Friday, October 30, 2020
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a friend who told me she voted by MIB and dropped off her ballot at the courthouse. When I asked her why she did not stop and say Hi, she told me she gave her ballot to her next door neighbor because he was taking his and his wife's ballot to the courthouse. When I told her that's illegal, she was stunned.
Just a few days ago, I saw a post by a Facebook friend who was delighted to report that her husband had just taken his and her ballot to the courthouse to drop them off. When I told her that was illegal, I was met with stony silence. No Likes. I've probably been unfriended and blocked.
Now NorCo Republicans are snapping pictures and raising a stink when some citizen is dropping off the ballot for himself and one or two family members.
This situation is similar to what happens during in-person voting. One spouse will sometimes drag the other behind the curtain to help explain the ballot. Technically, you are supposed to have them both sign about 18,000 forms. But as things get busy, poll workers like myself sometimes forget. In fact, sometimes it happens so fast it takes me unaware. Is this fraud? Of course not. Should a vote be invalidated because some husband dragged his wife behind the curtain to do who knows what? Of course not.
It's an innocent mistake, no different than a husband whose wife's ballot is on his "Honeydo" list. He has no idea that he just committed a capital offense.
Lee Snover is rolling around on the floor, foaming at the mouth. But as Joe Biden might say, "Come on, man!"
This is what I call "harmless error." What's really bugging people like Snover and GOP State House candidate Scott Hough (my brother has his sign in his front yard) is they both know they are losing.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
According to figures supplied by Northampton County, 84,913 voters have requested MIBs (mail-in ballots). It is expected that 80% (the county is already at 74.3%) will be returned by election day. That amounts to 67,930 votes. It is also known that about 70%, or 47,551, of these MIBs are coming from Democrats. I believe these will be votes for Biden. About 24%, or 16,303 votes, are coming from others. I'll assume that half of those, or 8,000, are Biden votes. This means Biden probably has 55,551 votes going into election day. Is this enough for Biden to win the county that Trump won by 5,461 votes on election day in 2016? Yes.
In 2016, there was a voter turnout of 70%, or 146,381. If turnout is 70% on November 3, that means there will be 159,120 voters. The winner needs to garner a plurality of these votes. The winner needs about 78,000 votes. So Biden needs about 22,449 voters on election day.
Northampton County has about 102,000 registered Democrats. We know 47,551 have sent in MIBs. We know about 10,000 of the registered Democrats are inactive, meaning that there are really only about 92,000 active registered Democrats. Of that 92,000, about 44,000 declined to send in MIBs. If 70% of these Democrats show up on election day and vote Biden to mirror the 2016 turnout, that translates to an additional 30,800 votes. If my assumptions are basically right, he will get about 86,351 votes.
This gives him a big win.
Have I just given him my famous Kiss of Death? We shall see.
1) MIB return rate of 80% (67,930)
2) Democrats account for 70% of MIBs and vote Biden (47,551)
3) Half of Other MIBs vote for Biden (8,000)
4) November 3 turnout of 70%, (159,120)
5) 70% of active Dems who failed to send in MIBs will vote in person for Biden. (30,800)
Biden's Total - 55,551 MIBs plus 30,800 in-person = 86,351 votes.
This is 54% of the total.
Three LV candidates for State Representative have been tagged by the Department of State for failure to file pre-election campaign finance reports. They are the following:
Pa Legislative District 131 - Kevin Branco
Pa Legislative District 133 - Mike Schlossberg
Pa. Legislative District 138 - Tara Zrinski
All three are Democrats, and Schlossberg is an incumbent.
On Tara Zrinski's Facebook page, she claims to have sent her report on October 22, and has attached the postmark. The pre-election reports were due October 23. Reports mailed the day before the due date are considered sufficient, but that's no satisfaction to those who want to see who is funding a campaign. The election is just days away.
Ironically, Zrinski claims to be the anti-corruption candidate. If she were really interested in being transparent, that report would have been filed so people could actually see it.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Tara Zrinski, who is running for State Representative, has been tagged by the Department of State for her failure to file her pre-election campaign finance report. This is a betrayal of the voters she wants to represent.
Ironically, on her personal Facebook page, she claims her race is "barreling down the finish line to November 3rd with a clear message of anti-corruption." If she fails to let the people know who is funding her, as required by state law, she is herself corrupt.
Early voting has now ended in Pennsylvania. Mail-in Ballots (MIBs), however, are still being returned. As of yesterday, here's how things stand.
Nationwide: Over 71 million of 91 million ballots requested have been returned. This is 51.6% of the total number of votes cast in 2016.
Statewide: So far, 1,850,400 of 3,058,418 requested ballots have been returned. This is 30.2% of the total turnout in 2016. Democrats account for 68.9% of the votes.
Northampton County: So far, 58,408 of 81,893 requested ballots have been returned. This is 40% of the total 2016 turnout.
Lehigh County: So far, 41,294 of 87,641 requested ballots have been returned. This is 26% of the total 2016 turnout.
Updated 3:15 PM: A statement just released by NorCo claims it has approved 84,913 applications, about 3,000 more than reported by Elections Project.
2) Northampton County Government Center (669 Washington St, Easton, Pa. 18042) rotunda from 8:30 am until 8 pm, Monday thru Friday, and on Saturdays from 8 am until noon.
