Monday, April 26, 2010

Resign already

Marty Griffin of KDKA Radio is talking about candidates who should resign from office befor hitting the campaign trails. Tim Potts, a citizen advocate, got interviewed. His organization asked all six present candidate for PA Governor to resign for the rest of the election season.

Tim said on the air that there are six states that require candidates to resign before seeking other offices. Marty said he didn't know of any of those instances.

I agree that candidates need to not be standing office holders. They cheat. And, I have first hand insights and experiences of these problems.

Our Allegheny County Charter (its the Constitution of the County) was recently crafted when we went from the three commissioners to the County Executive and part-time county council. This provision was put into the County Charter to prevent these conflicts of interest.

The county charter says members of the County Council must RESIGN from their seat as soon as they are a candidate.

It doesn't happen, generally. Some do it and I have given them props for doing so in the past. But, they stretch their time on council as long as possible -- breaking the law.

Wayne Fontana, now a PA state senator, D, from the city's south neighborhood, was former member of Allegheny County Council. He didn't resign. Only one Post Gazette editiorial spoke against this and he still got the PG endorsement. Go figure. This was in 2007.

Later, in 2008, in the time of Bonusgate, Wayne Fontana would use his senate office to produce papers to challenge opposition candidate off of the ballot -- with his PA SENATE OFFICE -- an illegal act that is part of
state judge evidence. I was that independent candidate who was seeking to get onto the ballot so that voters would have a choice. I didn't want Fontana to run without any opposition.

I'd be glad to talk to anyone about this saga and offer up policies to fix these ills of our shared democracy in PA.

Update: The letter was read on the air, 11:32 am.

Here is my story from Friday. I went to Harrisburg with the Youth & Government program, a three day confab organized by the YMCA. We had a bus load of kids from Schenley High School.

I hadn't been with some available time in Harrisburg on a work day since I was there on August 15, 2008, in court. On August 16, 2008, I was due to start a summer camp coaching gig at a swim camp in Canada. I was called to court for a petition challenge as I was seeking to get onto the ballot for PA Senate, 42nd district for the November 2008 election.

I wanted to visit the scene of the crime and see what was still part of the public record, and what was not.

When I was there in 2008, the court was in the Irvis office building. They've moved into a new building in 2009. Nice space. The lobby floor has a huge state seal, see above photo.

The Judicial Center is on Commonwealth Ave, just a short walk from the Capital.

Go to the second floor.

Go to the Commonwealth Court Filing Office, room 2001. Nice workers are there at a counter. Ring the bell if you must. 

These records are not on the internet. But they can be viewed in that office.

This is the third document on the left that shows evidence.

Click for larger view. Cost per page in the office is $.50. I only needed one page to be printed.

What isn't part of the evidence on those computers any longer is the court transcripts. They were purged from the system in 2008. Go figure. We remember. I was "pro say." That means I was without a lawyer. Thank goodness. I had hired a lawyer at one other ballot challenge ordeal and that was a waste of money.

Fighting to stay on the ballot was a waste of money too. And, it is a great waste of freedom as well.

When the judge entered the courtroom, I didn't sit down. "Point of order, your honor." That came from me on multiple instances -- as I had nearly ten points to make before we'd get to the actual case.

I wanted to be sure that I could fight to stay on the ballot but would NOT be hit with charges from the judge in terms of a bill for court costs. That was not a promise he would make. It was bad and got worse in terms of the loss of hope and exposure I'd be faced with. In another court room, the Green Party was racking up a bill of more than $80,000 to stay on the ballot. And, he didn't succeed in getting onto the ballot. But, they had to pay that money for the hope after collecting the signatures.

I had to have 500 signatures of voters and turned in 981 signatures. They were valid. But, it would have taken days to prove them. Furthermore, I wasn't fortified with the PA Senate Office Staffers nor the Dem Party Lawyers. They were all flush with cash, bonus pay, and the judges -- all elected from one of the two old parties. The judges were not interested in any success from a third party candidate.

Summary: When anyone asks you to sign a nomination paper for a third party candidate, sign it. Go out of your way to offer up your signature. And, go out of your way to get 10 or 15 signatures for that candidate too.

This year Wayne Fontana comes up for re-election. He ran without opposition in the D-Party primary and there were none from the R party to seek that office either. So, who wants to run?

Finally, if there are candidates on the ballot without opposition in the November election -- DO NOT VOTE for them. Leave that ballot question blank. The more the votes for the winner then the more signatures the next candidate needs to obtain to get onto the ballot in the next election.

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