Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Panyard runs for governor - York Daily Record

Panyard runs for governor - York Daily Record: "Panyard runs for governor
The Republican said he was motivated by the recent legislative pay raise.
Harrisburg bureau
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jim Panyard, a midstate resident and former head of a statewide business group, says he will be the fourth Republican to seek the GOP nod for governor next year.
Panyard, 61, former president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association, said he is running as a staunch conservative and to "get rid of business as usual in Harrisburg."

Also eyeing the Republican nomination are former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton, ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann and state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola of Dauphin County. The winner faces Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

Panyard, of Lebanon County, had been planning a governor's run with the Constitution Party, but he said he changed his mind after deciding that the Republican Party is the best place for his message.

"This is a war for what we are as Republicans — are we Democrats light, or do we stand for fiscal responsibility, family virtues and independence?" Panyard said.

The recent legislative pay grab also played a role in his decision.

While he said the state faces deeper problems than the pay hike, it is "what generated a lot of interest in me running against the establishment," Panyard said. And winning the governor's office is the best way to change things, he said.

Political analyst Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College said Panyard has ties to business leaders and other backers of supply-side policies, but he needs to win support in Republican political circles to be a factor in the governor's race.

"He has to demonstrate that he has some support base. Saying you're going to run is one thing, but putting together the machinery, raising the money and delivering the votes is another," Madonna said.

Because Panyard and Piccola come from the midstate and the party's conservative wing, they could end up battling for the same voters and benefit either Scranton or Swann, Madonna said.

Piccola campaign manager Dean Ouellette said they are already doing a good job of courting GOP committee members "and we don't expect that to change."

"It's an open process and anyone is allowed to run. We're looking forward to a healthy debate with all the candidates," Ouellette said.

Swann spokesman Ray Zaborney said they are focused on their own campaign and "at the end of the day we believe this will be a comparison between Lynn's ideas for Pennsylvania and the failures of the past few years of Ed Rendell."

Scranton campaign manager Mike DeVanney issued this written statement in response to questions about Panyard's candidacy: "Bill Scranton looks forward to proving to the voters of this state that he is the right person to change the culture of Harrisburg and lead Pennsylvania's comeback.""

Former Steeler receives warm welcome from area GOP -

Former Steeler receives warm welcome from area GOP - "Subscribe Now || Contact Staff || Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Former Steeler receives warm welcome from area GOP

By Patrick Shuster
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

EAST FRANKLIN — Former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Lynn Swann told more than 100 supporters that he’s on the path to possibly becoming the next governor of Pennsylvania.
Swann, a conservative, said he’s touring the state, meeting with people and listening to questions and issues, in an attempt to gather information needed to announce his campaign for the state’s top spot in 2006.

“I’m hearing that the people are not happy with the current leadership in areas such as education, tax reform and job creation,” Swann said. “It seems as if the government and the people are not on the same page.”

Swann used the analogy of a four-time Super Bowl championship football team to illustrate his vision of what the governor and government should be.

“You have people from all walks of life,” he said, “big cities and small towns, different religions, all working together toward a common goal.”

“You must respect one another’s differences and develop good, long-term goals that benefit the entire state, not just specific areas and individuals,” he said. “That is how you win Super Bowls and that is how to change and move the state forward.”

Swann said he made no decision on whether or not he will seek a place on the May primary ballot, but said he will continue to gather support as he travels around the state.

Last night’s event, sponsored by the county Republican committee, was the second of three events in which GOP candidates had the opportunity to speak to county residents.

County Chairwoman Velma Simmers said the committee heard from former Lt. Governor Bill Scranton at a picnic last month and will hear from state Senator Jeff Piccola of Dauphin County in October.

“The party wants everyone to have a chance to meet the candidates and get to know them and what they stand for before we decided who we should nominate,” she said. “Sometimes you think you know a candidate, but once you meet them, you feel differently.”

Patrick Shuster can be reached at or 724-543-1303 Ext. 237."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

CBS 3: Casey: Santorum Should Vote Against Base Plan

CBS 3: Casey: Santorum Should Vote Against Base Plan: "Casey: Santorum Should Vote Against Base Plan

Interview Conducted By The Associated Press

Aug 30, 2005 9:08 am US/Eastern
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Republican Sen. Rick Santorum should “seriously consider” voting against the entire latest round of base closings, because plans to close the Willow Grove Naval Air Station pose a possible security threat, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Robert P. Casey Jr. said Monday.

In an Associated Press interview in which he also blasted Santorum for placing partisan politics before the state’s interests, Casey said Santorum should weigh the homeland-security implications of closing the air base when the national base-closure commission’s recommendations are sent to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

“There are a lot of factors to weigh, but (Santorum) should seriously consider—and I would, as a U.S. senator, seriously consider—voting against it for that reason,” said Casey, who is Pennsylvania’s state treasurer.

“We’re not just talking about southeastern Pennsylvania and our state,” he said. “We’re talking a national security question as well.”

Santorum, who is the third-ranking Senate GOP leader, said he has supported past base-closing recommendations because he was convinced they were in the nation’s best interest and would judge the latest proposals in the same light.
“I’ve got to take everything in consideration, not just the impact on Pennsylvania,” the second-term senator said in a telephone interview.

The commission voted Friday to close the air station, a move that the Pentagon estimates will lead to the loss of 1,200 jobs, but decided to save and expand the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station to handle homeland security functions.

The vote on Willow Grove came shortly after a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled the Pentagon lacks the authority to deactivate the 111th Fighter Wing, a Pennsylvania Air National Guard unit at the base.

The commission must turn over its final report to President Bush by Sept. 8. He can accept it, reject it or return it for revisions. Congress will have a chance to veto the plan in its entirety, but it has gone along with four previous rounds of base closings.

