Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The LuLac Edition #52, August 30th, 2006

THE PRESIDENT AS A UNITER, CUPID PERHAPS???? A few years ago the Pretenders had a song out called "There's A Thin Line Between Love And Hate". That sentiment was never so true this morning when talk show hosts Kevin Lynn and Sue Henry of WILK got into verbal fisticuffs over the President's interview with NBC's Brian Williams. Normally at 8:57AM, Nancy and Kevin close out their talk show and intro Henry's program. The trio usually jokes but today Lynn and Henry got into a rather passionate arguement on "The Eclectic One" and his contributions or lack thereof to the country. Now even though Lynn is a well known and well thought of bachelor about town and Henry is married with three kids, the duo make an intriguing couple. Lynn does not go to church, Henry does. Lynn hates baseball, Henry is a devoted Red Sox fan. Lynn does not like the President and says so at every opportunity, Henry defends him against all comers. Surely these are not insurmountable differences for these two crazy kids. Opposities do attract. Maybe we witnessed on the radio not a bickering difference of opinion.............but the start of what could be a beautiful, long lasting relationship that will live on in the annals of time. Romeo and Juliet, Bonnie and Clyde, Nicholas and Alexandra, Sonny and Cher, Dolf and Eva.............


THE INTERVIEW...........I did see the interview Brian Williams had with the President. And it was vintage Bush. There should be no surprises here. This is the guy who talked over and over about how the Presidency was "hard work"when he was stumped for something to say in the 2004 debates. It's the guy, for better or worse, America picked. I agree with Kevin Lynn that Bush is perhaps the worst President in our history. But after seeing the recap of the interview on MSNBC with some cackling, shrill, third tier anchorwoman filling in for Chris Matthews, I also have to agree with Sue Henry that there should be respect toward the office. Williams questions were fine snd Bush's answers are what we've come to expect, but the treatment on MSNBC of the questions and answers were disrespectful.

MEET THE PRESS......Welcomes Senator Rick Santorum and State Treasurer Bob Casey this Sunday, Sept. 3rd for the first in a series of U.S. Senate debates. Look for the two to come out swinging.

LEONARDI ISSUES STATEMENT ON DAM......11th Congressional candidate Joe Leonardi issued a statement on the prposed inflatable dam. It makes sense.

August 29, 2006
Dear Editor
I recently heard an area talk show host suggest two ways to revitalize Wilkes-Barre. The first, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is to capitalize on Wilkes and Kings and become a full-fledged college town. The second, with which I vehemently disagree, is to dam the Susquehanna to create a small lake.
I’m not sure where the idea of damming the Susquehanna originated, but it is an idea that must cease to exist. The following are but a few of my many reasons for wanting to terminate this dam project.
1- Basic science. Rivers cleanse themselves through perpetual motion. I didn’t pick this tidbit up in professional school or college. I learned this in Miss Pupa’s 5th grade science class. So why in the name of science would anyone halt the essential, healing motion of a polluted river?
2- The Butler Mine Tunnel. From the EPA web site "In 1979, an oily discharge coming from the tunnel created an oil slick on the river." "The oil contamination was then traced to the illegal dumping of hazardous chemicals into a four-inch borehole located 3 ½ miles from the outlet of the tunnel. The borehole was found to drain into the Butler Mine system." Interestingly, there was another discharge in 1985, approximately one year after the discharge monitors were deemed no longer necessary and removed.
Does illegal dumping continue today? Possibly. Commercials still air from time to time asking people not to dump into bore holes. Obviously there is no predicting when or if there will be another discharge, but if there is, how fast will the contaminants settle in a motionless river?
From the same site, "Potential human risks exist if individuals ingest or come into contact with contaminated surface water and groundwater."
Do you really want your children exposed to a "potential human risk" recreating in this contaminated lake?
3-Combined Sewer Outflows. According to the American Rivers web site there are "16 sewage outflows that pour untreated human waste into the very reach of the river where the current would pool behind the dam."
Now we have untreated human waste and contaminants from the Butler Mine Tunnel! Who will be held responsible if someone gets sick?
4- Potential flooding. I testified at the hearing at King’s college. We were assured that in the event of potential flooding the dam could be deflated in 20 minutes. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad I don’t live downstream. Can you imagine a 450 acre, 4 ½ mile long lake rushing over your community? For the sake of argument, what happens if the river crest is underestimated? What will happen to upstream communities? We reside in a flood zone. These questions are real. The wrong answer could make us forget Agnes ever happened.
5-Damming the river is not necessary. I am astonished to be told, that unless we dam the river we cannot utilize it. Well I’m sorry but that is just plain, old hogwash. A free-flowing river can be just as vital a community centerpiece as any lake.
6-A tourist mecca? We need to honestly examine what we are being sold. With our proximity to the Poconos, the shore, Atlantic City, the Finger Lakes, New York and Philadelphia — are we to believe that a polluted, man-made, mini-lake is going to become the tourist destination of the northeast?
7-Political will. I’ve heard that this may create the political will to clean the river. Well, that is flat out the sorriest statement I have ever heard about past and current leaders. The free-flowing Susquehanna River is our heritage and plain and simple it must be saved.
If you want to create the political will to clean this river — elect me to Congress.
Thank You,
Dr. Joseph Leonardi
Candidate PA-11
U.S. House of Representatives

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The LuLac Edition #51, August 24th, 2006


