Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Autobiography of a Good Pennsylvania Republican, a Philadelphia Lawyer

George Wharton Pepper. Philadelphia Lawyer: An Autobiography. Philadelphia, Pa: J.B. Lippincott Co, 1944.

The author attended the University of Pennsylvania where is uncle William Pepper was Provost. The author was elected Spoon man in college an award given to a well liked student. He became an attorney and worked at Biddle and Ward.

Pepper argued before the U.S. Supreme Court wearing a brown, instead of the traditional black, suit. Justice Horace Gray proclaimed “Who is the beas who dares to come here in a gray suit?” Pepper lost his case.

Pepper descries his political career as “I never dove into the political stream. At the outset I merely waded in when the water was still. Later, when I went off the deep end, it was as the result of a friendly push.”

Pepper was hired to write a legal brief before the U.S. Senate in support of an attorney who was arguing that Pennsylvania Governor Charles Stone should not be allowed to temporarily reappoint Matthew Quay to the U.S. Senate. The appointment was made during legislative adjournment. Pepper argued that the law required the vacancy to occur during the adjournment Quay’s vacancy happened during the legislative session. The U.S. Senate decided not to seat Quay according to that appointment.

Pepper notes hat Philadelphia’s corruption the was that “the truth is that influential Philadelphians have never been content with corruption; but they have generally been prosperous enough to be contented with their prosperity and too deficient in public spirit to make a substantial effort for good local government.”

There is a joke Pepper writes about a Philadelphia who received $10 from the Democrats to vote Democratic, $5 from the Republicans to vote Republican and $3 from the City Party to vote for the City Party, The voter chose to vote for the City Party as he then viewed them as the least corrupt.

The U.S. Forester Gifford Pinchot accused Agriculture Secretary Richard Ballinger of giving privileges of forest lands to power companies. Ballinger fired Pinchot. Pepper was hired as one of Pinchot’s lawyers in this dispute.

Pepper became Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety during World War I. 15,000 citizens joined in national defense and food supply operations.

In 1919, Governor William Sproul named Pepper to become on of the authors of what was to become 25 proposals of revising the State Constitution. The voters voted there was no need for a Constitutional Convention.

In 1921, Senator Boies Penrose died. The Governor nominated Pepper to take his seat, Opponents claimed Pepper was too closely involved with the Pennsylvania Railroad and other corporate interests. State Senator Edward Vare and his brother William Vare (who would defeat Pepper in a primary four years later) asked Pepper about patronage. Pepper stated he would consult with the county organizations except on Federal Judicial appointments, Edward Vare warned Pepper that “with our power over the organization we can send anybody we want to the United States Senate-anybody.” Pepper noted Vare was stating fact.

In the Senate, Pepper learned there were “Senators who went about their legislative labor as it no spectators were present and those who seemed to derive their greatest satisfaction from the present of a listening throng.”

Pepper voted against unseating Sen. Thomas Newberry of Michigan. Newberry had been charged with corrupt practices for spending $195,000 to win a primary when the law allowed $37,500 in contributions, Pepper believed the money had not been used fraudulently. Newberry later resigned under pressure.

Pepper personally opposed the Dye Anti-Lynching Bill as he believe it was a state concern, He voted for it because “all of the Negros vote back home.” Pepper also supported child labor regulations in keeping consistent with his arguing the Federal government could have “special guardianship” over children and African Americans. He discovered his support for these measures “found no favor with Pennsylvania industrialists.”

Pepper recalls hearing a story where Speaker Joe Cannon once told a constituent who was upset that Cannon did not remember who he was, that “if St. Peter doesn’t remember your name any better than I do you’ll go back to hell where you belong.”

Senator Robert LaFollette once stated he was the opposite of a Senator with convictions for he made it a rule to never vote for a tax measure or against an appropriation.

Pepper found Sen. John Sharp Williams of Mississippi he most eloquent Senator, Medill McCormack of Illinois as “politically experienced, mentally brilliant, and thoroughly equipped for the work of the Senate” and that Frank Brandegee of Connecticut had “one of the keenest minds in the Senate.”

Pepper and Congress dealt with tariff issues. Pennsylvania raw materials manufacturers  and tobacco growers wanted their products on the free list. Western U.S. producers wanted high tariffs.

Pepper won the Republican nomination to his Senate seat by 241,159 votes. Joseph Grundy, a Manufacturers Association and Republican leader and regular Republicans were favorable to Pepper. Pepper supported a candidate than did Grundy for Republican State Chairman This hurt their relations. The Vares tolerated Pepper.

David Reed was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor William Sproul when Senator Alexander Crum died Pepper agreed with this nomination.

Pepper received 300 to 500 letters daily and some days as many as 1,000. Pepper was the Senator who received the most mail.

Pepper observed “that the Senator was most effective who both understood his subject and refrained from wounding the susceptibilities of colleagues who differed from him.”

Pepper noted of Senators that “perhaps his most distinguishing characteristic is lack of perspective” and a “delusion of grandeur respecting the importance of the Senate.”

Pepper handled passage of the Isle of Pines Treaty on the Senate floor. Pepper believed he U.S. had stopped Spanish oppression and should not then impose U.S. oppression. The treaty gave up U.S. claims to the Isle of Pines, which was given to Cuba while Cuba cede a cooling station at Guantanamo to the U.S.

Pepper noted President Warren Harding “always tried in the presence of a controversy to generate an atmosphere which would make agreement possible.”

Pepper believes he could have been reelected if he asked for the Vare’s agreement. Yet he believes that “would have involved so great a sacrifice of independence that a Senate seat thus acquired would not be worth having.”

Gifford Pinchot entered the primary which split the ant-Vare organization vote and also split the Prohibition vote. Both Pinchot and Pepper were prohibitionists. Pepper accepted to be on a ticket supported by W.L. Mellon that slated John Foster for Governor. He realized this was a mistake as running with a state office seeking “multiplies their political liabilities and divides the political assets.”

The United Mine Workes supported Pincot. Pepper made 235 campaign speeches. William Vare won 596,000 vote to 515,000 for Pepper. Vare’s candidate for Governor, Edward Beidelman, lost to Fisher.

The Vares threatened likely Pepper voters with false claims they would be arrested if they voted. The Vare machine distributed circulars falsely claimed to Catholic voters that Pepper favored closing Catholic schools.

Pinchot charged Vare’s election was “partly bought and party stolen.”

Pepper spend his last days in the Senate getting William Kirkpatrick confirmed to a judicial vacancy. Pepper know Vare wanted someone else. Pepper got his appointee confirmed.

Pepper returned to law practice.

During the New Deal, Pepper argued against Congress giving the President law making powers. Pepper also argued that matters of commerce belonged in state legislatures.

