Sunday, December 30, 2007

The LuLac Edition #383, Dec. 30th, 2007




PHOTO INDEX: HAPPY NEW YEAR BUBBLES!

HAPPY NEW YEAR


As the old year comes to an end, a new one beckons us. 2008, what an exciting time to be part of society and the political process. As we move ahead in this new year, let us pray for good health, intelligent debate, great passion for our opinions and an open heart and mind to expand our horizons. We're taking New Year's Eve and maybe part of New Year's Day to enjoy the company of family and friends but with God's help, we'll be here throughout the New Year reporting on issues great and small concerning LuLac land and beyond.


JAMAICA ED!!

Rest easy citizens of Pennsylvania, Governor Ed is vacationing in Jamaica but had the time to watch today's Eagles game and even call Comcast to give his opinions on the 8-8 2007 Eagles. So if he can call Comcast, that means he can get in touch with his Ltn. Governor (assuming she can hear the phone ringing after the 12th time) and get the scoop should there be an emergency here in the Commonwealth.

TRANSITIONS


From You Tube, those who have passed this way in 2007.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veqffUN1--0

The LuLac Edition #382, Dec. 30th, 2007





PHOTO INDEX: LACKAWANNA COUNTY CONTROLLER JOHN MELLOW AND SCRANTON MAYOR CHRIS DOHERTY.


NOT SO MELLOW!!!!


Lackawanna County Controller John Mellow says he isn't going anywhere come the day he has to relinquish his office. His reasoning is that he feels his successor, Ken McDowell is not qualified for the post. Well, if we are to follow that logic, then perhaps the late President Gerald Ford should have barricaded the White House preventing Jimmy Carter from taking the oath or surely, Bill Clinton might have prevented the ascension of "W" or "43" to the top job. But the outgoing member of government, whether he or she be President or Lackawanna County Controller does not have that luxury. McDowell won that election, fair and square, Mellow, who even launched a write in campaign failed to get re-elected. That sense of arrogance and entitlement besmirches the 30 year career of Mellow which started in the borough of Dickson City. The crux of the issue is this: McDowell collects taxes for Lackawanna County, the City of Scranton and the Scranton School District in an entity known as the Single Tax Office. Specifically, the county administrative code says that “no person holding any other public office” is eligible to hold the office of county controller until being out of office for a year. However, when Scranton political activists Joseph and Joanne Pilchesky unsuccessfully attempted to remove McDowell from the general election ballot in August, Judges Carmen Minora and Tom Munley ruled the administrative code did not apply because McDowell is a city-paid public official, not a county officer. In addition to locking McDowell out of the controller’s office and taking him to court, Mellow has been less than cooperative with McDowell’s transition team.Mellow offered McDowell’s attorney two times — 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve or 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve — to visit with Mellow. This is nothing more than a loophole that Mellow is using to deny the voice of the people. Something similar happened in Luzerne County in 1973. Incumbent Controller Steve Yanoshak was defeated by challenger Jseph Tirpak. Because Tirpak worked in the County Budget office prior to winning, he was denied office by the courts. Yanoshak held office until 1975 when he was elected minority county commissioner. Tirpak then assumed the office in 1975 and stayed there until he died. There were legalities and fights but nothing like the bitterness Mellow seems to be exhibiting toward McDowell and the people of Lackawanna County. When Bob Cordaro had one of his first meetings as commissioner, Mellow's behavior riled him so much he shoved the Controller in a fit of rage. Many criticized Cordaro at the time but now with these antics, there are some who are saying the outgoing Majority commissioner should have clocked Mellow when he had the chance. Many McDowell supporters would love the opportunity but are most likely restraining themselves, lest there be more whining.


HOLIDAY LIGHTS


Thanks to our friends Mr. and Mrs. Pete Cassidy, we saw first hand the lights on a rainy Friday night at Nay Aug Park. The displays were creative and colorful, filled us with the holiday spirit and made for an enjoyable evening. KUdos to Mayor Chris Doherty and his able staff for making the effort to put together unforgettable displays. The areas of the park too were litter free which, for us being Luzerne County residents, was a big deal.


SWIDERSKI'S PROBLEM


My friend Gort tells us Paul Swiderski, announced candidate for Congress has revealed the news that he filed for bankruptcy. How this will impact his campaign is guesswork at this point. But you have to give the guy credit for coming forward and being honest with the voters. And you know, if I were in charge, I'd make it possible for every American who had over $25,000 in credit card debt to file bankruptcy. I'm talking a national bankruptcy day where everybody in the country filed. Everybody! Then let's see how Bank of America, Citi card and all the other bloodsuckers like it when everyone defaults on their payments. I bet you when there is a restructuring you won't see banks raising rates from 4% to 22%, charging $40.00 late payments or making predatory loans to poor saps who can't pay it back. The Bush backed Congress let the credit card companies screw the American consumer and I would love nothing more for the affected customers to bite back and crush the greedy banking bastards who give the word "Shylock" or "gangster" a bad name!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

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!!!!!!


REBUILDING


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:
In regard to Judge Ann Lokuta, the only crime that I see is the burden on the backs of the taxpayers via the costs of a senseless investigation and trial. God forbid they find her guilty, because this will open the door to many more investigations into judges who demand quiet and respect in their courtrooms, or who lose their patience, or who have a court employee run a personal errand. Oh, or who are occasionally a little late for court. I am convinced this whole thing was nothing short of a witch hunt. Judge Lokuta broke no laws and committed no crime. Throughout my life, I have been in many courtrooms, including Judge Lokuta's. I've seen judges lose their patience, raise their voices and command the required behavior from attorneys, sheriffs, defendants, jury members or whoever was out of line. I've also been present when the judge was late, and nobody ever questioned the judge. On the contrary, when the judge entered the courtroom, all rose and showed due respect. It appeared to me from the beginning that when a young, vibrant and intelligent woman won a judicial seat in Luzerne County against all odds, and with no county endorsement, forces set out to destroy her. Most people would not have been able to endure the things that Judge Lokuta was put through. Shame on all those who took part in this sinful witch hunt; you should all pray for forgiveness and that nothing like this ever happens to your daughters or sisters. Shame, too, on all those who sit by quietly and allow something like this to happen.
Michelle T. Boice
Harveys Lake

The LuLac Edition #380, Dec. 27th, 2007









PHOTO INDEX: MY GOOD CHILDHOOD FRIEND DAVID DELLARTE AND THIS BLOG EDITOR, THE LAST CHRISTMAS DAY COMMUNICANTS AT ST. JOHN'S AND THE CHURCH BUILDING KNOWN AS ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH.


