When a reporter gets in trouble with the law who does she call?: Ed Rendell

When Alycia Lane, an anchor for the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, was released from jail who was the first person whom she called? Ed Rendell. Philadelphia media types have told me about Rendell being well known for having affairs with all sorts of women so possibly that explains it, but what would a reporter hope that Rendell would do for her? Intercede with the TV station management? One quote in the piece by Dan Gross (12/17/2007) makes the problem clear: "Station sources questioned Lane's journalistic integrity in contacting or seeking any assistance from prominent politicians. Lane's attorney David Smith did not immediately return a call seeking comment on why his client was phoning lawmakers from Pennsylvania, two states away from where the incident occurred." If Rendell did help her out and even if there hadn't already been some type of improper relationship, how objective could she be in the future?



Governor Ed Rendell will stop gun sales in Pennsylvania for 5 days in September


New Op-ed in Philadelphia Inquirer: Guns don't kill people, Phila. does

My son Maxim and I have an op-ed in today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

When Mayor Street spent 15 hours waiting in line for an iPhone recently, the city was not impressed by his love of new technology. Rather, Street had to answer to a passerby asking, "How can you sit here with 200 murders in the city already?"

Local politicians say they know the source of the problem: the lack of gun control. Gov. Rendell recently complained the state legislature "has been in the control of the NRA." Street blames the increasing murder rate on "the dangerous proliferation of guns on our city streets." Last Tuesday, two City Council members announced the novel legal tactic of suing the state government to let Philadelphia pass its own gun laws. . . . .

A comment tread can be found here.

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Rendell breaking promises: How different February is from September and October

Last fall Ed Rendell campaigned for governor on his supposed record of cutting taxes. Surely the ads came across as promising more of the same. Rendell started backing away from those promises a week after the election. Now he is running away from the promises very quickly.

Gov. Ed Rendell proposed a hefty package of new and higher taxes yesterday that includes raising the sales tax to 7 percent statewide, increasing tobacco taxes and adding a tax on oil company profits as a way to pay for $27.3 billion in spending for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

That's an increase of $1 billion over fiscal 2006-07, and it didn't take long for Republicans to tell the Democratic governor, wait just a minute.

"There is a chart in my office that shows the word 'no' in 50 different languages, and we may have to use every variation before this budget process is over," said Sen. Gibson Armstrong, R-Lancaster, Senate Appropriations Committee chairman . . .

Note Rendell's strategy:

"The first year of a governor's four-year term is often the time when he proposes politically risky ideas, and yesterday was no exception." He did the same thing in his first term and by the end of it he was campaigning as a tax cutter.

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Governor Ed Rendell and Gun Control


Ed Rendell: One week after the election, Rendell drops his campaign promises on increasing taxes

Rendell campaigned this fall on his record of cutting taxes. Never mind that he was the one who fought hard for tax increases. Note also that Rendell said during the campaign that he opposed an increase in the state gasoline tax:

August 29, 2006 . . . Gov. Ed Rendell said yesterday that he would not support an increase in the state gasoline tax to help raise $866 million to $2.2 billion to rebuild roads and bridges in Pennsylvania and get mass transit agencies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia out of debt. . . .

Well that was then. Now that the election is an entire week behind us, Rendell's opposition seems to have disappeared. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran this under the headline that "A taxing ride may be ahead for Pa.":

Nov. 14, 2006 . . .The commission's report recommends raising the state wholesale fuel tax by 11.5 cents per gallon - all or part it could be passed on to consumers - and hiking vehicle registration and license fees, although the amounts were not specified. That, coupled with $120 million in efficiencies, should net about $900 million more per year for roads and bridges, Biehler said. . . . He praised the commission's work, but stopped short of endorsing it. His spokeswoman, Kate Philips, said he intends use the commission's recommendations as a blueprint.

Another newspaper, the Pottstown Mercury, puts it pretty bluntly:
Nov. 14, 2006 . . .Don’t you feel like a jerk right about now for re-electing Rendell? This is the thanks you get? He is going to raise the gas tax and make you pay a higher mortgage. The Associated Press calculates the typical driver will pay $84 more a year to cover the higher gas tax and fee increases. The proposed realty transfer tax increase would add about $60 a year to a 30-year, $150,000 mortgage for homeowners, according to The Associated Press. . . .

