Meet the Candidates

Mike Farrell is running for State Senate against Ted Ericson in the 26th District. He’s running such a strong race that the State Democrats have targeted his race as winnable! Most of us who read this blog live in his district and I think it’s important that we learn more about him and what he stands for: See Mike’s Site

You will also have a chance to meet with Mike, this Sunday at Barone’s Tuscan Grill in Springfield. He will be joined by Larry Healy who is running in the 165th (Springfield, Morton, Marple, and Radnor) for State Rep.

This will give you a chance to meet both gentlemen–one on one–and discuss what’s important to you in this district. It’s important to realize why we need Ericson out of office and why Mike Farrell is the best person for the job!

Find more information here.

Illegal students to face theft charge?

I am definitely all for this. If there’s any way to get those that don’t belong in the UD School system, I say go for it!

Illegal students to face theft charge?

By Dan Russo, STAFF WRITER09/28/2006

School officials are researching legality of proposal in their ongoing efforts to crack down on non-resident students.

UPPER DARBY – A new tactic is being considered in the school district’s on-going efforts to crack down on non-resident students.

School officials are examining a proposal which would criminally charge students and their “support network” with theft of services if evidence is found that the students do not reside in the district.

“We are evaluating the details behind the scenes,” said Assistant Superintendent Louis F. DeVlieger. “We are researching the legal aspects of the proposal.”

Upper Darby Police submitted a document outlining the idea. It states that police would become involved in an investigation of a possible illegal student only if they had already come in contact with the student as a result of another incident.

“In other words, if a student is involved in a fight after school and the responding officer suspects he is an illegal student, that officer would forward his incident report to Sgt. [James] Reif,” states the proposal. “He would then contact the district, advise them, ascertain the student’s information and conduct an investigation … This can be likened to the same student being involved in a fight and the responding officer finding credit cards in another person’s name on the student. The officer and this department would be remiss if they did not follow up and investigate the suspected theft/fraud case.”

The district already routinely conducts its own investigations of suspected illegal students through its Central Registration Office. Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood stressed that it is not the proposal’s intention to interfere with the district’s existing system.

“What we’ve done in the past if we had information on suspected illegal students, we’d give that information to the school district,” said Chitwood. “With this proposal, we would get more involved. We would seek prosecutions for theft. We’re not trying to take their work away. We’re hoping to enhance the current efforts.”

Attendance Services Manager Jack Shingle, who supervises the district’s investigations, was among a group of school officials who testified before the Pa. House Republican Policy Committee last April to lobby for stricter laws regarding illegal students state-wide.

Officials argued that a significant influx of non-resident students has caused a financial burden on the district and the resident tax payers who fund it.

In 2005, the district instituted a re-registration of all students entering ninth grade and their siblings. A seven percent decline in enrollment was reported as a result. A similar initiative was undertaken for the 2006-2007 school year.

School Superintendent Joseph Galli reported on this year’s enrollment at the latest school board meeting Sept. 12.

The total enrollment for all schools in the district as of this month is 12,098. That’s an increase of about 60 students over 2005.

Galli explained that the official numbers were subject to change since the year had only just begun, but the re-registrations, did cut down on illegal students.

“We went from about 12,000 to 12,100,” Galli told the school board. “If we had not done this re-registration process, we would be looking at a population of over 13,000.”

Re-registration isn’t the only method officials have tried to deter non-residents from attending schools.

Shingle cooperated with School District Special Council Mary Alice Brennan last November to file about 20 civil suites in district and county courts seeking re-imbursement for a total of about $200,000 in costs from parents and guardians of students removed from the district for not being residents.

The importance of the non-resident student issue has been magnified in light of a large boost in enrollment in recent years.A school capacity task force has been formed in Upper Darby to find solutions for overcrowding at several district schools. Walter M. Senkow School in Glenolden opened last year in a leased facility to handle over-flow from Bywood Elementary School.

Bywood, for example, had 835 students in 2004-2005. About 223 of those students were transferred to Senkow in 2005-2006.

Upper Darby officials are not alone in experiencing issues with non-resident students.

William Penn School District officials have also openly discussed the problem. The district initiated a residency review program in November 2005. Student attendance was examined for six days. Students who were absent or tardy for four consecutive days were asked to prove their residency to William Penn’s registration coordinator. In all, 150 students were affected, according to the school district.

