Thursday, April 20, 2006

Next Local Action

With the primaries fast approaching, we need to regain our momentum and show our support for all PACleanSweep candidates in Bucks County.

We are going to go back to our roots in Bristol and protest retiring Representative Corrigan's yes vote, his taking of the unvouchered expense money, and his handpicked successor (and son-in-law), Mike Harris.

Date: Friday, April 28, 2006
Location: Corner of Green Lane and Wilson Avenue on the border of Bristol Borough and Bristol Township. Corrigan's office is on North Wilson Avenue, just a few dozen yards from this corner
Time: 12 noon-1pm; subsequent rally possible at another site if enough people are interested

Our candidate in this district (140) is John Galloway (D), and we will also rally for all Bucks candidates. I would like to schedule pre-primary rallies for as many candidates in their home districts as possible. Candidates, let's talk.

Corrigan is the last bastion of the pay raise in Bucks County. Rest assured that Harris will bring nothing to the table that his father-in-law did not bring (his record on the Bristol Borough Council can support that assurance).

We want change. We demand change. Let's get behind all of our reformist candidates and make it happen!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Press On!

Most readers who make it to this blog are aware that there are some issues that are causing some strife within PACleanSweep. These are issues that must be handled by the Board of Directors.

On the local level, nothing has changed.

Bucks CleanSweep is dedicated to helping our approved candidates run successful campaigns.

To that end, we are starting to schedule more rallies and protests. In the coming days I will provide the information as to the locations and purposes of these events.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Regional CleanSweep Events

Thursday, March 16: BUCKS CLEANSWEEP MEETING
Township Library of Lower Southampton
1983 Bridgetown Pike Feasterville PA 19053
7:00 pm

Contact: http://buckscleansweep.blogspot.com/ (215) 499-1323

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Tuesday, March 21: SEPA MULTI-COUNTY MEETING (Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Berks)
Valley Forge Beef & Ale
827 S. Trooper Rd.Audubon, Pa. 19403-2311
7:00 pm

Contact: mailto:montgomerycleansweep@gmail.com or philadelphiacleansweep@gmail.com

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Thursday, March 23: LEHIGH VALLEY MEETING (Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon)

Lehigh Valley Diner
1162 MacArthur Road
Whitehall PA
Contacts: Rob Lusch at carboncleansweep@gmail.com or (215) 499-1323
Josh Koch at cleansweeppalehighcounty@gmail.com

Friday, March 03, 2006

It Ain't About the Pay Raise

Well it is - sort of. But it really isn't.

The July 7 pay raise was a watershed event in Pennsylvania politics. Two o'clock in the morning. No floor debate. No public input. A bill completely stripped and appended with new language, changing its original subject. No consideration on the required three legislative days. The votes were evidently pre- arranged. And of course, the infamous "unvouchered expenses."

Five separate violations of our Constitution.

Absolutely outrageous, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. In fact, they did almost the very same thing one year earlier in passing Act 71, the slots bill. And they just did it again with SB 595, with many "voting" members nowhere near the Capitol.

The PA Supreme Court upheld Act 71 as constitutional just weeks before July 7, but Act 71 did not benefit legislators in the direct and blatant way the pay raise did. While the unconstitutional procedures used to approve the pay raise were bad enough, the "we're getting ours through unvouchered expenses" attitude behind it made it the epicenter of a perfect storm of citizen outrage.

But it ain't about the pay raise. To paraphrase a campaign tag line from the past, "It's the process, stupid." The process is broken. It's broken because the institution of the General Assembly is broken.

Leaders strong-arm members into submission and punish those who don't submit. The rank and file bow to leadership's every whim. Otherwise, they'd lose the benefits of the Incumbent Protection Program. The "walking- around-money." The campaign fliers disguised as legislative updates. The public service announcements. The boiler-room "constituent service" phone calls to constituents. The $135 million slush fund leadership controls.

The results? Few Pennsylvanians actually being represented in Harrisburg. Thirty years of ignoring the property tax problem. Failure to even put a dent in the health care crisis. Failure to "maintain and support a thorough and efficient system of public education" as mandated by the Constitution. Failure to keep the students we successfully educate here to work and live. Failure to convince businesses to move to or stay in our Commonwealth without an outright bribe.

Failure. Utter failure. Except - of course - for self serving pay raises, pension increases and the occasional tidbit for anyone willing to drop a few dollars into a campaign war chest or two. Plenty of success in those areas.

We can't change the institution a little bit. We need to change it a lot. Pennsylvania is facing some very serious problems. We need actual solutions - not the pretend solutions their "experience" has given us so far.

We need to fix the process. We need to fix the institution. We won't accomplish it by replacing a few of them - they're all in it together. If they haven't been part of the solution, they're part of the problem. We need to clean the place out and start from scratch.

We need to get back to basics - the Pennsylvania Constitution. We need people who will support it, obey it and defend it once they arrive in Harrisburg - and We the People need to remain vigilant in enforcing it. Not just this year, but every year.