3) Northampton County's Human Services Building (2801 Emrick Blvd, Bethlehem, Pa. 18020) from 8:30 am until 7 pm, Monday through Friday.
4) Northampton County's 911 Center (100 Gracedale Avenue, Nazareth Pa 18064), from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
These locations correspond with the four county districts. Free parking is available at all four locations. Each drop box is monitored by surveillance cameras and will be emptied daily by Deputy Sheriffs who will be sworn in and will also complete daily forms to preserve the chain of custody. The ballots are delivered to the Registrar, who will secure them in a locked vault until election day, when canvassing can begin.
o North Whitehall Township Building
o 3256 Levans Road, Coplay, PA 18037
o M-F 7:30AM- 4PM
• District #2
o Upper Macungie Township Building
o 8330 Schantz Road, Breinigsville, PA 18031
o M-F 7:30AM- 4PM
• District #3
o Catasauqua Municipal Building
o 90 Bridge Street, Catasauqua, PA 18032
o M-F 8AM- 4PM
• District #4
o County Government Center
o 17 South 7th Street, Allentown, PA 18101
o 610 782-3194
o 24/7 at the Lehigh County Voter Registration Office
• District #5
o Emmaus Borough Office
o 28 South 4th Street, Emmaus, PA 18049
o M-F 8AM-3PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Today is the last day you can apply for a mail-in ballot (MIB). Your application must be received by elections officials no later than 5 PM. To be on the safe side, you can apply in person at the county elections office or fill out and send an application online with this link.
If you fail to make the cutoff for a MIB or dislike that method, you can vote at your precinct on election day.
As of yesterday, over 87 million voters have requested MIBs nationwide, and 64 million (including 21 million early voters) have been returned. This is already 46.4% of the 2016 turnout.
In Pennsylvania, over 3 million ballots have been requested, with 1.7 million returned. Nearly 70% of the ballots returned are from Democrats.
In Lehigh County, 36,567 of 86,160 requested ballots have been returned. In NorCo, 54,784 of 81,306 requested ballots have been returned.
Lehigh has rejected none of these ballots. NorCo has rejected just two. Statewide, 311 ballots have been rejected. Presumably, these rejections are the result of a voter's failure to properly endorse a voter's declaration. Counties have been directed to reject all naked ballots (ballots that the voter places inside a secrecy envelope), but are unable to make that determination until the envelopes are opened on election day.
Tara Zrinski is a NorCo Council member who would like a State Representative in a fairly conservative district. If she were able to come across as level headed and motivated by common sense, she might succeed. She's acting instead like a lunatic. I've seen numerous angry flashes from her time on Council, especially when reminded she needs to use her mike. But even I was unprepared for this unhinged display outside the Bethlehem Post Office in August.
Below is my translation of her rant as she paced back and forth armed with a bullhorn, a Zrinski T-Shirt, jean shorts and a mass of dangling keys.
Monday, October 26, 2020
Here's what his application for tickets warns:
"By registering for this event, you understand and expressly acknowledge that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; the Republican National Committee; the host venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers from any and all liability under any theory, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any illness or injury."
Coronavirus deaths in the US, as of today, are now at 225,000.
7:50 PM Update: Hanover Tp and Colonial Regional Police ask you to "[p]lease avoid the area as there will be a heavy police presence with periodic road closures along the Schoenersville and Airport Road corridors." There will be delaysd between 8 am and 2 pm. Executive Lamont McClure asks yo to wear a mask. "Our numbers are on the rise, and we don't need a superspreader event right now."
8:10 PM Update: Register to attend here and save two Republican lives. I got two tickets.
11:15 AM Update: Am covering this event from the safety of C-SPAN. The crowd is not observing CDC guidelines concerning social distance and, for the most part, is unmasked as Macho Man is playing in the background. President has arrived. and I now notice masks near him.
11:25 AM: "Thank you very much, Allentown." Still referring to Biden as "Sleepy Joe," Trump immediately attacks Biden's energy plan as a "death sentence" for Pa, arguing that Biden wants to shut down the country.
11:28 AM: Trump claims that Gov. Tom Wolf tried to "shut us out," and complains the press won't cover "Biden scandal," as crowd shouts, "Lock him up!" "[Y]our governor made it almost impossible for us to find any site” ... “And I’ll remember it, Tom. I’m going to remember it, Tom. ‘Hello, Mr. President, this is Gov. Wolf, I need help, I need help.’ You know what? These people are bad.”
11:34 AM: Trump begins reciting poll results showing he is actually ahead in the polls. He claims Rasmussen puts him ahead nationally, but you won't hear this from the news outlets because they are "fake" and "corrupt."
11:35 AM: "We're watching you Governor, very closely."
11:42 AM: He begins playing clips of Biden praising a "rising China" as well as tapes of Biden saying, "no more fracking" and Harris saying "no more fracking on public land."
11:49 AM: He will protect the Second Amendment and guard our borders as crowd chants, "Build that wall!" He claims he built 400 miles. "Walls and wheels will never be obsolete. Promises to bring record job prosperity and "safe" vaccines. "Normal life, that's what we want."
11:54 AM: He mocks Harris laugh, asking "Is there something wrong with her?". Repeatedly refers to Biden as "Sleepy Joe."
11:56 AM: "We win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing!"
11:57 AM: "A choice between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown."