Pepper saw labor-management relations and strikes as having “the quality of civil war.” 

Where Rocks, Reptiles, and Republicans Used to Congregate

Wick Griswold. Griswold Point: History from the Mouth of the Connecticut River. Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2014.

Nehantics were the indigenous people living around Griswold Point beside the Connecticut River. The Algonquins called the Connecticut River the Quinneckitikut, or Long River. Pequots were warriors and were driven out of what is now New York State. Pequots often attacked Nehantics.

Dutch arrived in the area in 1614. Captain Block landed in what was the called Block;s Hole and later called Black Hole. Captain Block’s report of plentiful fur animals and friendly natives encouraged the Dutch to create a trading post 50 miles inland into the Connecticut River at what is now Hartford.

The British drove the Dutch out of the area. The Earl of Warwick, Robert Rich, received ownership from the British King of what became Connecticut in 1635. The Earl of Warwick granted a patent to Lord Saye and Sele and Lord Brok to the Connecticut River valley and coast. This would allow British seeking to leave England due to religious conflicts to move there.

The two British Lords hired a Dutch engineer Lion Gardiner to drove away the Dutch using guns and weapons. Fort Saybrook was created. The Pequots were then driven away fro the area.

Colonel George Fenwick in 1637 became the chief administrator of Saybrook Colony. George Fenwick replaced Lion Gardner as Governor of Saybrook Colony, Matthew Griswold became Agent of Deputy to Colonel George Fenwick, George Fenwick and Lady Alice Fenwick brought seeds and plant cuttings to plant in Saybrook. This possibly could have led to the colony’s motto Qui Transtudit Susinet, or Those Transplanted Shall Sustain.

After Lady Fenwick died, George Fenwick returned to England. Matthew Griswld took over government duties. Griswold was given land that today is in Old Lyme through New London. Griswold’s estate was named Black Hall.

Matthew Griswold allowed that land could belong to women whose husbands were still alive, This was not the custom then. Anna Wolcott Griswold, Matthew’s wife, was the first married woman to have titled property. She was accused in 1667 of witchcraft by John Tillerson. Matthew Griswold had Tillerson arrested for defamation of character. The court exonerated Anna and fired Tillerson 12 shillings.

Both Lyme and New London claimed four square miles of Bride’s Brook. The brook was so named when bad weather prevented crossing the brook. Governor John Winthrop officiated a wedding ceremony from the west side of the brook while the couple getting married were on the brook’s east side.

The Colonial Legislature granted both towns two square miles of the disputed land around Bride’s Brook. Yet the towns’ residents could not agree on how to divide the land A skirmish involving sickles and scythes resulted in the New Londoners involved being fined five pounds and the people from Lyme being involved being fined seven pounds. It was then decided that four men, two from each town, would fight for the land. Matthew Griswold II and William Ely fought and won for Lyme and won in two different battles.

Matthew Griswold II defied his father’s wishes to work on the farm and instead went to sea. Swept overboard yet saved by grasping a rope, Matthew II began a spiritual journey afterwards. He was, though, captured and impressed into the British Royal Navy, He deserted or was released on a beach with no money. He joined a privateer that had skirmishes with merchant ships and vessels. When the man next to him was killed, he had another religious realization. He continued fighting and was captured by the French. The French kept him in irons. He was sold to a Spanish army officer who walked him and others over 600 miles with their hands tied behind their backs. The Spanish Territory Governor issued a special warrant that took Matthew III and other captive to Spain to be returned to heir original countries. Matthew II took ill and was deemed beyond recovery, bled for what was then a common medical remedy, nearly bled to death, but recovered. The Captain was impressed with his recovery and  believed Matthew III was blessed. The Captain offered Matthew II a fortune if Matthew III would become Catholic. Matthew II’s mother came to him in a dream and told him to decline the temptations of wealth. Matthew III declined the Captain’f offer, Matthew II returned to Old Lyme in perfect health. Matthew II told his father “my business here was to make peace with you and die.” Two months later, Matthew II died at age 24.

Matthew III’s son John was elected to the Connecticut legislature 28 times and was a County Judge for 29 years. John’s son Matthew IV was a Captain of the Lyme Tran Band militia. Matthew IV was an overseer of the Mohegan Indian Tribe. He argued a legal case on a land rights dispute with the Mohegans. The Court first ruled in favor of the Mohegans. In 1771, the Royal Court ruled in favor of the colonists, thus settling the matter until the 20th century when the Mohegans received a casino as compensation.

Matthew IV was a member of the New Lights, who questioned traditional religious rituals and dogma. Many New Lights opposed the high taxes imposed in 1765 by the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was repealed in 1766 showing the New Lights had political pull. Matthew IV became a Superior Court Judge.

The New Lights believes eastern Connecticut was overpopulated. New Lights formed the Susquehanna Company to encourage migration to Pennsylvania.

New Lights helped elect Jonathan Trumbull Governor and Matthew IV as Lieutenant Governor. Matthew IC later became Superior Court Chief Justice,

Matthew IV was a member of the Committee of Safety. He convinced there be a permanent placement of troops in Lyme during the Revolutionary War. British soldiers tried to capture Matthew IV yet his wife successfully hid him in a sea chest covered by burlap feed sacks. During a second capture attempt, Matthew IV hid underneath linens When a British soldier asked a girl spreading the linens “Did you see Matthew Griswold pass by her?” she honestly answered “No, I did not see him pass” for he had yet to pass by.

Matthew IV provided 60 pounds to fund the first submarine, the Turtle.

Matthew IV was elected Governor in 1785. He proclaimed a day of Tnanks-offerings. He was defeated for reelection by Samuel Huntington in 1786. Matthew IV later became President of the state Supreme Court of Errors and was the Lyme delegate to the U.S. Constitution ratification.

Matthew IV’s son Roger was elected to the U.S. Congress six times as a Federalist. In 1803 Roger was among those proposed that Northeast states succeed from the Union. Roger was elected Lieutenant Governor from 1809 to 1811. He was elected Governor in 1811 and reelected in 1812. Roger opposed the War of 1812 as it hurt New England’s shipping and ship building industries. Governor Griswold declined President James Madison’s request for four Connecticut troop companies to serve with the U.S. Army.

The British burned 28 American ships in Essex and burned some vessels in Brockway’s Ferry across the river in Lyme.

Roger clashed with fellow member of Congress, Matthew Lyon. Lyon accused Roger of enriching himself with his printing company. Lyon spit tobacco juice onto Roger. Roger moved to have Lyon expelled from Congress which failed to get the required two thirds approval with 52 in favor and 44 against. Roger took a walking stick and hit Lyon’s head and shoulders with it.