THE LAST CHRISTMAS


I got there early, I thought it was going to be overcrowded with people from the past. Arriving at 8:45AM, I parked out in front of my boyhood parish, St. John the Baptist Slovak Church on William Street in Pittston. When the Diocese said they were closing the church in June, I knew I had to be there for the last Christmas service. Never really religious or pious, that church was still a huge part of my being, my life. My parents would take me there as a young boy. We'd sit in the third row so I could pay attention. We always got a ride from a Duryea insurance man, Gussie Massacara, his wife Anne and son Michael. Gussie always drove a huge polished car and never was without his rosary. Later I learned he was a POW in WWII but as a young boy, I only knew him as that jovial man who prayed intently every Sunday in the pew. I was taken by the ceremony of the Latin Mass, intrigued by the colors of the vestments, the movements of the priests saying the Mass. Father Super was my favorite because he had a flair adjusting his vestments, and the cover of the chalice. I had even thought about being a priest, prevailing on my sainted sister Sandee to make me a few sets of vestments. I played priest in my house. My parents were convinced I had the calling, I even thought I did but then along came fourth grade, girls and major leaguer baseball. The vestments, so carefully crafted by my sister now became dust rags.
In grade school, I attended Mass every single blasted, er blessed morning. Boys on the right side, girls on the left. I'd see my Aunt Sue (my mother's sister, a homemaker who walked over every morning from Warren Street in West Pittston) for that morning Mass. The Mass was the start of our day. In 1962 I recieved my first Holy Communion there. It was the only year that it was decreed by someone that all the boys must wear white suits with white bucks. What a nightmare for our mothers who scrambled to find those clothes in the early 60s. (I mean we were a bunch of John Travoltas even before there was a Travolta with those silly white suits.) It was a chilly morning and after recieving our first communion all of us went to Angelo Bufalino's photo studio for our group and individual photos. His studio was chilly so someone on his staff went out and got a few dozen cups of hot chocolate for us. One of the mothers gasped, "hot chocolate with a white suit? Oh no not that!"
During Lent we went to the Stations of the Cross Wednesday and Fridays. When my confirmation came, I had the good fortune to be confirmed with my cousin Paula and older class members. We were all terrified of the Bishop, Jerome Hannan because legend said he loved to trip the kids up on the questions he might ask. I think that was the nun's way of getting us to study because he was nothing more than kind and filled with humor. He would pass away a year later.
As a young boy, I went to three funerals of our priests. On Sept. 9th, 1961 while we watched the West Pittston Fireman's parade, we got the news that Father John Bednarcik died of a heart attack. On Christmas Day, 1964, his successor, Father Michael Krupar died of cancer on a warm, rainy night where the temperature never dropped below 55 degrees that evening. Then in April of 1965, Father Andrew Jurica, one of the first parish heads died at a very old age. Many people my age have never attended a funeral of a priest, by the time I was 11, I had been to three seeing first hand the solemnity and pomp of the ceremony. Death was a companion we knew, one Memorial Day weekend in 1965, 4 parish members died and our pastor talked about the fragility of life.
The first girl I ever had a real crush on would purposely enter enemy territory when returning from Communion during those morning Masses taking the long route around to slap me in the arm or the side of the head as I sat on the "boy's side". We were both sanctioned but we didn't care, we were kids. In 1968, my eighth grade class graduated from that school in that church. The boys now had blue suits on, the girls in white. That graduation Mass sent us on our way to adulthood. But leaving that church, we knew we had accomplished something for ourselves and our parents. We had become a generation that recieved a Catholic education because our parents made the sacrifices. Even at that young age, it was not lost on us.
In high school and college, I'd attend that church sparingly because of school and work commitments. There were few weddings to attend but many, many funerals. My late cousin, Francis Zujkowski, a frequent pallbearer for many of our relatives said the steps at the Baptist were the second toughest to navigate a coffin through. The toughest was St. Rocco's in Pittston. At my father's funeral on January 9th, 1980, a priest named Richard Tershak gave a euology our family never forgot. Six weeks later, my grandfather was buried from there too.
After I married, I'd attend church there once in a while to no emotional effect. It wasn't until later in 2005 when I worked for a company of heathens that I had to adjust my schedule for Mass. I wound up at the Saturday night mass at the old Slovak Church. An ailing Father Strish said Mass and that brought back a flood of memories for me for the years 1967-68. It was when he first started as an assistant to Father Super. He ran our first co-ed dances, imposing his musical tastes (Hensen Cargell's "Skip A Rope" vs. Mitch Ryder's "Too Many Fish In the sea", needless to say Cargell won out) chatted with us in the playground and even speculated on the Presidential race and Olympics of 1968. Seeing him age, seeing me age and looking around that church just brought back raw emotions that usually ended with me weeping. The life I had known, the people I cared about were going, going or gone.
As I entered the church on this Christmas morning, I was sure there would be an emotional breakdown. I was prepared to be a holy mess looking at the church from the distance of the back of the edifice. But something strange happened on Christmas, I felt peace. Peace that for over 100 years this church was the lifeblood of the Slovak community in the Greater Pittston area. Looking around the church, I saw the majority of people were over 75. I heard just one baby crying, and saw less than 10 teeners in the pews. Everyone else was over 40 and older including me. No one from my graduating grade school class was there except for my buddy Dave Dellarte. Everyone it seems had moved on. Except me. The church was cold and the heat began to hiss out of the radiators. A camera crew came in from WBRE to film and I understand some people were upset. At the start, I was prepared to go out and be interviewed on TV and talk about the injustice of it all. But I just sat there as the service went on, drinking in the atmosphere of the last Christmas Mass. It is a tragedy that the church I knew my whole life was closing. But as I thought of the many people who passed through its doors, in birth and death, I realized St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Slovak Church had done its job ministering to the faithful exceptionally well. As I sat in the pew, with faces and events flashing before me at warp speed in my mind's eye, I consoled myself with the fact that the greater tragedy would be if this church, my church, founded by my forefathers had never existed.









Monday, December 24, 2007

The LuLac Edition #379, Dec. 24th, 2007



PHOTO INDEX: BLOG EDITOR WITH THE BIG GUY.


MERRY
CHRISTMAS


We're going to take a day or so to spend with our families. There is a plethora of ethnic foods for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals as well as an abundance of spirits that I'll barely make a dent in before I become catatonic. (One 8 oz Coors or 1 glass of Bailey's put me out). We'll try to hit Midnight Mass this year especially after last year's fiasco they call the "Children's Mass" and if there is enough energy, we'll try to make the very last Christmas service on the morning of the 25th at the church I grew up in, St. John the Baptist on William Street in Pittston. That facility is being closed down in June. To all my contributors, readers, friends, critics, posters and participants, have the best holiday season you can. My hope is that it will be everything you need it to be. See you in a few days.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The LuLac Edition #378, Dec. 23rd, 2007













PHOTO INDEX: THE ANNUAL GOVERNOR ED AND FAMILY CHRISTMAS CARD AND DOCTOR JOSEPH LEONARDI, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AND NOW A WRITER FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN.



LEONARDI'S MUSINGS


Even though Dr. Joe Leonardi lost his race for Congress last year, he has not lost his passion for the articulation of issues that many conservatives in the state of Pennsyvania and this area have advocated. In a way, Leonardi's Congressional race has hurt him in getting people to hear his comments. In any other area, a former participant's view would be welcomed on the local op ed pages and radio outlets given the experience of that encounter but here in LuLac land most media moguls think Leonardi or any other former candidate would want to catipult that exposure into another run for public office. Be that as it may, Leonardi's views can be seen in the new Pennsylvania newspaper due out in 2008 called The Pennsyvania Republican. We wish him well in this new venture and here's the link for you:


EDDIE'S ARTICLE


Last year one of our most popular Christmas articles was the reprint of Sunday Dispatch Editor Eddie Ackerman's "Santa A Better Man Than I". Here's the link from last year's LuLac Edition #114. It is one of the finest articles, in my view, ever written. Here's that link:


COKE IS IT


I have always been partial to the Coke A Cola company. Drink their products and enjoy the way they market. Especially around Christmas time. Here's two YOU TUBE links that will put a lump in your throat and a warm spot in your heart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9hk4c3hfWo&feature=related. Thought I'd give you a break from those TV commercials the candidates are running in Iowa and New Hampshire for Christmas.


ON THE TRAIL


It is unprecendented. Presidential candidates running in Iowa and New Hampshire at Christmas. The schedule is so front loaded that there might be a nominee by the end of February with the Democrats. The GOP on the other hand has a more even race. Former Senator Edwards is starting to worry both Senators Clinton and Obama and you might see him pull an upset there. In New Hampshire, Senator John McCain is coming on strong and just might win there again like he did in 2000. As we begin to celebrate the holidays, the Presidential campaign is right on our doorstep. It will be interesting and fun to comment on. With only polls and no real vote totals yet, perhaps the candidates should just go home and leave the good folks in Iowa and New Hampshire alone to enjoy their Christmas.

