Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The LuLac Edition #101, Nov 29, 2006



Thanks to all those who e mailed me and spoke to me in person regarding my absence for the last few days. When one blogs, you really don’t get a fair representation of how many people read you or look for you until you go away for a few days. So, I appreciate the comments. Know this though: I am a Christmas freak so during that time between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ll be inflicting the holidays on anyone standing still.
Thanksgiving weekend was spent eating a lot of turkey, Polish foods from visiting relatives from New England, baked goods from my favorite bakery, The Sanitary, in Nanticoke, a nice chilled bottle of German Reisling, some Coors Lite, a few mind stupefying videos featuring tall red haired actresses and of course the NFL. So by the time the weekend was over, so was my motivation.
Tuesday I took 6, (count ‘em) Civil Service tests and on Wednesday I did some consulting for entities that needed my experience and help. GO FIGURE!! So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Watching TV on Thanksgiving night, I saw “I Team” member Joe Holden anchoring all the broadcasts. He was very poised and really did a great job. (This was before the bottle of wine too). Holden carried on very well for the regular team, most likely off for the holiday.
Speaking of WBRE TV, we hear that Josh Hodell will be featured in an episode of “The Office” this Thursday. It’s good to know that the research people at NBC picked an affiliate. (Sound too basic for you? Remember the Kerry staffer in ’04 who wanted to send Teddy Kennedy to Nanticoke just a few stone’s throw away from Mary Jo Kepechne’s grave????) Hodell loves his job and it is a great coup for him professionally. The only thing up in the air is whether or not he will be sporting a suit or that black car coat (Donna Karan is my guess) he favors when the weather gets cold.


In late 1979, after it was clear that embattled Congressman Daniel J. Flood would resign, the local Democrats began to scramble to replace him in a special election to be held in the spring of 1980. The names that came to the surface were Paul Kanjorski, local King’s College professor Attorney Frank Harrison, group home consultant Richard Adams, aide to Dan Flood Thomas Makowski, State Representative Ray Musto as well as Edward Mitchell who had run for Congress in 1976 against incumbent Joseph McDade. Everyone had their favorite and because the race was going to be so wide open, the Democratic endorsement was going to be of great value.
At that time I was working for a social service agency downtown as its fundraiser and public relations person. Exiting the building I worked in on South Franklin Street, I encountered then Attorney Ann Lokuta who I had not seen since college. At King’s, Lokuta was a bright, engaging, somewhat intimidating force in our government classes. She’d debate points with the professors and truth be told, (much to the delight of the class) would eat up a lot of period time with her opinions. But they were interesting and if not agreeable to us, at least cogent and principled.
On this cold winter day, Lokuta instantly accosted me demanding to know who I was going to back for Congress. I told her I knew Dick Adams since 1968 when he ran for State Representative and figured I’d back him. Just then, an elderly man wearing a tan overcoat and fedora crossed the street and walked in front of us. “You have to back Frank Harrison, Dave,” she said. “He’s family, he’s King’s College, he’s the most qualified and can win”. I nodded. She then proceeded to tell me that the local Democratic organization endorsed Ray Musto. At that point I realized the man walking in front of us was State Senator Martin L. Murray, then defacto Chairman of the Democratic party in the 11th Congressional District. Lokuta railed at what a bad choice the endorsement was and how the Democratic party lost a golden opportunity to do something Kennedyesque. I began to motion to her that the loud conversation she was conducting with me was being overheard by the big Kahuna of the local party. The former shoe salesman, Martin L. Murray could make or break any attorney politically with a flick of his toothbrush and not even break a sweat. Despite my body language and pleadings (I appeared to be a chunky mime that day) Lokuta went on railing against the local party
establishment without regard to what this kingpin thought of her or her opinions.
I tell you this story now because with Ann Lokuta, what you always saw was what you got. There never was a hidden veneer of forced gentility that you can see on a daily basis at any local Chamber of Commerce meeting. Lokuta was going to be in your face and if you couldn’t handle it, then…boohoo on you. Lokuta has been elected judge twice and has been badly mistreated by a series of President Judges through the years. When one is ostracized or given poorer quarters than other newer jurists, why wouldn’t they get annoyed and cranky?
Now some of the charges are serious like having a staffer clean her house or wash her floors. But keep in mind they are only charges. And they need to be proved. The court system will do that in due time.
It is interesting though that this is still another investigation into the first female Judge in the county. Some will say that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Others might say that Lokuta has a target on her back. We elect judges not for their demeanor or how nice they are to lawyers, but to serve justice. I have known many fine local Attorneys. I have known just as many who are prima donnas who want their butt kissed constantly because they are officers of the court. Some of these lawyers take only the “sure thing” cases, work banker’s hours, come unprepared to court and preen around the community as “future leaders” when in fact they are nothing more than empty suits. If Lokuta’s greatest crime is being rude to the “Poor babies”, then tough luck. Again, I am not including all Luzerne County lawyers, but I’m sure you’ve encountered one or two who will tell you they can get out of any traffic violation because they have an “officer of the court id badge” or go “drinking at Christmas with the judges”. My favorite lawyer story is an Attorney I had dinner with years ago. She told me she would pay for dinner because prior to joining me, she had run a background check on me and knew I made three times less money than her. Can anyone say “invasion of privacy” here? If Lokuta hurt the feelings of some of the arrogant, ball less, incompetent lawyers (of which there are many in Luzerne County) then good for her. If that’s the best they could do, accuse her of hurting their feelings, then just leave her alone.
On her staff’s accusations, here’s my take. If she’s rude, crude and not nice to you, leave. I worked for a guy who terrorized his staff, family and customers. I stayed less than a year and never put myself in the position of doing something I couldn’t live with. But I knew what he was like going in, put up with all I could and then left. I did not go running “wee wee wee all the way home” when things did not go my way. He had the power, I did not. I made the choice to leave when I felt there was nothing more I could do. A staff’s first obligation is to the boss. If that boss serves the general public, and there are no proven facts yet to say Judge Lokuta did not, then the staff, despite the boss’s erratic behavior and eccentric demeanor has to show support and loyalty, if not to the person, then the office. And if they can’t: leave.
On the personal allegations, office romances are a dangerous territory. But again, it boils down to whom you choose to be involved with. My rule of thumb has always been to become involved with someone who years later would never embarrass me or even think of it. We pick the people we become passionate about carelessly sometimes. The heart overrules the mind. The Judge, but also those becoming involved with her had a greater responsibility than two non descript local people hooking up at Jitterbugs. Judge Lokuta should never have trusted her personal relationships to those she worked with, but on the other hand, those people getting involved with her now show lack of class, civility and dare I say chivalry in stabbing her in the back. Their motivations must be questioned.
Finally, Lokuta tells us she’s a coal miner’s daughter. A few snicker at that, saying the Judge is playing the ethnic card. Having lived, been educated and worked in this area most of my life, my experience has been that if you don’t have the right look, the right last name, the proper connections, run in the right circles, join the right organization (even if you do, the elite will find a way to shunt you aside so you don’t get any visibility) or act the preferred way, despite being chosen by the people, there will be a process to derail you. It is significant that Lokuta faces this investigation again. I can’t help but think if she was not short haired, near sighted Annie from Dupont, and educated first generation at King’s but rather long blond tennis playing Bitsy from Harvey’s Lake, third generation pledge at Cabrini College at Phoenixville, none of this would be going on. Speak your mind and act differently in Luzerne County at your own risk if you aren’t one of the chosen.

