Sunday, May 31, 2009

The LuLac Edition #834, May 31st, 2009



PHOTO INDEX: DNA PATERNITY TEST PRODUCT AND GOVERNOR ED RENDELL.


OH BABY 2

Last week in one of our editions, edition #829 in fact, we took Bristol Palin and her family to task for glamourizing her teenage pregnancy through the cover of People Magazine. We also made comments about unwed mothers bringing children into an uncertain world and questioned the judgement of these women. A story that I saw on line yesterday though made the Palin controversy pale in comparision. Desmond Hatchett of Knoxville, Tennessee has
fathered at least 20 children and maybe 21. This sex machine pig says he's impregnated at least 11 women and twice he's fathered four children in the same year. When Barry White was writing "Love Theme", I don't think he had this much multiplying in mind. The spotlight began to shine on Mr. Hatchett when his name appeared 11 times in one court docket regarding child support for fifteen kids. Hatchett is supposed to pay between $25 and $309 a month to each mother. But the state can only garnish 50 percent of his wages, to split among all the moms, and he only makes minimum wage. Some of the mothers get as little as $1.98. Mr. Sex Machine added a kicker to this story saying, "I didn't intend to have this many. It just happened". A couple of suggestions pal, maybe if you had respect for yourself and your women folk, this wouldn't just happen. Maybe if you kept it in your pants, this wouldn't just happen. Maybe if you weren't such a selfish, predatory animal, (and I'm being kind there) this wouldn't just happen. Three things outrage me about this story,
1. The taxpayers have to foot the bill for his lust.
2. No one is talking about fixing him.
3. The kids have no chance in life.
Here's the story from YOU TUBE:



"HE'D GET KILLED!!"

That was our own Governor Ed Rendell handicapping the chances of Congressman Joe Sestak on MSNBC Friday night if the former Admiral decided to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Senatorial primary. Here's Governor Ed on "The Ed Show".

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The LuLac Edition #833, May 30th, 2009












PHOTO INDEX: STATE REPRESENTATIVE ED STABACK AND LACKAWANNA COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN SYZMANSKI.

DUAL LAWMEN

Seems like the two top lawmen in Lackawanna County politics earned dual nomination for the fall. Therefore the two are virtually assured of election come November. Sheriff John Syzmanski won both the Democratic and Republican nominations. The long time lawman trounced Deputy Chester Cipilewski by almost 7,000 votes to win the Democratic nod and defeated him by 900 votes on the GOP side. One must wonder the future relationship, if any between the winning incumbent and his vanquished deputy. Meanwhile, incumbent DA Andy Jarbola gets another free electoral ride. The GOP top cop won his party’s nomination running unopposed and garnered 2900 votes on the Democratic side. Unlike Luzerne County, the Lackawanna County GOP seems to have a pretty good hold on this office. Past GOP DA’s were Ernie Preate and Paul Mazzoni.

POTHOLE PARK SAFE

State representative Ed Staback says not to worry, the Archbald Pothole State Park will most likely remain open. “The state spends little to keep the park up and running, and almost all of the maintenance is done by Archbald borough."There's no actual park personnel there, and no campground, no facilities for swimming” Staback told the Scranton Times. So unlike a few of the women I’ve known from the Mid Valley, the park is pretty low maintenance and according to the venerable state lawmaker will remain open for all pothole fans to enjoy.

THE SHOE DROPS

Jim Height, former President of the Wilkes Barre Area School Board and Ross Scarantinto, former superintendant of the Pittston Area School district entered guilty pleas in federal court yesterday for taking bribes from unnamed contractors. Their appearances were perfunctory and went quickly. More of these procedures are sure to be repeated in the coming months as the scandal unfolds.

NEWARK BEARS?

A caller to the WILK Saturday morning sports program hosted by Rob Nyehard and Joe Thomas brought up an intriguing possibility. The caller talked about the Yankee farm team in Newark and how there might be a possibility that in a few years they may be the Yankees Triple A team instead of the Scranton Wilkes Barre Yankees. The logic being that all three minor league teams would be within 25 minutes of the big ball park in the Bronx. Realistically, attendance at PNC Park has declined the last few years. Plus ticket prices are now $14.00 a person if you want to sit downstairs. So a family of four is already spending $56.00 just to get in the door. Compare that to the Red Barons when the ticket prices were less than $10.00 and you see where in this tough economy fan support might be waning. The political ramifications of a Yankee move are nil because the main architect of the Yankee move here, Bob Cordaro was defeated in his bid for reelection as Lackawanna County Commissioner.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The LuLac Edition #832, May 29th, 2009







PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE JOHN F. KENNEDY ON HIS BOAT, WBRE TV PROMOTIONAL AD FOR THE TONIGHT SHOW CIRCA 1964, OUR 1964 LOGO AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHARTS PROPOSED BY THE 1974 LUZERNE COUNTY CHARTER STUDY COMMISSION. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

