Sunday, February 1, 2009

EDITORIAL: Ironies of two years too late

The Feb. 1 Sunday News editorial is headlined "In his debt; Gov. Rendell has spent the state into a hole. Legislators, who let him get away with it, now must rein him in, and fill in the hole." It goes on to say that Rendell "... apparently never met a new way to spend money that he didn't like."

The Sunday News is correct about Rendell's sorry fiscal performance. But coming from the print monopoly Lancaster Newspapers, Inc., a 50% partner in Penn Square Partners which sponsors the convention center / hotel project, is historically discordant.

Then commissioner Molly Henderson with the support of commission chair Dick Shellenberger pleaded with Rendell not to provide state funds for the project, providing him with the negative PKF Feasibility Study. She also let Rendell know that a Fox 43 poll showed 78% of Lancastrians with an opinion opposed the county bond guarantee. (Had they been asked about over $20 milllion in state outright grants, it might have been 90%!)

It was the political chicaneries of then State Sen. Gibson Armstrong, the business canniness (to put it politely) of Dale High, and the media muscle of the newspaper that induced Rendell to disregard the facts and the urgings of a leader of his own party.

NewsLanc welcomes the evaluation of today's Sunday News editorial. We regret that coercion from the publisher prevented the Sunday News staff and editors and other honorable local print journalists from speaking up when it really counted.