Thursday, June 30, 2011

U.S. House members propose Delaware River Basin legislation

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, was among a handful of area legislators who discussed proposed legislation Thursday that would support flood control and water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

House Resolution 2325, known as the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2011, was introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. John Carney, the at-large congressman in Delaware. The legislation would require the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement restoration and protection efforts in the four-state basin region.

“It’s a joint effort by this region to highlight the importance of the Delaware River Basin and give it status which is equal to other kinds of protected watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay,” said Meehan following a tour of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum on Thursday.

The Senate’s companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and recently was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think about this legislation? Is it a good idea?

Petition saga in the 7th district strikes again

The Pa. Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that it charged Richard Cairns, 58, of Swarthmore, with falsifying information on nominating petitions that he allegedly circulated for Jim Schneller, the third-party conservative candidate in the 7th Congressional District race last fall.

Schneller ran against Republican Pat Meehan (now Congressman) and Democrat Bryan Lentz.

Schneller provided the following response Thursday when I asked for his reaction to the charges against Cairns:

“I feel very bad for this gentleman because whether or not he got (the signatures) wrongfully, he’s a scapegoat. It sends a message to Jim Schneller: Don’t run against big parties and don’t challenge big parties.”

Asked if he knew whether Cairns was connected to Lentz, Schneller said, “to this day, I don’t know. There are claims he is linked to the Democratic party.”

In an August 2010 news release, the Meehan campaign labeled Cairns as one of a handful of Lentz petition circulators who also reportedly collected signatures for Schneller.

In October 2010, Lentz finally admitted that his supporters helped Schneller get on the ballot.

The charges brought against Cairns are the latest in the nominating petition saga in the November 2010 7th Congressional District race.

In April, Paul Summers, 60, of Upper Darby, admitted guilt that he was involved in fraudulent signatures appearing on the nominating petitions last year for Meehan, who was then a candidate and asked for the probe. Summers, a longtime GOP loyalist, entered pleas to seven counts of forgery and seven counts of false signatures.

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What do you think about these charges?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Delco legislators disappointed over lack of movement with Marcellus Shale issue

Delco legislators said Wednesday they were disappointed that there was no movement toward including an impact fee or severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling in the state budget.

"You can sum up why we didn't get anywhere with a tax or fee in two words: Tom Corbett," said state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford.

Corbett said Tuesday he would veto any gas tax or fee that made it to his desk this week. When Corbett ran for office, he signed a pledge that he would not raise taxes. In addition, the Republican governor said he wants to wait until his executive Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission submits its final report, which is due by July 22.

Mike Stoll, a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, said his boss was supportive of an impact fee. "But over the past couple of days, Gov. Corbett has said that he'll veto anything that comes in before the (Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission) issues its report so it seems unlikely any legislation is going to move before that because it won't have the chance to be considered," he said.

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What do you think about this issue? Is Gov. Corbett to blame here?

Monday, June 27, 2011

GOP officials release updated budget figures

With the June 30 state budget deadline looming, the House GOP released a general fund spreadsheet of the 2011-2012 proposed budget on Monday afternoon.

Final 2011 12Budget Printout

Also, the state Senate Appropriations Committee released a draft of updated figures for school district funding.


FY 2011-12 School Funding


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Do you think the state budget will get passed on time this year?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Voter Protection Act passes in House

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill late Thursday night that would require all Pennsylvanians to show an official photo identification card every time they vote at the polls.

House Bill 934, known as the Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act, was introduced by state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, earlier this year.

A few local legislators voiced concerns with the bill, arguing that it would would waste taxpayer money and make it more difficult for senior citizens and people with disabilities to vote.

Other local legislators side with Metcalfe.

Be sure to check out my article in Saturday's edition of the Daily Times or check it out on the web.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think about this legislation? Do you believe it's a good idea?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Animal control debate continues

County officials and the SPCA are continuing their discussion over animal control.

It appears the SPCA is open to a compromise now. Things started to pick up after a series of letters were exchanged between the county and SPCA earlier this week.

First, County Councilman Mario Civera wrote a letter to the SPCA on Monday.

Civera Letter to SPCA 6-20 Page 1

Civera Letter to SPCA 6-20 Page 2

Second, SPCA Executive Director Richard Matelsky wrote the following response to the county on Tuesday.

SPCA Response Letter to Civera 6-21 Page 1

SPCA Response Letter to Civera 6-21 Page 2

Next, County Executive Director Marianne Grace wrote an official response to SPCA on Wednesday.

County Response Letter to SPCA 6-22

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As a resident of Delco, do you believe this issue will be resolved? Time is running out with the SPCA's June 30 deadline approaching.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SPCA offers a compromise

The Delaware County SPCA announced late Tuesday it is willing to continue providing animal control services beyond its upcoming June 30 deadline, so long as County Council is willing to fund costs needed for an extension.

"If County Council funds all costs related to animal control for a period of time on and after July 1, 2011, such an extension may be possible without jeopardizing the sustainability of the organization and thus, the Delco SPCA board's ability to exercise its fiduciary duties," SPCA Executive Director Richard Matelsky wrote in a letter late Tuesday afternoon to County Councilman Mario Civera.

The letter was sent to Civera late Tuesday afternoon. Civera wrote a letter earlier Tuesday asking for another meeting with the SPCA.

At a public meeting last week, County Council indicated that it would be willing to make a monetary contribution.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think of this debacle? Should the county give the SPCA money? Should the SPCA stick to its original deadline?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Marcellus Shale bills pile up

Another piece of legislation regarding Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling has garnered the support of a handful of local legislators, including House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield.

