Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Figurings

This title may be somewhat deceptive. Most people maybe regard using wording involved "figure" (figures, figuring, etc) as something pertaining to math -I'm not doing that here. Others may think of it with respect to just "thinking" and that's pretty much my intention. But, there really isn't that much rhyme or reason to it today other than to say these are just some meandering thoughts of mine.

For openers, I got a call last night from a friend who has pretty much the same train of thought as I do about our local political scene - that we really need a change to take place come Tuesday on election day and hopefully that will mean the guy who has been out state rep for over 32 years now will be given the boot and out of Harrisburg then come January. However, considering the fact he has a whole hell of a lot of clout in this area, generally runs unopposed and people here tend to regard him as some type of god with super human abilities, I'm going about my days till after the election with fingers crossed, my rabbit's foot in the back pocket and lots of prayer too that folks will somehow or other see the light and vote him out.

My friend wanted to tell me that she had an opinion piece posted on a local news site on the web pertaining to our esteemed rep along with another letter against re-ting him plus a letter backing him sent by his son and even a response from the rep himself to my friend's piece. She wanted me to read these articles and was hoping I would get fired up and blast off a piece to keep the argument against re-electing this fool going! I did that - wrote a piece, submitted it to the editor of the website too and got a response back that they couldn't publish it because of their policy - only one letter in a 14-day time period per person and since I had a submission published at the early part of this week, I had wasted my opinion for the two week period at this point in time.

But, because I feel so strongly - my "figuring" here - about this issue, I thought I would just take that piece I had composed today and not waste it by copying it into my blog for today! That way, you folks, my friends, readers of this blog from time to time could see what great reasoning I have for my immense dislike of this slimeball political figure in our region of the state! Ok, it won't reach anyone most likely who it will affect in our area as to how they will vote but it will serve a purpose - or so I figure - to get a little venom out of my system for the morning at any rate!

To the Editor

I found all four of the recent submissions pertaining to the coming election on Tuesday quite interesting. With respect to the elections, I would like to add my two cents to the mix.

As Ms. Kennedy put it in her letter, it truly is time for a change – a very big change – within this district. It is time to put an end to the “politics as usual” we have had for well over three decades now with Rep. George.

For all his talk about the many, many good things Rep. George has done for our region please think carefully about many of his actions, or perhaps more aptly, reactions in particular to any criticism put forth about him. As soon as someone makes comments about his tenure in Harrisburg, they are immediately labeled as being dishonest. But his remarks about any challengers are supposed to be regarded as gospel truth too.

What Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Kokoskie both put forth in their letters was right on target. A vote for Mr. George only maintains, as stated above, “business as usual” and his methods of doing that business really call for drastic changes.

I note that this is the first time since July 7th of 2005 – the date of the now infamous pay raise – that Rep. George has taken any time at all to make any comments about his role in passing that bill. If Rep. George, as he asserts in his response to Ms. Kennedy, was so adamant about that bill, how he had scuttled a prior attempt at passing such a raise, why then did he vote for it in the end? He says he never wanted it and yet, he took the raise via the unvouchered expenses but now says he has repaid that money to the state. I’d like to ask him when this was repaid, to whom and please put forth proof of this repayment too for the people to see for themselves. For those unaware, there is a listing on the website called the “Hall of Shame” which shows which legislators across the state took the raise and who repaid this too. However, Cleansweep does not just remove the name of a legislator who merely says they repaid these ill-gotten monies, they require proof positive of this actually having taken place. So for Rep. George to merely tell us, his constituents, that he gave the money back is not near enough evidence that he had a change of heart after all.

With respect to Philipsburg State Hospital and the downfall of that institution, I may be in error here, but I don’t recall there being any information put forth asking for people interested in serving on the Board of Directors when it was reorganized, reopened. All I ever saw was announcements that this had taken place and all was by then pretty much considered a “done deed” and the people were expected then to be satisfied for the handpicked members of the Board of the hospital. Ask virtually anyone who worked at the hospital, knew the circumstances how things were done within the management and you will quickly learn that this was micro-management by Rep. George, his family and friends. All others need not apply.

When most companies, especially those with as many employees as the hospital had, organize their upper level of staffing, especially with respect to Human Resources, rarely are people with a work history of only being a sales representative placed in a position of such responsibility as would be required to be the Director of Human Resources. Where were the qualifications the gentleman who held that particular position? Apparently only the Board members and Rep. George knew them. Is that anyway to run an organization like a hospital, even one that would be considered on a much smaller scale than Clearfield Hospital or Mount Nittany? One would thing the person to handle such a task would need a very strong background in labor and industry, most especially with training in human resources and a strong background too in dealing with unions. Frankly, I see no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Dugan had any such qualifications.