Roger died while Governor in 1812,

John Griswold began the Black X shipping line in 1823.

Many New Englanders supported the Civil War. John Griswold, son of Colonel Charles Chandler and Ellen Griswold, was a Captain of Company 1 of the 11th Connecticut Volunteers. This company fought in the Battle of Antietam. Most in that company died in battle.

The N.I, and G. Griswold Company in the late 1860s until 1879 was involved in shipbuilding. They built speedy clipper ships.

Florence Griswold donated property to the Lyme Art Association. With this land an art gallery she managed opened. Matthew IX and others formed the Florence Griswold Association that bought the property, paid the bills, and have Florence an income for life.

Matthew IX became a physician. As his hammertoe would have disqualified him from military service, the hammertoe was surgically removed. He served in World War I as a barrage ballon observer determining enemy positions and directing fire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When Republicans Rose Against Other Republicans

Thomas Westerman Wolf. Congressional Sea Change: Conflict and Organizational Accommodations in the House of Representatives, 1878-1912, Cambridge, Ma., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1981.

The organization of modern Congressional leadership resonates from changes resulting from the 1910 House leadership battles.  Congressional leadership structures were reshaped. The author it is uncertain the degree to which the 1910 conflict led to permanent changes in Congressional activities, The author observed Congressional operations have evolved from these 1910 and other past changes. He notes that various accomplishments within Congress that changed its operations between 1880 and 1920 helped shape future Congressional relations amongst its members that continued into the modern Congressional process.

Political conflict amongst Congressional members before 1880 was often determined primarily according to political party affiliation. Bipartisan cooperation began occurring more frequently in the 1880s than existed before, By the early 1920s, bipartisan cooperation increased even more. The 1920s found Congressional decision making as more complicated and decisions were achieved more pluralistically,

National political partisan leaders were losing political power during the 1920s. Congress moved towards more internal processes that were less dependent on which political party members belonged As all of politics became more pluralistic, so did Congress become more pluralistic.

Nelson Polsby noted some traditional 19th century Congressional procedures allowed it to move to greater independence, as evidenced by he 1910 conflicts involving Speaker Joseph Cannon,

Robert Peabody noted that House Speakers from 1890 to 1919 were powerful leaders who exercised strong political powers to gain Congressional actions as the Speakers desired,

There were several theories of Congressional behavior, Some external politics were a major force upon how Congress behaved. Internalists view Congress as operating according to how politics sets its norms and values. Ecologists view Congress as shaped by its environment and its past.

Polsby saw Congress as being developed from its own internal values and they adapting to changes as needed. Polsby viewed Congress as responding to internal values and external political demands. The larger number of House members, compared to the Senate, created complexities unique to the House. The House seniority system created automatic increases in power versus placing power into the personal wishes of leaders such as the Speaker. The Speaker influenced the system through recruiting candidates to run for position and by appointing members to committees according to the Speaker’s personal desires. A Speaker could displease members by appointing others instead of them and doing so by violating past seniority rules and traditions.

There were several changes, some of which were major, in Congressional traditions during 1890 to 1910. These led to member of Congress to achieve greater autonomy and to challenge the existing system as led by the Speaker. While some factors external to Congress influenced the revolt, the revolt against a Speaker was mostly due to internal matters amongst Congressional members.

Richard Fenno observes that changes in Congressional processes such as increased voting according to special interest influences as well as changes in the appropriations procedures, which began in 1885, led to creating the conditions that ultimately restricting the Speaker’s powers in 1910.

Joseph O, Jones noted that coalition building amongst members of Congress led to a new coalition that decreased the Speaker’s powers.

The author views the institutional theory as too vague to explain the 1910 Congressional revolt. The institutional theory is that norms and routines are what guides processes.

Samuel Huntington viewed an institutionalization process as creating stability in Congressional operations. This stability becomes the rational order unless dysfunction enters. Institutionalization makes an organization stable and valid. Polsby observed that the degrees of institutionalization of an organization does not indicate its value or how much power or strength it has.

Congress fits into the rational-legal organization as defined by Max Weber. Weber argued that increased complexities in organizations made them create measures to coordinate themselves Often this involved greater concentration of power.

The revolt against Speaker Cannon was not a random and erratic act. There were many small changes over time within Congress that created the conditions allowing Speaker Cannon to be successfully challenged.

Walter Dean Burnham views the political sysem as static and that Congress and other political institutions reflect the political environment. Burnham sees structural decay as likely occurring over time.

The conservative wing of the Republican Party dominated political power in the early 20th century, Political conflicts over power were mostly within and between separate groups of Republicans. Local interests increased in importance which diminished the importance of national interests.

Douglas Price observed there was a decline in House membership turnover in the early 20th century. Changes in election laws decreased the influence of political power leaders which let members remain in office longer without interference from such leaders. The seniority system lead to career politicians filling important Congressional positions.

When insurgent committee chairmen challenged Speaker Cannon’s authority. Cannon responded by removing them from the chairmanships and appointing his allies in their places. Price, Huntingdon, and Burnham observed that while there were changes in the political power, Congress remained rather insulted from these. The traditional Congressional processes remained. Members would become more individualistically ambitious in the early 20th century than they had before.

Burnham notes the 1896 elections found more House seats that were electorally more competitive in who could be elected. Thus, there were fewer members who did not need to worry as much about reelection.

David Truman observed that interest groups gained effectiveness upon Congress in the early 20th century.

The author believes internal changes within Congress in the early 20th century influenced it more than did external political environment changes. He finds an evolutionary or adaptive model explains how Congress then developed.

The various forces that faced members of Congress affected the decision making process of the House. Each House member had his own goals and political beliefs. Ecologists believe external forces were key. The systemic processes of Congressional organization minimized external forces and led members to be more apt to follow internal demands upon them.

The revolt in Congress diminished the Speakers power and shifted power towards more senior members. the seniority system became a check on the Speaker’s powers.

The increase in the powers of individual members of Congress, achieved at the expense of the Speaker’s powers, changed the social structure of Congress, New norms of behavior emerged. The rise of the seniority system encouraged members to remain in office to gain seniority. More career members of Congress resulted.

Conflict within the House in 1896 to 1920 emerged more from pluralistic disputes than from he previous more partisan disputes. Congress changed how it dealt with and resolved conflicts. It did so by allowing more consensus in policy decisions. The previous use of relying on political coalitions to resolve conflicts decreased. The decaying of national political power further reduced the use of political coalitions to resolve House conflicts. Increased pluralism resulted.

Conflict in Congress from 1878 to 1896 resulted from external and internal sources. The ability of external political powers to influence Congress helped determine how much Congress responded to the desires of these external sources. National political parties were mostly unified on most issues. These national ideologies influenced Congressional behavior.

