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Thursday, September 23, 2010

LV Tea Party Invades LC Comm'r Meetings

At last week's Northampton County Council meeting, I was actually threatened by a "Save Gracedale" minister. "You're lucky I'm a Man of God," he snarled, as deputies kept him away from me. All I did is ask him what cereal box his ordination papers came from. Some people are so sensitive. So last night, even though it was raining catshit, I decided I needed a change of pace. I crossed the border and attended a Lehigh County Board of Commissioners' meeting. I enjoy their collegial atmosphere, and even wore a jacket and tie. Fortunately, there were no ministers in sight.

This is the Lehigh Valley's largest municipal legislature. But in some ways, they are a victim of their own success. Northampton County Council can count on both dailies, a weekly, Channel 69, and one or more bloggers at every meeting. WWE's Vince McMahon drops in from time to time, too, looking for new talent. I've seen it all, from gigantic inflatable rats to Council members physically threatening each other. At last night's congenial LC Comm'r meeting, there was just one Morning Call stringer.

Not enough mayhem.

That may change. The LV Tea Party has begun attending and participating at Comm'r meetings. I've been very critical of this nonprofit for its political activity and unelected leadership. But the recent excommunication of Ron Shegda does demonstrate that this grass roots group is making a sincere effort to remain above the partisan fray. It has also scheduled elections for next month. It's also very encouraging to me when anyone, conservative or liberal, takes an active interest in local government.

One tea party member, Stan Bialecki (pictured above), has actually become a LC regular. Another, Janice Bowman, films meetings with a pretty good camera sitting atop a tripod. She plans to load them on Youtube, but is still learning.

What most folks don't understand about County government is that, when a Exec like Don Cunningham or John Stoffa proposes a budget, there really is very little wiggle room. Although they sound easy, you can't really do across-the-board cuts without jeopardizing essential services. Yet on a radio show yesterday, the very first question for LC Comm'r Glenn Eckhart was whether he's proposing any across-the-board cuts to avoid a tax hike. Now Glenn is an evil arch-conservative, but even he acknowledged that's impossible.

Last night, for example, Comm'rs approved a $377,000 contract for autopsies. Another $50,000 was allocated for the transport of bodies, including increasingly expensive body bags. If you're an across-the-board cuts advocate, what do you do? Do you tell a coroner that, even though a death looks suspicious to him, you're trying to save money? Do you tell some family to throw a body on ice for a few weeks until the budget permits you to cart granny off to the morgue?

How about the workforce? Will across-the board cuts work there? Last night, Chairman Dean Browning told me that, to avoid a tax hike next year, Lehigh County would have to reduce the annual salaries of each employee by 24%. And this is after Exec Don Cunningham has reduced the workforce to its lowest level since 1990. That's not gonna' happen.

So do you let some people go? Of course, that's impossible at a jail or nursing home, which are 24/7 operations that need staff at all times.

So there really is little wiggle room, although tea party members may come up with some good ideas. They are making a difference. Last night, Stan did ask Comm'rs to spend a little more time explaining some of these contracts, and they were only too happy to oblige.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

The tea party people need to realize that 98% of the County functions are guided by State and Federal Laws. They need to take their act to Harrisburg and Washington if they want significant local change. I admire local pols more than the state and federal bunch. these folks have no where to hide and no cardboard checks to hand out.

Most local government is pretty close to the bone. The exceptions jump out.

Lehigh County has cut and honed their budget. Hell, you can't always just stamp your feet and say no. Well you can.

The County must provide certain services. What part of that don't these folks get.

I get angry when my car won't start on a cold morning. I once gave a damning speech to it for an hour. Guess what, the damn thing still wouldn't stat.

At some point your properly exercised right sounds more like a whining bitchfest than anything even remotely helpful.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how all of a sudden the Lehigh County budget is 100% efficient. For those believing that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Everything's wonderful in LC. The county exec hid major financial problems during his re-election campaign and was almost knocked off for his lies by an unknown, unfunded challenger. Now, the tax bomb drops and the bill for electing a moron comes due. The Tea Party is needed in LC more than ever. Too bad for Cunningham's 3 AM toady. At least he'll never get near statewide office. Don's idiocy has been localized by his near defeat.

