Friday, June 28, 2013

On Marriage 06-28-2013

This week, the Supreme Court announced in a 5-4 decision that it was striking down key clauses of the mid-90's, President Clinton endorsed, Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

In response, leading Republicans in Congress promptly announced their intention to introduce a Federal Marriage Amendment (to the Constitution).

All I can say is...seriously?

A nation with spending out of control, an administration with numerous scandals that could bring it down, and a Federal Government that has gone far out of bounds of the Constitution given to us by our Founding Fathers and what we're going to focus on as a party is same-sex marriage?

Apparently the GOP is the party of the cat with the laser pointer...

My own views on marriage are that it should be between a man and a woman, but my personal beliefs should never be a matter of policy. Marriage is a covenant before God (or Yaweh, or Gaia, or Allah, or whatever your higher-power-of-choice happens to be) not a matter of State concern.

The state, most especially the Federal Government, should not be involved in marriage at all. Matters of custody, inheritance, and other legalities should be left up to lawyers.

The Constitution should not restrict rights to only certain groups, which is what a Federal Marriage Amendment would assuredly do. Our Constitution is not discriminatory now. Let us not try to make it so.

To those who favor traditional marriage (and I consider myself to be one of you) think of this. When the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was passed, it forced religious institutions to pay for abortions and contraception that may be counter to church doctrine. In due time, if the Federal Government is given total power over the definition of marriage, the Feds will also be able to force churches to recognize same-sex marriage.

There are, of course, some churches that already do recognize same-sex marriage and that is their right. No State official should be able to prevent them from doing so, but neither should the State be able to force religious institutions to sanctify that which is against their faith.

What goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults is no business of the Government's. The Feds already have enough control over our every day lives. Let's not give them even more.

Marriage is a matter best left up to the Church. Let's put it back where it belongs.

If you want your union blessed by God, go to a Church.
If you want your union blessed by the Government, seek mental help.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TIF Defeated by Lehigh County Commissioners

Back in mid May, I wrote

If there is still hope to stop this (the TIF) Government intrusion into the free market, it is in the hands of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners.

 Tonight, that hope was rewarded.

The Lehigh County Board of Commissioners voted, by a surprising 6-3 margin, to reject the Hamilton Crossings project TIF. Republican Commissioners Dougherty and Creighton voted in favor of the project and they were joined by Democrat David Jones of Allentown. Commissioners Osborne, Ott, Scheller, Schware, Mazziotti, and Democrat Dan McCarthy voted against the project.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Throughout the course of the evening, numerous Union bosses and corporate fat cats along with the Citizens for Strong Communities Educrat types out of Lower Macungie Township begged the Commissioners to bring all these wonderful jobs and tax revenue to the area. Opposing the mob were a few Tea Party activists asking the Commissioners to remember the proper role of Government is to stay out of the private sector.

I wasn't surprised to see the Union goons out in force. If TIF financing is used, it is mandated that prevailing wage be paid. Wonder if the developers ever factored that extra cost into their calculations?

For my part, I don't blame the developers for seeking a TIF. Were I in their position, I might well have done the same. I truly hope they decide to go ahead with the project anyway. They can afford it and they will make a profit. Lehigh County is the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that growth is being led by affluent Lower Macungie Township.

My remarks to the Board of Commissioners:

Good evening, Commissioners. My name is Julian Stolz and I am a resident of the Borough of Emmaus. Though many of my fellow board members might wish otherwise, I am also a member of the East Penn School Board of Directors.

I'm here again this evening to oppose the creation of the Hamilton Crossings TIF.

I'm asking you tonight to be consistent in the way you govern. 

You opposed increasing the size of government and struck down the bi-county health bureau. Be consistent now and oppose the creation of the TIF which is nothing more than corporate welfare for out of town developers. Leave that kind of government to Allentown and Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

You oppose increased government spending and taxes because you know the government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Be consistent now and do not give in to the temptation at this prospect of the legendary bag of found money!

You unanimously supported county-wide reassessment, not because it was popular, but because it was the right thing to do. Do not give in to those saying they cannot wait to have a Costco in the area and oppose giving special privileges to multi-million dollar corporations. Be consisent in doing what is right and making sure everyone plays by the same rules.

Commissioner Jones, I'd like to take a moment to speak now directly to you. I know you believe in those who are able to afford it paying their fair share. Please be consistent now and don't support special tax privileges for multi-million dollar corporations and wealthy out of town developers.

The Lehigh County Commissioners, lead by the Reform Team, have consistently provided leadership in changing how government does business. Be consistent now and vote the TIF down tonight.

Thank you.
 I backed Percy Dougherty in his primary this year against the more Conservative Scott Aquila. I have no regrets about doing so. I know Percy and have done for about 8 years. I knew he would vote as he did tonight. He's never been deceptive with me about who he is.

Tom Creighton found a whitewash "Conservative" argument in supporting the TIF because it helps the developers get around a lot of the government red tape put up at the State level. I don't believe that's his reasoning at all. I think he knows he's facing a tough challenge from former County Commissioner Bill Leiner and he needed a vote to moderate his record. That's ok.

Luminaries from around the East Penn School District attended.

My fellow Director Mike Policano spoke against the TIF and believed that we might be able to get a development in there that would provide full funding without giving them special tax privileges. I'm not inclined to agree.

I always believed that a TIF would, financially, be a win-win for everyone involved. I opposed it based on ideological principle.

I don't believe in government intrusion into the free market even when both corporate and government interests are well served. It's just counter to the Capitalist society America was founded upon. Unlike many in my party. I am consistent. I oppose both Corporate special interests as well as Unions and Government welfare.

