Monthly Archives: September 2011

Proposed PA Mini Electoral College and the gerrymander principle

by Nathaniel Smith, in Politics: A View from West Chester, 9/20/11

…The gist of the plan is that the state’s electoral votes would be determined at the rate of one per congressional district plus 2 for winning the state. This, like the Electoral College and the legislative selection of Senators, would put one more layer between the people and the results of voting.

Interestingly, it turns out that no other state is considering this move. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

The chief sponsor is state senator Dominic Pileggi (R-9), Senate Majority Leader, who represents a swath of southern Chester and Delaware Counties; see his site for some details on his plan, not yet submitted as a bill.

On Sen. Pileggi’s Facebook page, in reply to the claim that this plan would “more fairly allocate Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes in presidential elections,” reader Bill Steig posted this acerbic comment (which, to the Senator’s credit, remains for all to see):

“Hey senator, guess what: the 2000 presidential election didn’t ‘accutely reflect the popular vote’ of the nation, to use your words in today’s Inquirer. So I guess you agree President Gore would have been better for the nation. Glad you came to your senses—11 years late. What a shameless, cynical political power play.”

True: if the Republicans are so concerned about fairness, why don’t they propose to abolish “winner take all” in all states, not just in a relatively populated swing state where Democrats have won the last five presidential contests?

Furthermore, the timing is certainly suspect; it’s not as if the bill’s sponsor hasn’t ever had a chance to do something for his vision of electoral “fairness” ….

read the full post in Politics: A View from West Chester

Dangerous legislation

letter, Daily Local News, 9/30/11

Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives — with Rep. Jim Gerlach’s support — passed the “TRAIN” Act, legislation that could result in 139,500 lives lost by delaying the cleanup of toxic power plant pollution.

This piece of legislation would indefinitely delay standards that limit soot, smog, mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants. Delaying these standards would mean that every year, Pennsylvanians would suffer more asthma attacks, more hospitalizations and more premature deaths from air pollution.

Given the threat this bill poses to the safety of our children, it is unacceptable that Rep. Gerlach voted to pass it. There is no excuse for putting Pennsylvanians’ lives at risk. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey should oppose this dangerous bill.

Michael Tracht

County Commisioners Respond to Recorder of Deeds Candidate

By Jake Speicher, West Chester Patch, 9/30/11

County Commissioners say the problem should be fixed by October 7.

During Wednesday’s Chester County Commissioner’s Sunshine Meeting, Recorder of Deeds candidate Russ Phifer accused County Commissioner’s Ryan Costello and Terrence Farrell of supporting a program that allows users to access the County’s search database for free.

According to Phifer, the “program” is costing Chester County hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

In a press release, Phifer stated, “A review of account records makes it obvious that the free ‘back door’ you provided to ChescoPin is primarily being used by county law firms for routine searches.”

The press release goes on to say that Phifer estimated that as many as 30,000 unbilled searches have been made under this “program.”

During Thursday’s regular meeting of the county commissioners, Costello and Farrell asked county chief information officer Glenn Angstadt about the issue.

“We’re in the process of fixing it.” Angstadt said. “In March of this year we got a report about users being locked out of the system. After investigating the problem, we located this free account that allowed users to see other information for free.”

Angstadt also said that his office had been working on a fix for the problem since July.

“Programming and fixes like this take a long time,” Angstadt said….

keep reading at West Chester Patch