The LuLac Edition #525, July 25th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT TEAM OF ROWAN AND MARTIN, OUR 1968 LOGO, STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN YUDICHAK AND LACKAWANNA COMMISSIONERS WASHO AND O'BRIEN FLANKING ROTARY PRESIDENT JOE PAGANINI.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
It appears that one of our local State Representatives, John Yudichak was way ahead of the ramifications of the “Bonusgate” controversy in Harrisburg. As far back as January of 2008, Representative Yudichak, and Representatives Bill Keller and Don Frankel called for the resignation of House Majority Leader William DeWeese. Their actions came after DeWeese conceded to local editorial boards across the state that “he was asleep at the wheel” when the incidents of paid legislative staff mixed their duties with political work were occurring. Yudichak told us “this is no time for people to lose faith in state government with high gas prices, the mortgage crisis and major economic issues facing citizens trying to get by. Citizens have to have faith that their government will do the right thing which is why I called for Mr. DeWeese to step aside”. Yudichak certainly has sent a signal that despite being a member of the Democratic caucus, he is not ruled by them when it comes to ethics and good government. Yudichak recently appeared on WILK’s Steve Corbett show explaining his stance.
When I had access to an unnamed County Chief Clerk years ago, I remember the following incident very well. A long time county worker was asking for an outrageous raise but because he lacked the education of his staff, it turned out the people who were working for him made more money. The County Clerk’s solution: give the car a Crown Vic out of the county fleet presumably for business. The guy got the car and was happy as a clam until his retirement. For years county cars and mileage have been treated as the corner candy store for the people who worked in government. Some governmental bodies institutionalized it like Wilkes Barre City where council members get mileage. Others have a sort of system where cars and gas cards are allotted on a piecemeal basis. In Luzerne County, debit cards were tried as a matter of choice and we all see what happened there. From the land of the Lac comes word that Commissioners Washo and O’Brien have actually instituted a policy on county related travel. The County is cutting by more than half the number of employees who regularly drive county cars and the commissioners are also reclaiming gas cards of the ever popular segment of county worker deemed nonessential. As of June, the county had 86 gas cards in use — 31 of which are used by Lackawanna County’s Coordinated Transportation program and will remain with those vehicles. Four elected officials currently have gas cards, Commissioner Munchak, DA. Jarbola, Coroner Brennan and Controller Ken McDowell, the latter who reportedly uses his county vehicle not to show up for work.
This step of the county based energy agenda is another right note sounded by the Washo and O’Brien administration. Both men have shown very good inclinations toward reform in government and have not been shying about taking a hard look at the county finances. I shared a panel with them in March on WYOU TV and both were impressive as a team.
To be very honest, given the recent hostility toward immigrants of Mexican decent, I wasn’t holding my breath for charges to be filed in the death of a Schuylkill County man. I really thought if charges were not brought, it might begin the process of people from outside our locale coming in and asking for justice, much like the civil rights freedom riders of the 1960s did in the south. But thank goodness I was wrong because two teens were charged with homicide in connection with the July 12 beating and subsequent death of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala in Shenandoah. A third faces other charges related to the incident.
Brandon Piekarsky, 16 and Colin Walsh, 17, both of Shenandoah, are incarcerated in Schuylkill County Prison after being arraigned before a magistrate this morning. Piekarsky and Walsh are both charged with one count each of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, and ethnic intimidation.
Today’s Times Leader recounts a post mortem on the McCain rally on Wednesday in Wilkes Barre at the Kirby Center. GOP County Chairman Terry Casey said the 800 or so was a respectable showing. His duly elected Vice Chair disagreed saying he “cringed” when he saw the balcony empty. He intimated the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing as far as organizing the event. Former Chair Lynette Villano did not attend for work reasons. Fair enough. But she could resist getting in a dig saying she was disappointed with the turnout. And DeFabo said if he was made aware of things earlier, his group would’ve packed the place. This from a man when he was 6th district chairman sometimes couldn’t fill a full slate to run against the Democrats on City Council. Despite the election of a new chairman, the county GOP has reverted to form, acting like disagreeable Democrats. But the Dems win, the GOP doesn’t. On an event like this, there should be one voice, the voice of the chairman. He should be the one to defend the turnout, answer the inquiries and put a sunny side on the event. The comments from his own executive committee did nothing but accentuate the “individualism” of the county party. As I noted in my previous edition of how the GOP should rebuild itself in The LuLac Edition #376, Dec. 21, 2007, there is no room for democracy when you’re trying to build a party. Sorry. It’s a luxury the GOP does not have right now. The Luzerne County Democrats rebuilt their party through iron fisted control of their own membership. The GOP has to do the same. The McCain event was a gift from the political Gods, an opportunity to tout the philosophy of the national candidate and how that independence and candor could translate into next year’s local elections. But no one used that tactic and everybody went “off message”. Until people like DeFabo and Villano deliver either thousands of votes or dollars, they should just keep their concerns to themselves. One voice. One Chairman. One message.
Forty years ago, the National GOP credentials and platform committee met in Miami for the upcoming convention. Former Vice President Richard Nixon held a commanding lead in delegates over New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the newest entry into the race California Governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan entered as a type of “stop Nixon” candidate on behalf of the right wing of the party but it was too late to make an inroad…..In our 1968 series we hardly touched on the impact of TV. 1968 was a big year for TV, here are some of the shows that made an impact, in January The Lennon Sisters make their final appearance on The Lawrence Welk Show..... On April 4 James Brown appears on national television, in an attempt to calm feelings of anger in the United States following the assassination of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr......Also on April 8 British singer Petula Clark appears on a US television special on NBC with Harry Belafonte as a guest. An innocent, affectionate gesture between the two during a song (Clark touched Belafonte on the arm) prompts concern from the show's sponsor (Chrysler Corporation) due to the difference in their races, but the scene is aired intact at Clark's insistence. The special airs to high ratings and marks the first time two different races share friendly bodily contact on American television…On October 14, the first live network transmission of video from inside a manned US space capsule in orbit ("Apollo 7") There were six such broadcasts during their eleven-day mission......During October 21-25- Joan Crawford makes a guest appearance for five episodes on the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm filling in for her ailing daughter, Christina. However, Joan slurs her lines and is obviously intoxicated during the tapings. In November NBC breaks away from a pro football game to air a TV movie adaptation of Heidi, sparking furious protest.....on November 22 on NBC William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols share the first interracial kiss on US television in the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren"......in December Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special airs on NBC.....and CBS uses a portable minicam for political convention coverage. But perhaps the biggest show that had an impact was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In which debuted in January of ’68. From YOU TUBE: Rowan and Martin's Laugh In: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGvzmOoh3Y.