Civil Service Reform reduced the influence of political party leaders. Congress was responding to public opinion hat favored these reforms. The political party leaders retained some strength as Civil Service reforms were weakened in order to retain the influence of political leaders. Political patronage had some public support, especially amongst the groups gaining from patronage.

Lingering issues from the Civil War made their way into Congressional actions and electoral politics. Tariff issues continued to split Congress and the public. Retaining the gold standard for currency was a major issue.

The 1880s found the Northeast and Midwest electing mostly Republicans to Congress and the South electing mostly Democrats to Congress. Democrats held more “safe seats”. Control of Congress was often determined on how well either party did among competitive seats in New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. From 1876 to 1896, both political parties nominated Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates from these four states. Republican members of Congress tended to form cohesive units. Democratic members tended to have ideological differences that often reflected regional difference on how issues were viewed.

The strong influence of ideology by party identification increased institutional goals while diminishing personal ideology and personal goals. Membership turnover was higher than in the previous three quarters of a century due to reelection defeats and voluntary retirements. Fewer members could create a career in Congress.

Some local political organizations deliberately rotated people serving in Congress. The Maine Republican Party, by contrast, encourage James Blaine, Thomas Reed Nelson Douglas and others o remain in office. The ecologist model serves well in observing how Congress then functioned as a strong reflection from external influences.

Partisanship decreased in the 1910s. Public opinion was less supportive of political party leaders, The percent of voters identifying with a political party diminished. THe rise of Progressive Era issues created more pluralism and less partisanship. Issues of government regulations were determined by pluralistic processes. Economic issues rose in importance. National political power diminished. Congress reflected more segmented and parochial demands and allowed members to pursue more personal goals. Public opinion increasingly distrusted centralized political power and national political parties.

Speaker Cannon blocked passage of some bills supported by President Theodore Roosevelt that were publicly popular. The press was critical of Cannon’s powers and his use of them. The national Democratic Party Platform called for the House to adopt new rules to reduce the Speaker’s powers.

Congressional elections became less competitive. Members could pay less attention to external demands. Members tended to serve more terms in Congress. Congressional conflicts were caused more by parochial interests and personal views.

Democrats in Congress between 1875 and 1895 were political divided. When Democratic majorities existed in Congress, more powers were given to sub-groups and to factionalized groups and to individual members. Decision making in he House was less centralized and ore dispersed. Woodrow Wilson described he House in the 1880s as a Government of Committees. Wilson also observed that the Speaker’s powers to appoint committee members gave the Speaker great power.

Tariff issues divided Congressional Democrats. Committee power was divided to appease both factions. In 1885, Congress moved some appropriations powers, on Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Indian Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, from the Appropriations Committee to other committees Thus, House powers were more dispersed.

Members of Congress set their own rules. Members began looking more towards their own goals for reelection and their own career goals. House rules reflected this. The House from 1878 and 1921 created new process rules. Rep. Thomas Reed, a Republican, led a movement to streamline House procedures. Reed wanted majority rule and curbing the abilities of legislative minorities (which were then usually Democrats) to block bills. Politics dominated this debate as the Republican majority favored majority rule with the Democratic minority opposed it. Reed was elected Speaker. Reed’s rules proposals were enacted which increased the Speaker’s powers. The Speaker commanded great control over legislative procedures. Democrats regained the Congressional majority after the 1890 elections. The Speaker’s powers were then reduced which again resulted from fragmentation amongst the Democrats who wishes to allow their minority groups to have powers.

The author notes this shows Congress was able to enact wide fluctuations in its rules. Doing this became part of its acceptable norm. An acceptable pattern was created on changing rules to manage conflict. The revolt against Speaker Joseph Cannon partially resulted from this pattern,

The strong powers of Joseph Cannon became a national issue. Insurgent members of Congress were generally progressives while Cannon’s supporters were mostly conservatives. THe insurgents hoped President-elect William Howard Taft would side with them. Taft sided with Cannon and with party discipline. Many Democratic members sought an alliance with insurgent Republicans hoping they would ultimately agree to a Democratic Speaker, Vincent Murdock. Murdock declined to run. Cannon defeated insurgent Champ Clark 209 to 166. Cannon and his supporters were then surprised when the House next rejected continuing Cannon’s House rules. Champ Clark proposed new rules limiting the Speaker to appointing only five sanding committees (Ways and Means, Printing, Mileage, Enrolled Bills, and Accounts) and removing the Speaker as a member of the Rules Committee, whose size was increased. This was easily defeated. A Democrat, John J. Fitzgerald, offered a compromise that continued the Speaker’s appointment powers and kept he Rules Committee controlling the legislative process. This passed 211 to 173, Cannon and Taft never reached an agreement with the insurgents. In March, 1910, insurgents successfully passed a rules change increasing the Rules Committee from six to ten members and removing the Speaker as a member. This passed. Cannon remained as Speaker even as insurgents won more rules changes limited Cannon’s powers.

These rules changes reflected greater public participation in politics and increased pluralism existing then, Political party leaders were losing their abilities to half those who deviated from party goals. House members became more individualistic in interests and goals Voters approved by electing more politically independent members of Congress.

After the revolt against Cannon, the House sought new ways to manage conflict and reach consensus. When Democrats gained control of the House following the 1912 elections, they further distributed powers from the Speaker to other leaders. The position of Floor Leader was created. The first Floor Leader, Oscar Underwood, became the dominant power in the House as he also served as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and as Chairman of the Committee on Committees, Democrats met in caucus, The caucus consensus helped guide the legislative process.

The author notes the House can adapt to new needs, Whereas factionalism led to changes in House rules in the 19th century, particularism was a driving force in the 20th century, Congress created a means to handle conflict that fit its needs.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

He Began as a Republican

Leon Panetta with Jim Newton. Worthy Fights. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Press, 2014.

The author served as an intelligence officer and an attorney in the military. After leaving the military, he walked into Sen. Tom Kuche’s office and asked if they had any job openings. They did and he got the job. Kuchel advised Pantetta to avoid the temptations of people who want to give him gifts and buy him meals, informing him “our job is to serve the public interest and the people of California” and to remember “you have to look at yourself in the mirror.”

Panetta then became a Special Assistant to Health, Education, and Welfare Secretary Robert Finch. Panette argued against school “free choice” as it would only lead to continued school desegregation. Nixon did not ie his position and asked that Panetta be removed from job. Panetta resigned his post. He then worked for New York Mayor John Lindsay for a year.