Monday’s interview with the AP drew out an apparent contrast in the way Casey and Santorum plan to approach the issue of abortion rights, which both men oppose.

Voters, Casey said, “don’t want their U.S. senator preaching at them, and unfortunately I think Senator Santorum does too much of that.”

Santorum said Casey’s comments reflect his lack of conviction.

“He will not be an advocate on that issue,” Santorum said.

“It’s an important issue for me and my country and I think I have a responsibility to speak on it.”

Casey said he would be willing to support a candidate for the federal bench who supports abortion rights, so long as his or her experience, judicial philosophy and temperament were appropriate for the position.
“I don’t have a litmus test,” he said.

On a related topic, Casey said he opposes federal funding for stem-cell research that destroys human embryos, but that he was encouraged by this month’s announcement by Harvard scientists raising the possibility that embryonic stem cells can someday be used to help create all-purpose stem cells without harming the embryos.

The son of the late governor, the 45-year-old Casey faces two lesser-known opponents in next spring’s Democratic primary—University of the Arts professor Chuck Pennacchio and Philadelphia pension lawyer Alan Sandals—but is widely favored to win.

In the GOP primary, Santorum faces opposition from Philadelphia real-estate broker John Featherman, who was the Libertarian Party’s nominee against Santorum in 2000.

Casey has run in four statewide elections since 1996 and lost one, the 2002 gubernatorial primary.

He accused Santorum of exploiting divisions among Americans over such issues as homosexuality and abortion at a time voters want less partisanship in national politics.

“They want change,” he said. “They’re really sick and tired of what they hear out of Washington—the harsh partisanship they hear every day, especially from the Republican side. And unfortunately Senator Santorum has been a leader in that by being very aggressive and determined, it seems, to divide people and sometime to demonize people.”

Casey treaded carefully on the subject of the war in Iraq, faulting the Bush administration for failing to provide adequate information about the status of U.S. efforts to train Iraqi soldiers and add armor to vehicles that transport American troops. He also criticized Santorum for “not asking the tough questions” of the GOP administration.

Asked whether he would have supported the Iraq invasion, he said, “If what we know now was known then, I don’t think there would have even been a vote, let alone a debate about whether it was the right vote.”

But he stopped short of saying the invasion should not have taken place.

“That’s all past tense,” he said. “What we have to deal with now is the present and the future.”

Casey, who won more votes than any candidate in state history when he was elected treasurer last year, said he would serve the full six-year term if he ultimately is elected to the Senate.

“If I were fortunate enough to win this election, I think I could use a break from running for office,” he said.
Associated Press Writer Kimberly Hefling contributed to this story.

(© 2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )"

Monday, August 29, 2005 NewsFlash - Former state treasurer Hafer won't run for Congress NewsFlash - Former state treasurer Hafer won't run for Congress: "Former state treasurer Hafer won't run for Congress
8/29/2005, 11:26 a.m. ET
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Former state treasurer Barbara Hafer said Monday she has decided not to run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy because she does not want to take time away from her new consulting business.

"It was a matter of trying to go through the analysis of how much I could do for the business, and if I could keep the business going while running," Hafer said in a telephone interview. "The business is too young, and my clients are very important to me."

Hafer's decision marks the second time in recent months that she has rejected the prospect of seeking a congressional seat.

State Democratic Party Chairman T.J. Rooney said he was disappointed that Hafer would not challenge Murphy in 2006, but he expected another strong Democratic candidate to emerge.

"Admittedly, it's a setback, but I certainly believe today that U.S. Rep. Murphy is vulnerable," Rooney said. "I'm confident that we'll find a good, top-shelf candidate who can mount a campaign against him."

Murphy, a former state senator and psychologist, has won his two contests in the 18th Congressional District easily. The district covers parts of Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties and has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Hafer, 61, was an Allegheny County Commissioner before serving two terms each as state auditor general and state treasurer. She lost the 1990 gubernatorial election to Democrat Robert P. Casey in 1990 and switched parties in 2003 after supporting Rendell, a Democrat, for governor.

Hafer considered challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the 2006 election after she left the treasurer's office in January. She dropped out in March when Democratic leaders favored the current state treasurer and Casey's son, Robert P. Casey Jr., to represent the party.

Her firm, Hafer & Associates, advises governments and private companies on how to improve their revenue."

Sayre, PA, Evening Times - Cult Member Bill Scranton Attacks Ed Rendell's Values

Sayre, PA, Evening Times:

Cult Member Bill Scranton Attacks Ed Rendell's Values

"Gubernatorial candidate visits Pickett barbecue

Bill Scranton, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, gestures while speaking during Saturday's fourth annual Tina Pickett Barbecue, held on the Elliot farm in Rome Township. Photo by Warren Howeler
By WARREN HOWELER--Times Asst. Managing Editor
ROME TOWNSHIP -- In addition to the various other government officials and over 100 supporters, the Fourth Annual State Rep. Tina Pickett Barbecue Saturday played host to a special guest -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton.

Scranton visited the barbecue -- which was held at the farm of Tom and Diane Elliott -- as part of his campaign pledge to visit all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

Scranton served as Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1987, and narrowly missed being elected as governor in 1986.

"We have to replace this guy (Ed Rendell) that we have in Harrisburg," Scranton said, which brought cheers to those who attended Saturday's event. "I don't know whose values he follows, but they are not Bradford County's values. I have so many good friends here helping me and supporting me. We do have a primary, so I need, want, and ask you for your help."

Mike Narsavage, from U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's office, also visited Saturday's picnic.