CHARTER THEN

Since Luzerne County voters last week overwhelmingly made the decision to have a commission formed to rethink county government, I thought it might be instructive to share with readers of LuLac the last time a study was presented to the vox populi. The process started in earnest on May 15th, 1973 when a commission of seven members was created by the voters. The ballot question was, “Shall a government study commission of seven be elected to study the charter and plan of government of Luzerne County, to study and consider the advisability of adoption of an optional plan of government or a home rule charter and to recommend whether or not an optional form of government or a home rule charter should be adopted.” Seven members (Musto, Miner, Cooney, Corbett, Ray, Cappelini, and Chamberlain were the top vote getters out of 29 candidates) were elected at the same time of the passage on the question. On June 3rd, 1973 the Commission was certified with all expenses being picked up by the Luzerne County government. The commission devoted its first 7 months studying the form of government in Luzerne County interviewing county officials. Public hearings were also conducted in 6 geographic areas of the county to get public input. Many county officials felt the government could be improved by improving coordination between departments and the elimination of duplication of services. Surprisingly some row officers told commission members that the functions of their office could be better achieved by an appointed instead of an elected official. Input from citizens concerned the fact that some areas of the county were under represented by the county government.
The preliminary draft of the charter was presented in June of 1974 and contained these findings:
1. The present government consists of several unintegrated departments that result in fragmentation and duplication of services. To correct these deficiencies a coordinated system of administration is needed with clear cut lines of authority and responsibility. A chief executive is needed to administer the day to day operation of county government.
2. The county government is not sufficiently representative of the 342,000 citizens in its 886 square miles. A legislative branch is needed for more representative government.
3. Many of the shortcomings of the county government are caused by the limitation of the state mandates. The state laws governing counties did not change in the last 140 years. A home rule charter is the only way to shift the base of power from the State Capitol to Luzerne County, create an improved structure of government and increase the flexibility of county government.
4. The American system of checks and balances is absent in the present county government since there is no separation of legislative and executive powers. The three county commissioners act as both legislators and executives of the county government. There is a definite need for a legislative or policy making body and a separate executive, each with clearly defined duties and powers and a workable system of checks and balances.

KEY PROVISIONS
1. Establishment of two branches of government, Legislative and Executive.
2. A creation of a policy making legislative body consisting of 9 members elected from Councilmanic districts in the county. The County Council would be representative of the entire county.
3. A creation of the office of County Executive who would be elected at large.
4. The offices of District Attorney and County Controller would remain as elected departments. Both would be elected at large and serve as the chief prosecuting officer and financial watchdog respectively.
5. The charter would provide for citizens to participate in the government by mandating public meetings and special hearings on major issues. Plus the adoption of referendum (citizens voting on special ordinances) initiative (to propose new ordinances) and recall (get rid of elected officials by a majority vote) would also be a proposal of the charter.
6. An adoption of an administrative code, merit selection process, conflict of interest provisions purchasing procedures and a code of ethics.
7. Providing clear lines of responsibility and accountability regarding the county row offices. The elected row offices would be eliminated and the administrative duties would fall under the county executive who would appoint department heads.

A RECOMMENDATION
After much consideration, the commission recommended that a referendum be submitted to qualified electors for the adoption of a Home Rule Charter. The following question was placed on the Nov. 5th, 1974 ballot, “SHALL THE HOME RULE CHARTER CONTAINED IN THE REPORT DATED AUGUST 20TH, 1974 OF THE LUZERNE COUNTY GOVERNMENT STUDY COMMISSION, PREPARED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE HOME RULE CHARTER AND OPTIONAL PLANS LAW, BE ADOPTED BY LUZERNE COUNTY?” Electors were asked to vote yes or no.

THE CAMPAIGN
The charter campaign was thrust into the midst of a highly charged political time. President Richard Nixon had just resigned the month the charter plan was released and during the election season the nation was experiencing high inflation. There were debates on the pardon of Richard Nixon by President Ford plus Mr. Ford’s infamous WIN button (Whip Inflation Now) campaign. Statewide, Governor Milton Shapp appeared on an easy road for re-election against Philadelphia area businessman Drew Lewis. Shapp had distinguished himself nationally by negotiating a settlement with independent truckers who were feeling the pinch of scarce gas. Nationally the Democrats were on the verge of increasing their already solid majorities in Congress as a reaction to Watergate, and statewide Shapp’s approval ratings were through the roof despite enacting a state income tax upon taking office in 1971. Locally the only Republican row officer was Controller Stephen Yanoshak but he wasn’t even duly elected in 1973. Joseph Tirpak beat him handily in that row office race but could not serve due to the fact that a state law prohibited him from taking office since he held another financial office (assistant Budget Director) prior to his election. The Democratic establishment did their best to blanket the county and speak against the charter. And this was no tame Skrepenak and Vonderheid plea of “Please trust us”. Nope, this was hardball. Elected officials under the dome went to service clubs and neighborhood meetings saying the new plan would raise taxes significantly. County workers told friends and families, “Sure vote for it but while you’re at it, take the bread out of my mouth!” As a college student at King’s, our government class had a visit from a row officer who plaintively told us he had to get two of his kids through college and without his row office job, he’d be in the poorhouse. Plus the memories of the failed City Executive experiment in Wilkes Barre was fresh in the minds of voters. The names of Frederick Wagner and Frank Vanore were bandied about as high priced out of towners (their salary was $20,000, pretty big at the time) who had no clue how to navigate the choppy political waters around this area. Against that backdrop, the Charter question was defeated on Nov. 5th 1974 and life went on until the start of the new century and citizens tried for another effort.
Source: LuLac archives.

