Monday, December 27, 2021

This is Reform?

Below is a list of government reforms proposed, way back in 2016, by Lower Macungie Commissioner Ron Beitler, myself and a few readers. These were sent to Governor Tom Wolf and the Lehigh Valley delegation to the state house and senate. I never received a reply.  

These are neither Republican nor Democratic proposals. You either believe in good government or you don't. 

1. Term limits now and tweak the terms. Three four-year terms for State Reps. Two six-year terms for State Senators. A two-year term for State Reps is too short, They have to start campaigning for the next election virtually the day after they win.

2. Reduce the size of PA government so state rep districts have 85,000 people within. This is small enough to maintain constituent services at the current level, but large enough to eliminate 52 positions entirely.

3. Eliminate pensions for elected officials. Salaries for a full-time state legislator should be adjusted to be the median for the district represented. It is a full time job, but not a career. Pensions are for career positions.

4. Enact Resign-to-run rules that would apply to any full time elected position that draws a taxpayer funded salary.  Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley should not be able to use the perks of his office as a springboard to the state senate. Nor should the myriad of other elected officials, including three NorCo Council members, whowant to run for something else. The only exception to this rule I can see is if the candidate is in the final year of his term.  

5. End gerrymandering by establishing independent commissions to do the redistricting. (The current commission is appointed by incumbents to help them keep their jobs.  

6. Require all candidates for statewide office to file campaign finance reports electronically so the people know immediately how the campaign is being funded. Too many candidates refuse to file electronically, and the state elections office is neverin a hurry to get reports online.  

7. Ban the use of campaign funds for criminal defense.

8. Increase penalties for noncompliance with state campaign finance laws, and continue the requirement that a candidate pay for violations out of his own personal funds.

9. All local governments should be required to provide an Internet broadcast of every meeting. If it is too expensive, the government should be dissolved.

10. Ban gifts of any kind, on a state and local level.

12. Require receipts for per diem payments.

13. Allow independent voters to participate in Primary Elections.

14. Ban local governments and school districts from attaching risky derivatives/"swaps" to their debt.

15. Ban candidates or elected officials from using campaign funds to make contributions to any other PAC or candidate committee to prevent the money laundering.

16. Limit campaign expenses to year of election requiring forfeiture of unspent monies. Eliminate rolling campaign accounts and expenditures in non election years. I believe district magistrates must spend it or lose it and cannot accumulate funds when they are unopposed. Similar rules for everybody.

17. LIST candidates on the ballot (per office) in random order with no party affiliation attached.

18. Rather than term limits, place "None of the Above" on the ballot for every elective office. If "None of the Above" wins a majority or plurality of the votes, the other candidates are disqualified and a new slate of candidates (including "None of the Above") must be drawn for a new election. Lather, rinse and repeat until someone other than "None of the Above" receives a majority of the votes.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have completely lost it. Some of what you want is good, like term limits, but not being able to bribe our elected officials is complete lunacy. Where is your patriotism. We have the best politicians money can buy.

Anonymous said...

WE have local pols in both parties that never have any serious competition for their state seats and a few big pay local gigs. They suck up campaign funds every year. Boscola is a fundraising machine with constant events. She doesn't have any serious competition so why the need for such vigorous fundraising. These folks then forget the little guy and suck up to the big contributors. The system sucks.

Anonymous said...

9. All local governments should be required to provide an Internet broadcast of every meeting. If it is too expensive, the government should be dissolved.

It sounds like you are talking about a real time broadcast? Bad idea.
Most people only go to a meeting when they have a bitch about something that affects them personally. Broadcasting on the interweb isnt going to have them turning off the TV and getting involved and it will never get to expensive. The community taxpayers will pay for it.
Stick to tried and true personal interaction with local elected officials. Otherwise it ends up being the elected speaking to empty chairs.

Anonymous said...

Any problems indicated here with political privilege in Pennsylvania is magnified on a grand scale in Washington, DC. Many reasons, including greed and lust for power. Of course, that there is no longer shame in telling lies and cheating.

As bad as we might think Pennsylvania is, we have 49 other states to choose for living. At least that’s something. But, when our Federal government is rank with corruption, and it IS, there’s no where else to go.

Anonymous said...

Our system breeds our corrupt scum politicians it will never change short of a revolution.

Anonymous said...

Freeman has been in the citizen legislature FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS. The only reform idea I want to hear from him is that he's finally doing the right thing and getting out of a legislature he shouldn't be sitting in for life. Most constituents think he died several years ago. He's a do-nothing check casher who really needs to find other work and give someone else with fresher than decade-old ideas a chance to properly represent the district. He should really be ashamed of himself.

Anonymous said...

I'll settle for term limits and the end of gerrymandering.

Unfortunately Mr. Freeman is the poster child for the problem with Harrisburg. Look at his district with Palmer and Lower Saucon Townships sliced into pieces. At the end of this term he will have spent a total of THIRTY FOUR years in the state house plus another 5 as a "legislative aide."