"On behalf of Sen. Santorum, I want to thank everyone in Bradford County for their support," said Narsavage. "We're going to have a very tough election next year. It is going to be a very close election and we're going to need those counties (Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna) to turn out for us. We're very eager to talk about our record in Pennsylvania, because we have a very good record for Pennsylvania.

"You will know what our record is," Narsavage continued. "You will know where Sen. Santorum stands, but we don't know where our opponent (Democrat Bob Casey Jr.) stands and that's a problem. We're going to try to get him (Casey) out and tell the people of Pennsylvania where he stands, because we have a clear record and when you put our record side-to-side, there is going to be no doubt who is the better person for Pennsylvania, and that's Rick Santorum."

Also in attendance during the annual barbecue was U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Tunkhannock.

"I've had some fun in the last two weeks," he said. "I've been able to announce $3.5 million worth of fire grants for our volunteer fire companies across the 10th Congressional District. That's something that has been long needed. Kurt Wheldon and I, in my term in congress, were able to get passed that initial legislation. It was only $100 million and now we've got it up to seven times that, and it is finally starting to make a dent in our needs for equipment in Northeastern Pennsylvania."

Sherwood said he has also asked President George W. Bush to "very gently" release the country's strategic petroleum reserves.

"(This) will break the cycle of speculation, because we don't need $2.70 (a gallon) fuel prices," he said. "It is not good for a rural economy, and I don't think there is any real need for it."

Everyone who spoke during Saturday's barbecue praised Pickett and the efforts he has put forth as the representative of Pennsylvania's 110th Legislative District.

Pickett, in turn, thanked everyone who attended the event.

"I really, really appreciate it," the Wysox Republican said. "I appreciate the support and the opportunity to represent you in Harrisburg."

One person who was not able to attend Saturday's event was state Sen. Roger Madigan, R-Luthers Mills, who will be undergoing open heart surgery this Tuesday, Pickett said.

"We wish him the best, keep him in our prayers and make sure that we are thinking of him as he goes through this," Pickett said.

State representatives are often told that they are a reflection the legislative district they representative, Pickett said.

"And if that is true, then I think that I am reflecting a very wonderful district and all the different parts of it," she said. "I often think about it as I drive around. We have this wonderful open farm land in this area that is so incredibly beautiful. We have a balance in our economy of good companies and good corporations that provide us with good jobs. We have a huge entrepreneurial spirit this area (with) many, many small businesses that we are very proud of and appreciate having here, and do everything we can to help them.

"We have wonderful volunteer groups, whether it is our law enforcement, our fire companies, our community groups, (and) our churches," she continued. "So often when I am invited into a school or I'm invited to maybe an Eagle Scout ceremony, or some sort of a youth award ceremony, I'm reminded that we have a wonderful future in store for us here too because our kids are wonderful. They are somebody to be really inspired by and I always tell them that 'I come to the events so that I can meet you because I know that you're what is going to make our future as wonderful as our past and our present is in this country.'"

Warren Howeler can be reached at"

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Daily and Sunday Review - News - 08/28/2005 - Supporters turn out for Pickett

Daily and Sunday Review - News - 08/28/2005 - Supporters turn out for Pickett: "Supporters turn out for Pickett

By Aaron Cahall 08/28/2005
WYSOX - Friends and supporters of State Representative Tina Pickett gathered in Wysox Township Saturday afternoon for Pickett's fourth annual barbeque.
More than 100 attendees came to the farm of Tom and Diane Elliot in Wysox, among them Republican leaders such as U.S. Congressman Don Sherwood and gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton.
Sherwood lauded Pickett's efforts in Harrisburg for Bradford County and all those she represents.
"When I need something done, it's so great to be able to have her there," Sherwood said. "When there's a problem with state bureaucracy or something that needs changing, no one jumps on it like Tina."
Scranton also praised Pickett, but had some harsh words for Governor Ed Rendell, who he looks to oppose in next year's gubernatorial race.
"We have got to replace the guy we have in Harrisburg," Scranton said. "I don't know whose values he represents, but they're not Bradford County's values."
Pickett said she was pleased turnout for the event, and said she felt it represented the area she serves.
"I think today was a very good representation from all three counties I represent," Pickett said. "It's a chance to show the depth of the area.""

Santorum Objects to George Bush's Tactics - Los Angeles Times

War Critics Have Backing, but Not Much of a Following - Los Angeles Times:

Mr. "Anything For A Vote" Breakes with the President. JBOC

"Even Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a strong Bush ally who will face a tough race for reelection in 2006, said he had privately expressed 'concerns' over the administration's management of the war. 'I have a very clear track record of being supportive of the policy but not necessarily all of the tactics,' Santorum told the Philadelphia Inquirer."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pa. Politics: Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Leesburg Va.Welcomes Risky Biochemical Weapons To Pittsburgh Area

Pa. Politics: Mixed news on 911th - Pittsburgh Area Loses Jobs and Santorum Powerless To Help:

Sen. Rick Santorum who lives in Leesburg Va. has trade Pa jobs for highly dangerous Biochemical Weapons for the Pittsburgh Area. A minor spill has the potential to Kill 435,000 people in Pennsylvania.

"Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, said he was disappointed with the vote to close Willow Grove but said the new mission at Moon holds growth potential, given the biochemical technology in the area.

"I'm not at all disappointed with this recommendation," Santorum said. "In my mind, it's almost a best-case scenario because it gives us a new mission that can grow." "

Mixed news on 911th - Pittsburgh Area Loses Jobs and Santorum Powerless To Help

Mixed news on 911th -

Third most powerful Republican in the US Senate and Santorum cannot or will not bring home the Bacon! We have a net loss on our Federal Highway Tax Dollars and now Santorum lets our Military Base jobs leave Pa. JBOC

"Mixed news on 911th

911th Airlift Wing

Branch: Air Force Reserve
Mission: To deliver and pick up troops, equipment and supplies in combat zones and other cargo-handling missions. In combat zones, the unit's C-130 cargo planes convert into flying emergency medical facilities that evacuate injured troops to hospitals.