WILKES BARRE ACTIVIST MAKES GREAT POINT….Walter Griffith, the taxpayer advocate who has been highly critical of Wilkes Barre City Council these days might have struck a nerve. The Council is fighting the proposed realignment change with petitions to have the vote of 2001 overturned. That vote changed the make up of Council from an at large board of 7 to a group of 5 elected by districts. Ted Wampole, a city resident long active in politics was instrumental in drawing up the districts. But it seems the current council members are having some of their “supporters” or “stooges” (you pick) send out petitions to see if they could have a “do over”. Griffith has charged that the council members are concerned first and foremost about their pensions. If they reach 20 years of service with the City, they get a full blown pension. Current city council members are telling the media that they are only concerned with “good government” and that they are unaware of the pension benefits. PLEASE STOP AND KILL US ALL RIGHT NOW! For a Council member like Phil Latinski to say seriously that he has no clue how long he’s been in office and had to be told by someone is an insult to even the dumbest human being in Wilkes Barre. (Perhaps another Council member???) These politicians know how long they are in for, how many votes they won by, whether Aunt Sally’s brother had the yard sign up longer than Uncle Billy’s cousin, and certainly how much time they need to get a tax payer funded pension. Years ago when the late Tom McLaughlin was running in the primary for his third term as Mayor (Lee Namey beat him in that bid in 1987) one of his chief supporters said it was a shame McLaughlin didn’t start on council sooner. I asked naively, “To build more of a record??" And the retort was delivered to me with a huff and a snort, “No, he’d get a full pension with twenty years!” Tom McLaughlin ran because he wanted to help the city, not worry about a pension. These guys, obstructionists in the McGroatey administration and lapdogs in the Leighton era should try to just shut up, follow the rules and do their work.

COMMENTARY………..In the spring “Leadership Wilkes Barre” took to the streets of Kingston and Wilkes Barre and put potted plants in strategic places. The plants were in overhanging baskets most prominent on the Market Street Bridge. As you drove or walked over the bridge, you saw beautiful, prospering growing flowers and plants in these baskets. The “future movers and shakers” of the Valley put aside their Fendi purses and gold plated Ipods and actually did some meaningful physical labor to accomplish this task. Kudos to them! What happened since then? Well the plants have been barely maintained by the city of Wilkes Barre and are on their way to extinction or “weed heaven”. When a volunteer group gives the city a gift, the least someone could do is maintain it so that it lasts beyond the graduation class.

WHAT ABOUT URBAN???? Next year there is a county wide election and the Commissioners are up for another term. The current situation is fluid. Greg Skrepenak seems poised for another run with Todd Vonderheid. But if Vonderheid is hired back by the Wilkes Barre Chamber, (and who could blame him if he went back given his experience level there) the question of a successor is on the table. The County Dems seem to be touting Mary Ann Petrilla from Hazleton, the County Controller. Despite coming across as downright unprepared in her debates when she ran, certain elements of the party think she’d be a good candidate. We shall see.
But what about the Republican party and Steve Urban? Is there any way for the county GOP to try and wrest control of the County from the Democrats? The GOP has made inroads in the row offices with Barry Stankus winning the Sheriff’s nod twice and Mary Dysleski winning the Recorder of Deeds office that was long held by a Pittston Democrat. Who could run with Steve Urban that would make a viable team to at least challenge the Democrats? Is there any real new blood in the GOP? Would Hazleton Mayor Barletta take a flier on a county wide race given his recent high profile with the immigration issue? The Republican party needs more than Steve Urban to fight future county battles if it is to be successful.

THE RUDY MYTH………..Make no mistake, I’ve always liked and admired former New York Mayor Rudy Guilianni. From the first time I met him at Yankee Stadium in 1993 when he was making his second run for Mayor, I’ve always defended, supported and advocated for him. In the interest of fair play though, the New York Daily News columnist Erroll Lewis wrote a thought provoking column this week on the Mayor. Here’s his take on the Rudy myth and 911.

Time to downsize Rudy 9/11 myth.

The images and their accompanying story line are, by now, the stuff of legend, seared into memory. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lame-duck local pol, becomes the take-charge, already prepared leader of a stunned city and nation on Sept. 11, 2001, striding through the streets of lower Manhattan with his top commanders to rescue, rally and reassure the populace.
Five years later, Giuliani is a pop-culture superhero ("I didn't have time to be afraid, Oprah") and has unabashedly converted 9/11 into wealth, fame and a shot at the White House.
But a new exhaustively researched and unsentimental peek behind the mythology strongly suggests that Giuliani and his top deputies committed many errors that did grave, even fatal, harm to citizens, emergency responders and recovery teams before, on and after that terrible day. Investigative reporters Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins, the co-authors of "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11," think the time has come for the public to trade in myth for some hard, uncomfortable truths.
They could be wrong: Given a choice between a well-told heroic tale and a catalogue of faults, humans instinctively choose fable over facts. But Barrett and Collins hammer away at Giuliani and leave his mythic armor dented.
They tell the story of 9/11 failures like Giuliani's decision to locate the city's command center on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center over the objections of police and fire brass. The bunker went unused, and its 6,000 gallons of fuel may have destroyed the building.
Operational shortcomings like the FDNY's famously obsolete radios get reviewed in detail, along with low-tech communications failures like the creation of separate police and fire command posts at Ground Zero on 9/11, which prevented firefighters from sounding a Mayday evacuation order even after cops saw the south tower fall and began evacuating the north tower 25 minutes before it, too, collapsed.
Giuliani's top team comes in for criticism: Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik essentially served as Giuliani's personal bodyguard on 9/11 instead of running the NYPD. "I don't know who was directing. I literally don't," current Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the authors.
Those failures, perhaps understandable in the chaos of 9/11, are compounded by much less forgivable decisions in the attack's wake. Construction workers and firefighters were allowed to work and eat meals in the still-smoldering ruins without protective respiratory gear despite dire warnings - and as the Daily News has reported, thousands of Ground Zero veterans are now afflicted with upper respiratory illnesses.
Equally inexcusable is Giuliani's rewriting of history to hide his failures. Barrett and Collins describe forum after forum in which the mayor, relying on his mythic glow, says that even obvious mistakes - from the siting of the emergency bunker to the creation of separate police and fire posts on 9/11 - represented wise, intentional strategy. Already, the legend is beginning to fray: The chairmen of the 9/11 commission recently expressed regret at letting America's Mayor off the hook too easily. There will be more such second looks in the future, as America amends the moral of the Giuliani fable to read that even heroes need not be perfect - or pretend to be. Originally published on August 22, 2006.

