Monday, May 25, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2916, May 25th, 2015


Saturday, May 23, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2915, May 23rd, 2015

Democrat Robert Schnee and Republican Eugene Kelleher are back in the race for Luzerne County Council. As reported here last week Kelleher mounted a write in campaign after being persuaded and urged to get back in the game. Schnee was part of the endorsed Democratic ticket. Any way you cut it, as I opined here when the endorsements were made, a few of the endorsed would not be winning because of the presence of Edd Brominski and Steve Urban Senior.
With Schnee getting the GOP nod, he has a better than even chance of winning the general election. Here’s why. Schnee will be regarded as the Hazleton area candidate. During the last election for County Council Kathy Dobash got 17,000 vote and Sue Rossi who ran a very limited campaign came within striking distance. I can see Schnee pullng a big vote out of the area. He is friendly and engaging and knows the issues.
Kelleher on the other hand adds another person to the 4 seats filled by members of the GOP. (They did not get a full slate to file). Kelleher adds his previous experience from County Council to the race and has managed campaign for Republicans in this very Democratic County. I can also see him being a strategist for the rest of that GOP ticket.
There were 1900 write in votes, Kelleher was the top vote getter with 448 and Schnee received 384. That was well above the 250 votes needed for a write in nomination.
Two incumbents came very close to winning a dual nomination. Former Chair Tim McGinley missed it by 51 votes with 199 votes. Steve Urban had 181 votes. I believe Urban might have received more but his son Steve Junior was on the ballot and perhaps that might have led some voters to think their ballot might be disqualified. Or maybe they might have thought they had already voted for the father. The other GOP candidates are Marc Dixon, Wright Township; Ray Gustave, West Wyoming; Mark A. Rabo, Hazleton; and incumbent Steve Urban Junior of Wilkes-Barre.
What this does is make the race competitive. There are six seats open. My prediction still stands that in the General Urban Senior, Edd Brominski and Tim McGinley will prevail. So there are 3 seats up for grabs and no party is guaranteed a sweep anymore with these new developments.


I know this is way too early to even think about but this might be something to ponder over the summer. The knock on County Council has been that they seem to focus in on minutia and personal attacks. A voter has to answer this question: what candidates for County Council, (Democrats, Rostock, McGinley, Urban, Brominski, Gadomski, Jane Waitkus-Watkins,) or (Republicans Marc Dixon,Stephen Urban, Ray Gustave, Mark Rabo, and Gene Kelleher) can work with Kathy Dobash, Harry Haas, Linda McClosky Houck, Eileen Sorokas and Rick Williams?
For any thinking voter that is the defining question of the next election. Something to ponder over the summer.


Congrats to Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik and the staff of the Voters Bureau for running a relatively smooth election. There were doubts raised by the Board of Elections who later changed their minds a few weeks after holding a grand standing press conference stating that the primary was going to be a fiasco.

I was very happy to see the Pennsylvania Lottery commercials celebrating the likeness of our 22nd and 24th President Grover Cleveland. The actor playing Cleveland appears in scenarios where lucky winners buy some big ticket item with Cleveland’s approval. The contest is Cash for Life and Cleveland appears on the $1,000 bill. In the earlier part of the 20th century Cleveland appeared on the twenty but was replaced by Andrew Jackson in 1928 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Jackson’s election to the Presidency.
A few facts about Cleveland. He was not named after the city nor was the city named after him. He was distantly related to General Moses Cleveland after whom the city of Cleveland, Ohio, was named.
He won election in 1884 and defeated James Blaine. .(Blaine wrested the GOP nomination from Chester A. Arthur who was the first and so far only sitting President to lose a nomination by his own party. He was defeated by Benjamin Harrison in 1888 but four years later defeated Harrison.
Cleveland’s Vice President was Adlai Stevenson I, the grandfather of 1952, 1956 Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson II.
Cleveland was a bachelor but asked permission to correspond with a college student he knew by family association. A short time later he married Frances Folsom who was just twenty one. He was 47. (A very impressive age difference I’d say for the portly gent!)
Cleveland had surgery in secret on a boat. From Wikipedia:
In 1893, Cleveland sought the advice of the White House doctor, Dr. O'Reilly, about soreness on the roof of his mouth and a crater-like edge ulcer with a granulated surface on the left side of Cleveland's hard palate. Samples of the tumor were sent anonymously to the army medical museum. The diagnosis was not a malignant cancer, but instead an epithelioma
Cleveland decided to have surgery secretly, to avoid further panic that might worsen the financial depression.[ The surgery occurred on July 1, to give Cleveland time to make a full recovery in time for the upcoming Congressional session.Under the guise of a vacation cruise, Cleveland and his surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bryant, left for New York. The surgeons operated aboard the Oneida, a yacht owned by Cleveland's friend E. C. Benedict, as it sailed off Long Island.[214] The surgery was conducted through the President's mouth, to avoid any scars or other signs of surgery. The team, sedating Cleveland with nitrous oxide and ether, successfully removed parts of his upper left jaw and hard palate. The size of the tumor and the extent of the operation left Cleveland's mouth disfigured. During another surgery, Cleveland was fitted with a hard rubber dental prosthesis that corrected his speech and restored his appearance. A cover story about the removal of two bad teeth kept the suspicious press placated.
Cleveland was born in New Jersey and retired there.
In 1908, he suffered a heart attack and died.His last words were, "I have tried so hard to do right."[ He is buried in the Princeton Cemetery of the Nassau Presbyterian Church.
In 2006, Free New York, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research group, began raising funds to purchase the former Fairfield Library in Buffalo, New York and transform it into the Grover Cleveland Presidential Library & Museum.
And now his legend lives on through the Pennsylvania Lottery. Aaron Kleiber plays Cleveland in the Lottery commercials. Here is his website.