11:59 AM: Complains a judge has refused to allow poll watchers, which is false.
12:03 PM: "The only thing you can do in Pa. is protest. You can't go to church. ... But if you want to protest and burn the hell out of your city ... ."
12:06 PM: Claims there will be 100 million vaccines by year end, with priority to seniors.
12:11 PM: "I am saving the suburbs." He says suburban woman don't want "projects" next to them.
12:15 PM: "Joe Biden, as you know is a corrupt politician." Notes son Hunter was getting $183k per month, got $3.5 million from the wife of Moscow's Mayor, $1.5 million from China and was shooting for another $10 million. - (The only one of these allegations that is proven is that Hunter Biden was getting paid $183k per month to work at an energy company despite having no qualifications.)
12:21 PM: Gives a shout out to congressional candidate Lisa Scheller and the "incredible Truckers for Trump."
12:31 PM: Reading off teleprompter, with occasional asides, as he attempts to wrap things up. Crowd chanting, "God bless Trump!"
12:35 PM: Predicts a "great red wave," noting the size of his rallies. "There's never been that before." Refers to Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama." Calls press "the enemy of the people."
Finishes at 12:40 with goofy YMCA dance,
|Administrator Charles Dertinger,|
with his ubiquitous bowtie
On Friday, Northampton County dedicated its first ever forensic center. At a price tag of $11 million, it was finished on time and under budget notwithstanding the pandemic. This is thanks to Administrator Charles Dertinger, who was a construction manager in the private sector. This might be another first for NorCo. Dertinger said the County only lost five days as a result of Governor Tom Wolf's construction shutdown.
The ribbon cutting took place at a brief ceremony attended by numerous county officials, including President Judge Michael J Koury, Jr,, and Judges Stephen Baratta and Abe Kassis. Upper Nazareth Township Supervisors were also present. Coroner Zach Lysek, who has lobbied for a forensic center for decades, was thrilled by the new facility.
For many years, Lysek operated out of a cramped office at Louise Moore Park, The new facility, located next to the 911 Center, includes the following features:* Family reception and private meeting rooms.
* Two autopsy rooms with a viewing area for law enforcement and medical school students.
* Digital forensic lab.
* Offices for Coroner's staff.
* Five-bay garage with receiving and storage area.
* Solar panels.
* Capacity for future expansion.
* Secure lockers to preserve chain of custody for evidence and personal effects.
Following speeches and the obligatory ribbon cutting, the doors were thrown open for a tour.
Having listened to Lysek explain a few times just what he and his staff do, I was a bit hesitant to walk in there. Lysek kept giving me a knowing smile, which made me wonder whether I'd be walking out. To make matters worse, I tripped on a step in the viewing room and went down as hard as an Eagles running back. After that, a forensic pathologist began following me.
Someone suggested I lie down on the table you see above, but I passed.
For reasons that elude me, numerous people insisted on photographing me next to this sign. (Yes, I still cut my own hair.)
This is not just a storage room, but it's refrigerated as well.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
From Politico: "Much of the blame is being directed at [Brad] Parscale, who was ousted as campaign manager in July amid mounting questions over his stewardship of the reelection effort. Campaign aides say Parscale miscalculated by raising questions about Biden’s mental acuity, which hurt the president among seniors."
Blogger's Note: The latest Muhlenberg College poll shows Biden with a 59-39 edge among Pennsylvanians aged 65 or more.
From Northampton County: As of October 20th, the Northampton County Elections Office has approved 79,161 mail-in ballot applications for the General Election on November 3rd. Staff have mailed 78,424 ballots out to applicants and have already received 47,323 ballots back.
Friday, October 23, 2020
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. is coming to Northampton County to cover the Presidential election. They'll be at this Sunday's Trump flag rally and are interested in what voters on both sides think. They are particularly interested in what first time voters think, as well as those who have changed their minds from the way they voted in 2016.
If either of these situations apply to you, please give Chloe Ross a call (202-329-7085) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
President Donald Trump and former VP Joe Biden both delivered strong performances at last night's final debate, at Belmont University, in advance of the November 3 election. Trump was much more disciplined. Biden finally seemed relaxed enough to avoid stumbling over talking points and use his own words. Both candidates delivered effective blows. My guess is that most of you will give the win to whomever you supported. I'd give the win to Kristen Welker, who did an excellent job as moderator. I'd also say it was a win for America. We came away informed.
At the first debate between President Donald Trump and VP Joe Biden, Trump's family refused to wear masks. Melania came in wearing one, but took it if as soon as she was seated. She and other Trumps refused masks when offered. It was a lot different at last night's final debate, in which guests were told masks were mandatory. Refusal to keep a mask on would mean the person would be ejected. So last night, the entire audience was finally masked, as it should have been the first time.
Trump was over-reaching on the supposed corruption. Biden was pretty clear when he said that "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life." Moreover, Biden was speaking to the American people while Trump just addressed his base.
"This guy is a dog whistle as big as a fog horn," Biden said of Trump's antics.
I thought Trump showed no empathy when speaking of the pandemic, but Biden also blundered when he said he wants to phase out fossil fuels in a few short years.
Biden has been portrayed as someone in the throes of dementia, but he was sharp and responsive. He occasionally stumbled over words, not because of mental deficiency, but because he has a stutter.
