5/20 Ups & Downs

Female attractiveness, the Supreme Court and a new email scandal. See who made this week’s list!

Down ArrowEd Rendell. The former Governor has lived and died by his candor for a long time now. This week we saw one of those instances where his comments came back to bite him. In an attempt to explain how Donald Trump’s sexist language would alienate women, Rendell unintentionally created his own controversy. It’s likely we’ll see less of the ex-Gov in the near future at least, which is bound to hurt someone who so enjoys being a TV pundit.  

 

Up Arrow1Thomas Hardiman. Even the most dedicated of PA politicos hadn’t heard of him and now it’s possible he could sit on the Supreme Court (or maybe not). On Wednesday, Donald Trump revealed his SCOTUS shortlist which included Judge Hardiman. Hardiman, who serves on the Court of the Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, suddenly found himself in the spotlight. Pennsylvania hasn’t had a Justice on the Supreme Court since Owen Roberts, “the switch in time that saved nine”, retired about a month before V-J Day.

Down ArrowTom Wolf. Governor Wolf is suddenly finding himself fighting on two fronts. The big battle this week was with the GOP legislature over his veto of a bill that would reform the seniority-based system for firing teachers. Wolf brushed off threats from Republican leadership to withhold additional education funding if their initiative wasn’t accepted. At the same time, though, DEP Secretary John Quigley was criticizing the Governor in emails with environmental groups. Given some of the departures from his Administration plus this conflict, suddenly Wolf’s judgment comes into question.

Up Arrow1Tom Ridge. Rendell wasn’t the only former PA Governor to get back into the headlines this week. Tom Ridge wrote an op-ed for U.S. News and World Report, calling Trump a “bully” who he “simply cannot endorse”. Of course, this move won’t have any real effect on The Donald’s chances in the Keystone State. Still, it’s nice to someone stand by what they said in the primaries while so many other Republicans pretend to support someone they don’t believe in for the next six months.

 

Up Arrow1Down ArrowKatie McGinty and Pat Toomey. So far neither candidate in the PA-Sen race has been able to pull ahead, although they also haven’t suffered much. The Democratic nominee got a massive TV commitment from the DSCC although conservatives tried to use her campaign chair Ed Rendell’s comments against her. Sen. Toomey, on the other hand, is getting support from the Koch Brothers and continued to hammer away at sanctuary cities. Nonetheless, he still does not seem to know what to do about Donald Trump and overall this race has been extremely fluid with no one candidate behind able to get a foothold.  

The tweet of the week goes to the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel with an assist from Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer.

May 20th, 2016 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 32 Comments

32 thoughts on “5/20 Ups & Downs”

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  6. Charlie Pont says:

    Maybe, the state should consider giving the parents and the kids in the city of Erie school vouchers instead of dumping more state funds into a failed school system. I wish we could have them here in the People’s Republic of Philadelphia too but our liberal overlords headed by the public school teachers unions would never let us have them because the poor and working class people are too stupid to know what is good for their own children. I guess Erie needs to impose a Soda Tax too.

  7. Tim says:

    Hey Danny Bonavita One of the reasons minorities are scarce outside of the city of Erie, is that, The Erie County Housing Authority has not issued any new Section 8 vouchers in years and has not even accepted new applications in years either.

  8. Tim says:

    Niklaus Kirschner — Almost 3,000 students (3 percent of the city of Erie’s population) attend these schools. According to Pa. School Performance Profiles, 75 percent of these students are economically disadvantaged and 55 percent come from minority groups. No amount of pay cuts to school staff would fix this deficit, nor is the taxing of colleges/nonprofits an option considering the pertinent legal precedents/legislation. The state government needs to return education funding to normal, non-austerity levels and people need to demand that happens.

  9. Tim says:

    Hey Danny Bonavita – Very FEW minorities live in the suburbs of Erie. THAT’S A FACT!

    No Way are the townshipsgoing to merge with the city to expand the tax base and take on the City of Erie’s legacy debt and the Erie School Districts legacy debt of 350 million dollars. Are you insane?

    IT IS THE STATE”S JOB to adequatey fund these poorer school district so they can adequately compete with the rich districts who run surpluses year after year and get more and more money from the state due to clever loopholes in the current funding formulas.