Finally, I owe Brad Osborne special recognition. Tonight, Brad informed me that he was an avid reader of my blog. I've always gotten along well with him, but I've never voted for him. In 2011, I voted for the 3 Reform Team candidates on the November ballot along with Democrat Dennis Pearson.
 When the vote was finally called for, Brad voted against the TIF. I was stunned. Pleasantly so. He will almost assuredly have my support in the future. Thank you sir, for doing what is right.

The Union folk that were present didn't take losing too well. They shouted (at me) "enjoy being on the unemployment line" and exclaimed "I'm glad the economy is so great that we can just throw 1000 jobs down the drain." I couldn't help myself. I retorted "Maybe you shouldn't have voted to re-elect Obama!" One replied "What does that have to do with the economy in Lehigh County?" -sigh-

Sometimes, these people do it to themselves. #Schadenfreude

New Food Crafters Contract Approved

Monday night, along with a budget, the East Penn School Board of Directors voted to "tentatively" ratify a new contract with the "Foodcrafters" (in layman's terms, "lunch ladies") Union. They are represented under the auspices of the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association or "the Teachers Union).

We were not presented with a full copy of all of the changes to the contract in advance of the meeting (though they were distributed to us in executive session about 45 minutes before Monday night's public meeting) and we were asked to vote on it that very night.

Interesting since Board President Ballard accused Director Lynn Donches and myself of engaging in "ambush tactics" because he did not have 2 full weeks to review our proposed amendments to the East Penn Budget.

Back in late April, I wrote a piece on the ongoing negotiations and situation with the East Penn Foodcrafters Union. If you need background of why we were in negotiations this year, go to that link.

In any case, I have several positive things to say about the new contract:
1.) It does provide a cost savings as compared to previous contracts and actually is a net decrease in spending from the past.
2.) The new contract does minimize legacy costs due to pensions.
3.) I'm glad we were able to keep our people in those positions. While I'm always in favor of exploring privatization, I'm not at all certain we would (or even COULD) have received better service from an outside source.

I made a motion to defer the vote on the contract for 2 weeks til the July 8th meeting out of respect for the public's right to review what we were voting on (and to be consistent with the desires that Board President Ballard had expressed only minutes before).

Director Lynn Donches (who served on the contract negotiation committee) seconded my motion.

Predictably, my motion failed 6-3 with Director Mike Policano joining Ms. Donches and myself in voting to defer.

The final contract approval passed 8-0-1 with yours truly abstaining.

I abstained for 2 reasons.

1.) The contract keeps in place the "fair share" dues deduction clause where the School District deducts Union dues from the employee’s paycheck. Even those employees who do not wish to join the Union get money deducted from their paycheck (and they have no legal recourse to recover it.
2.) The public really should have had the courtesy of a two week review. The contract isn't a bad one and it is relatively (for this district...) taxpayer friendly. Still, the people have the right to review it and provide their opinion to the board before we cast our vote.

Monday, June 24, 2013

$1600+ for "Common Core, Now" Conference is Approved

Yesterday, I posted that just over $1600 in state grant funds (still is taxpayer money) were being allocated to a conference called "Common Core, Now". The conference will be taking place in mid August and attended by one of our Alburtis elementary teachers.

I asked that the conference be separated out from the rest of the Superintendent's report and my request was granted.

I made the motion to amend the item that it would only be approved with the proviso that the teacher attending make a public presentation to the Board of Directors after attending the conference.

Apparently, it is the opinion of my fellow Board Members that it was an unreasonable request. Board President Ballard even compared it to public "flagellation" (whipping) of the teacher.

Director Rebecca Heid suggested that perhaps the teacher could provide a written report and the administration could then present it to the Board and general public. I was not content with that in regards to a subject as controversial as Common Core. No disrespect to the administration intended, but I would like to hear a presentation from the person attending the conference, not a second hand account from Dr. Seidenberger.

My motion failed 3-6 (Ballard, Sandy Rhodes, Earnshaw, Fuller, Heid, and Bacher opposed and myself, Ms. Donches, and Mr. Policano in favor)

No one made a motion to require a written report be submitted so, I'm not counting on one being produced.

The conference was approved 6-3. (Ballard, Sandy Rhodes, Earnshaw, Fuller, Heid, and Bacher in support and myself, Ms. Donches, and Mr. Policano opposed)

First No Tax Increase Budget in a Decade Passed in East Penn

Tonight, the East Penn School Board of Directors passed the first budget to not include a tax increased in nearly a decade. Both fellow Director Lynn Donches and myself prepared some budget alternatives that might have resulted in a tax cut but both of our proposals had flaws.

Both of us made the mistake of trying to cut items from Budget line item 1100 which is essentially state mandated charter school funding. Live and learn.

Since that would have resulted in a reduction of nearly $200k worth of my budget cuts, I decided not to push the case further. We were at a zero budget increase and I can live with that.

As I've said, sometimes politics and compromise is the art of reaching "good enough". A zero increase budget is certainly good enough.

Regrettably, many of Ms. Donches proposed budget cuts were things that I just could not, in good conscience, support when we already had a budget that would not increase taxes. Her proposal included cuts to line items such as "Pupil Health" and "Student Activities". Too radical, even for me.

Her amendment died for lack of a second.

The final budget passed 8-1 with Director Donches being the only dissenting vote. I respect her for that vote.

The truth is, the only way we will see a meaningful tax cut/reduction in spending is to vastly curtail teacher salary increases (note: curtail INCREASES, not salaries) in the next contract negotiation. An average increase of 2.5% rather than the contracted 4.9% would have resulted in a bigger tax cut than the combined proposed cuts from both myself and Ms. Donches.