The LuLac Edition #377, Dec. 23rd, 2007










PHOTO INDEX: RON PAUL SUPPORTERS HIT THE STREETS RIGHT ACROSS FROM TGI FRIDAYS SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND THE COURTHOUSE.


THE FIRST ONE


Even though the Presidential candidates are battling in Iowa and New Hampshire, Presidential politics creeped its way into Northeastern Pennsylvania Saturday when a band of Ron Paul supporters carried signs and made their presence known. Paul is a Texas Congresssman running for the GOP nomination who has raised close to 19 million dollars on the Internet. The only appearances in Luzerne and Lackawanna County so far have come from Senator Clinton in Scranton over the Memorial Day family event and Senator Biden at Borders Book Store, also in Scranton for a book signing. Paul has a dedicated group of people and a fascinating web presence. Check out his site:
http://www.ronpaul2008.com/


DEBIT DEBACLE WRAP


A few days before Christmas, let's recap the deebate card debacle. A split crowd came to the Courthouse meeting room. Some, like Duryea resident Al Akulonis supported the Commissioners, while Keith Sorber and Joe Naperkowski called for Skrepenak's resignation. Todd Klein asked Steve Urban about the legal fees the county owes when it was found out a racketeering suit was dismissed. Todd Vonderheid on the other side of the table came asking for tax forgiveness for Chamber properties in Industrial Parks and Steve Urban all but told him he smelled a rat. Urban's suspicions are that the Chamber, in need of money is playing a shell game. Clerk of Courts of Reilly defended the Commissioners (big surprise there) and Mayor Tom Leighton thanked the board for helping to revitalize downtown Wilkes Barre. Urban's feelings were hurt because he felt the Mayor didn't include him in the round of "thank yous". County Budget official Sam Diaz said training and out of town expenses would have to be cut and that department heads shouldn't spend over what is allocated to them. (A novel concept.) Wilkes-Barre resident Tim Grier, said the county is facing a $40 million loss in state reimbursement for the county’s leased juvenile detention center, and he urged commissioners to stop using bond money to pay off county tax anticipation loans. He also produced records that showed he paid for county services as a taxpayer blunting bond lawyer Peter Moses' contention that Grier had no standing to file a lawsuit because he owned no property. Building trades representative Robert Potoski said he is tired of the “negativity.” Wilkes-Barre resident Walter Griffith said debit card holders are guilty of malfeasance, and urged commissioners to fire Guesto.
Vonderheid, complained that “Instead of debating ideas, we focus on minutia and use it with the help of our friends in the media to disturb or discredit folks who try every day to make this – their home – a better place,” he said. Well Todd, it's not the big things that bring down a political empire but the small stuff, minutia, if you will that finally wake up taxpayers from their slumber. If the debit card controversy did anything, and I grant you in the grand scheme of things it is not a huge issue legally, it brought into focus more attention to County government. And as it stands right now, the actions of the debit card holders has put anything the Commissioners propose or do, open to cynical scrutiny by a distrusting public. And it wasn't the media that started the ball rolling on it, it was an unadhered to policy that did that. And as predicted by this blogger on WYOU TV's Interactive News a few weeks back, the county did find the money and despite the gnashing of teeth, no layoffs were necessary. And as the meeting ended, someone was heard to say "God Bless Us Everyone!"


PENNY WISE, POUND FOOLISH


We are getting reports that the City Parking Authority, presumably under the direction of Mayor Tom Leighton has raised monthly parking fees for downtown employees who work in the office buildings using the city run garages. Reports are that the city is not negotiating with major employers and essentially telling them to take or leave the deal. Let's see, you have about 7 retail businesses in your glittering new storefronts, you wouldn't even talk to Solid Cactus when it tried to stay in the city, you're charging those same downtown businesses an additional clean up fee to pay for the services your public works department already gets funded for and now you're busting the chops of companies that employ hundreds of people in downtown Wilkes Barre over monthly parking fees. (What all the businesses should do is try to buy a parcel of land in the city (one of the Mayor's real estate buddies will sell it to them or hey better yet, the Mayor could!) and have all the employees park there and have shuttle buses take them to work). Or they can say screw it and leave. Yesterday, the Saturday before Christmas I drove through downtown Wilkes Barre. I counted 33 people in the downtown, and only 12 were carrying a package or bag of some sort. This is a far cry from the Wilkes Barre I knew as a boy the Saturday before Christmas. Squeezing established businesses who have stayed in Wilkes Barre because of loyalty to the city over monthly parking rates is really stupid. But as they say, "pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered". No matter, the downtown looks pretty for those 33 people wandering around like lost souls a few days before Christmas. "I Believe?" Oh yeah, right out of town baby!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The LuLac Edition #376, Dec. 21, 2007











PHOTO INDEX: A DESPERATE, DEFEATED, DEJECTED GOP.


REBUILDING THE GOP


I was going to save this until the new year but the defection of long time Republican Bill Jones from the Luzerne County GOP prompted me to do this now as a type of early Christmas present to the local party. The GOP in both Luzerne and Lackawanna County is a joke. There has to be a revolution in both GOP parties because they really don't do much to inspire two party representation. In Lackawanna County, the party is used like a back up date to the senior prom. If you can't get the cheerleader to go to the dance with you, zero in on the drum majorette with the chubby thighs to make the scene. Jimmy Connors, a former Democrat was elected three times as Scranton Mayor and Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak rode the party to office in the 2003 Commissioner's race. Gary DeBilio took the grand old gal out for a romp in the back seat when he wanted to run against Mayor Chris Doherty. The party chairman, Paul Catalano only seems interested in meeting the national GOP bigshots when they come to town. However, all that said, in Lackawanna County, at least the party is good for something and is being used. In Luzerne County, it's a different story.
In the 70s, my dad would have to travel to Scranton for a doctor's appontment. Not a driver, I'd be the go to guy to get my dad there. At the time, Scranton was a wreck and my dad used to say "the only thing that's going to fix this is if they blow it up and start over". That's how I feel about the Luzerne County GOP. Here's my plan to fix it.
First and foremost, many people think a political party has to be run like a democracy. Openess, transparency, debates, representative government. If that were the case, the hippies at the 1968 Democratic convention would be running the Democratic party. They are not. The first thing the local GOP should do is forget about democracy and fairness. You have no party, you can have all the freedom of choice and opinion you want but as a party, let's face it, you can't handle it and you don't deserve it. The Luzerne County GOP is like a wild 12 year old foster child who has stayed up until 3am, ate nothing but Doritos and wants to do its own thing. That has to stop. The party, at least for the start, has to become a dictatorship. I know, I know, that's everything America doesn't stand for but as I stated, the local GOP can't handle freedom, responsibility or debate. Here's what the party needs to do:
1. Call for the immedtiate resignation of the entire county leadership. Or fire them.
2. If they organize their cronies and get re-elected, fire them again. Better yet, ignore them.
3. Have the Pennsylvania statewide GOP appoint a CEO. No election, nothing. Appoint that person.
4. The party CEO will then appoint an Executive Committee of 10. There will be two representatives from each district.
5. Criteria for serving will be:
a. Must attend all scheduled meetings.
b. If not in attedance, they must send an emmisary.
c. If they miss a meeting without an emmisary, there must be a documentable reason. No reason, immedtate termination.
d. Executive committee agrees to a $250.00 annual dues assessment.
e. Executive committee agrees to a $250.00 in kind contribution.
f. Executive committee, under the direction of the CEO sets fundraising goals.
g. If Executive Committee misses its financial goals, each individual member will be assessed an additional $750.00 to make up the shortfall. By setting a goal and a penalty, the Executive Committee will be responsible for what any group of leaders are charged to do for a volunteer organization, whether it be band parents or cub scouts and that is RAISE MONEY!
h. Each district will be required to run two fundraisers a year. One major, one minor. Kind of ironic that the only district fundraiser or get together this year was in the 6th.
All money raised by the district committees will be given to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will then rebate 35% back to the districts and use the rest at their discretion to focus in on winnable local races. The local Executive Committee will have two major fundraisers a year.
The local GOP has been woeful in raising money. Bill Jones commented on it today, and the 2006 race of Joe Leonardi for Congress was a disgrace in terms of raising money for a 5 star candidate. A veteran, a conservative, a pro lifer, college educated, a professional, all of that right on your doorstep and he gets zilch from the entire wing of the GOP. There are people of means in the local GOP. I might say there are a few millionaires. Where did that money go in 2006? Well, here's how you can fix that.