    As far as the state coming in and redrawing school district boundaries? Well they can gerymander the school districts just like the congrssional districts. We saw how well that worked! Keep them the hell out of redrawing school districts! Are you insane?
    Go to this link at the Erie Times News website GoErie.com to see what the Erie People think about this issue…,
    http://www.goerie.com/close-erie-high-schools

  10. Isaac L. says:

    It looks like Barbara Mcilvaine Smith picked up on a little detail that indicates Tom Ridge didn’t actually write that piece: he was 26 when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. Oops!

  11. bungy says:

    Denny doesn’t care about the kids in Erie ….

  12. Denny Bonavita says:

    Tim, why doesn’t ERIE fund the Erie school district? Your percentages show why. Erie is a “shell” city. Since the school districts were established, population patterns have changed. Well-off people, whites AND minorities, have fled to the suburbs. Fine; close the inner city segregated schools and realign the districts in pie-shaped segments to reflect today’s tax base reality. Erie SHOULD close schools; its tax base is nearly gone. It is not the state’s job to bail out cities. Rather, the state should step in and redraw the school district boundaries. Try THAT hot potato in an election year!

  13. aaron says:

    Has Frank Fina resigned yet??

  14. Tim says:

    Oh, yeah…, the Republican extortion artists keep threatening to withold education funds if they don’t get their way. What a bunch of pussies.Meanwhile in Erie, they are seriously considering closing down the 4 high schools in the city, because the state lacks a proper funding mechanism to adequately fund the Erie school district. That means all the city of Erie high school kids would be bussed to the suburbs and well you know what that means? Diversity and multiculturalism meets lilly white America. 70% of Erie highschoolers are BLACK or immigrant, and 30% of them are special education. So tell me how this will go over in the suburban schools? Why is it that The Republicans fail to adequately fund the Erie school district? Why does Erie have to go beg to get the money that should be rightfully allocated to the city school district. Why is this an issue in the first place? Why isn’t the state doing it’s job to adequately fund a poor school district like the city of Erie. The state sends big money to the rich school districts in the state so they can buy all the latest computers and lab equipment, but Erie cannot even get the money needed to make it’s payroll. Now tell me what’s wrong with this picture and why is it like THAT? Tell me why they are screwing Erie, while they lavish other districts with millions and some districts have budget surpluses? Doesn’t it make sense to take money from those districts with surpluses and re-allocate those funds to districts that sorely need them like the Erie school district?
    You tell me what’s wrong with those people running the show down there, I’m all ears.

  15. Tim says:

    Reckoning day will come. Just like for Chicago, It WILL come for Pennsylvania! Too bad the twits in the legislature keep kicking the can down the road. When they are finally forced to address the issue, there will be blood on the streets so to speak as the fingerpointing and tongue wagging show what fools and idiot we really have down there. It won’t be long now, Maybe 2018-2020, but that day will arrive soon enough and the taxpayer will be the one to foot the bill on these Hollywood pension packages that these state workers get courtesy of the unions and their greedy cohorts in the legislature who live like kings and queens all off the backs of the taxpayers. This is a sin what they have done. It’s tantamount to extortion!
    See this link, it only tells you the PA pension crisis pales in magnitude. It’s criminal what the politicians in this state have done to screw the taxpayer so they can lve like royalty.
    …,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-19/chicago-s-pension-fund-troubles-just-became-11-5-billion-bigger

  16. Observer #3 says:

    Mr. Jax is no insider. In fact, he is clueless. Seth Williams is the target of an FBI criminal investigation. No idea what he means by “public reprimand,” but City Counsel has been all over him.

    The other day, Mr. Jax tried to tell us that John Dougherty’s brother was not involved in Porngate. But he was/is.

  17. Tim says:

    All you so called “insiders” make me gag! and puke!

  18. Tim says:

    All those state pensioneers love Ridge too! He gave them a HUGE increase in their pensions [UNFUNDED OF COURSE!] All why cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations. What a guy!

  19. garet jax says:

    Jeez. Get a life. Fina and Costanzo are still employed. Seth is still the DA and none of them have suffered as much as a public reprimand let alone faced arrest or prosecution. It just ain’t happening folks no matter how much you want it to. Same goes for Levant AND his DA employed wife. As far as Seth is concerned don’t be surprised when he’s re-elected. He’s still black although woefully unqualified no different than he was when he got elected. I’m surprised that Seth was so helpful to Shapiro in the primary. I guess Zappala didn’t offer enough for his support.

  20. Pat Unger says:

    Great question, Marie.

