Sunday, April 04, 2010

Todd Elliott Koger Position Paper: Top Priorities 2010 Election -- Gun Violence Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

As is always the case at rallies against violence, there will be eloquent and impassioned speeches about the need for self-esteem, the value of education and the importance of conflict resolution. What won't be in the offing are easy answers about how to deal with the plague of gun violence . . . .

The answer is simple. It starts with one man or woman, committed to a set of specific and result-oriented procedures and good faith, coming forward and requesting nothing more than the opportunity to do some good. The answer isn't as complex as local decision makers claim.

We don't need another politician who is visible only before election time, always followed by the media, meeting with the already self-disciplined and organized block watch groups or tenant councils. We need someone welcome by those normally "too hard to reach" because he or she produces tangible results and is trusted as a "homegrown" trying to do some good.

Sometimes just being there, available and willing to help a struggling individual secure a working refrigerator for his Mom, a child's bed for his kid, or curtains/mini blinds for the windows at the individual's girlfriend's apartment, will keep a troubled individual out of harm's way!

What's needed is a trusted advocate steadfast to the challenge of canvassing the most dangerous neighborhood [door-to-door, corner-to-corner, housing-project-to-housing-project] to redress those barriers that have systematically prevented inner-city residents from becoming productive participants in mainstream society.

In short, black fraternities and sororities arose from the hostility students experienced in the early 20th century and its support systems and social networks have shaped and nurtured our youth cultivating many of today's leaders. Through support suppression activities and a "bridge" to prevention, as well as neighborhood reclamation and restoration, job training and support service, one trusted black leader will offer a greater proportion of the region's most needy population opportunity to better interact with society.

Out of the 87 homicides, in 2009, in Pittsburgh, 62 (71 percent) were Black. 55 homicides, in 2009, were Black men.

Todd Elliott Koger is that trusted black leader!

Todd Elliott Koger Position Paper: Top Priorities 2010 Election -- Pennsylvania deserves a budget by June 30 . . . sooner would be even better!

After last year's debacle -- the framework was adopted 101 days late and final details weren't completed until six months past due -- Pennsylvanians are out of patience and eager to see a budget delivered on time!

Reducing the size of the Pennsylvania Legislature raises interesting questions in these difficult economic times. This year, legislators were months behind schedule on their most important job of the year -- adopting a budget. In all of their futile attempts, the main topic of conversation was cutting programs and services.
Todd Elliott Koger a 2010 candidate for the Pennsylvania House (District 24) is ready for a political tussle over: (1) allocations for basic education; (2) whether and how Pennsylvania will tax methane from the potentially lucrative Marcellus Shale formation; and (3) future shortfalls due to federal stimulus funding ending in 2011 and increasing pension demands.

Getting started well ahead of the June 30 deadline is smart. But, just punting the budget to the Senate early to pass along blame for any intransigence is not the answer.

In short, Pennsylvania should enact a severance tax identical to West Virginia's: 5 percent on the value of sale, plus 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet produced, rather than leasing additional state forest land for natural gas drilling.

The severance tax would produce $180 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and increase to nearly $530 million after five years, including 10 percent set aside for local governments (money to shore up a state treasury that faces a projected $5.6 billion gap in 2011 and 2012 resulting from spiraling public pension costs and the expiration of federal stimulus budget aid).

In addition, Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature among the 50 states. Pennsylvania also was first in the percentage of its state budget that is spent on its legislature. But, debate about reducing the size of the legislature generates interesting conversations, i.e. no one has done anything. . . .

Todd Elliott Koger Position Paper: Top Priorities 2010 Election -- 3, 992 Pennsylvania Households Using Potentially Unsafe Heating

Since the passage of Chapter 14 in late 2004, both the rate and number of utility terminations have increased, jeopardizing the health and safety of those households without utility service, particularly in the cold winter months; and thousands of consumers have been denied payment arrangements because of restrictions placed on the PUC.

Act 201 of 2004, known as Chapter 14, went into effect on December 14, 2004, amending the Public Utility Code. Chapter 14 prohibits the PUC from establishing a payment agreement for customers who have defaulted on CAP (Customer Assistance Program) payments.

For non-CAP customers, Chapter 14 prohibits the Commission from establishing a second payment agreement if the customer has defaulted on the first.

In total, as a result of Chapter 14, the PUC has been unable to assist 71,516 customers (non-CAP and CAP customers) who were seeking payment arrangements.

Overall, the termination rate has increased by 86% from 2002 to 2007.

Chapter 14 must go! Joe Preston must go!

The poor and low-income residents of Pennsylvania should be horrified by the hypocrisy of Joe Preston. He was given lucrative campaign contributions from the utility companies in exchange for passage of Chapter 14.

5/13/09 UGI PAC (UGI Corp) $500

5/11/09 FirstEnergy Political Action Committee $1,000

4/27/09 James Michael Love (LOB) $500

4/16/08 NFG PAPAC $500

4/10/08 James Michael Love Energy Association of PA $1,000

4/4/08 N.Source Inc. PAC-PA $750

4/2/08 UGI PAC (UGI CORP) $1,000

3/3/08 FirstEnergy Political Action Committee $1,000

6/22/07 Equitable Resources, Inc. $1,000

6/22/07 NFG PAPAC $1,000

5/16/07 FirstEnergy Political Action Committee $1,000

10/27/06 NFG PAPAC $175

10/16/06 FirstEnergy Political Action Committee $175

10/6/06 Equitable Resources $250

6/15/05 Equitable Resources $250

12/31/04 UGI PAC (UGI CORP) $250

6/29/04 FirstEnergy Committee $500