AN AUDIT COMMITTEE


The Luzerne County GOP needs to form an audit committee consisting of the CEO, 1 District Chair and 1 Executive committee member. Their job will be to audit the contributions any registered member of the GOP makes to the Democratic party. It might be $10.00 to a ziti dinner from a secretary or a $3,000 gift to Ed Rendell from a local insurance executive. The committee's charge on this will be two fold,
1. To ask why the contribution was made.
2. To ask that the contributor give double that amount to the local GOP. If they say no, what's the loss? They aren't helping you now, they're hurting you. Get rid of them. Let them play footsie with the Dems because I don't see a burgeoning coffer filled in from those rich kid GOPers, do you? You're losing with them contributing to the Dems now, so what's the point in kissing their asses when the only loyalty they have is to their businesses. And isn't it funny how they don't get involved in running for office? They could self fund their own campaign but oh well it might be beneath them. (The only guy who did it was Marc Holtzman in 1986). The audit committee will put the big shots who have done nothing the past thirty years on notice that they better join the train. And if they decide not to, like I said, you're getting creamed without them so what's the point?!?!!


CANDIDATE DEVELOPMENT


Recruit candidates for the strongest races possible. And eliminate primaries. Sanction any party member who goes against an endorsed candidate. Shun them, legally get them off the ballot. YOU CAN'T AFFORD PRIMARY FIGHTS. YOU ARE LOSERS IN EVERY GENERAL ELECTION! It is unconscionable that Christine Katsock had a primary opponent in the Mayor's race for the GOP in 2003, that there were 5 Commissioner candidates in the spring primary and that when the two who won prevailed, they didn't run together. THIS IS NUTS! People in the GOP say Steve Urban is the problem. The old time GOP had a solution for that. Fire him. In 1967, the County GOP was sick and tired of Majority Commissioner Bill Goss playing footsie with Minority commissioner Ed Wideman, a Democrat. The party stepped in, put Ethel Price in as the Commissioner candidate and relegated Goss to the Trasurer's post in the general election. If Urban is the problem, defeat him, fire him, use your party power over him to make a change. But that can't be done now because there is no party leadership that can hold him accountable, or even make a determination that he is indeed the concern. So until you find out for sure, SHUT UP and leave him alone.
The Luzerne County GOP needs to take its candidates, the good ones and tell them which offices to run for, not have them pick. Would Dave Shipula and Christine Katsock be better general election candidates running against Bob Reilly and Mike Morrealle? Without a doubt but they wasted themselves in a primary fight for Commissioner. Forty years ago, when Doc Dorris reformed the Democratic party, he ran a slate that contained his best candidates that could carry a region. Do you think Joe Tirpak was qualified to be Sheriff? Of course not but he was a strong candidate who filled a slot and barely lost. The GOP needs to take their meager roster of good candidates and place them in races where they can win. The GOP has only strong registration numbers in the Back Mountain. The currency of their candidates is their personsality. Barletta won in Hazleton because he was a player, Trinisewski won in Luzerne County because he built his own organization, Carolee Medico, Barry Stankus, Gifford Capellini, Corey Stevens and Mary Dylseski won because of the force of their being, their essence, their ability to coalesce support behind them. You don't take five of your best candidates and have them run for each other for Commissioner when the rest of your slate is unimpressive! Unlike the Democratic party that had pockets of strong support, the GOP has nothing like that. Their candidates have to be more personality oriented. Good candidates can be found but all of this will take an iron hand and not a tea party where egos get in the way of actually winning elections.
The county GOP needs to face some hard facts and hard decisions. Its best candidates and elected officials in the past 45 years have jumped the fence. Wideman, Hudock, Trinisewski and now Bill Jones. Sure it's only 4 but these people won elections multiple times. The Luzerne County GOP must ask is maybe if they had a little more money, would Stankus and Dysleski have lost? There was no money for a GOP response to the Democrats attack ads on the only two incumbents the party had. That's sad. And Urban and Jones not working together? The party should've fired them, appointed two other candidates (Katsock and Shipula) and tied the other two up in court! The vote totals, unlike the 2 for 1 dominance in Lackawanna County was not the large. With a semi vibrant local GOP, there might be two Republican commissioners today. The time for debating, navel gazing, asking the meaning of life and "being nice" has gotten the local Luzerne County GOP nowhere. Blow it up and start all over again. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The LuLac Edition #375, Dec. 19th, 2007






PHOTO INDEX: LACKAWANNA COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROBERT CORDARO AND THE LATE REPRESENTATIVE HENRY HYDE.


BOB CALLED OUT!


The Lackawanna County Stadium Authority called outgoing County Commissioner Robdert Cordaro out vacating his position on the authority board. Most people think this is a good idea. I don't. To me it is the Stadium Authority exacting their revenge on Cordaro. It is both personal and political. Look Cordaro was the one who made the deal with the Yankees, he negotiated it by himself. He is the only witness to the proceedings. To leave the main contact out of these future discussions is just plain dumb. Cordaro's contacts and persona made the deal happen. He should stay at least in the transition phase. His dismissal was shortsighted and could be dangerous for the franchise.


HENRY HYDE


Not mentioned in Edition #374 was the death of GOP Congressman Henry Hyde. Hyde spearheaded the impeachment proceedings in the House against Bill Clinton and was a strong advocate of the pro life agenda. THat political legacy still thrives as the national GOP try to figure out if it can field a candidate that might be as pro life as the late Mr. Hyde.


IN DEFENSE OF HYDER


In this quarter and many others, you've read some negative things about Deputy jailer Sam Hyder. From a local newspaper is a missive from a young man who says Hyder changed his life for the better.
Sam Hyder has helped hundreds of youths in the Wilkes-Barre area. During the last two decades, Mr. Hyder has taught countless young adults and even some mature individuals life lessons that shaped them into productive, positive members of society.
On the surface Mr. Hyder taught karate, but more importantly and less tangible is the training he gave to us on the inside.
Mr. Hyder gave us confidence, self-discipline, team-building skills, camaraderie and a desire to do right for him and the community. Mr. Hyder was a tremendous positive influence on many youngsters, not least of which me.
I haven’t seen Sam in about 10 years. However, his positive moral values affect me to this day. In a good way I remember his teachings, I think often -- this is a good thing to do, a thing Sam would do. I use my positive memories of Sam’s teaching to assist in raising my three small boys. Sam may have made some mistakes, but truthfully, who among us hasn’t? On the other hand, who among us can say they have helped as many people as Sam has throughout the years?
Mike Cawley East Norriton


MORE GOOD NEWS??