Here’s my take on all of this, the writer, an African American brings up strong and legitimate points. There are areas where the Mayor needs to be taken to task and that will come up in either a Presidential or Senatorial run. African Americans have never been a core constituency of Guilianni, now that fact does nothing to diminish the accuracy of the criticism. But 911 was such a earth shaking day, when we had no clue when the next attack would come and when our President and Vice president were not visible, Guilianni spoke for the nation with clear headed authority and a sense of resolve and calm. Until one walks in those shoes, let us acknowledge the mistakes and address them but never tear down the heroic image of the Mayor on Sept. 11th, 2001.

ED FOR PRESIDENT!!!! The reelection campaign for Pennsylvania Governor is going so well for Ed Rendell that no less a tee shirt authority than Café Press is offering Rendell Wear. Check out this link and be the first on your block to own a Rendell for President tee shirt. And for all you cold cut, cheese steak lovers, the shirts come in 3X. Here’s the link:

For months, embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., has been dogging challenger Bob Casey Jr. about scheduling debates, claiming that his Democratic opponent is refusing to go head-to-head before the public.
The other day, Casey's campaign struck back, announcing that it had agreed to two televised debates - in Philadelphia and in Pittsburgh - and a joint radio appearance in addition to an already-scheduled joust on "Meet the Press" Sept. 3.
Santorum, who trails state treasurer Casey in the polls, has called for 10 debates around the state, presumably because he thinks he would fare well against mild-mannered Casey.
The senator's campaign yesterday said he would likely participate in the three new debates, but still wants more.
Plus in the latest polls, Ed Rendell has increased his lead while Bob Casey’s huge lead over Rick Santorum has declined. The debates in the Senate race should be an accurate indicator as to how this contest is going to go.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The LuLac Edition #50, August 20th, 2006

SHERWOOD IN HOSPITAL FOR HEART SURGERY............Don Sherwood's bid for re-election took another unexpexcted turn Saturday when the GOP Congressman representing the 10th district underwent open heart surgery for blockages. The Congressman is resting, in good spirits and wants to get back on the trail very quickly. He should be released from Geisinger Wyoming Valley by the middle of next week. This development may have an impact on the serious challenge Sherwood seems to be facing from Chris Carney. In a prepared statement, the Carney camp said, “Today we are all praying for Don Sherwood and his family. This morning’s papers indicate that he is on the road to a quick recovery and will be back on the campaign trail soon.” As a cancer survivor myself, I know how serious medical procedures can affect one’s family. My heart and my prayers go out to Don Sherwood’s family in their time of need.”
“While politicians can disagree in the midst of a campaign, today we all agree and wish Don Sherwood a safe and speedy recovery.”

SWANN CAMP "BOOKING" ON READERS TO AID CAMPAIGN....Lynn Swann has a plan and he wants you to read all about it. In a letter sent to supporters and non supporters alike, Swann asked for help in getting his ideas across the Commonwealth.
Dear Supporter, Today, I released a limited edition book about my plan for change and reform in the Commonwealth. A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania outlines where I stand on important issues and why I'm asking for your vote. For a special donation of $10 or more, I will send you a copy of A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania. Please follow this link to secure your copy today! As a private citizen, I've always believed that politicians should do a better job of simply listening to voters about the issues they care about, and engaging in a dialogue that gives people a voice. As a first-time candidate for Governor, that's exactly what I set out to do. My new book, A New Direction, is the next step of that dialogue. As I've traveled the campaign trail, I've outlined my views on several key issues, including the need for real property tax reform, closing the education achievement gap in our public schools, and reforming state government to make it more accountable and transparent to the people it serves. These are important issues, but I believe people want to know more about their elected officials than just what's in their press releases or on their websites. And that's the purpose of my new book. While I don't expect that this book will address every possible issue, I hope it will provide voters with greater insight into my vision for Pennsylvania and the direction that I will take our state as Governor. By making a donation of $10 or more right now, I will rush you a copy of A New Direction! Between now and Election Day, voters will undoubtedly know where my opponent and I stand on the important issues we face. I have a plan to put Pennsylvania back on track, and I need your help to do it. I stand ready to usher in a new era of accountability, reform and opportunity. Please join my team today! Thank you for your support. Sincerely, Lynn Swann P.S. As I have traveled around Pennsylvania, I have set out to engage in a dialogue with Pennsylvanians to give them a voice about the issues they care about. My new book, A New Direction is the next step of that dialogue. With your special gift of $10 or more to my campaign, I will rush you a copy of my book. Please join our team today! Thank you.

POLITICAL NOTES..............Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Cordaro introduced Scranton standout Gerry McNamera at the Stadium last night. Cordaro presented the cager with a proclamation from the county and read each Commissioners name. Cordaro was met with some boos because of his controversial tax hikes but those negatives turned quickly to positives when McNamera was introduced...........During the showing of Apollo 13 on Saturday night, WNEP TV had various candidates give a brief presentation on the issues and their individual stances. No word on how effective this time was to the candidates but WNEP TV did fulfill a public service commitment.....................A proposal supported by Wilkes Barre council to again alter the way council members are elected is unlawful and a slap in the faces of the voters who approved the last voting change, according to local civic activist Walter Griffith.
Griffith filed a lawsuit in Luzerne County court on Friday in an attempt to stop the proposal.
The petition in question calls for a referendum to be placed on the November ballot asking voters if they would like council members to be elected at large instead of by district.
Petition proponents said they believe council members elected at large regardless of where they live in Wilkes-Barre will serve the city better. In 2001, voters approved a referendum to reduce council from seven to five members and elect them by district instead of at large. But, because of court challenges and wrangling about how to divvy up the districts, the plan hasn’t been implemented. The lawsuit challenges the petition’s legality, saying such a referendum can only be placed on a ballot five years after the previous change was put into effect, according to the Pennsylvania Home Rule Law. Although it was approved five years ago, it was never implemented. Council members have said that when the issue appeared on the ballot in 2001, voters who wanted to reduce council didn’t have the option of separately voting to elect them at large because the two issues appeared under one question. They said the result might have been different if the issues appeared separately.....................Governor Rendell visited Carbondale and Pittston yesterday. He marched in parades and the nanvy blue suited Santa handed out grant monies to Carbondale for a new parking garage and to Pittston Area agencies and charities.........We'll miss "the Guv" this year on ComCast Sports doing Eagles commentary. He'll be off because of equal time provisions in the broadcast election laws............And how about that fight at the Capitol between the Green Party and Democrats regarding petitions for the "spolier" candidate in his race against Bob Casey and Rick Santorum. Reports are Capitol police had to be called to quell the dispute.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The LuLac Edition #49, August 18th, 2006

