Author Topic: Politics at it's best  (Read 6326 times)

Online guinpen

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Politics at it's best
« on: March 28, 2011, 10:08:42 PM »
This is our money folks! This should outrage every single one of us. Total BS.


As parting gifts to his 21 staff members who lost their jobs because he wasn’t re-elected, ex-U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson gave a total of $119,129 in salary increases and bonuses.

The 49.77 percent increase was given by Wilson, a Democrat from St. Clairsville, during the final three months of 2010 compared with the year’s third quarter, July to September, according to information compiled by, a political website that monitors congressional spending.

The increase was the most by any of Ohio’s 18 members of the U.S. House in 2010 in total dollars and percentage. Among all 435 House members, Wilson’s staff salary percentage increase was the 27th highest.

“They had weeks of vacation time they hadn’t used,” Wilson said. “We paid them for that.”

Wilson, who served six years in the House, said he “didn’t specifically handle” the staff salary increases and bonuses.

That was the responsibility, he said, of Candace Bryan Abbey, his chief of staff.

Repeated attempts by The Vindicator to contact Abbey — whose quarterly salary jumped from $37,250 for July to September to $40,485 for October to December — were unsuccessful.

Nearly two-thirds of last year’s fourth quarter came after Wilson was defeated by Republican Bill Johnson of Poland.

Also, Wilson’s Washington, D.C., office and those of other defeated incumbents were closed in mid-December, leaving a skeletal staff left to run them.

Among the biggest quarterly salary increases for Wilson were for Hillary Wicai Viers, communications director, from $20,125 to $30,208; John Payne, a caseworker and former director of the Columbiana County Board of Elections, from $13,000 to $19,333; Joan N. Gregory, legislative director, from $18,250 to $27,417; and Dennis Johnson, congressional liaison and Columbiana County Democratic Party chairman, from $16,125 to $24,208.

Also, they each received $1,000 bonuses.

In all, 16 of Wilson’s 21 staff members received $1,000 bonuses with two others receiving $500 each.

Overall, reported that nearly one in 10 House members paid at least six-figure bonuses to their staffs with most going to the staffs of defeated or retired members.

Former U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, a Democrat from Alliance who used to live in and represent Mahoning County in the state Legislature, was No. 3 among Ohio’s 18 House members — and 79th overall in the House — with a 36.44 percent increase in staff salaries from 2010’s third quarter to its fourth quarter. His staff-salary expenditures went from $181,315 to $266,876.

“When you lose, you have to pay vacation time and comp time and a little bonus for all the hard work they did over the two years I was in Congress,” Boccieri said of his staff.

Most of the salary increases for Boccieri’s staff were between $2,000 and $4,000.

Asked why he didn’t get rid of most of his D.C. staff when they had to vacate his office in mid-December, Boccieri said, “So you think we should’ve dropped them a week before Christmas when they were scheduled to be done the week after?”

Each member of Congress receives federal money for staff salaries, office expenses, mail to constituents and travel. Money that isn’t spent is returned to the federal government.

It wasn’t just outgoing members at the top of the list of staff salary increases.

At No. 2 in Ohio — and 68th overall in the House — is U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, who was elected last November to his sixth two-year term.

Ryan’s quarter-to-quarter increase was 38.72 percent, $94,514 more given to his staff in the last three months of 2010 compared to the July-to-September period.

Bonus payments to staffers in the fourth quarter isn’t uncommon to Ryan. He gave six-figure increases to his staff in the fourth quarters of 2009, 2008 and 2006.

“The congressman gives merit pay in the last quarter,” said Patrick Lowry, his district press secretary, whose salary increased from $16,874 in 2010’s third quarter to $21,374 in the fourth quarter. “We’ve had less turnover of staff than most offices [partly because of merit pay increases.] A number of us have been here since the beginning. Merit pay at the end of the year has been a common practice for the congressman since he’s been in office” since January 2003.

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette of Bainbridge, R-14th, also gives merit pay to his staff, about $70,000 to $80,000 overall each year in the fourth quarter. He currently has 18 employees.

LaTourette, a nine-term incumbent, was No. 5 in Ohio — and 130th overall in the House — in 2010 with a 28 percent increase, $74,181 more given to his staff between the third and fourth quarters.

In a prepared written statement, LaTourette said: “I am mindful we’re doing the taxpayers’ work, and that’s why I’ve returned more than $1 million I didn’t use to run my office, often about $100,000 each year. Some others might spend every nickel and dime they receive. I invest in a hard-working, responsive staff, shun costly, taxpayer-funded promotional mailings and try to fly in and out of Baltimore because flights are one-quarter the cost of flying out of [Ronald Reagan Washington] National [airport] in D.C.”

Ex-U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Erie, Pa., a one-term member representing her state’s 3rd District, was No. 3 in the entire House in bonuses, a 111.62 percent increase, $194,559 in pay hikes to her staff as she was leaving office.

The staff salary of Dahlkemper, a Democrat, jumped from $197,960 in 2010’s third quarter to $404,846 in the fourt h quarter.

