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Election '98: Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Race

(10/30/98 10:00am)

SPECTER vs LLOYD: Fourth term in D.C. likely for Specter SPECTER vs LLOYD: Fourth term in D.C. likely for SpecterLloyd: Underdog Democrat fails to spread his message With four days until the polls open, it is the least of Lloyd's problems. The nine-term state representative from Southwestern Pennsylvania is strapped for cash, deeply in debt, back 46 points in the polls and burdened by 23 percent name recognition among respondents to a recent survey. Lloyd, who turns 51 today, knew he faced an uphill battle against the incumbent, three-term Republican Arlen Specter. But he had no idea just how steep the climb would be. "I don't think anyone knows what they're getting into the first time they run for statewide office," said Michael Young, a politics professor at Pennsylvania State University's Harrisburg campus. Lloyd has been learning the hard way. Without money to pay a driver -- he has a small campaign staff and his parents are among the campaign volunteers -- he has driven more than 14,000 miles in a 1996 Dodge Stratus, often alone, trying to make an impression with voters. So far, it has not worked. A Millersville University poll released yesterday showed that 77 percent of those polled had no opinion of Lloyd. "That's the power of TV," said campaign spokesperson Susan Roach. Without it, there is no way to reach voters. Last fall, a victory seemed possible, even plausible. Lloyd, a well-regarded legislator with little statewide exposure, saw his chance to challenge Spector when some of the state's prominent Democrats -- Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and state Auditor Bob Casey Jr. chief among them -- decided not to run. Anti-abortion, pro-gun and pro-labor, Lloyd's profile seemed viable. A Washington fundraising firm was hired, an office was rented and the campaign got under way. "I think [Lloyd] thought the traditional Democratic sources for money would be there," Roach said. "And then they weren't." To date, he's used $54,000 of his own money to pay for the basic expenses associated with a campaign. A similar amount has come from other contributors. There is an element of tragedy in the Lloyd campaign, a note sounded time and again as groups and dollars head Specter's way. "We're just sorry that Bill ran this time around," said Rick Bloomingdale, a spokesperson for the AFL-CIO, the powerful labor group that endorsed a Republican candidate in a statewide race for the first time since 1982. "He would have been an excellent candidate against somebody else." The theme repeats itself: What a waste of a good candidate. Lloyd is a deeply intelligent man by all accounts, a bachelor with a reputation for spending long hours at work. Soft-spoken and articulate, Lloyd has championed various social welfare causes in his time as a legislator. He points to workers' compensation reform as one of his proudest achievements. The 1993 bill capped medical costs for injured works and cut insurance premiums for businesses for the first time in decades. A former public utilities judge, Lloyd has represented Somerset County, in Southwestern Pennsylvania, since 1981. A retiring incumbent allowed Lloyd to win his seat in his third attempt. The first, in 1976, came directly after his release from active duty as an attorney in the Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs. Lloyd graduated in 1969 from Franklin and Marshall College and received his law degree from Harvard in 1972.

GUEST COLUMN: "In Defense Of Our Earth"

(02/24/95 10:00am)

