Monday, October 09, 2006

We Have No Respect?

Northeast Times details Congresswoman’s evasion.

There will be no debate this year between the candidates running in the 13th Congressional District.

The Northeast Times planned to sponsor a debate on Wednesday, Oct. 11, featuring Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Republican challenger Raj Bhakta.

The hour-long debate was to have taken place at the Lafayette-Redeemer retirement community, at 8580 Verree Road.

Bhakta, who starred in The Apprentice 2 on television, accepted the invitation. Schwartz, who was elected two years ago, declined.

"Raj has demonstrated through his behavior that he has no respect for the voters of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County," said Schwartz campaign spokeswoman Mary Horstmann. "Campaigns are about honesty, serious discussion on the issues and respect, yet Raj has chosen instead to campaign as this race was just the next step in his reality TV show career."

Two years ago, the Times sponsored a debate at Abraham Lincoln High School. Schwartz joined Republican Melissa Brown, Libertarian Chuck Moulton and the Constitution Party’s John McDermott on stage.

That year, the seat was open — incumbent Democrat Joe Hoeffel stepped down to make an unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter — and Schwartz and Brown fought a fierce battle that the Democrat ultimately won handily.

This year, Schwartz has a huge fund-raising advantage on her opponent. Republicans, who are struggling to maintain control of the House of Representatives, have not targeted the race, preferring to protect incumbents and trying to hold onto seats where GOP incumbents are retiring.

The Schwartz campaign remains angry at Bhakta for comments he allegedly made at a bar in Washington, D.C. The Hill newspaper, quoting an anonymous House Democratic aide, said the challenger referred to his opponent as "that liberal b——" and said he doesn’t "give a s—- about the campaign."

Bhakta, who was at the bar celebrating the wedding of a high school friend, said he never made the remarks. He denies ever calling Schwartz a name, though he has a new moniker for her now that she will not debate: "Enemy of Northeast Philadelphia."

The candidate said voters at a debate would see that Schwartz, who served 14 years in the Pennsylvania Senate, is a "hack career politician." He called Schwartz "cowardly" for not debating, adding that it’s a "slap in the face" to voters.

"The sad truth of the matter is Schwartz is afraid to face the people of Northeast Philadelphia," he said.

At the debate, Bhakta said he was looking forward to linking Schwartz to Mayor John Street, a fellow Democrat. He faults the mayor for corruption in city government, not hiring more police officers, neighborhood decline and underfunding the fire department.

"It’s either the good people of Northeast Philadelphia or Mayor Street," Bhakta said. "Allyson Schwartz has made her choice. She’s with John Street."

Early in the campaign, Bhakta agreed to a debate that would have taken place on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Schwartz, who turned 58 on Tuesday, declined an invitation for a joint appearance.

The Republican said he has engaged in retail politics, meeting with citizens in communities. He tells voters he is the candidate for reform and change.

His opponent, he said, has been on the sidelines during the campaign. He said she’s standing behind her substantial war chest and spokespersons. He’s bracing for an onslaught of campaign mailings and television commercials.

Northeast Times Demands Debate

From the Northeast Times:


With a multitude of hot-button issues that members of Congress wrestle with on a regular basis — the war, health care, still-high gasoline prices, perverted congressmen like sleazebag Mark Foley, gun control, school shootings like the horrible, disgusting, heart-wrenching massacre in Lancaster on Monday — any member of, or candidate for, Congress who refuses to engage in a public debate with his or her opponent on these issues and others is doing the voters an extreme disservice.

Sadly, that’s just what freshman Rep. Allyson Schwartz is doing, and her action, or inaction, to be precise, is deplorable.

The Schwartz campaign spokeswoman’s explanation that [Raj] Bhakta has "no respect for the voters of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County" doesn’t hold water, and in fact is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Democracy, and the free, open and respectable exchange of ideas that accompanies it, should impel Rep. Schwartz to debate her challenger.

Memo to Rep. Schwartz: The election will take place in 33 days. There’s still time for you to do the right thing… you should show the voters what you’re made of.

Philly.com: “We're Doing Worse Than Baghdad”

Philly.com recounts public outcry.

A few parents carried framed photos of their children, cut down by a stray bullet or shot to death in a robbery. Others wore T-shirts memorializing dead loved ones and held signs that read "Stop the Violence."

After a stunning week of killings in Amish country and across Philadelphia, hundreds of people - including students and activists - participated yesterday in a school district-sponsored antiviolence fund-raising march to City Hall.

At least 17 homicides have been reported in the city since last Monday, the day five Amish girls were killed execution-style in Lancaster County, authorities said. The Philadelphia killings, including those of two 17-year-old boys, made it one of the deadliest weeks ever, police said.

The deaths boosted the number of homicides for the year to 313 - 19 more than last year at this time. Of the total, 28 victims were 17 or younger.

Daily News: Conversion Problem

Philadelphia Daily News portrays school’s struggle.

This is a story about some of the complications involved when the school district sets out to make major improvements in one area - such as updating old buildings, removing asbestos, or reducing the size of large, "behemoth" schools - and runs into other obstacles along the way.

It's just not easy.

Congratulations Eagles (4-1)

Eagles defeat Dallas Cowboys 38-24.

With Terrell Owens watching from the sideline, Donovan McNabb turned ordinary receivers into big-time playmakers.

McNabb threw touchdown passes of 40 yards to Reggie Brown and 87 yards to Hank Baskett, and Lito Sheppard returned an interception 102 yards in the final minute to seal the Eagles' 38-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

As for T.O., the most overhyped homecoming in recent memory was totally ordinary: three catches, 45 yards, 0 on-field drama. In fact, a frustrated Owens might be closer to having one of his infamous sideline blow-ups than another provocative touchdown celebration.

Owens clearly was unhappy after quarterback Drew Bledsoe misfired on a few passes to the star receiver. At one point, Owens was screaming as he walked off the field and took a seat alone on the bench.

Donovan v. Terrell

Eagles oppose Owens, Cowboys.

"The City of Brotherly Love" is ready to unleash its venom on Terrell Owens.

After nearly helping the Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl title in 2004, Owens nearly ruined the team with his petulant behavior last season.

On Sunday, Owens will return to Philadelphia as a member of the hated Dallas Cowboys in a pivotal NFC East battle.

Congratulations Penn State (4-2)

Penn State defeats Minnesota 28-27.

Kevin Kelly knows what it feels like to be in Jason Giannini's shoes.

After watching Giannini shank the extra point in overtime that ultimately cost Minnesota the game against Penn State on Saturday, Kelly went looking for his fellow kicker, but couldn't find him.

"Definitely, it's really frustrating when that happens, especially in overtime," said Kelly, who missed two short field goals against Florida State in the Orange Bowl last season before kicking the winner in the third overtime. "I've been in that situation before and I'm feeling for him."

Congratulations Notre Dame (5-1)

Notre Dame defeats Stanford 31-10.

Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns, Darius Walker ran for a season-high 153 yards and a touchdown and the Notre Dame defense played its best game of the season in a 31-10 win over the Cardinal on Saturday.

"I'm content with this game," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. "First of all, the defense goes out there and gives them a long drive and basically shuts them down the rest of the day. That's a good thing. The offense I thought was fairly meticulous. It's not about scoring 50 points; it's about how you feel about how you're playing."