Vince Fumo: his color and charm and corruption charges leave

Vince Fumo is the funniest indicted state senator in the history of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

To Philadelphians Fumo is tinged with corruption, his name only said amid seething recounts of his 139-count indictment looming in the fall. But in Harrisburg, his professional home since 1978, Fumo is still a force.

After a second heart attack in March and this round of indictments that came last year, Fumo announced he would not seek reelection in November and vacated his post as chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee, a powerful seat he held since 1984. Still, after each negotiating session of state leaders this budget season, it was Fumo who came out, sleeves rolled up, ready to speak to the press.

In what may be the final week of his legislative career, Fumo was loose and downright uppity.

Continue reading Vince Fumo: his color and charm and corruption charges leave

Post-Gazette: Democrats hate electric deregulation

HARRISBURG — Deregulation of electric rates in 2010 in many areas of the state could constitute “the biggest tax increase in Pennsylvania history,” state Senate Democrats said yesterday.

Since 1996, the rate at which many Pennsylvania energy companies have been able to recoup power plant construction costs from consumers has been capped.

But by 2010, the rate caps will expire for customers in parts of western Pennsylvania served by West Penn Power, plus many residential and business customers in northeast and central Pennsylvania, along with the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia areas. Rate caps for Duquesne Light already have ended.

“Nobody is going out of business” in the state’s electricity industry, said Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, noting high profit margins and well-salaried executive of electric utilities. “[Allowing these caps to expire] would be the biggest tax increase in the history of the Commonwealth since Ben Franklin.”

He was joined in his criticism by Democratic Sens. Jim Ferlo of Highland Park, Wayne Fontana of Brookline and Sean Logan of Monroeville.

“Utility shutoffs have already risen 37 percent compared to last year,” said Mr. Logan. “Unless we take decisive steps soon, I fear for how many people will be unable to pay and will have their electricity shut off when deregulation hits its statewide peak in 2010.”

Read the rest on Read some of the color interjected by Sen. Vince Fumo here. Image courtesy of The Cobb School.

Vince Fumo at his best

HARRISBURG — Today state Senate Democrats held a press conference warning of impending utility deregulation that they say will cause electric bills to jump as much as 65 percent per month for some.

I have a story on the subject coming out tomorrow in the Post-Gazette, but it won’t include some of Sen. Vince Fumo’s finer moments.

After a heart attack in March and a looming trial in November, Fumo announced his retirement, surely freeing up the Prince of Darkness to speak even freer than he had in the past.

Continue reading Vince Fumo at his best

Political ad of the century?

The embattled, corrupt, figurehead of the contemporary South Philadelphia Democratic machine, Vince Fumo, is running his reelection campaign for state senator, amid questions of his having to sell his Fairmount mansion – built more than ten years ago – to pay legal fees in defense of the usual sort of allegations of malfeasance. But, boy does he have an advertisement for you.