FOOTNOTE: In the 1980 race for Congressman’s Flood’s seat, Ray Musto won the special election and served out the term. He was defeated in November by James Nelligan of Harvey’s Lake in the Reagan landslide. In 1982 during a huge recession, Democrat Frank Harrison beat Nelligan. Lokuta was right, just two years too late. Harrison was defeated in the 1984 Democratic primary by under 2,000 votes by Paul Kanjorski who has held the seat since then.


Guess who’s no longer Speaker of the Pennsylvania House? Arrogant GOP leader John Perzel that’s who. Seems the Democrats have a one vote majority because of a 23 vote election win in Chester County. Bill DeWeese, Minority Leader is expected to replace the classless little dictator who refuses to answer the most basic press questions regarding his job. Last I heard that was supposed to be serving the public!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The LuLac Edition #100, Nov 23, 2006



What better way to celebrate this unique American holiday by thanking our God for our family, (which is our own personal rock) and our freedom to express our opinion on any subject at any time, length or passion in this great country of ours.
The photos today indicate a non descript American family as well as an American icon, Arlo Guthrie. Enjoy the family, the food, the NFL and the beauty of the day.

Alice's Restaurant
By Arlo Guthrie

This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice'sRestaurant.
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago onThanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray andFasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room, seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn'thave to take out their garbage for a long time. We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it'd be a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VWmicrobus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the city dump. Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the dump saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving." And we had never heard of a dumpclosed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage. We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw our's down. That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't get up until then ext morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, "Kid,we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." AndI said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage." After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the police officer's station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the police officer's station. Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again,which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car." And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stopsigns, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station. They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography. After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put us in the cell. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the cell, I want yourwallet and your belt." And I said, "Obie, I can understand you wanting my wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but what do youwant my belt for?" And he said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings." I said, "Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?"Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown, and he tookout the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars roll out the - roll the toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice (remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went backto the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court. We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, sat down. Man came in said, "All rise." We all stood up, and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circlesand arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry, 'cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American blind justice, and there wasn't nothing he could do about it, and the judge wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not what I came to tell you about. Came to talk about the draft. They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, soI looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York, and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604." And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and downyelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy." Didn't feel too good about it. Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections, detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there, and I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got one question. Have you ever been arrested?" And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre,with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you evergo to court?" And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!" And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand,and we had a great time on the bench, talk in about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds ofthings, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held itup and said. "Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-officer's-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say", and talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read thefollowing words: ("KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?") I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints off to Washington." And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.". And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking insingin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar. With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and sing it when it does. Here it comes.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the backJust a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud. I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing itfor another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired. So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part harmony and feeling. We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing. All right now.
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the backJust a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Da da da da da da da dumAt Alice's Restaurant
©1966,1967 (Renewed) by Appleseed Music Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Also, be sure to visit:
A Tribute to Officer Obie!

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.”(signed) G. WashingtonWhile there were many observances regarding Thanksgiving, the first historic proclamation was issued by President George Washington on 3rd October 1789, during his tenure. According to it, November 26 was declared as 'A day of public thanksgiving and prayer'. The day was to be observed by people by thanking God and being grateful for his favours.Seventeenth century witnessed a common practice for individual colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout each year. It was a day set aside for prayer and fasting, not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom. Later in the 18th century each of the states periodically would designate a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop. Such a Thanksgiving Day celebration was held in December of 1777 by the colonies nationwide, commemorating the surrender of British General Burgoyne at Saratoga. On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a fresh proclamation calling for the observance of the fourth Tuesday of November as a national holiday. Later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November (to extend the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy)in the year 1939. After a storm of protest, Roosevelt changed the holiday again in 1941 to the fourth Thursday in November, where it stands today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The LuLac Edition #99, Nov 22, 2006



The Republican Senate in the state of Pennsylvania shunned its third in line and current Majority Whip Jeff Piccola. Piccola was a candidate for Governor earlier last year but dropped out when it was evident Lynn Swann would get more support. Sources say that Piccola was done in by the outgoing defeated Majority Leaders, Robert Jubilier and Chip Brightbill. If anyone saw PCN and the farewell to the retiring Senators, then you saw both Jubilier and Brightbill crying in their beer about how much they are going to miss serving the public. Yeah, like voting for pay raises in the middle of the night while the rest of working Pennsylvanians have to get by on poverty level salaries. Anyway, here's a recap of what the GOP did.
Senate Republicans yesterday chose two relative newcomers to fill their top leadership posts that had been held by veteran members ousted by angry voters in the primary.
After a closely contested race within the Republican caucus, Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati III, a two-term lawmaker from rural Jefferson County, was selected as president pro tempore and Rep. Dominic F. Pileggi of Delaware County as majority leader.
They defeated two more conservative senators, one of whom was the third-ranking Republican who left before the meeting concluded.
In a news conference, Scarnati, 44, a former restaurant owner, and Pileggi, 48, a lawyer and former mayor of Chester, pledged to advance "Republican principles" of fiscal conservatism and to institute reforms in the legislature.
The two replace outgoing President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, 69, of Blair County, who spent 32 years in the Senate, 12 of them in the top leadership post, and Majority Leader David Brightbill, 64, of Lebanon, who was elected in 1982.
The two lost in May because of their roles in helping orchestrate the controversial legislative pay raise.
Scarnati and Pileggi supported the pay raise but Scarnati said they "listened to voters" and repealed the measure.

Senate Republicans yesterday chose two relative newcomers to fill their top leadership posts that had been held by veteran members ousted by angry voters in the primary.
After a closely contested race within the Republican caucus, Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati III, a two-term lawmaker from rural Jefferson County, was selected as president pro tempore and Rep. Dominic F. Pileggi of Delaware County as majority leader.
They defeated two more conservative senators, one of whom was the third-ranking Republican who left before the meeting concluded.
In a news conference, Scarnati, 44, a former restaurant owner, and Pileggi, 48, a lawyer and former mayor of Chester, pledged to advance "Republican principles" of fiscal conservatism and to institute reforms in the legislature.
The two replace outgoing President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, 69, of Blair County, who spent 32 years in the Senate, 12 of them in the top leadership post, and Majority Leader David Brightbill, 64, of Lebanon, who was elected in 1982.
The two lost in May because of their roles in helping orchestrate the controversial legislative pay raise.
Scarnati and Pileggi supported the pay raise but Scarnati said they "listened to voters" and repealed the measure.

These two have been in the State Senate less than eight years.
Here's Senator Piccola's record of achievement.

