In either case, citizens lose!
By John Baer – John Baer is a Philadelphia Daily News political columnist.
“Harrisburg’s become a competitive reality show — a bad one.
“It’s a near-comedic contest between state and city government over which is more inept.
“From the ‘burg going bust to the listless Legislature to the guv tied to conspiracy theories, it’s life in a different dimension.
“Take the broke city.
“Its ‘leaders’ can’t agree how to fix it. Its mayor made national news last year by publicly turning to God for help (she prayed and fasted for three days), but she couldn’t part the sea of red ink, and the fiscal plagues kept coming.
“The Legislature voted to take over the city. The guv appointed a receiver. The receiver resigned in frustration, citing “political and ethical crosswinds.”
“And it seems those crosswinds carry an odor.
“The receiver, Philly lawyer David Unkovic, also said, ‘There is so much corruption in this city,’ and asked the U.S. attorney and state attorney general to investigate shady bond deals tied to its collapse.
“Now city officials want a state court to probe what one calls ‘the real circumstances’ behind Unkovic quitting, which could lead to stepping on some large, well-connected toes in political/legal/financial circles.
“Oh, there’s also a legal fight between Mayor Linda Thompson and Controller Dan Miller over auctioning off up to $10 million in cowboy and Indian artifacts.
“I’m not making this up. The stuff was questionably purchased by former Mayor Stephen Reed in hopes of opening a Wild West museum.
“What’s next, high-noon duels at City Hall?
“And how about the Legislature?
“That land of giants still hasn’t done a final redraw of House and Senate seats after the 2010 census. It was due last year.
“Hey, everybody. It’s April!
“Also due last year was a legislative audit of spending and assets for the fiscal year ended last June.
“When I say assets, I mean tons of your money hoarded by ‘leaders’ to spend on whatever they see fit. The 2010 stash stood at $189 million.
“Last week, the Legislative Audit Advisory Committee canceled a meeting. It couldn’t get a quorum. There are eight members. It hasn’t been able to get a quorum since December.
“Finally, Gov. Corbett’s denying managing two departures: Unkovic’s retreat and Joe Paterno’s firing.
“Some, including Philly-area lawyer Mark Schwartz, hired by Harrisburg City Council, claim that Corbett and Republican allies pushed Unkovic out.
“Corbett calls the claim ‘absolutely false.’ Unkovic hasn’t commented.
“And last week, an ESPN magazine article by Don Van Natta Jr. (three times on teams that won Pulitzers at the Miami Herald and the New York Times) suggested that Corbett was central to Paterno’s ouster.
“It quotes former PSU player Bob Capretto saying that Corbett told him the week of the firing, ‘I told them to do it.’ Capretto is quoted saying that Corbett ‘was proud of it.’
“Corbett press secretary Kevin Harley tells me that Corbett did not say that to Capretto and calls the ESPN piece another shot from the grassy knoll.
“So: Do we ever learn the truth about Harrisburg ‘corruption’; does the Legislature ever do anything on time and/or give up its stash; and what’s the next conspiracy to get hung on our guv?
“Stay tuned. I don’t see this show ending soon.”