Immigration Showdown in Harrisburg

By Natalka Karaman, Contributing Writer

Protesters gather in Philly for 2006's "Day without an immigrant"

“Bring your flak jacket,” joked one staffer to a member of the Harrisburg press corps.

The next two days in the Capitol will be interesting, to say the least. Today and Tomorrow, Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Majority Chairman Representative Daryl Metcalfe will hold two public hearings focusing on the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package.

Following the introduction of 16 bills in the state House and state Senate this past spring regarding illegal immigration, the coming fall will certainly see a flutter of activity and political dispute as both pro and anti-immigration groups try to push their legislation.

Those testifying this week include law enforcement, think tank thinkers, Tea Partiers, and even those who have been accused of ties to white supremacists.

Metcalfe is a staunch advocate of immigration reform – he even founded a national coalition of like-minded state legislators. He has personally introduced three bills to “halt PA’s illegal alien invasion,” H.B. 738, 857 and 858 to the House. He believes that combating the estimated 140,000 illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania could potentially save tax payers up to four billion dollars. Yesterday, he called an executive order from President Barack Obama “treasonous.”

Civil rights advocates aren’t lying down.

Immediately before the hearing on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania joined state legislators and immigration activists for a press conference in the main rotunda of the state capitol in Harrisburg. The group included clergy and labor unions.

Their main argument Tuesday morning: economics. Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, cited cases in Georgia and Arizona, which he argued led to a hit to local businesses.

“Apparently, undermining the constitution and sabotaging our economy begins at the state capitol,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.  “These bills would be a disaster for the commonwealth.”

Two of the bills in the National Security Begins At Home package, H.B. 858 and S.B. 637, include mandates for Pennsylvania governments to use E-Verify. E-Verify is a federal database, handled by the Department of Homeland Security, which allows employers to check the legal status of potential employees.While the use of this system has been voluntary in the past, those who did use it complained of errors and massive privacy concerns. The databases include Social Security numbers, and visa and passport information which is vulnerable to hacking, Hoover said.

Metcalfe’s H.B. 738 includes a clause requiring Pennsylvania law enforcement officers to verify the citizenship status of any individual lawfully stopped for a crime who does not have a state ID or driver’s license. Other legislation cracks down on human trafficking in Pennsylvania, attacks illegal immigrants’ access to public benefits, or intends to hold cities and municipalities responsible for crimes committed by illegal immigrants in that jurisdiction.

The conservative make-up of state government makes it unlikely that pro-immigration groups will find much success. However, those seeking to crack down on immigration may have an equally tough time. Neither GOP party leaders nor Governor Tom Corbett have shown much interest in tackling controversial immigration policies.

Santorum Takes PA Victory Lap; Slams Perry

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Rick Santorum seemed at ease this morning in front of Pennsylvania reporters as his discussed his presidential campaign at Republican Party headquarters in Harrisburg.

The former Senator elaborated on the beat-the-odds narrative of his fourth-place finish at the Ames Iowa straw poll, discussed his three day swing through Pennsylvania, and gave a preview of what Texas Governor Rick Perry can expect to face when they cross paths during a debate.

Santorum detailed the outcome at Ames, contrasting his campaign’s $100,000 effort to those of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who he said had spent over $1,000,000.

“For the press here, if you weren’t in Iowa, I’m not too sure most people realize how big of a deal that was. The three candidates that finished above me all spent in excess of a million dollars. All of them were on television – mostly in central Iowa, but some of them across the state.”

The campaign rolled through events in Northeastern PA yesterday. In addition to a fundraiser and the media availability in the Harrisburg area this afternoon, Santorum will travel to Centre County to visit the Grange Fair and participate a few other events. On Wednesday, he will take a swing down the Route 22 corridor near Altoona and Johnstown, and finish his tour with several events in Pittsburgh. Planned events in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley were cancelled due to Hurricane Irene.

He said he wanted to prove himself at Ames before making a serious push for PA support and campaign contributions.