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a list of gifts that a greedy child gives to Santa Claus at Christmas? The campaign contributions and PA's pension issues are gifts from the most corrupt state in the union, PA.

Anonymous said...

With all the corruption we see in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, we STILL have people here who don’t believe voter fraud, ballot tampering, is anything to worry about. We have way too many crooks in high places who will do anything to stay in office. Term limits by statute are what we need . . . now!

Anonymous said...

Nothing will ever change because you "the dumb ass voter" won't take the time or initiative to change it. Everybody's Representative is bad, everybody's Senator is bad, all except my Representative and my Senator. My Representative and my Senator are good and I will continue to re-elect them. It is your people who should be thrown out of office not mine. As long as that mentality exists nothing will ever change and don't even speak about "Rebellion" or you may wind up in prison for the rest of your life. People do not like change so keep right on doing what you do on election day and keep right on bitching about what you did to change things.

Anonymous said...

8:26- much truth in what you write. I wonder if adults realize that teaching American History and Government has largely been removed from our public schools? The current young generation is being dumbed-down.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, these are really good. I especially like #18. The only one that I didn't agree with, and I don't know why, is #17. I consider myself an informed voter, but #17 just didn't sit well with me. Don't know why. Peace!

Anonymous said...

Freeman is still alive????????????
We The People. 2ND Amendment!!!!
Lot of good ideas here.

Anonymous said...

I like most of the items on your list. However, wishful thing will get you no were. Local governments preach that they are being transparent, but no local newpaper prints the items duscussed at the meeting. Local officials want empty chairs. All candidates should list non political charities that will receive any left over political contributions from their campaign. Keep fighting for your changes.

Anonymous said...

Bernie 2020.... Keep the "O" in OMG!

Anonymous said...

Bern you forgot the number one campaign contributions not to be fiddled with for personal issues. Than there is that this federal crime being quashed at county level. I am sure the Wild thing and it's participation in it's LLP has set it free?
There needs to be a forensic accounting for all said money dispersements done by an outside entity. The truth is in the paper that seems too allways get lost in the mix.

2020 criminals must be sent to GITMO were the guillotines are sharp!

Anonymous said...

GOVERMENT PEOPLE will never make any of the changes--political class are corrupt and they are scum-- they are not in office for the people they are in office for only themselves.

Peterjcochran said...

Adopt New Hampture state rules . They don’t hanged out . Should be no Congress persons or Senators on any pension eather. Maybe a one or two year payment after they are done as transitioning. We need to reform rules.

Anonymous said...

well said, well said

Anonymous said...

5:44---so true so true

Anonymous said...

All living legislators - past and present serving - should have pensions revoked. The budget they broke should be fixed on their backs. They created the problem and should pay, dearly. They should be stripped of every dime and placed on public assistance at minimal rates. This will address every item on the list you provided. And Bob Freeman? Really? He's a poster child for a career political thief who could never find honest work in the real world. He should give up all benefits and be placed on welfare where he belongs. And he should be thankful he's not being put in prison for his career of public theft. Nice guy, my ass. He's a crook.

Anonymous said...

Yes left and right most are out right thieves. The public assistance angle sounds to be more fitting for all public servants pension issues.

For instance Allentown pension was CURED by the now inmate of the federal prison system. Currently Allentowns pension issue stands at a hundred million in debt.

Anonymous said...

Drain the swamp, and help our illustrious President restore America to its former greatness!

Anonymous said...

Bern, you should run for city or county position

Anonymous said...

Its good to see 1:23 am knows Trump is in his own swamp. Putrid water replaced with toxic waste.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bern, you should run for city or county position"

No way. I believe my strength, to the extent it exists, is in coverage of some local government. I am often critical of local elected officials, but believe I would be far worse.

Anonymous said...

Careful..they will be calling you a socialist or worse..a communist!

Anonymous said...

We're Making America Great Again!

Anonymous said...

Bob Freeman is still alive (I Googled him). His public career personifies every single thing that is wrong with state government. An honorable man would stop taking a check for doing nothing for years. But he's been absolutely unemployable in the real world for two decades. He's essentially an orphan of the taxpayers. There has to be a better way to run a citizen legislature. Bob hasn't been a citizen legislator since his first term. He's been a leech since then. And he's just one of many.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Pinsley still lives in South Whitehall, he isn't going to springboard anywhere. Pat Browne gerrymandered the new 16th SD out into Republican areas of Berks County and cut off most of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Why let an "independent" vote for any party nominee?
join a party or stay out.
allowing independent's to vote just leads to skewed party results.
for example let's use Kentucky.
Mitch has no real opposition in a primary so 60 percent repub voters sign up as independent and then vote for the weakest Democratic candidate--they then vote for Mitch as they were going to do all along.
All that changed is to make it easier in this case for Mitch to stay in office.
Or a bunch of Democrats become "independents" and torpedo trump in a primary--then vote Democratic as they were going to do anyway.
Either way the parties would have their candidates standing affected by the other party.