Panetta ran for Congress against incumbent Rep. Burt Talcott. Talcott opposed California accepting Vietnamese refugees because “we have too many Orientals already.” Talcott had won his last election in 1974 by only 2,000 votes out of 150,000 cast against Julian Camacho. Camacho chose not to run again in 1976, so Panetta ran.

Talcott was on the Environmental Action’s “Dirty Dozen” list of members of Congress opposed to pro-environmental legislation.

Panetta’s campaign raised $2,000 and had bills of $2,754 Rep. Phil Burton convinced Speaker Tip O’Neill that Panetta could win. O’Neill visited the district to fundraise. The campaign ultimately raised $180,000. Panetta won 53% of the vote.

O’Neill asked for a vote in favor of a pay raise Panetta voted against it and refused to accept the increased pay.

Panetta worked on protecting California coastal land from oil drilling. He helped create the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Panetta proposed extending Medicare to hospices. He noted this would save funds as traditional care was more expensive. Panetta asked Sen. Bob Dole to sponsor the bill. Dole agreed.

Panetta served and chaired the House Budget Committee His ability to find cost savings in budgets led to President Clinton naming Panetta as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

As OMB Director, he worked on deficit reduction. The Clinton Administration acted so the Federal Reserve would determine their efforts were serious so the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates dow. Unemployment went from 7% when Clinton became President to 4% when he left Wages increased more than the slight increase in inflation. The Dow Jones was 3,242 when Clinton became President was over 10,000 when he left.

Panetta later became President Clinton’s Chief of Staff. James Baker, who served as Reagan’s Chief of Staff, advised Panetta that all communications to the President flow through him.

Panetta learned how to argue for Congressional votes. He asked Rep. Barbara Rose Collins for a vote. She told hi Jesus came to her in a dream and that “God will allow me to support the bill if I get a casino for my district.”

Clinton stood his ground as Congressional Republicans insisted on cutting programs Clinton supported. A Federal government shutdown resulted. Senate Leader Bob Dole agreed to a compromise with Clinton yet Speaker Gingrich did not. Clinton refused to budget. Gingrich finally agreed, realizing Clinton would not budget.

Panetta was a member of the Iraq Study Group that examined how to make progress in Iraq without assessing blame.

President Obama named Panetta as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Pnetta insisted he would tell Obama objective intelligence and tell him the truth. Obama agreed that was necessary.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein was concerned about Panetta’s not being a career intelligence agent, Panetta had participated in intelligence discussions as Chief of Staff and attempted to demonstration his usefulness was as a leader

Panetta created a defined daily schedule as CIA Director. Obama wanted enhanced interrogation procedures stopped. Panetta noted they resulted in little usable information.

Panetta worked on having the CIA, FBI, and NSA better sharing information.

Panetta refused to let the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to name CIA station chiefs. He also disagreed with Blair on Blair’s idea of agreeing with another country not to spy on each other, noting one does not know what the future holds. Panetta was glad when Jim Clapper took over for Blair in 2010.

There was much White House debate on responding to crises in Afghanistan. Obama accepted Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s proposal of sending 30,000 troops with 3,000 troops in reserve.

Among efforts that were successful was strong attacks against Al Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden.

Panetta became Defense Secretary when Gates stepped down Panetta was fine with agreeing to determine how to cut $400 billion from the Defense Department over the next decade, as Obama had promised. Panetta opposes across the board cuts as some areas could be cut more while others might even lead to higher costs if decreased. Panetta also supported allowing gays to openly serve in the military.

Panetta warns about future security risks, including attacks on the Internet, hacking into banks, hacking into the electric grid, etc.

In conclusion, Panetta views that fighting to preserve democracy is a “worthy fight.”

A Democrat Who Liked Republicans Who Became a Republican

S.A. Paolantonio. Frank Rizzo: The Last Man in Big City America. Philadelphia, Pa.: Camino Books, 1993.

Rizzo served two terms as Philadelphia’s Mayor. He then lost two elections seeking to return as Mayor. Rizzo explained that he was willing to give up hosting a radio show that paid five times as much as being Mayor because “I have never seen a Brinks car in a funeral procession.” Yet when the author, as a Philadelphia Inquirer journalist, stated he was going to run for a fifth time in 1991 and the author reported this, Rizzo then denied saying that. Rizzo told the author he had to deny it “or they’ll throw me off the the air.” Rizzo also stated he did not want a correction run, stating of his potential opponents “Hell, no. We’ve got those bastards on the run!”

Rizzo was facing District Attorney Ron Castille in the 1991 Republican Primary. Rizzo tol a reporter that Castille drank too much and claimed Castille had mental issues. Castille admitted there were times he was drinking and had removed his gun. Rizzo, who had been trailing Castille by 24 points in one poll, used these issues, which Castille denied, against him to narrowly defeat him in the Republican Primary with Sam Katz coming in third.

Rizzo in 1976 sued the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pro-Rizzo union supporters blockaded the Inquirer for a day. Rizzo refused to send in police to help the Inquirer. The Inquirer could not gets that day’s newspaper distributed. It took Federal Marshals to break down the blockade.

Frank Rizzo joined the Navy in 1938. He developed diabetes insipidus which led to his discharge for medical reasons in 1939.

In 1940, the Rizzo family moved from South Philadelphia to the more affluent Germantown in Northwest Philadelphia. Rizzo, though, would often rely on his South Philadelphian connections for votes as there were more voters there.

Rizzo’s father was a police officer. Rizzo followed in his father’s footsteps and became one, too. The Republican Party controlled patronage then. Rizzo’‘s local Republican Committeeman, Ernest Lanzetta, and the ward leader Carl Myers, sponsored Rizzo  being hired as a police officer.

Rizzo worked the same four area in Tioga in Northeast Philadelphia for seven years. He was known for constantly walking his beat unlike some officers who tried to hide indoors as much as they could. The police then did not have handcuffs. Rizzo’s nightstick and his large physique helped him in confronting criminals.

In 1944, Rizzo, while off duty, saw a small fire on a store awning and put it out with his bare hands. He suffered some burns. This led to Rizzo’s first mention in the press.

Rizzo boasted he was an honest police officer. He claim to have arrested a Republican political leader while patrolling in Swampoodle. The author believes this was a false boast as Rizzo never was on police patrol there.

In 1950, Mayor Bernard Samuel named Samuel Rosenberg as Public Safety Commissioner.The U.S. Senate and a grand jury investigated Philadelphia police corruption. Three police officers related to the investigations committed suicide. Rosenberg observed that Rizzo had made hundreds of arrests. Rosenberg promoted Rizzo to Acting Sergeant.

Rizzo began making arrests around town in areas where arrests were few. He even made arrests in his father’s beat, breaking into a brothel and numbers operation making arrests that were later dropped.

