Monday, December 28, 2009

Montco, PA, home of pay to play?

Sunday's editorial in The Times Herald requires more than one reading. First read through and you think to yourself, oh well, that's politics, but when you read it for the second time you have to think to yourself, wait a minute, isn't this the very definition of pay to play?
Here's the Reader's Digest version. CBIZ is the county's health benefits consultant; the county asked CBIZ to go find it the best deal on insurance, which amounts to a $35 million expenditure each year, and CBIZ contributed a good bit of money to (Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman) Matthews’ campaign, and the topper; we cannot find any evidence that requests for proposals were sent out to any insurance companies to determine if CBIZ was indeed giving the business to the lowest responsible bidder.
All of this could quickly be cleared up if Matthews would simply provide the information requested by The Times Herald.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The real scoop on Lower Providence

OK, it appears to me that residents in Lower Providence wanted twice a week trash pick up and the lowest responsible bidder was J.P. Mascaro and Sons. Seems like the right decision was made last night by the board. My question is - as probably was the case with the American Revolution Center - are there really just a few disgruntled LP residents who squeak the loudest, or does the majority truly believe the supervisors are selling the township down the river? Just to let you know, anyone who posted to another thread on this subject it was not approved, please post your response here. I want to keep the comments going under the appropriate posts. Thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Limerick, not a funny rhyme

Feds are back in Limerick looking for something. What have you heard? They, that would be the feds, were there early last year but nothing ever came of it. They were looking into allegations against former supervisor David Kane. Now I'm being told they were there to gather information on equipment at Limerick nuclear plant for security purposes, saying it's routine. Really? How come we've never heard of these visits before?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Healthcare reform still on life support

While I can understand the euphoria surrounding the House passing health care reform, please remember it still must make its way through the Senate where Democrat turned Independent Joe Lieberman said "I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote." Why? Because the public option portion could bankrupt this country. Why not try to push the bill through without it and send it back to the House?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Republicans on the comeback trail

Montgomery County and half the nation, okay, at least a couple of states, have decided we've about seen enough of what the Democrats can do when they take charge. Republicans swept into the judicial seats, taking six of the seven seats on Common Pleas Court. Most of the local races were won by Democrats, though, except in Conshohocken and Lower Providence. Thankfully one Republican made it in West Norriton. A Republican took the governor's seat in New Jersey, and Republicans took over in Virginia as well.
What a night. How does your morning look?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Election Day Drama

I know it's going to happen somewhere, so drop me a line and let me know if it's taking place at a poll near you. As is tradition on Election Day I don't get to the newsroom until later in the afternoon so let's get the party started, no matter which side of the aisle you sit on. Any predictions?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phillies and fanatics

Please notice that fanatics is not spelled with a 'ph.' That's because the fanatics I'm going to talk about today are of the political bent. But before I go down that road let's make a quick prediction for the World Series. I've got the Phillies in five. They'll split the games in New York and finish them off Monday night. What's your prediction?
Now on to the fanatics. This political season has gotten nasty, as usual, but there are some people who just go too far. The personal attacks are absolutely the worst. I guess if you don't have something intelligent to say you simply attack your opponent. How about this, a candidate that sends out a personal attack is automatically taken off the ballot?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ethics and politics, an oxymoron? Part Deux

Way back in March I made a prediction, "Montgomery County employees are going to be barred from running for office if the recently tabled ethics reform policy is given new life, which I'm certain it will," that has indeed come true. Look folks, this is nothing more than county Commissioner Joe Hoeffel attempting to rid the courthouse of all things Republican. Unfortunately, quasi-Republican Commissioner Chairman Jim Matthews is going along for the ride. The ordinance should be overturned and I'm sure Judge Nicholas will do just that. But what I'd really like to know is, what do you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama's Nobel Prize win

I have no idea what the nominating committee could have been thinking when they came up with President Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize. It's like giving a 20 year old a lifetime achievement award. Wait a minute, though, I wrote one book, I must be ready for the Pulitzer. Don't get me wrong, I think Obama has certainly made strides in getting the rest of the world not to hate us, but how does that equal a Nobel Prize?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Something I didn't know

Here's a surprise,, I just found out Borders is also carrying my new book. They also want me to do a book signing Nov. 28. What do you think?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Calling ACORN

So, with all the bad press ACORN has been receiving on the national level I thought I would give our local branch an opportunity to speak out. I went on their Web site and used the e-mail address provided to request an interview. It was returned undeliverable. I then used the telephone number provided to request an interview. No one answered so I left a message. A gentleman returned my call to tell me he was not a member of ACORN, that he has been inundated with calls to his personal phone and also that he had asked them to remove his number from their Web site, obviously to no avail. So, I'll try reaching out here. Does anyone know anyone who works for our local ACORN branch?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Straight talk

Plain and simple, do you think schools should have shown President Obama's speech to students?

