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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OPEN LETTER TO SAM STEIN OF HUFFINGTON POST

Hi Sam,
Since the censors on Huffington Post decided to suppress my comments in response to your piece flacking for Ed Rendell, I thought to share some things with you.

When the citizens of PA voted down a referendum to legalize gambling, Rendell used some back room arm twisting and executive order to legalize it anyway.

Two people applied for the casino license that would be issued in the Poconos. One, a developer from NJ, bought a closed, run down resort property and did a complete set of plans including an architect's model of the proposed casino complex. All in, he spent about $3 million.

The other applicant, a trash hauling magnate and big Rendell supporter from Scranton, bought a run down resort and spent $27 million to build a casino and resort complex, before any license was issued. He got the license. Then, when it was discovered he lied about having ties to organized crime, his casino license was ordered transferred to his daughter. Just Google Louis DeNaples and/or Mount Airy Casino and you'll find it.

When the Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts was built on 600 pristine publicly owned acres that were on the National Register of Historic Places, it was hailed as the new Wolf Trap. (It was once the ILGWU summer camp.) Rendell poured millions of dollars of tax money into this place, as his predecessor before him did. All that money went to builders and other guys with bulldozers. There was no endowment or fund to help the facility through what would naturally be lean start up years. When the facility failed to make ends meet two years in a row under Rendell's watch, he privatized the place -selling the entire property for pennies on the dollar to developers from Philadelphia who are, surprise, Rendell supporters.

Last year, with the financial crisis as his excuse, Rendell cancelled all grants to artists, and cancelled the Governor's School -- a summer program for exceptional high school students. Meanwhile, he gave a grant of $35 million to the owner of Boscov's department store chain, who also happens to be a Rendell supporter for many years.

Now, with jobs as his excuse, Rendell has fast tracked the drilling of natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale Fields in northeast PA. These wells are using a method called "nonconventional hydrofracturing" which consists of pumping a toxic mix of chemicals into the ground, including benzene, and leaving 85% of those chemicals there when the gas is extracted. By the way, only 10% of the potential gas is extracted this way, and the rest of it rendered unrecoverable by any currently known means. Meanwhile, people in the surrounding areas are discovering that their wells are polluted with, of all things, benzene and other chemicals.

All of these things are a matter of public record.

You should list yourself as a Democratic party political operative, not a reporter.

Sincerely,
Uke Jackson

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