5/17 Morning Buzz

5/17 Morning Buzz
Written by PoliticsPA Staff

A challenger for Matt Cartwright, a new poll, and a tough road ahead for former Congressman Todd Platts. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz.

Common Core in the Crosshairs, Across Party Lines: They say politics makes strange bedfellows and thats what happened at Wednesday’s PA Senate Education Committee hearing. The Democratic caucus appeared to side with conservative-leaning groups over Common Core education standards.

Former Congressman No Sure Bet in Local Race: A year after his decision to retire from Congress, Todd Platts is running for county judge. But the incumbent he’s facing has different plans in one of the hottest races in south central Pa.

UM/Muhlenberg Poll: Public Supports Marcellus Development, But Wary of Risks: A poll and academic study from the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College shows public support for development of Marcellus shale in Pa., but not without reservations.

Gov. Corbett Taps William Harner as New Education Secretary: Governor Corbett has picked Cumberland Valley schools superintendent William Harner to replace Ron Tomalis as Secretary of Education.

Newcomer Republican Files to Challenge Cartwright: It’s still about a year before the 2014 primaries, but some statewide candidates are getting out in front. Last week, Matthew Dietz, from Wind Gap, filed with the FEC to run as a Republican in the 17th congressional district in northeast PA.

State Impact: Ernest Moniz Confirmed as Energy Secretary, EPA Nominee McCarthy Makes it Through Committee
PA Independent: Political nonprofit skirting PA election law targeted for GOP lawmakers last November
PA Independent: No cost? Not quite: Self-funded PA website contract costing up to $2.6M
State House Soundbytes: Gov. George Leader celebrated before burial
AP: Former Pennsylvania Gov. Leader recalled as caring, inonvative

Inquirer: SEPTA delays budget votes, hoping for help
Philly.com: Storm warning over cuts
Daily News: Why were some City Council members MIA at budget hearings?
Daily News: Some smokers fume at idea of $2-a-pack tax, but not all
WHYY Newsworks: State, teachers’ union reluctant on more money for Philly schools
WHYY Newsworks: With unexpected revenue, Philadelphia puts some money away for firefighters contract
WHYY Newsworks: Old City Civic Association dissolving; Squilla to seek protections for other groups
WHYY Newsworks: Philadelphia neighbors push to improve public image of Fairmont public school

Phillyburbs: Casey sees Horsham Air Guard Station as cyberdefense hub
Phillyburbs: 2 Penndel council members in heated exchange over parking lot paving
Phillyburbs: County sheriff battles two candidates to keep his badge
Pottstown Mercury: Montco GOP sues Democratic county commissioners over voter services position
Delco Daily News: Chester Upland hires Philly educator as new superintendent
Montgomery Media: ELECTION 2013: Four candidates vie for three spots in Republican primary for commissioner in West Norriton

Post-Gazette: Contractor’s bid on Riverview Park work questioned
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh mayoral campaigns trade accusations
Tribune-Review: South Hills candidates for 42nd District seat want smaller House
Tribune-Review: Mayoral candidates trade barbs
KDKA: Challenger Apologizes To Incumbent for Misleading Lawn Signs
Early Returns: Pennsylvania lawmakers get chance to grill IRS acting chief
Early Returns: Dark money & anti-Corbett ads
Early Returns: WTAE: Politics on city time?

Beaver County Times: Cost savings of proposed municipal merger explained
Observer-Reporter: Washington Co. commissioners take wait-and-see approach to Fredericktown ferry
Observer-Reporter: North Franklin Twp. appoints supervisor
Observer-Reporter: Court fills vacancy on Central Greene School Board
Altoona Mirror: Candidacy of Shuster challenger questioned
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Meeting and greeting: Candidates seek name recognition

South Central
Patriot-News: Harrisburg’s mayoral campaign claims and promises – a fact check
Patriot News: Harrisburg audit: city financial disclosures updated, but problems remained in 2011
York Daily Record: York County DA candidates talk about stigma for those with criminal records
York Dispatch: 11 candidates vying for four West York seats

Times Leader: Pittston mayoral contenders talk neighborhoods
The Times-Tribune: House budget bill won’t include pension savings
The Times-Tribune: Dems endorse Randol for mayor
Citizens Voice: Political Scene 5/16/13

Lehigh Valley
Pennsylvania Ave: Casey, Toomey on Senate committee that will investigate IRS next week
Morning Call: Lehigh Valley mayors discuss sustainable development, urban supermarkets
Morning Call: Six candidates seek four seats on Allentown School Board
Morning Call: Six Democrats vie for four Bethlehem City Council seats
Reading Eagle: Schwank moves to new office
Express Times: Bethlehem mayoral candidates clash in debate over city finances, operations

North by Northwest
Sun-Gazette: Council to pay $825K for Brodart demolition
Sun-Gazette: Mayor offers city police officers free parking passes

Observer-Reporter: Giving up billions to the gas industry
Patriot News: Obama administration undermines public’s trust in their government: Editorial
Reading Eagle: Military leaders need to get tough on sexual assaults
York Daily Record: Our take: Schreiber for 95th House seat

Keystone Politics: What Do We Want to Hear About Fracking from the Democratic Candidates for PA Governor?
Keystone Politics: Are Alcohol Taxes a Stable Enough Revenue Source for School Budgets?
Keystone State Education Coalition: Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 16, 2013: Reaction/Background on William Harner replacing PA Education Secretary Tomalis.
Commonwealth Foundation: Facts Contradict Claims of Liquor Monopoly Supporters
Citizens’ Call: After Questions Surface on Staffing Cuts, School District Announces Community Meeting on Budget for May 28

2 Responses

  1. A pretty good read:

    HARRISBURG — Republican Gov. Tom Corbett came into office in 2011 as an unabashed supporter of school vouchers, charter schools and other forms of school choice.
    When it was time to name an education secretary, he picked someone with the same mind-set: Ron Tomalis, who lacked teaching experience but had worked to expand school choice as a state and federal government official before moving into the for-profit education sector.
    “I don’t know of anywhere where he had a positive relationship with a school district,” said Joseph Roy, superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District, “and as a leader, that makes him ineffective.”
    State Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks, said Tomalis’ background was a detriment. He did not have the experience of running a classroom or a school, O’Neill said.”He’s never walked in those shoes,” said O’Neill, a former teacher. “I am very pleased with the person who is replacing him because of his background in education.”
    Tomalis could not be reached for comment.
    But Rep. Steve Samuelson, D-Northampton, criticized Tomalis and Corbett for creating an unfair playing field by excluding charter school staff from new teacher evaluations and trying to ease testing standards for charter schools. He also slammed Corbett for keeping Tomalis on the payroll.
    “Adding an additional bureaucrat is what the governor is doing here,” Samuelson said.
    Harner has seen some controversy in his career. According to published reports, he was criticized by Greenville school board members for selling timber to start a lacrosse program. As Cumberland Valley superintendent, Harner has criticized Corbett’s budget cuts.
    Stuart Knade, interim executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said he hopes Harner fosters better relationships between the state and districts than Tomalis did.
    “I think it’s safe to say the working relationship between Secretary Tomalis and public school leaders around the state was not a productive product,” Knade said.
    Harner would earn $139,931 when he takes over June 1, assuming he gets Senate confirmation.

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