Friday, September 4, 2009

History in the making

Time for a little shameless self-promotion. My new book, "Remembering Norristown: Stories from the banks of the Schuylkill River" is here,, or you can come by our offices and I'll sign a copy for you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to basics

That's exactly what the Republican Party must do, get back to basics. We've been running scared since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. And just what have they accomplished? Nancy Pelosi was going to fix all our ills in her first 100 hours after being sworn in. Well, times been up for a long while and we're still waiting. We haven't done much to help ourselves since then either, but things are about to change. Republicans have been ashamed of being Republicans for the past four years and we have to stop wallowing in our own self pity. Personally, I'm proud of the fact that I don't like big government. When did that ever become unpopular? It's time for a grass roots, back to basics campaign that will sweep Republicans back into power before we all end up working for the government. Care to join me?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dirty Dem Politics

I had to extend last week's post because of what happened in state government today.
Listen to this. Dems are touting the bridge budget as a victory, which will allow state workers to get paid early next week. What they're not touting is the fact that they were all issued paychecks Tuesday. That's right, Democratic lawmakers made sure they were paid first. Let me be very clear that I'm talking about Democratic lawmakers here. They've put themselves at the head of the line, once again. Republican lawmakers will get paid next week, just like everybody else.
The audacity is simply astounding. Watch this and then tell me what you think.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dirty politics

How is it that Gov. Ed Rendell is able to hold up the budget process every year? And I mean every year. He hasn't passed a single budget on time since he's been in office. This is dirty politics at its best. He's using state workers to get want he wants, which we all know is a tax increase. A tax increase. Really? I guess people who live the kind of life he leads simply don't understand what it is like to even face the prospect of going without a paycheck. The dems want to raise taxes, the Republicans want to hold the line on taxes. How is it again that dems are gaining in numbers?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Black and white

I'm not naive, I know racism still exists, but the incident out at the Huntingdon Valley swim club is so blatant it's absurd. And the fact that it was addressed toward children is twice as appalling. Racism will never cease to exist as long as it is perpetuated by adults, in front of children. For those of you who missed the story, seems an inner city summer camp was looking for their kids to swim. They paid nearly $2,000 for the privilege to swim at the Huntingdon Valley club, but when they showed up the white folks (parents) didn't like what they saw.
I have to say it again. Seriously?
The best golfer in the world is black. OK, mixed race, like our president. I'm pretty sure either of them would have been welcome at the swim club. I understand the club is private, but here's what should happen. Everyone of those black and Hispanic kids should be invited back to the club to swim, everyday, not just on Mondays. Perhaps then the racist white folks at the club would begin to understand that they're just that, kids.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Arc war is lost

Personally, I wanted the ARC a little closer to home. I know that's a little selfish, but the idea of driving into Philadelphia is just not appealing to me. It was a valiant battle waged on those who didn't want it in Lower Providence and my respect goes out to them for sticking to their guns.
I believe, unfortunately, that it will be a loss for our little part of the world.
Now that it is going to be in the city, what do you think will happen to the land?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The man with the plan

All right already with Lower Providence. I think I'm going to have to give you guys your own blog. Try not to hijack this one, please, because I really want to get some good feedback on my plan. So, without further ado, here it is.
The Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown has a gift shop. In the gift shop there could be brochures for a new performing arts center and the old Montgomery County prison, which could be converted into a haunted house ala Eastern State Penitentiary, because, if it’s a good plan there’s something going on at the prison/haunted house nearly year round and they'll need a brochure. The performing arts center will have a ticket booth and a lobby, both of which could have brochures for the zoo and for the prison/haunted house, and, I think you’re following the plan by now, but just for posterity’s sake I’ll keep going, and the prison/haunted house has a ticket booth that could have brochures for the zoo and the performing arts center. With all three cross promoting each other we’ll have people running all over Norristown in no time.
Now I know this doesn't have anything to do with Lower Providence, but humor me, please.
I wrote a lot more about the plan in my column, which you can find in the Monday, June 29 edition.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Election post mortem

What a night. I have to say I was surprised with some of the results and not so much with others. I wasn't surprised at all with the turnout, which was dismal at best. Big shakeups in East Norriton and Lower Providence, and a newcomer to Norristown politics was the highest vote getter. Did your candidate win? I know what I'm thinking, but what are you thinking?