Sammy Davis Junior died twenty five years ago this month. As an African-American, Davis was the victim of racism throughout his life and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights movement. Davis had a complex relationship with the African-American community, and drew criticism after physically embracing President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. "Handicap?" he asked. "Talk about handicap — I'm a one-eyed Negro Jew." This was to become a signature comment, recounted in his autobiography, and in countless articles. (Wikipedia).
After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally, before he died of throat cancer in 1990.
His two chart topping hits were “I’ve Got To Be Me’ and “The Candy Man” in 1972. Davis was one of the famed members of the Rat Pack which included Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Marttin and Joey Bishop. Bishop was the longest of the group to survive dying in 2007. Lawford died in 1984, Martin in 1995 and Sinatra in 1998.
Davis was a Veteran of World War II serving in an integrated Special Services Entertainment unit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2914, May 20th, 2015






It appears that Tony George will be the next Mayor of Wilkes Barre. Early returns showed George in the lead early in the evening and he maintained that margin. George ran a no nonsense campaign based on Law and Order. The turning point I think came in the debate at Wilkes College where George announced that after one warning to problem properties with suspicious activities he would then go in with a battering ram.
Brown came within 200 votes of winning the race. He ran a very multi faceted media campaign and seemed to be everywhere. In another year he would have won in a walk with this textbook campaign. No stone was left unturned.
Runners up Brian Kelly and Darlene Duggins Magdalinski combined polled less than 400 votes. One wonders if they were not in the race if some of the 398 votes might have gone to either Brown or George.
George takes on Frank Sorick the GOP nominee in November.



Councilman Jeff Cusat has defeated Mayor Joe Yannuzzi three to one in the Republican primary. The win ends a long time political career for Mr. Yannuzzi who served on Council, was Council President and Mayor of Hazleton. On the Democratic side long time Councilman Jack Mundie defeated Grace Cuozzo for that nomination.


Tim McGinley- 9,771
John Gadomski- 7,741
Edward Brominski- 7,510
Jane Waitkus- 7,353
Anthony Rostock- 6,883
Stephen Urban- 6,862
John Pekarovsky- 6,505
Robert Schnee- 4,400

As predicted here the incumbents all came through along with a few newcomers. Despite no endorsement from the Democratic party Edd Brominski finished well. Steve Urban Senior who faced an onslaught in newspaper ads also prevailed. It appears that Brominski and Urban are like the dandelions on your front lawn in spring. No matter how hard you work to mow them down, the voters just won’t let them go away.

On the GOP side here’s what happened there.
Marc Dixon - 4,575
Stephen Urban- 4,570
Ray Gustave- 4,169
Mark Rabo- 3,491
Gene Kelleher ran a Write In campaign and most likely will run in the fall. Let's hope so. 



District Judge nominations  in North Wilkes Barre go to Tom Malloy. This has been a hotly contested race but it looks like Malloy beat the embattled Jared Kane, the son of the incumbent Magistrate and newcomer Justin Woychik. On the Democratic side Woychik kept up with Kane and even finished ahead of him in the final count. It was a remarkable showing given the fact he spent little money and worked his full time job at Geisinger.


Joe Spagnolo defeated his 6 rivals on both the Democratic and Republican side in Plains Laflin. Other runner ups were Kristine Katsock, Joe Lakis, Tom Wardle, Dominic Feola, Ryan Molitoris and Stephen Menn.



Jerry Notiariani pulled what some say is an upset ending the short tenure of former State Representative Jim Wasancz as County Commissioner. It was Wansacz who recruited Pat O’Malley to help bolster the Democratic ticket after Corey O’Brien left to enter private business.
The two majority Commissioners who won the last election are out of action and Notariani and O’Malley need to decide how to co-exist in the fall campaign as they face off against The Republicans Bill Jones and Laureen Cummings.In the last race, O'
Malley ran far away from Jones. If both Jones and Cummings stick together maybe Steve Corbett's prediction that O'Malley might be the odd man out just might come true.


