Monday, July 30, 2007

The LuLac Edition #274, July 30th, 2007



Well, my friend Gort picked up on the Joe Peters talk for Congress in the 10th District. We've told you about Peters high profile on local TV as a national securitty analyst as well as the connections Peters has with the statewide GOP, the police unions as well as the storied Scranton political dynasty. If Peters gets an open primary, look for him to coast in victory over Democrat Chris Carney.


So Senator Arlen Specter gets a ride on Air Force 1 when the President travels to Philadelphia for a speech. And as in cases past, the Senator's reactions and comments were not ones of brotherly love. Guests of President Bush aboard Air Force One generally know that he expects them to behave in a certain way: No showboating or mingling with the on-board press corps and, certainly, no criticizing the commander in chief or his team.
Senator Arlen Specter after his trip on the president’s plane.

Senator Specter violated both points of decorum on Thursday. He visited with reporters aboard the presidential airplane before it lifted off for Philadelphia and lambasted the attorney general.
Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, wandered back into the press cabin as the plane sat on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base before the president arrived from the White House.
According to a pool report of the encounter, Mr. Specter expressed anew his criticism of Attorney General Gonzales but said he saw no signs that Mr. Gonzales would be forced to resign. Mr. Specter attributed Mr. Gonzales’s job security to Mr. Bush’s “personal loyalty” to him.
Mr. Specter spoke derisively of Mr. Gonzales’s appearance Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he faced accusations that he misled Congress last year when he said there had been no disagreement within the administration over the National Security Administration’s domestic surveillance program.
“Our hearing two days ago was devastating,” Mr. Specter said. “But so was the hearing before that, and so was the hearing before that.”
Mr. Specter also waded into another uncomfortable subject, the Congressional demands for testimony from Karl Rowe, the presidential adviser, and Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, among others.
He said that while he hoped “to reach an accommodation” with the White House, “I don’t see it now.”
A spokesman for Mr. Specter had no further comment.
White House officials seemed none too pleased with Mr. Specter’s remarks, but had no comment, either.
Mr. Specter is something of a serial breaker of the unspoken rules aboard Air Force One. In 2004, in chatting with reporters on the plane, he went so far as to share election strategy as told to him by Mr. Bush and Mr. Rove.
The president was not annoyed enough on Thursday, however, to keep the senator from traveling back to Washington from the morning’s event here, a speech to a group of conservative state legislators on taxes, terrorism, war and education.


The Pat Tilman story never seems to die. And one of the best articles on it came from former Congressional candidate Joe Leonardi. Here's the link:

Friday, July 27, 2007

The LuLac Edition #273, July 27th, 2007



Senator Joe Biden, one of my favorite Democratic Presidential candidates for 2008, mainly because he is passionate and articulate will be in town next week signing his book at Borders in Dickson City and meeting the folks. Joe Biden was first elected to the United States Senate in 1972 at the age of 29 and today is recognized as one of the nation's most powerful and influential voices on foreign relations, terrorism, drug policy, andcrime prevention. He has been the Democrat's leading voice against the current Administration's handling of the war and is a 2008 Presidentialcandidate. In "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics," Senator Biden offers an intimate series of reflections on political leadership, overcoming setbacks and a testament to the promise of the United States.
What: Senator Biden signs copies of his book, "Promises to Keep: On Lifeand Politics."
When: Friday, August 3 at 5 p.m.
Where: Borders 100 Viewmont Mall Dickson City, PA 18508 (570) 340-1044
Why: Fans have the opportunity to personally meet Senator Biden and obtain a copy of"Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics."


LInda Stets, GOP candidate for Mayor in the City of Wilkes Barre recently set a fundraiser for the fall. It is being held at The Anthracite on Scott Street in Wilkes Barre. This is one of the best kept secrets in the Valley in terms of their cuisine. Mrs. LuLac and I stopped by there this past week with my sister and her husband. s a young girl, Mrs. LuLac used to go Halloweeing in the establishment which was then a VFW Hall. Anyway, here's news about the event.
Hello Everyone!
You, and your guests are cordially invited to attend


Anthracite Cafe', 804 Scott St. Parsons section of Wilkes-Barre. (the former
Parsons VFW) Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16th, Time 1-4pm. Complete dinner, coffee, tea, desserts. Cash bar. Entertainment.
Choose either a 1PM dinner seating or a 2:30PM dinner seating. Donation just $25.00 per adult 12 yrs. and older. Silent Auction.
Please RSVP by Sept. 12, at 825-2901 or email with total attending.
Send total attending with donation to: Linda J. Stets 254 George Ave.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705.
**Choose: Stuffed Chicken Breast or Roast Beef au jus or
Baked Haddock.
Hope to see you there. Mark your calendar today for nice dinner with friends!
Thank you.
Linda J. Stets

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The LuLac Edition #272, July 26th, 2007


BOO ON LOU!!!!!!!

U.S. District Judge James Munley has struck down Hazleton’s illegal immigration ordinance. In a 206 page decision, Munley upheld the U.S. Constitution in a dramatic decision that most likely will be appealed.
Munley concluded in his decision that federal law prohibits Hazleton from enforcing any of the provisions of the ordinances contained in the Illegal Immigration Relief Act.
Munley said he will issue a permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the laws which would fine landlords and suspend licenses of businesses found to house or employ illegal immigrants.
Representing several Latino organizations and individual plaintiffs, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups and private attorneys sued the city in August, claiming Hazleton’s immigration laws were unconstitutional.
Both sides have been awauiting Munley's decision since a nine-day trial at the federal courthouse in Scranton in March.
Mayor Lou Barletta has said he would appeal the decision to a higher court if the city lost in District Court. The case is expected to eventually end up in U.S. Supreme Court, as attorneys for the plaintiffs also vowed to appeal any unfavorable decisions.
The impact of this decision on Mayor Lou Barletta's career will most likely be negligible. Barletta seemed fired up when he announced there would be an appeal. Not the stature of a man who was just defeated. Look for the Mayor to take this debate or the recognition from it to a higher office. In the meantime, Hazleton taxpayers will be paying this bill long after Barletta leaves office or goes on to another one. There is talk that Barletta is looking at U.S. Congress or get this, the Governorship. One good thing about the ruling is the Judge said he felt Barletta or Hazleton residents were intentionally prejudice toward immigrants of any kind. No, just against them, that's all. It will be interesting to see the national news coverage of this in a few days. And fans of the U.S. Constitution are toasting its father tonight, James Madison. If "illegal is illegal", then "upheld is upheld", as in the law of the land. Print up some posters, hire a media team and Lou, give it a rest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The LuLac Edition #271, July 24th, 2007




Who says Rudy Giuliani is going to cede New Hampshire and Iowa?
That's the message the former New York mayor is sending in unveiling three new radio ads yesterday that will run in the first two primary states.
The three ads -- called "Out of Control," "Will Do," and "Garbage Can" -- highlight Giuliani's record as mayor, with Giuliani making the case that he's a fiscal conservative who has shown he can hold down spending, reduce taxes, and erase yawning deficits through conservative solutions.
Giuliani first ran national radio ads a couple of months ago, but these are the first he has aired in the states, according to his campaign.
The emphasis on Giuliani's fiscal record reflects a recognition that his support for abortion rights and his history of supporting gay rights and gun control make it unlikely he will win over all of the GOP's socially conservative voters. So he's appealing to their pocketbooks instead. Aides say to expect more ads in the coming weeks.