“Now I can come back to Pennsylvania, having accomplished the credibility that I think is necessary to come back to the folks in Pennsylvania and say, this is not some piped up dream, some Walter Mitty moment for Rick Santorum. But in fact, we’ve got what it takes to put together a credible campaign, do well in Iowa and continue to move forward in the rest of the primary states,” he said.

“And so we’re coming back to talk to our friends and supporters here, and raise a little bit of money.”

However he downplayed his expectations for the trip, characterizing most of the events as “meet and greets,” and emphasizing that they were organized only a week ago.

Pivoting to Perry

Asked what the next campaign benchmark would be, Santorum cited three upcoming Presidential debates as his opportunity to distinguish himself from the field. He stands ready to challenge Governor Perry, who has recently surged to the top of national polls, at the next opportunity.

“We’ll see how conservative Rick Perry really is. He hasn’t been in a debate yet. There are alot of things about his record that will give conservative pause.”

Santorum gave a laundry list of criticism about Perry’s record in Texas, staring with the Governor’s support of the pro-immigrant DREAM Act. Santorum also blasted Perry for supporting Al Gore for President in 1988 (“I can’t imagine any point in time in my life that I would think of supporting Al Gore for anything”), and Rudy Giuliani early in the 2008 primary (“He was supporting a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-bigger government Mayor of New York”).

He saved his strongest language for Perry’s controversial 2007 executive order mandate that Texas girls receive a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease HPV.

“To require it, and have parents have to be aware of it and have to opt out, that is the heavy hand of government,” Santorum thundered. “That is something I’d expect from Barack Obama, not someone who says they’re a conservative.”

Perry since backed away from the policy – which was overturned by the Texas legislature – after it emerged that one of his campaign contributors had lobbied in favor of the rule. It was an issue in Perry’s 2010 primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

Santorum he dismissed the notion that Perry would keep other conservative candidates from gaining traction.

“They said the same thing about Michele Bachmann a few weeks ago,” he said, arguing it indicated that Republicans were unhappy with the field. “Candidates have gone from zero to 30 points, and then back down to two. It happened to Herman Cain, now Michele Bachmann is drifting down.”

Odds and ends:

He complained that recent “gay Jihad” comments had been cherry-picked by the media, as opposed to his evidently extensive remarks about manufacturing policy.

Santorum confirmed that his family made its Virginia residency official about a year ago.

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that Perry supported Gore in 2000. Actually, as a Democrat Perry was Gore’s 1988 Texas campaign chairman.

Breaking: Perzel to Plead Guilty

Former House Speaker John Perzel will plead guilty to charges of using taxpayer money for campaign purposes, reports Angela Couloumbis of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Perzel’s intention to plead guilty is contained in an order issued by Dauphin County Court Judge Richard Lewis, the trial judge in the case.

Prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s Office had alleged that Perzel and the other defendants, including another former lawmaker, Brett Feese of Lycoming County, used as much as $10 million in taxpayer money to fund campaign activities.

Among the charges: using the House Republican information-services office to develop computer software programs that targeted political opponents, including Republican lawmakers who had not voted as Perzel directed, according to the grand jury report.


Perzel’s plea signals the end of an era, and the culmination of years of the Bonusgate investigation.

8/30 Morning Buzz

Rafferty for Attorney General: John Rafferty will throw his hat in the ring for PA Attorney General, the Montgomery County State Senator confirmed to PoliticsPA yesterday afternoon.

New Orie Charges: State Sen. Jane Orie will face new charges in Allegheny County, including forgery and tampering with evidence.

Metcalfe Slams Obama: State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is throwing some fire at Barack Obama this week, criticizing the President’s recent executive order calling for a review of deportation orders. He called the President’s action “treasonous.”

Philly Mag Montco GOP: Philadelphia Magazine has an in-depth look at the factionalism over the past decade that has plagued the Montgomery County Republican Committee, which once upon a time was singled out for praise by Ronald Reagan.