State SenatorJeffrey E. Piccola15th Senatorial DistrictDauphin & York Counties
Senator Jeffrey E. Piccola was born and raised in Susquehanna Township and graduated from the public school system
Graduated from Gettysburg College
Graduated from George Washington University Law School
Professional Experience
Served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force
Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1977-1995) for the 104th Legislative District (Dauphin County)
Won a Special Election (November 1995) for the 15th Senatorial District (re-elected in 1996, 2000 and 2004)
Serves as Majority Whip, the third ranking member of the Senate Republican Leadership Team
Vice Chair: Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee
Member: Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, Education, Judiciary, Urban Affairs & Housing, and Labor & Industry Committees
Ensuring Public Safety and Judicial Reform
Champion of efforts to pass meaningful lawsuit abuse reform including successful passage of joint and several liability reform (June 2002 "Fair Share Act")
Supporter of efforts to reduce high medical malpractice costs, eliminate frivolous lawsuits, and set reasonable caps on non-economic damages
Outspoken House Judiciary Committee Chair who lead numerous judicial and crime issues, including the successful 1995 Special Session on Crime
1994 Republican leader of the House team that successfully impeached then Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen
Sponsor of "Jen and Dave's Law" that established a statewide information system to protect children in custody situations
Sponsor of legislation that allows professional counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed for the first time in Pennsylvania and affording consumers the resources they need to choose quality care
Former Senate Aging and Youth Committee Chair who strengthened laws to prevent elder abuse
Activist honored for his legislative work by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Pennsylvania Optometric Association, the American School Counselors Association, the Pennsylvania Mental Health Counselors Association, Common Cause of PA, and B'Nai B'Rith Salem Lodge
Author of the "Property Rights Protection Act," historic legislation designed to provide greater protection to owners of private property from governmental authorities who abuse the use of eminent domain powers
Fostering Business & Economic Development
Fighter to keep government spending, taxes, and red tape under control
Sponsor of legislation changing ownership of Harrisburg International and Capital City Airports from state to local control, enhancing economic development, improving services, and a state-of-the-art terminal (opened in 2004)
Supporter of quality of life projects: Wildwood Lake Sanctuary, Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, Penn State Cancer Center, National Civil War Museum, Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, and the Giant Center in Hershey
Supporter of highway and bridge improvements, including the much needed Dauphin Narrows bypass, reconstructed Paxtang Parkway, Interstate 283 ramps, and Hershey Park Drive Extension
Advocate for facilities providing indigent care including the Capital Region Health System at Hamilton Health Center, Inc., Pinnacle Health System, and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Sponsor of natural gas deregulation legislation to provide customer choice to families and small businesses
Recipient of the 2006 Catalyst Award and 2003 Government Leader of the Year, Harrisburg Regional Chamber
Improving Public Education
Advocate for charter schools, professional development for teachers, tenure and sabbatical reform
Author who secured passage of the "Education Empowerment Act," landmark legislation for poorly performing school districts in the state, including the Harrisburg City School District, which was to be placed under control of the Mayor of Harrisburg
Advocate for the creation of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Leader in creating the South Central Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Program, Inc., a scholarship organization that provides tuition assistance to needy families in the region
Champion of Act 157 of 2002, requiring schools to display the American flag in classrooms and to offer either the Pledge of Allegiance or the playing of the National Anthem before the start of each school day
Sponsor of annual student government seminar for high school students and Good Citizenship Awards for elementary and junior high school students
Spearheading Urban Revitalization
Leader in securing passage of the first laws in decades to fight "slumlords" in Pennsylvania's cities (honored by the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities for this effort)
Sponsor of major legislation giving municipalities and citizens greater say over decisions on landfills
Vital player in ensuring that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which assists the housing needs of low to middle income families in Dauphin County, remained in the city of Harrisburg
Reaching Out to the Community
Convener of Citizens Advisory Committees for veterans, sportsmen, business owners, and farmers
Host of monthly town meetings throughout the 15th Senatorial District
Author of regular newsletters for constituents, local government officials, EMS/firefighters, and senior citizens (in addition to weekly newspaper columns)
Host of a monthly cable show on state issues
Host of a website that provides up-to-date information about key legislation, constituent services, and news from the Capitol – address is:
Member and past president of Susquehanna Township Lions Club
Member of the American Legion
Member of Robert Burns Lodge 464 F&AM and Trustee of the Harrisburg Consistory; Piccola is a 33rd degree Mason
Elder at Progress Immanuel Presbyterian Church
Advisory Board of the Keystone Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
Serves on numerous other boards
Partner in the Harrisburg law firm of Boswell, Tintner, Piccola and Alford (and member of the Pennsylvania and Dauphin County Bar Associations)
Piccola lives in Susquehanna Township with his wife, Denise and they are the parents of two grown children, Jason and Jenny
So it seems like the Senate GOP learned nothing from the voters in the primary and fall elections. They reject someone like Jeff Piccola with years of experience in favor of two right wing cronies of Jubilier and Brightbill who most likely will be calling the shots from the sidelines. Well at least Jubilier and Brightbill won't get per diems anymore! Geez, I hope not. That's something we're going to have to watch.


General Assembly Speaker of the House John Perzel's behavior at the Pa. Press Club the otherday reminded me of a petulant three year old. Responding to questions from Philadelphia Daily News reporter John Baer on the pay raise and posting legislators expenses on the internet, Perzel was downright nasty, arrogant and childish. And this is the guy who is the Speaker of the House in Pennsylvania. He is a selfish little man who will never fill the shoes of past Speakers like K. Leroy Irvis and Matthew Ryan. We're going to have to watch this pathetic little freak!


Meanwhile, amidst all of the silliness Perzel had to offer and the crocadile tears of Jubilier and Brightbill had to offer, plus the nonsensical meanderings of Democratic Leader Robert Mellow, at least there was a touch of class when long time Senator Charles Lemmond stepped down. Lemmond was feted with a video tribute and recieved a standing ovation from his peers. Included in the video tribute was Lisa Baker, Senator Elect in the 20th District.


1966 to 1978 T. NEWELL WOOD.

1978 to 1985 FRANK J. OCONNELL

1985 to 2006 CHARLES LEMMOND


Pete Cassidy sends this comment on the 43rd anniversary of the JFK murder. 43 years!!! Holy Shit! It damn sure was the beginning of change wasnt it. What a time to have been 15 with all that happenned, and happenned so fast in the next 6 years ahead of ya. Hell I was in Vietnam in '69. Long way from Brookside High in '63! Jack, Malcom, Martin and Bobby- Bang-Bang-Bang-Bang and 58,000 in an unnecessary war caused by a flawed "Dominoe Theory" and a tremendous arrogance and lack of real leadership. Oops! Aint that where we are at right now?!

The LuLac Edition #98, Nov 22, 2006




Forty three years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas while riding in a motorcade. Kennedy was said to be the first iconic historical figure of telelvision. When he was killed on that Friday, everything came to a halt and all media began non stop coverage of his death, public services and subsequent burial at Arlington National Cemetaery. While people younger than I have seen this from the history books, as someone who lived through it as a young person, I can say that the memory of that stark day becomes clearer in every anniversary that passes.


