Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jimbo Admits Breaking The Law.



Damn...do you ever even hear yourself speak. Jimbo? And, what's with the sweater? Reliving those "glory days", back when you used to be popular?

Damn.

(courtesy of PAWatercooler.com)
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

As The Screw Turns...Pt 1



Well, good readers, it's officially become a soap opera with some of the most pitiful "scripting" ever witnessed by your humble blogger...

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

King James the Third, (so dubbed because he actually came in third place in the last commissioner's election) enters into a power sharing agreement with 2nd place finisher, democrat and perpetual candidate, Joe Hoeffel (hence referred to as "J-Huff").

King James III and J-Huff have pretty much shut Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq. out of all governmental decisions to date, sometimes even awarding contracts to vendors without Castor's knowledge. Because the commissioners are solely responsible for awarding contracts to vendors, not keeping one of the three commissioners "in the know" may violate the commonwealth's "Sunshine Law".

So, how has this been working so far? For starters, a bond issue that was passed by KJIII and J-Huff has cost Montco taxpayers a million dollars so far, after warnings by Castor that this would happen. That's a million that would have been saved, had the other two commissioners actually heeded Castor's advice.

Next, it has been found out that most every contract dole out by King James III and J-Huff has been done so without the required (by county ordinance 98-02) RFP (request for proposal). The county solicitor, Barry Miller (henceforth referred to "B.A.B."-"Back Alley Barry") has decided that since 98-02 hasn't been followed since the three took office in January '08, that breaking the law was the "de facto" way to do business in the county.

"De Facto". Breaking the law. Let that sink in for a bit. Let me do a comparison...since the drug dealer on the corner has been selling valium illegally for so long, his way is now the "de facto" way of getting valium to people, so, you no longer have use of your neighborhood pharmacist, right?

Yeah, it sounds just as stupid.

So, enter County Controller Diane Morgan. Ms. Morgan has touted herself as the "Watchdog of the People" when it comes to your tax dollars.

When getting wind of the illegal contracts, Morgan said she wanted the paperwork on each and every contract for the past 2+ years, and that she would stop payment on those deemed "suspect".

As of this week, Morgan is singing a different tune, (maybe one that J-Huff wrote for her?) and now claims that she doesn't think they actually "broke" the law, just bent it a bit.

While this is all going on, J-Huff is conveniently out campaigning for governor. (Cliffhanger!)

This is just the tip of the iceberg...stay tuned for the next installment of "As the Screw Turns".

B.



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Saturday, March 13, 2010

If Montco Weren't Already In Financial Trouble...



...along comes a lawsuit that could prove costly.

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a group of non-union contractors, have filed suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.


The lawsuit alleges discrimination on the part of the county commissioners, claiming that the "Responsible Contractors Clause" that Jimbo and J-Huf put into the prison expansion project specifications blocks many of their members from bidding on the contracts.


Claims Jimbo, "It's only this one project", citing that the Building Trades Council, who represents union labor in these parts, has sought the addition of the clause in bid language for years.


Let me get this straight...
Jimbo, who "conveniently" forgot to get the required 5 RFP's for county contracts with professional services providers (legal, insurance, financial, etc.) now requires them for the prison expansion project, AND adds the clause that only those contractors who have "apprenticeship programs" (read "union shops") need apply.

But Jimbo, didn't your lapdog solicitor, Barry the Great just say that you guys didn't use RFP's because you just plain forgot, and besides, since it hasn't been done for years, the "call them and just spread the wealth" method, or the "de facto" way, was now the way Jimbo and J-Huf chose to do business? Yet, for the Unions, who also contribute to (most likely) your campaign funds, get RFP'd with special instructions that "Non-Union Need Not Apply". Jimbo's excuse? "I thought this was a good opportunity to come through on a campaign promise."

Well, there's a first...Jimbo wants to keep a campaign promise?

How about we start with the one where you said you would work with Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Esq., if elected?

And, what promise was that, anyway, Jimbo?