Trump was effective in pointing out that Biden has had 47 years to do the things he's wanted to do. He was idiotic when he likened himself to Abraham Lincoln.
Both candidates appeared mostly Presidential.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Northampton County's final voter registration statistics in advance of the upcoming Presidential election are as follows:
Total: 227,315, compared to 211,593 in 2016.
Democrats: 102,436, compared to 98,929 in 2016.
Republicans: 81,345, compared to 73,638 in 2016.
Other: 43,534, compared to 39,026 in 2016
Not all that long ago, Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski was sentenced to 15 years in prison as the ringleader in a political corruption case that included bid rigging for just about everything. You'd think that would be a broadside to local officials throughout the state, to say nothing of the Lehigh Valley. You'd think wrong. Believe it or not, it may still continue. And in Emmaus of all places, just a stone's throw from Allentown. Not only that, but with one of the principals who was tarnished in the Fed Ed case and who should know better. A lot better. Let me lay out the details. You can decide.
Back in 2015, Emmaus Borough voted to purchase the Rodale building and two nearby properties for $2.95 million. For reasons I've yet to discern, they wanted to move police, borough hall, fire department and ambulance corps away from the downtown. Advising them on this deal was the Spillman Farmer architectural firm. They advised borough council that renovations would cost between $2.5 and $3.4 million, depending on whether the work was done in-house or contracted out. Spillman's estimate was a tad off. When the quote came back at $11 million, Emmaus got cold feet on the relocation.
Instead of centralizing, Emmaus instead decided to renovate the three buildings housing its Borough Hall (28 S 4th St), Police Station (400 Jubilee St) and Fire and Ambulance Station (100 N 6th St).Though you won't see it on its borough webpage, it recently issued a Request for Proposals and Qualifications (RFPQ) for an architectural firm. This was advertised in the East Penn Press, a weekly publication with under 5,000 subscribers. It appears in no daily publication of general circulation.
Under Pennsylvania's Borough Code, it appears there's no need to bid a contract for professional services. But even when no RFP or RFPQ is legally required, if you decide to issue one, it has to be fair. If you rig it in favor of one bidder, you are defrauding other bidders who spent considerable time and money in making a bid. And here's the problem. It appears that the Emmaus RFPQ was rigged to favor Spillman.
Spillman, you may recall, is the very same outfit identified as a participant in a corrupt deal for a new pool at Cedar Beach. The court found there was a quid pro quo that Spillman would get the pool contract in exchange for a $2,700 contribution. Spillman later reneged on the contribution, but Fed Ed in the meantime had "baked the cake."
That cake was the RFPQ. Fed Ed instructed city officials to make sure it went to Spillman.
There are several red flags concerning Emmaus' RFPQ.
First, it was advertised in a publication that would never be noticed by most potential bidders.
Second, it is seeking bids only from entities that have done three police stations, three fire departments and four municipal building projects within the past five years. That seems designed to exclude participants.
Third, it wants each bidder to submit its "SFA Hourly Rate Schedule." SFA is Spillman Farmer Architects. It's pretty obvious that Spillman prepared this RFPQ for Emmaus, and would be the only firm on earth to have an SFA Hourly Rate Schedule.
Fourth, Emmaus' Borough Manager ducked me when I called to say I had questions about this RFPQ,
In Fed Ed's case, he wanted campaign contributions. But there could be other incentives. It does not always have to be cash in a brown paper bag. It could be Flyers tickets, nice meals, a vacation.
Emmaus has received bids from just three architectural firms, and one of them just happens to be Spillman Farmer. Borough Council will announce its decision on November 16.
Blogger's Note: I heard from the Emmaus Borough Manager and will update this story on Moday. He tells me the SFA is a reference to a Standard Form Agreement. After some discussion, I agree that I should supplement this story and will do so Monday. (6:55 pm)
She published an ad falsely claiming that she's been endorsed by the Hanover Tp Board of Supervisors. First, it would be illegal for any governing authority to endorse anyone for public office. Second, the Board has endorsed neither Zrinski nor her opponent, Ann Flood. Third, I am relatively certain that Hanover's three Republican supervisors would rather catch the 'rona.
Zrinski's dishonesty is no surprise.On her Facebook page, Zrinski stated "white males can get away with anything, shrouded by privileged [sic] and protected by the entourage of patriarchy, the ultimate fraternity."
She scrubbed that copmment when I drew attention to it.
I'd like her to explain how the patriarchy allowed her, a female, to get away with perjury.
When she was in the middle of a custody dispute with her ex, she and her then boyfriend (I assume he was a white male) went on a mini-vacation to New England, and brought her two boys with her. She put them in a separate room so she could have some alone time with her beau. But she lied to the court, telling the judge that the rooms were really a suite with connecting doors.
When Judge Emil Giordano discovered her lie, he sanctioned her $2,750 for her "perjury." (See NorCo Docket 2007-9468, Court Order dated 12/16/08, Paragraph 14).
She holds herself out as an activist Democrat. The truth is she had no interest in local government until she decided to run for office herself.
Between 2000 and 2008, she was listed as an Independent, and only voted in one municipal race in 2003. In 2008, she became a Democrat, but skipped voting completely in the municipal races of 2009, 2011 and 2013. When John Brown was elected Executive, she failed to vote at all. When Gracedale was on the chopping block, she cast no vote."