The Hill: Corruption In Afghan Government Has Potential To Compromise U.S. Military Mission, Says Sen. Casey
Roll Call: Sen. Toomey Among Supercommittee Members Likely To Be Sympathetic To Desires of Republican Study Committee
Washington Post: Democrats Gain Partial Victory In August Town Halls
Los Angeles Times: Hurricane Irene; Broadway: Storm’s Economic Damage Less Than Feared
Philadelphia Inquirer: Republican Field Still Wide Open To Challenge Casey
Philadelphia Inquirer: Politics- and Evolution- Are Oh So Personal
AP, York Daily Record: Critics: Obama slow to fill disaster aid coffers

Trib Live: Pennsylvania Lawmakers See Online Sales Tax Net Loss
Post Gazette: Pa. Governor’s Panel Advises More Red-Light Cameras
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Gas Lease, Royalty Income Taxes Top $100 Million
PR: State Legislators Call Out Obama on Treasonous Immigration
PA Senate Republican News: Senate Education Committee Hears Testimony on Chairmen’s Charter School Bill
State House Sound Bytes: New charges against Orie filed in Allegheny County
Capitol Ideas: Philly Mag takes a devastating look at the decline of MontCo’s Republicans
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Gas lease, royalty income taxes top $100 million
StateImpact: One day later, more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians still without power
State House Sound Bytes: Smurfer patrol
Times Tribune: Angeli departs gaming board
AP, The Times Leader: President issues emergency declaration for Pa.
Standard Speaker: Illegal immigration bills in spotlight
AP, Standard Speaker: Pa. state senator charged with forgery, perjury
AP, Standard Speaker: Corbett views flooding, as state seeks federal aid
Chambersburg Public Opinion: Rep. Kelly calls for more ways to raise money for Pa. highways

AP, The Patriot-News: State of Emergency Declared in Philly as Irene Nears City
Philadelphia Inquirer: Nutter: No Price Tag For Irene Yet
Philadelphia Inquirer: How Did City Government Perform During Hurricane?
Philadelphia Inquirer: Viaduct Revival
Philly Clout: Cheri Hokala Adds Horse Stunt To Sherriff’s Campaign
Fox Philly: Mayor Nutter Praises Hurricane Irene Response, Answers Critics
News Works: Philadelphia Mayor Thanks Residents For Pitching In and After of Irene
Philadelphia Inquirer: The American Debate: Republicans are Running Right, Maybe Right Off the Map
Philadelphia Daily News: Stu Bykofsky: Councilwoman Sanchez Not In Step On the ICE Issue

Philly Suburbs
Philly Magazine What Would Reagan Say About Montco Dems?
Action News: Philly and PA Counties Watch For River Flooding
Philly Burbs: Cawley comes home to survey damage
Philly Burbs: Bensalem Mayor: Cleanup Will Be “Incredible Expense’
Philly Burbs: Montco Dem candidates excel at ribbon cuttings
Daily Times: Pa. Lieutenant Governor to Visit Darby Borough
AP, Daily Times: Bottom Line on Irene: Wet, Deadly, Expensive, But No Monster
Montgomery Media: Zoning Board Dismisses Challenge to Abington’s Transit District
Montgomery Media: Hatfield Township Looks to Preserve 10 Acres
Montgomery Media: Study Shows Questions Remain About Economic Benefits of Marcellus Stale
Bucks Local News: Bucks County Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick Urges Federal Disaster Declaration
Fox Philly: 11 Pa. Counties Targeted For Disaster Aid

South Central
Patriot News: U.S. State Department looking at foreign workers’ host agency in Hershey-area labor dispute
Patriot News: Harrisburg faces critical vote on fiscal recovery plan

Times Tribune: NEPA districts face boundary shifts
Times Tribune: New documents filed in alleged political firing case
Times Tribune: Governor to visit damaged areas in region; some roads reopen

