The LuLac Edition #800, Apr. 29th, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: THE STUDENTS FROM THE SCRANTON STATE SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, 800 SIGNIFYING 800 EDITIONS OF LULAC AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MURPHY.
With today’s edition, The LuLac Political Letter commemorates its 800th edition. We’re closing in on our third anniversary and all we can say is THANK YOU for reading.
Kevin Murphy has always jumped into the water headfirst with little regard for which way the tide was turning. Many in Lackawanna County would call that politically foolhardy, others prefer to say he is a young man of principle. When he was on City Council, much to the chagrin of many of his supporters, he sided with the Doherty administration on the city tax plan that made much of the downtown redevelopment possible. The move torked off taxpayers and city employees. He paid for that vote with his seat on Council. This time as the newly elected State Representative in the 113th District, Murphy is the point man for the advocates of the Scranton State School for the Deaf. Today the freshman legislator delivered more than 55,000 signatures to the Governor to halt plans to close the school. He is also co- sponsoring along with 80 other lawmakers a bill that would put on hold the plan to run the institution by the Western Pennsylvania School for the deaf. Murphy’s actions come face to face with state powerhouse Robert Mellow who offered a compromise plan to turn the facility into a day school. Hearing Murphy on the Corbett show this afternoon, it was obvious to me he wasn’t buying that option. Murphy said that if the transition took place, it would be a major step backward for special education in Pennsylvania. Murphy said he hoped the proposal would pass and the Commonwealth would have time to study alternatives to privatization and possible closing. Murphy and the group in Harrisburg pointed out the costs between SSSD and the Western Pa. outfit. One of the reasons Governor Rendell sought the school closure was to save money. But look at this cost breakdown provided by WBRE TV’s Kyla Campbell: About half of the students at both schools are residential, which means they live on campus Monday through Friday and stay with their family on the weekend. For the 2008-2009 school year, SSSD's cost for residential students is $72,666, while WPSD's is $99,919. The Department of Education says home school districts pay 20% of the cost for each of their students who attend SSSD. If the school is privatized, that would jump to 40%. Based on this year's residential costs, the number would grow from $14,553 at SSSD to $39,967 at WPSD.
So Lackawanna County which in its history has had many political battles of import now finds itself in another showdown. This time we have a one term legislator vs. a long time Senate member that has buildings named after him in the Scranton area. Mellow has served for 39 of the 44 years Murphy has walked the earth. No one seems to be backing down. Will Murphy prevail? If he does, what of the consequences to his career? Could it mean bigger and better things? What if he fails? Already there is great pressure on him to fold but he has shown a willingness to stand his ground. Murphy is fighting entrenched forces that may hurt him politically. If he knows that, he’s not talking about it. He’s keeping his eye on the ball and swinging for the fences. The Stadium he is playing in and the fans he is working for will not hear their own cheers for his effort. But Kevin Murphy and all of us who just want the SSSD given a fair shake will. And it seems like, surprise of surprises, that’s all that matters to State Representative Kevin Murphy these days. Oh, and to clarify, he’s a member of the Pennsylvania State House. Profiles in courage in that institution are the exception, instead of the rule.
WILK # 2
When I was a radio sales representative, stations lived and died by the Arbritron ratings. The books measured audience members. For all the time I was selling radio advertising, FM stations dominated the top 5. Once in a while an AM station would crack the top 8 but never higher than that. But in the last ratings period, WILK radio came in at number 2 in the 12 plus category. That is truly amazing and shows the strength of the WILK lineup and Talk Radio as a format. (A few indicted Judges never hurt either!) This is not a fluke either because across the country, AM stations regarded as also rans are raking in the money. WBZ in Boston had its best year ever. The hunger for information continues. Congrats to WILK. Note: as some of my posters pointed out, the addition of WILK FM helped increase the ratings a great deal. But the WILK "brand" which started on the AM dial and still has listeners started it all.
........arrives in under 5 hours! Only on LuLac.