Anonymous said...

There's a lot of cynicism expressed here. Some of it is fair enough, but it's not quite that simple. Cynicism is not the same as wisdom or knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Terms limits are a must.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If Mr. Pinsley still lives in South Whitehall, he isn't going to springboard anywhere. Pat Browne gerrymandered the new 16th SD out into Republican areas of Berks County and cut off most of Allentown.

December 27, 2021 at 7:22 AM

While Pat Browne gets just about everything he wants, this action will be quite a feat.

Anonymous said...

No Pensions.

Punisher!!! said...

Anonymous said...
You have completely lost it. Some of what you want is good, like term limits, but not being able to bribe our elected officials is complete lunacy. Where is your patriotism. We have the best politicians money can buy.

December 27, 2019 at 12:14 AM
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@12:14 The people of Nor Co have no idea the level of corruption their elected officials are guilty of. [Solicitor Rudas] commited Fraud by signing Judge Dally's name to a court order for sanctions against me a litigant in a simple divorce. In that order for sanctions Rudas tried to also extort $1000 in legal fees paid to [Rudas] and $50 a day until I complied with her fraudulent court order. Thats right Fraud upon the court, Fogery, extortion and crooked Morganelli refused to charge her. I have all the evidence against [Rudas] anyone needs to prosecute thay criminal. I call it the Rudas Courthouse Criminal Enterprise. She also paid my significate other $100,000, Nor Co sheriffs paid $10,000 because [Rudas] illegally and unlawfully weaponized the Nor Co sheriffs against my significant other. I lawsuit I brought in federal court in the Southern District of Florida. Any time you think you can debate the facts of the Florida case with me, I would be happy to crush your intelligence. B.O. is going to delete this comment and call me an asshole and coward, but BO knows I'm no coward, who I am is the Punisher!!!
Why dont you talk about corruption and fraud B.O? I wont stoop to your level and call you an asshole and coward, I'll asume you already know it
Nothing Can Stop What is Coming... watch for the billboards that bring the truth and the proof along 22, 78, 33, 378 and the turnpike. B.O. won't be able to delete those.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's quite a tale. I suggest getting a copy editor to ensure better messaging and spelling on all those "truth and proof" billboards that'll soon be popping up along the Valley's major highways. Really looking forward to seeing them. Lol!

Anonymous said...

Term limits have become a necessity at all levels of government including local.

Anonymous said...

We need initiative and referendum:

1) Cut the legislature in half
2) Change legislature to part-time
3) Eliminate pensions
4) Convert all current pension obligations to 401(k)
5) One strike-you're out for drunks, druggies, wife beaters
6) File court documents to declare Bob Freeman officially dead
7) Appropriate money to feed Bob Freeman's cat

Bob has stayed too long. He went from being one of the most liked area politicians to a despicable punchline for jokes about greed and sloth and the creeps who populate that chamber of horrors in Harrisburg. He'll be remembered for being a career taker and not really doing anything for area residents or citizens of the state. But he got paid.

Anonymous said...

Many of these politicians use donations to scratch each other's back. Should be forbidden.
No candidate who does not file timely donation reports should be allowed to continue
on a campaign until such reports are filed and approved by the responsible election offices.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see three more things added to you list.

1) is that each candidate goes through an initial security clearance. In that it would come out if they were a druggie, felon, bankruptcy, wife beater, child molester and so many other things. That the results of such a security clearance would be fully published.

2) that there is a residency requirement for the candidate to live in the region of area for a period of time prior to running. There are many who move to just prior or run in places they do not reside.

3) All candidate must fulfill a full education program where they are given the do's and don'ts of being a politician. So there is no more BS like Hillary and Ivanka claiming they never knew about the issues with hosting a personal server. Or like Trump shredding so much at the end of his presidency. Or like so many that take common bribes but claim them as campaign contributions.

Anonymous said...

PAC"S Should become illegal unless they can provide 100% accountability of all the donations and who they gave the money too. Also they should not be allowed to tell the candidate who the money came from.

Anonymous said...

I think that another election/political thing which needs to be resolved that should be added to the list.

If you claim fraud and it is baseless you should receive the penalty which would have been inflicted on the person omitting fraud. Give the accuser the ability to make the accusation and let it go through the diligence. IF it is proven false then let it rest. If it is true then those omitting the fraud go to jail (NO bullshit and slaps on the wrist anymore). Then once the review is complete , if found false and the person refuses to let it go they go to jail for the penalty of what they are fraudulently accusing. And any organization that continues to pursue the lie runs the jeopardy of having their assets seized as well as all within that organization involved in the lie feeling a similar penalty. And also either way fraud is cumulative. So if you commit a single voter fraud you go to jail for a minimum time and if it multiples of that the penalty is multiples as well.

It would hopefully make people like Lindell think twice or the other like Lynch think twice