Friday, August 18, 2006

State Rep. (District 24) Joe Preston Hypocrite -- Utility Terminations, Act 201, Campaign Contributions

The poor and low-income residents of Pennsylvania State Assembly District 24 should be horrified by the hypocrisy of Joe Preston who parlayed his leadership position within a committee into an opportunity for lucrative campaign contributions from the utility companies.

Joe Preston wants you to believe that Act 201 protects paying customers from higher bills. With few, if any, humanistic considerations, he mistakenly believes the only problem associated with the poor and low-income freezing to death isn't a human problem but rather a problem of energy industry profits.

In short, Mr. Preston wants the voters of Aspinwall, East Liberty, East Hills, Lincoln-Lemington, Lincoln Park, Highland Park, Homewood, Point Breeze, and Wilkinsburg to gloss over the plight of those without heat and electric. He is dehumanizing the poor and low-income as "deadbeats" leaching off "good customers."

However, poverty isn't about people being bad or making bad choices. It is about having corrupt and decadent social systems that make people unfathomably rich at the expense of the rest of us.

To illustrate and humanize this issue, one must look at who is really hurt by Act 201. According to 2002 data from Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) of Pennsylvania, of the low-income households that received assistance, 80 percent of those households had either an elderly or disabled family member or a child under five.

A report issued by State Representative Dwight Evans estimated that statewide at least 20,000 households went without utility service. Additionally, the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 19, 2005, said that number multiplied as a result of utility companies exercising their rights under Act 2001.

Todd Elliott Koger believes District 24 needs a representative who will lead the fight to guarantee a future where our poor and low-income elderly, disabled, and children have heat and electric when they sleep at night, food to eat, health insurance, good schools, and all the necessary things to live meaningful life.