WhetherVain said...

Anon 2:43

"At some point your properly exercised right sounds more like a whining bitchfest than anything even remotely helpful"

I've been observing what the tea party seems to be all about, and that statement does a fine job of summarizing my observations.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I get angry when my car won't start on a cold morning. I once gave a damning speech to it for an hour. Guess what, the damn thing still wouldn't stat."

Very funny.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've watched the LV Tea Party, have attended three of their meetings, and have met more than a fe. They ae mstly decent people who are very interested in their government. I have no more problem with what they do than I do with LEPOCO.

But I will say that if you want to make a difference, the best way is at a local level. It's true that County government has little wiggle room, but that should not stop us from trying to find ways to cut costs or promote good government. The best way to do that is by being there. So I'm pleased to see them.Usually, the special interests who invade local government meetings are public sector unions and nonprofits, both of which are looking for handots. It's refreshing to me to see people who are interested in the taxpayer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It's funny how all of a sudden the Lehigh County budget is 100% efficient."

Big difference between saying that a goernment has little wiggle room and that it is 100% efficient. Lehigh is not, nor is Northampton or any other government. But the best way to ID those inefficiencies is by going to the meetings. As they say, demcracy is not a spectator sport.

Anonymous said...

Sore losers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think partisan politics has anything to do with peple like Stan. Maybe I'm wrong. I think he's more interested in government than the elctoral process.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

Actually, members of the local tea party group ARE focused on state and federal legislation and elected officials, AS WELL AS issues at the local county and community levels.

As the largest tea party group in the state, almost 1,300 members strong, we can DO that, because we're actually capable of doing more than one thing at a time.

I know, many people who think we're unwashed, uneducated radical rednecks will disagree, but our group has a particularly high percentage of smart, well-educated, and well-motivated people who are individually interested in a LOT of different things which affect their lives.

That's why we have action committees in many different issue areas, including one, the precinct committee, which focuses on politics at the most local levels. And over 300 members have signed up to participate in that particular action committee of our organization.

Our members believe in holding elected officials at ALL levels of government accountable for their spending and other actions which affect the people who elected them.
And most people would be amazed at the depth to which our members study and, as a result of that study, comprehend each issue.

The Lehigh Valley Tea party group is non-partisan, non-political, and educational, and persons of ALL political persuasions who support Constitutionally limited government, responsible spending and transparency at all levels of government are welcome to join. For more information, go to www.lehighvalleyteaparty.org.

Anonymous said...

Again government isn't the problem, individuals in and out of government can be the problem. for God's sake.

I support those who question spending, but then do you have any workable, legal and sound alternatives?

I respect the overall intent of the tea party movement. I do not respect carnival hucksters like Glenn Beck who like his liberal counterparts, scream and shout wave their arms and say we are going communist we are no longer America. I have been an American for over 70 years and this is still America and snake oil salesmen are still snake oil salesmen.

For example, Barak Obama is a natural born American citizen and is not a Muslim. Enough with that nonsense. I have a picture of George Bush holding a sultans hand, are they homosexual lovers? OK, lets not be silly.
There is a time in life to grow up and smell the coffee and realize that their is a reason you can't knock down the bottles at the carnival. Also that anyone can scream like a maniac but I am more impressed with those who speak with knowledge and common sense.

Anonymous said...

"I get angry when my car won't start on a cold morning. I once gave a damning speech to it for an hour. Guess what, the damn thing still wouldn't stat."

Your anger is directed at an inanimate object. You should see someone about that. Those you attempted to deride, however, are throwing entrenched, animate objects from their offices. Please, please, please keep telling yourself it's just a bitchfest. Mike Castle and Lisa Murkowski beg to bitterly differ. They weren't in denial like you, but were thrown out just the same. Now they're just two lumps and you have only to scream at your jalopy (likely subsidized through cash for clunkers). Outstanding!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Government IS the problem.

And Socialism works great until you run out of other people's money.

End of story.