Republican Fred Thompson shook up the top management of his presidential campaign-in-waiting on Tuesday ahead of an expected announcement late this summer that he will jump in the race.
The move came amid signs of frustration among Thompson's devoted followers, known as Fredheads, that the former Tennessee senator and Hollywood actor has yet to say he will run for president.
Tom Collamore told CNN he had resigned as acting manager of Thompson's potential campaign while Linda Rozett, spokeswoman for the Friends of Fred Thompson organization, said he had been shifted to a senior adviser job on the team.
Taking over Collamore's duties will be Spencer Abraham, former energy secretary under President George W. Bush and a former Republican senator from Michigan, and Randy Enright, former executive director of the Florida Republican Party.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The LuLac Edition #270, July 23rd, 2007



The legacy of Scranton resident Robert P. Casey, Senior still lives on. I became familiar with Mr. Casey when he first ran for Governor in the primary in 1966. He was under 40. His charisma and youth convinced me he'd win big that year. He didn't. As a matter of fact, he needed three more tries to be Governor. During that time, he espoused his Hubert Humphrey philosophy of government of taking care of those with less. Mr. Casey also made sure his home turf recieved its share of state rewards, recognizing the key location of this area in the state.
Seven years after his death, the good works still continue.
When former Gov. Bob Casey Sr. set out to accomplish something, his friends and family said, he did so with belief in his hopes and dreams. Nearly 50 of the late governor’s friends and relatives gathered Sunday at the former Masonic Temple nearly seven years after his death to celebrate one of his dreams come true: the building’s renaissance as the Scranton Cultural Center.
The governor’s son, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., and daughter, Margi Casey McGrath, attended, along with his grandchildren. A large portrait was the centerpiece of the library, directly above the fireplace. The portrait hung for several years in the Lackawanna County Visitors’ Bureau and at the County Historical Society. During his tenure from 1987 to 1995, one of the ways Gov. Casey promoted economic development was through his support of arts and cultural centers. Through the Pennsylvania redevelopment assistance grant program, the Casey administration in the early 1990s dedicated $8 million to the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.


Even though it's talk radio, the tones of Nancy Kman's voice today on WILK was music to my ears. And she was in fine form getting Mr. Kevin Lynn's hackles up about of all things Harry Potter. We love to hear ya, but don't overdue it. We need you around long term.


It just keeps getting more problematic for Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Cordaro. Word is there will be a ballot challenge for the general election trying to remove him from the GOP line, Luzerne County has acquired some gonads by filing suit over the Yankees Triple A team ownership issue and his partner A.J. Munchak and by extension his administration is getting slammed on a prison issue. Some Mid Valley pols are telling me it may be "all for one and none for all" if the problems continue for the Cordaro/Munchak team.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

THe LuLac Edition #269, July 21rst, 2007



This week the Diocese of Scranton announced that parents who have refused to pay their back due tuition bills in protest for parochial school closures will be turned over to a collection agency.
What better time than to share a story I wrote last month on the fire sale at my old grade school.


Grade School Memories

The small article in the newspaper told me that a tag sale was going on at my old grade school. Closed down by decree of the Bishop, St. John the Baptist School as I knew it was gasping its last breath. I decided to go and take one last look and maybe perhaps pick up a piece of a memory of my time there. Or better yet, take a look at some old photos from my era there, the 1960s. At the end of 2006, I searched for a group graduation photo that featured my very first girlfriend. I made her a character in my third book, (a novel still under construction) to see if she was as beautiful as my mind built her up. She wasn’t, she turned out to be a seventh grade kid! And I was no prize myself, being a nerdy eighth grade kid.
I tried to get in touch with my friend David the night before but he wasn’t answering his phone. Turned out to be an electrical problem from a thunderstorm. By chance, my friend Paul called (not blog contributor Pauler but a kid I went to grade school with) offering me a ticket to a Yankee game at PNC Field. I had plans that night but offered him a ride with me to the old school to check out the memories. “I don’t want anything from that place” he replied. On January 2nd, 1968, Paul and I made history at the school by breaking a plate glass door. Here’s how that happened. In the minus 5 degree weather (yeah, we had recess in the type of weather that they cancel classes for today) Paul blocked the door. Inside the balmy 80 degree weather, I pushed with my knee to get out. The 80 degree heat met the minus 5 degree cold and with the power of my left leg, the door and its glass shattered into a million pieces. An investigation ensued shortly followed thereafter by an inquisition. Ultimately, Father Super provided the voice of reason, telling our hysterical parents and vengeful nuns that there was insurance and the door would be replaced. I thought about this 39 years later and after conjuring up this memory for Paul, even though he still declined my invite, he did ask if I could pick him up something. “See if you could get me a ruler, preferably one with blood still on it from how the nuns used to hit us” he said.
The Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius used the rulers as tools of discipline and almost always drew a little blood. Just by chance, Mrs. LuLac was coming back from her gym and she volunteered to go with me. For years I had regaled her with stories of my grade school days, now she could fill in all of the blanks.
Once there, I found the place pretty much picked clean. I went into what was the convent’s kitchen and tried to look for something from the 60s. There was only one scrapbook that detailed the deaths of Father Bednarchick, (1961), Father Krupar (1964) and Father Juritza (1965). In a span of three years as a young boy, I had attended the transferal of bodies and funerals of three priests. Other than that, there were no tangible photo memories to tie me to the place. A volunteer (who had been a student there in the late 80s) told me that people my age kept requesting rulers. The ones he had went quickly. He looked perplexed when he said it, I laughed inside. I then took Mrs. LuLac to my first grade classroom where the diminutive nun I had railed against her fate screaming every time that it rained and saw the alleyway leading to William Street filled with cascading dirt and mud saying “Dirty, dirty Pittston, what did I do to deserve to be in dirty, dirty Pittston!” It was in this very same classroom that this nun in the fall of 1960 said, “Now go home and tell your mommies and daddies to vote for Kennedy for President because he’s a Catholic like you and not Nixon because he’s one of those Protestants! I took her to my second grade classroom where a nun routinely told us, “Under this habit, under all of this, I’m a beautiful woman!” I showed her the door Paul and I broke and the fire escapes we walked up and down every day, come rain, sleet, snow, ice and heat. As she looked up the three stories, Mrs. LuLac said, “Today, they’d call that child abuse”. As we left, I told her of Father Super’s ambitious plan to make the little Slovak school built by immigrants without formal education a true center for Catholic education. He added a gym, (The SAC, Slovak Athletic Center) a Library, a Kindergarten and a Computer Lab that replaced Pittston Electric, Roman Taxi and a Barbershop. We both agreed he was a visionary in terms of Catholic education. Ruefully, Mrs. LuLac noted, “Too bad this current Bishop doesn’t have a sense of that in him!” I couldn’t argue with her there. We left the building not knowing its future. Ironic, because it was this building that shaped my life. For now, I have the memories of those times and those people and an old eraser I took from one of the classrooms. As Mrs. LuLac gazed up at the fire escapes, she said, “Everyday you had to climb those?” I nodded yes. Looking up and shaking her head, she concluded, “No wonder why you’re so twisted!”

