Friday, April 24, 2015
Who's Ahead in Bethlehem Tp Magisterial District Judge Race?
Magisterial District judges are paid $88,290 a year, along with complete medical benefits, to hear "minor criminal offenses, traffic offenses, landlord and tenant matters and other civil actions where the amount claimed does not exceed $12,000.00." They must be 21, residents of the state and must have lived in the magisterial district for at lest one year before assuming office. Terms last for six years, and nothing prevents other employment, though that is becoming less common. They must be attorneys or certified by the Administrative Office of Pa. Courts. Though there's a movement afoot to require that all mini-judges have law degrees, I hope it never passes. A law degree is a nice thing to have, but nothing can replace the common sense wisdom I often see displayed by Magisterial District Judges like Barner
In this case, the two nonlawyers running are poor candidates. Andrew Tupone, a 911 dispatcher as well as some sort of alcohol agent for the PSP, became a little too well known to lawyers around the courthouse when he served as part of the Panto Parking Police. Some tell me they felt they were targeted, which is hardly the kind of conduct you'd want from a judge.
The other weak candidate, Bryan Altieri, has two college degrees nut has never held a job. He and his wife Leslie, a perennial candidate for state house, live in a home worth over $500,000. Last time I checked, they had made no mortgage payments in over four years. This appears to be irresponsible.
To top everything off, neither Tupone nor Altieri is certified by the Administrative Office of Pa. Courts.
The other three candidates - Bill Blake, Pat Broscius and Sandy McClure - are all prosecutors in John Morganelli's office. They all have the right temperament for the job, though Bill Blake has some conflicts of interest to resolve.
Blake and Broscius are both full-time prosecutors, meaning they spend forty hours or more every week, doing the people's business.But Sandy McClure, who is part-time, has more time to go out and knock on doors, and is apparently doing just that. From what I hear, she is well-regarded in her neighborhood. As quiet as she can sometimes be in a courtroom, she is more extroverted in small groups.
Some super Republican voters tells me they have already received three well-done fliers from McClure
I have no idea who is going to win this race, but McClure is spending the most money. This race won't be decided until November. My guess is that McCure will capture the democratic nod and that the Republican nomination will go to Pat Broscius or Bill Blake.