The LuLac Edition #133, Jan. 17, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: JON BON JOVI, SENATOR OBAMA WITH THE OTHER CLINTON, BILL, TIME MAGAZINE COVER OF 1984 ON THE HART-MONDALE PRIMARY RACE, SENATOR GARY HART FROM COLORADO WHO IN 1984 HAD A "NEW IDEAS" CAMPAIGN STRATEGY, AND EX WILKES POLICE CHIEF TONY GEORGE. (HEY TONY, IF YOU RUN FOR MAYOR, SEND ME A BETTER PICTURE).
If anyone saw the concert honoring Ed Rendell and his second term administration Tuesday night, you were treated to a musical extravaganza featuring the Trammps, (of "Disco Inferno" fame, some slow news day I'll have to tell you my Trammps story) Frankie Avalon (who sang "Venus" then left immediately after) The Dixie Hummingbirds (who appeared at the Kirby with Al Green in November) soul singer Jill Scott, and Jon Bon Jovi. At one point, First Lady Midge Rendell got up on stage and sang with the singer/Democratic party activist. The duo sang Bon Jovi's "Hometown Boy" and it was evident that the First Lady had some soul.
Locals seen on PCN's coverage were Wilkes Barre Chamber official and former Mayor of Pittston Michael Lombardo and current Wilkes Barre Mayor Tom Leighton.
PCN lost its feed midway through the event but recovered quite nicely.
Rendell joined Bon Jovi and his wife on stage and admitted that he had made one big blunder in the event planning by not bringing up and recognizing his newly minted (for another term) Ltn. Governor Katherine Baker Knoll. This mistake pointed out two things about Ed Rendell, the first is that his relationship with the elder Knoll is sketchy at best but more importantly that he himself admitted the omission and brought CBK up with a rousing introduction. The Ltn. Governor graciously came on board with stage and screen actor Mickey Rooney in tow. In a surreal development, the elder Rooney grabbed the microphone from gala host Michael Barkan (the Governor's broadcast partner on Comcast's Eagles post game live) and began to talk about how important mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins were in the state of Pennsylvania. Barkan and the Governor thanked the actor enthusiastically at the same time getting the microphone away from him.
Various video tributes filled the screen from opinion makers, sports figures and average Pennsylvanians.
Although not in person for this year's event, I found it comparable to the 2003 event.
TONY GEORGE IS THINKING
Former Chief of Police Tony George is thinking about running for Mayor in the Democratic primary against Tom Leighton. George told the Times Leader that he thinks the development of the downtown is a good thing but thinks the success there has been at the expense of the neighborhoods. George sites the lack of street cleaning and sweeping, the neglect of storm drains, and the closing of the East fire station on Northampton street in the Heights section of the city.
George is correct on the city's concentration of the downtown. Neighborhoods have gone without
street cleaning and the recylcing calender is erratic. Some weeks the calender says there will be no reclycling but then you hear the truck coming up the road. Another troubling development in the neighborhoods is the seemingly blind eye turned toward landlords who do not take care of their property. In late 2006, one of the city's landlords asked Council for money and tax forgiveness for fixing up a problem property that had more problems than he anticipated. The very fact that this notion was even entertained by Council and the Mayor was a slap in the face to all city homeowners.
George said he will discuss the matter of his candidacy with his family to see if this is the right time to challenge the incumbent Democrat.
If Tony George wants to win the nomination in the primary, he will be bucking history. Each Democratic Mayor going all the way back to Thomas McLaughin has had challenges after a first term and beat back those election foes.
Tom McLaughin vs. former City Councilman Joseph Burns. McLaughin won.
Lee Namey vs. John "Jack" Smith, Junior. Namey won.
Thomas McGroarty vs. Edward Soltis, also a Wilkes Barre police retiree. McGroarty won.
The news that Barak Obama has all but decided to run for President has sent the political pundits scrambling for thoughts on his entry. Here's my humble opinion,
Obama needs to come up with some hard core issues. Currently he is speaking in platitudes. His strength right now is that he was an early opponent of the Iraq War but on other specifics Democratic voters feel are important, well so far Obama has not articulated many of them.
In addition to raising money, Obama has to take care to not become the 2008 version of 1984's Gary Hart. Throughout the primary campaign, Hart talked about his "New Ideas" but never got specific on what those ideas were. At one point during the campaign, Hart's main rival, former Vice President Walter Mondale asked in a debate, "Where's the Beef?" The question echoed the Wendy's ad campaign featuring senior citizen Clara Peller who kept on asking Wendy's competition where the meat was in their burger product. Obama needs to establish some benchmark issues that will carry him through or else he'll get eaten alive in the primaries.
His experience factor, both political and policy is troubling to me. First off, he couldn't win a race for Congress against former Black Panther Bobby Rush prior to being a State Senator. Then his opposition in 2004 essentially dropped out over a sex scandal. While articulate, intelligent and glib, I'm not sure Obama has been battle tested.
As far as policy experience, Obama will have had 2 years as a State Senator and four years as a United States Senator. George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas for a mere six years before he became President. I'm not sure that with the complex foreign policy issues facing us in the next Presidency, plus the clean up of many of this administration's mistakes both domestic and international, that the Democrats and the country as a whole should hand the keys over to this guy. We are due for and need someone who could hit the ground running on day one to meet the challenges of 2008 and beyond. Obama talks about a new way and direction. All well and good but put him in the U.N. or have him stay in the Senate and get more seasoned before he and his generation tell the baby boomers how to govern. He is being compared to the spirit and enthusiuasm John and Bobby Kennedy brought to their campaigns. The big difference is both Kennedys governed before. Obama's experience is comparable to a one term Governor from Georgia named Jimmy Carter. And we all know how that Presidency turned out.
THE HUBER BREAKER
I'm trying to clean my attic out of a tremendous amount of crap I have acumulated in half a century. I picked up a Citizen's Voice from 16 years ago that talked about the fate of the Huber Breaker in Ashley and how important it was to preserve this piece of history. Today in the Times Leader, one of the paper's columnists wrote about, what else, the Huber Breaker. Let's either preserve it, blow it up or hang the laundry on it. But my God, let's quit talking and writing about it already!