Turkey, anyone?


It is the day of turkey! Thanksgiving is the day on which a majority of Americans will feast on turkey.

Some say that Benjamin Franklin promoted the fowl to be the national bird, though “ … the idea that one of the more brilliant founding fathers, in his infinite wisdom and wit, wanted the National Bird to be the turkey … is completely false.”

He further wrote, “He (the turkey) is … though a little vain & silly … ” — perhaps that’s how the term “turkey” came to also mean “a person who does something thoughtless or annoying” or “an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual.

On the topic of turkeys, these phone calls from automated turkeys using different phone numbers were diverted to our voice mail today.

Seriously! Does anyone think that the Social Security Administration sounds like this? Or that the Administration will have someone call today? And our persistent caveat:


Columbia’s own turkeys | We’ve heard it said that no question is a stupid one, but it still boggles our mind that Columbia’s mayor had the audacity, temerity, impertinence, nerve, effrontery, gall, contemptuousness or ignorance to suggest that Wednesday night’s Zoning Hearing Board should not be live-streamed or recorded. Early in the meeting he posited, ” Since this is a judicial hearing, is it permitted to be broadcast?

Can public meetings be recorded? YES.

The Sunshine Act allows meetings to be recorded with an audio recorder or a video recorder. It also allows agencies to issue reasonable rules concerning the use of recording devices in order to avoid any disruptions. However, such rules cannot be an attempt to prevent a member of the public from recording a meeting.

“The law does not require the recording of a public meeting to be announced in advance; however, it may be helpful for the chairperson in the opening statements to alert the public that the meeting might be recorded.”

Attorney Josele Cleary reminded the mayor that Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act prevails and allows recording.

From the Zoning Hearing Board Handbook and Guide for Local Government Officials. “The zoning hearing board is subject to the open meetings provisions of the Sunshine Act, Act 94 of 1986, as amended, 67 Pa. C.S. § 701, et seq. Under the Sunshine Act, votes cast by each member must be cast publicly, and the roll call votes must be recorded. A meeting at which the zoning hearing board is not conducting a hearing may occur only after published notice of the meeting; minutes of the meeting are required. The MPC otherwise governs the requirements for public notice of a zoning hearing board hearing and the keeping of a stenographic transcript of the hearing.”

“The zoning hearing board shall become familiar with all other applicable state statutes such as the Sunshine Act, Act 94 of 1986, as amended, 67 Pa. C.S. § 701, et seq. and the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seq. (Ethics Act).”

For an elected public servant serving in any capacity, but especially in the pseudo executive role of mayor, to violate the tenets of Pennsylvania’s Constitution‘s Freedom of Press and Speech is contemptible and wholly unacceptable.

“The printing press (media) shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the Legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”

The abrogation of rights works for kings and dictators — and Columbia is not a kingdom, nor a fiefdom nor a dictatorship.


One comment

  1. Thank you for posting Sunshine Act information. Looks like some need more training, others just want to block public information.

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