The LuLac Edition #204, April 25th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: ATTORNEY
CAN HE DO IT?
The question going around Luzerne County politics these days is whether Attorney Thomas Marsillio can break the jaugernaut that is the career path of District Attorney David Lupus. Lupas has had an unencumbered path to elected office with his family's political connections and a great deal of money that was raised on his behalf. Marsillio, an Attorney for years who ran unsuccessful campaigns for District Attorney is running against Lupus for the seat on Common Pleas Court. Lupas has many strengths like incumbency and a lot of money to bury any foe in an election. Marsillio on the other hand has the record of Lupas as DA that some deem as dubious in some respects in terms of paperwork and the day to day details. Lupas
I am writing in response to recent comments made by Ed Mitchell, Lupas’ campaign strategist. He said that when it comes to putting criminals behind bars, Lupas is “far superior” than attorney Tom Marsilio, and implies that this one facet makes him more qualified for a judgeship.
When Tom Marsilio was in the district attorney’s office, he had an extremely impressive record, a 100 percent homicide trial conviction rate and five were life sentences.
He also didn’t have problems with remembering important dates, like Lupas. (I won’t even mention the Hugo Selenski fiasco). In addition, Tom has prosecuted on three levels of government, something Lupas hasn’t done. Criminal work is not the only type of work that a judge must deal with on a regular basis. A judge should be someone who is familiar with many types of law and not just one. When it comes to every other aspect of the law, Tom Marsilio is very qualified and much more so than Lupas. Marsilio has done just about everything when it comes to civil and criminal law and has done it exceptionally well. Lupas is a one-dimensional attorney. He has only ever been in the DA’s office, unlike Tom. I would like to see Mitchell boast about Lupas’ divorce, custody, business law, personal injury, zoning, adoption work. Etc.
Oh wait, that’s right. He can’t. On May 15, you must do your homework and vote for the most qualified individual. In this case, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there is only one choice.
SPEAKING OF McCARTHY...
The Councilman penned a letter to the newspaper himself a few weeks ago. Here's his thoughts as a veteran public servant.
It is true, under Wilkes-Barre’s City Charter, that “all powers” are vested in the office of the mayor, except those given to council. Those specifics are limited. But -- and that’s a big but -- council is not powerless and doesn’t have to bow to the wishes of a mayor at all times.
City council has the right to veto anything a mayor proposes if they think it’s a bad idea or if council members don’t believe it is in the residents’ best interest. Council members are, of course, closest to the public and usually hear their concerns day and night.
They are the real voice of the city, being most accessible. Probably most importantly, council has the final say on any proposed budget, expenditure or tax that a mayor presents. While they do not have a “line item” veto, meaning department by department, council can make suggested changes in anything an administration proposes, providing they have sufficient votes to enforce them.
Thirdly, council can, by ordinance, order anything to be done in the city, with the caveat that they hope an administration obeys the ordinance. In that case, refer back to council’s oversight and needed veto power. It can bring an administration to a screeching halt, just by blocking budgeted expenditures.
It’s hardly ever been done, but it is one weapon in the city council’s ammunition box. All a councilman needs to get something done, or halted, is get the cooperation of other council members. This is difficult, but not impossible.
I have been asked by several people if the mayor is such a “strong” mayor under our form of government, do we need a city council? My answer is: We need a city council to keep the administration in check and to speak for the public so the administration will not become a dictatorship. But, again, this depends on whether a councilperson is a rubber stamp, or listens to what the voters think is best for the city, and acts on their behalf.
Council meetings are the best place to find that out. Please attend them and speak out. As I prepare to retire from city council because of my inability to get council to protect our children with a law restricting where convicted sex offenders may live/work in our city (I note here that councilman and former police chief Bill Barrett supported the idea), I would ask city voters to closely look at all council candidates and their credentials.
Is the candidate a good old boy/girl, or do they have something to offer to make our city better and more livable, especially for the upcoming generations? The future of our city -- our families -- is at stake in this upcoming election, so please choose carefully and put every candidate’s record under a microscope before you vote.
And remember, your vote decides Wilkes-Barre’s todays and tomorrows. Jim McCarthy