Friday, July 20, 2007

The LuLac Edition #268, July 20th, 2007



39 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
And 31 years ago today, Henry Aaaron hit his last home run, number 755, the record that Barry Bonds is now poised to break.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The LuLac Edition #267, July 19th, 2007



The current Lackawanna County Commissioners, Bob Cordaro and A.J. Muchak were elected in 2003 because of allegations surrounding the Lackawanna County prison. It was said Commissioner Joe Corcoran used prison employees to do things for him persnally as well as the warden Thomas Gilhooley. Both GOP candidates attacked the issue as an indictment on how the long term commissioners were resorting to favoritism and cronyism. The charges, in addition to a few other things, resonated and a new majority was formed. Now in this race, the news that a female prisoner gave birth on the floor of a jail cell has brought to the surface allegations against the new majority, specifically Munchak who is head of the prison board. The prison has escorts that take the female prisoners back and forth for visitations. The prison has cells that reoccupied by inmates in a block, you mean to tell me that no one heard the prisoner in question or any of her cell mates screaming for help? I'm not a dad but I've heard women in labor. They scream. And what about the fact that medical help could not be contacted from within the facility. It is an issue much different than 2003. The issue is not cronyism but competence. If this regime can't even handle a prisoner mdical issue and politically lets it blow out ofproportion, how prepared are they to govern into the next term? Let me remind all who will listen, the Cordaro -Munchak ticket won office by a mere 200 votes. 200 more votes and Joe Corcoran would have been re-elected. They didn't get a mandate, they won in a squeaker. And now, with this latest prison revelation, they can lose In one too. Add to this mix is WILK's "Corbett". In 2003, there were no voices of righteous indignation like his. Munchak has his hands full with Mr. Corbett, a young prisoner forced to bear a child in prison is something all of us should have sympathy for, no matter what she's been charged with. But this case is in Corbett's wheelhouse. Look for the talk show host to keep talking about this until election day. 200 votes and Corbett everyday keying in on this....200 votes. That's all they won by. With Corbett, the tax hike, the Yankee deal which is losing a bit of its bloom now that Luzerne County is in a lawsuit with Lackawanna over it, and this prison issue, it can all add up. Or down. 200 votes. And one more thing about the prison issue, it is ironic that people who cannot vote because of their confinement, can control the destiny of the commissioner's race. Lackawanna Wonderful, indeed!


A belated good luck and God speed to Amy Bradley from WBRE TV who left last month to go back to school to pursue a degree in law. Bradley covered the Hugo Selinksky case and without a doubt came into contact with many local barristers. After meeting with them, reporting on them and observing them in close proximity, she probably thought, "yeah, I can do this". Amy interviewed me a few times and was always professional and a pleasure to talk with off camera. I hear she's even read my book so it is only proper and fitting that we "wish her well in her future endeavors".

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The LuLac Edition #266, July 18th, 2007



Walter Griffith objected to Luzerne County’s handling of a campaign finance complaint during Tuesday’s Election Board meeting.
Griffith said he found several missing expenditures and receipts in campaign finance reports filed by Rick Cronauer and his campaign committee. Griffith is running against Cronauer for a Wilkes-Barre council seat in the city’s District A.
When he filed a complaint with the county district attorney’s office, Griffith said the district attorney’s office informed him that it would not be pursuing the matter because county solicitor Neil O’Donnell said there was not a valid complaint.
Griffith said he has a valid complaint and believes the election board has a legal obligation to ask the district attorney to investigate it.
He also said Tuesday that he objects to the county’s willingness to allow Cronauer to amend his reports.
County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza said in May that Cronauer, after learning of Griffith’s complaint, filed an amended report and paid a $250 late fee. Cronauer portrayed the lack of disclosure as an unintentional mistake, Piazza said.
Griffith said all candidates should be forced to adhere to reporting requirements because reports are the official documents telling the public how campaign funds are received and spent.
The GOP council candidate has been ruminating about this since the primary. Now that he has his decision, he should now go full steam ahead and start hitting all the church picnics, town meetings and community events he can. Griffith has tremendous name recognition and perhaps part of his slogan should be that Wilkes Barre needs a strong minority voice and watchdog. As Mr. Piazza and the Election Board can vouch, he'd be the guy.


A group was formed on Monday night to try and save the FireHouse on Scott Street. Known as the old number 9 facility, it has become the focal point for activitists in the Parsons section and East End. Here's the link to Bill O'Boyle's story in the TL.
And an aside to Linda Stetts, SEND ME A JPEG!
This activity in the hot summer is going to foreshadow a busy election season.


Whether Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta can testify about an “apparent federal investigation” at the county courthouse probably won’t be decided until she takes the stand.
Lokuta, who will stand trial in September on a list of judicial misconduct charges, intends to testify on her own behalf and tell the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline about her “voluntary assistance” with the alleged probe.
Lokuta’s attorney, Louis Sinatra, said he wants to introduce evidence of the alleged probe to show it is part of the “motive” behind Lokuta’s charges. Lokuta's testimony, if allowed will have stunning ramifications for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Her detractors felt that with her removal, there might be another open seat. With her testimony, the hot rumor is that there might be multiple races for Judge if scandal finds itself on the robes of the jurists.


He seems closer to trying the stunt. In a way, who can blame him, he nearly won in the primary against Mike Savokinas. But Savokinas will have the backing of the Dems in the race and Stankus will have his supporters and what's left of the GOP. Savokinas stated publicly that Nipper's write in can only help the Democratic candidate because Nowakowski will take more votes away from Stankus. In most normal cases that might be true but this was a very close race and I see Stankus winning a third term if Nipper tries his write in campaign. Nipper will take more votes away from Savokinas because he got a huge block in the primary. Changing anyone's mind about Stankus at this time would be problematic at best.


Monday, July 16, 2007

The LuLac Edition #265, July 16th, 2007



With his 2008 campaign bankrupt, Senator John McCain now faces a challenge to reinvigorate a sagging effort that has been characterized as everything from a flip flop on issues to the fact that he's old news. Perhaps the mismanagement of the campaign will free McCain to be the candidate he once was in 2000. McCain has carved out a politically dangerous position on the war, but if he can reinvent "The Straight Talk Express" with the belief imposed on primary voters that "he'd rather be right than President", well who knows. The only trouble with that factor is that so many people are against the war now, McCain would have to get support from diehard GOPers on other issues and this is a group he's never won over.


There's a YOU TUBE Video on line that was released two weeks ago. It was performed and produced by a former American Idol (proud to say I never saw the show and never was in Alabama!) contestant. It is a hoot. Here's the link:


People are still plugging for former Vice President Al Gore. Gore so far has said no to a bid but interest groups are putting on the pressure. Take a look at this: And of course there's an original song called "Run Al Run".


There are hot rumors going around that Chris Doherty is going to run for the Congressional seat in the 11th District. Doherty, a hot property who barely survived a primary in 2005 against Gary DeBelio for Mayor but won in the fall against the same guy has been mentioned for the job of State Treasurer
too. But the Congressional role fits like a glove. Here's why:
1. The current Congressman, Mr. Kanjorski is ripe for a challenge given the revelations about the business dealings he's had with family members. (Oh to be a nephew of Paul's, where do I forge the adoption papers??)
2. Kanjorski has never had a major intra party challenge. He may not be prepared for it, no matter how long he's been there.
3. In the Democratic primary, a Scranton area candidate can count on portions of Lackawanna County (especially the important Mid Valley area) to vote as a block. Despite regionalism, provincialism when it comes to politics, is not dead. If it were, Luzerne County would not have 78 municipal governments.
4. Doherty can count on media support from the Scranton Times empire. They like to have a Congressman at arm's length. I remember vividly the day Joe McDade was acquitted, (I was at Rock 107 then) and word spread through the building as if a family member beat the rap. Doherty has had support from the Times and in a Congressional race, the addition of the Citizen's Voice will help. Doherty on his own can charm the Times Leader. During the 206 Congressional race, the Times Leader was the only paper that brought up the business dealings with the nephews and gave GOPer Joe Leonardi some press.
5. The inflatable dam! Doherty's folks would have a field day with that.
6. Doherty and Kanorski are a study in contrasts. Young, vigorous family man with a self made business vs. older, seasoned, gentlemen who has had dubious business connections supported by taxpayer monies.
The only mystery here is which candidate will Ed Mitchell support? Mitchell handled Doherty's first term race but then was replaced by Team Doherty in the second race. Mitchell will go with his long time client and you can bet he'll pull out all the stops if this race ever takes place. So far there is a lot of talk bubbling under the surface and no is confirming. But neither are they denying!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The LuLac Edition #264, July 13th, 2007



We're back for another edition of "Heroes and Villains".
Let's start with some good news.


