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Mike's Memo Week of September 25, 2017

Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my ...

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Senator Scott Wagner

Credit Downgrade Due to Void of Leadership, Wagner says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2017 Credit Downgrade Due to Void of Leadership, Wagner says HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) voiced his ...

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Likely Next Solicitor General Fought for Nuns, Against Disputed Obama Appointees

Fred Lucas / @FredLucasWH /The Daily Signal Noel Francisco, President Trump's nominee for solicitor general, testifies May 10 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. ...

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ECONOMYNEWS Conservatives Call for Tax Reform to ‘Put Small Businesses Back at the Heart of America’s Economy’

Rachel del Guidice / @LRacheldG / The Daily Signal “We spend more on filing taxes every year than we put into innovation in ...

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Why is anyone talking about DACA when the RAISE Act ending chain migration still has not passed?

By Robert Romano at NetRight Daily and Americans for Limited Government “Chain migration cannot be allowed to be part of any ...

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Fundamentally Wrong About Fundamental Rights

By Derek Hunter at Townhall |   Did you realize you have a right to not be offended? That you have a right to other ...

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The Mythical Constitution

Joseph Postell / @JoePostell /The Daily Signal Detail from a frieze depicting the signing of the Constitution decorates the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: Steve ...

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Does the Constitution mean what the Supreme Court says it means?

  By Bryan Fischer at Renew America Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point" Host of "Focal Point" on ...

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Taking the Red Pill: Democrats Are Losing Support Fast

~ Conservative Zone Eight years of job-killing economic policies, failure to close out the War on Terror and Hillary Clinton’s 41 ...

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Family Institute Dropped by Payment Processing Company After SPLC ‘Hate Group’ Designation

Morse: It's convenient for the SPLC to 'stand me up next to a guy with a swastika and a white ...

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Local Shorts

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REPUBLICAN PARTY: The Republican Party has internal rules that Party members (R-Committee) must support the Party’s nominees or else risk being thrown out of the Party.

CONGRESSMAN CHARLIE DENT: Republican Congressman Dent went on national TV and announced that he will not support the Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump.  Trump won anyway.

CHARLIE DENT THE HYPOCRITE: One of Mr. Dent’s  administrative assistants was elected Lehigh County Republican Party head.  Her name is Jessica Bonatai.  Once in office Ms Bonatai has been reportedly moving to remove Trump supporters from the Lehigh County  Republican Committee.  Looks like Charlie Dent saying– do as I say– not as I do!  Also, we are receiving reports that the Northampton County Republican Party Committee is attempting to remove the Bethlehem City Chairman because of his Tea Party connections and support for Donald Trump!

SENATOR PAT TOOMEY: Mr. Toomey squeaked by in his re-election bid.  Mr. Toomey was another Republican who announced that he would not support the Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump.  Mr. Toomey has soured his support with conservatives when he joined with Democrats to push for Gun Control measures.  Mr. Toomey was lucky he was running against ultra-liberal Katie McGinty, or else he may have lost!

 

DENT AND TOOMEY: We are also receiving reports that Charlie Dent and Pat Toomey are supporting the Chester County Republican Party Chairman as the replacement to the State Party Chairman.  The problem here is that the Chester County Chairman refused to support Trump and thus supported Hillary Clinton for President.  And we thought there would be Republican unity?  Don’t these guys know that it was Donald Trump who carried the day for the Republican Party or don’t they give a damn?

 

HARRISBURG: No Tax Increase!  Really?  Turn-pike tolls are going up 6%, the gasoline tax is going up 8 cents a gallon, the tax on diesel fuel is going up 11 cents a gallon. These increases are set to take on January 1st!

 

Northampton Republican Hospitality!!!  Dean Klopp of PA Liberty Alliance

 

STATE SENATOR ROB TEPLITZ: Remember last summer when Mr. Teplitz wanted the police to arrest Dean Klopp and the Liberty Alliance for information campaigning in Teplitz’s neighborhood.  Teplitz did not get his way so he got the Democrat leader, Costa, to send out a threatening letter telling Mr. Klopp and the Liberty Alliance that they were forbidden to enter Teplitz neighborhood, Teplitz’s offices, and campaign events.  Clearly this was an illegal/unconstitutional order that generated lots of publicity.  In November’s elections, Mr. Teplitz lost re-election to Mr. Disanto by over 3500 votes.  Aahh, but Democrats take care of Democrats—Rob Teplitz was given a legislative administrative job with a $5,000 raise.  So much for the public’s opinion!

Long time East Penn School Director Francee Fuller

EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT: Long time School Director Francee Fuller resigned her post as School Director.  The School Board appointed Rev. Wally  Vinovskis as her replacement over several other candidates.  Now we recognize that Wally Vinovskis is a gentleman and considered a nice guy, however, he was voted off of the School Board during the last two election cycles.  That pretty much tells the story of what the voting public wants.  However, Mr. Vinovskis time on the School Board for two different appointed terms clearly displayed that he was a blind follower/supporter of the School Administration and Teacher’s Union.  This is no doubt why the public did not elect him, not once, but twice! But as we know, Progressives don’t care what the public wants!

 

EMMAUS: The Borough Council, by Ordinance #1150, voted on December 5th to raise Real Estate Taxes to cover a $750,000 short fall in the 2017 Budget.  A GUILTY CONSCIENCE?

                                       

Councilman Nate Brown and Borough Manager Shane Pepe both stated that this tax increase had nothing to do with the Borough’s purchase of the $3 Million Rodale Complex at 33 Klines Lane!

