Thursday, November 06, 2008

The LuLac Edition #631, Nov. 6th, 2008



Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll has left the Baltimore hospital where she was receiving intensive treatment for cancer, and has entered a physical therapy program to deal with an infection.
The infection has slowed her recovery, but her condition is good and she continues to look forward to resuming her duties someday, she said in a statement issued by her office. The type of infection or how she contracted it was not readily explained. "I fully intend to return to my duties as lieutenant governor, but I don't have a timetable for that," she said in a release.
Knoll, 78, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in July and has undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The illness caused her to miss the last two weeks of the fall voting sessions in the state Senate, where she presides as president. Since early October, Knoll has been in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, surrounded by family. Knoll said she has not considered resigning from the post; if she resigned, the job would fall to the Senate's president pro tempore, Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson. A native of the Pittsburgh suburb of McKees Rocks, Knoll took office in January 2003, running alongside Gov. Ed Rendell. The pair won re-election to second terms that expire in January 2011. Before that, Knoll served two four-year terms as state treasurer. She ran for governor in 1994, but lost in the Democratic primary.


We might as well start calling this Lokuta-gate because this story is getting stranger and stranger. First, the Judge was given a 10 day leave to get a response ready to the Judicial Review Board. Right after that, the Commonwealth Court of Judicial Discipline issued an order suspending Lokuta pending a sanction hearing. The suspension went into effect immediately. Then Thursday it was reported a Luzerne County Court employee who filed a misconduct complaint that led to Judge Lokuta’s suspension filed a police report on Wednesday accusing the judge’s current secretary of harassing her, according to two sources. The sources said Susan Weber, Lokuta’s former executive secretary, claims Maureen Gushanas tailgated, screamed and made gestures toward her while Weber was driving in Wyoming Borough late Thursday afternoon. Mayor Robert Boyer confirmed Thursday that police received a report of harassment involving two females that occurred at around 4:58 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of 8th Street and Wyoming Avenue. Boyer declined to release the names of the parties involved because police determined no charges would be filed. Sources to the Times Leader confirmed the women were Weber and Gushanas. If these reports are true and one has no reason to believe they’re not, you have to conclude that passions are still rising high in this case. And maybe Judge Lokuta should not have been the only one asked to submit to a Mental Health evaluation.


The frustration on this budget issue in the county is starting to wear on people. Luzerne County Chair Maryanne Petrilla feels that there might have to be permanent job cuts made in order for the county to get on a financial footing. Steve Urban agrees with her. The union heads are unhappy but these were the same people who poisoned the well earlier this fall when the county wanted to cut back on hours in order to balance the budget. Urban says there’s not enough money in the budget to pay for the staff in the county. Greg Skrepenak is saying he would not support layoffs or downsizing unless he’s convinced the county has cut everything else possible. Meanwhile in county budget hearings, county agency heads made some token moves to cut costs but most did not offer any huge savings for the county to utilize prompting Petrilla to say the commissioners will have to make the cuts. I hope when they do they remember the county agency heads that did not budge in this budget crisis all because they want to protect their fiefdoms. In the meantime, Tom Pribula, Budget head is trying to make people aware of the seriousness of the situation. He told the Times Leader, that he was disappointed that a $33 million gap exists after department heads and row officers were asked to come up with bare-bone spending plans for next year. “All we do is spin our wheels, and time is running out. People think this is going to go away or that someone is going to come up with a silver bullet,” he said. “It’s extremely defeating and frustrating.” Hard decisions have to be made on this thing and it looks like the Commissioners and Pribula are going to be the ones to resolve this issue one way or another. Pribula says he will have an estimate on where the finances will be after he gets revised reports from the County agency heads. What people here fail to understand save for Pribula, Petrilla, Urban and Skrepenak is that if this thing is not resolved, a drastic tax hike will need to be enacted in 2010 that will make the reassessment issue look like an afternoon walk in the park.


Forty years ago this week, (November 5th) Hubert Humphrey was defeated by Richard Nixon for the Presidency of the United States.
Here were the results nationally:
Richard Nixon
Spiro Agnew
301 electoral votes

Hubert Humphrey
Edmund Muskie
191 electoral votes

George Wallace
Curtis LeMay
American Ind.
46 electoral votes
From YOU TUBE, three reports from NBC News.

