The LuLac Edition #381, Dec. 27th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: JUDGE ANNE LOKUTA AND HAZLETON MAYOR LOU BARLETTA.
LOU IN IOWA
Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton is making his mark across the United States spreading his message about illegal immigration. The Mayor is doing a fundraising tour to retire his legal bills and hitting every conservative radio station in the Bible belt. In the meantime, The founder of a Hazleton-based anti-illegal immigration group left for Iowa on Wednesday to join other activists to discredit GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee before the Iowa caucus. "We're going to expose to Iowa voters that Mike Huckabee, who is currently leading in the Iowa polls, is ... a fraud, and his record speaks volumes. He does not care about immigration reform, and basically, we need to go out there and get the word out," Dan Smeriglio, president and founder of Voice of the People USA, said Wednesday at a press conference at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Freeland. Smeriglio will join William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee, and Peter Gadiel, of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, to "warn Republican voters" in Iowa about Huckabee's "touchback amnesty plan" in anticipation of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus. Locally Frank Scavo, an Old Forge Area School Board member who should know better, called Steve Corbett up on WILK and raised his glass in favor of the Iowa invaders. Oh my, my, how they gonna keep down on the farm in Iowa after they meet those sharpiues from Freeland, Pennsylvania!!!!!!
The rebuilding process has begun for the Democratic majority of Commissioners at the County Courthouse. The Juvie Detention Center is the start of it. While maintaining that leasing the PA Child Care juvenile detention center is the best option, the county on Wednesday told the state Department of Public Welfare it will terminate the contract rather than risk losing millions of dollars in state funding. In a letter to DPW, Frank Castano, director of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services, warned the action would be detrimental to the county- both financially and in terms of treating delinquent youth. But, after three months of discussions, Castano said county officials feel they have no choice since DPW has "made it clear" the county could lose "several million dollars" in funding if the state agency's department'sconcerns about the lease are not resolved.
Majority Commissioner Greg Skrepenak and former Commissioner Todd Vonderheid agreed in 2004 to a 20-year, $58 million lease of the Pittston Township facility. Jettisoning this deal will politically help Skrepenak and new mate Petrilla start fresh without the baggage of a sweetheart deal that was alleged in this matter. Smart financially, smart politically.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS UP FRONT
One week before the Iowa caucuses, the assassination of former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto pushed terrorism to the forefront in voters' minds and highlighted the candidacies of presidential hopefuls with long records on national security. Bhutto's assassination on Thursday rippled through the presidential race as candidates scrambled to respond and adjusted campaign plans on a day overshadowed by the terrorist attack in Rawalpindi. The deadly incident at an election rally in Pakistan could help presidential candidates such as Republican Rudy Giuliani, who was in charge of New York City when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and Vietnam War veteran John McCain, a longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. If there are any winners in this terrible tragedy, Hillary Clinton and John McCain's comments seem to have highlighted their experience in foreign affairs while Giuliani's comparison to 911 was a real stretch.
DEFENDING THE JUDGE
Michelle Boice, a long time political power in Harvey's Lake and a very able public servant recently came to the defense of Judge Anne Lokuta in a letter to the editor. Here's her take on things:
Michelle T. Boice