Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Other election news and chat

  • On the ethics reform victory:

    1. You'd think that being pro-ethics was a no-brainer, but not only does at least one Councilperson (Blackwell) claim to be "ethic'd-out," but also a leaflet campaign in at least four wards advocated a No vote on yesterday's ballot measure -- see details in the Inquirer's overview (Marcia Gelbart).

    2. The Daily News (Dave Davies) also celebrates the outcome as a call for serious change. The article notes that the margin of passage is unprecedented, and predicts that there will be more of the public on hand for hearings for the next set of City Council bills in this arena. It also notes the new coalitions that formed around this ballot measure, and the way that ethics concerns have intruded into discussions and races around the city.

    3. The Daily News also looks at this ballot result in the context of the "10 Ways to Reform Government" that it spelled out last year. It also looks at progress and prospects on each of the possible fronts, concluding there's been some progress but much more is needed.

    4. Update: check out Dan's comments at Young Philly Politics about other fronts on which we should be fighting this battle. (There's a chewy comment to the post too.)

  • From New Jersey:

    1. Summary of Corzine's win, along with the concrete numbers of votes for each of the (several) candidates in the race. The new governor highlighted his commitment to ending pay-to-play culture in New Jersey:
      "We'll end insider deals and no-bid contracts, and together we will restore the simple truth that public service is about serving the public."
      Amen. He's also sworn to take on the challenge of property tax reform as soon as he takes office.

    2. Voters approved two ballot measures before them, including the establishment of a Lieutenant Governor who can step in if the Governor dies or has to be replaced, rather than relying on the Senate President to fulfill that role (see prev. here).

  • In other realms:

    1. The court case on Intelligent Design may still be pending, but the voters of Dover, PA, have spoken: they voted out the school board that had advocated the teaching of the crapulant theory. All 8 who were up for election are now out on the street. Statement of support for science, or of exasperation with being the subject of national ridicule?

    2. John Baer looks at Justice Nigro's ouster as scapegoating for the pay-hike. (His colleague Newman escaped the same fate by only a narrow margin, apparently in response to last-minute lobbying by former governor Tom Ridge.) Perhaps the voters have proven their ability to stand up for themselves -- officeholders beware! The Inquirer also offers a look at the significance of this, and offer a few additional specifics (some counties voted against Nigro by a 4-to-1 margin!).

    3. The Daily News offers a round-up of results from around the nation in high-profile races and ballot issues, with a little context given for each.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dumplingeater said...

Interesting - any ideas on who was behind the "vote no" leaflets?

Also, I'm curious to know your take on the Nigro/anger against the pay raise connection and its relationship to NN policies in the future.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Dumplingeater said...

Another question: having read the Baer article, I think that it is more than a little curious that he never mentions that Nigro's involvement in the pay raise was somewhat indirect - based on past rulings about the constitutionality of use of legislative accounts - and not because he endorsed the pay raise per se. The Inky article at least describes the connections generally, even if it doesn't go into detail.

So, as a close observer here, what is your take on Baer? Is he just trying to gain journalistic publicity by piggybacking on the pay raise issue? Or, is he really serious about non-partisan analysis of the issues at hand.

11:38 AM  
Blogger ACM said...

One of the articles claimed that a union was behind the No leaflets, and I heard that from somebody last night too -- perhaps constraints on city contracts threaten contractor jobs? perhaps somebody's already invested in the current system? I'm sure we'll never get the answer on the record.

as for Nigro, (1) I haven't been attuned to politics here long enough to know much about him as a judge or about his involvement in the past court challenges, (2) I don't really think it's fair to use judges as the scapegoats for this outrage, and I suspect those who promote that approach of having other motives than just striking a blow for the citizenry, (3) there were enough questions about Nigro unrelated to the pay raise (my attention was drawn by others to past ethics questions and campaign contribution shenanigans) that I was willing to vote against him, but not lump Newman into the same boat.

Neighborhood Networks took no position on this issue. I'm not sure we'd ever want to encourage mere protest voting in an realm (Supreme Court) where there are much bigger issues surrounding the appropriate choice for a candidate. also, we didn't take a position on the pay raise itself (only on the unvouchered expenses, and on the need for raising pay for minimum-wage workers as well), so that wouldn't be the basis for an endorsement, although issues of ethics and/or government transparency could definitely come into play in future races. I suspect that the group will have to be much bigger, with more bodies keeping track of all the candidates and issues, before we can take a position on more than a few spearhead races. of course, this is all only my two cents from the very beginning of things; it might turn out that experience proves that the membership feels otherwise.

11:47 AM  

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