Fake bake sale protests budget

Published by Karen Langley on .

A group of parents led by a Democratic candidate for the state House held a mock bake sale at the Capitol this afternoon to protest Gov. Tom Corbett's proposals for education funding.


With platters of apparently real cookies in the foreground and small, poster-holding children behind them, a couple of speakers made the case that the budget proposal would cut public-school funding too much for parents to make up the difference through bake sales and car washes.

"There are simply not enough cookies in Pennsylvania to stop the irreparable harm being caused by the state budget cuts," said Erica Burg, one of the organizers. 

Whether Corbett's proposal amounts to a funding cut is a matter of disagreement. The administration says its plan would send each district at least as much money as it currently receives, while House Democrats argue the budget would cut funding. The difference lies in how to account for two areas of funding, one related to federal stimulus money and the other to the state contribution to the pensions of school workers.

On the steps of the main rotunda, parents led their children in singing a "This Land is Your Land" takeoff, which went, in part:

No politician can ever stop us, as we seek knowledge and strive for justice. We have the power, we have the courage, 'cause these schools were made for you and me.

Susan Spicka, a Shippensburg Democrat running for the state House, said the administration could find money for public schools by closing the so-called Delaware loophole, imposing a larger tax on natural gas drilling and ending the subsidy to the horse racing industry from casino revenue.

The group plans similar protest bake sales across the state, including one at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on Saturday.


Michelle Obama to be at local fundraiser

Published by Lillian Thomas on .

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in town April 17 for a pair of fund-raising events. There is an $1,000 per guest reception at the Rivers Club, followed by a $10,000 per couple dinner at the Fox Chapel home of Cindy Shapira. The Obama campaign has been working on organizing and fund-raising in Pennsylvania as Republican candidates converge here in advance of the April 24 primary election.


Two weeks out

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Did you know the first Republican convention was held in Pittsburgh in 1856 and the state's party was founded in tiny Towanda, Pa? You do now. (Lillian Thomas)

Barack Obama tops Mitt Romney 45-40% in the latest Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll of Pa.

No campaign events today by the Santorum camp, but one is scheduled for tomorrow morning in Bedford followed that night by a rally with James Dobson in Lancaster. From the campaign:

Hogan Gidley said: "Senator Santorum will not hold any campaign related events on Monday so that he and Karen can remain in the hospital with their daughter Bella. The entire Santorum family is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support."

Can you name all five dudes running for the GOP nod for U.S. Senate? You will after reading this nice setup piece by Tracie Mauriello.

Here's an overview of the reapportionment-affected 22nd District House race in the South Hills. (McNulty)


Romney makes giant Pa ad buy

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The Mitt Romney campaign is making a multi-million broadcast TV ad buy Pennsylvania in an attempt to snuff out Rick Santorum's presidential challenge for good, reports PoliticsPA. The spots start Monday everywhere but Pittsburgh, then come into Santorum's former home town in the week leading up to the April 24 primary.

His SuperPAC is already on cable (ie, Fox News). The campaign's more-expensive broadcast TV buy includes almost 6,000 gross ratings points in the Erie market, nearly 5,000 around Johnstown and more than 3,000 around Philadelphia.

From PP's Keegan Gibson:

Chris Nicholas is a GOP campaign veteran who has bought statewide TV time in multiple states over the past decade, including Pennsylvania. He said the buy is enormous.

“This is an incredible amount of points in two weeks,” he said. “I’ve never bought more than 1,500 a week.”

Industry shorthand suggests that for every 100 GRP, the average viewer sees an ad once. That means the average Erie resident will see a Romney ad 59 times in the next two weeks.


The trail goes through Harrisburg

Published by Karen Langley on .

Finally, the road to the White House passes through Harrisburg. A few images from the GOP campaign trail this week -- at least the portion that went within a few miles of the Capitol newsroom.

On a rooftop in downtown Harrisburg:Romney_on_roof


And at a Mechanicsburg bowling alley:Santo_at_bowl


Photos: Langley iPhone