Here is one question: Why isn't the media mentioning that during the campaign Rendell promised not to raise the gas tax?



Did Ed Rendell order union violence against Clinton Protesters?

There is almost no news coverage of this explosive charge.

1) Evening Bulletin:
Philadelphia - A special three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals convened Wednesday to hear arguments on whether a Federal Civil Rights suit may proceed against Gov. Ed Rendell and overturn a 2003 lower court ruling that there was insufficient evidence. Rendell is charged with conspiring to suppress the First Amendment rights of protesters by having Teamsters Local 115 beat them while they demonstrated outside Philadelphia's City Hall during a Democratic fundraiser featuring President Bill Clinton.

Rendell, who was mayor of Philadelphia at the time, admitted in a deposition following the Oct. 2, 1998 beatings to personally inviting Teamsters Local 115 Secretary-Treasurer John Morris and instructing the union to "drown-out" the Clinton protesters.

"I specifically said I didn't want any interaction with the demonstrators. I wanted this to be extremely peaceful and extremely positive," Rendell also claimed in the deposition, which was taken two years after the fact.

Morris was caught on video by local media placing a fedora over protester Don Adams' head, signaling the Teamsters to knock him to the ground and assault him. Adams was treated at a nearby hospital for a concussion, lacerations and multiple bruises. His sister, Teri, sustained minor injuries.

Testimony from Morris' chief of staff revealed that, after the beatings, Rendell called Morris about the Teamsters who participated in the attack and said, "nothing is going to happen to these guys," and "I know how these things go." He then suggested that Morris and the Teamsters file a criminal complaint against Adams, which they did two days later on Oct. 4, 1998, alleging that he struck a woman in their group.

Even though there was no police reports supporting the Teamster's claim, the incident was caught on video, and the District Attorney's Office pursued trial against Adams, who filed suit against the Teamsters and Rendell several months later.
At one point, the Teamsters offered to drop their charges against him if he dropped his case. During that time, they launched a media campaign and accused Adams of being a woman-beater. Adams rejected the deal and was found not guilty on July 8, 1999. Five teamsters then pled guilty to various charges of assault and were granted probation, and Morris died in 2001. . . .

2) Philadelphia Inquirer really down plays the story and gives a completely different take on the evidence, though at least it covers it. It is hard to believe that both reporters were in the same courtroom:
Gov. Rendell has not been Mayor Rendell since 1999, and legendary Teamsters boss John "Johnny" Morris has been dead four years.

But yesterday the content of two conversations between the men eight years ago continued to fuel a civil-rights lawsuit filed by Cheltenham siblings who contend that their free-speech rights were violated when they were beaten by Teamsters for heckling President Bill Clinton at an Oct. 2, 1998, appearance in Center City.

At issue before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit yesterday was whether a federal judge properly dismissed the suit by Don and Teri Adams.

Don Adams, 46, and sister Teri, 47, contend that members of Teamsters Local 115 ended their anti-Clinton demonstration with a beating because Rendell had earlier called Morris, asked for a union presence at Clinton's appearance, and said the Teamsters should "drown out" anti-Clinton protesters. . . .



Governor Ed Rendell and corruption problems

This from John Fund at OpinionJournals Political Diary. This piece doesn't mention other problems Rendell has faced regarding slot machines and appointments to the commission.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell frequently has been looked at cross-eyed by other Democrats for his questionable party loyalty -- even when he was party boss. That made it all the more newsworthy when, apparently safe in his own reelection race against former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann, he last week delivered $200,000 in campaign cash to Bob Casey, the state treasurer seeking to unseat GOP Sen. Rick Santorum.

Here's an unsung factor that may explain the previously cool Mr. Rendell's sudden activism on Mr. Casey's behalf. A new Santorum ad, denounced as "misleading" by goo-goo groups, features actors playing unidentified Casey donors discussing their doings -- behind bars. Though the ad takes dramatic license, it alludes to a real, late-breaking problem for Democrats: An FBI investigation of Philadelphia-area developer Robert Feldman, who has raised millions for Messrs. Rendell and Casey as well as for John Street, Mr. Rendell's successor as Philadelphia mayor. The Philadelphia Inquirer last week quoted from an FBI surveillance tape that caught Mr. Feldman complaining about being shut out of a Penn's Landing development deal three years ago: "I've got nothing. I've raised a ton of money for the mayor. I'm raising right now for him. Maybe I should make this my 'big ask.'"