Rep. George, from my observations, appears to be the consummate politician – one who is extremely capable of talking from both sides of his face, simultaneously. He tells each person what that party really wants to hear, not want the truth might be.

And, yet another point here – why does Rep. George make an issue about the employment of both Ms. Kennedy and her husband? What difference does it make that they both are employed in areas considered to be state funded types of employment? Does that mean if one is employed by PennDot or the Assistance Office, or DEP or in the education field, they are not permitted to have opinions and assert them when and where they see a need arises? Does that mean only certain people, employed in only certain areas, are entitled to comment? I think not!

Obviously, by now, you are more than aware that my choice in the coming election will be a vote for Richard Hansel, who I believe is a very fair-minded, strong thinking, capable individual whose interests are based solely on the betterment of our community at large, not just a select group of hand-picked friends and cronies or family members.

With respect to the gubernatorial race, I find some of the advertising being put forth by Governor Rendell, in particular with his claims to being in favor of reform as being a total joke. I don’t think Gov. Rendell ever heard of initiating change in the way our state has been run until primarily the group put that issue forth starting a little over a year ago and maintained over that time span.

We need legislators who will be able to see beyond their own interests, beyond the many benefits that are given so freely to the legislators in the state too. We need legislators who can read the state’s constitution and understand exactly what it means too. The perks involved in being a legislator are one of the first things in dire need of change – or would that maybe come under the heading of “reform?”

In closing, some may say too much blame is being placed on the pay raise debacle and this small issue should not be a factor of importance, but I disagree completely there. If any legislator can think voting for a raise for the entire legislative body that automatically granted an increase in excess of what a worker earning minimum wage could make in a year’s employment is not important, that legislator needs to get his/her head out of a certain body area and think again. If legislators feel, as apparently Rep. George did, that no explanation for actions taken in voting for that bill are necessary, then I believe it is necessary again, for that politician to take yet another look at things. The only comment Rep. George has given about the pay raise was given at the Bud George Day Picnic a year ago when he told a reporter at that time the pay raise was ill-conceived, should never have been up for a vote and that “They” – meaning those big, bad other politicians in Harrisburg had all conspired to put that bill across but that he really had nothing to do with it, nope, not at all. This coming from the mouth of one who has consistently told us, the voters, over his years in office that he had no fears of standing up and speaking out on our behalf.

If that is the case sir, where was your nerve when that vote was taken and where was your famous ability to spout off and supposedly argue on our behalf?

My thoughts are that it was then where it has always been – on the handles of the wheelbarrow, rolling along merrily taking your booty to the bank!

Yep! Definitely it is time for a change for our district with our representation in Harrisburg. Time to elect someone who can and will work for all of us.

Thank you,

Jennifer Hill Ertmer
Grassflat, PA

Other than that, my life has been pretty quiet and calm the past few days. Got the kitchen spigot issues corrected enough by the son-in-law last night so that we again have running water there - a great convenience, to say the least.

The home health nurse was here this a.m. to check me over, give some pointers in managing with my colostomy and the bag contraption and such that I am now getting a lot more comfortable in my dealing with that stuff.

And, because I have been feeling so darned much better since having had this surgery a week ago - no pains running up and down my legs from pinched nerves due, in my opinion anyway, to the mass growing in my colon, that I am giving serious consideration now to doing some heavy-duty baking this afternoon. Planning to mix up at least one, maybe two, batches of Swedish Limpa rye bread to donate to the church bazaar being held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lanse, PA (the church I claim to as a member in somewhat half decent standing). This event, held the first Saturday of November every year for probably the past 20 years now, is a really great bazaar - lots and lots of wonderful Swedish bread known as "Kaka" bread - big round flat loaves of a white bread with a slightly sweeter flavor to it! A big favorite of mine as well as my kids too! Plus, the will have oodles of beautiful hand-crafted items made by members of the parish and will also serve a lunch to those wanting to purchase a nice lasagna dinner, complete with tossed salad, rolls, beverage (coffee, tea or punch) and even dessert for about $5-6 bucks to go to the Women of the Church's treasury. A nice meal, a fun event to get little neat gifty type things - many with the Swedish ethnicity theme that is strong in our parish - and a great way to spend some time with some really wonderful friends of not just the church community but the general area at large too! I always enjoy attending this deal year after year and am looking forward to a nice morning spent in darned good company!

I missed the bazaar last year because, imagine this, I was recuparating at the time in a hospital in Pittsburgh from just having had major abdominal surgery the beginning of that week then! Seems my doctors love to send me to Pittsburgh in late October, early November, for a week's visit in the great Steel City! Here's hoping I don't have a repeat performance next year at this time! Enough of that is enough or so I figure!

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