Common Core "Biometric Machines" Not in Use in East Penn

Last night, I posted that I had been informed at a Lehigh County Republican Committee meeting that, in one East Penn Middle School (Eyer, as it turns out) "biometric" machines were being hooked up to students. If that was the case, I would have been shocked and appalled. Though we are living in Comrade Obama's Amerika, I didn't think we were THAT close to 1984 just yet.

I was right. A gentleman (the grandfather of an Eyer student) came to the meeting and described the "machines" in question and he demanded to know where the funding for them came from.

As it turns out (and as I noted to Dr. Seidenberger) what he was talking about are the heart monitors used in gym class to make sure the students are getting proper cardiovascular exercise. I remember using them in gym class 7+ years ago before Common Core was even a thought. Nothing nefarious about them.

I promised I would post an update on the situation here, and I, about the rest of that meeting...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

$1600 for Common Core Conference?

On Monday, June 24th the East Penn School District will vote on the 2013-2014 School Year budget. The $130 million expenditure of taxpayer funds will likely be the most discussed item of the evening even though it is the first budget in almost a generation to lack a tax increase. Hey, it's an election year.

Another item on the agenda might normally have escaped notice: "Educational Conferences". Most of these are semi-mandatory expenditures of district funds to continue education for our district personnel but there is one conference that grabbed my attention- "Common Core, Now". To me, this sounds like a rah-rah support conference to prepare for an Orwellian Government/Corporate intrusion into families around the country.

The conference is set to be paid for with $1601.21 of "School Improvement Funds". I think this is grant money, but I'm not certain and I plan to ask. Doesn't matter. Grant money is taxpayer money too!

I have asked that this conference be separated out from the rest of the agenda to be voted on as a stand alone item. I plan to ask that a presentation be made to the public and the board after this conference takes place, but even with that stipulation, I am not certain I will be able to support it.

Plenty of people will attend the meeting to talk about how they feel about the budget, one way or the other.

If you feel strongly about Common Core, I ask that you attend this meeting and, if you feel comfortable doing so, speak out as well.

The meeting will take place at 7:30pm (arrive early if you'd like to speak!) at the Pine St. Entrance of the East Penn Administrative Building.
Emmaus High School
Emmaus, PA 18049

An interesting note: At the Lehigh County Republican Committee meeting that took place this past week, a member informed me that biometric measuring machines called for as part of Common Core have already been used on East Penn students at one of our middle schools. I will inquire further about the veracity of this.

Agenda and Planned Votes for 6-24-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting

1.) Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board

3.) Approval of Minutes- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

4.) Report of the Superintendent
   1.) Appointment of Assistant Superintendent- I plan to vote in favor of this item.
   2.) District Update
   3.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item but I am requesting that one of the "Educational Conferences" be separated out. More on that later.
   4.)  Ticket Pricing for Sports- I plan to offer an amendment to this item that would require all district personnel, including School Board directors, to pay the Student rate to all games rather than receive free admission, as is currently the case. If my amendment fails, I may vote against this item. 
5.) 2013-2014 East Penn School District Budget- Both Director Lynn Donches and myself have prepared amendments to this budget that would give the taxpayers not only a zero increase budget, but a budget that would provide a tax cut! Should the amendments fail, I will still likely vote in favor of this item as it does not contain a tax increase.
6.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- I plan on joining Director Donches in abstaining on this item until she receives the budget detail she feels she requires. A good example of how the information she is requesting might be helpful is I would have known my proposed cut earlier this week was a part of the LCTI budget (which I support). The current policy is a result of having decades of a board that simply rubber stamps the administration's budget.
   2.) Treasurer's Report- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.) SECAP Finance Lease Agreement and State and Local Fair Market Value Lease- I plan to vote in favor of this item. This item is for a District mail machine with a postage meter.
   4.) Record of Investments- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   5.) Disbursement of Funds- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item

7.) Announcements

8.) Adjourn!

Item 4.3 on the agenda contains an allocation of $1,601.23 of School Improvement Funds (I believe this is from a grant, I plan to ask) for an "Educational Conference" called "Common Core, Now". I have many problems with what I have heard about "Common Core" so far. If you are unfamiliar with what Common Core is, I encourage you to watch Dr. Peg Luksik's presentation on the issue. I am asking this particular conference be voted on separately. I am going to request that a presentation be made to the board after the conference takes place. Even with that stipulation, I am not sure I will be able to support the allocation of funds for this item.

Is Southern Lehigh Plotting A Preemptive Strike Against East Penn?

When the Emmaus Diner went out of business, I, like many area residents. was sad to see it go. Especially distressing were the circumstances surrounding the restaurant's close.

I always enjoyed their artery-clogging beef and cheese quesadillas (extra sour cream, please!) and for a diner, they had an excellent black diamond steak at a reasonable price.

When I heard that the owners of the Queen City diner were taking over the place, I was very excited. Queen City always has great food at any hour of the day. Very convenient giving my night owl tendencies.

Now, I'm left wondering if the new East Penn Diner isn't a Trojan Horse ploy by the dastardly power-brokers of the Southern Lehigh School District!

What's with the blue and white color scheme in the heart of glorious green and gold East Penn?

My suspicions were further stirred when I saw the new "East Penn Plaza" sign.

They have the East Penn green (albeit the wrong shade) but surrounded by obviously Southern Lehigh-esque blue, white, and black!

I'm sure it's all just coincidence/marketing faux pas and I very much look forward to giving the East Penn Diner a try as soon as possible.

