Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We're Reaching Deep All Right, Charley

The Bucks County Courier Times published a Guest Opinion today from incumbent Repug Bucks County Supervisors James Cawley and Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin responding to a Guest Opinion by Steve Santarsiero and Diane Marseglia (here).

I glanced over what Cawley and Martin said, and it’s really about what you would expect from two patronage kings trying to keep their gravy train in operation. And trying to siphon particles of truth from their words in between the childish invective and outright misrepresentation of what Steve and Diane said is an exercise that is beyond me at the moment.

For example, I cannot locate a quote from Steve and Diane where they say that Bucks County is “broken, corrupt, and doesn’t care about its citizens”; it’s impossible to source this stuff when it is no doubt pulled out of Cawley and Martin’s imaginations, and of course they don’t source this “quote” either.

And I’m not going to quibble over percentage raises of tax increases here between Cawley and Martin vs. Steve and Diane; I thought this Courier Times editorial today made some good points on that subject.

But I’d like to point out a key word that is missing from Cawley and Martin’s Guest Opinion, at least as important as the key word (acronym, actually) missing from that great speech by John Edwards I noted earlier.

And that word is sprawl; as noted here, Cawley and Martin have preserved 10,000 acres of open space through bond issues over the last 10 years, but have approved 2834,000 over the last 6 years for commercial development.

And I’m also not surprised that, in their Guest Opinion today, Cawley and Martin didn’t mention their cozy relationship with the insurance company of Paist and Noe in Richboro, PA. As noted here, since 2000, George Komelasky of P&N made contributions to Republican political campaigns within 48 hours after receiving a contract from the commissioners. In return, Komelasky’s firm received contracts worth $9.2 million from Martin and Cawley; P&N received more than $1.2 million in insurance premiums from Bucks County government on the same day it made contributions to county officials (here).

And Cawley and Martin also failed to tell us today about their relationship with County Solicitor Guy Matthews, who gave $16,215 to the Bucks County GOP. In return, Cawley and Martin increased his salary from $74,954 to $105,000 per year on January 9, 2006 (this came from Bucks County commissioner meeting minutes and campaign finance reports provided by the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee).

Now I’ll grant you that Matthews is a lawyer and I’m just a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but I’m also a taxpayer in these parts, and that kind of a raise on my dime doesn’t make me happy.

And on top of that, Matthews got another raise on July 9, 2006 to $108,150, preceding another Matthews donation to the Republican Party of $2,795 (sourcing the same as the other information on Matthews).

All of these shenanigans contribute to higher property taxes; the county budget has risen $109.7 million since 2002, more than $47 million in the last two years. And even though the Courier Times pointed out today that both sides are charging each other with high taxation as I mentioned, I’ll just state that the Doylestown Intelligencer dated 11/2/06 noted that Charley Martin voted to raise property taxes 46% since 2001 (I have no other info at the moment; if anyone can refute that, be my guest – I have bigger issues with Cawley and Martin, or I wouldn’t be taking the time to post about this).

Finally, I want to highlight this excerpt from the August 2, 2007 Courier Times story by Jenna Portnoy (from the story about Diane and Steve calling for county records to be published online)…

Marseglia and Santarsiero requested two years' worth of county minutes and will post them online at bucksvictory.com, along with the comprehensive annual financial report. The controller's office issues the approximately 150-page report every summer. The most recent one on the county's Web site is from 2003.

Marseglia said hurdles to easily obtaining the documents reflect on the commissioners' performance.

“Are they just bad managers? Do they not know how to do their jobs? Or is there something they're trying to hide?” she asked.

Martin said the absence of documents online has nothing to do with the county's desire to be open and honest.

“They're really reaching deep if they're looking at our Web site,” he said.
And we’re having a difficult time because of all the muck created by you and Cawley, Charley. But I have no doubt that Steve and Diane will get through all of it on our behalf.

And to help Diane and Steve accomplish that next Tuesday, click here.

And by the way, I forgot to note earlier the boondoggle created by Martin and Cawley when they decided to purchase the Danaher touch screen voting machines for Bucks County; Madeline Rawley of the Coalition for Voting Integrity has more here.

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