While Hanover Tp Supervisors Jeff Warren and Susan Lawless have every right to support endorse Zrinski, I very much doubt they were too happy to see their endorsement twisted as representing the entire board. That might explain why Zrinski's ad was later changed. But how many people were subjected to her lies?
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Monday was the last day you could register to vote in the upcoming November 3 election. According to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, 56,000 people submitted online applications on this final day.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
As I made my way into the Northampton County courthouse one day last week, I saw Sandy Werner, clad in Biden-Harris regalia, sitting outside.
"You're not approaching voters, are you?" I asked her.
"Bernie, I know better. I don't want to ruin this," was her reply.
While I believe passive electioneering like Sandy was doing is constitutionally protected, no one should interact in any way with a voter who is in the process of dropping off his or her ballot. It is illegal to assist a voter unless that voter indicates on his or her declaration that assistance was requested. That mist be signed both by the voter and the person rendering assistance.
According to tea party member Joe Barna, a Biden supporter at the Emmaus Drop-box is approaching voters and asking if they need help making sure the ballot is filled out correctly. This is not electioneering but is interfering with the right of suffrage.
Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure reports that yesterday, the county's elections office was deluged with 2,000 last-minute voter registrations. He has no knowledge how they break down along party lines, but this is yet another indication that the November 3 Presidential will be a turnout, and not a persuasion, election.
As of October 19, based on records maintained by the Department of State, there are now 9,016,163 registered voters in the Commonwealth, consisting of 4,207,190 Democrats (46.66%), 3,506,337 Republicans (38.88%) and 1,302,636 others (14.44%).
In the last Presidential race, there were 8,748,726 registered voters, consisting of 4,125,889 Democrats (47.15%), 3,376,463 Republicans (38.59%) and 1,246,374 (14.25%) others.
It's still a Democrat plurality state, and Dems have increased their numbers, but Republicans have added more to their ranks.
In 2016 in Lehigh County, there were 109,353 Democrats, 78,062 Republicans and 37,293 others, for a grand total of 224,708 voters. Now there are 247,261 registered voters, consisting of 118,488 Democrats, 84,668 Republicans and 44,105 others. Lehigh Democrats have bucked the statewide trend, capturing 40.5% of the increase in voters to the Republicans' 29.3%. Lehigh County is becoming bluer.
Northampton County, however, is becoming redder. In 2016, there were 98,929 Democrats, 73,638 Republicans and 39,026 others for a grand total of 211,593 registered voters. After four years of Donald Trump, there are now 225,649 registered voters, made up of 101,981 Democrats, 80,642 Republicans and 43,075 others. Republicans account for 49.7% of the increase in registration, while Democrats have only attracted 21.6%.
Unless Democratic turnout is huge, Trump will win Northampton County again.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Hokie Joe: Hey Barney, where are they giving tests for Covid-19? Supposedly a rash is a symptom. I've had a rash the past few weeks. It itches like hell and isn't goiong away. It isn't venereal warts or even in that area. It's on my damn elbow. No other symptoms. Do you know where they are giving the test?
Yes, Coordinated Health at 3100 Emrick Blvd. Opens at 10 am Monday. It's by the Outback. I have a rash on my elbow myself, but in my case, it is a STD.
Hokie Joe: Thanks. I'll keep you posted.
Hokie Joe: Wait, Who the hell were you with that you have venereal warts on your elbow? And how do you get them there?
I watch a lot of porn.
Hokie Joe: JUST IN CASE, do they have any Herpes cream ... just in case.
You'll have to ask Deputy Kunkel tomorrow when he gives you your test. Make sure that swab goes in your nose and not up your ass.
Last week, I told you that 15 million people have already voted and that 2.66 million Pennsylvanians are seeking mail-in ballots (MIBs). My source is the U.S. Elections Project, which is doing a daily track of the voting. In the span of just a few days, that number has nearly doubled. As coronavirus spikes, so do the votes. As of October 18, 27.7 million ballots have been returned. Nearly 82 million MIBs have been requested.
In Pennsylvania, data is current through October 16. So far, 2,728,267 voters are seeking MIBs. Democrats have requested 1,755,939 (64.4%), while Republicans only account for 672,381 (24.6%) applications. According to this news source, 25% of the requested ballots have already been returned. A total of 683,136 Pennsylvanians have already voted.
In what has to be good news for Democrats, 371,709 MIBs have been requested in Philly, with 41.9% of them already returned. Voters appear to be motivated in that Democratic stronghold,. notwithstanding weaknesses within the city party.
In Allegheny (Pittsburgh), the news is even better. There have been 375,135 MIB requests, and 50.6% have been returned.
In Lehigh County, 77,961 MIBs have been requested, with only 6.5% returned. This is because Lehigh only started sending ballots out a week ago.
In adjoining Northampton County, 74,483 MIBs have been requested, and 48.5% have come back.
This is a turnout election, not a persuasion election. Most people have made up their minds. Only 16 states report party registration data, so it is impossible to know for sure whether Democrats or Republicans are voting by mail. Among the 16 states that do report party data, Democrats have a 2-1 edge.
On election day, I expect to see a role reversal, with Republicans dominating at the precincts. This will undoubtedly give Trump an early lead in some areas, but I expect to see that reversed as MIBs are counted.