...But just in case, as your School Board Director, I stand ready to protect you from any incursions by our neighbors to the south-east (the direction, not the name of Kanye and Kim Kardashian's next baby).

2013 East Penn Budget Cuts: When the Facts Change, I Change My Mind

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
This quote is often, correctly or not, attributed to celebrated (if not in my circles) economist John Maynard Keynes.

Earlier this week (last week, perhaps, by the time many of you read this), I proposed a roughly quarter million dollars in spending cuts to the nearly $130 million East Penn Budget. I did send a copy of my suggestions to the administration (they already saw the post on my blog) and received notification that one of the line items I proposed cutting is the LCTI budget. As that particular item accounted for $200,000 of savings, I have gone back and revisited some of my earlier proposed cuts to compensate and adjust. I also took into account changes to the budget made between the time of my post and the receipt of my board packet on Thursday.

My updated proposals for cuts to the budget are as follows

In line item 1100 of the budget, "Regular Instruction", I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" from $185,000 back to the 2011-2012 level of $121,000. This would save the taxpayers $64,000. I further propose reducing the "Other Purchased Services" appropriation in this line item from $3,308,142 to $3,178,142. This would save the taxpayers an additional $130,000 bringing the total savings in this line item to $194,000.

In line item 1400 of the budget, "Other Instructional Purposes", I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Services" from $9,057 back to the 2012-2013 level of $8,380. This would save the taxpayers $677.

In line item 1500 of the budget, "Nonpublic School Programs", I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" from $30,577 (a decrease from the Adminstration's last proposed expenditure of $34,214) back to just above the 2012-2013 level, putting the allocation at $19,577. This would save the taxpayers $11,000.

In line item 2200 of the budget, "Support Service- Instructional Staff", I propose rolling spending on "Other Purchased Services" from $54,994 back to the 2012-2013 level, bringing the allocation to $45,830. This would save the taxpayers $9,164.

In line item 2300 of the budget, "Support Service- Administration", I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" from $291,882, back to the 2011-2012 level, bringing the allocation to $247,198. This would save the taxpayers $44,684. I further propose reducing "Other Purchased Services" in this line item from $134,220 to the 2012-2013 level of $129,662. This would save the taxpayers an additional $4,558 bringing the total savings in this line item to $49,242.

Finally, in line item 2800 of the budget, "Support Service- Central", I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" from $175,880 to the 2011-2012 level of $160,938. This would save the taxpayers $14,942. I further propose reducing "Other Purchased Services" in this line item from $38,370 back to the 2012-2013 level of $30,541. This would save the taxpayers an additional $7,829 bringing the total savings in this line item to $22,771.

The total savings to the taxpayers from these proposed rollbacks would be $286,854.

I have no doubt that the Jane Fretz/East Penn Invested Citizens/Citizens for Strong Communities/Patrick Slattery/Teacher's Union crowd will call these cuts draconian, unnecessary, and arbitrary (as well as a host of things not repeatable in polite company...maybe I'll post them on twitter). The reality is that they represent just over a 0.2% cut from the $129,974,853 budget. They represent a respectful and sincere attempt to bring a tax cut to a school district that has had tax increases every year for nearly a decade.

I'm used to "The-Sky-Is-Falling" mentality from the East Penn Educrat community. The sky didn't fall in 2011-2012 and everything was A-Okay in 2012-2013. By rolling spending back on a few line items to those levels, the sky will not fall and we'll save the taxpayers some of their hard earned money.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Patrick Slattery/Citizens for Strong Communities on Proposed 0.2% Budget Cut: "The Sky is Falling!"

On Tuesday, I proposed $262,252 in spending cuts to the nearly $130 million proposed East Penn Budget. This is far less than the over $900,000 cuts proposed by my fellow director Lynn Donches (I do plan to fully support her proposed cuts which still amount to less than 1% of the total budget). To the Citizens for Strong Communities, led by twice failed State House candidate Patrick Slattery and supported by Emmaus Developers Jane Fretz and Wesley Barrett, this is apparently the end of the world. From their Facebook Page:
Dr. Seidenberger and the majority of the East Penn School Board has worked hard to put the district in a position to pass a budget that maintains all programs and also does not raise taxes. At the 11th hour Director Julian Stolz is proposing a tax rebate to be accomplished from an additional $262,000 in cuts. If you are concerned about responsible school district budgeting please consider attending the School Board Meeting this coming Monday at 7:30.
It is disturbing that a man such as Patrick Slattery who misleads so many East Penn Voters knows so little about budgets. While I would like the spending cuts that I proposed to be made permanent via budget cuts, I am content to include them as a one-time tax credit to be revisited next year when we vote on a new budget. A tax credit is not, as Mr. Slattery indicated, a tax rebate. A tax credit is just a deduction from your total tax bill. A tax rebate is a costly administrative process of sending checks back to the taxpayer. It is not a practice that I am opposed to in general, but for the amount of money being discussed here, it would not be practical or cost effective to have a tax rebate. Mr. Slattery ought to know the difference.

This post was "Liked" by 4 individuals (Other than the Citizens for Strong Communities Page/Patrick Slattery) and shared by 2 more. I thought the "shared by" was pretty revealing

1.) "Macungie Dems Page" (Hillary Smith)- "Arbitrary budget cuts- really?" The "share" was "liked" by 1 person. East Penn teacher, Bonnie Raub.

I found this interesting because Ms. Smith was one of the people so outraged by my comments on twitter that she believed I "had to go". Seems Ms. Smith has a much more partisan and anti-taxpayer agenda. She's outraged over the prospect of a 0.2% budget cut!