In hindsight, the year 1970 was a major turning point in the environmental movement. Across the nation, citizens worked together to solve the problems which had tormented our natural habitats. On April 22, the first Earth Day was observed, involving 10,000 schools, 2,000 colleges and universities and virtually every community in the United States. This outpouring of grassroots conviction and energy led to tangible results in the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. America's collective voice was heard over the backroom protests of corporate polluters, and positives results emerged. These gains were achieved because of the democratic nature of our country, as the will of the people was heeded by our representatives, and made into law. Twenty-five years have passed, and these popular legislative reforms are now on the brink of destruction. In one quarter of a century, our nation's leaders have succeeded in stumbling backwards, shirking their democratic, ethical, and moral obligations to both their constituents and our earth. It has been said that an economist knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. That appears to be the case of our government, obsessed with the short term economic virility of big business above all other concerns. It is the practice of the business leaders in this country to focus on the quick profit, a criticism sounded many times before in an effort to explain our recent slip from international economic preeminence. Destroying our environment through the stripping of natural resources, while providing temporary raw material stimulus, will have devastating long-term effects. Coupled with this economic environmental slaughter, and embodied in the "Reagan-omics" of the 80s, comes the dismantling of the legislation created in part by Earth Day 1970. Some important facts that you might not be aware of: In the U.S., only 10 percent of old growth forests still stand. More than 50 percent of our lakes and 30 percent of our rivers are not safe for fishing, swimming, and other uses. More than 163 million Americans now live in cities which violate federal air pollution standards and over 900,000 Americans get sick every year from drinking contaminated water. Finally, the U.S. alone generates 582 billion pounds of garbage every day. These grim statistics prove that 25 years have not solved anything, and the time is ripe for actions to save our environment. It may surprise you to know that our "representatives" in Washington are on the opposite track. On second thought, that should not surprise you at all. By using the rationale of "less government," the Reagan presidency formed a concerted attack on environmental protection. Vice President Bush's regulatory reform task force led the head of the EPA, Anne Gorsuch, to ease the burdens of government regulation on business by ending "unnecessary" regulation; also, inviting the regulated industries to take part in rule-making decisions. Environmentalists' hopes of a cooperative Clinton administration have been dashed, and the crisis exacerbated with the continuation of a complete lack of national leadership on environmental protection. Already, in the interest of deregulation, legislators have begun the process of impeding the use of Federal "unfunded mandates," the vehicle of implementation for major environmental policies. Last November the voters of America swept a GOP dominated Congress into power. Led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his "Contract With America," firm ideas were laid out along with a promise for legislative action within the all-important first 100 days. As it turns out, the legislation that would turn these ideas into policy will do nothing less than dismantle environmental laws and turn the "polluter pays" concept upside down. Is this really what the American public wanted when they placed into Speaker Gingrich's hands the power of our legislature? Apparently not. Jessica Mathews, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, reports a staggering 83 percent of those who voted in the November elections describe themselves as "an environmentalist." Nearly 40 percent call themselves strong or very strong environmentalists. Among the high school educated, conservative, white males (stereotypically unsympathetic to environmental concerns) -- only 18 percent say they are not environmentalists. These figures bring to light the environmental concerns of our public, and provide a strong base from which to charge the government with not acting in the interest of the people. Keep them in mind as you continue reading. The centerpiece of the near majority, the "Contract With America," is rapidly swinging into action -- as promised. Interestingly, a survey in December found that more than 70 percent of Americans say they know nothing about the contract, and the contract -- created with detailed polling -- is specific in not mentioning the word "environment." Regardless of the devastating impact the contract is capable of inflicting upon the environment, the term is not even used once. The main offending section of this contract is the "Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act." The problem, among several others, is about the definition of private property rights. First, the proposed legislation would require the Government to compensate property owners if a Federal environmental law is found to reduce the property's value by more than 10 percent. Currently, the balance that exists between neighbors and the community at large limits what one can do with private property to ensure that it does not harm the larger public's right to health, clean air and water, and safety. The contract completely dismisses this balance. It would also require 23 new sets of cost analysis before any regulation could be issued. Together, these provisions will nearly eliminate the ability to impose most regulations concerning the environment, health and safety. This shifts the cost of pollution from the polluter to the public. A majority of those who voted for Mr. Gingrich's leadership of our government did not know that the health and safety of families, communities, and a nation would be sacrificed for big business. Furthermore, they could be held financially responsible for this potentially disastrous "Contract With America." A government of the people, by the people and for the people? I think not. There is no time to spare in this environmental crisis. Our leaders in Washington must understand the urgency and necessity of continued and improved environmental protection. The short-term rape of our natural resources and the pollution of our seas will only cripple the future of our economy. Apparently Mr.Gingrich has difficulty looking past his present-day goal of appeasing the American people before 1996. Those who strove to achieve protection of America's people and natural resources in 1970 need to be supported by this generation's ability to reach even greater heights. This weekend, student leaders and environmentalists are coming together to share ideas about Earth Day events, learn more about pressing environmental issues, and receive skill training. The situation calls for action, and this conference has received it loud and clear. It is not merely the desire for some of us to improve our environment, but rather the responsibility of this generation, to guarantee that our children do not have to fight for the basic, inalienable rights of health safety and a clean earth that we are in the process of defending. The situation is too dire, the consequences are unimaginable, and the time is now. Mathews describes the issue of children's welfare, labeled "Boys Town," as reversing our government into a 19th century debate about how best to care for children. "The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act would take us back to 19th century environmental protection, which is to say, none."

