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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taiba Sultana to Stay in Easton City Council Race (Updated)

Taiba Sultana and her husband
at NorCo elections office 
Despite her violation of the residency requirements contained in Easton's Home Rule Charter, Taiba Sultana will stay in the Easton City Council race for the south side. Judge Craig Dally rejected a nomination petition challenge in an opinion handed down late Tuesday. Unless there's an appeal, an immigrant from Pakistan who only registered to vote in February will square off against one of Easton's most entrenched politicos, Sandy Vulcano.

Sultana's nomination petition was filed by prominent Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio on behalf of Vulcano's son-in-law, Ryan Hall. He alleged that since Sultana only registered to vote in February, she fails to meet the one-year residency requirement set forth in Easton's Home Rule Charter. It states that "[o]nly those who are and have been for at least one (1) year registered voters of the City shall be eligible to hold the office of Council Member or Mayor."  Since Sultana only registered to vote on February 23 of this year, she's ineligible, argued Scomillio. Case closed.

A nervous Taiba Sultana, who still has difficulty with the English language, represented herself. She did ask Judge Dally if her husband could sit with her, and he agreed. Her basic argument was that the "state constitution is bigger than city rules."

I had a better argument than that. After all, I have a law degree, damn it. My theory was that the court lacks jurisdiction. Election challenges are for violations of the Election Code or Ethics Act, not some municipal home rule charter, A strict reading of Easton's Charter provides only that she is unable to hold the office of City Council until she establishes one year of residency. Nothing prevents her from running. Rush Holt was elected to the US Senate at age 29, and had to wait six months before he was sworn in. If the people of West Virginia could wait six months for Rush Holt to be qualified, the people of Easton could wait seven weeks for Taiba .

Judge Dally went with Taiba's argument.

In an interesting, six-page Opinion, Judge Dally concluded that the residency requirement imposed by Easton's Home Rule Charter is invalid because it is more restrictive than the Third Class City Code that it replaced and is not rationally related to any legitimate governmental interest.

The The distinction is that the Easton Home Rule Charter requires that a candidate be a registered voter for one year. The Third Class City Code requires that the candidate be a resident for one year prior to taking office. Thus the city home rule charter is more restrictive than state law. Even worse, it is not rationally related to any legitimate governmental interest. As a result, the voter registration requirement contained in the City's home rule charter fails. Or as Sultana put it, the "state constitution is bigger than city rules."

Dally observes that courts have repeatedly found that residency requirements are "rationally related to a governmental interest in ensuring that candidates for office are familiar with the issues and characteristics of the district for which they are seeking office, and interested in the concerns of the locality." But he found no case law on voter registration requirements,which he believes "are not rationally related to any governmental interest, and could have a chilling effect on the rights of candidates and electors."

That very nearly happened. When I first reported on Sultana's candidacy I received these anonymous comments:
"we need more candidates telling the truth, not just what they think we want to hear. someone with more then 1 year experience on the easton student council. we want someone with experience that has been there before."

"sorry to burst your bubble bernie, in typical immigrant fashion, not playing by the rules, Sandra Vulcano's opponent will be withdrawing from the race and returning to her terror cell."
Pretty clearly, Sultana was pressured to drop out. Vulcano's biggest accomplishment in her 1,000 years on Easton City Council is that she once stayed awake for most of a meeting. She used her City Council seat mostly to sell 40,000 shitty pens and 80,000 palm cards to candidates who pay her to shut her up. I think Easton is sick of people like Vulcano. And the slur at Sultana's religious faith reveals that Republicans have no lock on religious intolerance.

(Blogger's Note: Originally published 3/21/17 at 5:21 pm). 


Anonymous said...

Good! Many of these Home Rule Charters from the county on down are bullshit. They ignore the Constitution and even state laws. That has certainly been the case in Northampton County. Most are just compromised political documents.

Anonymous said...

"Vulcano's biggest accomplishment is that she once stayed awake for most of a meeting" lololol thats great lololil

Peter J.Cochran said...

Ms.Sultana ,an immigrant, should be 'phrased' for going through the vetting and expensive process of becoming an American .

Anonymous said...

I think her views are frightening and it grinds me when immigrants, legal or illegal, start demanding free stuff from their new country. That being said, I want as many options as possible on election day. I salute Dally's decision and look forward to puking at the thought of a Sultana-Vulcano choice. Taxpayers have already lost this seat. But it's been lost since Vulcano's initial swearing in. Perhaps I'll write-in one of Panto's sock puppets.

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:21,You donm'r evenknowwhat her views are and find them"frightening." What horseshit.

Anonymous said...

She's an adherent of Bernie Sanders. I learned that on this blog. Sanders' views are well-known and were much discussed over a 20-month presidential campaign. Horseshit is pretending we don't know what we know. Unless, of course, your post about her being a Sanders fan is horseshit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You still don't know her views and slam her, which is absurd. I don't slam people bc they like Ttump.

Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah. You often do. And I can't blame you, as Trump is a dishonest imbecile. You need to start reading your own blog. She's running for public office, which I fully support. She's a Sanders fan and his political philosophy has been extraordinarily examined. She seems like a lovely person, and I'm reminded of my immigrant grandparents when I read her story. I'm slamming her political leanings, however. I'll hear her out, as I'd love to send Vulcano packing. With her Sanders admiration, however, she's off to a troubling start with me. I think you struggle with people who don't fit into your neat, philosophical boxes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I only slam them when they attempt to defend his antics. But I have numerous friends who support Trump and I do not hold that against them.

Anonymous said...

Sanders vs. Trump, hmm, the future vs. the past, intelligence vs. dum-dum, integrity vs. slimy. Sanders wins!

Peter J.Cochran said...

What are you going to think when you wake up tomorrow ,and after TWO WEEKS of bashing TRUMP about his phone tap allegations.WAIT.He's not dumb. Because his next move that becomes controversial-- most will not rush to declare he's lying.

Anonymous said...

Additionally let me tell you Bernie, that Sanda Volcano and then Councilmen Capora BOTH went ahead at my strong encouragement to get a landlord tenant act started to safe this city from impending disaster. She was a catalyst even though the process was slower than whale shit ,but she was on it in the inception .The 'map' a presented to Mr. Steckman later showed how parking violations and license plate readers can increase the tax base from those many thousand people that were basically hiding here and unknown to the tax base.ALL to spin in software . So, now inspections and documentation are required and what the city fails to do is follow u-hauls on the weekends.WE had about 7,000 people here we did not even account for and the next issue should be long term rentals in flop houses next. Tax free properties amount to over 25 percent of land mass making the known tax base foot the bills at a higher millage.

quellwater@gmail.com said...

staterules over City rules. halle as a council should have known that. ha, ha his motherinlaw Sandy Volcano could not help him here. time for new blood now. Brian hall your time will come too.