A formal idea to honor the American icon, Mr. Peanut was proposed at Thursday night’s council meeting, before members unanimously approved the placement of a historical marker at 632 S. Main St., where the Planters Peanuts corporate headquarters stood. The marker will honor founder Amedeo Obici.
Planters is now owned by Kraft Foods.
The lot where Planters headquarters was located and where the historical marker will be placed is now vacant. Marvin Slomowitz of Mark Realty is planning to develop it into a retail mall. The marker would be placed in front of the old Planters office building, the only remaining structure once used by Obici.
We can all remember going to downtown Wilkes Barre and taking a gander at the distinguished looking Mr. Peanut, cane and monocle at the ready. And my heavens, the smell of those fresh peanuts, what a different time and place. Kudos to council for approving this action along with Mayor Leighton. If only someone could have saved that entire building. But historical preservation isn't casino gaming.


In Pittston, the ramifications of a past election are coming home to roost.
A judge on Friday ordered a man believed to be the campaign manager for a political ticket to testify in a lawsuit filed by a former Pittston official.
Former city administrator, Wilfrid Toole, started a defamation lawsuit last year against Philip Campenni, Kenneth Bangs, Donna McFadden Connors, Chris Latona, and Joseph Valenti.
Toole, through attorney Bruce Phillips, filed a writ of summons last year. A writ of summons is merely a sheet of paper initiating litigation against the named defendants. It does not contain details of the suit.
Phillips on Friday said he needs Valenti’s deposition to form the complaint. Valenti is “supposed to be” the chairman of the Committee for Progress, Phillips said.
His court papers filed Friday say Valenti was given a notice to appear for a deposition on July 9. But Valenti “knowingly and willfully failed to appear” for that deposition, the court papers say.
That led to Phillips asking a Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judge to order Valenti to appear at a deposition. Judge Hugh F. Mundy on Friday approved that order, and said he would sanction Valenti if he did not appear.
Valenti is a long time political operative and writes a politics column for the Sunday Dispatch. Politics in Greater Pittston has always been a rough and tumble game, to get sued for a political ad that could be easily refuted, I just don't know. As Harry Truman once said, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Judge Mundy is inviting Valenti back in the kitchen as the heat rises. This case is worth watching from a political and constitutional standpoint.


Even though I'd be in the gutter without Mrs. LuLac, I've always found the notion of an older man and much younger woman socially acceptable and even a natural order of things. (Yeah, Mrs. LuLac hasn't read this thing in months!) Anyway, news from New York comes about former Senator Alphonse D'Amato. He is looking forward to a couple of big milestones: his 70th birthday and a new baby. "If you had told me this prior to getting married, I would have said you're out of your mind," D'Amato joked on Friday as he confirmed that his wife, Katuria D'Amato, 41, is expecting a baby sometime next February.
The D'Amatos celebrate their third anniversary next week; his birthday is Aug. 1. "We're tremendously blessed. God has given us this wonderful news and we're very excited about it," D'Amato told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Katuria D'Amato, an attorney, is also a member of the Town of Hempstead Zoning Appeals Board on Long Island. The baby business isn't exactly new to D'Amato. The three-term senator, who now runs a consulting firm, has four adult children from his previous marriage and get this, 10 grandchildren. At least the kid will have some people to play with. In my novel, "A Radio Story", the main character takes up with a woman 20 years younger than he. D'Amato's age difference is 29. My friend Jim from Colorado says, once your past that twenty year mark, the age difference becomes a whole person, another generation. Indeed. You go Al!


So they say there is an investigation into corruption at the Luzerne County Courthouse regarding our local judges. Ann Lokuta, under fire herself, for being bad tempered and a bit disheveled but not corrupt might release some info in her own case regarding the boys in black. Go Ann go. But anything they find, pales in comparison with this story out of Newark, New Jersey. It is forty years this summer since Newark burned and the Mayor credited with bringing the town back is under investigation.
Newark's legendary ex-Mayor Sharpe James was charged this week with blowing taxpayers' funds on lavish travel for himself and eight women as years of suspicion were finally laid bare in a sweeping, 33-count corruption indictment.
James, 71, also was accused of selling off parcels of city land to one of his girlfriends at cut-rate prices so she could flip them to developers at huge profits.
"The allegations in this indictment are stark examples of the greed and arrogance of unchecked power," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. "Sharpe James' long history in this city is forever scarred."
The indictment alleged a brazen James ran up $58,000 in charges on the struggling city's credit cards for a series of jaunts - from the Caribbean to Daytona Beach to Martha's Vineyard - for himself and eight different "companions."
He charged everything from extravagant resort suites to poolside daiquiris to movie tickets in Secaucus, N.J. James, a married father of three sons, spent five days of his final week in office last July living it up at a four-star resort in Rio de Janeiro, costing taxpayers about $10,000 in hotel bills and nightclub fees.
Perhaps the most audacious expense paid by the city is $8,776 to Norwegian Cruise Line to secure a penthouse cabin on a boat that didn't sail until six weeks after James left office. Other charges were for trips to Maryland and Florida to test-drive a yacht and a Rolls-Royce.
The indictment, the result of a lengthy FBI probe, seriously tarnishes the legacy of the flamboyant, old-school Democratic pol who dominated Newark for a quarter century and led the city's slow recovery from the 1967 riots whose 40th anniversary happened to be marked yesterday.
Outside the courthouse after posting his $250,000 bail, James - who is still a state senator - told reporters, "I'm innocent of all these charges and look forward to my day in court."
Also charged was James' sometime girlfriend and travel companion, Tamika Riley, 38, who was arrested in a low-cut top, black slacks and animal-print pumps.
She was charged with conspiring with James to sell off city land. Although she was a clothes shop owner with no background in real estate, Riley bought nine parcels of land from the city from 2001 to 2005 for the cut-rate price of $46,000 and resold them - sometimes within days - for a total profit of more than $500,000. James' successor, reformist Mayor Corey Booker, has tried to reclaim some of the land from developers. Though he ran one of the nation's poorest cities, James made more than $200,000 a year as mayor, more than any other mayor or even governor.
Not that James was necessarily being Fabulous Mr. Generous to the women and aides who accompanied him on the 32 vacations to five countries and 11 states.
The indictment says that in one case, he charged the city to fly a companion to join him in Puerto Rico and asked her for $700 to reimburse the city - but then kept her cash.
According to the indictment, James invented laughable pretexts for his junkets. For one 2006 winter getaway at a luxury beachfront resort in the Dominican Republic, James said he wanted to investigate the resort's tropical gardens to see "if they could be replicated near Penn Station in Newark."
A charismatic, sharp-elbowed mayor who never stopped cheerleading for his often-maligned city, James oversaw the revival of Newark and remains a hero to many. In his 12 elections for councilman, mayor and state senator, James stood unbeaten. His enemies fell by the wayside, one by one.
But as the once-bankrupt city got richer, so did James. He bought the yacht. And the Rolls. And a house at the shore. And an office building. "This indictment is about as surprising as the sun rising in the morning," said New Jersey Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson.
This is classic corruption, these are the big leagues. And eight woman in revolving schedules, let's just say I'm in awe!


Congressman Chris Carney is under fire for voting with the Republicans in the recent House action on Iraq. The Congressman is playing to his GOP base, the problem is he's a Democrat. There are many who feel Carney has to straddle the political landscape of the 10th district in order to win a new term. That's a smart strategy. But the war in Iraq is so personal an issue, that many Democrats as well as my friend and fellow blogger Gort are disappointed with Carney's actions so far. Time and the next election will tell on this one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The LuLac Edition #263, July 11h, 2007



Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson, died Wednesday. She was 94.

