The LuLac Edition #309, Sept. 21, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: LINDA STETS, CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR, CITY OF WILKES BARRE, STATE SENATOR JEFF PICCOLA AND GOVERNOR RENDELL TAKING IN A PIRATES GAME THIS SUMMER WITH A LOBBYIST.
A few weeks ago Linda Stets wanted to know if she was being covered on my blog. So I dutifully sent her an e mail regarding some of the events that I publicized on the site for her campaign. It appears that after yesterday's council meeting, Stets doesn't need my help in getting her name out there. The Wilkes-Barre Republican mayoral candidate was escorted from council chambers Thursday after she leveled accusations at Mayor Tom Leighton, her political opponent.
LOMBARDO TO RENDELL
Well, the good old boy network is alive and well in the Valley. Former Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo who was recently with the Chamber landed on his feet working as Governor Rendell's point man in the area. Lombardo, former Mayor of Pittston needed a new job because the Chamber was having budget problems. His salary of over $100,000 was needed for other things, like staying afloat. So when an opening came up in Rendell's office, it was only natural that Lombardo received the job. This hiring accomplshes three things:
EDDIE AND THE ANCHOR
The hot story going around the Capitol is my man Ed's relationship with a Pittsburgh anchor woman turned lobbyist. John Baer reported in thePhilly Daily News Monday that the woman in question, FOE, a friend of Ed did not properly register as a lobbyist. The relationship as well the lobbying effort is being investigated by long time GOP state senator Jeff Piccola. Piccola, who sought and then abandoned a bid for the GOP nomination to oppose Rendell last year, is investigating lobbying by a major film company, Lionsgate, and a friend of Ed's, Leslie Merrill McCombs,and a $75 million tax credit for film and TV companies working in the state. The credit was part of a negotiated state budget settlement in July, one of those behind the scenes things buried in the middle of the night. The problem is that the company and its rep apparently violated a new lobbying law by failing to properly register as lobbyists with state officials. That's what Piccola says he's looking at. He's hiring a private eye and wants one or two Senate hearings. He chairs the Senate State Government Committee, which has lobbying oversight. McCombs is a former anchor for WPGH-TV, Pittsburgh. Campaign-finance records show she gave Rendell $4,000 for his re-election last year. Given Ed's teflon reputation, this will lead nowhere but like all gossip, this will be fun to talk about. Look for the good State Senator to start his probe soon.
THE HOGS ARE BACK
A group of State lawmakers including our hometown boy Bob Melloow recently came back from a junket to Taiwan. Billed as a trade mission,the trip was paid for by special interests. Is trade with China really a top priority of the constitents in the state? MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, I don't think so. But what the heck, at least they didn't charge us a per diem for the trip, or did they????
The recent revelations that Greg Skrepenak might move into the 11th Congressional District has caused all type of denials from the Commissioner as well as courthouse insiders. But word of this came fromTerry Best, Pittston Area School Director. Best was the one who basically transmitted what other people were saying. He had no axe to grind, and was just telling people what he heard. In all my years of dealing with him, I have found that you take what he says at face value. He is a man of true integrity and is a valuable public servant. So despite the hue and cry his remarks have engendered, I have to tell you that when a guy like Terry talks, I'll listen. Or, as far as the comments made go, "where there's smoke, there's fire".