Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The LuLac Edition #814, May 12th, 2009



The three candidates running for Mayor of Scranton, Gary DeBilio, Chris Doherty and Robert Bolus debated last night at the University of Scranton’s Brennan Hall. Democratic endorsee and challenger Gary DeBilio came out of the box hot and heavy calling incumbent Mayor Chris Doherty a liar and charging that the Mayor divided the City rather than uniting it. Doherty rebutted saying that DeBilio attended only 1 of the 18 city recovery meetings and voted against the plan but decided to make noise when an election came up. Bolus on the other hand accused Doherty of trying to keep him off the GOP ballot and produced an affidavit that he claims will clear him of a 1989 charge that convicted him of stealing stolen property. In addition to the fireworks provided by the candidates, the capacity crowd in Brennan Hall cheered and jeered at select times for and against all three candidates making WNEP TV’s Scott Shaffer’s (the debate moderator) hands full. Here is a recap of where each candidate stood on select issues:
DeBilio: Said he ran a successful business in the city, served as Vice Chair and Chair of City Council as well as on the Scranton School Board. Said he was told not to make the race 4 years ago, added his friends told him to take the safe route this time too. Pointed out he was qualified to lead the city, unite it and become one of the greatest Mayors the city had.
Doherty: Pointed to the job he began 8 years ago, the 500 million dollars in construction as well as the destination from, Business Week magazine as Scranton being one of the best places to live in America.
Bolus: Said he was best qualified because he was open minded and would listen to all people. Pointed out the wage tax had to be reduced and said he would restructure city departments to be efficient.
Doherty: Building a new library in South Scranton was one of his goals as well as the continuation of the plan that has brought new construction and vibrancy to the city.
Bolus: Eliminate distressed city tag, eliminate garbage fees and lower the wage tax if not eliminate it. Settle all union contracts and do a forensic audit to see where the city finances were at.
DeBilio: Told the crowd he wanted to unify people. Chastised Doherty for saying when re-elected in 2005 that the real Scranton residents put him in office. DeBilio wanted to know what the 47% who voted against the Mayor could be categorized as, “unreal” people? Said he bring in jobs, lower wage tax and not build a new library until things were on a more even keel.
Bolus: He’d separate fire and police departments, settle contracts and not have a public safety director for police and fire. Said fire and police chiefs did those jobs anyway.
DeBilio: Pointed out there were 30 less police officers. Pledged to keep fire houses open and communicate with the departments.
Doherty: Citing the third lowest crime rate in the state, the Mayor said his administration has invested in public safety, opened up a new police headquarters and produced new computer technology that has increased public safety.
Doherty: Said he was going to work every day sticking to the recovery plan. Pointed out that there is 500 million dollars in new construction and that Scranton is looked at positively by others in the state and nation.
Bolus: Have to get rid of that designation, get the police and fire contracts under control without it and quit selling off city assets at a bargain basement price.
DeBilio: Came out charging at Doherty saying the Mayor promised a reduction in the wage tax, said he’d get money from non profits, and said Doherty was in office for 12 years of the 17 Scranton was “distressed”. Said Doherty filled his administration with overpaid administrators and said he’d save the city $750,000 be cutting the fat.
Bolus: In an innovative idea, Bolus proposed that he divide the city into different zone and have a foreman in each area who would be responsible for each area. Said public works employees were good workers.
DeBilio: Said the Public Works Department was a fine group of hard working people. Told the group the only thing he might do different is keep an eye on the overtime.
Doherty: Said that under his reign, there was a new Public Works headquarters. Told of on his first day in office, there was a 15 inch snow storm and that only 2 plows worked. Doherty said he worked with federal and state authorities to rebuild the fleet and increase efficiency.
Bolus: Improve clean energy, windmills and co gen plants to keep city clean.
DeBilio: Said that he was in agreement with going green but other priorities were important for the city and recounted his campaign stump speech.
Doherty: Pointed to the reformation of parks, and said his main goal was to get rid of the last vestiges of the coal scars left in this area.
Bolus: Said you can’t be borrowing money over and over to get out of debt. Told the crowd he was in the race to stay and that he expected to be the GOP nominee and Mayor. Would eliminate cronyism and told the crowd he did not take a dime for his campaign citing that he would be a true independent.
DeBilio: Waving a brochure that he claimed was from the Doherty campaign, he scolded the Mayor saying he had no shame for the terrible tactics. Said that his election was about uniting the city, helping the people, being open and accessible to all of the residents and not about hanging on to power. Pledged he would not run for election to another job and dared others to join him in that promise. They didn’t.
Doherty: Doherty says that he is a Mayor of all the people and that as Mayor, he has to work with everyone. Pointed to his relationships with Senators and Governors in getting the city’s fair share. Said his administration is about values, vision and leadership. Told the group we now have a plan and a foundation that future mayors can build on. Asked the group for their support to continue the track the city is on. Said that his administration proved that the people of Scranton could accomplish anything. Pointed out that people view Scranton in a different, more positive manner.


When he said the most dangerous job in the city was a public works employee. That gave DeBilio the opportunity to disagree and recount the death of a fire fighter last year in the city.
DeBilio: Not knowing the term or definition of “Brain drain” and then passing on the question. Then during the rebuttal, misconstruing what it meant giving Doherty the opportunity to give the proper definition. It looked like the smart kid schooling the jock in a high school lunchroom debate.