But I digress...
The real story here is that Jimbo only chooses to follow county ordinances when it suits him to do so...RFP to require "union only" labor isn't the "de facto" way, now is it Solicitor Barry?

Nope.


The pair of them are an anchor around the necks of Montgomery County taxpayers.


Read the Inquirer story
here.



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Get Caught Breaking the Law?

Make it go away!

Or so, Montco Solicitor Barry Miller would have it.

Barry thinks, since we aren't abiding by the law now, why not change it to suit our needs?

That's why they pay you the big bucks, Barry (love that alliteration?)

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't the county solicitor supposed to advise the commissioners on following the letter of the law, not propose that they change one he simply forgot to tell them they had to follow?

Let me give you some free legal advice, Barry...the crime doesn't go away just because you want it to. You and your BFF Jimbo broke the law/violated an ordinance. Making the ordinance go away doesn't clean your's or Jimbo's slate.

Read the Times Herald article here.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Ignorance Of The Law Is No Excuse

Diane Morgan wrote a letter to the editor of the Intelligencer which was published yesterday.

In it, she claims that she didn't know about the ordinance until Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. pointed it out to her.

OK, I'll give her that.

But, what she goes on to say is that she's basically not responsible for any of the bullsh*t going on , because she was ignorant of the law...and, she has the nerve to cite the fact that Commissioner Castor was also ignorant of the law until February of this year.

The difference, Ms. Morgan, is cut and dry.

Mr. Castor is continuing to look into the matter, in an effort to make sure it doesn't happen again.

You, on the other hand, seem quite satisfied that our county solicitor, who also happens to be the treasurer of the offending commissioner's campaign committee (the campaign fund that gets contributions from the recipients of these "no bid" contracts), can explain it away as simple as "we've violated the ordinance for so long, breaking the law has become the "de-facto" way of running the county government".

For the record, when you stated in your letter, and I quote, "Bruce Castor Jr., a long-standing county employee, remarked that the ordinance was just brought to his attention, after two years as a commissioner. He questioned whether the commissioners were adhering to the law. If he was aware of the ordinance, why didn't he sound the alarm bells sooner?", did you really proof read your letter, Ms. Morgan? That statement is nonsensical. Read the bold parts again...if Mr. Castor remarked that the ordinance was, in fact, "Just brought to his attention", then how could he possibly "sound the alarm bells sooner"?

But I digress...

You've since ended your investigation into the violations of 98-02. On who's opinion, Ms. Morgan? Barry Miller's?

At least Mr. Castor, who was, in fact, ignorant of the law until February, is continuing to look into the matter as the "de facto" fiscal watchdog of Montgomery County. I guess you can resign now, since you've been "de-facto-ed" and your position is now as obsolete as County Ordinance 98-02 is in your eyes.

It's really disgusting that you bitch and moan that you didn't know, yet now that you do, you do nothing.

Read Ms. Morgan's letter to the editor by clicking this link: Diane Morgan Letter to Editor

Hat tip to Tom W.!!!


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Jimbo, Jimbo, Jimbo...

Jim Matthews takes campaign contributions from companies and then gives them no-bid contracts, bypassing County Ordinance 98-2 that says they must bid contracts out to at least 5 companies/entities before settling on a vendor.

Jim Matthews then has his solicitor explain it away by saying "well, we've always violated the ordinance enough that it's become the "de facto" way of doing things.

Jim Matthews makes monthly payments to "Ford Credit" (for over 2 years now) from his campaign fund. He also made two payments last year to USAA insurance and a $36 dollar car registration payment from his campaign fund.

Looks to me like you get to do business in Montgomery County if you contribute to his campaign fund enough to buy Jimbo a car. Oh, yeah, and pay down his $20,000 credit card bill.

Of course, this is the "de facto" way of running a campaign, isn't it? Not really the law, but you've been doing it this way for so long now... and isn't it kinda funny that the county solicitor is also Jimbo's campaign treasurer?

The Times Herald spells it all out here.



