Major state newspapers revealed this week that Republican State Representative Garth Everett (Lycoming County) is passing the hat to his colleagues, pressing them to contribute to the jail account of multiple felon and former General Assembly member Brett Feese. It was additionally noted that Everett was one of the shameless individuals that afforded a standing ovation to disgraced multiple felon H. William DeWeese as he triumphantly and without apology bid farewell to his House colleagues a short while before being carted off to prison.
At his website, Representative Everett has a photograph of himself with children from an elementary school within his district during a school trip to the state capitol. The caption notes that Everett met with the students, their teachers, and chaperones. I wonder if he explained to them the "need" to cozy up to corrupt figures and whether he was afforded respect and deference by those that are aware of his unseemly actions.
To follow in this essay is the e-mail correspondence I recently sent to Representative Everett:
Dear Representative Everett:
You are one of the reasons that my identification as a registered Republican must often be followed by explanation and embarrassment.
Your actions to help your crooked, incarcerated friend, Mr. Feese, are but the tip of the iceberg. The fact that you lauded with a standing ovation another multiple felon, the deposed and disgraced former House of Representatives Speaker H. William DeWeese, causes the individual who believes in open, honest, honorable government to recognize that the deck is stacked against him (or her).
I am thankful that you are currently being excoriated in state newspapers for your actions, but you get the last laugh. You continue to occupy a position of authority in a highly-compensated, part-time position with the ability to engage in actions which shock the conscience, and your constituents, a pitiable lot, are likely to re-elect you just as a majority of those of your friend, Mr. DeWeese, would surely return him to office had they the opportunity to do so notwithstanding his crime spree.
I understand that the bond between members of the General Assembly can be deep, even for individuals that serve on the opposite side of the aisle, and I understand the powerful effect that a charismatic, charming, persuasive, and brilliant individual like Mr. DeWeese can have upon a person. I have been his most ardent layperson foe through editorial commentary in newspapers throughout the Commonwealth over a period of many years. He attempted to court and neutralize me, telephoning and writing to me. His efforts were unsuccessful, so he ultimately lashed out at me in an extensive essay which appeared in the Uniontown Herald-Standard on 14 November 2010 *, an unprecedented attack on a layperson citizen challenger by a sitting legislator. It was a privilege to be targeted by him.
I could understand your actions if you privately delivered well wishes to corrupt colleagues as they are carted off to prison. The fact that you chose to publicly honor a grand thief of public funds on the floor of the Commonwealth's once-honorable House, what we would like to believe is the people's House, is indicative of a contempt for the citizenry, reflective of one that has forgotten who elected him to perform PUBLIC service.
Thank you for your consideration.
* DeWeese Essay Referenced Above
By Bill DeWeese
You would be hard-pressed to find an out-of-town letter writer who has railed against anyone — or anything — as persistently and venomously as Oren M. Spiegler has railed against me.
By the time the sun rose on Wednesday, Nov. 3, the day after voters of the 50th District returned me to office for another term, it appears that Spiegler had already dropped his latest anti-Bill DeWeese tirade into the mailbox.
Spiegler is not a name indigenous to Greene, Fayette or Washington counties, where the median household income is, respectively, $40,589, $34,050 and $50,791. He lives in that Allegheny County bastion of big bucks known as Upper St. Clair, where median household income is $111,502 — more than twice the state average — and where the median house or condo value is nearly $244,000.
By means of fuller disclosure, Spiegler was described in one 2008 Pittsburgh newspaper story as “a registered Republican with Libertarian leanings.” This may help explain the ferocity and frequency of his disdain for an influential Democrat like me; for the folks of the Democrat-heavy 50th District, whom he most recently referred to as “gullible”; and for organized labor, whose support for me he chided as “particularly shameful.”
Those lines may play well in ritzy Upper St. Clair, but I have news for Mr. Spiegler: I do not consider my constituents gullible, I find nothing shameful in my long and productive relationship with organized labor, and I will never apologize for the job I have done for my district in Harrisburg over the past 35 years.
There is not a fair-minded person alive who can deny that the economy of my native Greene County is far more diversified and in stronger health than it was in the 1980s, and I am proud to say that my leadership position — a position to which I aspire to return — was instrumental in improving the lives of my constituents in many ways. That effort includes those living in the parts of Fayette and Washington counties that I later came to represent.
Mr. Spiegler is fortunate enough to live in a wealthy area, one that possesses enough amenities to have made U.S. News and World Reports’ list of the nation’s “Best Places to Live.” As such, I postulate that he comes by his animus against me and my district honestly, as few if any of his neighbors are looking to get (or stay) above the poverty line, or are in need of a helping hand to obtain water or sewerage service, or in need of heating assistance to help stay warm in winter.
Given the antagonistic tone of his rhetoric against my long tenure in public service, I find utmost irony in the fact that Mr. Spiegler himself has spent a quarter of a century as a state employee, according to the aforementioned 2008 news story. As he chides me for “punishment of the middle class through ever-higher taxes,” does it not strike him that taxes pay his salary? With the state facing a $4 billion budget shortfall, will Mr. Spiegler take pen in hand to advocate for spending cuts deep enough to affect him, as an administrator in the state Department of Labor and Industry?
While I respect Mr. Spieger’s right to express his opinions, I hope he respects this opinion of mine: He is a rabblerousing Republican and intellectual carpetbagger who lives in a different world and could care less about the 50th Legislative District or anyone who effectively represents its interests.
Rep. Bill DeWeese, a Democrat, represents the 50th legislative district, which includes all of Greene County and parts of Fayette and Washington counties.