Joseph Naperkowski says he wants justice for Luzerne County taxpayers.
He plans to file a private criminal complaint against the seven officials using county-issued debit cards this morning with Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas’ office.
Naperkowski, of Wilkes-Barre Township, said he has been told by lawyers that Lupas’ office has to allow him to file a criminal complaint.
Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak, County Chief Clerk/Manager Sam Guesto and county Prison Deputy Warden Sam Hyder should stand trial for misusing taxpayer funds, Naperkowski said
He said the three men should be held accountable for their actions.
“I will personally not let this rest until Skrepenak resigns, Guesto resigns or Hyder resigns or is fired,” Naperkowski said.
It should be noted that Naperkowski, unlike taxpayer advocate Tim Grier has been a very tough personal critic of Commissioner Greg Skrepenak penning numerous letters to the editor against the current county majority. There are some, while applauding his efforts, who wonder just what type of bad blood exists between Naperkowski and Skrep.

The LuLac Edition #374, Dec. 19th, 2007

































PHOTO INDEX: DAREDEVIL EVEL KNIEVAL, PHILADELPHIA RADIO LEGEND HY LIT, FORMER BIG LEAGUER JOE NUXHALL, DICK WILSON, AKA MR. WHIPPLE, FORMER GREEN BAY PACKERS GREAT JIM RINGO, THE LATE STAN SOWA AND NORMAN MAILER.


TRANSITIONS


EVEL KNIEVEL



Evel Knievel, the hard-living, death-defying adventurer who went from stealing motorcycles to riding them in a series of spectacular airborne stunts in the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was 69.
Knievel had been in failing health for years with diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung condition. In 1999 he underwent a liver transplant after nearly dying of hepatitis C, which he believed he had contracted through a blood transfusion after one of many violent spills.
Only days before his death, he and rap artist Kanye West settled a lawsuit over West's use of Knievel's trademarked image in a music video.
Knievel amazed and horrified onlookers in 1968 by vaulting his motorcycle 45 metres over the fountains of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, only to land in a bone-breaking crash. From YOU TUBE, the great daredevil.


JIM RINGO


Jim Ringo, a Hall of Fame center who played 15 seasons for the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, died Monday morning after a short illness. He was two days shy of his 76th birthday.
Former Packers teammate Willie Davis said Ringo, who lived in Chesapeake, Va., had been battling Alzheimer's.
"One minute, you're reliving an experience," said Davis, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame with Ringo in 1981. "And the next minute, he'd be asking, 'Who's this?'"
The Packers drafted Ringo out of Syracuse in the seventh round in 1953, and he became one of the league's best centers despite being undersized at just over 200 pounds.
"But what tenacity he had as a center in the NFL," Davis said. "Probably, no one was better."
But Ringo turned his relatively small size into an advantage, leading the way on the power sweep that made the Packers' offense so effective.
"As Vince Lombardi once observed, Jim epitomized the toughness and determination needed to not only play the center position but to become one of the game's most dominant offensive linemen of his era," said Steve Perry, president/executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "On behalf of all of us at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Jim's family."
Ringo played for Green Bay through 1963, but a contract dispute led Ringo and Lombardi to part ways. According to Packers folklore, Ringo had the audacity to bring an agent with him to negotiate a new contract — and Lombardi traded him to Philadelphia on the spot.
"The story goes that Jim came in with a representative to visit with coach Lombardi about his contract," Packers historian Lee Remmel said. "Vince excused himself, came back, and said 'You now are a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.'"


DICK WILSON


Dick Wilson, a character actor who turned "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" into a national catchphrase as exasperated shopkeeper Mr. Whipple in the TV commercial campaign that ran for more than two decades, has died. He was 91.Wilson died Monday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, announced Procter & Gamble Co., maker of Charmin tissue.From 1964 to 1985, and again in 1999, Wilson portrayed Mr. Whipple in more than 500 commercials for the toilet paper.The first ad was filmed in Flushing, N.Y., a bit of trivia that the former stand-up comedian liked to share in interviews.The commercials typically feature giddy, middle-age women who enter his store and cannot resist squeezing the soft Charmin rolls, despite his protests. Then, when nobody is looking, Whipple can't help himself and hugs a package of the toilet paper.Wilson knew the premise was silly but told the Chicago Tribune in 1985: "What are you going to say about toilet paper? I think we handle it the best way we can."In a statement, Dennis Legault, brand manager for Charmin, called the Mr. Whipple character "one of the most recognizable faces in the history of American advertising."Wilson was so well-known as Mr. Whipple that he ranked as the third-most-recognized American in a 1978 poll, behind former President Richard Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham, Indiana's Fort Wayne News Sentinel reported in 2001. From YOU TUBE, a classic Mr. Whipple commercial.


HY LIT


Hy Lit, 73, one of Philadelphia's pioneer disc jockeys, died yesterday at Paoli Memorial Hospital of what his son termed "bizarre complications" after a knee injury.
Sam Lit said his father fell on Nov. 4 and was admitted to Lankenau Hospital to have the knee drained. What followed, the son said, was a "terrible situation that should have never happened."
Over the next week and a half, the DJ, heavily sedated, was transferred to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital and, on Thursday, to Paoli Memorial, Sam Lit said.
A spokeswoman for Paoli Memorial last night referred questions to Mr. Lit's family. No cause of death has been announced.
Hy Lit, who lived in Lower Merion, had suffered in recent years from Parkinson's disease, but his son said it hadn't slowed him down. Father and son had started a music Web site,
www.hylitradio.com. Mr. Lit had cut audio for the site the day before he went into the hospital.
"Hyski," or "Hyski O'Rooney McVoutie O'Zoot," as he called himself - or Hyman Lit, as he was born in South Philadelphia - came of age with rock-and-roll, in an era when disc jockeys talkedlikethis.
Mr. Lit, got started in the business in 1955, fresh out of the University of Miami.
He flourished in radio alongside such popular Philadelphia DJs of the early rock era as Frank X. Feller, Dean Tyler, Jimmy Bishop, and Joe Niagara.
Mr. Lit's biography credits Georgie Woods, another influential radio personality, with saving him one night during an early appearance, when the mostly African American audience did not believe that the white man at the microphone truly was Hy Lit.
It's said that in the 1960s, Mr. Lit's nighttime show on "Wibbage" (WIBG) drew three-quarters of the listening audience, many under covers defying parents' direct orders to shut off that music and go to bed.
The roster of Mr. Lit's stations - WHAT, WRCV, WIBG, WDAS-FM, WPGR, WSNI and WOGL - reads like a roll call of Philadelphia music. Mr. Lit also had the distinction on Aug. 15, 1990, of launching the oldies format on WCAU (1210).


ROBERT CADE


Dr. J. Robert Cade, the creator of Gatorade, who you probably know as the guy who says "Naturally we called out stuff Gatorade" in the Gatorade commercials died recently. His death was announced by the University of Florida, where he and other researchers created Gatorade in 1965 to help the school’s football players replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweat while playing in swamp-like heat.
A question from former Gator Coach Dwayne Douglas sparked their research, Cade said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press. He asked, “Doctor, why don’t football players wee-wee after a game.”That question changed our lives,” Cade said.
Cade’s researchers determined a football player could lose up to 18 pounds during the three hours it takes to play a game. They also determined 90 to 95 percent of the weight loss was water. Plasma volume decreased by 7 percent and blood volume about 5 percent. Sodium and chloride were excreted in the sweat.
Using their research, and about $43 in supplies, they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football.