Mauri Kelly replaces Mary Rinaldi in this post. Candidates who vied for the job were Robert Casey, Teresa Colarusso, Kevin Haggerty, Bob Sheridan and Kim Yencho.


Attorney Paul Keeler won a double nomination in the Abington District seat held by Judge John Gibbon.


Democrats nominated Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty and Superior Court Judge David Wecht, who both were backed by the state party, but also Superior Court Judge Christine Donohue, who wasn't.
GOP voters chose Superior Court Judge Judy Olson, Adams County Judge Mike George and Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey. Unfortunately Corey Stevens of Luzerne County did not win a nomination.
Philadelphia Judge Alice Beck Dubow beat Allegheny County Judge Robert Colville, to gain the party's Superior Court nomination. And Pittsburgh lawyer Michael Wojcik, defeated Scranton labor lawyer Todd Eagen for the party's Commonwealth Court nomination



Starting at 1pm Friday Magic 93 will kick off an 80s Music Memorial Day weekend.


Our guests this week on Community Forum will be Kyle Ruane and Colin Devroe from Coalwork in downtown Scranton. They'll discuss the concept of co-working. Jim Riley hosts Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on NEPA's Sports Radio-The Game 1340/1400/1440 am and 100.7 and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River


This Week on Sunday Magazine
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with James May & Michael Taluto from PENNDOT about drivers safety for the Memorial Day weekend.
Frankie speaks with Colin Riccobon from the Red Cross about how you can help the Red Cross over the Memorial Day weekend.
An encore of Frankie's interview with Jason Harlan from Wyoming Valley Alcohol & Drug Services about their 22nd annual Golf Tournament coming up next Friday.
An encore of Brian Hughes' interview with Gayle Voytush Klink about her film project on the life of Schuylkill County native Donna Garze, who became one of the top female amputee golfers in the U.S.
And Frankie speaks with Donna Sedor from the Wyoming Valley Childrens Association about an event they have coming up on Tuesday in conjunction with Pocono Raceway.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X & Sports Radio 590, WARM & 6:25am on Magic 93.


Music lovers will want to set Wednesday evenings aside on their calendars as the annual Hillside Concert Series gets underway in the Abingtons this summer.
Attorney Mike Cowley joins hosts David DeCosmo, Rusty Fender, and Director Mark Migilore on ECTV.
  Live during the week of May 25th to talk about this year's concerts and some of the artists who will be entertaining.
ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast channel 19 (61 in some areas) and is aired three times each day throughout the week.


Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.


Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”


Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.


Every Wednesday at 5PM, Steve Corbett shines the light on a Public official with his “Somebody’s Watching Me” segment. Corbett picks an alleged public servant to eye ball and observe. Batten down the lawn furniture in the driveway and that e mail machine. There is nowhere to hide when “somebody’s Watching”. Wednesdays at 5 on WILK’s Corbett program.


Our 1965 logo

The first skateboarding championship is held……. Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round of their championship rematch with the "Phantom Punch" at the Central Maine Civic Center in Lewiston….

Internazionale beats Benfica 1-0 at the San Siro, Milan and wins the 1964-65 European Cup (football)…in Pennsylvania Congressman Richard Schweiker ponders a bid for Governor…in the city of Scranton James Walsh wins the Democratic nomination for Mayor hoping for a chance to knock off incumbent William Schmidt..and fifty years ago this week the number one song in America and LuLac land was “Back In My Arms Again” by the The Supremes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2913, May 19th, 2015



Monday, May 18, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2912, May 18th, 2015

The mailer targeting Tony George.
When I was a kid, I was thrilled to get political mailings. Being the political geek that I was, I actually saved them. Through the years and since I started LuLac I've scanned some just for future reference but truth be told never looked closely to see where they came from.
Tonight I came home from work and saw the mail on our steps. I saw an ad with Tony George's photo on it. Again, no reaction. One last minute blitz I thought to blunt the barrage of George Brown materials.
Then I heard about the ad, then I read it.
A few things. First off, this goes to show that anything you do, any decision you make years ago will come back to bite you. George's lack of knowledge of the group was not pretty but as a Police Chief while he needed to know who specifically these people were, I think he realized what a fine line he needed to walk in making a terse comment to the press.
Second, this flyer said that it represented no other candidate or entity in Wilkes Barre. If that is true, then who did the research on this and what is the Wilkes Barre to Houston connection?
Third, Tony George must have a lot of haters who don't want to see him as Mayor. People have a perverse reaction to things like this. Instead of buying it hook, line and sinker, they react in the opposite direction and vote for the beleaguered candidate because it is a last minute smear. Who can ever forget the last weekend news about George W. Bush's DUIs in the 2000 Presidential race?
There are people I've spoken to who told me they are voting for George because of this.
Fourth, the worst thing about this flyer is that it is unfair to ALL the candidates. It puts a negative light on an otherwise competitive and spirited race. If Brown wins, even though he had nothing to do it with it, it was dirty. If George wins, it is because people felt bad for him. No one wins here.
This area has enough blood sport activity in it without inviting the crazies into the pool.