Based on what I see with the early voting, it appears likely now that Trump will be defeated. He's burned too many bridges and has pissed off too many voters.
If you want your voice heard in the Presidential election on November 3, today is the last day you can register to vote here in Pa. I've had this date posted on my left sidebar since the primary, but thought I'd give you one last reminder. I realize most people who read this blog are registered, but you may have family or friends who like to wait until the last minute. Now would be a good time to remind them that this is the last minute.
Voters must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old and must have resided within the state and the election district for 30 days prior to the election.
College students can use their campus or home address, but may only be registered at one place at one time.
In what has to be good news for procrastinators like myself, you can register online.
Friday, October 16, 2020
This poster first appeared at the courthouse on Wednesday, just down the hall from where people are early voting. It is close to the cafeteria, and would be routinely passed by jurors, defendants and police officers.
When reminded that the Home Rule Charter requires County Council to accept all gifts, Executive Lamont McClure removed the poster. He also indicated that the poster will not be remounted near any jurors until and unless the officer accused of killing him is convicted.
Council member Kerry Myers and Dean Young both indicated the poster is a starting point for uncomfortable conversations, but jurors are already having uncomfortable conversations. The poster would destroy the presumption of innocence to which all defendants, even police officers, are entitled.
In other business, Executive McClure announced that the forensic center is finished. Administrator Charles Dertinger had indicated construction would be completed in the Fall. The facility was not only completed on time, but without the change orders that ordinarily accompany government projects. The building will be dedicated October 23 at 2 pm.
The county coffers appear to be doing well. The County has received a $1.7 million payment from the state as partial reimbursement for its voting machine purchase. The state is expected to reimburse the County 60% of the cost of a new system.
In addition, the County received another $250,000 of the maximum $2 million that Charlie Chrin agreed to pay for sales from the Chrin TIF in Palmer Tp. Former Council member Ron Angle negotiated this deal. Executive McClure indicated the County has received $738,000 thus far, and predicts the County will get close to the $2 million.
St. Luke's has recently purchased the for-profit Easton Hospital, and is exempt from real estate taxes. But it has agreed to pay the County $289,000 in lieu of taxes over the next two years.
Finally, the county is accepting a 77-acre tract from the Heindel family in Williams Tp. This is the site of the Hexenkopf Rock, where witches' covens, pow wow medicine and glowing rocks are said to mysteriously appear. It is the largest granite outcropping in Northampton County "The place is full of auras, and you'll love it," said Linda Heindel.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
According to the U.S. Elections Project, 15 million people have voted so far in this year's Presidential contest.
In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, 2,664,882 voters have requested mail-in ballots. Democrats are choosing this option, having submitted 1,722,692 of these applications. There are 4,168,900 registered Democrats statewide as of October 7, so that's a whopping 41.3% who are voting by mail or by early voting at the courthouse. Of Pennsylvania's 3,451,514 Republicans, 652,516 (18.9%) have requested MIBs.
In Northampton County, there have been 72,570 MIB requests thus far, with 29,923 returned. Lehigh County has received 76,542 applications, and 1,408 have been returned.
|Mezzacappa mug shot |
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
All Democrats are doing by raging against the nomination of Amy Barrett is demonstrating their own partisanship and making their calls for unity a lie. Barrett is certainly a strict constructionist, but is also considered "well qualified" by the ABA. Of course it's "unfair" that she is going to be confirmed prior to the election, but that's politics. It's an ugly game.
As for packing the court as a response, I would expand the court only if the Supreme Court felt it was necessary.
My only caveat would be that she recuse herself from any case involving the Presidential election.
The information below is on my left sidebar, but I am listing it here for those of you who use a smartphone to read this blog. It's pretty much everything you need to know.
10/19/20 - Last Day to Register*Must be citizen, 18 and Pa. resident for 30 days before election.
* Can register online here.
* Must be received in County office by 5 pm 10/27/20.
From Allentown City: Allentown firefighter Jonathon Hammel is being honored as the 2020 Allentown Fire Fighter of the Year. He was recognized this morning at the Allentown Fire Department’s annual memorial and awards service at Mack South Fire Station.
Hammel joined the Allentown Fire Department in 2010 after having served eight years with Allentown EMS.
According to Allentown Fire Chief Jim Wehr, Hammel has excelled as a member of the Technical Rescue Team. “When he took over as the training officer for the Technical Rescue team, he made vast improvements to the team’s monthly training events and led the efforts to get all team members certified at the Pro board level in rope rescue. He has taken upon himself to conduct numerous training evolutions for the members of his platoon ensuring that they have the latest knowledge in using and implementing new equipment and techniques. Firefighter Hammel has proven himself as an effective advisor on technical rescue events to assure the best possible outcome.”
The Alfred W. Fischl Fire Service Award was presented to Firefighter Philip Lathrop for his consistent and dedicated work ethic throughout his career. This award is presented to a fire department individual who has served at least 20 years and has exemplified himself with consistent and dedicated work habits.
Lathrop began his career in 1997 as a reserve on the 1st platoon. He served as a battalion chief driver and pipeman of trucks 1&2. He has been a member of the Scott and the Technical Rescue teams, where his mechanical knowledge is a great asset. Lathrop willingly assists with training new firefighters about the city, apparatus, tools and even Fire Dept history and tradition.