JFK AT 92

John Kennedy would have turned 92 today. Born in 1917, JFK turned into one of our most charismatic, tragic political figures. Here's Kennedy in one of his memorable moments:


THE TONIGHT SHOW


That unique American institution, The Tonight Show goes through another transition this evening. Jay Leno will host his last show in the time slot formerly occupied by Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. It is remarkable that in a span of 55 years, the program only had 4 hosts. Leno moves to prime time in the fall. The Tonight Show always satirized the national political scene but also became a forum for political personalities to talk about their issues and aspirations. In a classic episode, here’s Richard Nixon playing piano on The Tonight Show with host Jack Paar. Note: sound cuts out one and a half minutes in:


1964


Senator Barry Goldwater wins the California Republican Presidential primary, making him the overwhelming favorite for the nomination. Former Mayor Jim McNulty of Scranton is fond of saying that “timing is everything in love and politics”. Rockefeller got that double whammy the weekend before the primary. His second wife gave birth to their first child pre primary day reminding some of the more conservative voters in California about Rocky’s dumping of his first wife. Plus 60% of California voters were born out of state in 1964 giving Goldwater’s brand of frontier populist positions added heft. Also the Goldwater forces held their advertising fire conducting a huge advertising blitz during the final weekend of the campaign. Goldwater won by 51% of the vote and carried the state by 207,000 votes…..on the Democratic side of the Presidential race, President Lyndon Johnson announced plans to transform America by leading it upward to a Great Society. Johnson made his remark at the University of Michigan…….Statewide Project 70 passed in the State Senate. Project 70 was an open air, open space program that would develop land into state parks that increasing recreational activities in the state. The plan was the brainchild of Secretary of Forests and Waters Maurice Goddard……The 1964 Phillies sweep a series of three night games against the Houston Colt 45ers. The games are played at night because of the intense Texas heat and bugs. Pitchers Jim Bunning, Chris Short and Art Mahaffey easily handle the Texas team in the series…………Luzerne County Commissioners Jim Post and Bill Goss unveil a new 35 hour work week. The proposed schedule eliminates Saturday morning hours and has the day starting at 8:30AM and ending at 4:30PM. Meanwhile, Democratic row officers protested and announced that they would have their own hours which would include the Saturday sessions and would keep the 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday schedules. Row officers Register of Wills Helen O’Connor, Clerk of Courts Raymond Bittner, Prothonotary Bernard Podcasy and Coroner Dr. John Gibbons said they would operate seperately from the proposed GOP schedule……..and 45 years ago this week the number 1 song in LuLac land was the reemergence of the Beatles with another number 1 tune, “Love Me Do”, a song originally recorded in 1962.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The LuLac Edition #831, May 28th, 2009



PHOTO INDEX: SIGNAGE FOR ONE OF OUR LOCAL STATE PARKS AND A SAME SEX COUPLE ON THEIR
WEDDING DAY.

STATE PARKS CLOSINGS?


It’s state budget wrangling time and you know what that means in the Keystone State. State parks and their customers are threatened with possible closure or reduction in staffs. Seven state parks in Northeast Pennsylvania could face a shutdown depending how the state budget battle turns out. Archbald Pothole in Archbald, Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro and Big Pocono in Monroe County, Prompton in Wayne County, Salt Spring in Susquehanna County and Mt. Pisgah in Bradford County are on a hit list of 50 state parks. Those parks would be considered for closing to offset anticipated spending cuts according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, an agency that operates 117 parks. This list is ammunition in a budget battle already heating up to an inferno. The Rendell administration has spent the past several weeks criticizing the impact of a $27.3 billion budget bill approved by the Senate Republican leadership.

NOT SO FAST!!!!

A federal judge issued a restraining order that prohibits former Luzerne County Judge Mark
Ciavarella from withdrawing his pension. The U. S. Attorney's Office sought the order to protect its attempt to seek restitution from Ciavarella. This is just the latest saga in the Luzerne County Judicial scandal case.