 District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. (Photo: Standard Speaker).
District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis has issued a press release to update the public on the status of the investigation into the allegations surrounding the election for Wilkes-Barre Magisterial District Judge in District 11-1-02.
The District Attorney’s Office received a complaint alleging fraudulent signatures on a candidate’s petition. Two detectives were assigned immediately upon review of the written complaint and are currently acting to gather information pertaining thereto.
District Attorney Salavantis has also already personally contacted the Office of Attorney General to ensure a conflict would not exist with her office performing the investigation and any potential prosecution and awaits that determination.
Although the Petition had been filed and made public on March 10, 2015, the complaint was not made until days ago. While others may have an interest in the investigation concluding before tomorrow’s election, that is an impossibility. The duty of the District Attorney is to objectively investigate crime and prosecute offenders. That duty is not and will not be determined by the election calendar. This criminal matter will be investigated expeditiously and fairly just as any other matter brought to this office.
In the meantime the three candidates for that District Judge's seat are working down to the wire. Jared Kane had a breakfast yesterday at The Golden Palace and did a mass mailing targeted to today, Tom Malloy has been working the neighborhoods and Justin Woychik was on WILK's L.A. Tarone program tonight touting his candidacy.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2911, May 17th, 2015


View the top races for Tuesday's Election on LuLac Editions #2906 through #2910.

The LuLac Edition #2910, May 17th, 2015





Three candidates are vying to replace Martin Kane. Jared Kane his son, an employee of Shiell’s Tom Malloy a community volunteer and also an employee of Schiell’s Supermarkets and Justin Woychik a computer analyst with Geisinger Health Systems.
Right now the race between Kane and Malloy is too close to call. Woychik did not file on the GOP side. There could be a situation where either both Kane or Malloy will win on both tickets. One will get the robe and the other will go back to the store. Or one will get a Democratic nomination and the other the GOP nod setting up a face off in another race in November similar to the Amesbury-O’Donnell battle of 2001 in the South Wilkes Barre District.
The recent allegations against Kane and his nominating petitions on the GOP side have now thrown this race and all the plans set by Mr. Kane and Mr. Malloy into turmoil.This will be interesting to watch.


There are seven candidates trying to replace Diana Malast in Plains and Laflin and this race has been a donnybrook. A few weeks back you could separate the candidates into the top and lower tier. But since then things have changed. Now you have to separate them according to category and occupation.
The Lawyers: Ryan Molitoris and Steve Menn. One young, one older. History has shown that very few lawyers are trusted to get this job. Attorney Alice Kokura broke that mold last year in greater Pittston but look for these guys to finish near the bottom.
The protégés: Joe Spagnolo and Christine Katsock. Spagnolo’s father who has been politically connected for a very long time is pushing his son. Hard. Word is Spagnolo is walking around saying he has this. I met him and he is an engaging fellow.
Convicted felon Frank Pizzella is pushing Christine Katsock. Katsock has run a great TV campaign but is not as engaging or comfortable as Spagnolo.  Spagnolo wasn't interested in the race until last year and reports are that he has taken to campaigning like a duck to water. Katsock at least to me seems more comfortable in the role of governing than campaigning. Plains and Laflin voters are going to have to decide who they like better and if they want a one of these two to be the District Judge. 
The Lawmen: Dominic Feola portrays himself as a former intern with law enforcement. He is a counselor at Red Rock with a tough job. He is young but he does have supporters. Two people I know and respect are backing him because “he is a good kid”. Well, if you want a kid in this job………………….have at it.
Joe Lakkis, is a former State Trooper and works at the Vo Tech. He ran a nice radio ad and essentially described Tom Wardle who didn’t have enough money to run an ad like that. Lakis and Wardle may split a vote or maybe not.  
Tom Wardle has been going door to door and making his case.His twenty year career as a Police Officer gives him a unique perspective with experience that can serve him well on the other side of the bench.
The smart money on this race is Spagnolo first but you never know. The real contest here is going to be on the GOP side. If a candidate gets that nomination that isn’t Spagnolo that opens up a whole other kettle of fish for November. Spagnolo vs Katsock? Or Katsock vs Wardle? Or Feolo vs. Lakis.
The whole thing is a toss up and makes me glad I don’t live there.
Dominic Feola, Christine Katsock, Joe Lakkis, Stephen Menn, Ryan Molitoris, Joseph Spagnuola and Tom Wardle are in a dog fight. Who will be the top dog come Wednesday morning is anyone's guess.



