Friday, February 29, 2008

Watch Tony Phyrillas on TV Sunday

Tony Phyrillas, award-winning political columnist for The Mercury, is featured on "PA Talk Radio" Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

The one-hour program is a videotaped appearance by Phyrillas on "Great Talk Radio with Nick Lawrence" on WPAZ 1370 AM.

Discussion topics include how Pennsylvania voters could determine the Democratic Party nominee for president, stalled efforts on property tax relief and a new poll that says most Pennsylvania residents don't believe Ed Rendell's casinos will result in significant property tax cuts.

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County, Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties and Comcast Channel 78 in the Pottstown area.

Consult your cable guide for the Pennsylvania Cable Network channel on your area.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tony Phyrillas returns to radio and TV

Tony Phyrillas, award-winning political columnist for The Mercury, will be a guest on "Great Talk Radio with Nick Lawrence" on WPAZ 1370 AM Thursday at 4 p.m.

The radio program will also be videotaped for broadcast across the state on "PA Talk Radio" on the Pennsylvania Cable Network Sunday at 6 p.m.

Tony and Nick will discuss how Pennsylvania voters could determine the Democratic Party nominee for president. Other topics include stalled efforts on property tax relief in the state Legislature.

Listeners can call the radio station at 610-326-4000 with comments or questions during the live broadcast on Thursday.

You can also listen to the program on your computer by logging on to and clicking on the "live audio" button at the top of the home page.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Why Conservatives Must Vote

President Barack Obama. President Hillary Clinton.

If you don't like the sound of those phrases, you better show up to vote in November. There's too much at stake to turn the country over to the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate or to a repeat of the Hillary and Bill Clinton years.

Read "Why Conservatives Must Vote in 2008" by JB Williams at

Saturday, February 23, 2008

3 Republicans want to oust Rep. David Kessler

Three Republicans will compete on April 22 for the right to challenge Rep. David Kessler, the Democrat who won the 130th House District seat in 2006.
Before Kessler, the 130th seat was held for 20 years by Republican Dennis Leh, who was ousted in 2006 for his support of the legislative pay raise.

The three GOP candidates are Richard Gokey, an Amity Township supervisor; Aaron Durso, a Birdsboro Borough Councilman; and Billy A. Reed, a Rockland Township businessman.

The 130th House District includes the Berks County municipalities of Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Oley, Pike, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, Union, Birdsboro, Boyertown or Fleetwood.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Berks County GOP holds endorsement convention

From the Berks County Republican Party:

READING - The Berks County Republican Committee held its annual candidate endorsement convention on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Wegman's Restaurant on Route 61.

Candidates on the Republican primary election ballot in Berks County were introduced.

U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach of the 6th District addressed the group outlining his continuing platform and seeking again Berks County support. Toni Gilhooley, candidate for U.S. Congress in the 17th District, spoke for the need to secure this seat for Berks.

On the statewide races, Ron Stanko, Chief deputy attorney general, spoke on the behalf of current Attorney General Tom Corbett and reviewed the aggressive efforts pursued in anti-criminal programs.

Tom Ellis is seeking the position of State Treasurer and addressed the need for professional management of the state's financial resources and improvement in the results of our state trust investments and college financial funds (527's).

Chet Beiler seeking the post of State Auditor General spoke on the issues for a non-partisan watchdog on the use of state funds and clear legitimacy of disbursements.

As to local legislative races, State Sen. Jim Rhoads, R-29th Dist., spoke passionately for continued support of the state senate majority and control of the state budget.

Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-128th Dist., sought support to continue to pursue the issues concerning Berks voters – property taxes being number one priority.

Additionally, speeches were heard from local non-incumbents seeking house seats.

These were Aaron Durso, 130th House Dist., Richard Gokey, 130th House Dist., Gary Day 187th House Dist., and John Schichram, 124th House Dist. Sandy Christman spoke for Dave Argall, R-124th Dist., who is the current incumbent.

There are four Berks legislative areas with primary election competition:

House 124th – Dave Argall, John Schichram

House 125th – Gary Hornberger, James P. McGovern

House 130th – Aaron Durso, Richard Gokey, Billy Reed

House 187th – Gary Day, Allen Cerullo

The committee acted to endorse all unopposed candidates for congress, statewide, and legislative positions. These included, in addition to the speakers: Congressman Charlie Dent, R-15th Dist., Congressman Joe Pitts, R-16th Dist., Candidate for State Senate Steve Fuhs, 11th state Senate Dist., Rep. Jim Cox, 129th Dist., and Rep. Doug Reichley, 134th Dist.