Rizzo, while making many arrests, did little to combat organized crime or the numbers rackets except for a few minor arrests. District Attorney Richardson Dilworth later suspected Rizzo arrested Jewish organized crime members but not Italian American organized crime members.

Rosenberg observed the Philadelphia Police Department had just 200 vehicles. Rosenberg required police officers to start using their own cars. Rosenberg also wanted  “honest cops”, an image Rizzo attempted to create for himself.

A new city charter removed the office of Public Safety Commissioner. It also created more positions as being determined by Civil Service. Commissioner Rosenberg helped Rizzo when Rizzo passed the civil service for Police Sergeant. Rosenberg then destroyed the list of others who had passed the test. Rizzo then became in charge of the Motor Highway Patrol in South Philadelphia. In 1952, the head of the South Division Detectives, in part in thanks to Rizzo’s father, promoted Frank Rizzo to Acting Captain in West Philadelphia.

Rizzo physically busted his way into several clubs where African Americans were the members, including the Elks. His strong-arm tactics were criticized in the African American press and from several attorneys, such as Cecil Moore. Rizzon continue his raids. Moore, Lynwood Blout, and Harvey Schmidt helped create the Young Independent Political Action Committee which urged voters to withhold support for the Democrats then in power until the police raids abated. The raids continued.

In 1952, Rizzo transferred to the Center City district. Rizzo lead crackdowns on vice. Rizzo testified before a U.S. Senate Committee that the Philadelphia Police were doing their jobs.

Rizzo, to satisfy District Attorney Dilworth, arrested some Italian Americans involved in illegal numbers. Dilworth believes Rizzo meet with mob leaders and planned who would be arrested ahead of time.

Rizzo was upset that the Irish police officers and the Jewish police officers had their own organizations but not the Italian Americans. He was also insulted by the ethnic abuse he and other Italian Americans received from other officers. Rizzo helped form the Custodis Pacis open to any Italian American in law enforcement or fire fighting. He formed it with his brother Joseph, a firefighter, and Armand Della Porta, an Assistant District Attorney. Della Porta defeated Frank Rizzo in becoming the organization’s first President.

Rizzo did not like homosexuals. He raided bars and clubs frequented by gays,

A stripper Blaze Starr claimed Rizzo had sex with her after arresting her. Other officers report Rizzo wasn’t even there when she was arrested. Starr passed a lie detector test offered by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As critics complained of Rizzo’s abuse of civil liberties, Rizzo became an issue. Both nominees for District Attorney, Democrat Victor Blanc and Republican Wilhelm Knauer,  in 1955 supported Rizzo. Rizzom according to the author, had become “a political symbol. Removing him could have been disastrous” for a public figure.

Rizzo objected tot military police patroling Philadelphia streets. He told Navy officials that the sailors often were the cause of problems. Rizzo saw five Navy corpsmen throwing trash and insulting people from their car. Rizzo pursued them in a taxi, beat them up, and arrested them. The Navy Base Commander complained about Rizzo’s behavior and brought charges against Rizzo. Police Commissioner Tommy Gibbons later stated Rizzo “beat those sailors for no reason.” The charges were dismissed by a Magistrate Judge.

It was common street knowledge that Rizzo and mob boss Angelo Bruno in 1960 made an agreement tht neither would bother the other. The mob was relatively peaceful then. Rizzo did little in arresting organized crime members.

Cecil Moore was elected to lead the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP. Moore made the group more activist with pickets and demonstrations. Mayor James Tate had made Rizzo a Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of uniformed police. Rizzo  Moore denounced Rizzo’s lack of education for not finishing high school as not being qualified. Moore also claimed Rizzo was overly aggressive in his police tactics. Moore used Rizzo, according to the author, “as a symbol for white oppression being practiced by the Democratic Party.”

A confrontation between a white police officer and two intoxicated African Americans witnessed by several escalated into a riot. Rizzo personally led 600 police officers, with Rizzo marching in front of them, to the area. Their presence did little as looting continued behind the police march. Rizzo was instructed not to use force. Rizzo was upset. The rioting continued until all the businesses along Columbus Avenue has been looted.

Moore later led a demonstration against the all-white Girard College. Rizzo again was in the forefront leading the police against the demonstrators.

Rizzo raided the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led nationally by Stokely Carmichael and had four members arrested for stolen dynamite The SNCC was involved in riots in Detroit and Newark yet its Philadelphia presence had been crushed by Rizzo and the police.

MayorJames Tate named Rizzo as Police Commissioner and gave him “a free hand” in running the Police Department. Rizzo switched his voter registration from Republican to Democrat.

Rizzo arrived wearing his helmet in news casts of any disturbance. As rioting eluded Philadelphia, Rizzo won popular support. A 1967 poll showed 84% of those polled approved of Rizzo while only 3% disapproved.

Tate ran for reelection. The polls had him losing to District Attorney Arlen Specter, who was running on “law and order”. Tate pledged to keep Rizzo as Police Commissioner. Specter would not make the same promise. This and an issue on parochial school funding let Tate gained in the polls and win reelection.

W.Wilson Goode and Hardy Williams were among the creators of the Black Political Forum. This group organized in hopes of preventing Rizzo from becoming Mayor.

In 1967, a group of protesters, many high school students, at the Philadelphia School Board were met by police. Rizzo is heard on tape commanding the officers to “get their Black asses.” Some protestors were beaten and arrested. Mayor Tate wanted to remove Rizzo. Ironically, Deputy Mayor Charles Bowser, the first African American Deputy Mayor, told Tate that phone calls were pouring in supporting the police. Tate decided not to remove Rizzo. Rizzo was unapologetic, proclaiming “the only thing these Black power leaders understand is force.”

Rizzo ran for Mayor. His campaign manager Al Gaudiosi, a former reporter, wrote for Rizzo right-wing speeches that made sweeping statements yet had few details, State Rep. Hardy Williams and U.S. Rep. Bill Green also ran. There were rumors that Rizzo supporters contributed to Williams’ campaign as he was drawing away votes from Green, who was Rizzo’s main rival. The Rizzo campaign finance records were destroyed before his can be confirmed or not.

Risso’s campaign headquarters were in Frank’s Collision Services which provided the space for free. Frank’s Collision Services received almost $40,000 in city contracts.

Rizzo won he primary. Rizzo ran on a law and order theme along with a pledge of no new taxes His Republican opponent, Thacher Longstreth, observed that Rizzo got 30% more press than Longstreth received. Rizzo had developed good relations with the press in getting them police stories. These good relationships continued when Rizzo was a candidate. Rizzo won the general election.