Unlike Luzerne County, Lackawanna County voters seem to vote for Attorneys for District Judges. Four attorneys are vying for the spot that was formerly Judge John Gibbons’ post. Attorney Michael Goffer , Attorney Paul Keeler, Attorney Malcolm MacGregor and Attorney Grace Doherty Hillebrand are duking it out and spending big money. To some MacGregor was the front runner but a recent report in the Times Tribune stated that Malcolm MacGregor’s failure to file required financial interest statements has sparked an investigation that has gone straight to the Attorney General’s office. MacGregor said he filed seven years worth recently. Like the situation with Jared Kane, people are questioning the timing of this action.
The wild card here is Attorney Grace Doherty Hildebrand who is a niece of former Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. Can the Doherty Casey axis pull her through in this one? We shall see soon.

The LuLac Edition #2809, May 17th, 2015


GOP Councilman Jeff Cusat and incumbent Mayor Joe Yannuzzi.
Democrats Jack Mundie and Grace Cuozzo.
The city of Hazleton is really at a crossroads and one has to wonder if the four candidates running for Mayor are up to the job. On the Republican side Mayor Joe Yannuzzi is facing off against Jeff Cusat. Yannuzzi knows the nuts and bolts of the city but one wonders if those cogs and wheels are getting rusty.
Jeff Cusat seems to be an alternative but there have been no specifics other than not doing what Yannuzzi has done. He has said that the city administration must be more diligent in collecting taxes and fees that are owed.
On the Democratic side Jack Mundie is facing off against Grace Cuozzo. Mundie has been on Council for 12 years and is opposed by Grace Cuzo who lost out to the Mayor by less than 200 votes the last time. Mundie has the experience, Cuzo has the fire.
On WYLN TV 35 I picked a Mundie VS. Yanuzzi face off, Gary Perna picked a Cuozzo VS. Cusat face off. We’ll see who was right.
Whatever the outcome, third party candidates are looming.Tune in Tuesday night for the results.

The LuLac Edition #2908, May 17th, 2015


Wilkes Barre Mayoral candidates George Brown, Darlene Duggins Magdalinski, Tony George Brian Kelly and Republican Frank Sorick. (Photo: Citizen's Voice). 
There are four horses in this race and only two front runners. George Brown and Tony George are running very competitive races. The choice couldn’t be starker. Brown is running on his business record and wants to run the city more efficiently. He has the support of the current administration’s leader and former employees. In the 2011 election that segment of the population was known as the Amesbury block. (Current Judge Bill Amesbury in his elections as District Justice and Judge on Common Pleas could always count on that district of South Wilkes Barre coming out strong for him.) Brown has been all over the city and has promised to do a replay of his role as a Council member by having town meetings. He has run a textbook ad campaign (it reminds me of the late Tom  McLaughlin's effort in 1979 when he won the nomination going away) with all the components covered. In any other election he’d have a cakewalk. 

Brown's plane message running on Saturday. 
Tony George’s greatest asset could be events that are tearing the city apart. George might be in the right place at the right time as crime has intensified. George is a former Police Chief who wants to be tough on crime. Hell let’s face it, every Mayor wants to be tough on crime. But to me, this is a Reagan VS. the Soviet Union thing going on here. The other three candidates say they will make crime a priority. Brian Kelly wants a Police Commissioner, Darlene Duggins Magdalinski wants to reach out to the community she knows, and Brown has a District by District plan. All very logical. But crime has become a visceral issue. My feeling is that when residents, voters or otherwise hear the other candidates speak, they (the voters) think they will try to stop crime. When they hear George speak about battering rams and targeted patrols, they get the feeling he means it. One city resident on the fence until the debate told me that she felt not only would Tony George be tough on crime but would take great in ridding the city of the trash that is causing it. 
 Tony George at his old stomping grounds when he announced his run for Mayor. 
As a candidate George has talked about streets cleaning, neighborhood improvements, clutter clean up and neighborhood business development projects. But it is white noise because people look at him as a crime fighter.
The two camps, Brown’s and George’s are formidable. Brown’s strength represents the established political guard that has run the city for 32 years out of the 40 since the strong Mayor system was adopted.
George’s strength comes from the eight years of the McGroarty administration as well as his involvement in every administration since the strong Mayor form was adopted.
This race is going to go down to the wire. I will be shocked if any candidate wins in a landslide.
As far as the other two Democratic candidates both have run good races. Brian Kelly and Darlene Duggins Magdalinski have brought great things to the table. We should thank them for their involvement and commitment. Perhaps a future administration can use their services.
But that’s Mr. Brown’s or George’s call. And right now what they are involved in is way too close to call.
On the GOP side Frank Sorick might have a fighting chance if he had a party behind him with a little more than a handful of registered voters. Non political people I spoke to said that he won the debate hands down at Wilkes College. But he will be lucky to survive a GOP primary with Democrats trying to get Republicans to write in Mr. Brown or Mr. George.