Location: Moon

Acres: 115

Buildings: 511,000 square feet

Local military and civilian jobs: 322

Payroll: $47 million a year

Other spending: $26 million a year

What's next

Today: The Base Realignment and Closure Commission ends deliberations on a Pentagon plan to close 837 military bases nationwide.

Sept. 8: Deadline for the commission to send its recommendations to President Bush. He has the authority to send the list back for revisions but has said he'll accept the panel's recommendations and send them to Congress.

Late October to early November: After Bush sends the list to Congress, lawmakers have 45 days to veto the entire proposal or allow it to take effect.

By Brian Bowling
Saturday, August 27, 2005

Allegheny County apparently would lose the 911th Airlift Wing but gain a homeland security base under a plan approved by a national military commission Friday.
The Moon base would lose its eight C-130 cargo planes and about 100 jobs to Pope Air Force Base near Fayetteville, N.C., but retain about 200 jobs as it turns into a facility that would support military and homeland security operations.

At the headquarters of a local task force that has been fighting to save the base, five members who spent the day monitoring the Base Realignment and Closure Commission meeting struggled to make sense of the panel's decision.

"It sounds like we're open, but under what conditions?" said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Lowery Bailey.

The commission is reviewing a Pentagon plan that proposed closing or reducing operations at 837 bases nationally to save money by streamlining the military. Locally, the Defense Department proposed closing the 911th and the Army's Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Collier while moving the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Readiness Command from Moon to Fort Dix, N.J.

The commission Wednesday approved the closing of Kelly and the transfer of the 99th. According to Army and commission documents, those decisions will cost the area 530 military jobs and 315 in the private sector.

The Pentagon's original plan for the 911th would have cost the region 322 jobs at the base, and an estimated 258 jobs in the private sector, but the commission's revised proposal apparently would retain all but about 100 of the base jobs.

Overall, the state stands to lose about 2,000 military jobs and almost that many in the private sector if the commission's recommendations are enacted.

The commission voted yesterday to close Willow Grove Naval Air Station near Philadelphia, but a federal judge ruled that the Defense Department can't close a Pennsylvania Air National Guard unit on that base without the governor's approval.

Pit-BRAC members had been cautiously optimistic as the BRAC vetoed the proposed transfer of C-130 cargo planes involving two other bases, and a staff analyst said the Air Force used bad data when it evaluated the 911th's usefulness -- in particular under-reporting how much space the base had available.

Even in the minutes leading up to the vote, the commission's staff noted that the Moon air base could handle 20 planes -- more than enough for the 16 planes the Air Force prefers for airlift squadrons. The staff analysis also showed that Pittsburgh had the lowest operating and maintenance costs of any air base because of its partnership with the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Then commissioner Harold Gehman, a retired admiral, read the motion to convert the Air Force Reserve's 911th Airlift Wing in Moon to an "enclave" that would provide "civil-military operations, homeland security and community-based medical support" for the Defense and Homeland Security departments. The motion didn't explain these duties.

"Well, whatever they did, it's unanimous," said Pit-BRAC spokesman Keith Dorman as the nine commissioners raised their hands to pass the motion.

With their cell phones jangling, Pit-BRAC members began taking calls from other supporters wanting an explanation that the headquarters crew didn't have.

Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bart Farzati said immediately after the vote that the commission's use of the word "enclave" for the 911th was ominous because the Air Force uses that term for air bases that don't have any aircraft.

"They created this 'enclave' title, and no one really knows what it means," he said.

Dorman later said the staff of both of the state's U.S. senators told the task force that the commission's motion would move the 911th's planes and air crews to North Carolina.

Gov. Ed Rendell said eliminating the 911th would have had a severe economic impact on the Pittsburgh area.

"Although we regret losing the C-130s, we are elated about the fact that we were able to keep jobs in Pittsburgh," Rendell said.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Philadelphia, said Rendell, a Democrat, and the congressional delegation "fought like tigers" to save bases throughout the state.

"All factors considered, I think that we're not doing too badly, although I would like to have done better," Specter said.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, said he was disappointed with the vote to close Willow Grove but said the new mission at Moon holds growth potential, given the biochemical technology in the area.

"I'm not at all disappointed with this recommendation," Santorum said. "In my mind, it's almost a best-case scenario because it gives us a new mission that can grow."

Santorum said he and Specter will try to get new planes stationed in Pittsburgh, which has had a military air wing since 1942.

John Brosky, co-chairman of the Military Affairs Council of Western Pennsylvania, said he hopes no one is celebrating the decision.

The commission's action raises more questions than it answers, he said. For example, it's not clear whether the new base will be part of the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security, Brosky said.

"What kind of base will we have without airplanes?" said Brosky, who is retired from the Air National Guard.

Making changes

A look at a federal commission's decisions on the list of major bases the Pentagon wants to close. The Pentagon defines "major" as facilities whose replacement cost would be $100 million or greater.

