see what happens.”
Grace said that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awards the grant to Delco, Dr. George Avetian would be the county’s designated representative.
Avetian, the county’s senior medical adviser, said he submitted the application to CMS last week.
“The Innovation Advisors Program is designed to broadly help individuals refine, apply, and sustain managerial and technical skills necessary to drive delivery system reform for the benefit of Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries,” states a CMS fact sheet about the program
Back in October, CMS announced it was accepting applications for the Innovation Advisors Program. The Innovation Center was created through the federal Affordable Care Act.
Monday, November 21, 2011
County officials: Another free flu clinic planned
The Pennsylvania Department of Health - in conjunction with the Delaware County Department of Intercommunity Health - will conduct a free walk-in shot clinic 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 1 at Garrettford-Drexel Hill Fire Company, located at 323 Edmonds Ave. in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby.
The clinic is open to residents 6 months of age and older.
Although the clinic is free, Dr. George Avetian, the county's senior medical adviser, said that residents are encouraged to bring a canned good or nonperishible food item as a donation. He said that even though the county's Thanksgiving Food Drive
is over, the county would still like to continue with its efforts to help the local food banks.
On another note, state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, is expected to make an appearance at the Delaware County Council meeting Tuesday. An aide for the senator said he will be there to introduce himself and ask if anyone has questions about issues in Harrisburg.
Delaware County Council discusses agenda items for 11-22 meeting
Delaware County Council has two public meetings almost every week during the year, except for during the summer.
First, council has an agenda meeting every Monday morning at 10 a.m. in the Government Center in Media. Next, council meets at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, also at the Government Center.
Interested in checking out what decisions council will vote on tomorrow? Below is the preliminary agenda that was discussed this morning. County Council Agenda 11 22County Council Agenda-11-22 Part 2
Friday, November 18, 2011
Shale bill passes in the Pa. House
The Pennsylvania House passed a bill Thursday afternoon that would impose an impact fee on wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale for up to 10 years.
"If this (bill) becomes law, it will be historic piece of legislation when it comes to the amount of money that will go toward the Growing Greener fund," said House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield.
Adolph was one of the co-sponsors of the bill that was introduced by state Rep. Bill Ellis, R-Butler County.
According to Ellis, House Bill 1950 would place a $40,000 fee on the wells in operation. It would drop to $30,000 for the second year, $20,000 for the third year, and $10,000 for the fourth through 10th year.
The bill would direct 75 percent of the money from the impact fee to local counties and municipalities. The remaining 25 percent of the impact fee revenue would go to the state for transportation improvements, emergency response and other purposes.
But House Democrats blasted the bill for its effective tax rate of 1 percent on drilling companies and argued that it lacked adequate environmental protections.
"I think the Legislature got its turkey a week early with this bill," said state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford.
Vitali also pointed out that additional revenue from these drilling companies could help restore the massive education cuts that came out of this year's state budget.
The state Senate approved its own version of a Marcellus Shale impact fee bill earlier this week.
The Senate bill would send 55 percent of the fee revenue to drilling communities and 45 percent to the state for environmental cleanups, bridge improvements, sewage treatment systems, open space expansion and other purposes.
Here is a more detailed version of local pols' views on the House bill
The House and Senate will now have to work out differences between the two pieces of legislation
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Meehan votes in favor of national concealed carry gun bill
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, voted in favor of the national concealed weapons bill
Law enforcement officials, including the Delaware County Police Chiefs Association, expressed opposition to the bill
earlier this week.
When asked why Meehan voted the way he did, his spokeswoman, Maureen Keith, released the following statement on behalf of her boss Thursday:
"Crossing state lines does not mean law-abiding Pennsylvanians lose their constitutionally protected right to self-defense," Meehan said. "This bill simply requires states that issue carry permits – and only states that issue permits – to their own residents have to honor the permits of other states, much like driver’s licenses. Law-abiding Pennsylvanians should not be prosecuted for exercising their constitutional right to self-defense in another state.”
Keith pointed out that Pennsylvania already has reciprocity agreements for the concealed carry of firearms with 26 other states. She argued that most states have permitting eligibility rules that are equal to Pennsylvania’s or more restrictive.
“What the bill does do is protect the rights of Pennsylvanians with a valid permit to defend themselves in another state,” Meehan said.
While the bill had the backing of the National Rifle Association, groups that advocate for handgun control, like CeaseFirePA, blasted the bill.