Johnson, who suffered a stroke in 2002 that affected her ability to speak, returned home late last month after a week at Seton Medical Center, where she'd been admitted for a low-grade fever.She died at her Austin home of natural causes about 5:18 p.m. EDT. Elizabeth Christian, the spokeswoman, said she was surrounded by family and friends.Even after the stroke, Johnson still managed to make occasional public appearances and get outdoors to enjoy her beloved wildflowers. But she was unable to speak more than a few short phrases, and more recently did not speak at all, Anne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the LBJ Library and Museum, said in 2006. She communicated her thoughts and needs by writing, Wheeler said.Lyndon Johnson died in 1973, four years after the Johnsons left the White House.The longest-living first lady in history was Bess Truman, who was 97 when she died in 1982.
Mrs. Johnson visited downtown Wilkes Barre in 1965 to promote the President's Head Start Program and to give a sneak preview to the Comminuty Cities program which would evolve into the Model Cities program. Mrs. Johnson was greeted by thousands in an era when security, despite the assasination of John Kennedy, was light. As a matter of fact, Mrs. LuLac got an opportunity to shake the First Lady's hand and greet her on the Square.
Mrs. Johnson's life was a contradiction in terms. A strong woman, she was a loyal wife standing by her husband in times of peril and turmoil. But she was his best critic and set out on her own to become a fore runner of the moodern environmental movement. She knew how to handle the press well, with a velvet glove and a sack of coins in it to stun the questioner. Once, Barbara Walters tried to get her to comment on LBJ's supposed womanizing. Lady Bird said, "My husband had many friends, both male and female, you were one of his female friends, right?" That stopped WaWa cold.
Former President George Bush once recalled that when he was a freshman Republican congressman from Texas in the 1960s, Lady Bird Johnson and the president welcomed him to Washington with kindness, despite their political differences.He said she exemplified "the grace and the elegance and the decency and sincerity that you would hope for in the White House."As first lady, she was perhaps best known as the determined environmentalist who wanted roadside billboards and junkyards replaced with trees and wildflowers. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to beautify Washington. The $320 million Highway Beautification Bill, passed in 1965, was known as "The Lady Bird Bill," and she made speeches and lobbied Congress to win its passage."Had it not been for her, I think that the whole subject of the environment might not have been introduced to the public stage in just the way it was and just the time it was. So she figures mightily, I think, in the history of the country if for no other reason than that alone," Harry Middleton, retired director of the LBJ Library and Museum, once said.Lady Bird Johnson once turned down a class valedictorian's medal because of her fear of public speaking, but she joined in every one of her husband's campaigns. She was soft-spoken but rarely lost her composure, despite heckling and grueling campaign schedules. She once appeared for 47 speeches in four days."How Lady Bird can do all the things she does without ever stubbing her toe, I'll just never know, because I sure stub mine sometimes," her husband once said.Lady Bird Johnson said her husband "bullied, shoved, pushed and loved me into being more outgoing, more of an achiever. I gave him comfort, tenderness and some judgment - at least I think I did."She had a cool head for business, turning a modest sum of money into a multimillion-dollar radio corporation in Austin that flourished under family ownership for more than a half-century. With a $17,500 inheritance from her mother, she purchased a small, faltering radio station in 1942 in Austin. The family business later expanded into television and banking."She was very hands on. She literally mopped the floor, and she sold radio time," daughter Luci Baines Johnson said of her mother's early days in business.When Johnson challenged Sen. John F. Kennedy unsuccessfully in 1960 for the Democratic presidential nomination, his wife was his chief supporter, although she confessed privately she would rather be home in Texas.His nomination as vice president on Kennedy's ticket drew her deep into a national campaign. She stumped through 11 Southern states, mostly alone, making speeches at whistle stops in her soft drawl. In his 1965 memoir, "Kennedy," JFK special counsel Theodore Sorensen recalled her "remarkable campaign talents" in the 1960 campaign.She was with her husband in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated, and was at his side as he took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One.In her book "A White House Diary," she recalled seeing Jacqueline Kennedy with her husband's blood still on her dress and leg. "Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights - that immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood," she wrote.Suddenly, the unpretentious woman from Texas found herself first lady of the United States, splitting time between the White House and the Johnson family's 13-room stone and frame house on the LBJ Ranch, near Johnson City west of Austin.Her White House years also were filled with the turbulence of the Vietnam War era.The first lady often would speak her fears and hopes into a tape recorder, and some of the transcripts were included in the 2001 book "Reaching for Glory, Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965," edited by historian Michael Beschloss."How much can they tear us down?" she wondered in 1965 as criticism of the Vietnam War worsened. "And what effect might it have on the way we appear in history?"She quoted her husband as saying: "I can't get out. And I can't finish it with what I have got. And I don't know what the hell to do."Lady Bird Johnson served as honorary chairwoman of the national Head Start program and held a series of luncheons spotlighting women of assorted careers and professions.Both daughters married while their father was president. Luci married Patrick Nugent, in 1966 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. That marriage ended in divorce and she wed Canadian banker Ian Turpin in 1984. Daughter Lynda Bird married Charles Robb, later governor and U.S. senator from Virginia, in a White House wedding in 1967.After she and her husband left Washington, Lady Bird Johnson worked on "A White House Diary," published in 1970. She also served a six-year term starting in 1971 as a University of Texas regent.She and her daughters remained active in her wildflower advocacy and with the LBJ Library in Austin after the former president's death in 1973. Into her 90s, Lady Bird Johnson made occasional public appearances at the library and at civic and political events, always getting a rousing reception.President Gerald Ford appointed her to the advisory council to the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, and President Jimmy Carter named her to the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. Her long list of honors and medals include the country's highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom, bestowed in 1977 by Ford. She was born Claudia Alta Taylor on Dec. 22, 1912, in the small East Texas town of Karnack. Her father was Thomas Jefferson Taylor, a wealthy rancher and merchant. Her mother was the former Minnie Lee Patillo of Alabama, who loved books and music.Lady Bird Johnson received her nickname in infancy from a caretaker nurse who said she was as "pretty as a lady bird." It was the name by which the world would come to know her. She disliked it, but said later, "I made my peace with it."When Lady Bird was 5, her mother died, and her aunt, Effie Patillo, came to care for her and two older brothers.She graduated from Marshall High School at age 15 and prepared for college at St. Mary's Episcopal School for Girls in Dallas. At the University of Texas in Austin she studied journalism and took enough education courses to qualify as a public school teacher. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1933 and a bachelor of journalism in 1934.A few weeks later, through a friend in Austin, she met Lyndon Johnson, then secretary to U.S. Rep. Richard Kleberg, a Democrat from Texas. The day after their first date, Lyndon Johnson proposed. They were married within two months, on Nov. 17, 1934, in San Antonio.Lyndon Johnson caught the eye of Congressman Sam Rayburn of Texas, who later became the U.S. House speaker. Rayburn persuaded President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to appoint Johnson director of the National Youth Administration for Texas.When Rep. James Buchanan, D-Texas, died two years later, Johnson ran for the House seat. His wife borrowed $10,000 from her father to finance the campaign, and Johnson won easily.Johnson lost a 1941 special election for the U.S. Senate, but narrowly won the seat in 1948, after he was declared the victor by just 87 votes in a Democratic primary runoff against former Gov. Coke Stevenson.In December 1972, the Johnsons gave the LBJ Ranch house and surrounding property to the United States as a National Historic Site, retaining a life estate for themselves. The property is to transfer to the federal park service after her death.The family's privately held broadcasting company - later overseen by Luci Baines Johnson - was sold in March 2003 to Emmis Communications of Indianapolis. Lady Bird Johnson had been a director of the radio company in her later years and even attended most board meetings before her 2002 stroke.On her 70th birthday, in 1982, she and Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center near Austin, later renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The research and education center is dedicated to the preservation and use of wildflowers and native plants. "I'm optimistic that the world of native plants will not only survive, but will thrive for environmental and economic reasons, and for reasons of the heart. Beauty in nature nourishes us and brings joy to the human spirit," Lady Bird Johnson wrote.In addition to her two daughters, survivors include seven grandchildren, a step-grandchild, and several great-grandchildren.