Back to your standard, daily afternoon delusions, Progressive Liberal Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Donna Baver Rovito - Does your group believe that anything not specifically outlined in the Constitution should be paid for through taxation? Do your members pledge to not accept ANY government funding for any reason? And to take it a step further, do you support spending for things like roads, bridges, police, and firefighters? Where was your constituency in December 2008? Why did they not appear until after the inauguration of our current President? Do you believe the President is a citizen of the United States?

Anonymous said...

And Socialism works great until you run out of other people's money.

Ironic that this nitwit posted this nonsensical comment using a government developed and funded internet.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:58 said:

"Do you believe the President is a citizen of the United States?"

***********************************

Perhaps you should talk to the Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008. They are the ones that filed suit over the birth certificate issue.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:18 said...

"For example, Barak Obama is a natural born American citizen and is not a Muslim."

*******************************

The citizenship issue was brought forward by supporters of Hillary Clinton. Those would be Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:18 said...

"For example, Barak Obama is a natural born American citizen and is not a Muslim."

*******************************

The citizenship issue was brought forward by supporters of Hillary Clinton. Those would be Democrats.

Joan Campbell said...

Anonymous said...
Donna Baver Rovito - Does your group believe that anything not specifically outlined in the Constitution should be paid for through taxation? Do your members pledge to not accept ANY government funding for any reason? And to take it a step further, do you support spending for things like roads, bridges, police, and firefighters? Where was your constituency in December 2008? Why did they not appear until after the inauguration of our current President? Do you believe the President is a citizen of the United States?

3:58 PM
****

I know that your questions were directed at Donna, but if you don't mind, I would like a shot at answering them.

The tea party group is SELF funded. We recieve donations from our members for our expenses. We do not plan on taking money from the federal government, and I would assume that they never will.

As far as support goes for the President of the United States, of course we support him, he was elected fair and square. We do not support SOME if not MOST of his POLICIES. We are not an anti-obama 'birther' group. If you were a member you would see that we quickly take down any such posts.

Where were we in 2008? I can tell you where I was.... I was screaming at the TV wondering what the hell was Bush doing??? This guy is supposed to be a republican. But like anyone else, I was a bobble head, machine like republican, I went along with the status quo. I was just as mad then as I am now.... only now I have 1300 friends who I know feel just about the same way as I do.

Do we support firefighters, roadways, bridge construction? Of course we do silly! However, we espouse that if you need money, don't come to the tax payers for it! Tighten your belt! We want less government, no deficit spending, decrease public debt and reduce governmental power and authority. These are the 4 points of our limited gov't resolution that we are sending out to all elected officials.

There was another comment in here, along the lines of all you do is bitch, and don't offer any solutions... That's not true. We are currently looking at the lehigh county budget and seeing if we can come up with an alternative solution instead of a 16% tax hike.

And as far as Glenn Beck goes, yes, some of us are fans of GB... some are not... but he is not the be all end all of the group. We are not crazies, and we certainly are non-partisian. Any other questions, feel free to stop by a meeting and we will be happy to try to answer your questions, or goto our website www.lehighvalleyteaparty.org and we will try to answer them there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:00

Tell us how things are going in Greece...and Spain...and Italy...and...

Ha Ha, sucker.

"The Nitwit"

Anonymous said...

The tea party group is SELF funded. We recieve donations from our members for our expenses. We do not plan on taking money from the federal government, and I would assume that they never will.

That wasn't the question. Do any of your members accept federal funds? Student loans, Pell grants, disability, FHA mortgages, anything not explicitly stated in the Constitution. Until your people walk the walk, you can't talk the talk.

Anonymous said...

12:41 AM - What the hell do I care and what does that have to do with my statement? Feel free to use the government funded, researched, and created internet backbone to reply.

Joan Campbell said...

Anonymous said...
The tea party group is SELF funded. We recieve donations from our members for our expenses. We do not plan on taking money from the federal government, and I would assume that they never will.

That wasn't the question. Do any of your members accept federal funds? Student loans, Pell grants, disability, FHA mortgages, anything not explicitly stated in the Constitution. Until your people walk the walk, you can't talk the talk.

9:50 AM


What our members do or do not do is a matter for our members themselves to work out. However- I am of the personal opinion, that they paid into the system, those same opprotunities should be available to them as well, if they choose to use it. Until the government decides to pay back the money they took from us- to fund disability then they each have every single right to use it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see. Your people can suckle the teat of the government but the many needy who also have paid in have no right to YOUR money.