"We are extremely disappointed that Congressman Meehan ignored the overwhelming opposition to this bill by local law enforcement, and in doing so, chose to put politics over public safety," said Max Nacheman, director of CeaseFirePA. "Congressman Meehan has set a dangerous precedent of trampling states' rights to do the bidding of a narrow special interest group."
The bill was passed in 272-154, with only seven Republicans voting against it and 43 Democrats supporting it. You can check out who else voted in favor of this measure here
Here is the full story in Friday's paper with Meehan's explanation
on his vote.
As a resident of Delco, what do you think about this bill?
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Another seat up for grabs on county council
Now that Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan has been elected DA, there will be another seat up for grabs on county council.
Why? Because Whelan's term doesn't expire until January 2014.
It's unclear who will take his spot. It will be up to the new county council in January to make an appointment within 30 calendar days. If not, a group of registered voters can petition the Court of Common Pleas to make the appointment.
So to recap, there are five seats on county council. The current members include Whelan, Tom McGarrigle, Christine Fizzano Cannon, Andy Lewis and Mario Civera.
-Whelan won in the DA race (his county council term expires in 2014)
-McGarrigle sought re-election and won (his current term expires in January)
-Fizzano Cannon was elected county judge (her county council term expires in January)
-Lewis decided not to run for re-election (his term expires in January)
-Civera will be on council (his term expires in 2014)
So in January, county council will include McGarrigle, John McBlain (current county solicitor), and Colleen Morrone. (They won against three Democrats for the three expiring seats.) Civera will still be around for another two years.
That leaves us with one opening for Whelan's seat
As a resident from Delco, who do you think will get appointed to council?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Should there be a National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity law?
Local law enforcement officials are joining their colleagues across the country in voicing opposition to House Resolution 822, or the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.
It would amend federal criminal code and authorize a person with a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm “who is not prohibited from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm under federal law, to carry a concealed handgun (other than a machine gun or destructive device) in another state in accordance with the restrictions of that state,” according to a summary of the legislation.
Law enforcement officials, including the Delaware County Police Chiefs Association, have voiced concerns in letters to legislators.
CeaseFirePA, an organization that advocates for gun control, also opposes the bill. And the National Rifle Association is in favor of a clean (unamended) version of the bill.
"This is self-defense legislation,” said a spokeswoman for the NRA.
The bill is currently before the House and a vote is expected today or tomorrow. U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia (who represents an eastern portion of Delco, including Chester) are not co-sponsors of the bill.
Brady has said he will oppose it.
It's unclear what Meehan will do. His spokeswoman, Maureen Keith, said her boss won't make a decision until after he sees a final version of the bill. He believes there will be amendments made to the bill once it gets to the House floor.
As a resident of Delco, what do you think of the bill? Should federal legislators vote against it?
Monday, November 14, 2011
Moore to challenge Brady in 1st District
Jimmie Moore officially announced Saturday that he will challenge U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia, in the spring 2012 primary.
Brady has represented the 1st District, which includes a strip of eastern Delaware County and the city of Chester, since 1998.
"I believe that I possess the leadership, vision, intelligence, and skills to bring economic empowerment, corporate partnerships, community programs and employment opportunities to all the areas of the first congressional district," Moore, a former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge, said in a prepared statement.
Rumblings about Moore's run for Congress began back in June
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Republicans maintain control in county; Dems take over in Chester
According to unofficial election results
The Republican candidates in the county council, DA,
and county judge
races dominated Tuesday night over the Democratic candidates.
And the Dems had a big win in Chester
with Democrat John Linder winning over Republican incumbent Wendell Butler.
As a resident of Delco, are you pleased with the results?
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Obama stops in Delco
If you missed President Obama's stop in Delco today, check out transcript of his speech here
Also, VP Joe Biden is expected at the veterans parade in Media on Friday.
Meehan seeks probe over PSU scandal
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Tuesday requesting a probe into sex abuse allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State University assistant football coach.
“Given the disturbing nature of these allegations, I am writing to respectfully urge you direct the Department of Education to conduct a full investigation into whether federal law was broken in the failure to properly report allegations of sexual abuse at Penn State,” Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney, wrote in a letter to Duncan.
Two Penn State officials, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, surrendered on charges that they failed to alert police to the complaint about Sandusky. They were reportedly notified about Sandusky’s alleged behavior back in 2002 when a graduate assistant reportedly saw Sandusky attacking a young boy in the team’s locker room shower.
Meehan questioned whether failure to report the 2002 allegations broke Penn State’s own reporting methods and whether the Clery Act was violated. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to publish an annual security report about all criminal offenses reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies.
“Had the 2002 allegations been properly reported, investigated and disclosed, the later instances of abuse could have been prevented and future victims protected,” Meehan wrote.