During Fire Prevention Week, the department recognizes firefighters for their actions over the past 12 months. In addition to Firefighter of the Year and the Alfred W. Fischl Award; Certificates of Heroism, Bravery and Merit, a Chief’s Award, Years of Service awards and Unit Citations are presented.
Mayor Ray O’Connell told those in attendance, “Without hesitation, you put on your gear and enter burning buildings to protect lives and property. Everyone else is running out! You are running in! We are fortunate to have tremendously well-trained, talented and dedicated firefighters here in Allentown.”
The Chief’s Award, which goes to individuals who go above and beyond in fostering the department’s image through activities and events they attend and facilitate outside their normal working hours, was presented to Lieutenant Robert Xander.
Lieutenant Xander has been an integral part of the success of the Fire House Friday program with ensuring that the paperwork and snacks are ready for the community children that visit the fire station after school on Fridays. In addition, he has donated his time at the Syrian Arab American Cultural Association of Allentown often serving as the point of contact helping organize manpower to pack and distribute food boxes to families in Allentown.
A 35-year service award was presented to Fire Marshal Michael Taylor. A 30-year service award was presented to Firefighter James F Wescoe Jr. Twenty-five-year service awards were presented to Assistant Chief Michael Barron, battalion chiefs Philip Atiyeh and Jeffrey Hess, Fire Marshal Michael Zellin, and firefighters Robert Brett and Christopher Mokris. Twenty-year service awards were bestowed upon Captain Sean O’Neill, Lieutenant Michael Smith, and firefighters Leroy R Bachert Jr and Jody Mongilutz.
Seven firefighters, lieutenants Paul Heckenberger III and Mark Trumbore and firefighters Jeremy Bellois, Theodore Dale, Kevin Jefferson, Adam Perreault and Daniel Werkheiser were cited for heroism for their role in February 2020 fire at 19 Sycamore Street.
Firefighters arrived to find the structure fully involved. There were electrical wires down with heavy fire impinging multiple electric lines. The closest fire hydrant was directly in from of the fire building and flames had to be forced back for access to the hydrant. Holes on the second floor made movement very difficult.
Unit Citations were awarded to the seven, plus Assistant Chief Matthew Eharth; battalion chiefs Hess and William Held; captains John Christopher, Mark Kresge Sr and Bryce Thompsen; lieutenants Jack E Bryant Jr, Christopher Groller, Charles Haydt Jr, William Henry II, Peter Lenig, Jaime Miranda, Keith Pierce and Jeremy Warmkessel; fire marshals Taylor, Zellin and Jeffrey Tomczak; and firefighters Mokris, Mongilutz, Andrew Bausher, Steven Costa, Austin Deutsch, Andrew Drake, William Gauntner, Nicholas Koedyker, Michael Kostick, Michael Matchette, Michael Milkovitz, Jonathon Steed, Jason Tatum, Paul Taus and Samuel Vassallo.
Lieutenants Warmkessel and Vincent Kidd and firefighter Ronald W Conway Jr, Thomas King, Zachary Shepard and Todd Weisel were recognized for bravery and given unit citations in a July 2020 deadly three alarm fire in the 700 block of N. Fair Street. The firefighters worked bravely on different floors to reach two victims from the fire, but tragically neither survived.
Shepard was also awarded a merit citation.
Unit citations were also bestowed upon assistant chiefs Barron and Eharth; battalion chiefs Atiyeh and Hess; captains O’Neill and Thompsen; lieutenants Groller, Haydt Jr, Heckenberger III, Henry II, Pierce, David Arner and James W Saylor Jr; fire marshals Taylor and Tomczak; and firefighters Bachert Jr, Dale, Gauntner, Milkovitz, Mokris, Smith, Tatum, Wescoe Jr, Wadih Atiyeh, Trevor Beers, Sean Boland, Timothy Bruce, John Burkhart, Jake Bykerk, Ryder Clemmo, Henry Cochran, Paul Dannecker, Matthew Dunfee, Steven Foulke, Joseph Kemmerer, Chad Krause, Tyler Mastria, Christopher McAbee, James McGuire, Robert Petrusky, Anthony Rosanio, Eric Sommers, Brandon Wentz, Michael Wilbert and Christopher Williams.
Seventeen-year-old Amari Thornton, who suffered burns in the fire, rescued two of his younger sisters from the burning home and jumped from a second-floor window breaking both of his legs. He has been honored with a Civilian Certificate of Commendation and a Civilian Meritorious Award.
Firefighters Shepard and Weisel were awarded certificates of heroism and unit citations for a July 30 three alarm fire in the 900 block of Washington Street. The fire displaced more than 40 persons. Three homes were damaged in the fire and three more sustained smoke and water damage.
Assistant chiefs Barron and Eharth; battalion chiefs Atiyeh, Hess and Christian Williams; Captain O’Neill; lieutenants Arner, Bryant Jr, Heckenberger III, Henry II, Craig A McGinnis, Michael Pychinka III and William W Warren Jr; fire marshals Taylor and Michael Achey; and firefighters Atiyeh, Beers, Bruce, Burkhart, Conway Jr, Costa, Dale, Dannecker, Drake, Jefferson, King, Koedyker, Kostick, Mokris, Smith, Sommers, Tatum, Williams, Kevin Hodgskin, Jason Janis, Chad Long, Steven Munsch, Nicholas Murray and Roger Scheirer received unit citations.
