Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meet State Rep. Bob Freeman Re: PSERS Reform and the EASD Tax Hike

Meet State Rep. Bob Freeman this Wednesday to discuss what can 
be done about pension reform to alleviate the property tax 
burden on Easton residents

Posted by: Noel Jones

This Wednesday, April 28th at 7pm, just as Senator Mensch did before, our own State Representative Bob Freeman has offered to meet with residents concerned about the Easton Area School District tax hike to discuss what can be done at the State level with regard to pension reform to alleviate the burden on taxpayers. The meeting will again be held upstairs at TranquiliTea House on 4th and Spring Garden, where residents can choose from an inspiring menu of teas while talking together as a community to find solutions to this dilemma. Special thanks the the Mitchell family for agreeing to host again, and to Bob Freeman for making room in his busy schedule to meet with us!

I highly recommend reading the previous post on this issue to refresh on the details. I hope to see you there--remember, Rep. Freeman is running for re-election next month, so what better way to get to know where the candidate stands than to meet him in person?

See you Wednesday! Please post a comment here if you're planning to attend, so that I can give our host an estimate as to attendance--thanks!


Tim Pickel said...

I have always found Bob to be an honest man. He is low-key, but gets the job done. Politics is a nasty business on the local level and I am glad Bob chose to represent us on the state level.

His opponents this time are to be lauded for their desire to be part of the solution. I usually like that kind of person, but with Bob you get results.

I thank his opponents, but urge all to vote for Bob and allow him to continue the good work he has done for Easton.

noel jones said...

I'm afraid that this time around I will largely be a one-issue voter: PASSENGER RAIL

With more federal funding available now for the development of passenger rail as a means of both creating much-needed jobs and off-setting the impending oil crisis, I have lost all patience with any elected officials who are not aggressively pursuing passenger rail for the Lehigh Valley and through to Philadelphia, Washington and New York. We are decades behind Europe on passenger rail as a nation and this is a critical component in making our nation energy-independent.

Bob, I know, is a committed advocate for the development of passenger rail.

Julie Zando-Dennis said...

Thanks for organizing this Noel.

AprilDiana said...

Thank you organizing this informal meeting. I look forward to hearing more from Rep. Freeman on pension reform specifically as well as funding for education, funding for transportation, and transit development.

David Caines said...

We like Bob, and have met him a handful of times at WWNP doings. We will of course be voting for Bob as he is someone who does get the job done.
The age old adage..."If it ain't broke don't fix it".
For us his opponent is an unknown entity. Will try to be there.
David and Jeanette

Anonymous said...

Rail is not a priority for the lehigh valley in national and state politics. Let's talk about real issues that will confront us in the months ahead:

-State budget; it never works, it gets delayed, all kinds of social programs that benefit us get stopped, let's talk about what is going to be done to end this annual log jam.

-aid to cities; We are not alone. We are overtaxed and pay high fees for everything. How bout some help. Make the county pay for its space Make non profits pay . There is no reason why we have to continue to suffer and lose people and businesses.

-ethics; we have the most corrupt state in US. Leaders of houses under indictment. One state senator in the pen. It has to stop.

Carinne said...

I will be there.

Ron Shegda said...

136th Neighbors, Noel, and All Citizens in the West Ward,

As Your Conservative Candidate for PA's House of Representatives, I'd first like to ask for the opportunity of addressing You sometime. We must all see why Conservative principles sprout from America's Founding, where our Declaration was first read publicly in Easton.

Please consider how my Opponent voted for his own 50% pension increase on May 8th, 2001. How he co-sponsored and voted for a public school teacher and employee 25% pension increase on April 17, 2002.

These votes will bankrupt our Commonwealth. They are in addition to almost 30 years of votes for ionosphere taxes, unwise spending, and incredible debt. Not to mention his "leadership" of Easton's Charter change which increased your EIT 150%!!

I also have alternative ideas for the $450,000 of gambling money recently awareded to a private pub.

I may know my Opponent's 28-year record in Harrisburg almost as well as he does. His Campaign has criticized my brush with unemployment after paying for this insurance some 35-years. He accepts the the nation's most plush life-time benefit plan for himself and his family, yet his campaign threatens the 4,000 people in our District who suffer from a lack of private wages when they pay into the unemployment insurance fund.

May we soon meet in conversation,
Ron Shegda, Candidate
PA House of Representatives 136th
Easton to Hellertown

noel jones said...

Mr. Shegda, thank you for posting. It is great when voters get a chance to interact in an online forum with candidates running for election in their districts. Even better when they offer to meet with residents as Sen. Mensch, Rep. Freeman and now you have. However, please refrain from personal attacks on this blog, a simple offer to meet, and an explanation of the good things you have to offer will do much better for connecting with most voters anyway.