State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi recently weighed in on this debacle. Check out the details here
Monday, November 7, 2011
Head honchos coming to Delco
In case you missed it, President Barack Obama is expected to stop by Delco tomorrow.
Here are some of the details
And Vice President Joe Biden is expected in Media on Friday.
Here are the details
Friday, November 4, 2011
Meehan to host vets expo
U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, will host a veterans expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at the Knights of Columbus, located at 327 North Newtown Street Road (Route 252)in Newtown Square.
The expo will include three hourlong presentations, including an 11 a.m. session about accessing and maximizing benefits; noon session about the Yellow Ribbon School Program; and a 1 p.m. session about finding jobs.
Meehan said representatives from about 20 agencies will be on hand to discuss benefits, continuing education, job opportunities and various support services for veterans and their families.
Vitali to host public meeting regarding redistricting
State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 regarding a proposed legislative redistricting plan in Pennsylvania.
The meeting will take place at Lynnewood Elementary School, located at 1400 Lawrence Road in Havertown. Vitali, a strong opponent of the proposed plan, said he will discuss the impact of the proposed redistricting plan and explain what residents can do to object it.
The five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission recently voted in favor of a Republican-designed preliminary plans for the 50 seats in the state Senate and 203 in the House.
Vitali called the plan unconstitutional because it splits his district into half. Vitali argued that the plan was designed to benefit state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, of Upper Darby.
Here are more details on this issue
Casey to stump for Chester Dems Saturday
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., will be stumping for Chester Democratic mayoral candidate John Linder on Saturday as part of a get-out-the-vote tour.
Linder is running against Republican incumbent Mayor Wendell Butler.
Casey, who is also seeking re-election in the 2012 Senate race, will be in Delco Saturday from 1:05 p.m.-1:45 p.m. The meet-and-greet event will take place at the Upland Diner, located at 1000 Upland Ave. in Chester
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, also stumped for Linder
a few weeks ago.
Boeing union endorses GOP candidates
The United Aerospace Workers Local 1069, which represents about 2,000 Boeing union members, endorsed GOP candidates for county council Colleen Morrone, Tom McGarrigle and John McBlain.
They are running against Democrats Keith Collins, Lin Axamethy Floyd and Jayne Young.
The GOP candidates were also endorsed by the Delaware County Committee of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades, the AFL-CIO of Delaware County and the Fraternal Order of Police of Delaware County.
You can check out another tally of endorsements collected by Keystone Progressive by clicking here
. (Be sure to scroll down to Delaware County section.)
Thursday, November 3, 2011
County releases prelim budget details
Delaware County Executive Director Marianne Grace presented the preliminary 2012 draft budget to county council Wednesday afternoon.
Here are some details:
The total budget stands at $323 million. The proposed millage rate is 5.304, which is an increase of .120 mills or 2.3 percent, according to Grace’s report. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed property value.
“For council’s consideration, this preliminary draft budget calls for a millage rate that will result in an approximate increase of $16 annually for the average homeowner,” states Grace’s report.
Last year, council passed a final budget with no tax increase.
“However, given the unknown variables at this time and in order to continue to provide essential public safety services including 911 response, the operation of the county court system and the county prison as well as the provision of geriatric services and mandated human service programs, this office believes that proposed millage increase is prudent,” states the report.
County council has until Dec. 13 to adopt its final budget.
As a resident of Delco, what are your thoughts on the preliminary draft budget?
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Redistricting plan raises eyebrows
The five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted Monday 3-2 in favor of Republican-designed preliminary plans for the 50 seats in the state Senate and 203 in the House.
was headed by retired state Superior Court Judge Stephen McEwen, a Republican former Delaware County district attorney.
The Senate plan moves a district from the Pittsburgh area to fast-growing Monroe County. In the House, the current proposal would add seats in Allentown, Berks County, Chester County and York County, all in the state’s eastern half, while cutting out existing districts in Erie and Philadelphia and two in Allegheny County.
“Our attempt was to be fair and not favor the Republicans or Democrats,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, a member of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
Although Pileggi argued that the preliminary plans approved Monday were done in a spirit of fairness, local House members argued that it was done to help bolster the GOP machine in Delco.
State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, called the plan unconstitutional because it splits his district, which has historically included one township, into half.
“This is about incumbency protection — not community protection,” said Vitali.
Vitali, state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby, and other Democratic officials said they plan to fight the proposed plan.
As a resident of Delco, what do you think about the plan
? Is it fair? Or does it favor Republicans?