PICTURE INDEX: (Bottom photo) the old Planters Peanuts building is razed as the image of "Mr. Peanut" stands helpless as the building gets chipped away brick by brick and (top photo) the late Terry McNulty posing with Mary Ann Yonki, the pineapple and Mary Carrano. By the way, the Planters photo was taken by Mary Ann Yonki on Saturday, August the 12th, the day the building started to get torn down.

Just as the city of Wilkes Barre was celebrating its 200th bicentennial with a huge parade demolition experts began tearing down the historic Planters Peanuts building which has been a local landmark since the early 1920s. The owner of the building said he obtained the permit the day before blasting began. It is ironic that the building’s demolishment began as the parade took place in the city last Saturday.
Planters Peanuts had their headquarters in Wilkes Barre for many decades before it was bought by Kraft Foods. The history of Planters is a true American story of immigration, hard work, tenacity and success. The corner stone of that success was the “Mr. Peanut” mascot that has entertained folks and sold the product to generations of snack food lovers.
What began as a small undertaking with only one $4.50 peanut roaster in 1896 became the Planters Nut & Chocolate Company in 1906. Peanut specialists Amedeo Obici and Mario Peruzzi founded Planters after developing and perfecting a system for blanching whole roasted peanuts.
Mr. Peanut was born in 1916, the brainchild of a 14-year-old Virginia boy who entered a Planters-sponsored trademark contest. The boy's winning drawing - a peanut with arms and legs and labeled 'Mr. Peanut' - was later enhanced by Planters to include the top hat, monocle and cane.
This unique "spokes-legume" became an important icon for the Planters brand and has made notable appearances on billboards in New York's Times Square and in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Mr. Peanut helped the brand celebrate its centennial year in 2006 with a variety of festivities, including a Planters Nut Mobile cross-country US tour and a special nostalgic collector's series of Planters Cocktail Peanuts cans.
Debate on saving the building has been fast and furious. Many say the building is still in good shape but city officials maintain water damage has claimed some of the plumbing. Local businessman Thom Greco has been advocating for a Planters Peanut museum with “Mr. Peanut” featured in a prominent role. There is even a fundraising campaign to see if there will be enough local support for it. Other city residents argue the building is old and that the parent company of Planters, Kraft should take an interest in the project. The feeling from that corner is that if the national parent company doesn’t think Wilkes Barre is important enough to house a “Planters” museum, then why should residents and city tax payers even bother with the project.
All that said though, it was kind of heart breaking to see that building knocked down and the image of “Mr. Peanut” eroding in front of your eyes. Another childhood memory becomes a victim of the wrecking ball.

Terry McNulty, “The Big Fella” from WARM Radio died last week at the age of 70. McNulty was a newsman and personality on the station for more than 38 years. He also worked at WSCR in Scranton and ended his stellar career on WNAK. McNulty was one of the most kind and gentle men that ever worked in the medium of radio. He was a true paradox who was very shy and reserved in person but a wildly entertaining man on the radio. To read more about Terry McNulty, go to this link and read what many of Terry’s co-workers and peers had to say about him. Here's the link, click on boards, then go to Northeastern Pennsylvania and click on that.

Governor Ed Rendell seems to be walking off those cheese steak sandwiches by marching in parades across the state. The Governor marched in the Little League parade in Williamsport Thursday night, the Wilkes Barre Bicentennial parade on Saturday and this coming Saturday will march in the Pittston Tomato Festival parade. The Governor is holding a very commanding lead in the polls over challenger Lynn Swann.

CASEY/SANTORUM RACE TIGHTENS………..Just as predicted, the U.S. Senate race has tightened with Senator Santorum closing in on Robert Casey Junior’s once huge lead. The Santorum ad blitz has helped a great deal and you have to admit the commercials are very effective. Casey has yet to advertise on the scale of the incumbent. The entry of the Green Party candidate was factored into the polls but until they are truly analyzed, no one can say what the impact of that spoiler candidacy will be. Some say it hurts Casey in the northeast but hurts Santorum in the central part of the state. In the meantime, this race is garnering national attention and is expected to go down to the wire.

CONGRESSIONAL ADS START……….Democrat Chris Carney’s ads have started in this market. Effective, simple to the point, playing on decency in government. Carney is the Democrat running against Congressman Don Sherwood in the 10th Congressional district. Meanwhile in the 11th, Republican Joe Leonardi has unveiled his ads against incumbent Democrat Paul Kanjorski. To view his ads, here’s the link. The ad concerns the Susquehanna River and is very effective. The good Doctor has been very media savvy for years utilizing mass marketing to build a successful practice. His supporters hope that media magic can translate into votes for November.