The Philadelphia Inquirer published a series of articles on police corruption while Rizzo was Commissioner. Rizzo responded by naming 214 officers who had been fired or suspended for accepting payoffs under his watch as Commisisoner.

Rizzo hired several reporters while he was Mayor. A problem with this for Rizzo was the new reporters did not have the same past relationships with Rizzo.

.Rizzo stopped giving city government legal contracts that had already paid $350,000 to Richardson Dilworth’s law firm. He then provided $185,000 of legal contract work to the law firm of City Council President George X. Schwartz.

Rizzo hired friends as top aides. None of them were African American or female.

Taylor Grant, a radio commentator critical of Rizzo, was taken off the air when Rizzo’s Finance Diretor Lennox Moak convinced Grant’s advertiser, the Philadelphia Gas Workers, to buy out Grant’s contract

Kent Pollock wrote about Philadelphia police corruption We followed by police officers and badly beaten. He believes it was police officers who beat him.

Greg Walter wrote an article on Rizzo and police corruption that Philadelphia Magazine was convinced to not publish.. The Philadelphia Bulletin then hired Walter. Walter was researching police corruption when he was arrested and the convicted of recording parties without their permission, The Bulletin dropped Walter. The Philadelphia Inquirer hired Walter. Water wrote how Richard Sprague, who had prosecuted Walter, stopped a homicide investigation as a favor to former State Police Commissioner Rocco Urella. Sprague sued the Inquirer in a case that last over two decades.

During Richard Nixon’s 1972 Presidential reelection campaign, Nixon ordered that either he, Campaign Manager John Mitchell, or White House Chief of Staff John Ehrlichman give at least weekly calls to Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and Frank Rizzo. Rizzo advised Nixon not to attempt to get the minority vote as Nixon wouldn’t get it and he would lose supporters for trying to get it.

The Philadelphia Inquirer criticized that Rizzo could not afford a house being built for him on his Mayor’s $24,000 a year salary. Al Pearlman, a friendm was building the house. RIzzo declined to move into the house. Pearlman later built another house for Rizzo.

Democratic City Chairman Pete Camiel wanted to run F. Emmett Fitzpatrick for District Attorney. Rizzo wanted his Managing Director Hillel Levinson slated instead. Rizzo and Deputy Mayor Philip Carroll offered Camiel some contracts where he could pick architects for projects and jobs he had been giving to Council President Schwartz if Camiel would switch to Levinson. Camiel declined.

Rizzo had police surveillance conducted on Camiet. It was later disclosed that this political unit also spied on Richardson Dilworth, Arlen Spector, and John Cardinal Krol, among others.

Camiel went public with Rizzo’s bribe offer for Levinson. Rizzo and Carroll denied making the offer. The Philadelphia Daily News offered to give them lie detector tests. Rizzo accepted, stating he had “great confidence” in polygraphs and “if this machine says a man lied, he lied.” The tests showed Rizzo and Carroll lied and Camiel told the truth. Rizzo responded “I told white lies..sure I lied.”

Rizzo endorsed Republican Spector’s reelection for District Attorney over Fitzpatrick Spector’s grand jury on Rizzo’s political police spy squad criticized Rizzo for “un-ponderable violations of process” yet it recommended only that police units not be used for personal or political use No indictments resulted.

Fitzpatrick was elected.

In 1974, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission released a report on the Philadelphia Police. It claimed “police corruption in Philadelphia is ongoing, widespread, systematic, and occurring at all levels of the Police Department...ranging in rank from Policeman to Inspector.” Police Commissioner Joseph O’Neill had fought cooperating with the Commission. The state Supreme Court ordered the Police Department to provide information. Four state troopers working on the investigation were beaten by Philadelphia police officers with one chained to a chair for several hours.

A Special Prosecutor, Walter Phillips, Jr., was named. City Solicitor Shaldon Albert had the court prohibit expanding Phillips’s investigation into municipal corruption, Rizzo’s state legislative allies, Sen. Buddy Cianfrani, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, and Rep. Stephen Wojdak, House Appropriations Committee Chairman, kept funds to the investigation minimized. Phillips had 11 investigators, one tenth the number a similar probe in New York City had.

The Rizzo Administration announced 280 menial labor jobs would be available at $6,400 a year on a first come, first serve basis. Thousands of mostly African Americans stood for hours in the rain and cold only to learn the jobs had been already been awarded by those politically connected to Rizzo.

Rizzo faced State Sen. Louis Hill, Richardson Dilworth’s son-in-law, in the 1975 Democratic Primary for Mayor. Rizzo raised almost $1million, mostly from large business interests Nicholas Caramandi, an organized crime member who later turned informant, would later state that the Philadelphia ob donated large amounts of cash to Al Pearlman who used it for Rizzo’s election day operations. Many city employees worked for Rizzo on election day.

Rizzo with 53% defeated Hill with 43%. Most of Rizzo’s slate, including Al Pearlman for City Council, won.

Phillips indicted Managing Director Hillel Levinson for accepting illegal political contributions for many of the same architectural contracts which Rizzo had offered to Camiel. Levionson argued every city handled architectural contracts in that manner. Levinson argued Phillips made the indictments as a ploy to help Lou Hill win the primary.

Philadelphia Inquirer Laura Foreman wrote favorable articles of Rizzo and Cianfrani even while its editorials supported the Phillips investigation and urged Cianfrani to keep it funded. Former Mayor Joseph Clark accused Foreman and Cianfrani of having an affair. Foreman kept writing articles that helped Rizzo’s campaign strategies.

A month after the primary, Cianfrani ended all funding for Phillips’s office. Phillips had made nine convictions yet only five were on major crimes. Eleven pled guilty to minor crimes.

Sam Dash researched the Phillips Commission. Dash criticized that Phillips had a budget of $500,000 which was a third of what Dash believed was necessary. Dash also criticized Phillips for politicizing his investigation for trying to expand it beyond police corruption into official corruption.

Rizzo moved into a prestigious renovated home in Chestnut Hill. He ignored press inquiries into how he could afford it.

Rizzo faced Republican Tom Foglietta and Philadelphia Party candidate Charles Bowser (who would finish second) in the general election. Bowser claimed the city government was $65 million in debt. Rizzo won the election. Two weeks after Rizzo’s inauguration, Lennox Moak announced the city was $80 million in debt. Emerging legisation was needed from the state to raise taxes.

Rizzo called for a 29.3% increase in the real estate tax and increasing the wage tax from 3.3% to 4.3%.

There were public outcries over the tax increases. The Philadelphia Party, Americans for Democratic Action, and other activists began a petition to recall Rizzo as Mayor. The public was also upset over the police inaction on demonstrators who blocked distribution of the Philadelphia Inquirer. When Shelley Yanoff saw the blockage, she was angered and became the leader of the recall. A poll found 57% favored removing Rizzo as Mayor.