2.) Another private citizen who's name, out of courtesy and respect for citizens wishing to get involved in the political process, I will not publish here also shared the post. The comment that went with it was interesting "I've never attended a school board meeting before but I think I will be attending this one." I truly hope the person who wrote this does attend. We need more people to come to meetings and get involved but, if you've never attended a meeting, why would you feel a 0.2% cut is so outrageous? I look forward to the debate.

At Monday's meeting, I expect many more Teacher's Union/Educrat associated "Give me more!" speakers to attend than average, Joe Taxpayers asking to "tax us less". That's ok. That is why I serve on the board. I am there to represent the forgotten taxpayers. I am proposing a modest reduction in expenditures on a few line items that would allow us to reduce the overall tax bills across the district for the first time in a generation.

If you truly believe that's unreasonable, I look forward to seeing you on Monday.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ever Wonder What Progressives Think Conservatives Believe?

I've posted previously about my stalker blog. They happen to also have an affiliated twitter account. Apparently, they have two affiliated twitter accounts!

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from @JennyInEmmaus, someone purporting to be an "Objectivist Teen Who Won't Be Silenced"
With an open mind, I checked my district email and received the following message:
Dear Mr. Stolz,

As an Emmaus High School student, I have watched intently as the lamestream media has attacked you for exercising your First Amendment right to tell the truth about the pathetic state of public education in America. Your bravery is an inspiration to me and I really enjoyed reading Emily Rose's essay on your blog.

I have also had my battles with the tenured thugs in the East Penn School District. Two weeks ago, an English teacher (one I think you know well) forced us to write a paper on the legacy of Jackie Robinson and the Hollywood movie "42." Not only was this assignment highly inappropriate (I'm a girl who likes Broadway, Buffy, and Bullets, not dumb stuff like baseball) but I was bullied and silenced for what I wrote, receiving only a C- and not being allowed to read my essay to the class. I worked really hard on it and discovered that the real story of Jackie Robinson could not be more different that the media myth that everyone wants to believe. It would mean a lot to me if you'd help me share the truth about this (not so) important event in American history.

Hope you had a happy holiday! =)

 I had my suspicions because, no one, certainly not a well informed Conservative (who knew what Objectivism meant), could possibly believe that Jackie Robinson was anything other than an American Hero.

I noted that the "Will Not Be Silenced" language is similar to that of Patrick Slattery's "Citizens for Strong Communities" activist Brian Mondschein who has said he "Will not be silenced" on both Emmaus Patch and the Citizens for Strong Communities facebook page. Several of the quotes throughout the email were also surprisingly similar to tweets on my stalker's twitter account. Curiouser and curiouser...

Still, I decided to proceed with the knowledge that this likely was not just a misguided young lady but rather someone acting with malicious intent and trying to prove that I'm really a closet racist. The "paper" attached to the email seemed to confirm my suspicions.

My instincts were "so, trap?"
But before making it public, I decided to cross my Ts and dot my Is and check with the administration.

 I sent this email to Superintendent Seidenberger

I received this from someone purporting to be a student at Emmaus High School. I have suspicions that this is a set up to attempt to make me appear to agree with some truly racist and offensive nonsense. I'd be curious as to whether or not we have a student at EHS with this name and if so, if the student actually wrote this essay. If there is in fact a student by this name at EHS who did not write this essay, then effectively, someone is stealing the identity of one of our students and that needs to be dealt with. Thanks for looking into this matter.

Best Regards,

 I finally received a reply last Wednesday but, before I saw the email, Dr. Seidenberger informed me personally when I saw him at the meeting that evening of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners.

Nevertheless, in the interests of transparency, here is the official response I got from the administration via email:


Dave Pip got back to me regarding the communication. There is no Jennifer Kulp at EHS and we can find no record of one either. We have had three students in the past with the last name Kulp but not a Jennifer. Looks like someone was gaming you.

 As I suspected, someone, likely Brian Mondschein, attempted to bait me into agreeing with some evidently racist nonsense. I'm not so stupid and when "Anna Karina" "The Stolz Report Wordpress" or "@Stolz4Emmaus" (yep, they hijacked my old twitter handle) tries to troll me again, I suggest they do a better job. I deserve a better quality of stalker!
Oh, by the way, Jackie Robinson was a Conservative.

On Immigration 06/19/2013

With the Republican Party being somewhat introspective about how it approaches immigration reform, I thought I'd take some time to opine... more than 140 characters.

If you came here illegally in the first place (with exceptions like those seeking political asylum from places such as Cuba), the Government should do its job and deport you. They won't, of course, but they should.

You broke the law. By definition, you're an illegal. End of story. But, that's not really the whole story.

There is some validity to the claims that illegal immigrants are doing jobs that Americans simply will not do. Some jobs are far less profitable, even with State Minimum wage laws in effect, than just sitting around and collecting welfare or unemployment compensation. Want to fix the system? 6 months unemployment/welfare. After that, you work in jobs "Americans won't do" or you starve. People must again become uncomfortable in poverty.

Why oppose creating a path to citizenship for the 10+ million illegal immigrants already here, many of whom are just looking for a better life? Wouldn't it just be "nicer" and more "moral" to just allow them to stay and be part of the American dream? It would be "nicer", but we're either a nation of laws, or we're not. If I get caught speeding, I get a ticket. If I get caught texting a driving, I get a ticket. If I shoplift, I get thrown in jail. If you come here illegally, you get deported.

I won't pretend that there is not also a political motive behind this (on both sides). Democrats want 10+ million more (mostly) hispanic voters because they break 60-40 for the Democrat candidate. Why then, would any sane Republican want to pass amnesty? I have a theory. You may not like it, but here it is.

