Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Open for Bizness

D-N editorial questions Corbett's first cabinet pick.

Open for Bizness

(A brief discussion twixt Baer and Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

BE: Hey, JB, today's People's Paper editorial suggests Corbett hired a polluter to be his DCED chief because he contributed $180,000 to his campaign. That can't possibly be true, can it?

JB: Whoa, whoa, you know how clever newspaper people can be. Just because Corbett's long-time pal, C. Alan Walker, a zillionaire energy mogul from western Pennsylvania, former head of the PA Coal Assn., former head of the PA Chamber of Business & Industry, gave a ton of money to Corbett's campaign (it was actually $184,000) you think that would influence a decision regarding a cabinet-level appointment?

BE: Well, Walker was the FIRST cabinet appointment, named back in December even before Corbett took office and he...

JB: Oh, I know, he's CEO of a big coal company and has interests in trucking, oil and gas companies and seems to be right at the heart of all the businesses that stand to benefit from Corbett's no-tax on Marcellus Shale.

BE: Right. So now he runs the Dept of Community and Economic Development and has a special designation, tucked into the budget document, that makes him the guy with the authority to "expedite" any government permits in any agency to help business do its business.

JB: That's to push "job-creating projects." Sounds like you hate America.

BE: Well, it's been reported by ProPublica, the Pulitzer-winning investigative group, that Walker's had water pollution problems that forced the state to go to court to get him to clean up his act.

JB: So who better to deal with such issues? Maybe you haven't hear the new state mantra: Pennsylvania is no open for business, dawg.

BE: I don't think "dawg" is part of the mantra.

JB: OK, but you get the idea. So does Walker. When questioned about his special authority to "expedite" stuff, he issued a statement saying "Pennsylvania is open for business."

BE: Maybe that means open TO business, or open TO people who gave lots of money. Grrrr.

JB: Hey, I'm supposed to say that!

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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