Monday, January 10, 2011

From the Post Gazette: Courts announce DJ closings

Allegheny County President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel has proposed elimination of three district court positions.

She will petition the state Supreme Court to eliminate the offices now held by Judges Ross C. Cioppa, whose district includes Braddock, Rankin and Swissvale; Nathan N. Firestone, whose office covers two wards in Pittsburgh; and Regis C. Welsh Jr., who covers Pine, Richland and Hampton.

They are all leaving office at the end of this year because of retirement.

The move comes in response to Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille's request for a 10 percent statewide reduction in magisterial district courts because of state budget problems.

Judge McDaniel also is proposing changing the boundaries of 14 district court jurisdictions to accommodate the closings.

Congratulations to the citizens of Braddock Borough, Richland Township, Hampton Township, Wilkins Township, Braddock Hills Borough, Swissvale Borough, Ward 28 in the City of Pittsburgh, and Rankin Borough. You have just been assigned a magistrate and won't have the ability to vote for or against your newly appointed magistrate during the next municipal election. In some cases there won't be an election until 2015.

Every politician that is appointed to what is normally an elected position in Pennsylvania has to run for a full term by the next possible election. The exception is when the court system decides to take the power of the vote away from a few municipalities as has been done with this decision.

Is this what the Tea Party wanted when they were asking for less government? For the Government to make decisions to take away the average citizen's ability to elect community leaders?

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