I think the establishment GOP wants the Republican Party to be forced to the left. Millions more Progressive-Socialist leaning voters will force elected Republicans to tack hard to the left because the only way to remain competative with the Dems will be to offer more free goodies and handouts. That suits many "Republican Leaders" just fine. Then they won't have to listen to stingy, mean Conservatives anymore. They will be able to dole out the earmarks and goodies to their constituents just like in the old days!

Consider this comment from Pennsylvania Congressman and House Transportation chairman Bill Shuster

"At some point we have to bring [earmarks] back."

Very revealing about the mentality of these "leaders".

Obviously, border security must be strengthened and a border fence is a good start but, as Governor Rick Perry famously said during one of the 2012 Presidential Primary debates

"if you build a 30-foot wall, the 35-foot ladder business gets really good."

Perry's fellow Texan, Senator Ted Cruz, offered an amendment that would triple the number of boarder patrol agents on the boarder with Mexico.
We also need to make it easier for people to gain legal citizenship through immigration. I support a move to allow more people to legally come to America and become part of the great melting pot.

There are those who support ending "birthright" citizenship where you are granted citizenship simply by being born in America. This would require amending the Constitution, specifically, the 14th Amendment. I do not support this. If the parents are deported because they came here illegally, they may of course take their children with them but I would also like to see faith based charities empowered to take care of these children should their parents wish to have them remain and grow up in America.

This brings me to my final point. The GOP DOES have a racism problem. We saw that effect when Rick Perry's Presidential campaign (before "oops") began to implode just because he was -nice- to the children of illegal immigrants. I think I take a pretty hard line when it comes to immigration but if a State Governor wishes to allow children of illegals to obtain in state rates for education, I don't have any objection to that. It is an issue decided by the state and it isn't like they're getting government handouts, they're just paying a reduced rate. I would rather have the children obtain the education (that they're still paying for) and be productive members of society than have them be uneducated and dependent on state welfare (don't kid yourselves. Illegals are able to obtain welfare with very little are plenty of otherwise able bodied American citizens).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Proposed Spending Cuts for 06/24/2013 Budget Vote

On Monday, June 24th, the East Penn School Board will likely make the final vote for the 2013-2014 Budget. As someone who has pushed for a zero increase budget every year since I was first elected in 2007, I'm proud to say that we will, in all probability, be voting for a budget with no tax increase for the first time in a decade.

That said, I have a few proposed further spending cuts that I am confident would not be a detriment to the quality of education in East Penn and would help show respect for how hard our taxpayers work for their money.

In line item 1300 of the budget, Vocational Ed. Programs, I propose rolling spending on "Other Purchased Services" back to 2011-2012 levels and reducing the appropriation from 2,220,412 to 2,020,000. This would save the taxpayers $200,000.

In line item 1400 of the budget, Other Instructional Programs, I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" back to 2012-2013 levels and reducing the appropriation from $9,057 to $8,457. This would save the taxpayers $600.

In line item 1500 of the budget, Nonpublic School Programs, I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services" back to 2012-2013 levels and reducing the appropriation from $34,214 to $19,214. This would save the taxpayers $15,000.

In line item 2200 of the budget, Support Services- Instructional Staff, I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services back to 2012-2013 levels and reducing the appropriation from $77,325 to $65,395. This would save the taxpayers $11,930. I further propose reducing the appropriation under this line item for "Other Purchased Services" from $56,165 to the 2012-2013 level of $45,830. This would save the taxpayers an additional $10,335, bringing the total savings under this line item to $22,265.

In line item 2300 of the budget, Support Services- Administration, I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services back to 2012-2013 levels and reducing the appropriation from $311,842 to $308,842. This would save the taxpayers $3,000. I further propose reducing the appropriation in this line item for "Other Purchased Services" from $134,220 back to the 2012-2013 level of $129,662. This would save the taxpayers an additional $4,558, bringing the total savings under this line item to $7,558. 

Finally, in line item 2800 of the budget, Support Services- Central, I propose rolling spending on "Purchased Professional Services back to 2012-2013 levels and reducing the appropriation from $175,860 to $164,860. This would save the taxpayers $9,000. I further propose reducing the appropriation in this line item for "Other Purchased Services" from $38,370 back to the 2012-2013 level of $30,541. This would save the taxpayers an additional $7,829, bringing the total savings under this line item to $16,829.

The total savings from all of these proposed rollbacks is $262,252.

At the 06-10-2013 meeting of the East Penn School Board of Directors, Superintendent Seidenberger informed us that he would need to hire an additional teacher at the cost of approximately $75,000. He promised to find the savings in the budget to have a zero increase budget even with this necessary cost. In the name of compromise, would be willing to have approximately $75,000 of this proposed savings to go towards hiring that new teacher and have the remaining $187,000 be given back to the taxpayers in the form of a tax credit to be deducted from their tax bill this year.

Common Core Presentation by Dr. Peg Luksik

Just in case you were unable to attend any of her presentations across the Commonwealth heretofore, it is my distinct pleasure to share with you Dr. Luksik's presentation.
For more information on Common Core and how to stop it, go to

Monday, June 17, 2013

In Response to Blog, Ben Long Calls Me Liar, Coward **UPDATED**

On Friday, I put up a post in response to a piece over at Bernie O'Hare's Lehigh Valley Ramblings about a young former Lehigh GOP Committeeman who was working to "take back the Republican Party" resigning his seat in order to publicly endorse Democrat County Executive nominee Tom Muller.