From The Campaign Trail

I have met many people in my campaign to be the State Representative for Upper Darby, Drexel Hill, East Lansdowne and Millbourne.

All have been gracious, many receptive, one was hard to convince. I knocked on his door and introduced myself, “Hi, my name is Casey Roncaglione and I want to be your next State Representative.” No sooner had I finished speaking, the man said he would be voting for Mario Civera because Mr. Civera, who used to be a barber, cut his hair when he was a child. When I told him that Mr.Civera gets free haircuts now, paid for by the taxpayers, he began to listen as I went through the list of perks and freebies that Representatives get.

It’s a long list for Mr. Civera, and I told him about some of them.

He gets catered meals, free haircuts, gym memberships, money for his Cadillac lease, travel expenses, food and lodging.

Free health care.

A daily per-diem pay of $141 a day.

“Legislative weekends” in Philadelphia which include free hotels, meals and sports tickets from lobbyists.

Up to $29,400 in office expenses.

A pension that was boosted by %50 in 2001 and free private attorneys to defend leadership against citizen complaints.

Millions of dollars in leadership accounts, where he sent his payraise money, that are used for political advantage.

And that is just a sampling of what we know about.

The man at the door told me this was news to him. I’m not sure I changed his mind about his vote but he was definitely less happy about his haircut memories, and who knows what will happen when he does vote.
And that’s the point.
In a time where taxes keep rising, along with the costs of daily living, how can Mr. Civera and fellow Representatives keep taking all these perks while hard working people are paying their own way everyday. I think it’s about time that our State Representatives live more like the people they represent instead of treating our treasury as their own personal expense accounts. Why not use a state car, which is much cheaper, instead of a $650 leased Caddy. Contribute to the health plan like everyone else who has insurance. Say no to free gifts from lobbyists who expect favors in return. Pay for your own haircuts and meals.

The cost of state government is a burden on every taxpayer and leaves many worthwhile projects that would benefit our neighborhoods unfunded. Most of these perks would have been unknown to me and the man at the door if it had not been for the Payraise that Mr. Civera and fellow Representatives voted for themselves. The payraise was bad enough, but once the rug was lifted, we began to see how good our Representatives had made life for themselves.

A new Legislature will take over in January and there are many reforms and changes that need to be made. At the top of the list will be ending the free lunch for our Representatives. I’m hoping to be part of the new group of Representatives, and I’ll definitely change the way things are done.

After all, our Representatives work for us not for themselves, though it seems many of them have forgotten that. I won’t forget.

Casey R. Roncaglione
Democratic Candidate
164th Legislative District

7th Spotlight: Immigration, FAA top agenda

By William Bender, Of the Times Staff

Illegal immigration and the Federal Aviation Administration’s airspace redesign plan at Philadelphia International Airport emerged last week as two major issues in the 7th District race. While U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon and Joseph Sestak agree the borders needs to be sealed and the FAA needs to be stopped, they differ on how to make it happen.

The Republican-controlled House recently passed a flurry of legislation over the past two weeks to construct a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), deport illegal immigrant gang members and strengthen penalties against those who build or finance border tunnels.

“We in the House have done the responsible thing. We have voted twice now to shut the border down,” said Weldon, who said his constituents are concerned that illegal immigration is a threat to American jobs and homeland security. (AMEN, CURT!!!!!)

Echoing the sentiments of Democrats on the Hill, Sestak said the House legislation is an election-year effort to compensate for Congress’ failure to address the issue sooner.

Sestak joined the club Thursday, but he blamed the problem on Weldon’s “dismal leadership.”

“We have had a Congress that has failed to provide oversight over the executive branch,” he said, adding the FAA proposal will pose safety problems, adversely impact the environment, lower property values and increase overhead noise.

“Where has Curt Weldon been?” Sestak asked a group of supporters at Jeanne Frantz’ Ridley Park home. He said Weldon should have stood up to the FAA sooner and forced the administration to hold more public hearings in the county. The Democrat recently added an FAA information section to his campaign Web site.

The Weldon camp can’t believe Sestak is pushing this issue, since the congressman has been an outspoken opponent of the airspace redesign plan.

“Meetings with the FAA are not going to stop this,” said Weldon spokesman Michael Puppio. “The seniority of a 10-term congressman who knows the inner workings of the FAA and is the second-ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee is what’s going to stop this plan.”