Some of her employees had their salaries nearly triple. For example, the salary of Chanel Monet Cook, a constituent services representative, went from $8,250 in the third quarter to $24,044 in the fourth.

Dahlkemper and Tina M. Mengine, her chief of staff, couldn’t be reached by the newspaper to comment.
“Life is hard, it’s harder if you're stupid” - John Wayne

Offline ItalianPenguin

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 12:35:54 PM »
As I stated in the Tressel article, I don't like to involve myself in politics. But since clowns like Guinpen and Lecter, obvious Republicans, love to bash unnecessary spending by Democrats, let's talk about fat azz NJ Gov Christie, an anti-Democrat if there ever was one, flying a State helicopter to his son's baseball game, THEN TAKING A LIMO 100 YARDS TO THE BASEBALL FIELD!!! First of all, the blimp could have used the walk. But most importantly, he tells everyone govt needs to pinch pennies, then does that??!! Practice what you preach lard azz!

Offline HLecter

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 07:53:21 AM »
Yeah, except Guinpen and I didn't exactly sanction what Christie did.

In fact, we posted not one word.

Don't point out one instance of bad behavior and expect to absolve Mr. Obama (see how polite I was there?) of 3 plus years of catastrophic economic policies.

I won't post anything about the excess costs involved with the Obama families extended vacations.

I also will not point out the exorbitant costs involved with the 700 vacations and golf outings.

Yes I an a R, and very proud of that fact.  Proud of the fact that I am far from a womb and tomber who inherited my political proclivities from my parents, as 95% of the ahem.............'VALLEY"

I missed a four-footer for par the other day--THAT DAMN BUSH!

Offline Wick250

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 12:39:12 PM »
I enjoy reading these political arguments, especially when you guys keep them out of the sports section.  Allow me to throw in my two cents.  I am a political independent who is a pragmatist and problem-solver.  I have contempt for all political ideology regardless of the flavor, and I do not vote in partisan primary elections.  But my thoughts will undoubtedly antagonize Lecter and Guinpen and others who forecast a conservative Republican Renaissance.

First, over fifty million Americans who voted in 2008 failed to exercise that right in 2010.  Studies suggest that the strong majority of these folks voted for Obama.  If they return to the polls in 2012, the political dynamic changes again.

Second, George Bush recognized that Hispanics are the faster growing minority group in our country.  He tried to reach out to them, but he was sabotaged by white rank-and-file party members who pushed a harsh immigration policy (a position that I personally endorse.)  If demographic trends continue, by 2020 in Texas Hispanics, blacks, and white liberals in the college towns will outnumber white conservatives.  A Republican can not win the White House unless he carries Texas.

Third, the Democrats recently forced Republicans to vote in a way that could be perceived as against Social Security and Medicare.  Regardless of how anyone feels about those programs, any politician who opposes them in their current form dies.  Last week outside Buffalo, in one of the most dependable Republican districts in America, that cruel fact was underlined as an obscure Democrat ousted a Republican in a special congressional election.

Finally, for over seven years, Bush could not bring bin Laden to justice.  In a little over two years, Obama killed Osama, and he did it in a maverick fashion that disregarded the territorial integrity of Pakistan.  Was this Bush's fault?  Probably not.  Was Obama lucky?  Definitely.  Bottom line is that any candidate that accuses Obama of being soft on national defense will now be laughed right off the stage.

In my view, our last great president was Dwight Eisenhower who stopped the Korean War, started the space program, built the interstate highway system, and, reluctantly, stood on the side of social justice during the civil rights movement.  He also retained much of the New Deal yet provided a climate in which American business could flourish.  The ultimate pragmatist and problem-solver!

Online guinpen

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 10:35:40 PM »
Well so much for that argument, Now if we could only get that Pelosi gal to kick in some cash for all those Air Force plane rides she took when she was speaker. Nice to see a politician do the honorable thing.

I love it!

Governor reimburses New Jersey for helicopter flight
By Katie Silver, CNN
June 2, 2011 7:42 p.m. EDT

    * Gov. Chris Christie pays back $2,151 for helicopter flight to son's baseball game
    * State GOP pays $919 to cover flight to political event in Princeton after the game
    * "I'm governor 24/7, every single day, but I'm also a father," Christie says
    * Democratic a$$emblywoman calls it "outright abuse of taxpayer dollars"

New York (CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he has reimbursed the state of New Jersey for the cost of using a state police helicopter to travel with his wife to his son's high school baseball game.

The Republican has come under fire from opposition lawmakers and the public since he touched down Tuesday near the ball field in Montvale, about 80 miles from Trenton, the capital.

After initially refusing to reimburse the state, Christie has repaid $2,151 to cover the cost of his flights to the game, Christie said in a news conference.

"What I know about this business is, perception matters," Christie said. "I'm not going to allow the media and the hacks of the Democratic power to ... get away from the matter because they want to have a circus."

