The LuLac Edition #632, Nov. 8th, 2008
First off you know I was against the Sarah Palin pick from the get go. I thought she sounded like a silly backwater woman who lucked out in a corrupt Alaska political system that was in need of change. I thought McCain could have picked a better woman just like I thought Bush 41 could’ve picked a better Veep than Dan Quayle or a better Supreme Court Justice than Clarence Thomas. That all said, I was no fan. But this post election criticism of Palin by her own party is detestable. When you pick someone and not vet them properly (which seemed to be the case here) you take a responsibility to train that person. Especially if it’s a Vice Presidential pick, you mold them to the message you want. Palin had no trouble spreading the conservative message and truth be told, did it much more comfortably and better than McCain. But the campaign team put her in terrible venues starting out in their attempt to introduce her to the media. I had a sales manager at Rock 107 (the late Tim Durkin who I admired very much) who on his first day at work asked us to take all of our past training materials and give them to him. He then took them and threw them in a garbage can. We started, (even the veterans) from ground zero. So did Vince Lombardi when he took over the Packers in 1960. His first words to the team were, “Gentlemen, this is a football”. Palin’s team from the McCain camp should have started out at Sqaure One with her. This way, questions like , “What do you read?” would not stump her. The most simple question can confuse you in front of the cameras. I know. In a 2006 interview on WLYN, Mary Yanuzzi asked me the simple question on the “Your Life” show, “so what’s your book about?” I froze and the interview went downhill after that. My point is the McCain people should have prepared her for every eventuality. It wasn’t John McCain’s place to do that. Now, let’s talk about the clothes. This clothing budget was offered by the RNC. So what if Palin and her husband blew through top drawer stores. I would’ve. You were giving the clothes back anyway so who the heck should care. And you know, 85% of the American people don’t care if you wear labels. A woman at work called me “a label whore” because of my affection for Ralph Lauren and DKNY (Donna Karan) suits and shirts. But out of hundreds of people I worked with in this job, thousands in others, no one else made that comment. A voter coming to see Palin was not worried about what she was wearing but what she was saying. I think Palin should keep the damn clothes myself because she sure didn’t get much else from the GOP that is now looking for a scapegoat. They don’t have the stones to blame McCain just yet but that’s coming. McCain stole this nomination because the right couldn’t coalesce around a Romney or Huckabee as its conservative voice. They should have made a concerted effort to draft Newt Gingrich who I believe might have beat Obama. The attack on Palin is just the McCain camps way of shifting the blame from their own incompetence, indecision and lack of focus. They’re blaming Sarah Palin because they did not serve John McCain, a good man and maybe a great President in another era, very well. Palin referred to the McCAin aides as “cowardly” and “jerks”. In my estimation, she’s being way too kind.
OBAMA MEETS THE PRESS
In his first press briefing, I think we got an insight into a more unguarded Barack Obama. His gaffes on Nancy Reagan holding séances as well as his “mutt” comments were off the cuff and nothing we saw on the campaign trail. I think a more relaxed Obama might be a good thing. However, his comments regarding the future of the country were less frivolous and better thought out. The Obama administration in waiting is going to do everything in their power to hit the ground running on January 20th to attack the myriad of problems left behind by the Bush administration.
I’m getting sick and tired of the stimulus packages and the bailout plans being proposed. A $600.00 check isn’t going to get us out of this economic morass. And the latest bailout beggars, the car industry is laughable. I know how much they need help but they did not prepare for this day. They made big SUV’s that served no practical purpose, they made TUV ‘s (totally unnecessary vehicles like the Hummer) and “Penis envy” pick up trucks that could not even fit on a regular gas station’s lifts in some cases. They reaped what they sowed as far as I’m concerned. And now they want help to build hybrids after gorging themselves on the “mine is bigger than yours” buying habits of the American people? Sorry guys, dig your selves out of this one. I see no Lee Iacocca around to guide you this time around. I have an idea for a real stimulus package that I’ll share with LuLac readers in a few days or so.
ON THE COUNTY BUDGET
There was a great letter to the editor in today’s Citizen’s Voice from Wil Toole, a long time Pittston politico. In his missive, Toloe lays out his opinions and solutions to the problem. Here it is:
Editor: The only thing lacking in Luzerne County is management.The idea of balancing the budget on the backs of employees is not at all necessary, especially when the commissioners just gave $1 million to build an ice skating rink. The million dollars would not be a problem if it were a state or federal grant but this was borrowed money. When will this insanity stop?Now the commissioners are looking for professional help to fix the financial problems. Funny but when each of them ran for office, they had all the answers and cures for county government. What happened?
Let’s keep things in perspective. The actual purpose of county government is to provide for the courts and maintain the roads and bridges. Everything beyond that is secondary. Where did the idea that community development was the responsibility of county government? The previous administration borrowed $10 million to build a new detention center. The center was not built and instead of paying off the debt, the commissioners gave the money out for local projects. That’s the kind of management that has the county in fiscal chaos.One of the problems with the county is that they have taken the position that management positions should be filled with people with credentials without thought of experience. It is this lack of government experience that is driving the county finances right into the ground.The first step in resolving the county’s financial mess is to begin with asset management. The county’s borrowing power is almost maxed out so debt management is an important first step.The following are my thoughts on resolving the county’s fiscal mess. I would suggest that an inventory be made of all county assets. When that is done, an evaluation can be made as to the value of keeping or liquidating them. As an example, I see no reason for the county to own the Forty Fort Airport. I would also suggest that the Valley Crest property be put on the market as some of the most valuable retail acreage in the county. In the past, the state has shown an interest in owning Moon Lake so that possibility might be revisited. The county just purchased a building in Hazleton which is not at all necessary. The county offices in Hazleton can continue to share the probation offices and sell the city building as a cash asset. Luzerne County Community College is a major expense for the County. Has LCCC been asked to tighten its belt? Is it even open for discussion? If all these assets were sold, the county’s liquidity position could have a strong impact on reducing the county’s long term debt. The remaining debt could be renegotiated as a long term low interest bond which would give the county financial breathing room and reduce the strain on the taxpayers.Luzerne County does not need professional (expensive) financial planning, it needs proper management and experienced managers. When I served as city clerk/administrator of Pittston City, I formed the Luzerne County Municipal Managers Association. We met once a month and had the opportunity to avail ourselves of each other’s knowledge in resolving our local problems.My first comment was that there is no need to balance the books on the backs of the employees. As one of the original organizers and first president of the county employees union, AFSCME Local 1398, I can tell you that we are fortunate to have these dedicated employees and to throw them into personal financial ruin is not the answer. The problem is and always has been ineffective and inexperienced management!
Some great info in this Sunday’s edition of Pittston Politics. Check it out on line tomorrow morning, here’s the link: