Monday, November 30, 2015

In Their Own Words

Sometimes stuff you say can come back to bite you; here are two pretty good examples.

In Their Own Words


In politics, as in personal relationships, one's spoken words often can be turned against one.

In arguments with friends, family or significant others you hear "yeah, well, I remember when you said this and such," and all you can say is, "that was then and this is now."

A couple of press releases yesterday serve as good examples.

The first comes from state Rep. Mike McGeehan, perhaps Arlene Ackerman's most avid stalker, and is directed at Mayor Nutter.

McGeehan wants Nutter on record as opposing any buyout of Arlene's super-sized contract. Nutter so far is silent, so McGeehan takes us back to 2007 when the district faced $75 million in red ink (as opposed to this year's $629 million figure) and was about to hand then-Superintendent Paul Vallas a severence of $180,000 (as oppposed to the $1.5 million said to be awating Ackerman).

McGeehan offers this `07 quote from Nutter, then the Democratic mayoral nominee: 

"How a district that has a hundred-plus million dollar deficit could give anybody any extra money is beyond me.You cannot get a bonus if you leave a place in fiscal distress.

"This is not some corporate situation where you walk away with stock options.This is a school district. There are kids who don't have reading material, they don't have librarians in the library, they don't have art and music. Now, some adult is going to walk away with [a big severance] on top of a couple hundred thousand dollars in salary – this is outrageous."

The second example is from State Store workers' union boss Wendell Young IV and is aimed at former LCB Chairman Jonathan Newman, who just announced his support for privatization of the stores, a change Newman would profit from since he's now a private wine distributor.

Young pulled these Newman statements from `05 and `06:

“We are using Pa.'s purchasing power to bring some great wine deals to our stores and we are starting to win back many customers who used to buy out of state.”

"The accomplishments of the past three and a half years have only been possible with the effort and dedication of the PLCB employees. I am grateful for their support and look forward to leading the PLCB on a course of continued success under Governor Rendell's direction.”

In both cases, I suspect, the mayor and the former chairman would simply say,"that was then and this is now."

To which I, of course, would simply say, GRRRR.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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