Archive: October, 2010
Voters in 19 Camden and Gloucester County municipalities finally get to have their say on who represents them in the state Senate. That was not the case a few months ago, when Democratic leaders gave the job to political newcomer Donald Norcross, younger brother of party leader George Norcross.
In a dizzying round of political music chairs that’s become common in South Jersey, Norcross quickly moved up the ranks. He did stand for an election, easily winning the Assembly seat of retired Speaker Joe Roberts.
Then he was quickly appointed to assume the Senate seat previously held by Dana Redd, who had been elected Camden’s mayor. The orchestrated succession had uncontested candidates looking like pawns on a chess board.
But now, voters in a special off-year election must decide if Norcross deserves to finish the term. The answer is yes. Even considering the manipulated process that put him in the DONALD NORCROSS is still the better candidate to represent the 5th District in the Senate.
A fan who witnessed Roy Halladay’s no-hitter Wednesday night<NO1>10/6<NO> tried to put the feat into perspective during the ride home on the Broad Street line. He couldn’t find the right words, and admitted Halladay’s performance had left him “speechless.”
“It’s a great time to be a Phillies fan,” the fan said finally.
It’s a great time, and a lot of fun, as Halladay would say. The pitcher’s achievement was another dramatic reminder of how lucky Phillies fans have become.
How remarkable was Halladay’s no-hitter? Only one other pitcher in the history of the sport had held an opponent hitless in a postseason game — Don Larsen of the New York Yankees, who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
Three out of four state House members this week turned their backs on Pennsylvanians whose safety is threatened by the Florida gun loophole. Worse still, the bipartisan majority instead expanded gun owners’ rights to blast away at anyone if they feel threatened outside their home or even in their car.
The House changes to the so-called castle doctrine mean that armed individuals will have an absolute right to defend themselves beyond their home, as current law limits. Just imagine how that might escalate road-rage incidents into deadly confrontation, with shooters then claiming self-defense. Even a front-porch encounter between an armed homeowner and a persistent door-to-door solicitor could see lead fly.
“Someone can claim self-defense if they shoot someone who looks at them the wrong way,” warns Edward Marsico, the Dauphin County District Attorney and spokesman for state prosecutors. “You are encouraging someone to potentially take a life.”
The antiquated system Pennsylvania uses to fund charter schools has serious flaws and should be replaced.
State Auditor General Jack Wagner recognizes the problem, but his suggestion of a moratorium on any new charters or cyber schools until the system is fixed would unfairly punish students who want to attend a charter now.
Wagner voiced his concerns this week in a report that concluded the current funding model costs “taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in additional questionable spending.”
The report details yet another compelling reason why the state must overhaul the 1997 charter law to not only develop a more equitable funding system but also provide more charter oversight.
City Solicitor Shelley Smith has given City Council a legal opinion that opens the door for a repeal of the controversial and costly pension perk known as DROP.
Council has no excuse now that would prevent it from holding hearings and voting on a pending bill to eliminate DROP, or the Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
Smith’s opinion says the 1999 legislation that created DROP allows for Council to amend the plan for all employees not already enrolled in the program. Smith added that if city workers challenge a repeal of DROP, it is uncertain how the courts will rule.
Somehow, City Council President Anna C. Verna appeared to be confused by Smith’s 13-page opinion. Verna issued a statement saying she was “disappointed” with the legal guidance.