guest editor | father GOP cynically torpedoes popular bike safety measure | editorial

The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune-Democrat.

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers made another unwise attempt to undermine twice-elected Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. This time, they appended a bipartisan bill that would have made bicycles safer to a bipartisan bill that had nothing to do with Philadelphia-area law enforcement.

Because the Bike Safety Act also included provisions for a special prosecutor in southeastern Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf had to veto it, including the proposed bike lanes.

To save the bike lanes, lawmakers should reinstate the original bill and send it back to the governor’s desk as soon as possible. The bill would revise the state vehicle code to allow bike lanes between the curb and cars parked parallel, creating a buffer against oncoming traffic.

This sensible bill stalled in the Senate Transportation Committee, where Republican lawmakers, with State Senator Wayne Langerholc, R.-Cambria, as executive order, attached a measure covering prosecution in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

The SEPTA plan called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to prosecute criminal cases arising out of the SEPTA system, such as B. Assaults on trains and buses, vandalism and drug-related crimes against SEPTA property. This unwise suggestion is based on the unproven assumption that Krasner, Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor, allowed crime to run free in the city, particularly at SEPTA.

Krasner’s allegedly lax crime policies also fueled the illegal impeachment process, which culminated in a House of Representatives impeachment vote last week by a vote of 107 to 85.

If the General Assembly removed an elected local official without good reason, it would set a terrible precedent, effectively disenfranchising local voters.

The SEPTA plan also intervenes in the affairs of a local community. The Transit Authority includes five districts, and a large majority of representatives from these five districts opposed the establishment of a special prosecutor for SEPTA.

In both cases, legislative shenanigans and meddling in local affairs gave state politics a bad name.

The GOP leadership should consider whether self-destructive tactics that do nothing for the people of Pennsylvania contributed to the party’s surprise and historic loss of the House majority in the midterm elections.

Krasner was re-elected by a landslide last year. If Philadelphians, who make up the lion’s share of SEPTA drivers, disapprove, they can vote him out in three years.

In leading the legislature unopposed for more than a decade, Republicans may have forgotten that they are there to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

Now the State House GOP will remain in the minority for at least two years to figure out a better way of governing.