While Western Pa revels in its sudden capture of leadership posts across the state Capitol -- governor; House speaker, majority leader, minority leader and ranking appropriations chair; Senate minority leader -- the story on the other side of the Commonwealth continues to be their loss of power, from Vince Fumo and John Perzel to now Dwight Evans.
Nice story here at the Inquirer on how Evans lost his 20-year grip on the appropriations panel, after other Dems grew tired of the spending in his Philly district:
"I can only speak for me," Rep. Angel Cruz (D., Phila.), who voted against Evans, said Tuesday. "I myself didn't get stuff that I had worked hard for. I've been waiting for $1.5 million for a project for five budget cycles that he still refuses to let go."
It was not lost on Cruz and others that Evans had approved more than $17.5 million for his pet community development agency - Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp. - in the last two years alone. That money included more than $1 million to fund the West Oak Lane Jazz Festival, which this year drew anemic crowds. In addition, $850,000 has already been set aside for next year's festival.
The organization last year spent about $760,000 to bail out a struggling Mount Airy nightclub, North by Northwest, owned by Evans' backers. It has also used taxpayer funds to buy and finance Relish, a West Oak Lane restaurant.
While Evans has a big supporter in Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, he alienated somebody over here who still wields big power in Harrisburg -- former Majority Leader Bill DeWeese:
One organizer of that "misery" was Rep. Bill DeWeese, former majority whip and longtime partner with Evans in party leadership. Evans crossed DeWeese, of Greene County, when he threw his support to DeWeese's primary opponent this spring. DeWeese won regardless, and Evans earned himself a formidable adversary.
"Bill DeWeese was strongly vocal against Dwight," Boyle said.
Thomas said DeWeese ensured that party members from Western Pennsylvania would close ranks against Evans, meaning any weaknesses within the Philadelphia delegation could be fatal.