The LuLac Edition #159, Feb. 21, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER GREG SKREPENAK AND TWO UNDER- DRESSED "SNOW BUNNIES" DISTRACTING US FROM OUR BORING "DIG OUT" STORIES.
We just can’t let go of this topic. Mainly because things keep on happening.
SNOW NOTE 1: Mayor Leighton asked the City Council of Wilkes Barre to refrain from discussing snow related topics with citizens and others until he could have a sit down with department heads to see where things stand. A few interesting things here. The first is why didn’t the Mayor sit down with department heads sooner? Now I realize that things were hairy and the department heads had their hands full over the weekend. But Monday was a free day and since department heads aren’t union, why couldn’t they have a meeting then? The other day I was walking through the old Franklin Federal Parking lot across from the Hotel Sterling. There’s a new bank there, I couldn’t tell you the name of it. But as I was walking, I came across a young lady, who, spotting my cane, asked with concern if I could navigate some of the sidewalks. She was about 5’2 and carrying 5 boxes of pizza. (Pizza Bella, I always check). I thanked her and declined her help because I was fine but asked her what she was doing with so much pizza. She replied that the people in the bank were working on a project, staying late and were getting supper. My point here is that this was identified as a crisis and all the rules go out the window when there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Even if it means bribing department heads with pizza on their day off.
Anyway, back to the Council meeting, Vice Chairman Mike McGinley did apologize to city residents at the meeting. But here’s what I thought was significant about this story. Was there a comment from any city council member in response to Leighton’s request that the lawmakers not talk to their constituents? Nowhere in any published story did I see any council member take umbrage to being told “what not to say”. So if a resident asks a council member about the street/snow situation, are they to say “no comment”, “I take the Fifth!” or do the old Srgnt. Schultz bit, “I know nothing!!!!?
To be fair to the Mayor, I can understand how he wants to file a full report and get all the facts, even if it is a week later. But to ask the Council to refrain from speaking about it is pretty heavy handed. But what is a thousand times worse is members of the city council (the bobblehead dolls at the Stadium have nothing on Wilkes Barre City Council) agreeing with him and taking the path of least resistance.
SNOW NOTE 2: This is related to Snow Note 1. On President’s Day, Steve Corbett was subbing for Sue Henry on WILK Radio. He received a call from Sam Troy who is running for City Council. Troy is the same guy Mayor Leighton said at a public meeting that should be ashamed of himself for asking questions about various projects in the city. Anyway, Troy talked about the snow, his issues with the administration and said to Corbett that he, Troy was making a bid for City Council. Corbett peppered him with questions about what district, when the election was and who was his opposition. Standard stuff. Corbett then made it clear that while he appreciated Troy’s call, he (Corbett) was willing to give Troy’s opposition Kathy Kane and Jim McCarthy equal time to state their case for re-election and to even rebut Troy’s comments. No one called him back and took him up on the offer. Maybe it’s me but if I were running for City Council for another term, I’d jump on the chance. The problem in Wilkes Barre with every elected official on this issue is that people want to hear something. We are a forgiving people. If Americans could forgive JFK for the Bay of Pigs and Ronald Reagan for Iran-Contra, they could forgive Wilkes Barre officials for a little snow fall. But when you ask forgiveness or own up to responsibility, you have to talk first. And save Mr. McGinley, that’s not happening.
SNOW NOTE 3: What is annoying most residents I have talked to about this issue is the lack of information coming from the city on specifics. When will the street be done? What’s the time line on it? Do we have to move our cars? At least in the neighborhoods, to my knowledge, no one knows anything. And that I believe (Oooops) is the reason for the anger and the seemingly impatient behavior of the populace. QUICK NOTE: WILK's Bud Brown and Rusty Fender were issuing traffic advisories on streets being worked on today but some residents feel the flow of information should have come sooner.
Bill Amesbury, the District Magistrate who replaced the late Michael Collins in a stunner of an election in 2001 for Magistrate in South Wilkes Barre is seeking another term. Amesbury faced off against a Tom Ridge appointed member by marriage of the O’Donnell political dynasty. Justice O’Donnell won the Democratic primary but Amesbury, cross filing took the GOP nod and defeated the incumbent to gain office in the 2001 general. For the last six years Amesbury has served with distinction. He says the problems of drugs and youth violence are major problems in the community. All in all he’s done a good job. I am surprised that he is listing in his resume the fact that he is associated with a law firm in private practice. One of the cornerstones of his last campaign was that he would be “a full time magistrate” and concentrate solely on that job. (I know, I produced his ads for Cable Rep advertising). But other than that discrepancy, (maybe he found he could handle both) Amesbury looks to repeat for another term in the lower judiciary.
LOCAL GOP MEETS
AND NOT IN PHONE BOOTH
The county GOP had their annual dinner last weekend and got a crowd. The menu was rubber chicken but the topic was typically Republican, illegal immigration. State Superior Court Judge Correale Stevens told the Republicans that something must be done to relieve the burdens that illegal immigration is placing on county and state court systems, local law enforcement, cities, schools and hospitals.
Stevens was the guest speaker at the Luzerne County Republican Committee’s 2007 Lincoln Day Dinner at Genetti’s.
Although Stevens prefaced his remarks by saying that the judicial code of ethics prevented him from speaking on the court case involving Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act, he defended city Mayor Louis Barletta and council members as honorable people who shouldn’t be berated by outsiders.
County GOP Chair Lynette Villano presided, recent Republican success story Lisa Baker offered remarks and Bear Creek Mayor and voice of the Cardoni Law Firm commercials dressed up as Abe Lincoln and led the crowd in the singing of the national anthem. The Dems don’t have anybody dressing up in character at their dinners, but then again their mascot is a donkey and no one wants to look like a jackass let alone advertise it.
SKEP SAYS “YA’LL COME”
Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak cordially invites you to be part of a Major Announcement & Rally celebrating exciting news for the future of Luzerne County! Your support and participation has helped Luzerne County grow over the past three years. Please join Commissioner Skrepenak and all those working to make our county and its communities a better place, as we boldly move toward an even brighter future!
Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 5 p.m.at the Genetti Hotel and Conference Center, Downtown Wilkes-Barre. Refreshments will be served.
A TAXING SITUATION
Lackawanna County Majority Commissioners Robert Cordaro and A.J. Munchak, who last week seemed to catch a break with the fielding of a lackluster Democratic ticket got some unwelcome news regarding their taxes. Cordao owes more than $40,000 on back taxes on a property he said he bought as a favor to help someone out and Munchak has some issues regarding employment taxes. These issues might be easily explained but the boys have to make a statement to the press about the specifics of each. John Q. Taxpayer wants to be assured that everyone is paying their fair share. This is an issue worth watching in the next few weeks.