STAN SOWA


Stan Sowa, the longtime host of WNEP-TV’s Pennsylvania Outdoor Life, died Saturday morning at the age of 67 following a battle with cancer. Those who knew him said his passion for the outdoors was unmatched, and his experience in the field and encyclopedic knowledge made him a trusted source of information.Sowa worked as a land surveyor and volunteered with the Pennsylvania Game Commission for 28 years. He turned his experiences into interesting fodder for local newspaper columns.“Since Stan did all these things with the game commission, as a writer, people trusted him,” PGC District 7 commissioner Jay Delaney said. “Some of my interest in the outdoors came from his writing.”Gary Alt, the former head of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, was a frequent guest on Pennsylvania Outdoor Life. He and Sowa collaborated on several pieces about bears.“He asked the questions that were probably on the minds of the common people who walked the street,” Alt said.Former co-host Mike Stevens said Sowa’s broad appeal was one of his most endearing qualities. He was an everyman who could easily relate to the average outdoorsman, Stevens said.


JOE NUXHALL


Joseph Henry Nuxhall was a left-handed pitcher who played most of his career for the Cincinnati Reds. He held the team's record for career games pitched (484) from 1965 to 1975, and still holds the team mark for lefthanders, though he was long most remembered for having been the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game in the modern era, pitching 2/3 of an inning for the Reds on June 10, 1944 at the age of 15 years, 10 months, and 11 days due to player shortages during World War II. Long known as "The Ol' Lefthander," he compiled a career earned run average of 3.90 and a record of 135-117 during his 16-season career, with all but 5 of his victories being earned with the Reds. After retiring as a player, he became a broadcaster for the Reds from 1967 through 2004. Nuxhall died in 2007 after a long bout with cancer. I was in amazement as a kid when I found out Nuxie pitched at the age of 15. I thought, "there's hope for me" My dad kept on saying "it was the war" but never really explained further. I came of age when Nuxhall's career was winding down but still admired him even though he was pretty much washed up. From YOU TUBE, the life of Joe Nuxhall.


NORMAN MAILER


Norman Mailer, the outspoken author whose prize-winning works made him a towering figure on the American literary stage for more than 50 years, died recently.
Author of "The Naked and the Dead," "The Armies of the Night" and "The Executioner's Song," Mailer was probably the most famous of the generation of writers who came of age after World War II -- he was certainly the most colorful, and most pugnaciously so.
He wrote constantly: novels, screenplays, articles (he was a key figure in the "New Journalism" movement of the 1960s), poems, polemics. He co-founded the Village Voice. He was married six times.
And with his brawny physique and outsize personality, Mailer was never one to shy from a fight, whether physical -- he once stabbed his second wife after a party -- or literary. His fueds were legendary. Here is a classic piece of TV history when Mailer sparred with fellow author Gore Vidal on The Dick Cavett show. From You Tube:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The LuLac Edition #373, Dec. 18th, 2007






PHOTO INDEX: NEW DEPUTY SHERIFF CARL ZAWATSKI AND NEWLY ELECTED SHERIFF MIKE SAVOKINAS SEEN AT A CAMPAIGN RALLY IN THE SUMMER
.


SHOCKED!!!!


How can some people say they are shocked that newly minted Sheriff Mike Savokinas has appointed Carl Zawatski, a former top lawman himself to the post as his deputy? Zawatski and Savokinas were joined at the hip during the past campaign. But Zawatski's appointment was oversahowed by sniping between incoming Sheriff Savokinas and the outgoing incubent Barry Stankus. Savokinas, who takes office in January, on Monday accused Stankus of being unhelpful in aiding Savokinas in the transition into office. But Stankus insists his door has been open. Savokinas, he said, has lost a valuable opportunity to learn about how the office operates. Savokinas, a Democrat, defeated Stankus in the November general election. Savokinas complained about the lack of cooperation offered by Stankus during an interview Monday. Savokinas said he chose Zawatski, in part, because his experience as a former sheriff will be helpful in the transition into office.
Stankus disputed Savokinas' claims saying he has seen Savokinas only twice since the election. He said Savokinas has never called him to ask for a meeting. With all due respect, there seems to be a common thread with Savokinas. Whining. He complained someone stole his campaign signs and had the media turn that into such a spectacle you'd think it was a rerun of Pearl Harbor. There was an investigation launched but we hear they were derailed looking for Nicole Simpson's real killer. Throughout the campaign, he said to anyone who would listen that he was not getting a fair shake from the media. Now, he's complaining that Stankus is blocking him from touring the office. What does he need to talk to Stankus about? I thought he was fully qualified, according to his campaign literature of doing the job from day one? And besides, if Stankus is being petchulant, big deal. He has Zawatski to show him the ropes after the first of the year. This complaining does nothing to enhance the new Sheriff''s image and only underscores how important Zawatski will be to him. I can just see a scene like in the Godfather where Johnny Fontaine is sobbing and whining and The Godfather grabs him by the lapels and says, "Be a man! Stop crying!" Zawatski should take him aside and tell him to stop complaining. He'll have plenty of time to make his mark and try to break the late Frank Jagodinski's longevity record in that office.


OF LITTLE NOTE


Barely noticed amidst the hubbub of the county financial mess is this little item from the Times Leader. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry is asking the county to forgive about $1 million in interest owed on property in the Crestwood Industrial Park and the Hanover Crossings because that land has been deemed "unusable," county officials said. See, this is a huge problem. Local government gives tax breaks to organizations like the Chamber and out of town jaspers who promise "high paying jobs" for the consideration. Then when something goes wrong, they go hat in hand to "daddy government" and want all forgiven. Yet if a taxpayer tries to do that on a property, they'd laugh he or she out of the room. Wonder why we're in debt at the county level and still have pathetic paying jobs? Here's your answer.

The LuLac Edition #372, Dec. 18th, 2007











PHOTO INDEX: SIMON AND GARFUNKEL'S AWARD WINNING DEBUT ALBUM "THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE", WILK'S STEVE CORBETT WHO IS EXPERIENCING THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE THESE DAYS AND WILKES BARRE COUNCIL PERSON KATHY KANE.


HELLO DARKNESS MY OLD FRIEND


It seems that WILK Radio's Steve Corbett is experiencing the "Sounds of Silence" Luzerne County style. Corbett has been pleading politely, asking, cajoling someone from somewhere to talk about the recent elevation of Tom Leary to the exalted post of President of LCCC. No one is talking, no one is getting back to him. All he wants to know is if there was a search, how much money the guy is going to make, what makes him qualified and what his plans are for the gigantic responsibilities thrust upon him. No one from the Board of Trustees has contacted him, no one from the county has uttered a word and Leary certainly hasn't come out of hiding and said something. Jeez, you'd think if you got a big job like that you'd want to do some crowing about what you'll do. Silence can be deafening but also dangerous. Silence leads to the belief that something good is bad. Silence means that there's a secret to be kept somewhere. Silence means that if no one comes forward to let the sunshine in, there is something dark going on. We know nothing about the process, the selection, the man chosen or what the long term plans he has for the institution. Only speculation runs rampant these days in Luzerne County and because of the credibility problem with the government and public officials, we can only guess and conclude something is shady, something begs to be hidden for a sinister reason. A caller to Corbett's show tonight said that Tom Leary was a nice guy. The guy then launched into an attack on Corbett. He told Corbett what he knew. He had no other information about the job search or Leary. What I know about this situation is this: most people I've talked to said Tom Leary owned a bar in Kingston. They told me they had no idea or not whether he was qualified for the position. A few told me they thought he was an arrogant jerk. That's all I know, that's all I can share. I'm not trying to be derogatory of a man who recently got a new job with big responsibilities. But that's all I have to go on. I'd tell you more but the "Sounds of Silence" prohibit me, like Steve Corbett, from learning more.