THE PRESIDENT VISITS PENNSYLVANIA………..The recent visit from President Bush to raise money for Lynn Swann in the Governor’s race prompted this e mail from the Rendell campaign.
Dear DAVID, George W. Bush's White House handpicked Lynn Swann to run for Governor. Then they forced the more experienced and moderate Bill Scranton from the Republican primary.Today, George W. Bush steps up for Lynn Swann again, traveling to Pennsylvania to raise campaign funds for Swann at a $10,000 per person event -- money that will be used to attack Governor Rendell, distort his accomplishments and stop all of the progress Pennsylvania has been making.Do you support George W. Bush's choice for Governor of Pennsylvania? If not, show your opposition to him and his handpicked choice by supporting Ed Rendell and contributing $100 today. That's just 1 percent of what it costs to attend Swann's "meet and greet" with George W. Bush.Click here to contribute now. Ed Rendell has stood up for our priorities as Governor and the results are already showing. Today, Pennsylvania has the highest number of jobs in its history, our unemployment rate has consistently been below the national average, tens of thousands of more seniors have access to affordable prescription medications and schools are making progress in both reading and math. Pennsylvania voters twice rejected George W. Bush and Republicans are desperate to make headway here for 2008. That starts with getting Lynn Swann elected in 2006. But do we really want someone who has said extensively campaigning for Bush in 2004 was "one of the bright spots of [his] life"? Or who can't answer even basic questions about what he would do as Governor? If not, please support Ed Rendell once again.
All right then. I saw the President on PCN and his stump speech for Swann was very animated and even bordered on the articulate. However, I was struck by what I perceived to be forced and tepid applause.

MEDIA WATCH.......L.A. Tarone’s show on WLYN very popular. His tribute to Terry McNulty was very professional, recent guests included WILK’s Sue Henry and State Representative Todd Eachus……………..Look for more local political ads to start peppering the local airwaves soon. This is the time of year media sales people love, especially in contested races.

HOLTZMAN UPDATE…………Even though former local resident Marc Holtzman didn’t even make the Colorado ballot in his quest to be governor, he still is making political mischief for the guy who won the race. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez exulted in the unity of the state party on election night, but some supporters of former candidate Marc Holtzman say they are still not feeling the love.
Holtzman endorsed Beauprez for governor six weeks ago, but his backers say they have been given the cold shoulder by the Beauprez campaign. Holtzman has yet to make a public appearance with Beauprez, and none of his staffers is working on the campaign.
"I haven't been contacted (by Beauprez)," said Sean McCarthy, a Pueblo Republican activist who supported Holtzman. "I was certainly disappointed. I think Beauprez is a good, decent fellow, but there is no fire from the campaign to really pull people in."
Other Holtzman supporters are more angry. "I'm not really happy with Beauprez," said Connie Harn, a Jeffco Republican activist who worked on Holtzman's campaign. "Until the Republican party gets back to basic principles, I've about had it with the party. The Republican party is out of touch with what the voters want and Bob Beauprez is part of that."
Republican political consultant Katy Atkinson, who supports Beauprez, said she's not surprised there are hard feelings from the primary. "I've never seen anybody trash Republicans the way Marc Holtzman did," said Atkinson. "He said the party was corrupt. They ran a scorched earth campaign. It was as nasty as can be." Atkinson noted that it was Holtzman who first tagged Beauprez as "Both Ways Bob."
A spokesman for Beauprez insists that the campaign is trying to appeal to Holtzman supporters. "We've reached out and worked with Marc to reach those folks," said John Marshall.
Marshall said Beauprez is working with Holtzman to arrange a fundraiser for the campaign.
"We've been in touch with him." Holtzman declined comment, but one high-level insider in his campaign who asked not to be named said Beauprez hadn't bothered to contact Holtzman to ask for his support until earlier this week. "We were all prepared to join behind the nominee," said the source. "They've made it clear they don't want us."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The LuLac Edition #48, August 9th, 2006

PHOTO INDEX.......... The blog author with my mom, Mary Yonki, Richard M. Nixon, 37th President of the United States, Senator Rick Santorum, Stanky from Stanky and the Coal Miners who must be glad it wasn't one of his polkas Santorum had in his TV ad and former President Clinton yucking it up at a rally with Senator Lieberman.

ELECTION NEWS......Senator Joe Lieberman loses in his re-election bid. The Connecticut Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate was defeated in his re-election bid Tuesday night by a slim margin. Democratic party regulars, at least some of them, are siding with Liberman's foe, Ned Lamont in their support in the fall election. Lieberman vowed to fight on and run as an Independent. Connecticut voters usually embrace independent candidates. The man Lieberman defeated in 1988, Lowell Weicker ran for Governor in 1990 and was elected as an independent. However, in the 1970 race where Thomas Dodd Senior was defeated in the primary, Dodd running in the fall as an independent ran third, Democrat Joe Duffy ran second and Lowell Weicker won that seat with 42% of the vote. There is pressure for Lieberman to back out among Dems but it is too early to tell at this point if he'll take that advice. Two striking things abiout this election, Democrats who are desperately trying to win control of the U.S. Senate have to question why they would go after one of their own in a safe seat and how telling of the times we live in when the brother of the chairman of the Democratic party worked for Liberman's opponent, Ned Lamont. That would never happen under the old Democratic party of Kennedy and Johnson.
Jim Gibson, of the Colorado Democratic Leadership Council (a centrist Democratic organization that supported Liberman's stances in the past,) was upbeat about the Senator's prospects.
"Senator Lieberman's narrow loss means that the story of this primary election will quickly fade. National Democrats - and the press - will now turn their attention to the races that will really matter. Come November, everyone recognizes that this Connecticut seat will stay blue.
Lieberman's message that voters are sick and tired of polarization and partisanship is sure to resonate with the general electorate. That, combined with Lieberman's independent criticism of Bush's conduct of the war, will be more than enough to get him across the finish line. "

THE ELECTION THAT WASN'T....Marc Holtzman, former Congressional candidate in the 11th district in 1986 had a bid for Colorado's Governor's GOP nod nipped in the bud when his petitions were declined because he did not get enough valid signatures. Holtzman was to be a contender in that race until he failed to get the required number of signatures to get on the ballot to succeed current Governor Bill Owens.

SANTORUM POLKAS THE NIGHT AWAY………The latest Rick Santorum TV spot is very good and very effective. It shows the Senator at a Polka Dance being first complimented, then shoved out of the way on the dance floor by a polka loving, polka dancing senior citizen. The ad is funny, effective and puts a human side to the Senator. These spots are running frequently and the Casey camp would do well to reprise the 2004 ad of Casey’s daughters talking about their dad. Casey’s lead is pretty solid but a little counter punch on the TV airwaves wouldn’t hurt.

