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October 27, 2016
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The Pennsylvania senate race

Pat Toomey, the Republican Wall Street banker who landed in the U.S. Senate in the 2010 Tea Party wave, is facing a tough battle to keep his seat. According to polls, he is in a neck-and-neck race with Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf.  Read more

Bonacic and campaign finance reform

In a debate between Republican New York State Sen. John Bonacic and Democratic challenger Pramilla Malick sponsored by The Times-Herald Record on October 13, Malick expressed the view that companies that have business before the state should not be able to donate to the campaigns of elected state officials.  Read more

Big money in the 19th

With the election inching ever closer, the money is being spent hand over fist in races all over the country, and the spending in New York’s 19th Congressional District is being juiced by a lot of money from political action committees (PACs) and super PACs.

Super PACs didn’t really exist before 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in several five-to-four rulings that wealthy groups and individuals are allowed to spend and collect unlimited funds to influence the outcomes of elections.  Read more

Goodbye to Act 13 gifts to the gas industry

In crafting Act 13, state lawmakers in Pennsylvania clearly wanted to make life as easy as possible for the gas drilling industry, while showing little concern for the rights of other residents and the local laws meant to protect them and the environment.

Among the most outrageous provisions of the law was one called by many a “physician gag order,” which restricted healthcare professionals from getting information on chemicals and other materials used in the drilling process that might be harmful to human health.  Read more

CPV power plant construction should stop

The revelation that the company building the Competitive Ventures Power (CPV) natural gas power plant on I-84 in Orange County has paid $287,000 to a former right-hand man to Gov. Andrew Cuomo sheds new light on the project that has been bitterly opposed by some members of the community for years.  Read more

Millennium answers intervener motions

Nearly 100 individuals, municipalities and organizations have moved to become interveners in the permitting process for the proposed Millennium Pipeline project called the Eastern System Upgrade (ESU), which will include adding horsepower to the compressor in the Town of Hancock and constructing a new compressor in the Town of Highland.  Read more

Toxics in our environment

The drama that has been playing out in Hoosick Falls, a small village outside of Troy, NY, over the past 18 months points out how ineffective our governments have been in protecting us from the ill effects of toxic substances.

Back in the summer of 2014, a resident, named Michael Hickey, suspected that his father’s death due to a rare form of cancer was connected to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used in the making of Teflon. Hickey, who was not getting help from village officials, had the water tested by a Canadian lab, and PFOA contamination was revealed.  Read more

Legislature should keep an open mind about county executive

Every 10 years a commission is appointed to look at the charter of Sullivan County to see if the county could benefit with changes to the charter and to recommend any changes to the county legislature, which may then accept or reject them.  Read more

The Department of Health and the appearance of impropriety

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has ordered the closure of the public access area located within the gate of The Chapin Estate community because it has “no supervision, lifesaving equipment, potable water supply or emergency response communications.” It would be a little easier to believe this is really about public safety if DOH had also taken action at the two other public access spots on the Toronto and Swinging Bridge reservoirs, which have the exact same conditions.  Read more

No action on constitutional convention

The last time voters in New York State went to the polls to determine whether there should be a state constitutional convention was 1997. The voters ultimately said “no,” but even so, the state appointed a commission to study and prepare for a constitutional convention four years before that, in 1993.  Read more