CLOSE (as Pentagon recommended)


Kulis Air Guard Station (closure was conditioned on there being enough federal money to relocate operations elsewhere)

Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Concord Detachment

Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant

Onizuka Air Force Station

Fort McPherson

Fort Gillem

Naval Air Station Atlanta

Newport Chemical Depot (closure was conditioned upon completion of treaty obligations)

Kansas Army Ammunition Plant

Selfridge Army Activity

Mississippi Army Ammunition Plant

Naval Station Pascagoula
New Jersey:

Fort Monmouth (closure was conditioned on an assurance that research under way in connection with the war on terrorism won't be disrupted)

Umatilla Chemical Depot (closure was conditioned upon completion of treaty obligations)

Naval Air Station Willow Grove

Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant

Naval Station Ingleside

Brooks City-Base

Deseret Chemical Depot (closure was conditioned upon completion of treaty obligations and a study to see if the depot can be converted for another use)

Fort Monroe
KEEP OPEN (either wholly or partially, rather than close as the Pentagon wanted)


Naval Support Activity, Corona

Submarine Base New London

Naval Support Activity, New Orleans

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

W.K. Kellogg Airport Air Guard Station

Hawthorne Army Depot
New Mexico:

Cannon Air Force Base (would stay open until at least Dec. 31, 2009 and sets conditions for Pentagon to continue operating it after that time).
South Dakota:

Ellsworth Air Force Base

Red River Army Depot
CLOSE (rather than downsize as Pentagon wanted)


Naval Air Station Brunswick
KEEP OPEN (rather than drastically downsize as the Pentagon had wanted)


Eielson Air Force Base.
The commission also decided to keep open two bases it had considered closing, but it added conditions in both cases. The Pentagon wanted all along to keep them open. Those bases are:


Broadway Complex San Diego

Oceana Naval Air Station


Otis Air National Guard Base
New York:

Niagara Falls International Airport Air Guard Station

Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station

General Mitchell Air Reserve Station

Brian Bowling can be reached at or (412) 320-7910.

Back to headlines

Give Santorum more time with family - York Daily Record

Give Santorum more time with family - York Daily Record: "Give Santorum more time with family
Saturday, August 27, 2005

As the radical right, junior senator from Pennsylvania continues to embarrass moderate citizens of the commonwealth with his book tour, I finally find some agreement with what he proposes. He says that parents need to spend more time with their children.
Who could dispute that observation? Let’s all rally behind Rick Santorum and give him the opportunity to spend more time with his children by voting him out of office. All of our children would be better off.


Lebanese Lobby Next year is shaping up to be quite a year for politicians with Scranton roots.

Lebanese Lobby ::: Lebanon: "Next year is shaping up to be quite a year for politicians with local roots.

©The Times-Tribune 2005

First, there's the possibility — most say likelihood — that former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton of North Abington Township will be the Republican candidate for governor against Democrat incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell of Philadelphia.

Second, state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. of Scranton is the favorite to win his Democratic Party's nomination to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Penn Hills.

It would surprise no one if U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware, who spent part of his childhood in Green Ridge, jumps into the 2008 presidential race. He's clearly thinking about it.

As anyone who pays attention to politics knows, a potential Casey-Santorum match-up would be a battle royale between two of the state's political heavyweights, whose race is already attracting attention nationwide.

It just might not be the only big-name U.S. Senate race next year featuring someone with local roots.

Looking to deflate her 2008 presidential race aspirations, Republicans are recruiting candidates to knock off Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

They might turn to Jeanine Pirro, 54, the three-term district attorney of Westchester County, New York, a Republican who announced her bid for Mrs. Clinton's Senate seat Aug. 9.

Now, everyone knows that Mrs. Clinton's father, Hugh, was a Scranton native who moved his family to Illinois, where Mrs. Clinton was born.

What you might not know is that Ms. Pirro's father, Nasser “Leo” Ferris, grew up here, too.

Longtime local political gadfly John Gustin, 83, brought this to our attention. He and Mr. Ferris went to school together at No. 16 Lafayette School, which stood at 228-240 N. Chestnut Ave. Nasser Ferris lived on Ninth Avenue. He later married Esther Awad. Jeanine Pirro is one of Nasser and Esther Ferris' daughters. Nasser's half brothers were Tom and Fred Joseph.

Emil “Mike” Murad, Esther's first cousin, said the family has Lebanese roots . Charles Awad, Esther Pirro's father, was born in Lebanon where Nasser traveled and met Esther before returning here. The Ferrises lived in Scranton at least five years after Nasser, an Army veteran, returned from World War II. They moved to Elmira, N.Y., where Charles Awad had settled, in the late 1940s, Mr. Murad said. Jeanine Pirro was born in Elmira. Leo helped Charles sell mobile homes, Mr. Murad said.

“It was here in this town that I learned that we have an obligation to take care of people who can't take care of themselves,” Ms. Pirro told a crowd gathered in Elmira for her announcement, according to the Elmira Star-Gazette.

No mention of Scranton. Jeanine Pirro never lived here, Mr. Murad said.

Mr. Murad, who now raises horses that run at Pocono Downs, said he lived in Elmira and ran a car wash there for much of his life. He moved back to Scranton in 1990, but watched Jeanine Pirro grow up in the New York town because the families were close. He last saw her a few years ago when she visited Scranton for Fred Joseph's funeral, he said.

Ms. Pirro is considered by many a maverick, known for her aggressive prosecution of hate and bias crimes, elder abuse, environmental crime, youth and gang violence, animal abuse and Internet pedophiles, according to her biography. You might have seen her as a commentator on CNN, Fox News Channel, The Today Show, Good Morning America and 60 Minutes. She has written a book, “To Punish and Protect Against a System that Coddles Criminals,” published last year by Simon & Schuster.

“She's brilliant, she's tough, she's extremely articulate, and she has all the skills needed for higher office,” Gov. George Pataki told The New Yorker magazine for a profile of Ms. Pirro, according to her DA web site.

Unlike Mrs. Clinton on the Democratic side, Ms. Pirro is hardly assured of earning the Republican nomination.

Her potential opponents, according to The New York Times, include former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, Edward Cox, the son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, and William Brenner, a tax lawyer from Sullivan County, N.Y.

Efforts to reach Ms. Pirro were unsuccessful.