ROMANELLI MAKES THE MOST SENSE WHEN IT COMES TO CITY REDISTRICTING PLAN..... It seems like the most sensible statements and actions on the proposed Wilkes Barre city redistricting plan is not coming from any Democrats or Republicans but from a member of the Green Party. Let’s recap this first though: The leader of a drive that seeks to alter the city’s redistricting plan so that council members are elected at large said she’s confident enough signatures have been gathered to get the question on the November ballot. Ann Bergold wanted to get more signatures than needed because she expects there will be challenges. To be valid, the signer has to be a registered city voter, and has to contain the said voter/petition signer’s address.
However, even if there are enough valid signatures, there’s no guarantee the referendum will make it to the ballot as supporters of the initial redistricting plan approved in 2001 have vowed to challenge the new proposal in court.
Carl Romanelli, a member of the Green Party, said the party has already hired a lawyer to fight the ballot question on the grounds it seeks to pre-empt the 2001 referendum before the referendum is implemented. The Pennsylvania Home Rule Law says a referendum must be in effect for five years before another referendum seeking to change it can be placed on the ballot, Romanelli and other supporters of the original plan say.
The threat of still another court battle is the latest turn in the long, convoluted road over the redistricting plan. The 2001 referendum shrank council from seven to five members, with all council members being elected by district. Previously, council members had been elected at large.
Court challenges delayed implementation of the referendum and the last municipal elections were held under the old system of seven members elected citywide. . In 2004, a state appellate court upheld the validity of the 2001 vote.
Council waited until May of this year to approve new districts. Then, two weeks ago, word came of the petition drive to again change the redistricting plan. The new plan calls for the number of council seats to remain at five, but voting would be at-large instead of by district. People close to current city council incumbents have been circulating petitions to overturn the last referendum. If the new district plans stays intact, council would eliminate two seats.
The latest issue on the voting realignment is expected to first go before the county Election Board, which must decide whether to place the question on this year’s ballot. The director of the county’s election bureau, said if any party is unhappy with the board’s decision it could appeal the ruling, which would mean another go round in county or appellate court.

COMMENTARY: This city council court fight is a public education in how politicians are so willing to grab onto strings to maintain their power. After the 2001 referendum passed, the city Democrats went crazy because the reformers pulled one over on them. Fact is the city Democratic organization was asleep at the wheel and was stunned when enough voters registered for the change. My feeling is the vote for the referendum was a cry for help from city residents who were sick of having the same, old tired do nothing council members. No new blood has been infused in this council, many qualified, funded candidates have tried like Guy Izzo and Walter Griffith, fully funded with multi media campaigns only to be shunned by the Democratic machine and its cronies. It is amusing to say the least to see the desperation in the local party’s latest petition drive. Oh and not to worry, they’re not passing the petition out for themselves, they are doing it for their own good. Kudos to Carl Romanelli for his clear thinking and articulation on this issue. His input and energy in these local endeavors is the area where he should bestow his public service talents.

CLEAN SWEEP IN DISARRAY...............The group that led the fight to oust lawmakers over their pay raises of 11 percent to 54 percent is trying to dissolve, the victim of internal divisions. Five board members of PACleanSweep have asked a Lebanon County judge to dissolve the nonprofit group, saying the 10-member panel is hopelessly deadlocked.
PACleanSweep was founded by Annville businessman Russ Diamond to find candidates to oppose incumbent legislators, especially those who voted for last summer's raises, which the lawmakers later repealed. Diamond is trying to ride the wave of voter backlash to the governor's mansion.
Diamond said the group accomplished its purpose in the primaries in May.
The group started to unravel in March, when Diamond decided to try to run for governor as an independent. When several board members confronted him about what they considered a conflict of interest, Diamond tried to remove them from the board.
Now it seems the group that did so much to raise awareness of the payraise is going to be disbanded due to interoffice rivalry.

NIXON GONE 32 YEARS AGO TODAY…….If you are the ghost of Richard Nixon, you have to be pissed. Nixon of course resigned from office and headed back to sunny California 32 years ago today. He resigned because he obstructed justice in the Watergate case and tried to undermine the Constitution. Big stuff right? Well he did not lie to get the country into a war which has slaughtered and maimed 2500 people, he did not authorize spying on the whole country, just a select few.
President Bush's admission that the NSA has been wiretapping hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans without any judicial authorization, exposes the latest, but arguably the most egregious, undermining of our civil liberties in a generation. The Bush administration's defense of this program has strained all conceivable boundaries of legal credibility and the president's steadfast refusal to curtail this program now raises the issue to the level of a legitimate constitutional crisis.
Given the domestic spying, the environmental purging, the high gas prices and the endless violations of the Constitution in the conduct of the war, the current occupant of the White House makes Richard Nixon look like a piker!!!! Happy trails Dick!!!!! And rest in peace wherever you are. You weren’t as bad as the guy we have in there now!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!! Friday August 11th, my mom celebrates the 46th anniversary of her 39th birthday. I love you, you’re the best!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The LuLac Edition #47, August 5th, 2006

L.A. TARONE ON STATEWIDE TV…..L.A. Tarone, author of “We Were Once Here” will be on statewide TV Sunday night at 9PM. Tarone will guest on PA BOOKS on PCN
(Pennsylvania Cable Network). Tarone will be talking about his book “We Were Once Here” which is a compilation of interesting historical facts on the city of Hazleton. The show will re-air on Monday morning at 11AM. Tarone is a columnist for the Hazleton Standard Speaker as well as an editorialist and talk show host on WLYN TV 35.

LEONARDI AND EMINENT DOMAIN…..Congressional candidate in the 11th district Joe Leonardi has met with the owners of Buono Pizza which has stood on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton for over 40 years. The city of Scranton and some developers are hinting that the pizza place might be forced to move due to the issue on eminent domain. Leonardi has been addressing that issue and here is an interesting letter he wrote to the newspapers on the issue.