District A
On the Democratic side, Don Winder, Todd G. Harding, an assistant purchasing agent for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, Mike Belusko, 54, owner of Belusko’s Garage in Wilkes-Barre and Tommy Sorick, 23, a mechanic are running on the Democratic side. On the GOP side Ray Bernardo is running alone. Harding is connected (school district employee) and the others are going to be fighting for the rest of that pie. This is the seat vacated by George Brown.
District B
Democrats Louis Elmy, is a corrections counselor at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and full time employment officer for his family, William V. Lewis, 22, owner of an estate liquidation business as well as the son of longtime GOP State Committeeman Bill Lewis, and Ronald D. Trimble Sr., former director of purchasing for the City of Wilkes-Barre.
If I’m a Democrat in this district, I'd go for anybody but Elmy.
On the GOP side Tony Brooks faces off against long time candidate Vince Guarneri who has been around for a while and ran before. Brooks is mounting a write in campaign on the Democratic side too and has a lot of people pulling for him.
District C

Democrats include Jim Burden a former Marine, Beth Gilbert a Political Science Major at Wilkes and Sam Troy a perennial candidate who has become a sad joke in Wilkes Barre politics. It pains me to say that because I had enormous respect for his late father Wilbur. But Sam runs not to win but to spoil the outcome. On the GOP side Steve Urban Junior is running for the seat. He is also running for County Council. The guy likes to keep busy. This seat s being vacated by Marilyn Lavelle.
District D
Councilman Bill Barrett is running for another term. Retired officer Thomas Unvarsky Sr., 70, is Barrett’s sole opposition in the May 19 primary election. Both are running aggressive campaigns.
District E
In my district incumbent Mike Merritt is running against William Smith who is a plumber. I’m torn here because I wrote two letters to Merritt when he was on Council and never got a response. That stinks. I’m bothered by the fact that Smith has not responded to press inquires but he does have signs up. Merritt told the Times Leader that “signs don’t vote”. Yeah well, in this case they do. Merritt seems to have run a campaign that has taken voters in his district for granted. He'll win but not because people have seen him, talked to him or heard from him. I understand he had a loss in the family last year and we are all sorry about that. He has attended all the Council meetings but not many people in his District have heard from him directly. A more prominent candidate might have made this a race.

The LuLac Edition #2907, May 17th, 2015





There are more than a few dynamics going on in this race. First and foremost the shaping of the Democratic ballot might determine the fate of the County Manager. The recent interviews in the Voice regarding the way Democrats and members of the GOP would vote on retention of Lawton was mixed.
For a few years the local Democrats have bemoaned the lack of a strong party head and leadership. This year when it presented itself, people started to complain about the takeover of the party.
The organization which did not endorse in 2013 did so this time. A slate of newcomers John Gadomski, John Pekarovsky, Bob Schnee, along with political veterans Anthony Rostock and Jane Watkins Waitkus joined incumbent Tim McGinley on the ticket. Incumbents Steve Urban and Edd Brominki were not endorsed. Urban was particularly singled out in advertising by the group painting him as negative in his approach as a Council member. Mark Altaville also did not receive an endorsement. 

The ticket was put together well and with Schnee and Rostock anchoring both Hazleton and Pittston that might help pull the others in along with support of third parties. But name recognition dies hard here and I’m still convinced Brominski (who has been at every event I’ve been to) and Urban who is the Road Runner of Luzerne County politics) will prevail.
On the GOP side, only four are running. So this primary is a bit more relaxing. Marc Dixon of Mountain Top has signs out, Ray Gustave, of West Wyoming has been making the rounds, Mark Rabo, of Hazleton and Stephen J. Urban, of Wilkes-Barre has been at many events.This week Eugene Kelleher a former member of the Council announced he is mounting a write in campaign.
No matter who wins this election if the Democrats stay focused and none of the six don’t do something stupid, without a full slate running on the GOP side, the General Election will hold very little interest.



Corey O’Brien threw a monkey wrench into the carreer of Jim Wansacz when he left to pursue a job in private business. Wansacz recruited GOP minority member Pat “The Statesman” O’Malley. At first it seemed O’Malley might have been sold a bill of goods. After all he could’ve been a Minority Commissioner for life. But now it appears that he might be the high vote getter given his strength and visibility in Scranton.
Wansacz has a base but he is not as strong in the City and the Mid Valley. The Mid Valley will play a major role in this. Throop candidate Tom Lukasewicz has been campaigning hard on the landfill issue. He may get a good vote. But there is only passion for that issue in those communities. Jerry Notarianni ran for Mayor in 1989. That’s a long time to be out of the spotlight. Both may get a segment of the vote for there seems to be no big clamor to upset a ticket of Wansacz and O’Malley. Even a mitigating circumstances like a proposed strike of social workers will not cause an upheaval. Wansacz pulled a tone deaf move when he announced the non stop flight to the Bahamas proclaiming he just might take his family on vacation. When half of Lckawanna County voters are making low wages that in my estimation was not a smart move. 
On the GOP side Bill Jones returns for another run along with Laureen Cummings. Charlie Spano rounds out the team of anyone who matters on the GOP side.