Of course, no one could stop the FAA from moving forward with the extension of runway 17-35. Last year, that project was opposed locally and by Weldon, then-U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, and state Sens. Connie Williams and Ted Erickson, among others. Construction starts next month.

A Democratic CREW?

We ran a story Thursday on a report from the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) naming Weldon as one of the “most corrupt” members of Congress. The group included Weldon in its annual report based on news reports showing his friends and family may have benefited from his congressional work.

After checking the campaign finance reports, I noticed that Daniel Berger, a member of CREW’s board, is a major contributor to Sestak’s campaign.

His Philadelphia law firm, Berger and Montague, has given $12,850 to the retired Navy admiral so far. Berger himself maxed out with $4,200 in Sestak contributions. And he has poured gobs of cash into other Democratic causes including the campaigns of congressional candidates Lois Murphy and Patrick Murphy, U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Robert Menendez, and Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr.

The list goes on. For quite a while, actually.

Berger did not return a phone call or an e-mail Thursday, but CREW spokeswoman Naomi Seligman Steiner said her organization has “no idea who our board members support or don’t support.” She said the report was compiled by staffers, and neither Berger nor any other board member has a say about which politicians are targeted.

Weldon isn’t buying it. “Partisan hypocrisy is obviously CREW’s stock-in-trade,” his spokesman said, alluding to CREW’s Democratic ties.

While four Democrats, including U.S. Rep. John Murtha, are named among the 21 Republicans in the CREW report, none are in particularly competitive districts.

Paging Ned Flanders

Bob Edgar, former Democratic congressman in the 7th District, says it’s no mere coincidence that he ran into Weldon and Springfield GOP boss Charlie Sexton at Tinicum’s Philly Diner last weekend.

“I call it a Godcidence,” Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, said at a Sestak fund-raiser. “A Godcidence is just an inch more than a coincidence.”

Don’t worry, I’ve never heard of it either.

But Edgar said it’s not a coincidence — certainly not a Godcidence — that gas prices just happen to be coming down weeks before the mid-term elections. “I think there’s a little bit of manipulation there,” he said.

Sexton also used religious terms to describe his reaction to seeing Edgar and his wife once he realized who they were. “I said ‘Oh, my Christ, that’s Bob Edgar,” he recalled.

And, really, what else can you say when a political nemesis you haven’t seen in 20 years is staring at you from across the diner, eating scrapple?

Elsewhere on the trail

First Lady Laura Bush will attend a fund-raiser for Weldon Oct. 4 at the Springfield Country Club. Tickets are $500 each ..The books close Saturday for the quarterly Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports ..Weldon will be in Concord Monday morning with U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn, talking about women’s issues ..Sestak will continue his early morning train station stops this week and plans forums on immigration reform, college affordability, national defense and other issues.

Curt Weldon – I Am Listening

By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press

WASHINGTON A Pentagon report rejects the idea that intelligence gathered by a secret military unit could have been used to stop the Sept. 11 hijackings.

The Pentagon inspector general’s office said Thursday that a review of records from the unit, known as Able Danger, found no evidence it had identified ringleader Mohamed Atta or any other terrorist who participated in the 2001 attacks.

The report was ordered following the assertion last year that the unit had identified four of the 19 hijackers in 2000. That claim was made by a former intelligence officer who worked on Able Danger, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and by Rep. Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security’committees.

Weldon, R-Pa., has said the unit used data-mining to link Atta and three other hijackers to al-Qaida more than a year before the attacks. The 71-page report, blacked out in parts, also rejected Weldon’s claim that the unit wanted information given to the FBI but that Pentagon lawyers would not allow it.

The report acknowledged that one Able Danger member alleged he was prohibited from providing a chart to the FBI in 2000 by a senior Special Operations commander. But, the report said, “the senior official did not recall the incident and we are persuaded that the chart would have been of minimal value to the FBI.”

The Pentagon had said some employees recall seeing an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist before the attacks. The report said those accounts “varied significantly” and witnesses were inconsistent at times in their statements. Last year, the bipartisan commission that investigated the attacks dispensed with the issue by calling it “not historically significant.”

Associated Press writer Pauline Jelinek contributed to this report.

