Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Circle Game

The Tribune-Review ran this piece today with this stunning headline (be prepared for a shocker):

Reform at Liquor Control Board awash in politics 

Say it ain't so!

"A lot of people like that reform. Maybe we should get us some."

Thanx for the bux, suckers!
And where there's liquor, and politics, and a notable need for reform...there must be Joe "Da ex-CEO" Conti. In this case, it's his job: CEO of the PLCB. Given that the PLCB doesn't even have the required three members on the board (another ethics-challenged blast from the past: it's PJ "Call Me PJ" Stapleton's empty slot that hasn't been filled), and it doesn't look like they're going to be filled anytime soon (since the dysfunctional Senate is now ignoring the Governor's second nominee for the position), really? Why the hell do we need to start paying another political hack $156,700 a year? 
Without it, supporters say, the agency loses a level of professional management and efficiency only possible with a full-time chief executive.
It is to weep. Joe Conti, the embodiment of "professional management and efficiency." Well, look, if I have to remind you...just read the Litany of Conti here. Wow, just can't wait to get someone else in there to get things popping again!

Eventually, the piece comes around to privatization. "A proposal by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County, to phase out state stores and expand where beer, wine and liquor could be sold would recast the chief executive position as an “executive director."" I must have missed this proposal, but that doesn't surprise me; there was a lot going on behind the scenes.
Hey, Norm! What's up with that?

So is this proposal still in play for the September session? It must be, since Senator Jim "Sheetz-Damning" Ferlo is still bad-mouthing it.

“I think the Pileggi model was to micromanage,” Ferlo said. “There's a way for the... Legislature to have oversight, and that's through our appropriations.”

Yeah, except you don't make appropriations for the PLCB, Senator; they have their own sources of revenue (and their own cops, and their own courts, and their own grievance system (it's on page 8)). They don't need you, which is why they ignore you and all of us...until we want privatization. And then they prostrate themselves and suddenly service and selection gets better...until the threat of privatization goes away.

Mark my words: if privatization fails in this legislative session, the State Stores will slowly slide back to Suckville. And then in 10 or 15 years, we'll go through this whole charade again, and someone will call for privatization, and service and selection at the State Stores will remarkably improve...till the proposal fails, and around it goes again. How long do you want to keep playing this stupid game?


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