This is problem with the tea party. No logical consistency. No real vision or solutions. Just Paul Revere hats and anger at those different from them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Ah, I see. Your people can suckle the teat of the government but the many needy who also have paid in have no right to YOUR money.

This is problem with the tea party. No logical consistency. No real vision or solutions. Just Paul Revere hats and anger at those different from them.

2:51 PM

Learn2Read much? That's not what she said at all, she said that as long as they have paid into the system, that they have every right to use it... there was nothing there about YOUR or MY money...it was all our or 'us' ..... your a flippin liberal idiot who got shot down, and has nothin better to do than to read into something that isn't there. crymoar pansy boy....

Anonymous said...

9:52 Anon,

No way you are THAT dumb and stupid.

You know what the relevancy with respect to my statement is.

So, please tell us how government development and funding is going in Greece, Spain, Italy, etc.

"The Nitwit"

PS - tell Al Gore I said thanks for the Internet

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:50 said:

"That wasn't the question. Do any of your members accept federal funds? Student loans, Pell grants, disability, FHA mortgages, anything not explicitly stated in the Constitution. Until your people walk the walk, you can't talk the talk."

*********************************

Your question is flawed.

As a Tea Party supporter, I realize that our government is spending too much and doing so at a level that is unsustainable. I am responsible enough to realize this, and I do not want to enslave my children and grandchildren with having to pay my bills.

In order to solve this problem, I am committed to reducing the size of government and cutting government programs. I am willing to do this even if some of those programs benefit me personally.

That is walking the walk.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

Part 1
First, thanks, Joan, for doing for a great job responding to what were mostly ridiculous questions posted by "Anon 3:58"

Really, folks, you can put ANYTHING in the Name/URL space in the comment section on this blog. If you're too embarrassed to OWN what you say, at least make something up, so people can tell you apart! Some of us choose to use our real names, because we're not ashamed of what we say - funny how the members of the tea party group who post on this site seem to do that....

ANYWAY....I'm going to take these one at a time, so some of the slower "anonymous" posters can follow....

Anonymous said...
"Donna Baver Rovito - Does your group believe that anything not specifically outlined in the Constitution should be paid for through taxation?"

DBR: Well, DUH. I strongly suspect that our Founding Fathers never visualized networked computers with Internet capability (although you never know about Ben Franklin - he WAS, after all, America's answer to Leonardo DaVinci) or whether or not school districts should provide computer labs and training. Of COURSE the requirements of a modern society will necessitate paying for things not outlined in the Constitution. That's why the power to tax was specifically given to the House of Representatives - because our leaders were smart enough to know that things would change, and that the Constitution, which is a FRAMEWORK for laws, not the laws themselves, could not predict what would be needed 100 or 200 or 300 years hence. (Although Ben Franklin predicted the Civil War "a hundred years hence" even as they removed the abolition of slavery in order to get the southern states to sign the Declaration of Independence - like I said, America's DaVinci.)

What our group - and groups like us throughout the nation - WANT is for our current leaders to exercise that constitutionally guaranteed power RESPONSIBLY, acknowleding that any money they have comes from The People, and should be treated NOT as if it were their own, but as if it were a sacred trust. Actually, though, I suspect most of them handle their OWN money with far more restraint and responsibility than they handle ours. It's easy to waste what isn't yours.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

Part 2
Anon: "Do your members pledge to not accept ANY government funding for any reason?"

DBR: By this, do you mean things like Social Security and Medicare, into which our members paid and are paying? Don't be stupid. Why shouldn't our members benefit from programs which already exist and which their taxes fund simply because they disagree with how the government is currently being run? Or do YOU think that everyone who disagrees with the powers-that-be should just shut up or be penalized? Certainly, when "peace" activists were burning Bush in effigy or carrying signs promoting his assassination, people on your side claimed that dissent was the highest form of patriotism.

Anon: "And to take it a step further, do you support spending for things like roads, bridges, police, and firefighters?"