Don't know much about the 35th President, here are some fast facts to dazzle and impress your friends.

Kennedy was the first President to hold a press conference on television.

He was the first president to also be a Boy Scout.

John F. Kennedy was the first president to use the desk that was a present from Queen Victoria.

Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president.

He was the youngest man elected president, but not our youngest president, Teddy Roosevelt was younger at the time of his inauguration.

John F. Kennedy is one of two presidents that is buried in Arlington National Cemetary.

One of his favorite poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death" by Alan Seeger.

His father said "I will not pay for a landslide." during his campaign.

Kennedy was the first president born in the 20th century.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his book "Profiles in Courage."

Kennedy was the only president to appoint their brother to a cabinet post.

Kennedy commissioned Pierre Salinger to buy and stockpile 1,500 Havana cigars on the eve of signing the Cuban trade embargo.

C.S. Lewis, a famous writer, died on the same day that Kennedy was shot.

Kennedy was a very fast random reader with upwards of 350 words per minute.

His right leg was 3/4 of an inch longer than his left, so he wore corrective shoes to make up for it.

Kennedy canceled all White House subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune. When a copy of the Tribune was used to line a box for newborn puppies in the White House, JFK reportedly commented “It’s finally found its proper use.”

John F. Kennedy had a sister, Rosemary, who was mentally challenged.

Kennedy was the first president who had served in the U.S. Navy.

Kennedy was called Jack by his friends.

He was named after his grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald.

John F. Kennedy(May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963)

Life Facts
Personal:• First Lady: Jacqueline L. Bouvier Kennedy, Wife
• Number of Children: 2
• Education Level: College• School Attended: Harvard University
• Religion: Roman Catholic• Profession: Military, Journalist, Writer

Military Service: Lieutenant
Public Service:

• Dates of Presidency: 1/20/1961 - 11/22/1963
• Presidency Number: 35
• Number of Terms: 1
• Why Presidency Ended: Assassination
• Party: Democratic
• His Vice President(s): Lyndon B. Johnson
• Senator: Massachusetts (1953-1960)
• House of Representatives: Massachusetts (1947-1953.)
Presidential PlacesBirthplace: John F. Kennedy National Historical Site
Gravesite: Arlington National Cemetery
Library: John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Other Sites: John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

Monday, November 20, 2006

The LuLac Edition #97, Nov 20, 2006




Today is Bobby Kennedy’s birthday. It is hard to imagine Robert Kennedy being 81 years old. He died at the age of 42 in 1968. That was 38 years ago. The years that have passed since his death constitute people who have never heard of him or seen him in action.
I was 14 when Robert Kennedy died. On June 4th, the day of the California primary where RFK faced off against Senator Eugene McCarthy, my 8th grade class had a school picnic at Angela Park near Hazleton. Don’t know if current Mayor Lou Barletta was working at the family business back then but we were all Slovak and Irish kids so I guess we were safe from banishment. Anyway, my main concern that day was to insinuate myself into the life of a tall seventh grade girl who I knew since she arrived at our grade school. Through the years, we’d scowl at each other and say in each other’s direction, “Yech!!” My godmother, who worked in a garment factory with this girl’s mother admonished my behavior and said someday I would want this girl I was taunting to really like me. That day had come in early June 1968 and I was like a puppy dog in heat escorting her to every ride and stand in hopes of impressing her. We even talked about politics and she told me she liked Bobby Kennedy because she thought he was “cute”. I liked Hubert Humphrey who was nowhere near “cute” but that did not detour our day.
My eighth grade nun who tried to manipulate a coup three times ridding me from office as eighth grade class President eyed us suspiciously all day. If she were to find impeachable offenses, this would be the time. Holding the hand and squeezing a tall blond girl trumped everything at that age. The day was a smashing success and we went back to our safe working class homes. At 9PM the phone rang and my friend said, “Had a nice day today. Thanks. Going to bed now.” I thanked her for the call, had no witty rejoinders or lines and most likely stammered as only 14 year old boys could do. Before she hung up, she said, “By the way, the cute guy is going to win tonight”.
I drifted off to sleep, my body sore from riding on dangerous contraptions that I avoided my entire life up until that day. Sleep came easy that night. The next morning, I heard stirring in the house. My father, a railroader was getting his lunch ready with my mother in the kitchen. As he loaded up his big black lunch pail, he turned the radio on. My mother, a cigar factory worker screamed loudly, “Oh My God!” On WARM that morning, they had heard the news that Bobby Kennedy was shot.
I was too much on a high from the day before to even stir from my bed. As the warm summer morning breezes entered my room, I thought of the tall blond girl and what we’d talk about at school this day. I heard a door slam and heard my father’s familiar footsteps go down the sidewalk. My mother’s exit was next. I could expect the customary shout up the stairs from my mom urging me to “rise and shine and get the heck out of bed!” Instead, she yelled up the stairs, “David, wake up. Now. Robert Kennedy was shot in the head last night!” It was like a cold slap in the face. I got chills despite the warm summer morning.
When I arrived at school, the nuns combined the seventh and eighth grade classes. They brought out this gargantuan black and white TV that my class bought with funds raised from co-ed dances. (Again, the strategy was not fundraising when we held those dances, which I as President proposed, but the chase for that tall blond girl in seventh grade). We watched Frank MaGee, and Huntley and Brinkley broadcast on the Senator’s condition. As I watched, a soft hand landed on my shoulder. “They shot the cute guy” she said, looking sadly. I asked if she was okay. With knowledge and wisdom that escaped me back then, she said, “We’re never going to be okay again” and she walked to her seat.
Robert Kennedy died that night. If he had been shot in today’s medical world, the location of the bullet could have been isolated by a cat scan or MRI and the brain swelling that killed him might never have happened. After all, he was talking when he hit the floor. But he wasn’t shot in 2006, he was shot in 1968.
To this day, I wonder how life in America would be different had he lived. In high school, I remember a teacher telling us that nothing much changes in politics. “It could have” she added, “but Bobby Kennedy is lying in a stone cold grave near his brother at Arlington”. I wonder if he had he not taken that turn into the pantry area of the hotel to save some time if things would’ve been different. There’s a movie opening on Thanksgiving Day about his life. (On other websites you can buy a Bobby Kennedy tee shirt, mouse pad or coffee mug!) On the movie, I have real mixed emotions about seeing it. One part of me as a political junkie is curious how Hollywood will treat him as a subject 38 years later. Another part of me dreads the scene where the assassination happens. Perhaps because I lived it. Felt the pain as it happened. If I do or do not attend the film, one thing though will be on my mind, the tall blond girl I was nuts about when I was 14, frozen in time, very much like Bobby Kennedy is to me, wearing a standard, diocese issued metallic blue school girl uniform with navy blue knee socks saying
“We’re never going to be okay again”. Sadly, she was right.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The LuLac Edition #96, Nov 19, 2006



Hazleton immigration show will be on this evening, WYOU TV at 7PM, or following the Cowboys/Colts game.