A lingering frost had been perceived between the two Democrats, Mr. Casey and Mr. Rendell, since their nasty fight for the 2002 gubernatorial nomination. The popular Gov. Rendell endorsed his former rival for Senate and, more importantly, worked behind the scenes to secure the nomination for him, but that's not the same thing as fervently advocating his cause in the general election. He hasn't cut any ads for Mr. Casey. Worse, just a few weeks ago, he went out of his way to praise Mr. Santorum in back-to-back interviews as a senator who "delivers" for Pennsylvania. Mr. Santorum has since closed the gap markedly, though Mr. Casey is still favored. . . .



Tribune-Democrat: Ed Rendell is after your guns

They’re at it again. Gun-control advocates and their friends in state government are once again trying to nibble away at your right to own firearms. But you’ve got to hand it to them, as they’re quite crafty.

This latest proposal, which is merely a retread of Gov. Ed Rendell’s 2002 campaign proposal to restrict firearm ownership, would limit handgun purchases to one per month.

It all sounds relatively mild. After all, who would want to purchase more than one handgun per month?

Certainly, the anti-gun crowd would lead us to believe, only criminals would.

This all emanates from a recent spike in gun violence in some of the more populated areas of the state, meaning Philadelphia, where our governor was once mayor and district attorney.

Anti-gun zealots contend that middlemen are buying guns and then selling them to criminals. Their solution: Limit handgun sales.

But the anti-gun advocates, who, if they were honest, would admit that this is just one more step on the road to complete confiscation, are forgetting one very salient point. And that is the very reason why gun rights are so important. . . . .



Gov. Ed Rendell seeks mandate for more gun control in Pennsylvania

Governor Rendell is again calling for changes to Pennsylvania gun laws following the first fatal shooting of an on-duty Philadelphia police officer in a decade.

The governor tells public radio that gun regulation is a touchy subject beyond Philadelphia and its suburbs.

"This is a state with a lot of gun ownership. But I do think the legislators mistake that for thinking that for believing that gun owners don’t want reasonable gun laws that would affect criminals," Rendell said. "So we’re going to try again. But it’s an uphill fight in Harrisburg."

But he said he’ll continue to push for additional local control for the city.

"What I’m going to try mostly to do is convince the legislature to let Philadelphia have the right to pass its own gun laws. We had that, when I was mayor, up until 1996 – then they took it away from us. I’d like them to give us that right back," Rendell said. . . .

I am not sure what one officer being killed in a decade shows regarding gun control, but the officer was apparently killed with a shotgun (see below). I don't recall any laws specifically addressing the ownership of shotguns that was in effect in Philadelphia before 1995 or is currently being proposed if local regulatory control was granted. I hope that Rendell isn't allowed to view a win in the gubernatorial race this fall as a mandate for more gun laws. He was able to use his previous win as a mandate for higher income and other taxes in the state. Here is some info on the shooting:

Officer Gary Skerski, 46, was heading to the rear entrance of the bar in the city's Frankford section about 10 p.m. Monday when a man came out and fired a shotgun blast, striking him in the neck.

"This officer didn't appear like he even had an opportunity to pull his weapon," Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said.. . .



Gov Ed Rendell (Pennsylvania) and corruption issues


Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is in trouble

Can you name a governor who has continually pushed for tax increases, vetoed every tax cut sent his way, received an "f" from the Cato Institute for his economic policies, has a badly deteriorating road system as he takes road reconstruction money to give to public sector unions, had his bigger spending education program rejected by 80 percent of the state's school districts, supported a law that increased the salary of state employees (including the governor's office) by as much as 54 percent, and on and on. I don't agree with many of the complaints that this columnist has about Rendell and I am glad that Rendell has broken many of his promises (e.g., failing to reform health care insurance the way Rendell wanted or failing to push to increase the minimum wage), but then again I am not a Democrat and former Rendell supporter like this columnist is. Anyway, you can judge for yourself whether Rendell is in trouble.