Her family is excited about the possibility of her taking on Mrs. Clinton.

“I hope she can beat Hillary,” Mr. Murad said. “She's my cousin. I'd love to see her there (in the Senate). How many times do you have a cousin run for the Senate?”

©The Times-Tribune 2005"

Sunday, August 21, 2005 News : Pay-raise foes claim harassment From Jubelirer Operatives Mike Long and Ron Harper Jr. News : Pay-raise foes claim harassment: "
Pay-raise foes claim harassment
Say Senate operative sent to intimidate them

By Charles Lardner, Intelligencer Journal Staff
Intelligencer Journal

Published: Aug 19, 2005 8:43 AM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Ron Harper Jr. of Stevens, publisher of the political Web site, has been directed by the state Senate Republican Caucus to intimidate and stifle critics of the controversial pay raise state lawmakers voted themselves last month, according to the chairman of a group critical of lawmakers' payraises.Chris Lilik, chairman of Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, said Harper, who works for the Senate Republican Caucus, has been threatening and harassing him because of his organization's campaign to unseat leaders in the General Assembly for the 16 to 37 percent pay raise lawmakers approved with no debate in the dark morning hours of July 7.

Harper denies the charge.

Over the weekend, Young Conservatives kicked off a campaign to erect billboards and run radio ads in the home districts of Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill and Majority Caucus chairman Sen. Noah Wenger, criticizing them for drawing up legislation behind closed doors that boosted lawmakers' annual salaries 16 to 37 percent -- to $89,050 for rank-and-file legislators and as much as $145,463 for those in leadership.

Wenger is a Stevens Republican who represents most of northern Lancaster County, and Brightbill represents a portion of the county's northwest. The details of what has been called a "shame campaign" can be viewed on the Young Conservatives' anti-pay-raise Web site,

The Young Conservatives want the Legislature to repeal the pay hike, saying it is unconstitutional because it allows lawmakers to skirt a provision in the state's constitution prohibiting lawmakers from taking a salary increase in the term in which they voted to approve it.

On Monday, Lilik said, he began getting "strange" phone calls from Harper.

"He said he really respected what I was doing but that I didn't know what I was up against and that he would even visit me in jail," Lilik said Thursday. "I took that as an implied threat."

After asking other members of Young Conservatives who Harper was, Lilik received an answer Tuesday.

"One of my friends called and said 'Chris, he's a private investigator for Senate Republicans,'"ˆ" Lilik said. "So when (Harper) called again Tuesday trying to arrange a meeting with me, I thought it was starting to get weird. So Wednesday when he called again and sounded angry, I just wanted to end it and get him off the phone."

Contacted Thursday, Harper denied Lilik's accusations and said he has not conducted any opposition research against the Young Conservatives.

"I am telling you that I have not contacted the Young Conservatives on the behalf of anybody and have not done any research," Harper said. "Anybody that says otherwise is an absolute liar."

Besides, Harper said, the Senate Republicans don't need to employ him to dig up dirt against the Young Conservatives because the organization is engaging in political advocacy without registering as a political action group.

"Do (Senate Republicans) really need to (use me) when they have a political action committee that hasn't filed the proper paperwork?" Harper said.

Legal action against the Young Conservatives is exactly the strategy that Mike Long, spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus and top aide to Jubelirer, is pursuing, Lilik said.

Long, he said, is openly encouraging supporters of Jubelirer and the Senate leadership to file lawsuits against the Young Conservatives.

"I know Mike Long has said in the press he is encouraging people to file lawsuits," Lilik said. "It is a sad day in America when a group like ours is going to be dragged into court and bankrupted just for opposing an unconstitutional pay raise."

In a phone interview Thursday, Long acknowledged that Harper works for Senate Republicans. But if Harper is calling the Young Conservatives, Long said, he isn't doing so on behalf of the Senate leadership or the Republican caucus.

"Ron is on contract, as I said to the paper a while ago, and he does a lot of different projects for us, but we have assigned nothing to him regarding the Young Conservatives," Long said.

"(Harper) is one of the leaders of the conservative movement in Pennsylvania," Long said. "I am sure there are a lot of conservative Republicans throughout Pennsylvania upset with what Mr. Lilik is doing -- trying to run campaigns against Republican leaders like Sen. Wenger and Sen. Brightbill."

But there are news reports that Harper has been involved in the past on Jubelirer's behalf in the sort of smear campaign Lilik is alleging.

According to a June 25, 2003, article in the Altoona Mirror, Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger, who was in a primary campaign against a candidate supported by Jubelirer, said the Senate Pro Tempore employed Harper to "stalk" and photograph him.

Long has accused Lilik's Young Conservatives of attacking Jubelirer on behalf of Eichelberger, a longtime opponent of Jubelirer who is actively seeking support to unseat him in next May's GOP primary.

Eichelberger told the Mirror that Harper was a private detective who had "misread" the county's financial records and constructed "negative political brochures" with the pictures and financial information designed "ruin his career."

In the Mirror article, the Mirror reporters said they called Harper for comment on the matter but that he never returned their calls.

In Lancaster County, Harper, a self-proclaimed "good government advocate," followed and photographed former state Rep. John Barley and, more recently, former District Justice Richard Musser, in campaigns to remove the men from office.

Both men eventually resigned."

Rep. Brett O. Feese show s Integrity on Pay Grab

Grassroots PA:

Years ago I knew Brett Feese. He was a straight shooter and man of integrity. It looks like he has not changed. JBOC

"1st House Leader Breaks With Perzel On Pay Raise! Caucus Split To Follow?...
Associated Press:

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is among the latest group of legislators to reverse their decision to accept a midterm pay raise in the form of "unvouchered expenses."