The LuLac Edition #95, Nov 19, 2006




While most area residents were watching the Pebn State game and then the all important Ohio State/Michigan game, my Saturday was spent at a dedication of a mausoleum chapel. Earlier last year, the woman I married decided to take some of our hard earned money and invest it in a long term strategy. Since trusting any financial decisions to me is out of the question, the best I could do was speculate. I thought perhaps there would be a worldwide vacation or even a beach house in Ocean City Maryland where I spent a few summers when I worked for the now defunct call center on South Main Street in Wilkes Barre. Her investment was in a sense one of real estate. Long term real estate.
She bought a double berth, side by side crypt set up at the diocese cemetery, St. Mary’s in Hanover Township. When I found out, I was at first shocked, then dumfounded, then annoyed and finally resigned to the purchase. When I’d drive to work, I would pass the construction site of the prposed home for us. Peering to the right as the convertible wound its way to the Hanover Industrial Park, I’d turn up the radio full blast and put it out of my head. I confess I did follow its progress with a passing interest.
About two weeks ago, she told me we were going to the dedication of the structure. Asking what to wear, I got one of those looks that instantly told me it was not a valid question. We arrived 35 minutes early because of my physical limitation and walked around the facility. I noticed there were people already entombed there. We walked around the area and she told me we were in the St. Joachim section on the ground floor level. “Good”, I said, “when my old girlfriends come to see me, they can rub their legs up against my crypt”. The woman I married then said, “Yes they can. Then their skin will burn off!”
We went into the facility, took a seat and waited for the dedication to begin. When I read that the Bishop was coming, I began to realize this was indeed a big deal. More than 150 people crammed into the chapel. The Bishop talked about the scriptural reading that said, “In my father’s house there are many mansions”. That phrase is on my father’s tombstone. I began to think about him and my own mortality. After the dedication, we went to check out our “area” but didn’t stay too long because near us there was a grieving family shedding tears for some of the first occupants.
I must
say the dedication experience was both dignified and a spiritually good experience, but I was mildly freaked out. When we were leaving the cemetery, I began to read the tombstones. These were from people in the first part of the grounds. Born 1806, died 1899, born 1804, died 1890. The full freak out began to return because I realized these people missed over one hundred years of happenings. Calming down, I remembered the times I lived through and didn't dwell on what I was going to miss.
We then went to church where the priest’s homily definitely freaked me out. He said that within the next week, one of us in the church or someone one of us knew would die. He said it was the natural way of things. Looking at the barren tree branches outside, I knew this was the way of nature. It was just something for myself personally and my loved ones, I wanted to put off for a while. And with an upcoming holiday, and NFL games starting on Thursday night, well that was something I just didn't want to hear.
After church, being less freaked out, we went to a fundraising event. The fine Mountaintop firm of Rundle Real Estate/Century 21 sponsored the party. It was a night at the races gathering where I ate too much, drank too much and uncharacteristically bet too much. Maybe it was letting off some steam, or the fact that I had skipped lunch. Anyway, we had a great time and the money we spent was for a good cause. The fundraiser was for “Habitat For Humanity”, that’s the organization that provides homes for the economically distressed. If you ask me, it was the least I could do, abusing my body, senses and wallet to provide the Christian corporal work of providing homes for those without one. What an ironic end to a day where all of my little family’s future housing needs were eternally met.

Now, a little history on St. Joachim, which is the name of the section of units Mary Ann and I will be in.

Also known as
26 July
Husband of Saint Anne, elderly father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grandfather of Jesus Christ. Probably well off. Tradition says that while he was away from home, he and Anne each received a message from an angel that she was pregnant. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old. Joachim is mentioned in neither historial or canonical writings. The information we have on Joachim derives mainly from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.
the traditional tomb of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim was rediscovered in Jerusalem in 1889
Name Meaning
Yawhew prepares.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The LuLac Edition #94, Nov 18, 2006



60 minutes correspondent Steve Kroft was in Hazleton this week for the popular magazine program. Kroft is working on a story about the Hazleton immigration law. The reporter roamed the streets of Hazleton and did a few standups in front of the Hazleton Public Library. Check your local listings for 60 Minutes and the air date.

The LuLac Edition #93, Nov. 18, 2006






Todd Vonderheid's withdrawl from consideration has local Democrats scrambling to get a major advantage to be added to the 2007 ticket with Greg Skrepenak. Early speculation has county Controller Mary Ann Petrilla wanting to jump to the Commissioners Chair. The Dems should be very cautious about letting that happen. The Controller's Chair was held by long time Demo kingpin Joe Tirpak for years. After his death, a huge primary fight ensued with Exeter resident Tom Pizano winning the seat. Two years later, Pizano jumped to the Commissioner's office to run with Tom Makowski. Andy Reilly, then Mayor of Luzerne was appointed to the seat. He was defeated in the primary by independent firebrand Steve Flood who became a burr under the saddle of his own party. If Pizano had stayed where he was for a full term, there would have been no Steve Flood and perhaps Atty. Makowski still might be in office. The Democrats have to choose wisely and pick someone qualified but not at the expense of losing an ally in a row office as important as Controller.
In the meantime, Vonderheid's decision to come in, do his work and go home is refreshing in this day and age of political hanger ons who have to be pried from their positions with either a crow bar or an electoral defeat. Vonderheid has become the modern day Cincinnatus, but without the dictatorial tendencies.
Here's our history lesson for today:

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 BC) was an ancient Roman political figure, serving as consul in 460 BC and Roman dictator in 458 BC and 439 BC.
Cincinnatus was viewed by later historians as one of the heroes of early Rome and as a model of Roman virtue and simplicity. As a persistent opponent of the
plebeians, he resisted the proposal of Terentilius to draw up a code of written laws applicable equally to patricians and plebeians. He lived in humble circumstances, working on his own small farm. His career has become so tied up in legend that extracting actual events is nearly impossible; he is a semi-legendary figure.
Cincinnatus' first term as dictator began when the
Aequi tribe from the east and the Volscians from the southeast began to menace Rome. The Roman Senate pleaded with Cincinnatus to assume the mantle of dictator in order to save the city.
According to analysts, Cincinnatus had settled into a life of farming and knew that his departure might mean starvation for his family if the crops went unsown in his absence. He assented to the request anyway and within sixteen days had
defeated the Aequi and the Volscians. His immediate resignation of his absolute authority with the end of the crisis has often been cited as an example of good leadership, service to the public good, and the virtue of modesty.
He came out of retirement again during his second term as dictator (
439 BC) to put down a revolt by the plebeians.
If the plebians or any other political group acts up, you can be sure Vonderheid will re-enter the fray to fight to preserve what he accomplished in his tenure in county government. He will be greeted with open arms too!


Chris Matthews made some intriguing Presidential picks on a Cable TV show where he was a guest. His picks for 2008 on the Democratic side are Hillary Clinton for President and Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa for Vice President. His reasoning is Clinton can carry the east while Vilsack, a centrist Democrat will help her in the more conservative midwest. On the GOP side, Matthews picks Senator John McCain for President with Miss. Governor Haley Barbour as Vice President. This strategy will enable the GOP to win the west and with Barbour's help take most of the South. We shall see but at this point in time, these predictions are as good as any I've heard.


