Category Archives: PA govt & politics

Urge Governor Wolf to Halt the Mariner East II Pipeline

from Clean Air Council, December 22nd, 2017

The construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline has caused over 100 drilling-fluid spills and has contaminated drinking water supplies, streams, and wetlands in many locations across Pennsylvania. Senator Dinniman has called on Governor Wolf to halt construction of the pipeline until residents’ concerns are addressed. Dinniman’s call for a halt was joined by Senator Rafferty and Representatives Milne, Comitta, and Krueger-Braneky, with calls from Congressman Meehan and Representative Corbin for a thorough re-evaluation of the project.

Call Governor Wolf right now at 717-787-2500 to urge him to halt construction of the Mariner East II pipeline. We are working with partner groups to try to get 1,000 calls to Wolf by the new year. Please add your voice now.

Use the script below for guidance. Please leave a message so your call can count.

PLEASE CLICK HERE, FILL OUT YOUR INFORMATION & CLICK “SUBMIT” to help us keep count of how many participated.

call script:

My name is [NAME] from [Town, County] and I am calling to support Senators Dinniman and Rafferty and Representatives Milne, Comitta, and Krueger-Braneky in their request that you take a leadership role and halt construction of the Mariner East II pipeline due to its public safety and environmental risks. Congressman Meehan and Representative Corbin have called for a thorough re-evaluation of the project.

As governor, you are in a unique position to protect the environment for current and future generations and have an obligation to ensure public health and safety. I urge you to heed the call of a growing number of constituents and elected officials and immediately halt construction of the Mariner East II pipeline until an impartial re-evaluation of the environmental and safety risks is complete.

[see more background info here]

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House Bill 809 would further cut local control

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times of Chester County, July 28, 2015

Bill would let state make housing, zoning choices instead of local communities

Along with about 50 other people, I attended a hearing at West Chester Borough Hall on July 20 about House Bill 809 proposed to the PA House of Representatives.

On the positive side, we have a democratic process that allows citizens to find out what our legislators are doing and to hear differing views in a public forum.

On the negative side, the bill is a total disaster, as was made clear by speakers from West Chester, Lower Merion, Millersville, and State College. (Four realtors and landlords spoke for the bill, however.)

The principle is very clear, in my view, just what Mike McGann enunciated in his July 20 opinion piece on public education:

“What I am advocating for is to allow folks in local districts like Unionville to make their own choices – through their elected school board – on what is right for their community and school district. We don’t have that now.”

Does the state know best how a local school district should educate its own students? No.

Does the state know best how a municipality should zone property use for the benefit of its own residents? No.

House Bill 809, currently before the Committee on Local Government, would radically cut into municipalities’ ability to regulate rental properties. …

read more at The Times of Chester County

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Pa. charter schools buy influence with $10M in donations to politicians

By Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, For The Associated Press, Pottstown Mercury, 2/28/15

HARRISBURG >> It’s no secret that Harrisburg is a hive of lobbyists, each representing industries and interests that spend millions to persuade state lawmakers to bend laws in their favor.

But perhaps what makes the charter-school lobby unique among the pack, says State Rep. Bernie O’Neill, a Republican from Bucks County, is its ability to deploy children to its cause.

In 2014, O’Neill experienced that first hand after proposing changes to a funding formula that would affect charter schools. Parents and children stormed his office and barraged him with calls and emails.

“They were calling me the anti-Christ of everything,” O’Neill said. “Everybody was coming after me.”

In recent years, as charter schools have proliferated — particularly those run by for-profit management companies — so too has their influence on legislators. In few other places has that been more true than Pennsylvania, which is one of only 11 states that has no limits on campaign contributions from PACs or individuals.

According to a PennLive analysis of donations on Follow The Money, a campaign donation database, charter school advocates have donated more than $10 million to Pennsylvania politicians over the past nine years….

continue reading at Pottstown Mercury

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Filed under Campaign finance, Education and schools links, PA govt & politics

Women candidates and the two parties

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 10/25/14

On 9/8/14 the Daily Local News published a letter from me under the title “More women would be good for state and country.”

Though I don’t doubt that that title is literally true, what I really said is that “a record number of women and supporters of women’s rights elected to office in Harrisburg and Washington this year would be good for Pennsylvania and the country.”

As it happens, it would be good for Democrats too, as they have more women running. I’m going to say more here.

On August 26, Women’s Equality Day, people across the country celebrated the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote.

As president Obama’s August 25 proclamation began by saying:

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified, securing for women the fundamental right to vote. The product of decades spent organizing, protesting, and agitating, it was a turning point on the long march toward equality for all, and it inspired generations of courageous women who took up this unfinished struggle in their own time. On the anniversary of this civil rights milestone, we honor the character and perseverance of America’s women and all those who work to make the same rights and opportunities possible for our daughters and sons….

As the president goes on to say, women deserve equal rights, treatment, pay, and opportunities. Shouldn’t that be obvious to every one of us?…

keep reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Filed under 2014 election, Chester County, Nathaniel Smith, PA govt & politics, Women's Issues