Archive: October, 2010
The heated contest for an open congressional seat in Delaware County could turn on an ethical controversy over a Democratic nominee who condoned helping a third-party candidate regarded as a GOP spoiler.
Two-term Democratic state representative Bryan Lentz says he sees no harm in his volunteers gathering thousands of petition signatures for a scattershot third-party challenger, Jim Schneller, who isn’t ready to be in congress.
Lentz’ dismissive explanation — “politics is politics” — for helping to get Schneller on the ballot is a jarring admission and fatal character flaw by a former Philadelphia prosecutor.
If the matchup comes down to credibility and integrity, though, voters have an attractive alternative: Former U.S. Attorney PATRICK MEEHAN, who earns The Inquirer’s endorsement.
I recently bought Pat Meehan a beer in an Amtrak coach car on a late-night train from Washington to Philadelphia. Meehan, the former U.S. attorney, is locked in one of the hottest House races in the nation against State Rep. Brian Lentz in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District. I have known Meehan for years, but we hadn’t planned to take the same train.
We shared an observation about this election cycle: the lack of conversation about social issues. Meehan told me that out on the stump, it is all about the economy. I told him the next telephone call I receive on my radio program about social issues will be the first this fall.
Our assessment is compatible with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, wherein 61 percent of respondents predicted the economy would “get worse or stay the same in the next 12 months.”
The centerpiece of Tom Corbett’s campaign for governor — the no-new-taxes pledge — has roused bipartisan doubt.
As the Republican candidate himself reminds voters in his TV ads, Gov. Rendell said Corbett “needs to have his head examined.” Senate GOP leader Dominic Pileggi said in June, “I don’t see how he can do it, frankly.”
Given next year’s estimated budget deficit of $5 billion and the looming pension crisis, there’s a concern that the attorney general isn’t facing up to fiscal realities.
Philadelphia should change its tax code.
The city’s taxes are so out of line with those in the rest of the region — and, for that matter, with the nation and the world — that they form a major barrier to economic success. The city’s economy has enormous potential, but it will never be realized without an overhaul of the tax system.
Consider: Under current law, a successful business located in the city could pay more than half its profits in taxes, including payments to the Internal Revenue Service, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the city. This is well above what businesses pay almost anywhere else. There are many reasons firms might want to locate in Philadelphia, but they have to be really good ones to overcome this tax hurdle.
In much the same way that Frenchmen are more likely than average Philadelphians to take to the streets in protest to free convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia voter-intimidation case surrounding a group called the New Black Panther Party continues to fascinate from afar.
That’s apparent from the Washington Post article posted Friday on distant ramifications from the case.
For locals who have forgotten the details, this is the Election Day 2008 incident in which a couple of guys in paramilitary get-ups, one slapping a nightstick in his hand, were videotaped at a North Philadelphia polling place. The incident generated more attention nationwide than here, largely due to a conservative web site that posted the video, which went viral.