This morning, I recieved a message from young Mr. Long on Facebook saying:

If you're going to write a blog about me at least get your stories straight. I had no such conversation with you about the possibility of me supporting Tom nor did I even have a conversation with you at the Lincoln Day. I'm glad however that you made the very clear distinction that I'm not under your tent an never will be

I replied with the following:

Yes you did. I'm glad to know you're a liar as well.

I asked if your candidate lost if you would support the Republican nominee. You said no because Scott wasn't qualified. While I disagree, I also warned you that the base cares more about ideology than they do about qualifications. I was proven correct, about the Primary and you

  Apparently I must have time to make these things up because his response was

Julian I never said that to you. But think what u want
It doesn't surprise me that you have nothing better to do than write a blog about me. Go pound sand Julian and leave me alone.
Judging by his last sentence, I may have jogged his memory about the conversation taking place. I'll let the readers judge for themselves whether or not they think I'm lying.

Evidently young Benjamin only objects when people write negative blogs about him. He had no problem emailing his resignation to Bernie O'Hare.

When questioned by local Blogger and curmudgeon Michael Molovinsky about who sent him the release on Long's resignation, Bernie said:

Bernie O'Hare said...

" did long or browning send you this release?"

I got it from Ben, not Browning.

Did You Hear About the Obama Administration Scandal?

Person A: “Did you hear about the Obama administration scandal?”
Person B: “You mean about the setting up of Seal Team 6?”

Person A: “No, the other one.
Person B: “You mean the Mexican gun running?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “The State Dept. lying about Benghazi?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “The IRS targeting conservatives?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “The DOJ spying on the press?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “Sebelius shaking down health insurance executives?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “The NSA monitoring our phone calls, e-mails and everything else?”

Person A: “No, the other one”
Person B: “The State Department interfering with an IG investigation on sexual misconduct?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “Health and Human Services employees being given insider information on Medicare Advantage?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “Clinton, the IRS, Clapper & Holder all lying to Congress?”

Person A: “No, the other one.”
Person B: “I give up! … Oh wait, I think I got it! You mean that 65 million low-info voters stuck us again with the most corrupt administration in American history?”

Hat tip to Walt at the Hedgehog Report.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ben Long: A Typical "Big Tent" Republican

I remember the first time I met now former Lehigh County Republican Committeeman Ben Long. It was at the first meeting of my current term on the Lehigh County GOP Committee and the first thing he said to me was "Is it true you voted against paying the bills?" I was a little surprised. I had voted against paying the bills as a protest vote against ever increasing taxes and spending on two or three occasions during the first year or so of my time on the East Penn School Board, but Mr. Long couldn't have been more than 14 or 15 years old at the time. He doesn't even live in East Penn, he's a Parkland alum! Apparently word gets around. Now, Benjamin Long has resigned his seat as a Lehigh County Republican Committeeman representing South Whitehall because his candidate, Dean Browning, lost the primary for Lehigh County Executive...and he (Mr. Long) is now endorsing Democrat candidate Tom Muller.
This didn't come as a surprise to me. Ben told me he planned to do as much when I spoke to him at this year's Lincoln Day Breakfast.

Knowing Long was a big supporter of Dean Browning, I felt compelled to ask Dean, in private, if he planned to endorse Scott Ott should he be unsuccessful in the Primary. Dean got a little hot under the collar and said "of course I will! I'm a past chairman of the LCRC and a lifelong Republican. Please at least act like you have a brain in your head." I told Mr. Browning that I accepted his answer and just had to ask as a matter of curiosity. I asked Karen Beyer the same thing when she faced a primary (which she lost) against now-Representative Justin Simmons. Karen gave me essentially the same answer as Dean Browning...and in November of 2010, she was seen doing knock-and-drags for the Democrat candidate. Interesting how loyal "Big Tent" Republicans are when Conservatives win the Primary.

I have no idea whether or not Dean has made good on his promise to support Scott Ott. Until I hear differently, I will assume that he has been true to his word. Still, I cannot help but wonder how effective a nominee he would be since his supporters are now moving to support the Democrat.

Of course, I should not be surprised at Ben Long's decision to support a Democrat in the name of "taking back the party". His father is a member of the Parkland School Board who regularly votes to raise taxes "for the children". You see, these people believe voting against higher taxes and bigger government is radical and contrary to common sense and prudence.

The Big Tent Republicans only believe in a Big Tent so long as Conservatives sit quietly in the back, don't cause a fuss, and fall in line behind their "Common Sense" candidates. They believe that Conservatives, and not the Democrats or bigger government are the real radicals.

It's no secret that I have regularly cast protest votes against Republican elected officials who vote for increased taxes and bigger government. The "Big Tent" (really the Big Government) wing of the Republican Party needs to be driven to extinction. I'd rather see a few less elected Republicans than see Republicans who give "bipartisan" cover to the Progressive Statist agenda. I am neither reasonable nor pragmatic, and that is something of which I'm proud. I believe in a Republican Party that believes in the bold colors of Liberty, Limited Government, and Freedom and I do not much care if the GOP should go extinct if it fails to support a pro-Liberty agenda.

Monday, June 10, 2013

6-10-2013 Meeting Summary

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board- John Donches spoke to request that Superintendent Dr. Seidenberger attend an August CEPTA event to debate Dr. Peg Luksik on Common Core. Former East Penn School Board President Ann Thompson spoke out against a comment John Donches made at a polling place on election day. While it was nice to see Ms. Thompson, I question the propriety of her making a statement against a private citizen at a public meeting while she is serving as district trustee to Lehigh Carbon Community College.