Rep. Brett O. Feese became the first member of legislative leadership to reverse himself on the politically hot issue.

Most of the leaders, who received the biggest raises, accepted the early payments. Three others in leadership - Sens. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin; Mary Jo White, R-Venango; and Connie Williams, D-Delaware - refused the special payments from the beginning."

Lancaster News : Mike Long Seeks To Stop Conservatives In Pa.

Lancaster News : Backlash in big letters: "Backlash in big letters
Billboards to criticize Wenger, Brightbill for pay hike

By Charles Lardner, Intelligencer Journal Staff
Intelligencer Journal

Published: Aug 17, 2005 10:42 AM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Two Lancaster County state senators are choosing to stay quiet amid a new campaign that aims to show their support of a controversial pay raise demonstrates they have lost touch with their constituents.

Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania has begun a campaign to erect billboards and air radio spots criticizing the senators for their "liberal voting records."

A billboard scheduled to go up next week along Interstate 70 near Altoona will feature the likeness of Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer and include the text, "Sen. Jubelirer voted to raise his own pay to $145,463. A 34% increase. Bigger pay for bigger government."

In the next few weeks, the group plans to erect similar billboards criticizing Senate Majority Leader David "Chip" Brightbill, who represents a portion of northwest Lancaster County, and Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Noah Wenger of Stevens, said the group's chairman, Chris Lilik.

The three Republican senators were targeted because of their leadership roles, Lilik said.

Radio spots are planned to coincide with the billboards.

Lilik would not provide details on where the billboards are likely to be erected or where the ads would air.

Young Conservatives, which runs the anti-pay-raise Web site, wants the state Legislature to repeal the pay hikes.

Jubelirer, Wenger and Brightbill all supported the pay raise, which was approved in the dark morning hours of July 7. The vote, which raised legislators' pay by 16 percent to 34 percent, has been widely criticized. It includes a provision that allowed lawmakers to accept the raise as an "unvouchered expense," circumventing a ban on raises taking effect in the term in which a legislator votes for them.

Wenger is now earning more than $115,000 a year, and Brightbill earns $134,771.

Young Conservatives is going after top-ranking Democrats as well, Lilik said.

It plans to erect billboards and air radio spots criticizing Senate Minority Leader Robert Mellow, a Lackawanna County Democrat, and House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese of Greene County.

"People are angry, and they need to know it was the leadership in both parties that did this," Lilik said. "The Senate vote for the pay raise was 27 to 23. If (leadership) had a backbone, they could easily have stopped this."

Young Conservatives director Ryan Shafik, a student at Villanova University, said conservative Republicans like him feel betrayed by the voting records entrenched Republican leaders in Harrisburg have amassed over the years.

For example, Shafik said, Wenger cast the key vote in favor of the last legislative pay raise in 1995 and was one of a handful of Republican leaders to join Democrats in 1991 to approve the largest tax increase in state history.

Shafik said the radio ads would call into question the conservative credentials of Wenger, Brightbill and Jubelirer.

Lilik said the ads would highlight how Jubelirer voted against the Abortion Control Act more than a decade ago, and other, more recent votes.

Lilik also said Wenger's pay-raise votes show "he's been too liberal for too long."

Wenger's chief of staff, Chad Weaver, declined to comment on the Young Conservatives campaign, saying he "wasn't aware of the matter."

In an e-mail, Jubelirer aide Mike Long defended the Senate GOP leadership and its record.

"This is America, and everyone has the right to say what they want," Long wrote, "but, this group is just wrong.

"The Senate Republican leadership, including Senator Brightbill, Senator Wenger and Senator Jubelirer, have done more to advance a conservative agenda than any other group over the last 25 years in Pennsylvania."

Long said the senators all supported seven straight years of tax cuts during the administration of former Gov. Tom Ridge.

They also passed school tax-relief legislation, although no school district in Lancaster County opted into the program, Act 72.

Long added that Brightbill, Wenger and Jubelirer this fall will be supporting additional property tax-cut measures, along with tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

The attacks by the Young Conservatives represent divisions within the Republican Party, said Terry Madonna, a Franklin & Marshall College pollster and political analyst.

Conservatives may be using public displeasure over the pay hikes to punish Republicans who curry their favor during the all-important primary elections but fail to stand firm on social issues after they are re-elected, he said.

"Underneath what looks like relative uniformity in the Republican Party there has been a simmering fissure that this pay-hike vote has brought to the surface," Madonna said.

"For the better part of a decade now, there has been a split between the sort of mainstream Republicans who control the state party and ... the Legislature and conservatives who are activists on the social issues."

Shafik agrees with that assessment.

"(The pay raise) passed by three votes," Shafik said. "If Jubelirer wanted to stop it, he could have, and so could have Noah Wenger.

"Their records are awful. They have lost touch with their constituents."

"People are angry, and they need to know it was the leadership in both parties that did this.""

Faces of greed - Jubelirer's Mike Long' master of Intimidation and Bullying Tactics

Faces of greed - "Faces of greed

Compiled by Tribune-Review staff
Sunday, August 21, 2005

There are far worse ways to spend $5.
For that modest amount, you can let your fellow motorists know you remain outraged over last month's audacious pay hike the state Legislature voted itself.

The Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania, led by recent Duquesne University Law School graduate Chris Lilik, are selling "Remember the Pay Raise!" bumper stickers. They are available at

Proceeds will benefit the group's effort to get the General Assembly to repeal the 16 percent to 34 percent pay hikes.

The legislators who voted themselves the raise apparently believe the anger over the payjacking will diminish, that memories of their picking your pocket will gradually fade. The bumper stickers are an inexpensive way to ensure the issue doesn't die.