Eminent Domain — Who’s Next?“The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project's success is not guaranteed.” The quote is from Washington Post Staff Writer, Charles Lane, dated Friday, June 24, 2005. I remember when this ruling was announced, talk radio, editorials, letters to the editors and other forms of public media were full of anger, outrage and flat out disbelief that this could happen in our United States. However, with the passage of time, the outrage died down, other news items captured our attention and the discussion, if not the discord, faded away. Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit home. Yesterday, while in downtown Scranton, I visited Buona Pizza and spoke with Giovanni Piccolino. He explained to me the city intends to use "eminent domain" to take his family's business and turn it over to a developer. The explanation, as I understand, is that improvement of the downtown hinges upon taking the Buona Pizza building from its current owner. Growing up, I was taught "eminent domain" was to be used for public works that would benefit, will benefit, the entire public. Thanks to last year's Supreme Court ruling it is apparent that now — the public good includes the right for a City or State government to seize your property then, in the hopes of increasing tax revenue, turn it over to a private developer. Aside from being wholeheartedly opposed to the Supreme Court decision, I wonder what is going on with Scranton’s leadership. There is no question that the revitalization of downtown districts should be encouraged. Instead of strong-arming business owners, finances should be either lent or granted to those willing to take the risk to develop our commercial centers. Additionally, what kind of leadership opts to oust a successful member of the downtown community? One who set up shop forty years ago and stuck it out through the good times, bad times and sometimes downright horrible times. Not only has this business persevered all these years, Buona Pizza managed to thrive and succeed in a downtown where others failed. It is my opinion that a true visionary, a genuine leader should reward loyalty and, in any grand downtown revitalization, in a positive manner exploit a landmark, legacy business. I think it is safe to say that the Piccolino family has earned this status. What will happen to the downtown if this new venture, by replacing a successful business, fails? Who will be held responsible? Who will replace the tax money Buona Pizza was generating? There are many questions. It is especially reasonable to question the wisdom of trying to remove an established, successful business for what may turn out to be a grandiose flight of fancy. Whatever the answers may be, we must protect this family's right to maintain ownership of their property. Justice O' Connor wrote in her dissenting opinion, "the specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory." Her words now ring true to Buona Pizza, the Piccolino Family, the citizens of Scranton and all residents of Northeast Pennsylvania. Today we must make a stand, because if the City takes this one family's property there will only be one question left — who is next? If you send me to Washington, D.C. I will proudly sponsor or cosponsor legislation to ensure that the Piccolino family’s experience will not become your family's experience. Joseph F. Leonardi, D.C.

Leonardi was very impressive on L.A. Tarone’s program on WLYN. His common sense approach and articulation to his opposition to the inflatable dam project has many local voters talking. (Leonardi is pictured with former Governor Ridge at the top of this edition.)

RENDELL TO KNOCK ON 100,000 DOORS……………..Look out, Ed Rendell is a coming and he’s going to be a knocking on your door. The Governor plans to visit every part of the state by the end of August in his quest to meet Pennsylvania voters. (Rendell is pictured at the top of this edition with Wilkes Barre Mayor Tom Leighton.)

DEMS TO CHALLENGE SIGNATURE OF GREEN PARTY SENATE CANDIDATE….Democratic party State Chairman T.J. Rooney has vowed to challenge the validity of the Green Party candidate’s petitions to get on the general election ballot this fall. The Chairman says there were many discrepancies in the names that were submitted. Mistakes like bogus names, non existent people and out of state address are alleged by the Democratic State Committee. State law requires independent and minor-party candidates to collect a number of signatures that represents 2 percent of the ballots cast for the top vote-getter in the last statewide election. This year’s requirement was based on a record 3.4 million votes Robert Casey got in the 2004 when he was elected to his first term as state treasurer.

YOUR LIFE FEATURES BLOGGER……If the rotation of the reruns stay in order, this blogger will be featured on the YOUR LIFE program on WLYN TV 35 this Tuesday at 530PM. I discuss my book “A RADIO STORY/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors” with hosts Mari Yanuzzi and Richie Molinaro. The program airs on Service Electric Channel 21.

2007 RACES………………City political workers are scrambling to derail the ordinance where council candidates would be elected by district. As far back as 2001, the voters approved this measure and politicos in Wilkes Barre, despite court challenges that were upheld are still trying to overturn it so council candidates can run at large and the councilmanic body stays at 7 instead of being reduced to 5. The most intriguing rumor going around is the one about a minority candidate making a run for City Council. That’s long overdue and would be interesting to see the breakdown district by district, win or lose, after the results are in…………..Meantime, Tom Leighton seems to have solidified his support with his handling of the downtown renewal, the theatre project, the 200th anniversary of the city and the response to the flood problems of 2006.

TONY BENNETT TURNS 80………..While this is not politics, in a way it is. In 1986, I had the pleasure of bringing in Tony Bennett to the FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. With the help of then Kirby director John Loesser, we obtained Bennett when he was reemerging as a performer in the public eye. His son Danny was managing his career and Wilkes Barre was the first stop to road test his new act. He played to a sold out house and during a lull before he left for the airport the next morning, I began to talk to him about his role in the civil rights movement. Bennett told me he did various concerts in the deep south on behalf of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, the operating arm of Martin Luther King’s movement. He said at one concert, the local officials provided no stage for him to perform so his people and King’s officials prevailed upon a black funeral director to line up about twenty coffins for a makeshift stage. Bennett said that the stage was the most unique one he ever performed on.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The LuLac Edition #46, August 2nd, 2006

COMMENTARY: THE ATTACK/SEIGE ON CASEY BEGINS!!!!!! Do not let spoiler parties, false information and desperate campaign tactics derail the candidacy of Bob Casey, Junior. Let us not fall for these swiftboat tactics as well as the ego centric politics of a do nothing third party.

GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE ON RUSH………The local Green Party candidate made it to the Rush Limbaugh commentary this morning on WILK Radio. Rush talked about the Casey/Santorum race and how the Green Party candidate will be on the U.S. Senate ballot this fall. Curiously, the Green Party candidate’s financial contributions match some of Santorum’s backers as well as other GOP candidates. This is of course a blatant attempt to steal the election from Robert Casey, Junior. The games and the assault has already started against Bob Casey. The Green Party candidate is running on the Green Ticket as a SPOILER. He has no chance of being a United States Senator. The Green Party candidate is doing the same thing Ralph Nader did in the 2000 race. Remember when Nader ran on the Green ticket? Nader and the Green Party gave us Bush. Gave us 2500 dead in Iraq, gave us high oil prices, gave us the worst world situation in foreign affairs in the last fifty years. If you want Santorum again, vote for the Green Party candidate. But like the gift the Green Party gave the country in the form of Bush, this gift from the Green Party will keep on giving……………in the worst possible way.

And isn’t it interesting that when called on the way the financial reports were filed with the election commission, the Green Party candidate said his Treasurer was not versed in the nuances of the financial reporting laws. Then the Green party candidate said he was going to get the election law lawyers involved to reform the process. What process? The process of spoiling an election?????????????? PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GREEN PARTY LETTER TO EDITOR....The Green Party had their convention in Wilkes Barre in the spring. Here's a letter I sent to the local newspapers about that meeting.
So this Sunday downtown Wilkes Barre welcomes the Green Party. I hope they enjoy the stay in our fine city and come back again.
That said, the reality of the situation is that the Green Party cost this country the leadership of Al Gore and brought us George W. Bush. Those high gas prices, 2400 dead in Iraq, largest debt of any President in our history, unstable Middle East, cuts in Medicaid and Children’s programs, and protection of our ports by a terrorism sponsored nation all come courtesy of the Green Party. Had Ralph Nader not run in 2000 on a personal ego trip, a large percentage of those votes would have gone to Al Gore, not George Bush.
Now we hear the Green Party is fielding candidates for Statewide office. We in Pennsylvania have got an important Governor’s race where we have to decide if we want competency or celebrity. There is also a U.S. Senate race where an incumbent lawmaker is being challenged by the son of one of the most popular governors in the state. The very balance of the United States Senate is at stake in this race. Do you as voters really want to waste your vote on a Green Party candidate that has no chance of winning? Do you want to vote for a third party candidate that might take a close election away from a candidate from a legitimate party that can do good things for the people of Pennsylvania?
There are good reasons Third Party candidates are called “spoilers”. Just look at the elections of 1968 and the year 2000 as examples. If you meet and see a member of the Green Party in town this week, by all means greet them graciously, even buy them a drink but by no means vote for them in a meaningful election. By doing so, you’ll waste your time, your vote and your opportunity to truly make a difference in the democratic process.

David S. Yonki
Wilkes Barre, Pa.

IMPLICATIONS OF LIEBERMAN RACE…….Tuesday Aug 8th will be the Democratic primary election in Connecticut. Senator Joe Lieberman faces Ned Lamont in a fight for the Democratic nomination. Lamont is running as an anti war candidate and has voiced displeasure at Lieberman’s support of the war in Iraq.
A Lieberman win would give him the support of Senate Democrats who want to keep the seat in their quest to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate. Even with his support of the war, Lieberman’s strong constituent service will help his campaign. A Lieberman loss would give Lamont the nomination but Lieberman would still run as an independent. That would cause problems within the party on both a national and statewide basis. Lieberman would not be supported by national Dems who will gravitate toward Lamont. If Lieberman stays strong, he wins. If Lamont, a self made millionaire pours money into the race and the GOP candidate runs a mistake free effort, you might see the GOP take over this seat. Lamont’s chances depend on the voter dissatisfaction with Lieberman and whether enough of them will stay away from his independent bid. In any case, the Senator is hedging his bets like he did in the 2000 Presidential race when as a candidate for Vice President, he kept his Senate bid in case he was defeated on the national stage. Connecticut voters have supported independent runs in the past, most notably from former Senator Lowell Weicker who was defeated by Lieberman in 1988. Weicker ran as an independent and won for Governor.

Hi Everyone,I just returned from tapping the L.A. Tarone show on WYLN channel 35. I am not sure how many of you will be able to see it. The show airs in the Hazelton Cable Service Area on Wed. August 2, at 7:00 PM and on Service Electric Cable Wilkes-Barre region Thursday at 5:30 PM. I believe it is channel 21 on the cable system in Wilkes-Barre. But as you know cable channel numbers don't always line up so look for the WYLN station.
THE L.A. TARONE SHOW is seen on Service Electric Channel 21 every Thursday at 530PM. It is normally the advertising channel but at 5PM everyday WLYN TV 35 runs a newscast, then a 530PM program. L.A.’s show is Thursday at 530PM.

SPEAKING OF L.A. TARONE, here's some info from the PCN website on his book.
We Were Here Once by L.A. Tarone, Citizen Publishing Company, 112 E. Diamond Avenue, Hazleton, PA 18201
In a book that is part history text, part policy manifesto and part personal stories, Hazleton's well-known multi-media personality looks at the history of the area he's called home all his life. Tarone pays special attention to aspects of Hazleton history which have either been ignored or re-written. He details calamities such as fires, mine cave-ins, train wrecks and redevelopment plans. He provides blow by blow coverage of a long forgotten textile strike that turned Hazleton's streets into a riot zone. With thorough detective work he concludes Hazleton was home to radicals who used arson as their main political weapon. By dabbling in the serious side of historic preservation and reveling in the lightheartedness of "telling old stories," Tarone has compiled a book that forces us to look at where we've been, where we're going and what posts have been left along the road.
L.A. Tarone has spent virtually his entire adult life in Northeastern Pennsylvania media and is one of the most recognizable names in it. He is a columnist with the Hazleton Standard-Speaker, the editorialist on WYLN-TV, and hosts a program on WKAB-FM in Berwick/ Hazleton.

MUNSON GONE 27 YEARS AGO TODAY....Baseball great Thurman Munson died in a plane crash 27 years ago today. The Yankee captain was one of a kind and is missed to this day by baseball fans of every stripe.