This should have been a sleeper of a race. But now there are six going for this position. They are Robert Casey, Teresa Colarusso, Kevin Haggerty, Mauri Kelly, Bob Sheridan and Kim Yencho.
A few things here. Mrs. Mary Rinaldi has held the seat for a long time succeeding her late husband the beloved Bill Rinaldi.  Will gender be an issue? Will voters pick one of the women candidates or will they split the vote? Bob Sheridfan has been a neighborhood activist and school board member. Casey has been a top vote getter on the Scranton School board.
Then there’s Kevin Haggerty who is running an aggressive campaign throughout the County.

Again too crowded and crazy to call. How crazy you say?
Just a scant 8 months ago Kevin Haggerty and Frank Farina were fighting to be the State Representative of the 112th Legislative District. They despised each other. The campaign ads were vitriolic. Frank Farina is now supporting Haggerty for this job. My guess is Farina wants to keep him occupied for a while.

The LuLac Edition #2906, May 17th, 2015




Vote for not more than Three


This race is the battle of the geographies. If you don’t know a lot about the candidates, you try to do an even split so no area of the state has dominance. These elections can sometimes be won on gut feeling, name recognition or some type of personal connection. Use the Voter’s Guide to familiarize yourself with these candidates.
I leaned toward David Wecht because I interviewed Cyril Wecht many times, Christine Donahue because she was from Shamokin and was the daughter of a mine worker and union seamstress. Then there is Ann Lazaraus who sent a representative to Mayor McNulty’s birthday party (her husband) and I had a very brief encounter with him. Unless you are a Legal Eagle, these things are all judgment calls.
On the GOP side, if I were a Republican I’d vote for Corey Stevens and if he does make it to the General I’d vote for him.

Vote for One


Personally I’d lean toward Colville because I voted for him in previous elections.

Vote for One


This one was a no brainer for me. Northeastern Pennsylvania needs representation on this court. While I’m not a fan of Judicial dynasties (Eagan’s grandfather founded the Court according to political sources) he seems centered, dedicated to the law and is from this area. Furthermore this Court is usually the body that hears motions for redistricting. That is extremely important for our area.



Vote for not more than Three


Vote for One


Vote for One


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2905, May 16th, 2015


No matter what anyone will, tell you, I love to party with the Luzerne County Republicans. Tonight was a wonderful event at the Lakeside Skillet hosted by the 2nd District GOP. The event was organized by Chair Dave Baloga and his wife Donna.
More than 100 people joined to honor Veterans and meet the candidates running in this year’s primary. There were also elected officials on hand including Senator Lisa Baker, Representative Karen Boback and 120th Representative Aaron Kaufer. The Senator read a proclamation on Armed Services week, the Pledge was read by veterans and the National Anthem was sung. Then some great food was served.
After the event candidates gave their presentations. Here’s a photo recap, but first some news. Eugene Kelleher has decidd to mount a Write in campaign for County Council on the GOP side. Kelleher was one of the more reasonable members of Council and lost by a whisker the last time out. With only four candidates on the ballot, it is a good thing Mr. Kelleher is offering his services again to the County. 
Here is Gene Kelleher with your blog editor and Senator Lisa Baker. (Photo: Jim O'Meara).

Speaking of Jim O'Meara, here he is checking social media and sharing insights with Alex Partica. Jim was kind enough to take some photos and rustle me up some Fried Chicken before I left for what I thought was going to be another event. 
 State Representative Aaron Kaufer has a conversation with Eric Weber. 
 Lynette Villano had a great comnversation with former aide to the late Senator Lemmond Joyce Dobson. 
How's this for a historic photo, two District Attorneys with LuLac. From left to right Mrs. Louise Stevens, The President Judge of The Superior Court  of Pennsylvania Corey Stevens and current District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. (Photo: Jim O'Meara).  
Luzerne County Council candidate and Ray Gustave (center) works the room Saturday night. 


Was on my way to an event for Darlene Duggins Magdalinski but her social media page reports the event was cancelled due to a death in her family. I did go to the Quality, the Host and the Fairfield Inns but no one was there. Our deepest sympathies.  