DeBilio and the Mayor chose blue suits while Bolus wore a blue suit coat with heather gray slacks. DeBilio had a light blue shirt on with yellow tie, Doherty a white shirt with red tie while Bolus had a powder blue shirt with striped navy on baby blue tie.


A forum for candidates for Luzerne County Controller will be held tonight at Luzerne County Community College in the Educational Conference Center, room 131.Start time: 7pm. Candidates will give a presentation then take questions from the audience. The Forum is being sponsored the The LuLac Political Letter.



A “Meet the Candidate” night will be on Thursday, May 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Chicken Coop, 531 Scott St., Wilkes-Barre, for Michael A. Pendolphi, candidate for judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at the door or in advance by sending a check to Pendolphi for Judge Committee, 1141 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort, PA 18704. For more information, call 718-0240.


As part of our on going series in covering the Luzerne and Lackawanna County Judicial races, we are going to do brief profiles on those candidates running. In today’s edition, we continue with Attorney Thomas O'Connor. The order was determined by our lottery at the LuLac Forum last week.


When Tom O'Connor announced his candidacy early this year, he explained it this way,
“People want to be able to have faith in who they vote for,” O’Connor said. “People know my background. And I want it to be known not only now but in the future that I will not profit from my position if elected by the people to the judiciary of this county.” O’Connor, one of 12 children of the late Patrick J. and Helen A. O’Connor, said he has always recognized the importance of community involvement and public service. His mother served as Luzerne County Register of Wills for 32 years. “My mother once told me, ‘Stand up to be seen, speak up to be heard and sit down to be appreciated,’ ” O’Connor said. “I want to help make this county a better place to live by being your judge.” O’Connor said he is proud of his representation of Vietnam veterans. He serves as the national legal adviser to the Veterans of Vietnam War and the Veterans Coalition. “I do this out of my devotion for their efforts on behalf of all of us by serving their country when called upon,” O’Connor said.

WILKES-BARRE – At age 57, Kingston attorney Tom O’Connor said “it’s now or never” for him to win a seat on the Luzerne County bench.
Thomas O’Connor favors campaign finance reform for judicial candidates to level playing field. O’Connor, a registered Democrat, has also cross-filed to run on the Republican ticket for the May primary to try to win a nomination to run for one of two open seats on the county Court of Common Pleas. O’Connor ran for judge six years ago but lost in the race that elected Judge Michael Toole. “I’ve learned from the past and I’m ready to move forward,” O’Connor said. “All the candidates talk about their experience and integrity and ability. It’s easy to mouth those words, but those who know me know I can do this job.” O’Connor said he expects to spend $150,000 in the primary race. He said most of his financial support has come from family and close friends. “A neighbor of mine gave me a rather large and unexpected donation,” O’Connor said. “He told me it was because he knew me and trusted me.” O’Connor said he would support campaign finance reform for judicial candidates to level the playing field. He said candidates should either not be on TV, or they all should be on for the same amount of time.
O’Connor said he was a law clerk for disgraced former county judge
Michael T. Conahan, who faced federal charges over a kickback scheme along with ormer county president judge Mark Ciavarella. O’Connor said he clerked for Conahan from 1993-96.
“The Mike Conahan I knew was a hardworking judge,” O’Connor said. “I had no idea that he was capable of what he has been charged with.” O’Connor said he has the right demeanor to be a judge; he said he rarely loses his cool – especially in a professional setting. He said he has the respect of his colleagues and friends. “That is something you don’t just get by putting ‘judge’ in front of your name,” he said. “You have to earn respect, and I believe I have over my 30-year career.” O’Connor, one of 12 children of the late Patrick J. and Helen A. O’Connor, said he has always recognized the importance of community involvement and public service. His mother served as Luzerne County register of wills for 32 years. O’Connor said he is proud of his representation of Vietnam veterans. He serves as the national legal adviser to the Veterans of Vietnam War and the Veterans Coalition. O’Connor and his wife, the former Roseann Naples, have three children, Michael, 23, Katie, 21, and Mary, 19. He graduated from King’s College and Temple University Law School.


At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just heard you on Wilk..Thanks for all you do..

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Scranton debate the way you described it reminds me of the British parliment. Hiss, boo, hiss, boo. Ain't no debate like a Scranton debate!!!!

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job covering that Scranton debate. It was a hot time in the old town last night, huh?

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read over on Marc Cour's new blog that 2 bloggers received target letters from feds. You hear anything on this?

At 1:54 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Read over on Marc Cour's new blog that 2 bloggers received target letters from feds. You hear anything on this?

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom O'Connor's work with the Veterans is common knowledge. I hope his political legaxy from his family does not work in reverse. He has been a good public servant for causes peopole normally don't hear about.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the target letter info is true, makes you wonder if they will be going after a certain radio personality who stated on air, that he never asked his friend the judge because he didn't want to be lied to. what did he know, when did he know it and why didn't he report on it?

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O'Connor made a huge tactical error with that commercial that he helped teachers fight to unionize.

Guarantee that loses him more votes than it gains.


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