Monday, April 27, 2009

100 days, 100 chances

I hope the next 100 days brings at least some of the change President Obama was talking about when he was running for office. I know, I know, I'm supposed to give him a chance. Well, when you're the most powerful man in the world 100 days is a chance. I remember Pelosi saying she was going to change everything in Washington in her first 100 hours. We're still waiting. Obama has had 100 days to make an impact on the economy, on health care, and in the Middle East. Let's see, what do we have so far, the economy isn't getting any better, the proposed health care plan will put the economy in worse shape than it has ever been in, and Obama's finding out that getting out of Iraq isn't as easy as he thought it was going to be. Hope and change sounds a little hollow right about now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Valley Forge Free For All

Where to start, folks. It's been a busy day at The Times Herald.
Slots were approved for the Valley Forge Convention Center,, and now we've just heard the judge has dismissed the case against the American Revolution Center.
Stay tuned.

Monday, April 6, 2009

White flag waved in ARC battle

While it certainly isn't a surrender by any stretch of the imagination, the developers of the American Revolution Center have agreed to put off building a convention center at the site for at least 15 years. Now, my first question would be that if you don't need it now, are you going to need it 15 years from now? And of course I'd have to follow that up with, if you agree to not build the convention center at all would that appease the ARC's opponents?
You tell me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ethics and politics, an oxymoron?

How can anyone have a problem with ethics reform?
I'll tell you how, when the reform isn't really reform at all.
Montgomery County employees are going to be barred from running for office if the recently tabled ethics reform policy is given new life, which I'm certain it will.
What's the point? I think the point is so county employees will not be involved in politics on county time.
Well, I'm fairly certain that's the law now, isn't it?
What do you think?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What a 'Vision'

Vision Quest is an organization that does a job most of us would rather not talk about, hear about, or quite frankly even see. They want to come into Norristown and set up shop at Norristown State Hospital, and they just might be able to do so, but I'm opposed to the idea. Not because of who they are, but because of where they want to set up shop. An urban setting is just not the place for this type of facility. There would be entirely too many temptations for the juveniles housed there, and entirely too many residents within a stone's throw of where they would be biding their time. While there are dozens of residents coming out in opposition to the move, and rightfully so, I'd like to suggest that some concerted effort be put forth to find an alternative site for Vision Quest so the conversation does not center completely around 'not in my back yard.'

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where's the gander?

County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel, who seems to be an all-around good guy, apparently has never heard the saying, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." I'm talking about his recent assertion that County Commissioner Bruce Castor should be investigated for using his then-district attorney's office for political activities. It wasn't so long ago that Hoeffel's once time opponent, and now strange bedfellow, County Commissioner Jim Matthews, used his office for actually taping a political commercial, using staff members as extras, in his bid for reelection.
Come on, Joe, say it ain't so. Seriously, if you're going to take Castor to task for his (admittedly) discussing his run for state attorney general while in office you absolutely have to hold Matthews to at least the same standard. Those with not so short memories will recall Hoeffel actually sending out a letter that was nothing more than a solicitation for new business for his law practice using his then county commissioner seat as the reason new clients should seek him out.
Does that make Joe the new Goose?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The road will be traveled often

OK, my attempt to get you to look through rose colored glasses for a moment or two lasted about, what, a moment or two?
Well, it's back to reality.
Who was caught in the traffic nightmare last Saturday?
I know some of you were because you brought it up on other posts so I thought I would start a new post to consolidate the thread.
Obviously, something has to be done, and I for one appreciate the fact that Mr. Neilson came out to the Upper Providence meeting to let people know he was going to do just that.
The question is, though, just how much can he do? I mean, running a one-way street through a park just isn't the answer. Sure, it will alleviate some of the congestion for the time being, but what about when spring arrives and that park is full?
The only fix is going to be a full interchange off Route 422 at the Pawlings Road overpass. I can vaguely remember former Lower Providence Township Supervisor Tom Borai standing on the overpass in a photograph on the front page of The Times Herald. It must have been at least 10 years ago.
Why was he standing there, you ask? He was calling for a full interchange off Route 422.
Seems he knew then that the road would be traveled often.