3.) Approval of Minutes- This item was approved unanimously

4.) Report of the Superintendent
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- This item was approved unanimously
   3.) Modification to School Calendar- This item was approved unanimously
   4.) Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Tracking Software Contract- This item is mandated by the state (though funding is NOT provided) as a result of a bill introduced by State Senator Pat Vance of Cumberland County. This item was approved unanimously.
   5.) Agreement for 2014 Edition of Emmaus HS Alumni Directory- This item was approved unanimously.
   6.) Grant Acceptance- This item was approved by 8-0 with one abstention (Ms. Donches)
   7.) Informational Letter from the Secretary of Education

5.) Other Educational Entities

6.) Legislative Update

7.) Business Operations
   1.) Bid Opening Report
   2.) Bid Awards- This item was approved unanimously
   3.) Bill List Approval- This item was approved by a vote of 7-0 with 2 abstentions (myself and Ms. Donches)
   4.) Parent/Guardian Transportation Contract- This item was approved unanimously
   5.) Budget Transfers- This item was approved unanimously
   6.) District Insurance Policies- This item was approved by a vote of 8-0 with one abstention (Ms. Donches)

8.) Proposed Policies
   1.) Proposal for the Administration to Prepare an Amendment to District Policy 903 (Requests to Address the Board)- This item passed with a vote of 7-2 with Directors Fuller and Ballard voting no
   2.) Proposal to Request the Administration Create a Policy to Bid Out All Professional Services- This item failed by a vote of 6-2-1 with myself and Ms. Donches voting in favor and Director Policano abstaining

9.) Announcements

10.) Adjourn 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Was Wrong

Those who have known me since High School, know I was a politically active Conservative even back then. I supported the Patriot Act as a method of ensuring that another terrorist attack against America would never occur.

I was wrong.

While I do not believe the administration of President George W. Bush had any nefarious motives for supporting passage of the Patriot Act and I believe they truly meant to make America safer, it paved the way for the unprecedented reduction in American Constitutional Liberties that we have seen in the last 5 years.

Since the Obama Administration took office, we have seen the authorization of the use of unmanned drones against American citizens on American soil, the attempt to strip Americans of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, the IRS used to target those who politically disagree with this administration, the EPA release personal information of thousands of farmers to Progressive minded environmental groups, and now, the revelation that the Government has given itself the power to spy on all of us, at any time...and oh yeah, we all have "Obama Phones" now.

Both parties have been complicit in the increasing development of a Police State.

A long time political contact of mine indicated that perhaps Republicans in general and Conservatives in particular have an "unhealthy obsession" with this President. He noted that phone records have been compiled by the government since the 70's. That doesn't make it acceptable.

Many citizens are now awakening to the threat that Government poses to our Constitutional Liberty.

Ironically, most of this information has come to light in the month following President Obama telling a group of College Graduates
Unfortunately, you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They'll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.
Mr. President, the citizenry is beginning to wake up to just how right those voices were. I, like many in my party, derided the Ron Paul "Campaign for Liberty" types as "kooky" and "paranoid" on the Patriot Act. They were right.

The Republican Party is searching for a way forward. They seem to believe that granting amnesty to millions more illegal immigrants (who are not politically inclined to agree with the values of Limited Government in any case) will win over the new voters they need to become a competitive party in National elections.

If the Republicans want to win again, they need to follow the example of Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Congressmen like Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Kerry Bentivolio, and Steve Stockman, among others. They need to embrace Constitutional Liberty, Free Markets, and Limited Government. They need to embody bold colors of Freedom in contrast to the Cradle to Grave Statist view of the Democrat party.

6-10-2013 Board Meeting Agenda and Planned Votes

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board

3.) Approval of Minutes- I plan to vote in favor of this item

4.) Report of the Superintendent
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.) 2012-2013 Modification to School Calendar- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   4.) Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Tracking Software Contract- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   5.) Agreement for 2014 Edition of Emmaus HS Alumni Directory- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   6.) Grant Acceptance- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   7.) Informational: Letter from Secretary of Education

5.) Other Educational Entities

6.) Legislative

7.) Business Operations
   1.) Bid Opening Report 
   2.) Bid Awards- Roof Replacement; General School Supplies; Computer Supplies- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.) Bill List Approval- As usual, I plan to abstain on this item to support Ms. Donches in her efforts to receive the information she feels she needs.
   4.) Parent/Guardian Transportation Contract- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   5.) Budget Transfers- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   6.) Approval of District Insurance Policies- I plan to vote in favor of this item

8.) Proposed Policy Changes

9.) Announcements     

10.) Adjourn     

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

CEPTA to Host United Services Appreciation Day

Got this in an email from the folks at CEPTA:
United Services Appreciation Day
Date- Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Location- Fire Company #1, corner of 6th and Broad St., Emmaus
Time- Doors open at 7:00 PM and goes till ~ 9:30
Speaker- Sargent Major John Neith (retired)
Join us in honor and celebration of all those that serve(d)
Sponsored by C.E.P.T.A. (Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association)
Free and Open to the Public
Our event takes place between three of our Country’s most important non-religious holidays: Memorial Day- May 27th, Independence Day- July 4th and Flag Day- June 14th. All of these holidays center around the basis of our Country and the men and women that fought and worked to make the United States known around the world for its stance on freedom for all.
We invite all retired and current military service personnel, fire, ambulance, police and elected officials to attend if you want share some of your experiences with the public.
A special local guest speaker, Retired Sargent Major John Neith will share his story of liberty with us
We hope these meetings are interesting and helpful and encourage you to become involved in your local community. C.E.P.T.A. is always looking for new members and would enjoy the help and input you could share with us.
Light refreshments will be available.
Have a question? Please call 610-965-3556
or E-mail-