Rock the Capital is introducing a new feature to our website, Dauphin County Watch. Dauphin County is one of the most important counties in the Commonwealth based on its location, economic assets and historical lineage.
Dauphin County is home to Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania State Capital. It is the only county that every state legislator, every Pennsylvanian member of the U.S. Congress, every state government department head regularly steps foot. Dauphin County is a case study of the best and worst in government. It is home to the powerful lobbying firms. It is where a Philadelphia company can gain influence by spending money on a Pittsburgh Election. To paraphrase an old saying “many honestly come to Dauphin County to do good and end up doing very well.” Dauphin County is where the elected and unelected power brokers wield their influence at every level of government. Recent events of significant economic and political magnitude have impacted county residents and taxpayers; the distribution of gaming revenues, economic development, Harrisburg’s fiscal crisis, the Hershey Trust, public education, transparency and tax policy.
Dauphin County and therefore by default the Commonwealth is almost at a point of crisis. Harrisburg is and has been brutalized by too many conflicting interests. The State does not want to pay its true cost of occupancy; the county commissioners regularly view Harrisburg as a problem instead of part of their constituency to be served. Harrisburg is traditionally Democratic; the majority of the rest of Dauphin County traditionally Republican. Because of gerrymandered legislative districts Harrisburg never gets the legislative representation it ought. Instead the local legislators are beholden to the Dauphin County Republican Machine.
Governor Corbett rather than allow Harrisburg to file bankruptcy, in concert with the local legislative delegation spearheaded by Sen. Piccola, passed Act 47 legislation effectively disenfranchising the City of Harrisburg. The problem with this course of action is cash strapped Pennsylvania does not have the money to fix Harrisburg and the Republican Governor and county machine are more intent on protecting bond holders, using some available funds for questionably self serving projects rather than fix Harrisburg’s systemic problems.
Dauphin County Watch will publish unique monthly features and profiles. We will review Commissioners’ meetings and break down issues of importance in plain language. Rock the Capital will provide independent analyses of Dauphin County governance including web-casts and interviews. We will help our followers “connect the dots”, encourage dialogue and propose constructive solutions.
Viewer suggestions and commentary are welcome, but we ask contributors to identify themselves to encourage civil discourse and avoid ad hominem attacks and unsubstantiated allegations.
Rock the Capital’s Dauphin County Watch will put before the public the conflicting issues, the self serving actions and inefficiency of the Dauphin County government. We will show the interconnectedness between Dauphin County and State politics and influence. We will put names to the people not normally in the spotlight in and out of government so you the citizens can understand “business as usual” and how it is not always for your benefit. This coverage is important not just for the citizens of Dauphin County and our great state. This unfortunately is how government behaves to often in our country. We are reaching out to all of you in and out of Pennsylvania to start holding our officials accountable. We are not saying that these people are evil in and of themselves but our continued apathy is allowing the evil of self-interest to take precedence over the good required by us the many, the taxpayer, the citizen.