Did you see what our junior Senator did on the Senate floor? In order to make a point about a bill that would allow Iraq vets to serve the same time at home on leave as they did in Iraq, Casey dramtically read the names of the war dead from the Keystone State. This is the Bob Casey we all thought we'd get when he elected him. A man of conviction, caring and compassion who eloquently did more in defeat that the majority that cruelly prevailed. I have said it many times as I watched the troops come into Wilkes Barre for a brief two week visit only to head back after a short leave. Sending them back in harm's way was cruel and unusual punishment. Bravo Senator Casey.


A modern American marvel in the acting community, Charles Lane died at 102. Yes like many, I'm sure you thought he was dead already. He looked ancient on the Lucy shows and on "Petticoat Junction". In the latter role, he played the tight fisted railroad representative Homer Bedloe who's main task was to shutdown the Cannonball which was the main mode of transportation to and from Hooterville. Lane was the guy in the waiting room with Desi Arnez (Ricky Riccardo) when Lucy was in labor on national TV in the "I Love Lucy" episode where little Ricky came into the world. Prior to his TV shows, Lane was a regular in many Frank Capra movies including the classic "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington".

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The LuLac Edition #262, July 10th, 2007






I've told this story on the lecture circuit in the eighties. Now my lecture circuit was a bunch of sports banquets that Sunday Dispatch staff couldn't or wouldn't make. Writing a sports column for the paper at the time, I was the natural choice to give a talk. Like any speaker, I found that the best stories you told were true. Trouble was, I didn't have any real anecdotes in my arsenal until I had the opportunity to meet Willie Mays in Atlantic City in January of 1981. At that time, I was working on a book project on baseball that never got finished. But I was making the old college try. I accumulated interviews with some of the greats, Aaron, Rose, Mantle, Berra and a few others of note. Willie Mays was missing and on a lark, I wrote to the hotel in Atlantic City where he was a greeter. At that time, Willie was working at Bally's Park Place and Mickey Mantle was across the street at The Claridge. Much to my surprise, I got a response from the Hotel's Director of Promotions, Marie Lynch, telling me I'd have an interview with Willie Mays on Saturday afternoon January 24th at 3pm. That was the easy part, then I realized I had to get to Atlantic City to see the "Say Hey" kid. I told a good friend of mine, Frank Martin from Scranton that I had this chore to do for my column. Frank, always enthusiastic about baseball volunteered to go with me. The most loyal and devoted Mickey Mantle and New York Yankee fan of all, Frank nonetheless wanted to meet Willie. At the time, gambling was first taking hold in Atlantic City. Martz Trailways had buses daily going to A.C. and I found that this would be the most ecomincal way to go. We left out of Wilkes Barre, got $15.00 in quarters and a ticket to a buffet dinner at the hotel. Arriving at 10:45AM, I checked in with the promotions desk and was told Marie Lynch wanted to see me. Upon seeing me with my tape recorder, note pad and microphoine, Ms. Lynch looked terrified. "I am so sorry to tell you that Willie won't be able to make that 3pm interview today. Something has come up in the casino, I apologize. Can we offer you an alternate plan, Willie hasn't eaten breakfast, would you like to eat with him this morning?" she asked. I was stunned. Breakfast with Willie Mays! Even for a hard bitten Indians fan like me, I was trembling. Me, David Yonki from Pittston, Junction having breakfast with a boyhood hero I had seen on black and white TV. A hero that I looked away from in 1973 when he stumbled in the outfield for the New York Mets! "Of course we'd love to have brekfast with Willie Mays!" we both said simultaneously. We were escorted to the dining room and in a few miniutes Willie Mays appeared wearing a gold sportscoat, dark pants and white Bally's golf shirt. Willie and Frank ordered the sausage, eggs and biscuits. I had a job to do and ordered an orange juice. No food, no Coke, I wasn't going to be belching in front of the "Say Hey" kid. We talked about the players of the day, his days in San Francisco (had an adjustment problem at first but then grew to adopt San Fran as his hometown) and New York, (still missed his old haunts near the Polo Grounds) his toughest pitcher to face(Bob Purkey of all people of the Reds and Pirates) and the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants. (played every game like it was the seventh game of te World Series, because of the New York connection). After a while, Willie wanted to know about us. When we told him we were from a paper in Pennsylvania, he was impressed we journeyed to see him. Asking how we got there, I was fully prepared to tell him the limo brought us down and that we'd be going back in style. Frank beat me to the punch interjecting, "Oh Willie, did we get a deal, we came down on a gambling bus, had to sit near the john but it wasn't too bad. Got $15 dollars in quarters and a free ticket for a buffet (he pronounced it boo-fay) meal at the joint here tonight!" Willie immediately eyed us suspiciously. There was dead silence until Frank again unwittingly saved the day. Chomping on the eggs, Frank looked at Willie and said, "These eggs are pretty good Willie, haynna?" Willie Mays, known for his trademark high pitched voiced blurted out, "Say what?" Frank repeated that he thought the eggs were pretty good but Willie wanted to know about "haynna" I now had to defend the honor of Northeastern Pennsylvania's language and explained to Willie that "haynna" was a colloquialism indigenous to the region and even exagerrated that it came over with the Pilgrims in the 1600s. I told him it was a form of agreement, like, "don't you believe?" or "don't you concur?". Willie nodded thoughtfully and repeated the word a few times. We then finished up, Willie offered to pose for a few pictures which I stupidly refused (because I had this illusion I was Dick Young!) and signed two balls for me and my sidekick. We walked to the elevators at Bally's and looked at Willie as he got on one of them. He waved to us and as the door closed, we noticed to Willie's right was a harried looking chambermaid in a black and white uniform with her towell cart. We then heard Willie say to the woman, "Hey, nice day out there today for January, haynna?" As we spent our quarters, ate our meal and went home on the bus that night, I thought that for at least a brief time, Willie Mays, Hall of Fame baseball icon is using the word "haynna" in Atlantic City, and thinking it was the King's English. And tonight, as Willie Mays was honored in San Francisco at the All Star game, I couldn't help but crack a smile and thank providence for my encounter, (Martz bus, quarters and buffet meal notwithstanding,) with the "Say Hey" kid, Willie Mays.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The LuLac Edition #261, July 9th, 2007



It was the summer of '77, a crazed mailman named David Berkowitz was gunning down couples in parked cars saying his dog told him to do it, a huge electrical blackout crippled the city on a sultry afternoon, Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin came to blows in the Yankee dugout on national TV stopped only by coach and former All Star Elston Howard and in politics, there was a virtual free for all in the Mayor's race. Abraham Beame, the one term embattled Chief Executive of the city was trying to beat down six charismatic challengers trying to take his place. Tonight, on ESPN, a new original series will document that searing summer. The series will run eight weeks. For all of you history buffs out there, here is a review of that Mayor's race 30 years ago this summer courtesy of the New York Daily News. This is how the race stood on this day, exactly three decades ago.

Candidate Profiles
The Candidates: See How They Run … And How They Measure Up

Six men and one woman are applying in the Democratic primary for the job of mayor of New York City. It pays $60,000 annually, includes a car and a driver and a lease on a white frame mansion with an East River view. News reporters Beth Fallon and Robert Carroll compiled sample job applications for the seven candidates. It’s up to you to decide next week which one gets the option on a four-year contract.