I wish that there were candidates forums happening in the area, so that voters could get to know their candidates in person--we are sadly deficient in such forums here.

I know Bob Freeman to be an honorable man, and beloved in Easton, so my advice to anyone running against him is to run on the issues, not by attacking the character of an opponent with such longevity. There is a lot to be said for tone, and when writing on line, it's always best to err on the side of restraint so as not to be misunderstood.

Thank you for caring enough about the state of our nation to run for office--the more engaged citizens we get running for office, the more choices we will have in our elections.

Ron Shegda said...

Noel, You are a Good Man.

Kindly show where my writing is about character and not issues?

I have stood for School Property Tax Elimination, according to PA's Constitutional guarantee "of acquiring, posessing and protecting property" and "the people shall be secure in their persons, houses . . ."

My Opponent scoffed at this policy direction in the 2008 Campaign. I will gladly send you a video link.

My Friend, this Election Year is all about Policy. I understand the reality of voting for someone unfamiliar. Yet I stand solidly behind our U.S. and PA Constitutions.

In public leadership we must rely on the People and not simply longevity. Either America has a fundamentally pre-eminent basis of Constitutional government, or we are subject to personality.

Pennsylvania is on the brink of bankruptcy from public business as usual. I understand the urgency of my citizen pleas being confused with "character attacks."

I don't understand how you can give my Friend, Sen. Bob Mensch, who just called, and my Opponent, a forum, but say You "are sadly deficient in such forums."

That suggests Your good organization may only be inclined toward Incumbants. I am a humble Citizen who will gladly meet at
the Tranquili Tea House with the Mitchell Family's graciousnes.

As a native Pennsylvanian while studying in Boston (a reverse Ben Franklin, my Hero), our 1773 Boston Tea Party cast a searing impression on me. Just wondering, what is the Neighbors impression of The Tea Party movement?!?

Ron Shegda
Serving God, Country and Neighbor

Anonymous said...

I didn't read anything inappropriate in Shegda's comments. Where was the personal attack? Cause he said "plush?" Haven't you taken to task other pols in this town on the very same grounds? Including issues of longevity?

Nikkita said...

I am planning on attending. Thanks for organizing this Noel

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shegda,

Your post is politics as usual. You hit your opponent and I guess that is appropriate in a campaign. This particular comment is not about you or your opponent; it's about what you or anyone can do to correct the problems in our schools, city, etc. I've heard all the "bankruptcy" scares for ten years. We need realistic action plans to correct the problem. Simply voting for you over the other guy does not solve our problems. If anything, it just throws out one rhetoric machine for another. That's why your comments are personal. They lack any depth. We are not stupid and we are not in love with any elected officials.

Anonymous said...

You can vote on the basis of one issue but why give this politician a pass on all else?

You think state politics arent nasty? Perhaps cause its not under your nose.

Bob Freeman's availability for this this meeting seems conveniently timed to an election.

Anonymous said...

Citing an opponents position on key issues such as the EASD tax increase is not personal and its not rhetoric and its not politics as usual. It is something informed voters should know. If it is an incorrect statement then, please, provide a correction.

Anonymous said...

How is it some pols get voted in over and over again? They have a constituency that feels they know him, he is a nice guy, he is like them, he gets the job done. They minimize reasons for scrutiny because they usually have a "one" issue on which they can count on him and they scold newcomers(or opponents) who might have a different issue or a fact or two. Politics as usual? Guess so.

hopeunseen said...

Mr. Shegda,

The tax burdens imposed by the State are matter of justice not conservative or liberal politics. As a professing Christian I hope your position refelcts what is to be 'rendered' rightly rather than being reduced to a political ideology.

I also hope the foundation from which your views 'sprout' is far deeper and encompassing than the flawed though passionate worldviews of the Founders.


noel jones said...

Well, I can only speak for myself, as this blog is a forum of nine independents citizens who do not agree on everything, and a host of readers who certainly are comfortable disagreeing with each other. That is all I meant to say, that we fiercely protect this forum as a place for earnest respectful debate. Passion is fine, heat is fine, as long as the tone doesn't get nasty and counterproductive. We really need to have these discussions as a community, so that we can solve our problems together. I'm not saying that in any kind of Polyanna or "can't we all get along?" kind of way, but rather, stating the parameters of this blog. All opinions are welcome as long as they respectful, and seek to open dialogue rather than shutting it down.

Mr. Shegda. I am not a good man. I am a woman, and how good I am is entirely in the eye of the beholder. But I do my best. Most of the time. Sometimes I get lazy and grouchy, and if anyone feels I'm being unfair in those moments, I welcome disagreement always. We cannot have genuine debate unless we master the ability to be respectful, extend the benefit of the doubt, consider the points of view of others, and admit when we cross the line.