The committee further endorsed Rep. Dave Argall, R-124th Dist., and Gary Day, candidate for 187th Dist.

The committee did not vote on an endorsement for the President of the United States.

"The interest and the participation of the candidates in the process made this the most outstanding endorsement convention I've attended. All in all, 12 very informative presentations were given," stated Jeanne Noll, vice-chair of the committee.

The primary election in Pennsylvania is April 22.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Newspapers urge ban on teacher strikes

The Mercury in Pottstown is urging all 501 Pennsylvania school districts to consider adopting a resolution supporting a ban on teacher strikes in Pennsylvania.

In an editorial in Saturday's edition, the newspaper says, "The argument is not whether teachers are paid too much or too little; the argument is whether labor actions should be allowed to disrupt public education. We believe they should not."

The Bucks County Courier-Times took a similar position on its editorial pages last week after the Pennsbury School Board unanimously adopted the anti-strike resolution.

The Antietam School Board in Berks County may vote on the resolution at an upcoming meeting.

Pennsylvania is the teacher strike capital of the nation, with more than 60 percent of all teacher strikes since 2000 occurring here. Meanwhile, 37 other states have banned teacher strikes.

Read more about the effort to prevent teacher strikes at Stop Teacher Strikes Inc.

Here is the text of the resolution school boards are being asked to adopt:

WHEREAS, teacher strikes and strike threats undermine the ability of Pennsylvania’s school board directors to provide children with a quality public education at an affordable price, and
WHEREAS, retroactive teacher contract payments can lead to large spikes in school property taxes, and
WHEREAS, thirty-seven (37) other states already guarantee students the legal right to receive a strike-free public education, and
WHEREAS, there is no evidence to suggest that teacher strikes and strike threats improve the quality of education delivered to Pennsylvania’s students, and
WHEREAS, public employee strikes constitute an actionable breach of duty to members of the public and create community resentment and conflict, and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania ranks #1 in the nation for teacher strikes each year with tens of thousands of affected students and families, and
WHEREAS, seven out of the top ten states in the U.S. (70%) for highest average teacher salary prohibit strikes (source: NEA 2006-2007 salary rankings), and
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania State Constitution mandates that the general assembly provide for a “thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth”, and
WHEREAS, compulsory (last-best-offer or issue-by-issue) binding arbitration as a mechanism to resolve teacher contract disputes is a flawed idea for taxpayers because it strips away the voice of the people’s duly elected school officials;

RESOLVED, that the [Name] School District, by a majority vote of its Board of Directors, demands that the Pennsylvania State Legislature enact House Bill 1369 from Chief Sponsor, Rep. Todd Rock, to make teacher strikes and retroactive contract payments illegal, while retaining fiscal authority over labor costs with the people’s duly elected school officials;
Signed this [date] in the year [year]

Signature & Title

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Watch Tony Phyrillas on PCN

Tony Phyrillas, political columnist for The Mercury in Pottstown, will be a guest on the "Journalists Roundtable" program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network on Feb. 14.

The one-hour program hosted by Bill Bova is shown Thursdays at 8 p.m. on cable systems throughout Pennsylvania. The program will repeat Sunday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.

In addition to Phyrillas, the panel will include Tracie Mauriello, who covers state government for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Chris Lilenthal of the online news service

PCN is shown on Comcast Channel 98 in Berks County, Service Electric Cable Channel 23 in Berks/Lehigh counties and Comcast Channel 78 in the Pottstown area.

Consult your cable guide for the Pennsylvania Cable Network channel in your area.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ban Teacher Strikes in Pennsylvania

StopTeacherStrikes Inc. is asking Pennsylvania's 501 school districts to adopt a resolution asking Pennsylvania elected officials to ban teacher strikes.

Pennsylvania public school teachers are among the highest paid in the country, with an average salary of $54,000, but Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in teacher strikes.

Thirty-seven states have passed laws banning teacher strikes. All of the remaining states that allow teacher strikes combined still had fewer strikes as Pennsylvania over the past decade.

The Pennsbury School Board in Bucks County is the first school board in the Pennsylvania to adopt the anti-strike resolution.