The loss was a bitter one for Humphrey who had to contend with the Third Party candidacy of George Wallace and the re-emergence of Richard Nixon. What started out as a sure year of passion and change ended with a bitter whimper. Americans had chosen the candidate that promised order in the messy world that was 1968. In Luzerne County though, Humphrey beat Richard Nixon 79,040 to 57,044 with George Wallace polling 6857 votes.
Also in Luzerne County, in statewide results, Robert Casey beat Warner Depuy 82,679 to 51,638, Grace Sloan won another term as State Treasurer beating Frank Pasquirella by 77,679 to 55,477. For the U.S. Senate, Richard Schweiker beat incumbent Joseph Clark 72,834 to 61,399, Dan Flood went back to Washington for another term beating Stanley Bunn by a margin of 103,347 to 35,985.
In the races for State Representative, in the First District incumbent William Bachman beat Anthony Persico 12,762 to 9,021, in the Second District Stanley Meholchick won in a squeaker over Walter Ruskoski 12,685 to 12,444, the third district saw James Musto beat Sam Daley 15,237 to 5659, in the fourth, Fred Shupnik beat John Cicero 15,478 to 7499. (Both Daley and Cicero were long time perennial candidates) In the fifth district, Frank O’Connell beat Richard Adams 16,394 to 8745 and in the sixth district, Bernard O’Brien beat Robert McGinley 14,369 to 8723. Frank O’Connell was the only Republican member of the State House to get re-elected.
The year 1968 was a formative year for me. I started out following the Presidential campaign in January and began documenting the great events of the year by putting together articles in scrapbooks. By the primary, I was keenly interested in working at the polls but because my candidate, Humphrey was not on the ballot, I passed. Besides I was busy at St. John the Baptist grade school trying to secure my own fragile political base. I was elected Class President in October of ’67. Three times since that date, our 8th grade nun periodically called new elections to presumably get rid of me. Each time I prevailed but by the spring, as graduation drew near, there was a fourth attempt to remove me from the office. The fourth time proved not to be the charm and I stayed on as Class President. The unfortunate thing was that the officers who were Secretary and Treasurer were removed every time in every election. So the kids that served as officers and worked hard were not around in that capacity since the nun kept on calling new elections. It was unfair but that was Catholic school in the 60s. Then of course there was the pursuit of the seventh grade girlfriend as well as preparing for the class play and graduation ceremonies. But as the summer arrived, politics became a big force in my life. I worked part time at a hot dog stand in the Junction section of Pittston and the owner, Phil Baldo had a friend Richard Adams running for State Representative in Kingston. I began doing volunteer work for him, riding the west side bus on Saturdays to walk the streets of Kingston and Forty Fort for Adams. After entering high school, I hooked up with the union offices in Pittston and became a virtual full time Humphrey volunteer. I lugged every conceivable Humphrey yard sign around Greater Pittston and lobbied hard for HHH. With my late uncle Timmy Pribula (Luzerne County Budget Director Tom’s father) we gave out thousands of signs, buttons and flyers. Despite my father being hospitalized for a railroad accident in October, I worked like a demon for the Dems that year juggling high school, intramural baseball and a new part time job at Detato’s Super Market in Pittston. On November 5th, actually the morning of Nov. 6th, it all came to an end when Illinois went to Nixon. I was sad, frustrated, weary and a bit angry. But I was hooked. And I like to think that the writing of this blog/site had its roots in that tumultuous year, 1968.
Fittingly, the number one song forty years ago this week was “Abraham, Martin and John” by Dion.


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today on NPR there was a story on the city of Philadelphia and how state and federal cuts will impact that city. The employees at the Courthouse have to understand this is not a lifetime job. And judging from the comments made, that appears to be the case.

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great videos on 1968. That was an election to remember. And while HHH ran away from Johnson, he used him the last weekend at a big rally at the Astrodome. In stark contrast to Bush, the other TexAN IN 2008.

At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew we were going to hear about riding the bus on Saturdays to campaign for Dick Adams who incidently later in life became a big time sleezeball in the human services field. Little Davey on the bus going door to door. Please dear God, only 6 weeks left to this year, let us banish forver the Yonk's memories of 1968!!!

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our very best to Katherine Baker Knoll. A nice lady who won the adminiration of many in the state. Our prayers are with her.

Helen Fulbright

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The video of Dion was quite fitting for the year 1968. Nice find.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to tell you that I think you're a saint. That Komotion Date from Hell really is mixed up and shook up. Don't read it babe if it annoys you! But on to other business, the county has to come up with a plan where everyone works in sinc with each other. Pribula's background is private enterprise and as we all know by this week's labor reports, private industry doesn't diddle about cutting jobs. They worry about staying afloat which Petrilla and Pribula are tring to do. THe unions and even the workers have to realize that there has to be some give. And the little guy should never hold the bag. They have to do cuts across the board that range from seniority to middle managers to those just hired. Good luck to them all because Obama and Rendell are going to have bigger fish to fry than Luzerne County.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few years ago you wrote the very funny and true to life book called "A Radio Story". It was filled with characters based on radio sales and programming. But just think if you worked up on the third floor at the County Courthouse in the Lu. What if you had an office next to Judge Annie and her cohorts. Holey Moley, what a book that would be. And the sequel could be "Dueling Divas On the Avenue". You missed your chance on that one Yonk.

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm heartened to hear that Governor Rendell will stick around till after 2010. And I wish the best to Gov. Knoll. Dave, on this Louka gate, it seems like there's a lot of irrationality around for everyone to get a grip on. I know you are a staunch supporter of the Judge given your similar greater Pittstonian upbringing and shared but not necessarily side by side experiences, but a cast of thousands can't be all wrong on this lady. And the behaviour of one of her staffers just reinforces that.


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