DBR: DUH, again. Those are the exact things the government is SUPPOSED to fund - not research into monkey sperm or behavioral issues or whether or not there's a difference between men and women.

Once again, slowly now, so folks can follow - we WANT the government to RESPONSIBLY invest OUR money in things which "promote the general welfare" etc., etc. The key word is RESPONSIBLY. And any Congress or leader who supports paying people to have their perfectly usable cars crunched so they can replace them with "greener" models (and pump up car sales ONLY FOR THE WEEKS IT WAS IN EFFECT) is NOT spending OUR money responsibly.

Anon: "Where was your constituency in December 2008?"

Interesting spin on the question "And where were the tea parties during the Bush presidency?!?!?!? Well, since December 2008 was AFTER the election, I suspect a lot of us were wondering what was going to happen in January and hoping that we didn't lose our jobs. And MANY of the people who are in our group now were actually HOPING for the "hope and change" that had been promised. Oh, and like Joan, we were yelling at the television and wondering why our kids weren't allowed to sing "Silent Night" in school. Oh, and how much it was safe to spend on the holidays, since no one knew what was going to happen next. (Hey, you SAID December 2008.)

Anon: "Why did they not appear until after the inauguration of our current President?"

DBR: Actually, the tea party movement didn't "appear" until quite a bit AFTER the inauguration. The ideas which spawned the movement were already simmering in the publics' minds (we didn't like TARP or the bank bailouts or DEFINITELY the bailouts of Fannie and Freddy either), but we were kind of like the frog in the pot of cold water - once the heat hit the pot, we didn't realize that we were getting cooked until the water was almost boiling.

But instead of exercising restraint, the current administration quadrupled down on what was already wrong (i.e., spending too much money we didn't have on questionable things). And then, it took a "spark" to pull all the minds that were thinking in the same direction together - and it's an indication of just HOW READY we were that the "spark" was just a televised temper tantrum by a network commentator calling for a new "tea party," like the one that galvanized Colonials into revolution. And, no, we DON'T advocate an armed revolution like that one. We DO advocate revolutionary ideas like limited government, balanced budgets and honor and integrity in our elected officials. Oh, and that they actually REPRESENT the people they're elected to represent, rather than their own egos, power, and desire to STAY in power.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

I really AM posting these only once - I don't have any idea why they're showing up twice.

Part 3

Anon: "Do you believe the President is a citizen of the United States?"

Ah, THERE IT IS - the veiled "racism" charge - the classic tactic of liberals who don't have a real argument and want to distract from the weakness of their positions. Sorry, not playing that game. We do NOT support the "birthers" or the "impeach Obama" crowd.

While I don't personally believe the main stream media vetted Barack Obama as strenuously as they vetted, well, let's say Sarah Palin, as a journalist, I DO believe that at least the rudiments of investigative journalism were employed, and that if there were REALLY cause to believe there was a problem with Obama's citizenship, it would have come to light LONG ago. Recall that there were also questions about John McCain's birth.

Certainly, the Clinton political machine, which prompted those questions, is powerful and ruthless, and if there were anything to be found, THEY would have found it and used it to ensure Hillary getting the nomination. So, yes, I do believe the President is a citizen of the United States - and last night, at our new member Meet and Greet, the gentlemen who were speaking to the new members pointed out that we don't support those positions and that "birthers" need not apply. There are FAR more significant issues on which we need to focus our attention, so we put the birthers and the truthers in the same category - tinfoil hat folks, all.

I invite anyone who questions the goals or motives of the tea party movement to come to one of our meetings, or to one of our candidate forums (Oct. 4 for governor, senate and congressional candidates at Penn's Peak and Oct 22 at the Chrin Center for state legislature candidates) to see how non-partisan (and non-CRAZY) we are. I don't think we can call Bernie a "convert" yet, but he's certainly acknowledged that just MAYBE we aren't what Keith Olberman would have you believe we are.

The website is www.lehighvalleyteaparty.org. Oh....but you WILL have to join it with a NAME - no "anonymous" members allowed. Sorry, we're just funny that way - you know, the whole personal responsibility and integrity thing? Some of you should try it.

Anonymous said...

