Harrisburg, PA – This Family Plays by Their Own Set Rules
As we’ve reported here in the past, a certain Judge’s signs have appeared on the lawns of many people who never asked for them, while her opponents’ signs often were taken in the middle of the night, sometimes thrown into the middle of streets, or completely disappearing after being up for as few as 5 or 6 hours.
Unfortunately, the saga took a turn for the worst Uptown yesterday when a Feldman sign disappeared, and poof…a Pianka sign magically appeared in its place. Coincidence? Of course not.
As witnessed by J.J., a concerned neighbor, around 12 pm on Saturday, May 13, Judge Pianka’s husband (a former Judge who is remembered for the alleged bait and switch campaign in 2005, where he collected names on a nomination petition, and a week later after seeing no other candidates with petitions, had his wife collect petitions of her own thus setting her up as the only candidate) was seen at an Uptown house for 10-15 minutes barking in the face of a homeowner. The homeowner appeared uneasy, and after being berated for having a Feldman sign, allowed her Feldman sign to be removed.
We’re taught to trust and respect judges and former judges, and most people want to trust their elected officials. Therefore we wouldn’t expect that a former Judge would lie to Harrisburg citizens.
So, what is it that this former Judge said?
It appears that the Piankas have been using a whisper campaign to discredit Joshua Feldman’s real qualifications, and status as an attorney. I asked Mr. Feldman about their claim that he has been an attorney for less than 3 months and he stated:
“They know what they are doing is deceitful, and they just don’t care. I have been an active attorney in Florida since 2004, and a Pennsylvania attorney since 2006. Therefore, I guess I have been an attorney for about 4500 days… so if you think about it, that is about 4500 days more than Judge Pianka, which fascinates me why they even brought it up. If I let my Florida license lapse, I’d be forced to take the bar exam again. Even though I teach for the bar exam, no lawyer wants to voluntarily have to do that. Instead, I retired my Pennsylvania license because the requirements to be reinstated are to pay back fees and make sure you’re current on your continuing education credits. My job hasn’t required me to keep my Pennsylvania license active, but I don’t lose the status of being an attorney just because the Judge and her family says so.”
Let’s just think about this for a second. Why would a Judge put yard signs in yards of people who haven’t agreed to it, let’s see, maybe because half the time, the recipients will be scared to do anything about it. It’s voter intimidation, which shouldn’t be part of an election.
Voter intimidation is prohibited under federal law, which states that “no person . . . shall intimidate, threaten, coerce . . . any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of [that] person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”
I also asked Feldman about other whispering that he’s heard. They also have been using the election challenge as more fodder. Josh’s response is:
“Of course that’s what they are telling people. They’ve never had to fight this hard for an election. For the last 30 years you had one choice, vote for Pianka.”
“When I learned why I was challenged, I turned myself into the Disciplinary Board just in case I did anything wrong. That’s what an honest attorney with good ethics does. I remind you that not only was the ballot challenge dropped in court, but the Disciplinary Board’s response to my filing was that no action be taken.”
When asked how Feldman feels about his first run for political office, he explained that he is proud that he has run a clean campaign promoting evening hours, and helping youngsters understand the judicial system.
Unfortunately for Feldman, he now knows that some people will never get to hear his qualifications or ideas because they listened to a current Judge (Barbara) Pianka, a former Judge (James) Pianka, and who the family hoped for would be a Future Judge (Matthew) Pianka, as their son has taken the Magisterial Judge Class which is only done in preparation to run for office, and believed the statements they were making. After all, why wouldn’t they, we are told to believe and trust Judges.
“I do really hope though, that if anybody reads your article who heard false accusations about me from their conversation with any of the Piankas, they take that into consideration when they get to the poll, because Judges and even former Judge husbands shouldn’t behave in such a way. It’s hard enough to win an election, it’s even harder when you are running into a whisper campaign so late in the game.” – Feldman
Joshua Feldman has run his campaign as a community minded candidate. He talks about the fact that he helped start the Midtown Foot Patrol, initiated a partnership providing Harrisburg residents free legal advice, and promoting changes such as evening hours, youth outreach programs. He is also endorsed by State Representative Patty Kim because of his community work.
UPDATE: More information has been received and the word is that this is not the only attempt to coerce voters emotions, regarding their personal choice to display yard signs.
Unfortunately for Feldman, this has resulted in his sign being taken down and put away out back, out of view of the voting public.
To add insult to injury, the incumbents sign now resides in the yard where Feldman’s original sign previously represented his grass roots effort to advertised his campaign. According to the neighbors, this is against their wishes and they will be removing the newly placed sign as well.
It is most unfortunate that this has been a less than welcoming first impression on our new neighbors, who have been put off by this episode from the bully incumbent.