Rizzo’s allies took control of the Philadelphia Democratic Committee. They ousted Pete Camiel and made Martin Weinberg the new Chairman.

Rizzo asked for 15,000 Federal troops to protect Philadelphia on the July 4, 1976 Bicentennial. RIzzo feared disruptions. The U.S. Justice Department denied Rizzo this request No disruptions occurred. Attendance was less than expected, in part driven away from some of the fears Rizzo raised.

Federal investigators leaned Laura Foeman indeed was Cianfrani’s girlfriend and that she had received over $10,000 in gifts from Cianfrani. Cianfrani was later found guilty of hiring ghost employees.

Rizzo sought to have the City Charter changed so he could run for a third term. This was not approved.

African Americans began registered to vote in large part in anger against Rizzo. After this voter registration drive, the percent of registered voters in Philadelphia who were African American increased from 32% to 38%.

Rizzo ran for Mayor as in the Democrat Primary in 1983, having been unable to run for a third term in 1979, He unsuccessfully tried to repackage himself, according to the author. Wilson Goode won the primary with 53% to Rizzo’s 43%.

Rizzo ran for Mayor in 1987 as a Republican. Goode won again with 51% to 49% for Rizzo.

Rizzo ran for the Republican nomination for Mayor in 1991, Rizzo defeated Castillo in that primary by 1,429 votes out of 300,000 cast. Rizzo died of a massive heart attack before the general election.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How to School a Republican

The solutions to Harrisburg’s education crisis are simple. Often we look at complex problems and analyze the multiple challenges the problems present and believe there is only a complex solution to a complicated problem. That is not necessarily true.

A main problem is too many Harrisburg students are leaving high school without the proper knowledge required to enter college or without adequate preparation for employment. This is because schools often pass along failing students until they either reach the age to drop out of school or they graduate them without providing them with the necessary education.

The solution can be achieved by administrative changes. Schools should schedule their basic courses, such as English, Mathematics, and Sciences at the same time for each grade. Each student attends the grade level of each course that is appropriate for each student’s level of achievement. No student is promoted to the next level until proficiency is achieved at the level in which the student is currently enrolled.

Most people excel in a subject and often find another subject more challenging. This system recognizes that. Students who are exceptionally bright in a subject should be promoted more quickly. Holding them back often makes them bored. They often perform worse in a subject where they already understand the material. They may become bored, pay less attention, fail to apply themselves. and thus underachieve.

The key to this system is to not promote students in each subject level before they are ready for the next level. If they can not achieve at a lower level, they are bound to fail at a higher level. Promoting students to levels that are beyond their grasp virtually guarantees they will never catch up. Yet this is what often happens. When a student is promoted to the next grade for all classes yet is deficient in a specific area, that deficiency generally become greater in higher grades.

Students should be assigned to their age appropriate home rooms. This lessens the stigma students face when they are failed a grade. Everyone of the same age is in their age appropriate grade level home room. For example, there might be well be a third grader, in third grade home room, who is in second grade English, third grade Science, and fourth grade Mathematics.

There could be high achievers in specific courses who are several levels ahead. There could be students troubled with some areas who will need extra time. The grade level assignments should be what is appropriate for that student. Every student is different.

In summary, what needs to happen is no student only reaches the next level in a subject before the student is ready for that level.

There are other ways to improve Harrisburg schools that are simple to implement yet more difficult to achieve. The schools need better funding, and those funds need to be spent on improving education. Teacher salaries should be increased. It is hard to attract the best teachers to the schools with the lowest salaries. It is especially hard to encourage our best college students to become teachers when other professions pay much better.

It is interesting to learn the views of others (including policy makers) who live in school districts with higher student achievements whose schools receive more per funds per student.  Some of them, incorrectly in my opinion, argue that the school districts receiving less funds per student who have lower student achievement levels do not deserve to have more funds “wasted” on them. Education seems to be just about the only issue where people look at the problems, see where the difficulties are, and then believe the problems will miraculously improve themselves by neglecting them.

It is true that many Harrisburg students may face more social problems than do many suburban students. Teachers and school administrators alone cannot resolve all these social problems. Yet this should tell us that those with more social problems require more assistance, not less. These are the schools that need more counselors, tutors, and after school programs to further encourage student achievements. If these things do not exist, the alternatives for many students are being on the streets or being home alone.

We need to identify students with learning or social problems and provide them assistance to overcome their troubles. If we do not reach out and help troubled students while they are young, these social problems are very apt to become more costly societal problems in terms of underemployment, crime, etc.

A few decades ago, courts across the nation ruled that the state school funding inequities between richer and poorer school districts were illegal. Pennsylvania found itself on the cutting edge as the courts ruled Pennsylvania’s inequities did not meet the criteria that the courts had found illegal. Since then, the inequities in school funding in Pennsylvania appear to have increased.

There is a current court case that once again is raising the funding inequities in Pennsylvania. It will not surprise me if the courts find Pennsylvania has slid into the realm of illegal inequities. While it may take the actions of courts rather than Pennsylvania citizens acting, this may bring some hope to Harrisburg schools.

A key then will be how that money is spent. Among things needed are improved counseling, nursing, and varied extra-curricular activities for students. Doing this will help address the social problems that face Harrisburg students. Students can learn to rise above their problems. We need teachers, administrators, and counselors who may direct students towards achieving these successes.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Early Rizzo Book Notes

S.A. Paolantonio. Frank Rizzo: The Last Man in Big City America. Philadelphia, Pa.: Camino Books, 1993.

Rizzo served two terms as Philadelphia’s Mayor. He then lost two elections seeking to return as Mayor. Rizzo explained that he was willing to give up hosting a radio show that paid five times as much as being Mayor because “I have never seen a Brinks car in a funeral procession.” Yet when the author, as a Philadelphia Inquirer journalist, stated he was going to run for a fifth time in 1991 and the author reported this, Rizzo then denied saying that. Rizzo told the author he had to deny it “or they’ll throw me off the the air.” Rizzo also stated he did not want a correction run, stating of his potential opponents “Hell, no. We’ve got those bastards on the run!”

Rizzo was facing District Attorney Ron Castille in the 1991 Republican Primary. Rizzo tol a reporter that Castille drank too much and claimed Castille had mental issues. Castille admitted there were times he was drinking and had removed his gun.

Rizzo in 1976 sued the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pro-Rizzo union supporters blockaded the Inquirer for a day. Rizzo refused to send in police to help the Inquirer. The Inquirer could not gets that day’s newspaper distributed. It took Federal Marshals to break down the blockade.