We'll keep bringing up the pay raise because it's the best way to illuminate what's wrong with the institution. It perfectly encapsulates the existing culture of arrogance, greed and corruption. While the pay raise was repealed, the indelible mark it left on the public wasn't.

The incumbents will ask you to consider not just July 7, but the rest of their record. Please do. We believe you'll find that record quite unsatisfactory for a group with such extensive "experience."

Pay raise, pay raise, pay raise.

It ain't about the pay raise. It's about institutional failure - and the failure of individuals within that institution to support, obey and defend our Constitution. It's the only thing they swear to do.

- PACleanSweep

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Senator Conti's Retirement Changes Nothing

Although Senator Joe Conti has made a right decision to retire at the end of his term, PACleanSweep's operations to put reformist candidates into his seat will continue.

We need to change (or better yet: eliminate) the entire party machine process. We need open primaries with a wider range of candidates (sans party endorsements, thank you) from multiple political parties. We are a land where choice is considered a hallmark of our culture, yet our political system limits us to a few closely related (read: inbred) options. We get to choose from the party machine's lackeys.

Can't we do any better than this?

Yes, we can. And we will. In May, please vote for candidates who are for true reform. PACleanSweep will announce a slate of candidates who are sympathetic to our cause. If you have no PACleanSweep candidate in your district, then vote for the challenger to the incumbent.

Democrat vs. Republican party lines are blurred these days. The parties are more alike than they are different, and both parties have been working overtime at creating a political quagmire for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Now is the time to wrest control of the government from the party machines. Now is the time to shake things up.

Vote against the incumbents in May.

We need you to help us take back our government

by Robert Lusch
PACleanSweep Bucks County
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The year 2005 marked a new low in Pennsylvania history: Elected leaders trampled on the state constitution by granting themselvesan unlawful pay raise via a heavily altered bill. The bill passed with no debate in the middle of the night on July 7. The legislators thought the issue was over.

They were dead wrong.

The citizens of Pennsylvania finally had enough of the political machines. We formed organizations. We established a presence. We staged rallies. We removed state Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro from office in a vote of no confidence in the all-too-close relationship among the three branches of government. These branches have ceased functioning as checks and balances of each other’s power. Instead, they have developed an atmosphere of collusion.

One should think that the legislators would get the message, but clearly they are not taking seriously the gravity of their actions. Statewide, an astonishing number of legislators have refused to return their ill-gotten, unvouchered expense money. Some were dismissive about the entire issue, including Sen. Joe Conti, who made an ill-timed and insipid joke about the state treasury having to come to remove his new water heater. We repeat to Mr Conti: this issue may be funny to you, but it is not humorous in the least. We trusted you to defend and uphold the constitution, and you have been derelict in your duties.

Pennsylvania citizens need better representation. We need public servants who actually have taken the time to read and understand and will uphold Pennsylvania’s constitution. The current legislators, including those who voted ‘no” but otherwise remained silent regarding the pay raise, need to go. The pay raise is but one symptom of a deeper problem in Harrisburg, and all of the current legislators are part of the culture of arrogance and corruption that pervades our capital city.

While thousands, if not scores of thousands, of families are having trouble making ends meet, the legislators feel they are entitled to a royal lifestyle by virtue of their positions. This must stop, and it must stop now.

I encourage people to join the groundswell in Pennsylvania to take back our government. PA CleanSweep is a nonpartisan (multi-partisan, really) organization of concerned citizens who have simply had it with the sad state of affairs in Harrisburg. Many of our people have never been politically active before but they were driven to action by the pay raise debacle. Our numbers are growing and we have a big job ahead of us.

We need you, the citizens of Bucks County to join us in our rallies, in our exposure campaigns and in manning the polling places. We need your ideas. We need your contacts. And most of all, we need more candidates. If you have ever considered running for state representative or senator, please contact us. One stipulation: you will need to be able to read and understand the Pennsylvania constitution better than our current legislators!

And then we need you to vote against the incumbents in the primaries in May and in the general election in November.

The year 2006 will be the year of the Pennsylvania people. We are taking back our government and bringing real reform into the political culture of Harrisburg. Please join us!

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Published in the Bucks County Courier Times Guest Opinion, Monday, January 23, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

PACleanSweep Meetup in King of Prussia

Saturday, January 21: PACLEANSWEEP MEET-UP - All CleanSweepers are welcomed!

Holiday Inn Express (Lobby)
260 North Gulph Road
King of Prussia PA 19406
7:00 pm
Contact: montgomerycleansweep@gmail.com
(215) 499-1323

Note: PACleanSweep founder and Chair Russ Diamond and possibly other Board of Directors members will be at this meeting.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Doylestown, January 13, 2006

The Doylestown Rally generated much interest from passers-by. We have a long way to go until the primaries, but the honking horns, the thumbs up, and the shouts of support from numerous citizens tells us that the public still has not forgotten the actions of the legislature.

And we're letting the legislators know we're not forgetting, either!

We offered Senator Conti the opportunity to pick up a sign and join us...

Needless to say, he politely declined.