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Tartaglione “disappointed” by Rendell veto of firefighters cancer presumption bill

State Senator Christine Tartaglione is “disappointed” with outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s veto of a bill that would extend the requirements of municipalities to provide health coverage for firefighters diagnosed with various cancers.

House bill 1231, dubbed the cancer presumption bill for firefighters, had some bipartisan support, but Rendell, who vetoed two other bills the same day, expressed concern about excessive costs to already burdened local governments. Nearly two dozen Pennsylvania mayors signed a letter urging Rendell to veto the measure, which was introduced by state Rep. Kevin Murphy and backed by Tartaglione, among others.

“I’m very disappointed with our outgoing governor,” she said of Rendell, while addressing just three residents and a handful of executive board members at the Frankford Civic Association meeting inside Aria Health Frankford. “This bill will come back next year.”

Tartaglione said she doesn’t know if incoming Republican Governor Tom Corbett would support the bill. She did confirm her expectation that the bill would have similar support to pass both chambers of the legislature without needing revision as suggested from the Rendell administration.

She shared two personal triumph with those in attendance:

  1. Last month, she became the first woman elected to a state Democratic caucus leadership position, being named secretary.
  2. In October, for just the second time since being paralyzed in a 2003 boating accident, walked in the Senate chamber. “Not a grown man had a dry eye,” she said.

Controversial Aramingo Rail Transfer Bridesburg Neighborhood meeting

Frankford residents should make it a priority to attend a a Dec. 9 neighborhood meeting in Bridesburg that will focus on a proposd Aramingo Rail transfer waste rail terminal, said resident Ron Wlodarczyk.

The issue was discussed at last month’s Frankford Civic Association meeting.

“This may not be in our neighborhood, but it is in our backyard,” Wlodarczyk said.

The meeting details:

  • Next Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
  • 7-8:30 p.m.
  • St. John Cantius Church, 4415 Almond Street, 19137

Other comments of note from Tartaglione during the brief 40 minute meeting:

  1. Another major issue in 2011 will be a battle over how drilling in Marcellus Shale will be regulated. “There should be a severance tax,” she said, “but the Republicans want to give it up.”
  2. “We’re going to have some budget problems.” The state is facing a $4 billion deficit, and “a governor coming in who has said he won’t raise taxes.” Adding: “I don’t know how you can make that up without slashing. The poor and working poor are going to get it bad.”
  3. Other legislative interests of hers: taxing smokeless tobacco and closing the so-called Delaware loophole, which makes it easy for companies to technically incorporate in Delaware to avoid taxes, though their physical presences are elsewhere.
  4. “Philadelphia is going to lose a lot of money,” Tartaglione said, of Dwight Evans losing his House Appropriations chairmanship. “It’s huge.” She noted infrastructure dollars in particular. Imprisoned state Sen. Vince “Fumo was a watchdog in the Senate and Dwight and [former Speaker of the House John] Perzel were watchdogs for Philadelphia in the House.”
  5. “Every leader in the House and the Senate are new this coming budget season,” she said. “I wonder if they can be rational with each other.”
  6. Her office gave 1,183 turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving. She thanked especially the Acme on Harbison Avenue.

Members of the Frankford board and Tartaglione each took time to praise each other. Tartaglione asked the board to become an official 5013c nonprofit, “so I can give you money,” she said, speaking of grants and other disbursements.

“I think we have to keep Frankford from turning into a bad area,” she said. “It’s the grassroots people like you who are fighting that.”

At the meeting’s onset, the board asked for a moment of silence for board member Thelma Young, 76, who died last month.

Next month’s meeting, on Jan. 6, 2011, will feature 2011 board nominations, announced board treasurer Tim Wisniewski. Board Zoning Officer Pete Specos said three zoning issues are forthcoming:

  1. 2140 Gillingham St.: A zoning variance request for an auto spray painting business, changing from an operating auto garage.
  2. 1715 Harrison St.: Zoning variance request to turn a single family home into a duplex for an out -of-state owner.
  3. 1725 Foulkrod St.: Zoning variance for an auto body shop.

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