The LuLac Edition #762, Mar. 22nd, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: LUZERNE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.
The race for Luzerne County Judge is starting to heat up. C.J. Bufalino's face is appearing on billboards throughout the Valley. Atty. Daniel Zola has road signs up in the County while Atty. Joseph Sklarosky has yard signs up in the Plains Area. Atty. Gene Sperazza kicked off his campaign yesterday in Pittston with over 250 supports and opened headquarters on Kennedy Blvd. in Pittston. The Mountaintop Attorney and Pittston native has been running a "pre-campaign" of sorts. During the years 2007 and 2008 the barrister has had a large media presence on billboards and TV touting his integrity as an Attorney. It was no secret then that Sperazza was going to make a move for Judge. District Justice William Amesbury was on the tube already with a banner ad on Service Electric Community Calender followed by a media buy on Cable TV where he proclaimed he was not from a connected family and wasn't a rich man. Good impactful ad.
In the meantime, regarding electon logistics, C.J. Bufalino nabbed the top spot on the Republican side while Judge Joseph Musto got the top position on the Democratic side. Ballot position is never regarded as very important except when you have a multitude of candidates running, like say 17!!!! Amesbury fared well too except that he was on the bottom of the ballot. It's easy to say to a voter, especially ones not politically vested or savvy, "look at the top or the bottom of the ballot". Once you have to explain that a candidate's name is somewhere in the middle, there's a chance of losing them. The ballot order for the primary election on March 19th was determined by a random draw conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of State. There are 15 Democrats running, 2 REpublicans. The GOPers are Richard Hughes and Michael Pendolphi. In earlier editions we stated that Hughes was the only Republican. All candidates can cross file on both parties.
Letters to all judicial candidates were sent out this week for The LuLac Political Letter Judicial Forum being held April 26th, 2 to 5PM at Genetti's. Media cosponsors will be announced soon as well as the type of format we'll be conducting.
The Times Leader reported yesterday that Atty. Michael Butera of Pittston donated more than $10,000 to Judge Michael Conahan's 2003 retention effort. This happened a year after Conahan awarded Butera $931,452 in a non-jury trial for injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. Butera and his attorney Bill Anzalone said the amount awarded was substantially less than they asked for. They wanted 1.5 million but got under a million. Butera told the newspaper he was "disappointed" with the verdict. I think if you did a poll of accident victims who could be offered over $900,000, few would call that a disappointment. The $10,000 contribution to the Conahan campaign was the largest Butera, a generous backer of Local, Statewide and National Democratic campaigns, gave to any effort. Butera also said said no one from law enforcement has contacted him about his case or anything else. According to the Times Leader, Butera filed the suit on March 24, 2000, for injuries he suffered in July 1998 in a collision between his bicycle and a car in the parking lot of the former Bruno’s supermarket in Pittston. The trial centered on who was at fault for the accident that left Butera with shoulder and rib injuries and with impaired earning capacity. In his verdict, Conahan found Butera contributed to the accident, but his negligence was not a substantial factor in causing him harm. The judge found the driver of the car Robert Paranich completely at fault. Butera was awarded $832,990 in damages plus an additional $98,462 in delay damages. Readers of the Times Leader comments pages simply weren't buying Butera's explanaton. Here's what they told the Leader:
oh, you've got to be kidding me!!! reduced earning potential? please someone explain that to me. how these injuries are worth almost a million dollars??? i hope i get hit when riding my bike and hurt my shoulders and ribs that will heal. i could almost live off that amount of money!
March 21, 2009 at 8:50 AM
do you smell pig. awards like that aren't given in loss of life cases. how can a lawyer in a non physical job claim loss of earning status.
March 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM
Deanna Carter said...
I drove my bicycle past your window last night. I made contributions for your election in daylight. It almost seems to me that your impartiality got the money I need. Oh I got a brand new 5O speed bicycle you got a brand new seat. I think that we can work together to keep you on your seat...
March 21, 2009 at 10:21 AM
Mingya. Mike looks pretty good these days and is back in the saddle. And back on the bike as it were. Please let me know which street corner to stand on so that someone can bump into me and I can receive 900K.
March 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM
Geez! Arent all attorneys well respected in their tight knit communities?
March 21, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Sued MD said...
That reminds me when I went to a really haute restaurant and forgot the gratuity because it wasn't printed on the menue . The service was poor the next time.
March 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM
Mr. Spock said...
Fascinating. A 20 year contribution to make up for the 10 year term that his Honor refused during a prior 10 year contribution term. Higly logical in Luzerne County, Capt. Capt., Requesting permission to go to my Quarters immediately. I can no longer keep a straight face or Bwahaa Bwahaa stop laughing.
March 21, 2009 at 1:40 PM
Mr. Butera is trying to "bullshirt" his way around this one. I think we know what the real truth is here. "If it is red and it is a dog, it is a red dog." Conahan should have never, ever have presided over this case. By all rights the case should be revisited. The Luzerne County Court system is was corrupt and I believe it is.
March 21, 2009 at 5:13 PM
Luzerne county politics at its best ! As we all have stated, these judges and lawyers are all in each others pockets.
March 21, 2009 at 10:24 PM
Walter Mitchell, Bear Creek Village Mayor and candidate foir Luzerne County Prothonotary in the Republican Party survived a challenge by perennial candidate Bill James. James contended that Mitchell, the president of the Mitchell Financial Group, did not give complete financial disclosure because he listed his sources of income as “various insurance companies” not providing names and addresses. The former County Commissioner canmdidate additionally claimed Mitchell’s signature appeared on one of his 20 separate nominating petitions, a violation of election law, and asked for eight of the 20 petitions to be invalidated because Mitchell did not list the electoral district on them. Judge Lupas struck down that challenge too. If the Judge had agreed with James, Mitchell would have come up short on signatures he needed to get on the ballot. All that said, it appears Walter Mitchell is well on his way to making the race for GOP Prothonotary extremely competitive. Mitchell has been very energetic on the campaign trail and this mini roadblock will only add impetus to his goal of winning.
ED ON MEET THE PRESS
Governor Ed Rendell on Meet The Press today called for a Federal Capital budget focusing on infrastructure.
GOV. RENDELL: There's so many innovative ways to, to use the tax code to get private investment...
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
GOV. RENDELL: ...involved in this. There are innovative ways. David, we don't have a capital budget, a federal capital budget. We're the only governmental subdivision in the country without one. You could finance--for $30 billion a year, which these days is not a lot of money, you could finance almost $400 billion to put up front in an infrastructure repair program administered through something like the infrastructure bank.