Leigh Valley
The Morning Call : 21,000 PPL customers still without power

Capitol Ideas: Gov Corbett Asks For Emergency Assistance:
Big Tent: Casey: Corruption Threatens Afghani Gains
State House Sound Bites: Assessment of Irene Damage
Attywood: Rick Perry Doesn’t Allow Hurricane To Stop Rally
Pennsylvania Ave: Irene Thwarts Santorum

PA Water Cooler: Santorum’s Chickens Come Home To Roost
LuLac Political Letter: Lou Barletta on Medicare
Keystone Politics: Public Sector Jobs Not The Road To Riches

Rafferty in for Attorney General

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

John Rafferty will throw his hat in the ring for PA Attorney General, the Montgomery County State Senator confirmed to PoliticsPA this afternoon.

“I most definitely will, yes,” he said.

Rafferty’s name has been in the discussion for several months, and he recently sent a letter to Republican State Committee members indicating his interest in running.

He won’t face a question of experience: Rafferty served as Deputy Attorney General from 1988 to 1991. In the PA Senate, he has built a reputation as a good legislator respected on both sides of the aisle. He chairs the Transportation Committee and serves on Appropriations, Judiciary, Law & Justice, Banking and Insurance and Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

He isn’t a hard-liner (his campaign website boasts of his success in, “bringing millions of dollars of funding to his district for economic development”), but he has been reaching out to PA conservatives.

At the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in April, Rafferty was introduced to various leaders and activists by PA Senate colleagues John Eichelberger and Mike Folmer.

“I think John will do a great job as Attorney General, said Folmer. “He’s personable, he’s honest, and he has a good grasp of the Constitution. It fits him very well.”

Folmer noted that while he and his colleague sometimes disagree on policy, Rafferty is “pro-life, pro-gun, and a strict constructionist.”

Update: Senator Eichelbeger echoed Folmer’s praise.

“He would bring a real sense of integrity and hard work to the office,” he said. “He’s respected enough on both sides of the aisle that people trust him, and know his word is good.”

He has also been making the rounds at other statewide events. He hosted a reception at GOP state committee this summer, and will attend the upcoming meeting in September.

Elected to the Senate in 2002, Rafferty’s 44th district comprises parts of Montgomery and Chester counties, and even a pair of municipalities in Berks. He won election by 18.4 points in 2002, 12.4 points in 2006, and 25.6 points last year.

He has about $100,000 in cash on hand, according to his most recent campaign finance report, which was filed late last year.

Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed is also considering a run, and PoliticsPA is looking into other recent rumors of GOP recruiting efforts. Earlier this year, many considered Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman a likely candidate. Recently however, insiders agree that she has taken no steps toward a statewide campaign.

Former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane, former Philly prosecutor Dan McCaffery and former Congressman Patrick Murphy are each seeking the Democratic nomination.

Metcalfe: Obama “Treasonous” on Immigration

By Brittany Foster, Contributing Writer

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is throwing some fire at Barack Obama today, criticizing the President’s recent executive order calling for a review of deportation orders.

“This deplorable act of treasonous deceit circumvents the balance of power established by our Founding Fathers in Article 4, Section 4 of the United States Constitution, established to protect all 50 states against invasion,” said Metcalfe.   “Halting the deportation process to individually review each and every deportation case is a premeditated executive action to obstruct all deportations in favor of blanket amnesty.”

The executive order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to individually review more than 300,000 illegal alien deportation cases with the aim of shifting agency resources from “low-priority” illegal aliens to those of higher risk. These low priority aliens include individuals who have been in the country since childhood, pregnant or nursing women, minors and elderly adults. The initiative also encourages leniency on illegal immigrants pursuing an education.

Metcalfe’s comments come on behalf of his conservative organization the State Legislators for Legal Immigration. Legislators from 41 states are members of this group created to demand full cooperation among governments to eliminate all economic attractions and incentives that entice illegal aliens to enter America.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31% of Americans favor some sort of amnesty policy for immigrants that are already in the country. Metcalfe obviously finds himself in the other 61% who view stricter border security as the priority.

Philly Magazine’s In-Depth Look at a Montco GOP in Decline

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Philadelphia Magazine has an in-depth look at the factionalism that has plagued the Montgomery County Republican Committee over the past decade. It paints a brutal portrait of the MCRC.

“A generation ago, Ronald Reagan decreed Montgomery County one of the three best-run Republican strongholds in the entire country. Now, with the party decimated by a half-dozen years of feuding among GOP heavyweights, a very rich, mysterious newcomer has entered the void to take Montco politics to an even darker place.”

As Democrats have flooded into Montco from Philly, the county’s demographics have changed. Add that to infighting that has severely affected the party’s operations, and a county that has been Republican since Civil War days may soon have a majority Democratic board of Commissioners.

It’s too tough to cherry pick one line or paragraph to summarize the whole piece - you should definitely read it.

The article delves into the back story behind the infamous power-sharing deal between Republican Commissioner Jim Matthews and Democrat Joe Hoeffel, the Bob Asher v. Bruce Castor grudge, and the rise of prolific money man Vahan H. Gureghian.

This writer can vouch for at least some of the party infighting in Montco.

At a recent meeting of the PAGOP, as state committee members met up before dinner, the Montgomery County delegation happened to congregate near where this writer was sitting. For about half an hour, I was treated to a nonstop series of details about the factionalism and infighting in the county party.

It was impossible not to empathize with Montco GOP Chairman Bob Kerns as he urged party member after party member to bury the hatchet over some past slight or another. At the same time, it was impossible not to imagine the glee of Montco Dem committee members had they sat where I did.

Certainly every party organization has its share of clashing personalities, and the social media world has been abuzz with Montco Republicans criticizing or dismissing this article. It looks like the county election results this year will have to tell the final story.

8/29 Morning Buzz

The winds have died down, and hopefully your power is (back) on.

Hurricane Irene: When it comes to disaster recovery, Democrats and Republicans agree that government spending is a good thing. In Hurricane Irene’s wake, Governor Corbett, several members of PA’s congressional delegation and local officials are requesting that President Obama declare a disaster in eastern PA.

Casey in Pakistan: Bob Casey is out of town, but certainly not out of dodge. Senator Casey is on his third trip to Pakistan, aiming to stop the transportation of substances used to make IEDs, the number one killer of U.S troops, from that country into neighboring Afghanistan.

Santorum in PA: Former Senator and current GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum knows that if he wants to be a contender he needs to raise more money. Starting today, he’s taking a swing through Pennsylvania to get by with a little help from his friends. Click for details of his trip.

Clinton County consolations: The men who represent Clinton County in Harrisburg, State Senator John N. Wozniak and State Representative Mike Hanna, congratulated and thanked the players, coaches, fans, parents, and volunteers with Keystone Little League for a remarkable post-season performance which caught the attention of sports fans nationwide.

Team Scaringi grows: GOP Senate hopeful Marc Scaringi added a new member to his campaign team last week. Veteran operative Jason Fitzgerald, who last year co-managed Rep. Tom Marino’s win in PA-10, will consult for the Harrisburg-area attorney.

Conservative scorecard: Senator Toomey received the highest grade (87 percent) and surpassed all Pennsylvania members of Congress on a vote scorecard created by Heritage Action. Rep. Joe Pitts took a close second with 83 percent.

Israel/Palestine in PA: J Street, a political group for “pro-Israeli and pro-peace Americans,” delivered about a thousand signed postcards this week to Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as part of their effort to lobby elected officials to support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Shrinking the Legislature: It’s a long shot, so the real question is how the proposal plays politically. It might help insulate GOP leadership against Tea Party angst, and then again it might not.

Tackling brain injury: Rep. Pat Meehan held an event last week to push the PABI Plan Act, which would fund a seven-year initiative to implement a standardized, evidence-based system of care for the millions of families who have a child or young adult suffering from brain injury.

Don’t forget to check out Friday’s Ups & Downs.

And finally, sad news for politicos in DuBois. Lester Smiley, a firecracker of a retired union rep and a fiercely patriotic Democrat, passed away this week at 77. If you’ve ever driven through downtown DuBois, you’ve seen his hand-crafted signs adorning numerous local businesses. Lester was one of the hardest-working, most interesting and most sincere campaigners in the state. He will be missed.

Morning Call: Irene Thwarts Santorum
Go Erie: US to Cut Estimate of Marcellus Shale Gas Reserves
Tribune Review: AP-GfK Poll: Most Republicans happy with GOP field
AP, Altoona Mirror: Views on economy, Obama role sour
WJAC: Ron Paul: We don’t need FEMA
WJAC: Republicans slam President on jobs
WJAC: “You Lie!” Lawmaker released from hospital
Beaver County Times: Obama: Getting through Irene will be ‘tough slog’
Observer-Reporter: Region’s ‘energized’ economy is also diversified
AP, Philadelphia Inquirer: Perry Blasts Obama, Notes Own Job-Creating Record
Washington Post: FEMA, Federal Agencies Ramp Up
Washington Post: American Town Halls More Contentous Than Ever, In Part By Design

Stateline: Study: States Enrolling More Children in CHIP
Fox News :Corbett talks Irene Preparations
PhillyBurbs: Corbett to be at ceremonial signing in Bucks
Post Gazette: State Senate Considers Charter School Regs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Transportation Committee Waiting for Corbett’s Stance on Funding Proposal
Patriot-News: Education Reform Discussion Continues at the Pennsylvania State Capital
Patriot-News: Pa. Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander’s Extra Job Raises Eyebrows
Tribune Review: Casey sees way to repair U.S.-Pakistan ties
AP, Tribune Review: Harrisburg threatened with state takeover
Tribune Review: Corbett issues emergency declaration for Pennsylvania
Tribune Review: Outgoing gaming chairman named to board
Post-Gazette: Corbett dispatches teams to areas in hurricane’s path
Indiana Gazette: PSSHE profs, coaches start year without contract
Patriot News: 3 Hurricane Irene related deaths reported in Pa.,700k without power, Go. Tom Corbett says
Indiana Gazette: Senator Casey visits Pakistan
The Sentinel: Photo ID Mandate of Pa. Voters Awaits Senate Vote
Patriot-News: Gov. Tom Corbett gives Harrisburg mayor state takeover talking to
Pittsburgh Live: Outgoing gaming chairman named to board
State House Sound Bites: State law held up USGS report
StateImpactPA: Josh Fox and Other Drilling Opponents to Protest at Philly Marcellus Convention
StateImpactPA: Is Cuomo Cribbing Corbett’s Fracking Talking Points?
StateImpactPA: “SEC Bears Down on Fracking”

Inquirer: Ackerman and chief financial officer no longer talking
Fox News: Hurricane Irene Weakens for Philadelphia area
Philadelphia Inquirer: Longtime Perry Benefactor Hosting Meeting at Home
Philadelphia Inquirer: Cheir Honkala Adds Horse Stunt To Sheriff’s Campaign
Philadelphia Inquirer: Oh Apologizes for Green Beret ‘confusion of misimpression’
Philly Now: Pets Matter, Too: City Outlines Plan for Animals In Case You Need to Evacuate
Philadelphia Weekly: Top 10 Corners: 2011 Edition
Fox Philly: Nutter: Worst Storm in Philly in 50 Years
Fox Philly: Nutter Responds To Ackerman Comments
ABC News: State of Emergency Declared in Philadelphia
News Works: Manayunk’s Venice Lofts Apartment Complex Evacuated
Philadelphia Inquirer: SEPTA, PATCO, Amtrak, airport all shut down

Philly Suburbs
Courier Times: Some Places Cold See a Foot of Rain
Burlington County Times: Mandatory Evacuations Ordered in Lumberton and Medford-Ali
Burlington County TImes: New Hope Emergency Management Warns of Delaware River Flooding
Burlington Country Times: Family of Late Congressman Established Memorial Fund for Veterans’ Affairs
Perkasie News Herald: Pennridge Regional Police Expected to Be in New Headquarter Soon
Perkasie News Herald: Unemployment Rate in Bucks County Dips Slightly to 7.4 Percent, Lowest in Three Years
Bucks Local News: Bucks County Activates Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Coordinate Response to Hurricane Irene
The Intelligencer: Lower Bucks Prepares for Storm, Townships Declare Emergencies
Montgomery Media: Dashertown Plaza Redevelopment Discussion Remains in Limbo

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Bank Counsel Joins Pittsburgh’s Fiscal Overseers
Post Gazette: Pension Board Backs Pittsburgh City Council Bailout
Tribune Review: Mayor Ravenstahl defends handling of flood
KDKA: City council wants details on storm water management

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Outlook Bleak for Transportation Funding
Tribune Review: Fayette, Burnett Oil sign contract
Tribune Review: Critz pinpoints shale drilling, federal budget woes
Tribune Review: Candidates forum planned for Sept. 8 in Youngwood

South Central
The Sentinel: Complaints pile up for Carlisle Regional Medical Center
The Sentinel: Corbett: Central Pa. must be prepared for flooding from Irene’s rain
Lancaster era: White paper takes prison officials to task
Lebanon Daily News: Lebanon county bar to celebrate constitutions
Gettysburg Sun Gazette: Marino returns from Israel on fresh perspective on Middle East
Gettysburg Sun Gazette: DA files motion to have public official removed

Pittston Politics: Vinsko (PA-11 Barletta challenger) makes rounds at Tomato festival, talks on Corbett (WILK)
Times Tribune: Medicare, Medicaid proposed cuts could make it impossible for hospitals to be profitable, force docs to stop seeing patients
Times Tribune: Carbondale to replace railroad crossing
Times Tribune: Gas well safety bill addresses common events
Times Tribune: Cawley tours region, speaks on Marcellus boon
Times Tribune: Dems fill ballot vacancies
Citizens Voice: Schools try to do more with less
Citizens Voice: Congressman picks fear over public
Citizens Voice: Mike Lacey to run as Libertarian candidate for Luzerne County Council
The Daily Review: Another Ridgebury official to resign
Go Lackawana: PNC contract inked

North By Northwest
Erie Times: A New Trend: Green Cleaning Our Schools is Gaining Momemtum
Erie Times: Proposed Bill on Tax-Exempt Properties Would Aide Erie, Other Cities
McClean Publishing Co.: Airport Projects in DuBois, Bradford Moving Forward
Centre Daily Times: Corbett, Santorum to Makes Grange Fair Appearances
Sun Gazette: DA Files Motion to Have Public Official Removed
StateCollege: Gov. Corbett Deploys 1,500 National Guard Troops in Eastern PA

Public Opinion Editorial: Waiting for word of Rep. Shuster’s whereabouts
Tribune Review: Race-based buncombe
Tribune Review: Paul: Message advances despite limited media
Post-Gazette: The GOP’s tax increase
Post-Gazette: How Democrats hurt jobs
Early Returns: Daily Santorum: The debate debate
Big Government: Wealthy Liberals Target New Drilling Techniques That Heighten Natural Gas Production and Boost Jobs
Pa Town Hall: Uncomfortable Truth About Hybrid Cars
The Centrist: Rep. Maloney to Host Property Tax Forum
Harrisburg Politics: Fajt Returns to Gaming Board as Senate Dens Appointee
Keystone Politics: Extra Revenue Not for Schools, But Corporate Tax Cuts are Fine
Third and State: About Those PA Job Numbers
Altoona Mirror: Support infrastructure
Altoona Mirror: Keep inflation in check
Tribune Democrat: Laurels and barbs
Tribune Democrat: Readers’ Forum 8-27 Solving budget crisis simple yet made difficult
Observer-Reporter: Union not in such bad shape
Pocono Record: Attending meeting to say “No more multiple districts for Monroe”
Patriot-News Op-Ed: Pa. Takes a Step Backward with Gov. Corbett’s Education Cuts
Patriot-News Op-Ed: Pa. Transportation System Needs to Be Addressed Sooner Rather Than Later

Irene’s wake: Corbett, PA Delegation Ask Obama for Disaster Declaration

By David Gerber, Contributing Writer

When it comes to disaster recovery, Democrats and Republicans agree that government spending is a good thing.

Governor Corbett this afternoon officially requested that President Obama declare a disaster in the parts of Pennsylvania affected by Hurricane Irene. He was joined by several members of PA’s congressional delegation and local officials.

According to FEMA, such a declaration would put into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help disaster victims, businesses and public entities.

Southeastern PA, including Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, have experienced widespread wind damage and flooding this weekend. The Delaware River is above flood stage, and expected to crest at its highest level for over a century.

Bucks County is affected by the river more than anywhere in the state. Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick today wrote to President Obama supporting Governor Tom Corbett’s request for a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stemming from damages suffered in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Fitzpatrick’s statement included a similar urging from Bucks County Commissioner Charley Martin.

“I join with Congressman Fitzpatrick in urging the President to take immediate action on Governor Corbett’s request so that Bucks County and our entire region can clean up and rebuild,” he said.  “We stand ready to work with our state and federal partners for an efficient and swift effort.”

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila) released a similar statement, as did Rep. Lou Barletta whose 11th district was affected by the storm.

“I want to extend my condolences to the families of those who were killed here in Northeastern Pennsylvania during this storm. They and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

Barletta also supports Gov. Corbett’s request and said he would send a letter to the President immediately.

PA is lending a hand to our friends across the Delaware. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tweeted earlier, “PA has sent ambulances to New Jersey. Thank you to Gov. Corbett.”

Two days ago, Gov. Tom Corbett declared a statewide disaster emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene. The proclamation authorized state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with the emergency situation.

Clinton Co Pols Congratulate Keystone Little Leaguers

By Ali Carey, Contributing Writer

In a week of exciting games before record-setting crowds, Keystone Little League advanced further in the Little League World Series than any Pennsylvania team in more than 20 years.

They held their own against national competition despite having the disadvantage of coming from a cold weather state where they can’t play ball year round. However, the Keystone kids’ hopes of a World Championship were dashed Friday night when they lost to a seasoned team from Huntington Beach, California.   The California team had only given up one run in the entire series prior to Thursday night’s game, and won its first two games with a combined 21-0 score.

Despite narrowly missing advancement to the World Series, Keystone Little League certainly made their home state proud.  On Saturday, State Senator John N. Wozniak and State Representative Mike Hanna thanked the fans, parents, players and volunteers with Keystone Little League for a remarkable post-season performance which caught the attention of Little League fans nationwide.

“Our hearts are filled with pride in Clinton County as we welcome home the Keystone Little League team, coaches and parents following their historic run in the Little League World Series,” said Hanna, a Clinton County native. “These extraordinary young men have truly demonstrated the best of what our region, and Pennsylvania as a whole, has to offer.”

“It was a testament to the character of the kids and the quality of the coaching that not a single person in that stadium, including the California fans, thought that game was lost until the last strike was recorded. They made people believe that character could overcome anything and hopefully that lesson will stick.”

Senator Wozniak, whose district stretches to Clinton County from his base in Johnstown, said he was especially pleased to see a PA team shining on the national stage.  By the conclusion of the game, more than 160,000 fans had witnessed the games, more than 30,000 were following on Facebook and fans as far west as California and as far north as Maine were sending their congratulations.

“It was thrilling to see this team put Clinton County on a national stage,” Wozniak said. “But it was even more gratifying to see that when the region was in the spotlight, it shone with grace, sportsmanship and spirit.”

It’s not the first time that Wozniak has made headlines with PA althletics, either. He lead the successful effort to renew the PSU-Pitt football rivalry.

Links to photos from the series can be found on Wozniak and Hanna’s websites along with a schedule of activities to honor the team and all of the fans who supported them.

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