KANE RECOGNIZED


Kathy Kane has been a public official in Wilkes Barre City for over a decade now. Her work ethic and political personna is being compared to forerunners Ethel Price and Marge Bart, both breaking gender barriers in the sixties who served with distinction on Wilkes Barre City Council. But unlike those two who succeeded spouses, Kane has staked out a political career on her own. Recently, Gov. Ed Rendell has appointed Kane to the Local Government Advisory Committee of the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The 57-year-old Democrat who represents the city's District C, was named to the state committee in November. Kane is one of two women on the 14-member committee chaired by Lt. Gov.Catherine Baker Knoll. Kane said she is charged with making recommendations to the governor regarding the needs of local governments. Kane was mentioned as a Mayoral candidate in 2003 and you can bet with her newly added expertise in community development, she can be a formidable candidate for higher office is that's desire.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The LuLac Edition #371, Dec. 17th, 2007








PHOTO INDEX: FORMER PITTSBURGH MAYOR PETE FLAHERTY AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL.


FIGHT OR FLIGHT


The recent debit card and financial crisis got me thinking the other day about the type of politicians we elect. There are some people who aspire to public office because they want fame and a bit of notoriety. I had an uncle who was a school director for over twenty years and I'm convinced he did it because he wanted to help people but he wanted them to know he helped them. He was a behind the scenes guy, not bombastic. Then there are some that crave power, they want to leave a legacy, a building, some type of monument. Others want to help their friends. There are all types of reasons but with politicians, in my mind, there are only two types. The guys who fight and the ones who take flight. The fighters get in there just for the fight. The flighters use that as a tool to escape the hard questions. The fighters relish the high hard ones, the flighters, well they run away from them. My best friend once had former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty in a class at Carnegie Mellon University. The class was being conducted right at the time of Three Mile Island. (Flaherty had lost the 1978 Governor's race to Richard Thornburgh only months before.) One of Flaherty's students asked Flaherty if he was relieved not to be Governor at a critical time of crisis. The former candidate arched an eyebrow and said, "Are you kidding me? I would've eaten that exposure up." Another politician who not only steps into the fray but creates some of it himself is Governor Ed Rendell. He welcomes the chance to meet the media and go head to head, even when the battle is not in his favor. These politicians are your examples of leaders who get into the fight, stand their ground and even if you disagree with them, come out looking better than they did before. Currently there are people calling for the resignation of Commissioner Greg Skrepenak. Skep has not done anything illegal to warrant that but the perception is among the public is that he does not want to face this issue head on. The Commissioner has been interviewed on TV (tonight on WBRE) and has made some comments. But many agree it might have been better if the ex lineman steppeed into a crowded room of reporters, rolled up his sleeves, gave his spokesperson the afternoon off and say, "let me have it, ask me what you want". He is a savvy guy who knows the inner workings of the various departments. His knowledge is impressive but no one sees that because his very political persona is being kidnapped by the misconception that he is not leading in this crisis. Skrepenak should fight, not take flight. If he fights and answers everything, this debit card fiasco will subside sooner than later. See, the late Flaherty and Rendell loved the idea of getting beat up and sparring with their enemies. And you can't blame Skrepenak if he finds that distasteful, but the best way to calm this down is to speak now in the open and let it fly.


THE GRIER ATTACK


So the county bond lawyer Peter Moses says that Wilkes Barre resident has no standing because he doesn't own property in the county. Maybe Grier could borrow a small parcel from the people who took over the land to build a cargo airport in Hazleton. Grier, as a resident uses county services. That counts. Is the good barrister saying that we are returning to the good old days when only the landed gentry can question the dealings of government? Sounds like it to me.


LEGAL BEAGLES??


Critics of County Judge Anne Lokuta may ultimately get her head on a silver platter like they intended but one has to wonder about the ultimate cost. Recent testimony in the case brings to light some pretty gamey machinations among the Luzerne County Judiciary. It is what many have suspected all along but this is the first time there has been an actual unveiling of these antics. From the Times Leader:
Startling information came to light Thursday during the Judge Ann Lokuta misconduct trial. And it wasn't just more details about bickering between the judge and her staff. Lokuta said that fellow Luzerne County judges attempted to sway one of her rulings and interfered with several cases. During Thursday's testimony, Lokuta said that then-President Judge Patrick Toole tried toinfluence one of her rulings in a tax assessment case, reported staff writer David Weiss. Lokuta also testified that she was assigned to handle a civil case and scheduled it for trial in late 2002. But an attorney in the case wanted the case to be postponed. The attorney went to President Judge MichaelConahan, who granted the postponement, she said. In another example, Lokuta said that when she was handling a murder appeal, the attorney who was representing the defendant wanted to withdraw. Lokuta denied the attorney's request, so the attorney asked Conahan's permission. He granted it, she said. Lokuta also testified that she was assigned to handle a divorce involving a longtime court clerk. In court, the clerk said he had noproblem with Lokuta handling the case. When Lokuta ruled against the clerk, he asked Conahan to have Lokuta removed from the case. Conahan granted that one, too, she said. For months, rumors have circulated about an undercover FBI investigation that's said to be under way of some entity in the Luzerne County Courthouse. Some have said that the target is the judiciary. No one has confirmed these rumors. But Louis Sinatra, Lokuta's attorney, previously indicated that may be correct. "There is certainly, in my mind, there appears to be an investigation." Weiss also previously reported that Sinatra and Lokuta will attempt to prove that Lokuta has offered help to investigators in the alleged federal probe. That assistance, they contend, is the reason Lokuta was accused of judicial misconduct in the first place. We hope that there is a federal probe under way and that information about it is released soon. An independent party needs to look into Lokuta's claims. During Thursday's hearing, Judge Lawrence O'Toole of the state Court of Judicial Discipline called Luzerne County's court system the "most dysfunctional court system ever."Every Luzerne County citizen should be embarrassed by O'Toole's statement.
My question is this, why elect judges by popular vote when the President Judge is pulling the strings? And what's with John Hyder, he wants a "do over" when things don't go his way? A federal investigation of the Judges is long overdue. And we think the Times Leader, by printing this article is shining the light on a disgraceful situation.


THE PROTEST


So much is being made about the fact that the county protests today drew a few residents. This small turnout is not indicative of the public anger. People have to work to earn money to pay off their own credit cards. Let's not think the lack of numbers translate into lack of passion on this issue.


McCAIN'S RISE?


So Joe Lieberman former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate is endorsing Republican John McCain for President? Good for McCain, he needs all the help he can get in his bid to pull an upset. Lieberman after all is an Independent Democrat but he doesn't have to be a fanatic about it.


MANANA!!!


Notice that for the last few weeks we were going to get answers about the County financial mess? First there was a snow storm, then there was a postponement, then the audit came. Day after day we were going to get answers. Kind of reminds me of that old Peggy Lee song "Manana Is Good Enough For Me". But is it good enough for the taxpayers? From YOU TUBE, a musical treat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD8Smtjsxyk

Friday, December 14, 2007

The LuLac Edition #370, Dec. 14th, 2007





PHOTO INDEX: SEATRAIN'S "13 QUESTIONS"




13 QUESTIONS Plus 1!!!!!




1. HEY, WHERE THE HECK WAS 13 QUESTIONS YESTERDAY?




IT KIND OF GOT AWAY FROM ME SO YOU ARE NOW PART OF 13 QUESTIONS PLUS ONE. AT WORK DURING THE STORM ON THURSDAY, I WAS TRYING TO GATHER THE QUESTIONS I WANTED TO INCLUDE IN THIS SECTION. THEN I WAS CALLED BY WYOU TV TO COME AND DO THEIR INTERACTIVE NEWS. I THEN HAD TO SCRAMBLE TO GET HOME, GET A SPORTCOAT (THANK GOD I WORE A TIE TO WORK, I'VE BEEN DOING THAT FOR THE LAST MONTH AS A KIND OF TRIBUTE TO THE CLOSING OF TARA MEN'S CLOTHING IN WILKES BARRE) AND GET TO THE STUDIO. THEN DURING THE BREAK FROM 6:30PM TO 10:30 WHEN I HAD TO HEAD BACK,I WORKED ON THE LOKUTA STORY. MY READERS LIKE THE FEATURE SO HERE IT IS.