VP Whittington asked to testify on state funding

(02/14/91 10:00am)

Senior Vice President Marna Whittington will testify before a state House committee reviewing higher education funding later this month. The experts' reports will be delivered to the committee early in the day. Whittington will be joined by up to five other college and university administrators in her analysis. It is not known what stance the experts will take on funding for private schools like the University. The committee, headed by Representative Dwight Evans, is seeking to improve the accountability, budgeting, and financing of higher education in Pennsylvania, Shada said. The committee will be examining a system which is radically different from most state's funding of higher education. "It's purpose is to look at funding in a macro way . . . instead of [reviewing] individual institutions," Shada said. Whittington said last night she will argue for higher education in Pennsylvania as a whole in her testimony. Pennsylvania divides colleges and universities into two categories, state-related and non-state-related. The University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State, Temple, and Lincoln universities are state-related, while 12 private colleges and universities, including the University, Drexel, Thomas Jefferson and Hahnemann universities are non-state-related. Whittington said last night that regional politics may also have prompted the review. Eleven of the 12 private colleges funded by the state are in Philadelphia, and legislators from other parts of the state have historically been accused of an anti-Philadelphia bias. "[The review] is an element of Philadelphia politics," Whittington said. Whittington and Shada also said the state's worsening fiscal condition prompted the appropriations committee to examine higher education funding. While Shada is not certain whether or not the University would lose any funding because of this review, Whittington said last night she "absolutely defends" funding of the University. "I hope it's not going to be that parochial of a discussion," Whittington said. House Education Committee Chairperson Ronald Cowell (D-Allegheny) said Tuesday the legislature should examine the "special treatment" the University receives because of the state's fiscal problems. However, Whittington yesterday defended the University's state appropriation because of the historical role the University has played in the state. The state first provided funding for the University -- then named the University of the State of Pennsylvania -- in 1790. The state has continually funded the University since 1903.

Connaissance plans include alumni lecture series, Vonnegut speech

(09/12/90 9:00am)

Connaissance, the organization which helped bring Spike Lee, Mario Cuomo and Louis Farrakhan to campus, will offer new programs during the coming semester which highlight distinguished alumni and international students at the University. Operating with a budget of approximately $39,000, Connaissance receives more Student Activities Council funds than any other individual student organization, said Connaissance Chairperson Emily Nichols. At least one-third of these funds are earmarked for co-sponsoring speakers with other student groups. In the past, Connaissance has sponsored speeches by former Kennedy press secretary Pierre Salinger and former Attorney General Ed Meese, and co-sponsored speeches by author Joyce Carol Oates and Martin Luther King III. This fall the group plans to bring author Kurt Vonnegut. Connaissance's new programs include an alumni lecture series, which begins next month with NBC Washington Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. The series will commemorate the University's 250th anniversary. Richard Smith, Vice Chairperson of Connaissance, said that his group wants to improve interaction between present and past students by bringing distinguished alumni to talk about their areas of expertise. The College and Wharton junior said that he wants to attract a more diverse group of speakers. "I would like to see fewer politicians and more speakers to address homelessness, drug and alchohol abuse, and child abuse," Smith said. Connaissance will also launch a new International Scholars Forum aimed at building better relations between foreign scholars at the University and the rest of the University community. Suzanne Sims, co-chairperson of the forum, said she envisions small seminars where the international scholars, mostly graduate students, would discuss what it is like to study in their native country. "We hope to find a diverse group of students from all different schools in the University," Sims said. Nichols said that student groups that want to bring speakers to campus should petition Connaissance for funding, since the group is the major source of funding for speakers on campus. After a group petitions, Connaissance members recommend the amount of money to be awarded. The recommendation is then reviewed and voted on by the SAC Finance Committee.