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Friday, March 5, 2010

Diane Morgan Looks the Other Way on Pay To Play

Another situation where Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

Controller Diane Morgan, in almost predictable fashion, decided not to pursue any further investigation into the Jimbo/Barry pay to play" shenanigans.

Her reasoning?

Well, it's quite simple...since Barry Miller decided that Ordinance 98-2 was in fact, not really what it should be, they created this "de facto" rule that 98-2 doesn't apply to Jimbo, or Jo-Huff for that matter...

Solicitor Barry Miller said for the past decade, county commissioners had been selective about sending out request for proposals, or RFPs, for professional services work as required by Ordinance 98-2. Ignoring the measure’s requirements constituted a “de facto modification” of the law, he said. (Times Herald, 03/05/10)

Right. Don't like the law, don't follow the law, we'll change it later when someone a great deal smarter than us catches on. Right.

As a taxpayer living in Montgomery County, I'm appalled that the fiscal watchdog, Diane Morgan, has decided that "pay to play" is no big deal. Morgan essentially "decided against taking any legal action given that Miller did offer details on the bond contracts."

Taking no action? OK, if I violate a county ordinance, then admit that I did-but explain that I was, in fact, following my own meshugeneh cattywonkas train of thought, then I get a pass?

Ms. Morgan, you are a disgrace. You sit and fiddle while Montgomery burns.

Read the Times Herald article here.




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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Save the Date: Kate Harper's Annual Blood Drive

Rep. Kate Harper (R-61) is joining with Whitpain Township and the American Red Cross to host a blood drive!

Join Representative Kate Harper as she sponsors a blood drive at the Whitpain Township Building. I've attended for the past 4 or 5 years and gave about a gallon of blood each time...and plan to do the same this year.

Give the gift of life...give blood!



(Kate doing her part)

-Friday, March 19th, 2008

-noon to 6 p.m.

-Whitpain Township Building
960 Wentz Road, Blue Bell


To schedule an appointment, log on to click this link: www.kateharper.net and click on the link on the lower right hand side of Kate's website. When scheduling your time slot online, be sure to enter the sponsor code 02212018.

B.


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Philly Mayor Imposes "Soda Tax"

Citing "Obesity" and the serious revenue gap the City of Philadelphia is facing, Mayor Nutter has decided to impose a $0.02 per ounce tax on sweetened beverages.

This revenue will "raise $77 million a year and address the city’s high obesity rate, especially among children, aides said."

Address the high obesity rate? Sure it will. While your at it, why not impose a dollar a bag tax on Doritos, potato chips and Tasty-Kakes, while you're at it?

While this new tax may be put out there with good intentions, let's face facts...not a single penny of this money, slated to close an existing budget gap, will ever be used to fight obesity. As a matter of fact, the only thing that will get thinner is the wallet of Coke and Pepsi drinkers, and the only thing that will get fatter in regards to soda drinking is the Philly tax coffers.

It's time to honor that age old tradition in the Philly area, and, not unlike the "protest" purchases we make at Jersey and Delaware liquor stores, cross state lines to buy yourselves some "tax free" soda.

That is until Philly makes it illegal to bring a Mountain Dew across state lines, without paying duty on it.

To all my friends in Philly-I'm thinking of selling soda from a cooler at the Philly/Montco city line, near Pep Boys on Ridge Pike. Instead of $0.40 cents a bottle tax, I'll only charge you $0.20-

I'm glad I live in the 'burbs...sheesh!

Read the full Courier Times article here.



And here is the rest of it. Read Full Text/Comments

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

One of my most rabid fans (and you know who you are!) sent me this gem today...said it fits me to a tee! Thanks, Mrs. M.!!!

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. (Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss)
I'll add one of my favorites of his below:
"...a person's a person, no matter how small"

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Seen On the Wall of a Local Restaurant in Norristown



Matthews/Hoeffel Administration 2008-2010
(caption-by my buddy blackhorse-added for comic relief, but the picture appears on the wall of the Courthouse Diner, Norristown, PA)


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Priceless...