House Bill 1700, known as the Shale Impact Mitigation Policy for Local, Environment and Roads (SIMPLER), was introduced a few weeks ago by state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, R-Bucks. If approved, the bill would establish a graduated impact fee on natural-gas drillers in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, state Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park, is hoping to push his Marcellus Shale legislation, House Bill 1671, forward. His bill would include a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas drilling but the revenue generated from his proposal would be used to reduce the personal income tax for Pennsylvania residents.

Quinn and Miccarelli are just two of several legislators - both in the House and Senate - who have proposed Marcellus Shale legislation.

Other Marcellus Shale proposals include House Bill 33 by state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, Senate Bill 905 from state Sens. John Yudichak, D-14, of Luzerne, and Ted Erickson, R-26, of Newtown, House Bill 1406 by state Rep. Kate Harper, R-61, of Lower Gwynedd, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph R-25, of Jefferson Senate Bill 1100.

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It seems like every time I turn around, another legislator has a new Marcellus Shale proposal. It's starting to remind me of song. Would the real Marcellus Shale bill please stand up?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

One lucky dog in Delco

Sgt. Sneezy, an Afghan dog who was rescued by a local soldier, is finally back home in Delco.

Read Sneezy's heartwarming story here.

Sneezy also has his own Facebook page which includes updates on his progress.

Friday, June 17, 2011

DAWG provides suggestions

With the SPCA's looming June 30 cutoff date for animal control services, the Delco Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) - a group of concerned citizens - has also provided a list of recommendations.

Check out DAWG's recommendations here.

Council: Get your dog a current license

In light of the SPCA's looming June 30 cutoff date of animal control services, Delco County Council is urging residents to get their dogs a current license.

The county will be hosting the following events:

• "Extended Treasurer’s Office hours, 8:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. June 22 in the lobby of the Delaware County Government Center in Media. People can enter the Government Center through the courtyard on Orange Street.


• "A one-day Drive-Thru Dog License event 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 25 in Rose Tree Park, Upper Providence. People can just drive into the main parking lot at Rose Tree Park, turn in their application, pay the fee and leave with a license. People can download the application from the county website and fill it out in advance, or get the application at the drive-thru event. Dogs who accompany their owners to the Doggy Drive-Thru will get a free doggy treat.


• "A dog license table will be set up at two Summer Festival events in Rose Tree Park at both the 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. concerts on June 29. The 10 a.m. concert is an interactive children’s event featuring Peter Moses; the 7:30 p.m. concert features Philly Gumbo. Licenses can be purchased at both events."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Deal or no deal with the SPCA

Deal or no deal with the SPCA?

The answer is ... NO DEAL.

County Council repeatedly asked SPCA officials to extend their animal control services deadline by six months during a heated meeting on Thursday morning. The SPCA officials said they were unable to extend the deadline.

Time is running out with the June 30 deadline looming.

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As a resident of Delco, do you think the SPCA should extend the deadline?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New face in the 1st district?

Jimmie Moore, a former Philadelphia judge, recently announced that he will challenge U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia, in the Democratic primary race next spring.

Moore made the announcement Tuesday in a video message posted to his Facebook page and campaign website.

“I’ve seen the problems confronting our district day in and day out,” said Moore, who recently retired from the Philadelphia Municipal Court, where he served as judge since 1999.

In the video message, Moore said he’ll formally announce his run for Congress in July. Moore said he wants to create jobs, improve schools and give opportunities to young people.

Do you think it's time for a new face to represent the 1st Congressional District in Pa.?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Foreclosures remain a problem

Delaware County - similar to the rest of the nation - continues to experience a high rate of home foreclosures.

Delaware County Sheriff Joseph F. McGinn said he has plans to petition the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in a few weeks to ask for an extension of a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program, which he originally introduced back in 2009. The program has been extended in the past and is set to expire on July 30.

The program permits homeowners who have been served with mortgage foreclosure complaints from lenders to seek counseling from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley.

“I’m going to make a petition in the next couple of weeks,” said McGinn. “I believe it’s no skin off anyone as far as helping someone stay in home.”

Do you agree with Sheriff McGinn? Should the program be extended?

Time to recycle

The Delaware County Solid Waste Authority will conduct an electronic recycling event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 17 at Delaware County Community College.

Almost all items with a power cords will be accepted at the collection. Large appliances and appliances with Freon, mercury or use gasoline will not be accepted.

For a complete list of what you can bring, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Barking about animals

Two members of the grassroots animal welfare organization, Delco Animal Welfare Group, pressed County Council on Tuesday morning about an ongoing animal control dilemma.

Last year, the Delaware County SPCA announced that it will be out of the animal control business in an effort to become a no-kill shelter in 2012.

Time is running out.

On June 30, the SPCA will nullify of its municipal animal control contracts, effectively getting out of the animal control business in an effort to become a no-kill shelter by 2012.

On Tuesday, County Councilman Mario Civera reiterated a potential site for an animal control facility has been procured. He said the new building on Calcon Hook Road will be built by Nov. 1. He said the SPCA would need to give an extension of its June 30 animal control services cut-off date.

“We’re sticking to the deadline,” SPCA Director of Communications Justina Calgiano said Tuesday.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think the SPCA should extend the deadline?

Decreasing number of inmates

County Council recently ratified a contract to begin a process that will reduce the county’s prison population.

You can read the whole story here .

This problem is not unique in Delco and PA. Check out this Associated Press article about what happened in California.

As a resident of Delco, do you think County Council made a good decision?

Welcome to The Delco Delivery

Welcome to The Delco Delivery, a blog created by Delaware County Daily Times reporter Danielle Lynch. The blog will include snippets of information about the latest county government news.

The Delco Delivery will include short posts and serve as a forum for readers to weigh in on the latest issues.

Any suggestions? Contact Lynch directly by sending an email to dlynch@delcotimes.com.