Defense Department Office of Inspector General:

http://www.dodig.osd.mil/

I don’t know what Curt Weldon was up to, but to me the FACT alone that the MSM continues to spout the BS that “19 Arabs with boxcutters” were responsible for the 9-11 attacks is getting old. The FBI, CIA, and other government entities NEVER then and to this day report this falsehood as FACT! Go look it up. Amazing that so many people in Delaware County are so stupid to RESEARCH facts that are avaialible to the public from official government web sites and from the library of congress that refute the “MSM (Main Stream Media) for all of you AOL users out there that the 911 commissions report is flawed, and biased, not to mention, never spent any real time and effort into the investigation.

Bottom line? The evidence has been either destroyed or kept away from the people. I’m fed up with this, as is thousands of other AMERICANS. People who love America, not thier so called “Party” that will change it. Only time will tell if the real culprits will get away with the 9-11 LIE.

Cheers.

Nothing That An Ithaca 37 Couldn’t Handle


From across the pond…

Big Brother is shouting at you

Last updated at 21:02pm on 16th September 2006

Big Brother is not only watching you – now he’s barking orders too. Britain’s first ‘talking’ CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts – from dropping litter to late-night brawls – to send out a verbal warning: ‘We are watching you’.

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: ‘It is one hell of a deterrent. It’s one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it’s quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.

‘Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble.

‘There was one incident when two men started fighting outside a nightclub. One of the control room operators warned them over the loudspeakers and they looked up, startled, stopped fighting and scarpered in opposite directions.

‘This isn’t about keeping tabs on people, it’s about making the streets safer for the law-abiding majority and helping to change the attitudes of those who cause trouble. It challenges unacceptable behaviour and makes people think twice.’

The Mail on Sunday watched as a cyclist riding through a pedestrian area was ordered to stop.

‘Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk as he is riding in a pedestrian area,’ came the command.

The surprised youth stopped, and looked about. A look of horror spread across his face as he realised the voice was referring to him.

He dismounted and wheeled his bike through the crowded streets, as instructed.

Law-abiding shopper Karen Margery, 40, was shocked to hear the speakers spring into action as she walked past them.

Afterwards she said: ‘It’s quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored – it really is like Big Brother.

‘But Middlesbrough does have a big problem with anti-social behaviour, so it is very reassuring.’

The scheme has been introduced by Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon, a former police superintendent who was dubbed Robocop for pioneering the zero-tolerance approach to crime.

He believes the talking cameras will dramatically cut not just anti-social behaviour, but violent crime, too.

And if the city centre scheme proves a success, it will be extended into residential areas.

The control room operators have been given strict guidelines about what commands they can give. Yelling ‘Oi you, stop that’, is not permitted.

Instead, their instructions make the following suggestions: ‘Warning – you are being monitored by CCTV – Warning – you are in an alcohol-free zone, please refrain from drinking’; and Warning – your behaviour is being monitored by CCTV. It is being recorded and the police are attending.’

Mr Bonner said: ‘We always make the requests polite, and if the offender obeys, the operator adds ‘thank you’. We think that’s a nice finishing touch.

‘It would appear that the offenders are the only ones who find the audio cameras intrusive. The vast majority of people welcome these cameras.

‘Put it this way, we never have requests to remove them.’

But civil rights campaigners have argued that the talking cameras are no ‘magic bullet’, in the fight against crime.

Liberty spokesman Doug Jewell said: ‘None of us likes litterbugs or yobs playing up on a Saturday night, but talking CCTV cameras are no substitute for police officers on the beat.’

Seems that jolly old England has gone hi-tech. Imagine being at your favourite Wawa and as your walking to your car hear “Hey scumbag! Pick up that cigarette butt you just thrown on the ground! Do you do this at YOUR house”? Sure thing, I have 3 CCTV cameras (Infrared I might add) Front, Rear, and a “Roaming” one, to thwart these types of scumbags.. I also am thinking of purchasing a loudspeaker, but I already have one at home. Seriously, Just when will it end?

Was George Orwell some kind of modern day Nostradamus? It’s a sobering effect to see that you cannot even walk down the street without knowing that your being watched, by people who probably judge and convict people’s characters, looks, etc, and all while being paid! Sounds good to me! I have one person in mind that I would love to watch, I’m sure you do too.

I remember hating hearing “Watch The Tram Car Please” down the shore as a kid, I know it was for “my safety”, but guess what? It was a clever indoctination into Orwell’s “1984”. The “NWO” is here!

Cheers..

P.S. Coming up: Nicholas Yarris (NickyGate)