Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on June 7, 1983 · Page 3
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 3

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Tuesday, June 7, 1983
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3% <3/nimma (gazette STATE Thursday, Novembers, 2001 — Page 3 State Dems give GOP high marks for organization r PFTPB lAr>i/or»M . „ .__...... 4J By PETER JACKSON Associated Press Writer PHILADELPHIA — In an election that attracted only one out of five eligible voters and saw Republicans sweep seven statewide J^cial races, Democratic strategists conceded that the GOP did a better job of organizing. ° "I give them credit. I think we beat ourselves more than got beat," said Ken Snyder, a consultant who helped lead the Democratic effort in Tuesday's election. Snyder cited unusually low turnouts in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as especially harmful to the Democratic ticket. "I just think we lost because we underestimated our organizational needs," he said Wednesday. Neil E. Cashman Jr., executive .director of the Democratic State Committee, allowed that he was "a little shocked" by the breadth of the GOP victory and said he could not easily explain it. Republican J. Michael Eakin won an open seat on the state Supreme Court that will give the GOP its first majority on the state's highest court in three decades. Returns from 99 percent of the state's 9,423 precincts showed the Elizabethtown resident winning 53 percent of the vote and fellow Superior Court Judge Kate Ford Elliott of Pittsburgh, the Democratic nominee, with 47 percent. Republicans also won three open seats on the Superior Court. Philadelphia County Common Pleas Judge Richard B. Klein and Pittsburgh lawyer Mary Jane Bowes each were elected with 19 percent of the vote, while Allegheny County District Justice John Bender won the remaining seat with 16 percent. The losing Democratic candidates each received 15 percent of the vote — Allegheny County lawyer David Wecht, Philadelphia Municipal Judge Lydia Kirkland and Erie County Common Pleas Judge Stephanie Domitrovich. The GOP winners of three seats on the Commonwealth Court each received 18 percent of the vote: Dauphin County lawyer Mary Hannah Leavitt, Lehigh County lawyer Renee Levine Cohn and Northampton County Common Pleas Judge Robin Simpson. They defeated the Democratic nominees —Allegheny County lawyer James J. Dodaro, Luzerne County lawyer Jerry Langan, and Dauphin County lawyer Irwin W. Aronson. About 2 million votes were cast for the Poll sees tax hike support By MARTHA RAFFAELE Associated Press Writer HARIUSBURG — A majority of Peruisylvanians favor a higher state income tax in exchange for lower property taxes to make the state's public school funding formula more equitable, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday. The survey of 655 residents found that 64 percent agreed that the income tax should be increased in exchange for decreased local property taxes, which are currently the primary source of school funding. The Madonna Yost Opinion Research poll also found that 62 percent of the respondents would be more likely to vote for a state lawmaker who supported legislation that would increase the state's share of education funding. The firm's principals include Millersville University professor and pollster Terry Madonna, although the survey did not involve the university. "There's a growing rise in concern for fairness in school funding," Madonna said. "I've never seen any numbers as high as this." The poll was commissioned by Good Schools Pennsylvania, a non-' profit organization based in Philadelphia. The group formed earlier this year and has enlisted religious leaders in its push for increased state education funding and equal funding for all public schools fay holding monthly interfaith vigils at the Capitol. The organization has said that the state's reliance on local property taxes to fund school districts shortchanges poor districts with shrinking commercial tax bases: "We think this poll speaks very clearly to any elected official that's currendy in office and those who intend to run for office that public education deserves better attention," said Donna Cooper, campaign director for Good Schools Pennsylvania. The state Education Department ,has defended present funding levels as fair and equitable. The state covers about 38 percent of school districts' costs on average; poor districts .receive as much as 70 percent of their expenses. Red-light cameras discussed PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The state House of Representatives Transportation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that .would allow municipalities to use •passive cameras to catch drivers running red lights. Fourteen people spoke in favor of 'the legislation sponsored by state !Rep. George Kenney, R-Philadelphia, whose district includes two Roosevelt Boulevard intersections that -were named among the most dangerous in the country by a State Farm Insurance survey. Two spoke against it. • "The city of Philadelphia has atraf- fic-safety crisis on its hands," Kenney said, citing statistics that show red- light running caused 3,310 crashes in Philadelphia last year. Sixteen peo- " pie were killed, another 4,782 people ;were injured in those crashes, he •said. Larry Frankel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said the cameras are too intrusive. "It undermines due process and poses a threat to privacy," Frankel said. A new law must be implemented if municipalities are to levy fines against the owners, of vehicles who are photographed running red lights. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supports the use of cameras, which record vehicles' license plates as they pass through intersections with red lights. Vehicle owners would be allowed to contest the mailed citations in court if, for example, they wanted to show they weren't driving the car at the time. Supreme Court race at the 'top of the statewide ticket — a turnout of 21 percent of the 9.4 million Pennsylvanians who are 18 or older, low even for an off-year election like the one held Tuesday. Democrats outnumber Republicans in statewide voter registration by nearly 486,000, out of a total 7.8 million registered voters. But even Democratic strategists acknowledged that such statistical superiority means little if Democrats do not turn out at the polls. Two political science professors who closely monitor the state political scene said Tuesday's results should be an alarming wake-up call for the Democrats. "The balance of power in Pennsylvania may have shifted to the Republicans in a more permanent way," said G. Terry Madonna of Millersville University. "The (Democra- tic) party is at the weakest point since the late 1950s." "It's dramatic evidence of the GOP's ability to win statewide. I think it's ominous for the Democrats going into the 2002 elections," said political science professor Michael Young at the Penn State University campus in Harrisburg. Democrats warned that Democratic participation in the gubernatorial election is more likely to resemble last year's presidential election, in which Democratic nominee Al Gore carried the state. Former Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell and state Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. are vying for the gubernatorial nod. The election of a Democratic governor could signal a re-emergence of the party and enable it to recapture a majority in the General Assembly as well, Cashman said. 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