BORN: July 24, 1920, the Bronx
EDUCATION: Bronx public schools; Walton High; Hunter College; Columbia University Law School
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Practiced law for 25 years. Specialties: labor, housing, civil rights; served three terms U.S. House of Representatives, 1970-76, Manhattan’s 20th and 21st CD’s; member, House Public Works Committee; by her estimate, influenced $6 billion in works funds for water pollution, mass transit and other programs to state; chaired House subcommittee on government information and individual rights; helped author Freedom of Information Sunshine Acts; early supporter, Equal Rights Amendment, Nixon impeachment; early opponent Vietnam war.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Cops and firemen have right to strike; city should try “to re-negotiate overly expensive pension systems”; overhaul of city’s middle management required; worker productivity would respond to “leadership from City Hall.” On crime: Rehire 1,700 laid off cops; put 1,500 additional administrative cops street; go after repeat offenders in arrests, in courts; increase special police squads; end confidential records for violent juveniles. On taxes: Collect $770 million in back taxes owed city; eliminate business occupancy tax, starting with 20% reduction; remove sales tax on new business equipment. On economic development: Replace Economic Development Administration with NYC Economic Development Corp., to float revenue bonds for capital development and assist existing and new businesses; increase film and TV production; develop South Bronx as manufacturing center for solar energy equipment; create 10 sanitation plants to recycle garbage for energy production and sale of recycled raw materials. On education: Restoration of free tuition at CUNY is “a goal”; wants Legislature to fund CUNY students on parity basis with State University students. On capital punishment: opposed.
PRIORITIES: Organizing a national coalition of mayors and governors “to demand a national urban policy including a Federal Urban Development Bank, improvement of public transit, and federal takeover of welfare costs.”
REFERENCES: District Council 1199, 10,000 hospital workers; Marine Engineers Benevolent Assn; Shirley MacLaine; Marlo Thomas.

BORN: Aug. 21, 1929 in Puerto Rico
EDUCATION: Graduated from City College 1951; received law degree from Brooklyn Law School 1954; received certified public accountant license 1956
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Serving fourth term in U.S. House of Representatives. Member House Committee on Banking , Currency and Urban Affairs, House Committee on Small Business and Select Committee on Narcotics. Bronx Borough president 1966-69. Deputy commissioner of city Department of Real Estate 1962. Formerly practiced law and accounting.
POSITIONS - On crime: Recommends abolishing parole as “the one real way of keeping criminals off the streets.” Would create a task force to curb arson and would improve jail living conditions, get more cops on the street, enlarge the auxiliary police and establish minimum sentences for crimes. On taxes: Urges phasing out the city income tax, the unincorporated business tax, the occupancy tax and the corporation tax. On education: Favors free tuition at City University. Favors parity in state funding of City University and State University, while “continuing City University as a distinct educational entity.” On capital punishment: Favors the death penalty. On health: Urges abolishing Health and Hospital Corporation and replacing it with a hospital commission answerable to the mayor. On neighborhoods: Would give community planning boards broader power, including the right of each board to determine how it will spend 10% of its budget. Would allow for the election of 20% of the membership of each board. Would curtain the “obstructionist” Office of Service Coordination and transfer most of its budget to the Department of the Aging.
PRIORITIES: Believes the central problem of the city is poverty and its first priority should be housing. Urges a governmental coalition of the poor and the middle class, “based on the proposition that programs can be developed that will help the poor move into the middle class and, through that, provide a sound economic base for the city of the future.”
REFERENCES: WCBS-Radio, the West Brooklyn Independent Democrats, several Hispanic labor organizations, actress Chita Rivera, actor Raul Julia.

BORN: March 20, 1906, London, England
RESIDENCE: Gracie Mansion; formerly lower East Side; Carroll St., Brooklyn; Belle Harbor, Queens
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Certified public accountant; teacher, Rutgers University; partner, Beame & Greidinger, CPAs; district captain, Madison Democratic Club; Budget Director under Impelliteri, Wagner; elected controller, 1961; defeated at Democratic candidate for mayor, 1965; investment counselor; re-won controllership, 1969; elected city’s 104’s mayor, 1973.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Says any cost-of-living increases must be reflected in greater productivity; says renegotiation of vested pension rights impossible, but favors “review” of non-vested rights; favors residency law for new city employees only. On crime: Wants special legislative session to enact mandatory minimum sentences for violent crime; elimination of parole in felony cases; “total revision” of present juvenile justice system, with more stringent penalties for violent youth. On taxes: reduced real estate tax 4.5c per $100 assessed valuation; pledged “cap” for five years on current rate; reduced commercial occupancy tax 10%; wants elimination of excise tax on manufacturing machinery. On economic development: creating Business Marketing Corp., for city to absorb EDA functions, offer “one-stop” help for business; favors Westway, Convention Center; On education: Abandoned plan to abolish Board of Education; now wants appointed, policy-making board of lay persons headed by chairman/chancellor serving at mayor’s pleasure; wants more state money for CUNY; says free tuition “unaffordable at this time.” On capital punishment: Favors, for killers of police, correction officers; terrorists; hired assassins.
PRIORITIES: “Crime is our toughest problem. It is not enough to catch criminals. We must also remove them from our streets and stop the revolving door of criminal justice.”
REFERENCES: Central Labor Council; ILGWU; UFT; TWU; John DeLury, Bert Powers, Stanley Steingut, Donald Manes.

BORN: June 15, 1932 in Queens
EDUCATION: Graduated from St. John’s University 1953; received law degree from St. John’s Law School 1956
Professional Experience: Served as New York secretary of state. Ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1974. Also in 1974 served as a fact-finder in nursing home controversy at the request of Gov.-elect Carey. In 1973, negotiated Forest Hills, Queens, low-income housing dispute at request of then-Mayor Lindsay. Former partner in law firm of Corner, Finn, Cuomo & Charles. Former professor of law at St. John’s University.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Wants all future city employees to live in the city. Favors ban on strikes by cops and firemen. Would allow the city and unions to reach only “tentative agreements,” until the mayor made the proposed labor contracts public, gauged public opinion and then made a decision. On crime: Would put 2,000 more cops on the street “without increasing the size of the force.” Would seek mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes, streamline the judicial procedure and improve living conditions in the jails. Urges appointment of a special investigator “to root out corruption at all levels of city government.” The investigator would be named by the mayor but with the advice and consent of the City Council and the Board of Estimate. On taxes: Urges reduction of taxes on business. On capital punishment: Opposes the death penalty. On neighborhoods: Would abolish the mayor’s Office of Service Coordination and distribute its $5 million in funds to neighborhood preservation organizations “with successful track records” who submit satisfactory plans to their community planning boards. Would right red-lining by establishing a “neighborhood reinvestment task force” of bankers and community groups “to make banks re-examine their present lending practices” and to establish mortgage pools for areas and are risky investments.
PRIORITIES: “We must institute the rule of law and the expectation of order—on our streets, in our schools, shops and subways, in our lives.”
REFERENCES: The Liberal Party, the Times, the Village Voice, Gov. Carey, Robert F. Wagner Sr., 26 labor organizations.

BORN: Dec. 3, 1925, Brooklyn
RESIDENCE: Sutton Place
EDUCATION: Abraham Lincoln High School, Brooklyn; University of Virginia; graduate studies, New School for Social Research
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Former vice president, Look Magazine; founder 1969, Media Horizons, Inc., publishers of trade magazine; former president, City Club of New York.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Favors introduction of competition through contracting out of work to private sanitation services, highway repair firms, etc.; negotiations with unions based on city’s ability to pay as indicated through tax base and unemployment rate then current; wants citizen participation in collective bargaining, with publication of union demands, city offers, cost and benefits to citizens. On Crime: Wants repeat youthful offenders “organized into some form of Youth Corps,” with a work discipline; “complete re-evaluation of money going to police, courts, corrections, saying “we are starving the courts and prisons”; expansion of auxiliary police; adult penalties for juvenile felons; retention of state Special Prosecutor’s office. On taxes: wants $500 million annual cut, including phase-out of commercial occupancy and reduction in business income, sales and personal income taxes. On economic development: “We need to attack power costs, develop alternatives to Con Ed, convert garbage to fuel”; favors development for South Bronx for industry; more money to EDA (“$7 million is peanuts”); development of city’s “information industry.” On education: favors voucher system so parents may chose private schools “and force competition on public system”; accountability for financial and learning performance for principals and teachers; favors free tuition at CUNY; admissions based on capacity or “modified open admission based on a clear chance of success” in college. On capital punishment: Favors, “for any kind of wanton, or premeditated, killing.”
PRIORITIES: “Crime, job development, cutting city costs. You can’t pick one, think arithmetically. You have to think algebraically.”
REFERENCES: Don Pippin of “Chorus Line;” Phil Newman, business.