Donna, you would be taken a lot more seriously if you didn't push your sarcasm as much as you do. I believe you think you are being "witty or smart", it actually just makes you sound like a douche bag.

If you want respect give respect.

As to getting money back you pay into the system. Do you believe people who payed into a defined benefit pension deserve to receive their pension?

Thank you for you attention to these issues.

Leo D. Vinci

Anonymous said...

Ohare does your parole officer know you were out of NORCO or did ya have them "walkin' papers"

Hoffmaster said...

Dave Hoffmaster
Berks County Patriots (Tea party)

I am a member of the above group. We meet every month at the Leesport Farmers market. Although we encourage all to attend we have a near zero minority attendence. Okay zero minorities. We don't understand why, while being so close to Reading there aren't more Hispanics and Blacks attending our meetings. Most of us are Republicans although there are disgruntled Democrats and Independents. We formed our group when it was evident that Obama was hijacking the Constitution taking away our rights and moving the country towards socialism and communism. We follow Glen Beck and his 9/12 group and attend all functions provided by him FOX and Freedom Works. I Personnally do not care for Obamas agenda however I do not speak for any of the other members. I also feel that Obama is a undocumented alien and a closet Muslim. We make jokes about Obama on a regular basis at the meetings however wish him no harm. We are in agreement with Libertarian Lerouch hoping the next Republican Congress will start impeachment hearings , as Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors under our current laws. He should be removed from office and sent to a military prison to serve a sentence. I invite all of you like minded individuals to join us at our next meeting. Please feel free to visit our website.

Anonymous said...

Hey at least whacky dave was honest.
I just looked up there site.
Hey Dave, as a polical group why do you feel it necessary to offer a firearms refresher course through your group?
What Democrat Party candidates have you endorsed?
Do you believe in the second ammendment remedies Shoron Angle spoke of?
Can you explain to me what she meant by that? Because I never really heard an explanation.
Was your bus trip to the 9/12 event subsidized by Freedom Works?
Do you agree with the Senate Tea party candidate from Alaska that unemployment compensation is unconstitutional?
Why did that mans wife accept unemployment compensation?
Wouldn't she be breaking a law.
EVEN IF SHE DID PAY IN?
Why did Rand paul hold his election night party at a "MEMBERS ONLY" country club?
We all know what "MEMBERS ONLY" means in the south, don't we?
Why won't the practicing Tea Party Witch candidate and the other voice of reason Sharon Angle take questions form the press?
Is that one of those Palinesque gotcha question phobias?
Now Dave I want to say that I don't think you are all a bunch of redneck rubes. I think quite the opposite. You are the right wing lunatic fringe of the Republican Party. Even thee GOP fears being associated with your platform.
And my final question is if you don't support terms limits, why do you endorse multi-term REPUBLICAN ONLY candidtates in elections where you have no TeaParty member running?
I think you and the rest of your "club" are a bunch of hypocrites. Amatuerish Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

OOPS I FORGOT

Congresswoman Bachman Minn.

Tea Party caucus Leader/Member
Why does she want smaller government,
Abolish the Dept. of Agriculture,
Do away with farm subsidies
and then

TAKE 500,000+ US DOLLARS SINCE 2002FOR HER FARM IN SUBSIDIES FROM THE FEDS?
AND I'M SORRY YOU CAN'T USE THE
SHE PAID IN WHY SHOULDN'T SHE TAKE IT ON THIS ONE!!!
You saw her speak at the 9/12 event didn't ya?
One of your heros ain't she?
Just being an American
ya know with both her hands in the till
Like I said Hypocrites
the lot of you

Anonymous said...

To oops I forgot

Wisconsin
TeaParty Candidate Harris
His platform to eliminate governemnt subsidies
except
He took a government subsidized rail spur to service his business and his business alone
to the tune of $75,000 tax payer dollars
Hey Tea People wheres the fake outrage!!!
Drop in the bucket okay
Harris again
His business also received
Federal subsidized loans at a
zero % interest rate for 5 million dollars
Wheres the fake outrage Tea People?
You are a puppet extension of the corporate giants and although you claim to be educated you are either fools or being fooled which is it?
I should have spelled which...witch
and speaking of spelled....