Simon Campbell, who heads the grassroots movement to ban teacher strikes, posted the following information about the campaign at the group's Web site.

He also notes that the local teachers union is upset with the Pennsbury decision.

The Bucks County Courier Times is also on board with the strike ban with an editorial, "A strike against strikes."

"The Pennsbury School Board took a public stand on an important issue where many week-kneed state legislators will not," Campbell says. "They are now sending a copy of their signed resolution to Gov. Rendell and all Bucks legislators. This activity helps put pressure on the legislature. We encourage all activists to contact their local school board to do the same thing as Pennsbury did."

Fiscally responsible school board directors should have no problem passing this "no-brainer" resolution, Campbell says.

Part of the reason we encourage school boards to take matters into their own hands is because their monopoly lobbying association, the PSBA (who are funded by the tax dollars they receive from school districts), show no leadership, according to Campbell.

The PSBA's official position is that they are forming a task force, to launch a committee, to organize a sub-committee, to create a study group - who will report three years from Sunday as to their position," Campbell notes.

Visit the Stop Teacher Strikes Web site here to download a copy of the resolution for distribution to your local school board.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh, No! Dante Santoni is running again

State Rep. Dante Santoni Jr. is running for a 9th term in the state House, according to The Reading Eagle.

No surprise there. Santoni, a Democrat, has been feeding off the public trough most of his adult life.

Santoni told reporter Mary Young that he's the right man to help get these things done because he has 15 years of experience in the House and inside knowledge of his district.

"I still remember where I came from," Santoni told the newspaper. "I've gotten to know the concerns of my constituents very well over the years. I listen to them and bring their concerns to Harrisburg. I will continue to fight for them."

What has Santoni been fighting for in Harrisburg? He has promised to deliver property tax relief in each of his first 15 years in Harrisburg, but has failed to deliver on his promise for 15 consecutive years. How many chances do you give somebody to fail?

His major accomplishments in Harrisburg? He voted himself a pay raise in July 2005 and took the money as unvouchered expenses, a practice the state Supreme Court ruled was illegal. He also voted to increase his taxpayer-paid pension by 50 percent. He has accepted annual pay raises (known as COLAs), bringing his annual salary to $76,163.

Santoni has held the 126th House District seat since 1993. He came close to losing his seat in 2006 when the majority of Democrats in the district voted against Santoni in the May primary, but the rest of the vote was split among two challengers, giving Santoni another term.

Santoni is consistently ranked among the worst lawmakers in Pennsylvania.

Two nonpartisan government watchdog groups released reports in 2007 ranking all 253 members of the Pennsylvania Legislature on a variety of issues. The PACleanSweep study reviewed voting records to determine which legislators served their constituents well or hurt their citizens by raising taxes or approving salary increases and other perks for themselves.

A study by DemocracyRisingPA evaluated how often legislators voted with party leaders, showing a lack of independence and the willingness to be influenced by career politicians once they get to Harrisburg. Santoni was ranked near the bottom.

Santoni was among the 20 lowest-ranked legislators on the PaCleanSweep survey of all 203 House members.

WGAL-TV 8 uncovered that Santoni was among the biggest abusers of taxpayer dollars to promote himself on television among all members of the Legislature prior to the 2006 election.

Here's some more lowlights about Santoni from previous posts at the TONY PHYRILLAS blog:

Santoni among worst legislators in Pennsylvania

Memo to Santoni: Thanks for nothing

PAY IT BACK campaign kicks off

The people who brought you Act 1

Punish politicians for property tax relief hoax

Dante Santoni soaks up taxpayer dollars

Take my legislators, please

Rep. Dante Santoni is a phony

Still undecided about your legislator? Take this test

Berks County is scraping the bottom of the Legislative barrel

The Charmed Life of a Pennsylvania Legislator

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blame lawyers, bankers for defeat of tax elimination plan

Two groups representing lawyers and bankers in Pennsylvania are thanking their members for helping defeat a plan by Rep. Sam Rohrer to eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania.

Read about it at TONY PHYRILLAS

Also check out the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition Web site and blog to for an excellent analysis by David Baldinger of last week's debate in the Pennsylvania House.

April 22 is primary election day in Pennsylvania. It's your opportuninity to decide the future of state representatives who don't listen to what their constituents are saying. Very few incumbents can make the case they deserve reelection.