BORN: Dec. 12, 1924 in the Bronx
RESIDENCE: Greenwich Village
EDUCATION: Attended City College, received law degree from New York University 1948
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Serving fifth term in U.S. House of Representatives, Member of House Appropriations Committee, secretary of bipartisan New York congressional delegation, one of four congressional observers on Emergency Financial Control Board, one of two House members of Federal Privacy Study Commission. City Councilman 1966-68. District leader of Village Independent Democratic Club 1963-65. Formerly practiced law with firm of Koch, Lankenau, Schwartz & Kovner.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Favors disciplinary action against police and firemen who strike. Urges “strength” by the city at the bargaining table. On crime: Expand the auxiliary police force tenfold. Get more police on the street by switching cops from desk jobs. On taxes: Urges reduction of the occupancy tax and use of tax abatements and credits to create new jobs. On economic development: Favors more city services for small business, including creation of a city-state loan guarantee pool. On education: Recommends “standards of performance” for teachers, administrators and students. Urges abolition of the Board of Education with its powers transferred to the mayor. On capital punishment: Favors the death penalty. On health: Urges appointment of a deputy mayor for health to coordinate all health services. Urges elimination of 5,000 “excess” hospital beds and suspension of new hospital construction.
PRIORITIES: “The fundamental issue…is economic recovery and development. The question then becomes who can and will lead us in these efforts, because only when we are in the process of recovery and are in vigorous pursuit of development can we fully address all of our remaining problems.”
REFERENCES: The News, the Post, Citizens Union, Bess Myerson.

BORN: Nov. 24, 1920, San Antonio, Texas
EDUCATION: San Antonio public schools; Hampton Institute, Virginia; law degree, Brooklyn Law School
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Captain, combat intelligence officer, trial judge advocate, U.S. Air Force. Member, State Assembly, 1965-66; author, Wilson-Sutton divorce reform law. Appointed borough president of Manhattan by City Council, 1966; elected that November; re-elected 1969, 1973.
POSITIONS - On municipal unions: Sans an intelligent mayor would use the leverage of public opinion to avoid confrontation, attain agreements. Supports some work rule review and change. On crime: “Crime is the number one concern of almost everyone.” Wants 60,000 to 100,000 auxiliary police; additional funding of district attorney’s offices; stiffer penalties for crimes against elderly. On taxes and economic development: Advocates turnover of landlord-abandoned buildings to tenant co-operatives. Wants state-administered pool of money from banks, insurance firms, others to combat redlining, back mortgages. Wants new city department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation. Supports “carefully controlled” legalized casino gambling. Wants conversion of empty commercial space to budget-priced hotels, increased tourist-assistance programs. On education: Wants mayoral control of Board of Education and Board of Higher Education through budgetary control. Favors free tuition at CUNY but says, “first you have to find the money.” Wants end to enrollment cuts, since “educated workers attract business and pay taxes.” On capital punishment: Opposed. “I favor removal of those convicted of ‘capital’ crimes for their natural life span, so they are ‘dead’ to society.”
PRIORITIES: “Crime in our city is at epidemic proportions and we cannot afford to wait for all the social reforms needed to remove (its) root causes. Every criminal must know that he or she can expect swift and certain punishment with justice.”
REFERENCES: The Amsterdam News, The New York Voice; Ellen Sulzberger Straus, Nicholas Katzenbach, Rep. Charles Rangel; Local 144, Hotel, Hospital, Nursing Home and Allied Health Services Union; N.Y. Ministerial Alliance, AME church; Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity.
(Originally published Monday, August 29, 1977)
© Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The LuLac Edition #260, JUly 7th, 2007



You can call it what you will, an over the top glory hogging event for an issue that many people don't think is real or a worthy cause for an issue that needs to be addressed if the earth as we know it and use it is to survive. But the concert put on by Al Gore's organization, partnering with others went off worldwide without a hitch. Now I wasn't glued to the set all day but the music was good, the staging was edgy, Madonna still looked hot and Sting still had the goods. If it takes a worldwide rock concert to bring the issue of global warming to the forefront, then so be it. I'm sure the right wingers on national talk radio will have a field day with this during the week but let me say this to them: at least Al is doing something about an issue he has articulated and cared for through the years. Name one Republican who has carved out an issue where he has had to take a stand and put himself out there for meaningful change.


All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson is shilling for a company whose co-founder was accused of secretly tapping into people's bank accounts. The ex-"Law & Order" actor is airing a one-minute radio spot around the country for LifeLock, an identity-protection company co-founded byRobert Maynard. "It's part of his contract at ABC Radio Networks. Like the other on-air talent, (boy is that an oxymoran is some cases) they are contractually obligated to do some commercials," said Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo. As first reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Federal Trade Commission alleged in 1996 that Maynard got account numbers from consumers bypeddling himself as a credit-repair expert who would clean up their credit reports. Maynard settled the case without admitting to the charge, though he did agree to get out of the credit-fixing business. ABC Radio Networks and Thompson's spokesman said LifeLock is a legitimate company and he will continue to promote it. Maynard resigned last month as LifeLock's marketing director when his past was revealed,but he remains a consultant and shareholder. "The company seems to be fine. It's currently giving away its services to soldiers and vets," said Corallo. ABC Radio Networks added: "Identity theft is a real issue which LifeLock addresses - and we have every expectation that we will continue our relationship with them." If Thompson jumps into the presidential contest, however, his radio days are over. "If he enters the race, obviously he will have to leave that all behind," Corallo said. Democrats jumped all over Thompson when they learned about the commercial. "He's lobbying for the powerful special interests ... serving as the pitchman for a company whose owner is accused of fraud," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "It's pretty clear that Fred Thompson stands for what's best for him and his special interest friends, not the American people," she added. So far, the LifeLock ad is the only spot Thompson has done for ABC RadioNetworks. The former Tennessee senator does "The Fred Thompson Report"and is a stand-in for Paul Harvey.
If Thompson does run, he will be impacting the lives of many actors and actresses in New York City. Thompson's more than 100 episodes cannot be shown on TV if he is a declared candidate. Actors who had bit parts in the popular series and its spin offs usually get a residual check when their episode ends whether it be on the network or cable. That will end if Thompson runs. The joke in the acting community in New York is that you are unique if you were not in a Law & Order episode.


Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, reviving a rite that was all but swept away by the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.The decision, a victory for traditional, conservative Roman Catholics, came over the objections of liberal-minded Catholics and angered Jews because the Tridentine Mass contains a prayer for their conversion. Benedict, who stressed that he was not negating Vatican II, issued a document authorizing parish priests to celebrate the Tridentine rite if a "stable group of faithful" requests it. Currently, the local bishop must approve such requests - an obstacle that supporters of the rite say has greatly limited its availability. Now if he'd bring back the black vestments, we'd be in business.


It appears that the first regional police force might be between Sugar Notch and Warrior Run Boroughs. For years the two communities have had a sharing agreement as far as writing tickets but because of a manpower shortage, both Mayors went along with the two forces working as one. It will be interesting to see how far their cooperation extends if the two towns want to merge. Wait, this is Luzerne County, the land of 77 municipalities.