Again, from Vietnam Vet Pete Cassidy: How ironic, Geo Bush and Bill Clinton are the only American Presidents to visit Vietnam, while in office, and noboby tried harder to avoid the place! "W" shoulda taken 5 Deferrment Dick Cheney along for some Vietnamese duck hunting out in the paddies. Cheney is now the Expendable Man on vacation for the next two years with nothing to do and less to say.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The LuLac Edition #92, Nov 17, 2006



11:00AM NOV. 17th

As reported last week on this blog, County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid will not run for another term. Here's his statement:

Dear Friends:

Today at 11 am in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room I will announce, with great pride in our accomplishments and with great confidence in our county’s bright future, my decision not to seek a second term as Luzerne County Commissioner.

While I’ve always been committed to public service, I never saw a career in elective office as the only means of accomplishing that goal. I do think, however, that, by stepping forward at the right time, one can be particularly effective in a given public office. For me, that time was three years ago, when Luzerne County needed new and bold leadership and the occasion to run for County Commissioner provided me with the appropriate opportunity to help build a better Luzerne County.

My tenure has given me a unique opportunity to do a lot of good for Luzerne County in a short period of time. Now, it’s time to move on. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I hope that it will provide me with new opportunities that are equally challenging and gratifying.

I firmly believe that, when I leave, Luzerne County government will be in better condition than it was when my colleague and friend, Greg, Skrepenak found it. Greg has proven his ability to make difficult decisions and he has worked tirelessly with me to build a brighter future for this community.

Our reconstituted management team works each day to advance the progressive agenda that Luzerne County residents deserve. I’ve personally come to know hundreds of county employees who make me proud to be a Luzerne County taxpayer. They care for the young, the elderly, the addicted, and the infirm; they process the thousands of pieces of business that flow though county government each day; they keep our facilities open, clean, and safe. These hardworking employees are an inspiration to me, and to all who have joined our team since 2004.

Now, having decided not to stand for reelection, I’m removing my name from consideration, so that Commissioner Skrepenak can identify a new running mate – one who shares the vision we’ve worked to realize during our term of office.

When I look back on our term so far, I’m very proud of how we’ve honored our commitments to improve County government and the quality of life in Luzerne County.

I’m most proud of the change in our business climate. While elected officials don’t create jobs, they do help to create the climate that encourages the private sector to do so and since we took office, Luzerne County has seen the creation of 7,800 private sector jobs – a net job increase of 5.4%. Many of those new jobs were seeded through county job creation loans, grants, abatements, and workforce training dollars. We helped clear the way for Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to create nearly 1,000 new jobs – eventually helping to reduce your property taxes and enhance our county’s ability to invest in its future.

We reduced the County’s structural operating deficit from $17 million in 2004 to almost zero by the end of 2006, while lowering the tax burden and continuing to provide quality public services. Along the way, we made some tough decisions including, working through difficult labor negotiations with our friends from organized labor, reducing the county payroll by nearly 250 employees and selling Valley Crest when it became clear that the private sector could provide that needed service better than county government.

We’ve helped to develop dozens of community projects: Hazleton’s inter-modal facility; the Drifton Softball Complex; recreation complexes in the Back Mountain and Mountaintop; Movies 14 at Northampton & Main; the Joint Collegiate Bookstore; the Hotel Sterling; Pittston’s Lincoln Heights; Nanticoke’s Susquehanna Coal Building; the White Haven Library, and many more.

We have tripled Luzerne County’s annual allocation to our public library system. Through the Luzerne County Municipal Cooperation Commission, we’re helping communities work together to provide better and more cost-effective services. We helped create a vision for our future that caught Governor Rendell’s attention, and with the strong support of our state delegation, led to the allocation of over $250 million in state assistance to Luzerne County since 2004.

Last June, when the water rose and the new levee system protected us from incalculable damage, we showed the world how to manage a natural emergency. We began work on a new River Common, a project that will transform the Susquehanna from an object of fear to an asset leading us to a better future.

As proud as I am of our record in economic and community development, I am equally proud of our administration’s commitment to people in need, championed by my partner, Greg Skrepenak.

Under Greg’s leadership, Luzerne County has focused its efforts to combat the plague of drug and alcohol addiction and its corrosive byproducts. The operation of our prison, once a national embarrassment, now receives glowing state report cards, even as we continue to be constrained by an unworkable physical plant.

In addition, we’ve changed the way that county government does business. Today, we have the most public bidding and hiring process of any Pennsylvania county. From now on, County decisions may not always be popular, but they’ll always be made in the light of day.

During the next year, Greg and I will work together to complete a number of initiatives that are personal priorities:
Ø Advancing the creation of several regional police departments in Luzerne County.
Ø Finalizing a plan to use our network of trails, sports facilities, and natural areas to create a world-class parks system.
Ø Creating a consensus-driven program to maximize Luzerne County’s visitor opportunities and expand our artistic and cultural offerings.
Ø Beginning a groundbreaking Luzerne-Lackawanna Counties Comprehensive Plan, binding together the economic development, land use, and transportation futures of our two counties.
Ø Reforming the governance of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to ensure that elective politics cannot harm the operations of our region’s gateway to the world.
Ø Advancing a formal partnership between Luzerne, Lackawanna and Monroe Counties to ensure the advancement of our county’s freight and passenger rail needs.
Ø And, when finally ready the long overdue County Wide Reassessment to ensure that each taxpayer in Luzerne County is paying his/her fair share.

I am confident that Luzerne County government is running more efficiently than it did at the start of our term. Thousands of Luzerne County residents have jobs which they didn’t have just a few years ago, and Luzerne County is now in a better position to grow and prosper.

I want to close by thanking you, the residents and voters of Luzerne County for giving me this opportunity to serve. Regardless of what the future may bring, please know that I intend to continue to work to advance the well-being of our region so that we can all realize our individual and common hopes and dreams.

Again, thank you for allowing me to serve you.



Thursday, November 16, 2006

The LuLac Edition #91, Nov 16, 2006




Dear Guys:
I know you suspended leave pick up and street sweeping because you felt people who have their own homes and businesses should take responsibility to do so themselves. Well, some do and most don't.
So in case you're wondering why so many storm drains clogged up given the heavy rains we experienced tonight, look to the autumn leaves.
An ounce of prevention for a pound of cure? Ever hear that one?