Christie claimed he was using the helicopter to balance his responsibilities as a father with his busy schedule as governor.

"I'm governor 24/7, every single day, but I'm also a father," he said.

Christie, who has taken 33 helicopter flights since a$$uming office last January, said he has been far more "judicious" in his helicopter use than other recent governors, citing Govs. Jim McGreevey, Thomas Kean and James Florio.

"If you look at the way I use this helicopter, it's not like I'm using it as a perk of office," he said.

The Republican budget hawk added that according to the State Police, the travel does not cost taxpayers money, because as the pilots need the flying time in order to be certified.

When asked, the governor reiterated that he will not be running for president in the coming election but has refused to "rule out" 2016.

The GOP paid for a portion of the helicopter rides, $919, to cover the cost of Christie's flight from the ballgame to Princeton, where he met with GOP contributors visiting from Iowa, according to Andy Pratt of the New Jersey Treasury.

Still, some Democrats were not swayed.

"To use these vehicles to shuttle between both a personal and a political activity is an outright abuse of taxpayer dollars," said Democrat a$$emblywoman Joan Quigley.

The former federal prosecutor, who earned a reputation for battling corruption, was elected on a platform of fiscal discipline and eliminating government waste and abuse.

During his first year in office, Christie helped to pa$$ a $29 billion budget, narrowing an $11 billion deficit with cuts in public-sector spending, including employee pensions and benefits.

The governor has since called for some $200 million in tax cuts. He has focused on spending reductions on public unions -- particularly the state's powerful teachers' unions -- who often have said the governor has used them as an excuse for the state's broader financial troubles.
“Life is hard, it’s harder if you're stupid” - John Wayne

Online IAA Fan

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 01:17:06 PM »
I am a "true" conservative. Something far from the Republican party. However, that happens to be the party most closely aligned with my views. I have beliefs that would be considered radical today ...but very common throughout history ...especially late 19th and early 20th century America ..or maybe current day Austria. I do not think you can be pragmatic in a democracy. Unless I am not thinking the same way you are Wick. Politically speaking, I see a pragmatist as someone always needing to be involved in every decision, and very dictatorial. However, historically most pragmatic leaders do not fare  well without others, or a "pre-defined" direction. They always need someone to "keep them in line". Works well in a more extreme form of government ...far left or right; where a philosophical direction is already known. Usually a far right-winged political system ...maybe Authoritarian or Fascist. Could also work in a soviet-type of Communism, where the party leader has almost absolute power. The only pragmatic US president (modern time) that I can think of would be TR and/or Nixon (to a lesser degree Eisenhower). All were very great men and leaders.

As to the current topic (or any topic), I think it is great that Lecture and Guinpen break away from the norms of the Mahoning Valley. When I lived in town, I to broke away from the norm, just because I felt that to be more important than the specific issue at the time. It was definitely one of the reasons that I left, and one of the things I do not miss. I also think it is great to be a problem-solver ...a$$uming you and I have the same result in mind.

As to the limo ...not that big of a deal to me. The security of public officials should be paramount. The chopper ...maybe a bit extreme for my tastes. However, choosing not to go is the more conservative (and better in my mind) choice; that goes for ms. pelosi as well. This is why public officials should be more "senior" at the time they are elected. Which is what our founding-fathers wanted. Military leaders are the exception in my mind ...national defense is paramount, as one does not know just how old they are going to be when some rouge nation is going to do something insane crash a plane into the nation's capitol. Our country has traditionally had required military service (and still should in my mind), so it has always been common for military leaders to be young, and with family. Yet look at someone like Patton ...refused to take extended leave, even when he was performing public service detail. As to Christy ...I like him. He has put on a ton of weight though. I think it more than just FTPYAFT (failure to push yourself away from the table) though. The gain was too quick. I am thinking thyroid.

As to the NY election mentioned, that is the 26th district; which is near Rochester so it would be a more rural/conservative area. However, there were outside influences in play, so that is not a fair example to use.

1. They were both women, running in a district with heavy senior-aged women, and lots of transients. A man (from a viable party) would have "walked away with it". Lee could have run again, and he would have won in a landslide.

2. The election was really a referendum on Medicare, and dems used scare tactics on these rural women voters. My mother is 82, and I know that she would fall for it. Yet look how close the election was, even with the overwhelming advantage the "dems" in this issue.

3. There was also one of those idiot tea-party candidates in play...that happened to be male. Corwin did not stand a chance. Senior women went Tea, senior men went Rep, the rest go dem. Also, if you want to look more closely at that election ...I bet you find enormous voter-fraud with those transients.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 01:54:23 PM by IAA Fan »

Online guinpen

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Re: Politics at it's best
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 09:34:26 PM »
I consider myself a conservative, am registered as an "R', but mostly so I can vote for something in the primaries. Born in Mahoning County and currently live in Mahoning County, but grew up in Lawrence County in a relatively conservative setting.

Compared to my high school buddies I am left leaning liberal.
“Life is hard, it’s harder if you're stupid” - John Wayne