Now, in answer to the Anons:

1. I was cautioning against tone, there are many ways to respectfully pose facts. At some point we have to trust the public to digest the facts and make their own assessment, rather than thumping them over the head with a derogatory tone, that invites negative discourse, rather than earnest debate. I agree, all facts are fair game, and it is pertinent for voters to know who voted for the pension increases in 2001. We should also keep in mind that those votes happened across the board, on both sides of the aisle during a boom economy, and the pension hikes were proposed by then Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican.

2. How can I be a one-issue voter? A smart girl like me? Because developing efficient passenger rail is the one solution that takes care of a few major problems we face: a) the need for energy independence in the face of a looming oil crisis, b) job creation, c) reducing our pollution's contribution to climate change.

3. For the record, Bob Freeman did not suggest this meeting, I did. This is what I mean about debating with facts, not conjecture and insinuations that demean someone's character. The way this all happened is that Sen. Mensch reached out to us on the blog and we met last month, then I offered Bob Freeman the opportunity to do the same, so that residents would have the opportunity to talk to both a state Republican and a state Democrat on this issue, for the sake of balance. We have Democrats, Republicans and Independents on this blog, as well as other affiliations, so I try very hard to offer everyone a forum as long as it is balanced and offers differing points of view.

4. Thanks for the compliment on the forums, but I meant that there is sadly a lack of forums that Neighbors of Easton is not creating. I would like to see forums held by our local colleges, our local media outlets, etc. If anyone hears of any, please be sure to post, so we all know--thanks!

Anonymous said...

Can we trust this assessment of Rep. Freeman's performance?

noel jones said...

Looking forward to seeing everyone at TranquiliTea tonight--see you at 7pm!

noel jones said...

FYI--Rep. Freeman is also bringing a rep from the Pennsylvania Employees Retirement Commission with him to answer any technical questions and give a professional overview of the pension issue. This is a great opportunity for us to understand this issue.

noel jones said...

This was a very long and very informative meeting--thanks to everyone who came--I'm too tired to post at length right now but will try to post from my notes on the meeting tomorrow night.

If anyone who came tonight reads this, please post your impressions from the meeting! Not a pretty picture, for sure, but a much clearer picture now coming into focus...

celticwarrior said...

As to comment on (April 27,2010 at7:59 am) Please beem me up scotty.

celticwarrior said...

Mr Shegda as a proud conservative but not as a republican.I will say the tea party would not have a loud voice out here.I n a town of mostly liberal democrats if you have a conservative few you will be attacked as a racist and a hatemonger.You see its like this.I believe in closeing the borders jobs for americans only or if you have working papers.Marrige between man and woman.You need to work for what you earn no free obama care.Get off wellfare stop haveing kids if you cant afford them.And that Im a proud White male with know guilt.Im what liberals hate .When you have This many liberals and I think you have more than half of population living in poverty and count on government funding .Tea party probaly not. But if you are looking to start one Im in.

noel jones said...

Celtic warrior that is not true--we have conservatives that post to this blog--even an NRA member--but they just don't feel the need to insult people and can disagree respectfully.

You missed out on the WHO IS EASTON? event today that welcomed everyone's perspectives without censorship--a lot of people hung out after the Farmers Market closed to listen to the people who got up to speak, and 16 people from the community actually spoke up--all facing the City Hall building--it was a pretty cool event, and everyone got to say their piece about anything that was on their mind.

The one thing I respect about the Tea Party is their passionate engagement--the fact that they make involvement in their democracy a priority in their lives. But if the Tea Party wants real respect from the community at large, they've got to stop get members under control who give them a bad name by expressing bigotry. I think they have legitimate concerns that are getting obscured by the bad reputation.

Dan, I will say it again, you are welcome in this forum as long as you can control the need to insult people, and your concerns about immigration are as important as any other citizen's. I'm sure if you contact Mr. Shegda through the web site he listed in this comment, you can sign up and be kept in the loop about his campaign. But know that if you really want to help him get elected, he's going to need people speaking up for him that are not making him look bad by expressing bigoted sentiments.

celticwarrior said...

Hay noel jones not sure who this dan guy is but anyway.Let me correct you it is true.Me and you will never see eye to eye because you are a liberal and I am not.What I see as the truth you see as a racist or a biggot or what ever you feel like calling me.And as the tea party that is nothing but a lie.As the liberal media has done all along does nothing but attack good decent people.Like playing down the riots in dc when latinos throwing bottles at the cops and all that mean stuff.And then they paint tea party people as racist for speaking out.Like you do about me all the time.Thats ok I just keep on doing and fighting so my children can stay safe.And how many children are you raising again.