2. LIMEADE OR LEMONADE?




LIMEMADE.




3. WHO WILL WIN THE IOWA CAUCUS MEETING?




MY GUT FEELING IS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE YOU'RE GOING TO SEE AN EDWARDS SURGE. BOTH CLINTON AND OBAMA ARE REALLY BEATING EACH OTHER UP AND I CAN SEE HIM COMING ON STRONG. ON THE GOP SIDE, HUCKABEE BUT NOT A BLOWOUT BECAUSE THE NATIONAL MEDIA IS STARTING TO DING HIM.




4. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO STATE SENATOR FRANK O'CONNELL?




O'CONNELL, WHO WAS A POWERHOUSE POLITICALLY DIED A FEW YEARS BACK. HE HAD MOVED TO FLORIDA AND WAS IN RETIREMENT. O'CONNELL WAS FIRST ELECTED IN 1966 TO THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AFTER SERVING ON KINGSTON COUNCIL. IN 1978 HE SUCCEEDED T. NEWELL WOOD IN THE STATE SENATE BUT ONLY STAYED UNTIL 1985 WHEN HIS RESIGNATION CAUSED A HUGE PRIMARY FIGHT BETWEEN THEN FORMER JUDGE CHARLES LEMMOND AND POCONO DEVELOPER CHARLIE KIRKWOOD. LEMMOND WON AND SERVED UNTIL 2006. O'CONNELL WAS THE KING OF CONSTITUENT SERVICE AND MADE THAT PART OF HIS POLITICAL SUCCESS.




5. DOES CABLE NEWS HELP OR HURT PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS?




BOTH. YOU GET THE WALL TO WALL COVERAGE BUT YOU ALSO GET THE STORIES THAT ARE BEATEN TO DEATH. IT IS A MIXED BLESSING.




6. YOU ARE A BUSH BASHER, CAN YOU MOVE YOURSELF TO SAY ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT THE MAN?




SURE. HE HAS HOT DAUGHTERS, HIS FATHER (WHO I MET THROUGH THE GOOD GRACES OF MARC HOLTZMAN AND THE WILKES BARRE KIWANIS CLUB) WAS A GOOD GOVERNING PRESIDENT BUT A BAD POLITICAL ONE, HIS MOM SEEMS LIKE A NICE LADY AND EVERY CHRISTMAS HE STAYS AT THE WHITE HOUSE SO THAT THE SECRET SERVICE AGENTS CAN SPEND CHRISTMAS WITH THEIR FAMILIES.




7. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE STEROID SCANDAL?




AS A BIG BASEBALL FAN, I AM DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED. GUYS PAST THE AGE OF 36 JUST DON'T GET BIGGER WITHOUT HELP. LOOK AT CLEMENS FOR GOD'S SAKE. I THINK THIS ERA SHOULD BE CATAGORIZED AS "THE STEROID ERA" AND BE PUNCTUATED AS SUCH. STILL PUT THE GUYS IN THE HALL OF FAME BUT NOTATE HOW THEY GOT THERE.




8. THAT "KOMOTION DATE FROM DURYEA" REALLY GIVES IT TO YOU? ANY THOUGHTS?




LOVE HER POSTS, LOVE THE FIGHT STILL IN HER. I HATE IT WHEN I SEE FORMER CLASSMATES WHO TELL ME HOW MUCH LIFE HAS BEATEN THEM DOWN. SHE'S NOT ONE OF THEM. AND AS FAR AS THE NASTINESS GOES, WELL I STARTED IT BY SAYING SHE HAD A GREAT BODY BUT A FACE LIKE LYNDON JOHNSON'S. I MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXAGERATING BUT IT GETS HER RILED AND MAKES THE POSTS ENTERTAINING.




9. YOUR FAVORITE VICE PRESIDENTS OF ALL TIME?




GREAT QUESTION. IN ORDER (1) JOHN TYLER BECAUSE HE SET THE PRECENDENT FOR SUCCESSION. AFTER THE DEATH OF WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, SOME PEOPLE TRIED TO INTIMIDATE HIM INTO STEPPING ASIDE BUT HE FORCED THEM TO FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION. (2). HUBERT HUMPHREY, LOVED THE MAN, FELT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRESIDENT, MET HIM TWICE AND IT WAS A HIGHLIIGHT OF MY YOUNG LIFE. (3) AL GORE, WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE COURSE OF THIS COUNTRY FOR THE BETTER. (4) WALTER MONDALE, GREAT MAN, MET HIM TWICE, WORKED FOR HIS DOOMED CAMPAIGN IN 1984. SOME DAY I'LL SHARE MY MARY TRAVERS STORY WITH MY READERS WHEN MONDALE CAME TO TOWN IN '84. (5) CHARLES DAWES, COOLIDGE'S VEEP, WROTE ONE HELL OF A SONG, "IT'S ALL IN THE GAME". (6) TEDDY ROOSEVELT, THEY PUT HIM ON THE SHELF TO HIDE HIM BUT WHEN MCKINLEY WAS SHOT, TEDDY STORMED D.C. IT WAS NEVER THE SAME AFTER THAT.




10. DO MIKE GRAVEL AND DENNIS KUCINICH HAVE A PLACE IN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS?




IN THE EARLY STAGES WHEN THEY CAN FRAME THEDEBATE, YES. BUT WHEN IT'S COMING DOWN TO BRASS TACKS, THEY JUST MUDDY THE MESSAGE AND KEEP THE REAL CANDIDATES WHO HAVE A SHOT FROM EXPLAINING THEMSELVES MORE CLEARLY.




11. JOE TIRPAK, WAS HE REALLY THAT MUCH OF A CHARACTER?




YES. HE WAS VERY SMART, VERY POLITICAL AND KNEW ENOUGH TO DELEGATE THE STUFF HE DIDN'T ENJOY TO COMPETENT PEOPLE.




12. DO YOU LIKE SEEING YOURSELF ON TV?




GOD NO. I MEAN I ENJOY BEING THERE FOR THE CHANCE TO SPEAK OUT ON THE ISSUES AND PROMOTE MY BOOKS. BUT WHEN I WATCH MYSELF ON PLAYBACK, I GET THIS VERY ODD FEELING, LIKE AN OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE. WHEN I WAS IN MY 20S, I DID A WEEKLY PUBLIC AFFAIRS SHOW ON WVIA TV AND I THANK MY LUCKY STARS THERE ARE NO TAPES OF ME LEFT BECAUSE I WAS HORENDOUS. I INTERVIEW ROBERT CASEY SENIOR AND YEARS LATER IT CAME TO ME HOW GENEROUS AND KIND HE WAS TO ME BECAUSE I WAS WAY OVER MY HEAD. HE KNEW IT, OF COURSE BEING IN MY TWENTIES, I SURE AS HELL DIDN'T BUT HE JUST SAT THERE AND ACTUALLY INTERVIEWED HIMSELF. A CLASS GUY.




13. CHRISTMAS PIROGIES? CHEESE OR CABBAGE?




ARE YOU KIDDING ME? BOTH.




PLUS 1. FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG?




BRENDA LEE'S "ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE". I WAS A SMALL BOY COMING OF AGE WHEN THAT SONG HIT AND IT BRINGS BACK WONDERFUL HOLIDAY MEMORIES. CAN'T JUST STAY AT ONE, LOVE WILSON PHILLIPS "HEY SANTA" LOUIE PRIMA'S "SHAKE HANDS WITH SANTA CLAUS" AND YOU GOTTA GO WITH "SILENT NIGHT" BY JUST ABOUT ANYONE.