Thursday, December 29, 2011

Swearing-in ceremonies for county council, judges to take place Jan. 3

A swearing-in ceremony for newly-elected District Attorney Jack Whelan and new members of Delaware County Council, including incumbent Tom McGarrigle, Colleen Morrone and John McBlain, will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3 in the ceremonial courtroom of Judge John Diggins in Media.

The swearing-in ceremony will be followed by a county council organization meeting in the county's government center.

In addition, an induction ceremony for county judges will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 3 in Diggins' courtroom.

Rep. Miccarelli praises Corbett's order

State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park, said he was pleased that Gov. Tom Corbett signed an executive order earlier this month to expand economic opportunities for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania.

Miccarelli, an Army National Guard staff sergeant who served in Iraq, said the executive order mirrored a piece of legislation which he had introduced in previous legislative sessions. House Bill 1316 had been referred to the state House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

"We were going to take it up in January but the governor stepped in and put this piece of legislation into practice," said Miccarelli.

Corbett's executive order will direct state agencies to significantly increase business opportunities for veteran-owned small business enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned small business enterprises.

Corbett has directed the Department of General Services to oversee the implementation of his order.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Officials discuss possible state police layoffs

A few weeks ago, the The Patriot-News of Harrisburg obtained an internal document which forecasts the potential for 400 to 500 trooper layoffs, or about 10 percent of the state’s 4,400 troopers, under a budget proposal to trim the department’s spending.

The department’s budget is around $900 million and even that may not be enough, according to the document, which mentions a freeze on new police academy cadet classes until 2013, closing five barracks and freezing civilian hires.

State police provides coverage for some Delco municipalities, mainly in the county's western end. Officials from those townships said yesterday it was too early to worry about cuts to the state police budget.

Additionally, state Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown, a member of the state House Appropriations Committee, said cuts were "purely speculative" at this point.

Check out the PA Independent article that ran in today's paper along with this local reaction article.

As a resident of Delco, what do you think about this issue?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

State legislators discuss plans to help refineries

In the latest news in the battle to save local refineries, state Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi discussed legislation which would help communities in Delco where refineries have been idled.

Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, discussed the details yesterday at a Delaware County Press Club luncheon.

In addition, reporter Kathleen Carey talked to state Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, about two hearings he called for January connected to the potential shutdown of Delaware County’s two oil refineries.


Switching gears ...

In case you missed it, the state House passed the Congressional redistricting bill Tuesday.

Check out what some of the state House members said about their vote here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Schneller for Congress ... again?

Jim Schneller, the former third-party candidate in the 7th Congressional District race in 2010, has announced he will run for Congress again in 2012.

In a prepared statement sent to the news media Tuesday afternoon, Schneller announced his candidacy for the 7th Congressional District.

"We of the 7th district see the Congress and Washington betraying the needs that we citizens have for economic and future well being, for environmental betterment, and for societal strength," Schneller said.

“I am proud to run again to represent the 7th district. This district knows of my integrity, and knows the tactics that were leveled at me by both parties in the last election. In 2010 both parties knew that if elected, I would stick to my ethical platform and not run with the pack that we call politics-as-usual."

And if you are unfamiliar with the embattled Schneller, here is the latest Daily Times story that mentions him.

Brady calls on Congress to return to work

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia, released a statement Tuesday, urging his House colleagues to return to work the day after Christmas to pass a tax extenders package.

He placed the blamed on House Republicans, saying they are "playing games with people's lives."

“I understand that members want to go home to be with their families for the holiday," Brady said in the prepared statement. "But, we can’t leave the American people who are already living on the financial edge to be left hanging. The day after Christmas we need to be back in Washington to do our jobs to make sure that 160 million Americans do not lose their $1,000 tax break.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Legislators seek answers about refineries

A delegation of federal, state and local politicians met at the Marcus Hook Community Center Monday morning in an attempt to get some answers about the status of three local refineries.

But instead of getting answers from representatives of Sunoco and ConocoPhillips, legislators said they left the meeting feeling frustrated.

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, said some companies have expressed interest in the refineries but he’s not sure how viable the interest is at this point. He described January as the critical period for when more information will be released.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia, said it’s important for the “top guys” at Sunoco and ConocoPhillips to be at a meeting with the delegation of politicians. He said the company representatives that attended the meeting today couldn’t answer the questions.

“We don’t have the right people in this room,” he said. “We need the right people.”

Brady’s comments were echoed by other elected officials and union officials.

Earlier this month, Sunoco announced the beginning of the Marcus Hook refinery shutdown effective Dec. 2. In September, executives had said they would close the plant by July if a new owner for the Delaware County and Philadelphia facilities wasn’t found.

Also that month, ConocoPhillips began the closure of the Trainer plant.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Congressional redistricting process heats up

Another redistricting plan is heating up in PA.

We're not talking about the state legislative redistricting plan that was approved Monday by a five-member commission. Here is the Associated Press report on that plan.

We're talking about the congressional redistricting plan that will decrease the number of U.S. House seats in the state from 19 to 18. It has created a stir in the last 24 hours. Unlike the state redistricting plan that was approved by a commission, this plan has to approved through legislation.

Democrats are saying that the changes to the 7th congressional district were done to protect U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby.

“It’s a ‘Meehan-mander’ instead of a gerrymander,” Landau said of the changes to the 7th district. “It looks like an oil spill. Some parts of it don’t even look contiguous.”

But Delco GOP chairman Andy Reilly disagreed, saying: “I would not at all lay this at Pat Meehan’s feet,” he said.

Meanwhile, PA Dems are also raising questions about the plan. They launched a website today about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

County council approves final budget

Delaware County Council approved the final 2012 budget Tuesday with a 2.3 percent tax hike.

The $324 million spending plan is about $8 million more than the overall 2011 final budget. Last year’s budget included no tax increases.

The final budget does not include many changes from the preliminary budget.


On another note, Dr. George Avetian, the county's senior medical adviser, recently discussed work he has done since he came on board with the county in the spring.

He also presented this information at a public meeting on Nov. 30. The meeting was not well publicized, however, so members of the public and news media were not able to attend.

Avetian said it is his intention to hold another public meeting in January.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pileggi says he won't pursue U.S. Senate bid; Sestak weighs in on 2012 presidential race

Now that State Sen. Dominic Pileggi decided he won't seek the GOP bid to run against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in the 2012 election, who will get the bid?

On another note, Joe Sestak, the former Democratic congressman in the 7th Congressional District, recently shared his thoughts about the 2012 presidential race in this LA Times article.