The LuLac Edition #2904, May 16th, 2015


Well it had to happen. With all the scandals we’ve had in LuLac land, we haven’t had one with a “gate”. But maybe we have one now, maybe we don’t.
The news broke yesterday that District Justice Jared Kane’s signatures were being brought to light by Wilkes Barre taxpayer advocate Bob Kadluboski who started to beat the drum. By the afternoon, the on line blog WB Truth had the story as well WILK, The Times Leader and The Citizen’s Voice.
Here’s what The Times Leader reported. A longtime community activist has raised questions about whether signatures on a campaign petition for district judge candidate Jared Martin Kane are legitimate.
City Wide Towing owner Bob Kadluboski has forwarded those concerns to Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis in a formal letter.
Following a review of the petition, a Times Leader investigation has revealed at least three possible discrepancies among more than 100 signatures.
Salavantis on Thursday said she was aware her office had received a letter from Kadluboski, but had not yet reviewed it.
“Our office has received a complaint involving the Wilkes-Barre race for Magisterial District Judge. The matter is under review to determine what action is necessary,” Salavantis said Friday.
“I am not unmindful of the timing of the complaint and its relation to the upcoming election; however, if an investigation is needed, it will be handled diligently.”
It’s too late for anything Kadluboski alleges to bump Kane from Tuesday’s campaign ballot, but Kadluboski is now asking whether some of the signatures are forgeries, and whether that breaks the law.
Luzerne County Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik said March 17 was the deadline to challenge nomination petitions.
Complaints about petitions after that date must be filed in court or presented to law enforcement, he said.
So what we have here are 5 people claiming they did not sign the Republican petition. Kane who’s name was listed as the circulator had 104 signatures, 5 of the 99 are being challenged. Now.
District Judges can cross file and it is prudent for any candidate to try and win an election on both tickets. A future career depends on it.
In 2001, Attorney Bill Amesbury snagged the GOP nomination in South Wilkes Barre and went on to win two terms as the District Justice. In this election both Jared Kane and Tom Malloy got enough signatures to garner a GOP ballot position. It is rare for someone not to do this but it does happen. Kane and Malloy’s opponent Justin Woychik did not get enough signatures for the GOP. In District 11 3-08, Attorney Steve Menn did not secure enough for the GOP ballot.
A few observations here. As I sat in Abe’s yesterday morning eating my TGIF breakfast I saw a full page ad promoting Jared Kane. I thought, the kid is owning his candidacy. Having met him recently, I saw a young man who seemed focused on the task at hand. I also met him last year at the wake for a co worker of mine. He was compassionate, knew just the right thing to say to grieving family members and looked like he was in charge.
I’ve met Kane’s opponents, Mr. Malloy and Mr. Woychik. Good guys.
The nominating petition disclosure at this late hour is troubling for me. First off, if there were improprieties they should be handled by due process. Due process means what the law says.
That brings us to District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. Not five minutes into this thing, there were people questioning the DA as to how she would pursue this and by God if she didn’t or came down on the side of those who found the petitions, then she must be someone's crony.
The DA’s job is to investigate, get the facts and then proceed. Right now speculation about what she will or will not do is pointless. Her office has to look at the case and see where it goes.
Let’s look at the lateness of the petition. The Election head says nothing can be done until after the Election. The time to challenge this was in March. That didn’t happen.
Plus there isn’t a nominating petition out there that hasn’t been fudged by a few names. Sorry no one will admit that but it does happen. Sometimes it slides, sometimes it doesn’t. But the time for that decision was March 15th, not May 15th. Where were those prying eyes back then?
I’m not siding with anyone here but if you are going to plan a big “October Surprise” as Bill Vinsko called it, you don’t do it the Friday before election day. What is perplexing to me is this. We know the Kane family has enemies but I thought they were way smarter than this.
If there were forgeries alleged they have to be proven. If the five Wilkes Barre residents didn’t sign them, then who did? And more importantly why did this happen now? A late surprise like this helps neither Mr. Kane or Mr. Malloy. For Mr. Kane he has to recapture his momentum. For Mr. Malloy, I bet he wishes the news came out sooner rather than later. For Mr. Woychik, it matters little because he is not on the GOP ballot.
If Kane is disqualified on the GOP ballot and has the nod on the Democratic side, he has to run in a General. If Mr. Malloy or Mr. Woychik wins the Democratic nod, then Kane is out.
What will matter is the aftermath of this thing. If Kane secures the Democratic nomination and Mr. Malloy gets the Republican nod, or vice versa, this will make for a humdinger of a General Election.
And the kicker is no matter where this leads for Mr. Kane and his committee or for the eventual winner on the other side (if there is no double nomination), Stefanie Salavantis will get the blame for doing too much or too little.
Welcome to Signature-Gate Folks. And the beat goes on.

The LuLac Edition #2903, May 16th, 2015

 George Brown pressing the flesh at Friday's event.
Wilkes Barre Mayoral candidate George Brown held an event in Wilkes Barre last night at the Riverside bar on Old River Road. On hand were various Democrats stopping in to support Mr. Brown.
Stopping by were Paul Maher former aide to Congressman Kanjorski, County Council candidate Bob Schnee, Ted Wampole who was helping to organize the event and others soaking up one of the last political events of this election season. Here are some photos. 

Rick Sorokas was out and about last night chatting up with Councilman Bill Barrett.  
Candidate for Mayor George Brown and me discussing the race. 
Luzerne County Council member Edd Brominski with a big smile along with current Council member Eileen Sorokas. There was a big ad in the newspaper yesterday and Edd wasn't mentioned. We'll explain in future editions. 
No, this is not a photo of The Rogaine support group of Wilkes Barre. Bob Morgan aide to Congressman Cartwright, Tom Malloy candidate for District Justice in 11-1-02 and your blog editor all sporting our domes.