Emmaus buys Rodale

How dumb to they think the public is?   Let us review some facts; in December of 2014 Council voted to purchase the Rodale complex for $2,950,000 despite public opposition to the purchase.  Council told the public that the upgrade work on this project would be done in-house that would not cost the taxpayer. The purchase was finalized on January 15, 2015.  However, once purchased we began to note that the Borough was in need of more finances to go forward with the project.  On July 28, 2015 the Borough floated a 11 year Bond Issue for $5.79 Million Dollars.  Clearly this $3 million project was now close to $6 million and growing.  Now to our point, to borrow almost $6 Million will have  interest costs as well as hidden construction costs (we are now hearing that this $3 Million project is now at $12 Million and growing).  If the Borough had not borrowed $6 Million there would not be the interest costs (as well as the interest costs on current debt) and a tax increase would not be necessary.  For Mr. Brown and Mr. Pepe to say the tax increase has nothing to do with the Rodale purchase is playing liars poker with the public.  As the old saying goes—“figures don’t lie but liars figure!”  Then we still have the MAJOR issue of the Fire Service!  More on that shortly.

Piles of Money found in Emmaus!

EMMAUS AGAIN: The Borough also voted  on Ordinance #1151, to create a Water and Sewer Capital Structural Improvement Fee.  This new fee will be $49 per household to generate more revenue for the Water and Sewer system.  We gather that the claim is that Allentown is improving their system and will assess Emmaus for their share of the project.

BACK TO THE BOROUGH/RODALE PROJECT: When the Emmaus Borough Council held its Public Hearing on this purchase/project, the public came out and packed the room.  Many were concerned with the need, costs, and major concerns with public safety.  Those public concerns were ignored and Council voted to approve this project that same night.  Now we (Commentator) are not rendering an opinion on the overall project, but are concerned with mounting costs and the cost of the Fire Service being compromised.

EMMAUS FIRE SERVICE: One problem with this project is the two sets of railroad tracks along the property.  In case of a fire, with the relocation of the Fire Department to this new location, a train coming through town will delay the fire trucks responding to the fire.  It is a well known fact that for every minute delay at a fire—the more loss of property and life will occur. This is why people want the Fire Department to stay at its current location in the center of town.  At this current location, the Fire Department response time is 4 minutes.  According to Councilman Brown, the regional average is 14 minutes and Brown expressed that we could live with being closer to that 14 minute average!

Emmaus Councilman Nate Brown

ISO REPORT: Citizens pay Fire Insurance rates that are established by the ISO Report, a report that evaluates the response time and quality of your Fire Department.  Emmaus once held the lofty position of being ranked 3rd -to-5th place in the entire state.  With the new proposed relocation of the Fire Department to the Rodale site at Klines Lane that ranking will surely fall and your Fire Insurance Rates will needlessly rise, unless that 14 minute response time is reversed back to the lofty time frame previously held.  PLEASE NOTE—THE CHANGE TO KLINES LANE HAS NOT YET TAKEN PLACE,  SO THE RATINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED YET,  BUT SURELY WILL WHEN THE CHANGE TAKES PLACE!

SOME EMMAUS COUNCIL/FIRE DEPARTMENT HISTORY: The Reiss Family has over 200 years (combined) Fire Service to the Emmaus Community.  Jesse Reiss was a Charter Member of Fire Company #2.  Jesse’s son, Henry Reiss was Fire Chief from 1954 to 1972.  Henry’s son, Bobby Reiss was Fire Chief from 1972 to 2001.  Bobby Reiss’s son Jimmy Reiss was Fire Chief from 2001 until the recent disputes with Borough Council.  Bobby Reiss was so well respected state-wide that he was bestowed the title “Chief Emeritus for Life.”  Bobby was once considered for the position of State-wide Fire Chief.  He was responsible for the development of the renowned Emmaus Fire Training Center.  Many fire departments, including big city departments, sent their personnel to Emmaus for training.  The Training Center was eventually named after Chief Bobby Reiss.  So why do we have disputes between  Borough Council on the one hand and  Bobby Reiss, and Jimmy Reiss?  The answer to that is not publicly known but there are some insights.

Seeds of dispute and/or retaliation:   In 1978 Chief Reiss proposed the consolidation of Emmaus’ 3 Fire Departments into one centrally located Fire Department.  This move was opposed by the Borough Council but was placed on the ballot as a Referendum Item.  The Referendum passed and the consolidation took place successfully saving the taxpayers money.  One would think that Bobby Reiss would be thanked for this and his habit of keeping his department’s budget expenses under budget.  One would think.  But he almost always ran into resistance from Council. It took Council 15 years before they finally gave the Chief a car to respond to fires.  Bobby used to give 90 or more hours a week providing fire service to the Emmaus community, almost never taking a vacation.  On several occasions he asked Borough Council if he could bank his vacation time until he retired.  He received Council’s permission to do so.  When Bobby retired in 2001, the Whitcomb/Neely Administration refused to pay Bobby the money they owed him amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.  In 2011, Council was considering halting the over-night Fire Crew, one that enabled the fire trucks to respond within minutes to an overnight fire.  Councilman Holtzhafer stated that he did not want to pay for firemen sleeping at the station.  This dispute became so vocal and hot that Council had to back down but they played games with the firemen’s compensation.  This ultimately led to the Firemen voting to unionize.  It is thought by some that this is why Jimmy Reiss was dismissed as Fire Chief and that Bobby Reiss was barred from setting foot on the Training Center grounds, a center named after him! But Bobby and Jimmy Reiss had nothing to do with the union vote, in fact as Chief they could not vote because they were considered management.  Other people point to the stories that Borough Manager Shawn Pepe was embroiled in similar disputes with the Fire Department in Berwick where he came from.  Is it true?  Stories persist.

One thing is certain, Emmaus will miss the insights of Bobby Reiss and his son Jimmy Reiss and the community may well pay a price in reduced/delayed services and increased fire insurance rates!

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