Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jubelirer is in trouble

Jubelirer is in trouble

By Dimitri Vassilaros


Monday, October 24, 2005

Bob Guzzardi might be state Sen. Robert Jubelirer's worst nightmare.

Mr. Guzzardi is a Philadelphia entrepreneur who is a fiscal conservative and politically active. That should be of little concern to Mr. Jubelirer, a Blair County Republican, president pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate, and virtually "Senator for Life" in the 30th District.

That Guzzardi puts his money where his mouth is should concern Jubelirer greatly.

But why care about Jubelirer since he does not live in that district?

"Spending is out of control at the state level," Guzzardi said. "Jubelirer and other key leaders are the ones primarily responsible." He blames the Legislature's ringleaders for spending increases that are multiples of inflation rates.

"There are three independent branches of government," Guzzardi said. "Spending is controlled by the Legislature. If (it is) going to rubber-stamp the budget, what's the point?"

Guzzardi wondered if Republicans in Jubelirer's district blamed him for the fiscal irresponsibility of state government. So he wrote a check for $11,000 -- to gauge public opinion.

A public opinion poll taken in June asked Republicans about various issues and Jubelirer.

If they were upset about the excessive spending, they did not hold Jubelirer accountable because 75 percent of Republicans had a favorable opinion of him. And 72 percent said they would vote for him, according to The Polling Company, a well-respected firm based in Washington, D.C.

But then at 2 a.m., Friday, July 7, the Legislature passed a pay-raise bill with no debate or public input. The bill granted pay raises up to 54 percent and labeled the pay-jacking "unvouchered expenses" so legislators could skirt the Pennsylvania Constitution and get the loot before running for re-election. The judiciary got a pay raise, too, as did the executive branch.

Jubelirer's pay increased from $108,724 to $145,553. The pay-jacking also gave his wife a huge raise. Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer had been making $145,659. Now she makes $162,100. July 8 must have a very happy day in the Jubelirer household.

The raises also made the obscenely high pensions of the state's "public servants" even more obscene.

Guzzardi wanted to scientifically verify the anecdotal evidence about voter outrage in Jubelirer's district over the pay-jacking. So he wrote another check.

The poll he sponsored in October proved that Jubelirer's Teflon coating was failing him. Only 50 percent of Jubelirer's fellow Republicans had a favorable opinion of him. And if the primary election had been held on Oct. 3 or Oct. 4, the days of the survey, Jubelirer would have lost.

The survey is available on-line at http://www.pollingcompany.com.

"The second poll was verification that an educated electorate would see that Jubelirer does not represent (its) interests," Guzzardi said. He also hopes the results will encourage fiscal conservatives to challenge the wounded 30-year incumbent in the spring 2006 primary.

Calls to Jubelirer's office requesting comment were not returned.

"If Jubelirer loses the election, it sends a clear message that the people of Pennsylvania do not find his agenda to their benefit," Guzzardi said.

Speaking of Jubelirer's worst nightmare.

Dimitri Vassilaros can be reached at dvassilaros@tribweb.com or (412) 380-5637.

Source: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/search/s_386570.html

Vice Chairman of Voter Education




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