Rainy citizens of Wilkes Barre


Congressional candidate Joe Leonardi sends a big shout out to those who helped him in his campaign. No thank you notices seen from Congressman Kanjorski but why debate the issue!
I would like to take a moment to thank all those that helped on the Leonardi For Congress campaign. While I would like to list everyone individually, I don't think the paper has the space. In addition to my wonderful family, I would like to at the very least, recognize the following:
General Campaign Manager David Spencer
Deputy Campaign Manager Paul Stebbins
General Campaign Coordinator Michael McCormick
Vice Chairman Edward Zabroski
Treasurer Lorri Vandermar
Webmaster Frank Vandermark (the man responsible for keeping our web site current )
Co-County /Election Day Coordinator JoyceDombroski-Gebhardt
Co-County Coordinator Gina Nevenglosky
Carbon County Coordinator Stephen Redash
Lackawanna County Coordinator Jim Williams
College Coordinator Joel Jukas
Video Media Coordinator Arnold Santos
Print Editors Joyce Hoban/Joseph Sainclair
Research Analyst Carol Chisak
Phone Bank Coordinator Betty Skawski
My patients, whose seemingly limitless understanding is greatly appreciated. Perhaps most importantly, my Office Manager Linda Carr. Because of Linda's incredible juggling ability, my business, personal and campaign schedules were kept in sync. Without Linda, Leonardi Family Chiropractic, Leonardi For Congress, and Joe Leonardi would have been a big blob somewhere in time. We ran a good campaign and though we lacked funding --- we more than made up for that with dedication, hard work and tenacity.There are many more people to thank and I wish I could list you all, but know that your efforts are recognized and appreciated.
Thank you,Joe Leonardi
Dr. Joseph F. Leonardi Republican Candidate U.S. House of Representatives PA District 11


Maybe its for the better that the Democrats did not go along with Speaker Elect Nancy Pelosi's near endorsement of Congressman John Murtha. The Republican attack machine was oiled and ready to blast Murtha with his non involvement in the ABSCAM scandals of the early 1980s. This will be one less distraction for the new leadership.


Pete Cassidy, Vietnam Vet has this take on the President's trip to Southeast Asia.
Gotta be something funny regarding Bush visit to Vietnam! Daddy couldnt get him out of it...Cheney used up all their deferrments...Figures its safe now 30 years later.So desperate to get out of Washington...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The LuLac Edition #90, Nov 15, 2006



John Kerry's gaff in the recent off year election campaign might end his hopes of a comeback to return as the Democratic party nominee in 2008. Kerry made a statement to college students where he cautioned them that if they did not study hard,. they'd end up in Iraq. Immediately the White House propaganda machine took off after Kerry and he responded back in anger. Remembering how he did not respond immediately to White House attacks in 2004, the Senator went on the offensive against the Republicans. However when members of Kerry's own party admonished him for the remark, he apologized and said it was a mishandled joke. Kerry left the campaign trail in 2006 but that didn't seem necessaary since the Democrats had a big off year success on election night. Kerry was tring to position himself for a 2008 rerun which was problematic to begin with. Democrats have not renominated a nominee since 1956 when Adlai Stevenson faced off against President Eisenhower in that election with the same result. Kerry has to decide whether he wants to take the chance to try again for the nomination given this extra burden. The nation has a short attention span and most likely will not remember the specifics of his '06 remark two years from now. But his Democratic opponents will. And once a candidate is tarred with a remark, or an action, it is difficult to combat.
Take for instance the late George Romney who was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 1968 until he sat down for an interview with a reporter. Romney had quite a political career but then came the remark that he was "brainwashed" on the Vietnam War.
He led the Constitutional Convention that revised Michigan's Constitution from 1961 to 1962 and followed this up with a successful 1962 campaign for Governor of Michigan. Romney was a strong supporter of civil rights and was generally considered a moderate Republican, perhaps a bit to the right of Nelson Rockefeller, but well to the left of Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan.
After deciding to wait out the 1964 election, Romney announced he was a candidate for president in the 1968 election. Polls in 1967 showed him the leader among rank and file Republicans, especially among the "moderates." He seemed to have overcome the handicap of his Mormon religion being unpopular outside Utah.
On 31 August 1967 Governor Romney made a statement that ruined his chances for getting the nomination.[Johns 2000] In a taped interview with Lou Gordon of WKBD-TV in Detroit, Romney stated, "When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I'd just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get." He then shifted to opposing the war: "I no longer believe that it was necessary for us to get involved in South Vietnam to stop Communist aggression in Southeast Asia," he declared. Decrying the "tragic" conflict, he urged "a sound peace in South Vietnam at an early time." Thus Romney disavowed the war and reversed himself from his earlier stated belief that the war was "morally right and necessary." The connotations of brainwashing following the experiences of the American prisoners of war (highlighted by the film The Manchurian Candidate) made Romney's comments were devastating to his status as the GOP front-runner. Republican Congressman Robert Stafford of Vermont sounded a common concern: "If you're running for the presidency," he asserted, "you are supposed to have too much on the ball to be brainwashed." (Johns 2000) At the National Convention Romney finished a weak 6th with only 50 votes on the first ballot (44 of Michigan's 48 plus 6 from Utah).
Following Nixon's election, Romney was named to the cabinet as Housing and Urban Development secretary. He served in that office until the start of Nixon's second term in January 1973. During his four years, Romney slightly increased the amount of federally subsidized housing, but was prevented from expanding the concept to suburban areas.
Romney died in 1995. He is the father of 2008 GOP contender Mitt Romney.


Blog reader Pete Cassidy sends this comment on Senator elect Casey's first visit to Washington, D.C. He has never, to my knowledge proven himself , but he has a helluva opportunity now. Justify NEPA's support-Rise to the Calling. Start slow be cautious, settle in and then Become a Statesman. Youve got 6 years to accomplish something, anything and you can represent Pa for 24 years. Show Character- Cast a tall shadow.
He seems to feel he was born to serve, he seems to believe he has a legacy. Now he has the Opportunity. I hope the guy pulls it off, but Bobby for Christs sake, dont run for anything else. Ever!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The LuLac Edition #89, November 14, 2006



From the "get over yourself" department, Plains Twp. Board of Supervisors are upset because they were not included in the photo op at Mohegan Sun before the election. Governor Ed presented a huge check to Mohegan Sun CEO Bob Soper and the assembled multitude. The guys at the podium were all candidates running for election this year and they were state officials. (I know Mayor Leighton was there but he's a FOE. (Friend of Ed). The Plains Supervisors were left in another room and not included in the shoot. Look, if I had something land into my lap like the Plains Twp. guys did, I wouldn't be squaking too much. The benefits from the casino revenues are going to flow to Plains Twp. first. The only pictures needed are for when the Plains officials run for office again and proclaim all the good things Mohegan Sun money and their stellar leadership provided. Everytime I see or hear a story like this, I know why people hate politics and politicians.


Michael Race, the Harrisburg correspondent for the Scranton Times recently had an interview with State Senator Robert Mellow. Here is a short segment of the interview. Mellow's statements are in black, what he was thinking, courtesy of this blogger is in red.
Q: You have the only caucus not impacted by election losses or retirements. Any particular reason why, or is it just the luck of the draw?
A: It’s not the luck of the draw, it’s the luck of hard work. You could say the harder I work, the luckier I become. Yeah I was lucky I didn't have a primary opponent because I would've gotten my ass kicked. Brilliant strategy to put a ringer in there to oppose me and have the sucker withdraw the day before. Oooo, remind me to get him a better job in Harrisburg, will ya! Our caucus has a great staff and we don’t pay attention to the hours of the day or days of the week, we do the work that needs to get done. Then of course we become like high priced lawyers or Vegas call girls, we overcharge and under deliver. And of course when the work does get done, we dine out on taxpayers expense and agonize about how much money we talented men and women can make in the private sector. NOT!! And when we talk to our members, we always talk to them about how all politics is local. Yeah, we tell them to keep the party people in line and by all means never tell anyone to "get a life"! It comes down to how active you are and how visible you are in your district. Except of course when you raise your pay in the middle of the night, then I put my basketball officiating uniform on and hang out in Dick Tricewski's basement until everything blows over.


As the 2007 election draws near for Mayor and City Council, it seems that the Council is being asked to forgive some taxes of city landlords. Here is a post that Mr. Walter Griffith blogged regarding the issue.
I see in todays Paper that the City COuncil and Mayor are going to do another great Real Estate deal... I read in today's paper that the property on S Main St that is now Deli Devine is being considered by City Council for Tax Forgiveness for Mr Gildea....I think this is unfair to the taxpayers of the City...Mr Gildea is now at least 50,000 delinquent in back taxes on the Property on 446 S River St that I asked the Mayor about and the Mayor is trying to get this property from Mr Gildea and forgive these taxes ...The Property on S Main St is owned by the same guy that owned the row of apartments on the property on N River St that the City has demolished at the taxpayers expense and placed a lien on the property for the cost of the demolition...I think that if the City Administration is going to get in the habit of just transferring debt to property owners that do not pay their taxes, then there will be no leverage for the taxpayers or City Administration to collect any of the debit...I also find it very unusual that the property on Blackman St is being acquired for $1.00...Seems the Mayor of Wilkes Barre is conducting his real estate business at City Hall now and using the City Government for leverage with the help of City Council...Elect Walter Griffith Jr for City Council in 2007 .
As you can see, Mr. Griffith is off to the races on this issue. Taxes always seem to resonate with people when someone else is getting a better break. And it seems that Mr. Gildea has been taking a big hit for the properties he has within the city. Check out these comments from the Times Leader comment line.

forgiveness of taxes should not occur... you bought it, you get what comes with it, including tax and other liens... let's not give up a tax debt just because the owner purchases a former drug house - buyer beware - is alive and well...
Posted by: Al B. Paying

I believe Mr. Gildea is trying to make changes and has asked for help and should get it. It looks like turning of the cheek was happening here. Like the cops and council turned the other cheek and problem would go away.. I am glad to see someone take a stance and try to clean up Wilkes-Barre. Good for you Mr. Gildea.
Posted by:

Someone refresh our memorys, what is the rule say "you get what you pay for". Well Mr.Gildea did you buy these properties or the citezens of Wilkes -Barre?
Posted by: F. Barnes

Everyone who walked by that place knew drugs were being sold there. The city administration had to know too. What an embarrassment to the police department.
Posted by:

What a crock!!!! So Pat Gildea is whining because he has to pay taxes on a building he bought. This is the same guy who has bought up residential homes and crammed them to capacity with college students who drink themselves into oblivion, puke on lawns, have loud parties that last until 2am, look down their noses on tax paying people who have lived here all their lives because mommy and daddy are paying for everything, litter in neighborhoods, and have understaffed police out on calls every weekend night. In one house, he has 5 students living there, they pay 350 to 400 a month, that's $2,000 a month for one property! Mr. Gildea can afford to pay his own taxes and bills without a handout from Wilkes Barre city council. Oh gee, wait, I bought a new faucett for my bathroom sink, I'm revitalizing my home therefore revitalizing my city, can I get a tax break on that? Wilkes Barre city council should not provide welfare to a guy who drives a brand new SUV and has considerable real estate holdings. Let him pay his taxes like everyone else. He isn't that special!
Posted by: North End Neighbor

Are all the residents of North End as bitter and angry as the one who believes Mr. Gildea's plans are a "crock?" Ugly America is alive and well in the North End, but equity and intelligence are not.

hey, who gives a shi*t? Wilkes-Barre is a dump in the east, the west....all ends.
Posted by:

The real estate market is a "business", he bought this property to well lets say in the long run make a profit. Tell him to suck it up and start paying up.
Posted by:

I find it amazing that the new building owner reports 3 meth labs in the building in question. If that is the case, a hazadous waste team must come in and decontaminate the building, and probably the grounds around it. Either he's full of it, or he just bought a superfund site.
Posted by: Watch what you wish for.

Sounds like Mr. Gildea has figured out how to achieve "property tax relief". Buy all you can at dirt cheap prices and get the taxing municipality to forgive back taxes. Individuals who purchase homes they plan to renovate and live in themselves don't get this option. I fail to see why those who have the bucks to use real estate to make a living should be treated differently. As for some North Enders being bitter, let me say you might be bitter too if you spent your time cleaning up after the irresponsible tenants who rent from the likes of Mr. Gildea. Beer cans, cigarette butts, bottles and assorted trash litter the streets and yards of the neighborhoods where these "rehabilitated" homes are located. A landlord doesn't have to live in Philadelphia to be considered "absentee".
Posted by: Rainyb

This morning, Nov. 12th 12:15AM, in the 200 block of north main, a near riot breaks out with people screaming, yelling, shreiking, glass breaking, and people running up and down the streets to safety to their cars. Just another Saturday night in the Northend courtesy of a Gildea property. Police called, did a pass up and down the streets, the little rats from Father O'Hara's paradise scattered into the night until the next time. Bitter in Northend? Nope. Just the facts. Ugly America? Yep. Nothing so lovely as hearing young lady's saying the F word at the top of their lungs, young men threatening to hit the ladies, and a once beautiful home owned by a respected public official now turned into a toilet. Let's give Mr. Gildea a tax break on the puke and litter we have to walk by on Sunday mornings.
Posted by: North End Neighbor

Public officials have to draw the line on who gets tax breaks and who does not. Does a developer, landlord or a realtor deserve a tax break just because that is their line of work? By definition, every homeowner who makes an improvement or keeps his or her home up to code is in effect revitalizing a neighborhood or city. If that logic follows, then why shouldn’t all Wilkes Barre homeowners show up to City Council and demand a stipend or tax forgiveness from the city fathers? Wilkes Barre city council members, all up for reelection should tread carefully on this issue. If Mr. Gildea gets tax forgiveness for his properties, then every realtor, property owner or handyman has a right to appear before council with his or her hand out. The bottom line is this………….where will the money come from? The taxpayer, that’s who. And in this climate, the taxpayers are watching. Years ago, this request by a landlord from city council would get little notice. No one would contest it, write about it or even comment on it. But from the reaction by an already avowed candidate and the comment line in the newspaper, it is evident that this story will be monitored and might have political implications for the 2007 election.


One of my favorite guys comes to town to talk to the folks at the Kirby. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked whether he was considering a run for the 2008 White House. "Naw" he said on Sunday, "still thinking about it!" Monday it was announced he was forming an exploratory committee to weigh his Presidential options! That Kirby crowd must've energized him something fierce, that's all I can say!