Feel like spending a bit more money? For $500 a month, you can sponsor a billboard featuring the smiling face of a greedy state legislator and the amount and percentage of his raise.

For your viewing pleasure, billboard prototypes can be found here.

The Young Conservatives' purchase of commercial time on Altoona-area radio stations blasting Republican Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer over the payjacking apparently didn't go over well with the veteran politician.

Lilik sent a letter last week to Jubelirer chief of staff Michael Long accusing Jubelirer's office and Senate employees of making "veiled and direct threats" against the Young Conservatives. Lilik informed Long his group would not be intimidated by bullying tactics" Castigates Mike Long

The GOP's smarmy offensive - "The GOP's smarmy offensive

By Colin McNickle
Sunday, August 21, 2005

The state Senate Republican leadership, stung by its conviction on highwaymannery charges in the Pennsylvania Court of Public Opinion, has launched a smarmy campaign to discredit critics of the pay-jacking it helped to orchestrate.
And the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, through its silence, should be considered an accomplice.

Don't be surprised if leadership "allies" (i.e., common political stooges) file a lawsuit challenging the public education activities of, an offshoot of Chris Lilik's Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania (YCOP), registered as a 501(c)4.

It's part of a harassment and intimidation campaign, pure and simple. And if there's any taxpayer money involved, the Justice Department should prosecute this gang for conspiracy, racketeering and official oppression.

The leadership is royally honked off that a Republican political neophyte such as Mr. Lilik would have the temerity to see pay-jacking Republicans as the public service reprobates that they are, then have the guts to go public and say enough is enough.

Not only does the leadership want to shut down Lilik's planned billboard campaign designed to better inform the public who these self-dealing legislators are -- did one firm already back out because it was threatened by GOP goons? -- it wants to know who's bankrolling it.

No doubt these Republicans and conservatives of dubious pedigree want to punish those who have been willing to put their money behind Lilik's convictions.

Gee, maybe they'll even pay for the "third-party" lawsuit with cash from their "leadership accounts" (i.e., slush fund). Follow the money, gang; let's see who's walking around with blackened greasy palms.

Mike Long, chief of staff to Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer, the pay-jacking Republican of Altoona, is spinning like a turbocharged top. He's been publicly dismissing Lilik as "misguided," saying Lilik's criticisms are "angering" conservatives.

Conservatives often cheer when they're angry, Mr. Long? Fella, you'll be lucky if that next knock on your office door doesn't come from a brigade of those bearing cans of tar at perfect-pouring temperature and freshly plucked feathers.

Long also said that prominent conservatives -- such as prospective gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton and his campaign manager, Glen Meakem -- are "too bright, able and savvy" to give Lilik's efforts monetary support.

It's a slap at Mr. Meakem, who is very concerned about the "culture of corruption" in Pennsylvania government, who considers Lilik a protege and who has donated money to YCOP. It's Meakem who made it possible for Lilik to move YCOP from Pittsburgh to a new Harrisburg headquarters.

And though Meakem says he personally wouldn't have employed the same tactics as Lilik, he told Capitolwire bureau chief Pete DeCoursey that he supports YCOP's campaign. These are "great people doing great things," he said.

Of course, Messrs. Scranton and Meakem are too bright, able and savvy to step in the kind of cow-patty bombs being dropped by Long. Should Scranton be elected governor and become the titular head of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, look for Mike Long's manure-shoveling skills to be practiced on some farm instead of in Harrisburg.

But wait, it gets worse:

On Thursday, in an open letter to Long, Lilik alleges that "employees of the Senate of Pennsylvania in public and private conversations have issued personal, legal and political threats" against him and YCOP.

And he says that Ron Harper, the GOP's well-known opposition research guru (i.e., a political baddy) "implied a threat of jail time."

If true, it's despicable behavior.

So, where does the state Republican apparatus stand on this matter? There's been nary a peep from the peeps at the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania. Until I e-mailed Chairman Eileen Melvin on Thursday, that is.

"Speaking of Lilik, where does the party stand on what's going on?" I asked. And the response resembles a vigorous tap dance.

"I will ask Chris why he isn't challenging Gov. Ed Rendell's policies that place an increased financial burden on every Pennsylvania taxpayer, cost Pennsylvania workers thousands of manufacturing jobs, and will give Pennsylvania families gambling without any property (tax) relief," she responded. "And as Pennsylvania children head back to school, their parents can take comfort in the fact that their governor is hard at work for Comcast commenting on (Philadelphia) Eagles' games instead of working to improve their education."

But it's OK for Republicans to shaft taxpayers and violate the state Constitution? And it's equally just dandy for Republican henchmen to attempt to smear those who protest the molestation, is that it, Ms. Melvin?

What, pray tell, does the state Republican Party stand for anymore? Anything?

Some GOP insiders seem to be genuinely concerned that campaigns such as Lilik's will hurt efforts to remove pocket-picking politicians through the electoral process.

"If Lilik causes Jubelirer and (Senate Majority Leader Chip) Brightbill to suck up all of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee's money," then candidates who are willing to, say, term-limit themselves and act responsibly in general won't get elected, the insider said.

But once elected, they're usually conscripted and corrupted by a lock-stepping, diktat-issuing leadership that believes taxpayer dollars are its personal piggy bank, aren't they?

The Chris Liliks of this commonwealth are the future of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, not the seeds of its demise. And that has the Republican establishment -- hands so deep in the public's pockets that they scrape at the knees -- running scared, circling the wagons and scrapping the bottom of the behavioral barrel.

This whole debate comes down to integrity. Lilik has it. Those mounting the smarmy offensive -- and those who hope Lilik goes away -- don't.

Colin McNickle is the Trib's director of editorial pages. Ring him at (412) 320-7836. E-mail him at:"