The LuLac Edition #1102, Feb. 21st, 2010
ONE UP FOR TOM
The Citizen Voice reported today that State representative John Yudichak has a home in the Harrisburg area. Or a building. Or a property. Whatever. But he has access to a domicile in town. Which is fine. But Yudichak has been taking the daily per Diem that provides legislators about $160.00 a day for expenses incurred when in business in Harrisburg. This is in addition to his salary of over $70,000 grand. Defenders of the practice say that using the per Diem for a house is just like using it for a hotel room. Maybe, but I think Mayor Tom Leighton has just had an issue dropped right into his lap from the political gods.
Yudichak may overcome this because he has built up a great deal of good will with his record and effectiveness. Plus he did provide a pretty good explanation telling the newspaper, "he only has a quarter interest in the home, has always disclosed his interest in it, does not accept annual salary or pension increases, does not use a state car and has among the lowest annual per Diem totals among lawmakers.
"Yes, it is used for lodging," Yudichak said. "It's not really taxpayers paying for a home. I've always looked at it and really consider it, I'm paying rent." So Yudichak seems to have put a little fire out here but I wonder just what Representative Jim Wansacz was thinking when he was interviewed by Times Shamrock. Wansacz
Wansacz said he was losing money on the house deal and that when he was first coming to Harrisburg he was staying in “a terrible apartment”. He defended his actions saying that he was saving money for the taxpayers by having the house and he could stay at the Hilton if he wanted. When the Times Shamrock reporter, R.B. Swift (a frequent panelist on PCN's "Journalist's Roundtable") pointed out he could stay at a Red Roof, this is what he said, "Would you want to stay four days a week in a place that's going to be $20 a night and is disgusting?" Even though Wansacz said he didn’t mean to disparage the Red Roof Inn, HE DID. There are thousands of working people in this state who stay in Red Roof Inns because that’s what their business per Diem allows them. There are hundreds of Pennsylvania residents who could only afford to stay at a Red Roof if they have a relative getting a procedure done at the Hershey Medical Center. There are thousands of Pennsylvania residents who are teetering on the poverty line that would think a Red Roof Inn would be a step up. There are thousands of Pennsylvanians that work hard in the hospitality industry here that make hotels like the Red Roof Inns livable and affordable. Jim Wansacz being in Harrisburg for ten years should know that the Travel Industry is the linchpin of the Pennsylvania economy. They call it the Keystone State because so many people travel through it Jim and they stay at Red Roofs. But it appears Jim Wansacz has lost touch with those people. And now he wants Mellow’s seat? I will not argue that being away from home is a tough job but you boys asked for it. I’d advise them to take lessons from their predecessors Kevin Blaum, Tom Tigue and Gaynor Cawley who split an apartment for years in Harrisburg near the Capitiol. Or a guy with eight kids who stayed in a one room/one bath efficiency in Lemoyne Pennsylvania for 8 years when he was Auditor General. His name was Bob Casey Senior and I doubt if he would refer to any Pennsylvania business as “disgusting” or too good for him to stay at.
AL HAIG DIES
I always thought Alexander Haig got a bad rap for his performance when Ronald Reagan died. He never lived down his televised response to the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan saying”I am in charge here at the White House” Haig died Saturday at age 85 having held high posts in three Republican administrations and some of the U.S. military’s top jobs.
MURTHA’S FIRST “GIG”?
While watching the funeral of the late Congressman John Murtha on PCN the other day, commentator Kat Prickett asked a Johnston reporter co-anchoring the funeral service with her, “So what was John Murtha’s first gig?” Visions of the late Congressman in tie dye tee shirts tuning an electric guitar sprung to my head. His first, uh, political position was as a State Representative. I say position, she says gig, tomato, tomahto……