Every once in a while, a real gem shows up on FaceBook.

I can't claim this as my own, but this was sent to me by a faithful reader of writemarsh!, who preferred to remain anonymous:



As long as I protect my sources, I can continue to bring funny stuff like this to you on a regular basis. (send me your stuff, btw, and if it's subtly ironic, like this one is, I'll put it out there to share with everyone)

B.

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Just When You Thought You've Heard Everything...

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely...or so said Lord Acton way back in 1887.

The draw of power is the siren's song of many a corrupt politician. One only has to look at our own commonwealth to see that...Ed Rendell, Vince Fumo, and others under indictment now, in the process of making deals or going to trial, to see that we aren't immune here in PA.

It's even happening here in Montgomery County.

The latest buzz is the question of campaign funds and how they are being spent.

Having run for office myself, I know of three things I can spend my campaign money on...first, my campaign. (Duh)

Second, I can use the money to contribute to other campaigns.

Lastly, I can give money to charity.

According to the Times Herald, Betsy McBride (former deputy treasurer of Montgomery County) would really like to know what our commissioners are spending their campaign dollars on, and if what they are is legal.

Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr., has told his campaign treasurer to go ahead and give Ms. McBride the information she needs to pull his reports. Will Jimbo and Jo-Huf be as forthcoming?

Doubt it. It's going to be fun to see how he will try to lie his way out of this one. May just drive him over the edge...*Sigh*, one can only hope.

Click here to read the article then skip on down to the comments...they're very interesting.


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Monday, March 1, 2010

March Comes In...

(redux of an old post of mine)

Today is the first day of March. For some reason, my admittedly feeble mind has been jarred and I am waxing nostalgic about a SNL routine I once watched with Chevy Chase and John Belushi (yeah, I'm that old).

It's based on the premise that March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb". The full text is below:

Chevy Chase:
Last week we made the comment that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Now here to reply is our chief meteorologist, John Belushi, with a seasonal report.

John Belushi:
Thank you Chevy. Well, another winter is almost over and March true to form has come in like a lion, and hopefully will go out like a lamb. At least that’s how March works here in the United States.

But did you know that March behaves differently in other countries? In Norway, for example, March comes in like a polar bear and goes out like a walrus. Or, take the case of Honduras where March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a salt marsh harvest mouse.

Let’s compare this to the Maldive Islands where March comes in like a wildebeest and goes out like an ant. A tiny, little ant about this big.

[holds thumb and index fingers a small distance apart]

Unlike the Malay Peninsula where March comes in like a worm-eating fernbird and goes out like a worm-eating fernbird. In fact, their whole year is like a worm-eating fernbird.

Or consider the Republic of South Africa where March comes in like a lion and goes out like a different lion. Like one has a mane, and one doesn’t have a mane. Or in certain parts of South America where March swims in like a sea otter, and then it slithers out like a giant anaconda.

There you can buy land real cheap, you know. And there’s a country where March hops in like a kangaroo, and stays a kangaroo for a while, and then it becomes a slightly smaller kangaroo. Then, then, then for a couple of days it’s sort of a cross between a, a frilled lizard and a common house cat.

[Chevy Chase tries to interrupt him]

Wait wait wait wait. Then it changes back into a smaller kangaroo, and then it goes out like a, like a wild dingo. Now, now, and it’s not Australia! Now, now, you’d think it would be Australia, but it’s not!

[Chevy Chase tries to interrupt him]

Now look, pal! I know a country where March comes in like an emu and goes out like a tapir. And they don’t even know what it means! All right? Now listen, there are nine different countries, where March comes in like a frog, and goes out like a golden retriever. But that- that’s not the weird part! No, no, the weird part is, is the frog. The frog- The weird part is-

[In true Belushi style, he has a seizure and falls off chair]

I hope you enjoyed this masterpiece in comedy. It should go down in history as one of the most hilarious skits ever done on SNL.


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Obama Countdown