Firefighters Steed and Chad Ege were awarded certificates of heroism and unit citations for their rescue of an occupant of a second-floor bedroom from a fire at 219 N Cloud Street last February.
Unit citations were award to Captain Kevin Baer, lieutenants Groller, Pierce and Pychinka III; Fire Marshal Tomczak; and firefighters Costa, Drake, Scheirer, Michael Evans, Dustin Grow, Nathan Krajcirik, Arthur Scott, James Soccodato and Dennis Walton.
Thirty-four firefighters received a unit citation for battling an October 2019 fire that destroyed ten row homes in the 700 block of Fountain Street. They are: Retired Assistant Chief Christopher Kiskeravage; battalion chiefs Atiyeh and Held; captains Baer, Kresge Sr and Thompsen; lieutenants Groller, Lenig, McGinnis, Trumbore, Warmkessel, Christopher Gerencher and Theodore Maguire, fire marshal Taylor and firefighters Backert Jr, Bellois, Beers, Conway Jr, Ege, Jefferson, Krause, Matchette, Mokris, Munsch, Perreault, Scheirer, Soccodato, Tatum, Rodney Bolton, Kevin Cannon, Robert Dobrick, David Fuica, Brennen Harding and Jeremy Nyemscek.
Forty-two firefighters were awarded unit citations for their attack on the June 2020 three alarm fire at Sacred Heart School. They are: assistant chiefs Barron and Eharth; battalion chiefs Atiyeh and Hess; captains Kresge Sr and Thompsen; lieutenants Bryant Jr, Gerencher, Groller, Haydt Jr, Heckenberger III, Henry II, Kidd, Lenig, Pierce, Saylor Jr and Jason Custer; fire marshals Achey and Zellin; and firefighters Bausher, Bellois, Bolton, Brett, Dannecker, Deutsch, Dunfee, Foulke, Gauntner, Hammel, Hodgskin, Jefferson, Kemmerer, Milkovitz, Mokris, Munsch, Perreault, Soccodato, Tatum, Werkheiser, Williams, Adam Arndt and Mark Kennedy.
Forty-five members of the department were awarded unit citations for a September 2020 blaze that damaged three out of four homes in a row in the 400 block of Harrison Street. In all, firefighters spent seven hours on the scene to contain and extinguish the blaze. Unit citations went to assistant chiefs Barron and Eharth; battalion chiefs Atiyeh, Held and Williams; captains O’Neill and Thompsen; lieutenants Groller, Heckenberger III, Henry II, Kidd, Lenig; McGinnis, Pierce, Warren Jr and Jonas Gostonyi; fire marshals Achey and Taylor; and firefighters Beers, Bellois, Bruce, Clemmo, Cochran, Conway Jr, Costa, Deutsch, Dunfee, Hammel, Kemmerer, Kostick, Lathrop, Mastria, Matchette, Mokris, Shepard, Tatum, Vassallo, Wentz, James Alpha, Christopher Dutko, Devin Grow, Todd Heffner, Peter McAllister, Aaron Pychinka and Joseph Zimmerman Jr.
The department presented 23 certificates of appreciation to members of other fire departments for their assistance at the Harrison Street fire.
Members of the department’s Bomb Squad; Assistant Chief Eharth and firefighters Beers, Ege, McAllister and Lloyd W Evans II received certificates of merit for assisting with an investigation following a deadly fireworks explosion in Lower Milford Township, Lehigh County.
The department also recognized citizens for helping-out the department in emergencies.
Nine-year-old Gabriel Eduardo Rodriguez was awarded a Civilian Certificate of Appreciation for calling 911 for a family member with a medical episode. Gabriel gave detailed information to the 911 operator and assisted AFD in locating the fall victim. He also took care of two other children in the home while AEMS and AFD assisted the patient.
Michael R Humes Jr received a certificate for assisting the department during a motor vehicle accident at 19th & Allen streets. Henry Wilt was recognized for extinguishing a microwave fire at Phoebe Home and Erik Monk and Roger Haas were honored for assisting in putting out a fire in the 1500 block of Sage Street both prior to the department’s arrival.
The department awarded certificates of merit to Lieutenant Pierce for acquiring PPE supplies during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and to Firefighter Matchette for his dedication and advancement of the Haz-Mat Team.
The following members of the department received Good Samaritan Awards for their selfless work at Syrian Arab American Charity Association during Covid-19: lieutenants Custer, Groller, Heckenberger III, Pierce and Xander; and firefighters Bachert Jr, Bruce, Gauntner, Hammel, Tatum and Peter Zondlo.
Appreciation was also extended to those people and organizations who graciously donated hand sanitizer and PPE to the department, including Eight Oaks Distillery, War Dogs Distillery, Whitehall Pharmacy, Valley Discount Pharmacy, the Labor Council, Home Depot, Mallory Henry and Mask Force Sewing Committee.
Wegman’s, Weis Market, Coca-Cola, Josh Early Candies, King & Spry LLC, Front Line Appreciation Group, Retreat Behavioral Health and Suzann Young and Glenn Henritzy donated food, water and other beverages to the department.
The department also credited Horwith Quarry, where the dive unit trains; Edward Costa, who created an AFD photo collage; and the Syrian Arab American Charity Association for its assistance to the department and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.