    The Disciplinary Board was quick to suspend AG Kane – before any judicial finding.

    And now we have Frank Fina. The Superior Court of PA has already found that he lied to a Judge. That is a crime. They found that his behavior in the grand jury was “highly improper.”

    Are they letting him slide? Where’s Fina’s license suspension?

  21. John says:

    Always loved Tom Ridge. Has guts, unlike the others!

  22. gulagPittsburgh says:

    Fina, Zappala, and Seth Williams signing off on the same thing. How low can you go?

  23. gulagPittsburgh says:

    And why did Judge Krumenacker have to protect Judge Feudale from testifying (under oath) about that same grand jury? Is cover-up the right term? Is that not illegal, even when judges do it?

  24. gulagPittsburgh says:

    Has Penn State fired Cynthia Baldwin yet for her unethical conduct at the grand jury which resulted in many charges being dropped against the PSU 3?

  25. Marie says:

    Makes sense, Ha3.

    It makes total sense that Seth Williams and Frank Fina would have met while trying to subvert the rights of poor, innocent people incarcerated fro crimes they did not commit.

    And it is just rich that Fina thought it “preposterous” that innocent people prosecute by scum like him should recover monies …. And yet here he is suing the State for money himself. Like I said — a real POS.

    The Superior Court just found that the conduct of the POS in the Penn State case was “highly improper.” He lied to a Judge When is his license getting suspended?

  26. Bob Levant says:

    OMG — Am I going to jail??? Are they going to find out that Seth hiring my wife to a high-paying City job was a quid-pro-quo? I DO NOT look good in orange.

  27. Seth Williams' New Chief of Staff and General Counsel says:

    Yeah!! Get a new hobby …. and leave my husband’s client alone !!!!!!

    My husband and Frank Fina are suing the State for taxpayer money. Who cares about what City Council thinks? Who cares about what NOW, the NAACP … Hardy Williams …. WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK?!?

    We say Frank Fina is a good (and non-racist) guy. And we are sticking with that.

    BTW -We demote people who suggest that we have to fire him. That’s how we roll !!

  28. Alison says:

    No one cares about Frank Fina. Get a new hobby.

  29. HaHaHa says:

    Pat – You forgot about the other info that came out this week re: Seth Williams. You posted it on another article. It is also bad news for Ed Marisco, Stephen Zappala and Frank Fina –

    _________________________________________

    From PennLive article — “The committee’s work took four long years but, in 2011, it released its report, a 316-page tome that thoroughly analyzed the causes of wrongful convictions and offered a series of recommendations to fix the problem.

    The committee’s recommendations included greater preservation of biological evidence, changes in witness interviews and photo lineups, state-based funding for indigent defense services, video and audio recording of interrogations, and compensation for people who are wrongly convicted.

    Unfortunately, law enforcement, led by the District Attorneys’ association, released its own minority report.

    That minority report diminished the committee’s recommendations and refused to even acknowledge the reality of innocent people in prison.

    Signers of the minority report included Ed Marisco, Frank Fina, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

    Perhaps most appalling of all, the minority report called the idea of compensating wrongly convicted people “preposterous.”

    Apparently – Frank Fina thinks he deserves taxpayer $$$ and has sued the State trying to get some. But – he doesn’t think innocent people who get sent to jail by corrupt prosecutors like him should recover. Shame on him.

    And Shame on Seth Williams for authoring this disgusting “minority report.”

  30. Pat Unger says:

    Note – The headline reads: “Seth Williams says he’s smart on crime. His record suggests otherwise.”

  31. Pat Unger says:

    Where is the DOWN ARROW for Seth Williams? Did you guys miss this article from The Nation:

    For [Seth] Williams, killer cops deserve much more leniency under the law. In December of 2014, two Philadelphia cops gunned down a 26-year-old African-American man named Brandon Tate-Brown at a traffic stop, sparking popular protest against the excessive use of police force. While Williams asserted that he understood “what happened with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and what happened in Ferguson,” he claimed what happened in Philadelphia is “different” because Tate-Brown had a weapon in his car. “The officer’s actions here do not constitute a crime,” he said when announcing that he would not bring charges against the police.

    Everyone knows the “weapon ion the car,” even if the Police did not put it there, had NOTHING to do with the Police murdering him. Williams turning his back on yet another victim of violent crime – ike he did when he refused to arrest John Dougherty because of all the money Dougherty gave him.

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