NEW NAME

The GOP, in its attempt to rebrand itself as the party of fools and a chance to demonize the Democrats has reached a new low. To their credit, party chieftains are trying to avoid a public fight. Some elements of the national GOP want the Democratic party to be named the "Socialist Democrat" party. Party Chairman Michael Steele and others say the party should also drop the renaming resolution and focus on more serious problems. .Some party leaders described the initial resolution as "stupid" and "absurd." Ya think????

A NEW DEBATE


A Montgomery County lawmaker will introduce a bill to establish full and equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania. Current state law defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Sen. Daylin Leach's bill would not require churches or clergy to perform or recognize any marriage that does violence to their doctrine. However it would guarantee any homosexual couple the right to a marriage license and would grant full legal recognition to any such union. Leach said he did not want to violate any religious principles and declared this was a civil right of marriage. Same-sex marriages performed in other states also would also be legally recognized here. From a political reality, the bill would seem to face a major battle in the current General Assembly, and in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a 30-20 majority. Gov. Ed Rendell, a pro gay rights champion whose administration will start providing health benefits to qualifying, unmarried partners of state workers on July 1 has said he does not support same-sex marriage. However, Leach, motivated by recent passage of same-sex marriage bills in New Hampshire and Maine, said he believes it is time to start the debate here. And so it (the discourse) begins.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The LuLac Edition #830, May 27th, 2009



PHOTO INDEX: PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PUZZLE PIECES INDICATIVE OF A WIDE RANGING INVESTIGATION.

PUZZLE PIECES


News reports Tuesday confirmed that the FBI is requesting information from Luzerne County Community College. A spokesperson said the college is cooperating with the federal government and providing the information. Sources say it's unknown what information the FBI is seeking. But it was a matter of time before LCCC became the subject of an inquiry given the millions of dollars going through there and its political connections over the years. The FBI investigation continues to be one big jigsaw puzzle that is connecting little by little, day by day, bit by bit. It might take years for the picture to be made whole or the puzzle solved, but the effort is on a painstaking path to the truth.

SMOOTH GUY!!

The Scranton Times reports that convicted Lackawanna County official Chuck Costanzo had himself a high old time at Mohegan Sun back in April. Old lover boy put the moves on a patron that just did not fall for his Soprano like charms. From the Times: Costanzo was charged with misdemeanor harassment and disorderly conduct by state police at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs the night of April 23 into the morning of April 24, accused of making unwanted advances toward a casino patron. Police distributed a news release about the incident Monday. Mr. Costanzo, 48, and Brian Dunda, 43, were playing slot machines when Mr. Dunda spoke to passer-by Tara Consoli, 37, of Forty Fort, asking where her boyfriend was and letting her play a few rounds on his machine "for good luck," police said. As Ms. Consoli played the machine, Mr. Dunda wrapped his arms around her waist, placed his head on her chest and put his hand up her shirt, police said. She withdrew and began to argue with Mr. Dunda and Mr. Costanzo and retreated to the back of the high-limit room, police said. Mr. Costanzo approached Ms. Consoli, told her to "forget about that guy" and made a lewd proposition, police said. Mr. Dunda faces a harassment citation, state police said. The recent charges may be the least of Mr. Costanzo's legal worries. Mr. Costanzo was convicted last month of 19 federal counts - including charges of money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion - carrying a potential of 186 years in prison and fines of up to $4.75 million, plus possible restitution to the county. Costanzo was given his big contract by then County Commissioner Bob Cordaro. This little incident just adds more unseemly behavior by a person who was tabbed to do the taxpayer’s business. Plus, if his comments, “forget about that guy” were accurate, Chuckie is not worth his salt as a “wing man”.

OBAMA’S SUPREME PICK

President Barack Obama chose federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor as the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, praising her as "an inspiring woman" with both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely. The pick, as Rush Limbaugh said “tells us a lot about who Barack Obama is as President." I agree with that one phrase Rush was saying, the other garbage he was spewing was predictable. Clues to Obama’s pick could be found in his biography “The Audaucity of Hope”. He wasn’t looking for the reincarnation of Justice William Douglas nor a sparring partner for Justice Scalia. All he wanted was a reasonable assurance that his pick would have the ability to recognize that sometimes the opposite side just might have a point. Obama voted against John Roberts as Chief Justice in 2005 after much agonizing because he wasn’t comfortable that Roberts might use his skills on behalf of the haves and not the have nots. An argument of strong vs. weak if you will. There’s a reason the President had the nickname “No Drama Obama” in the campaign. His pick indicates a pragmatism that will move the country forward without ideological battle lines drawn in the sand. His choice today was a reflection of his vision for not only his Presidency but the nation. From YOU TUBE, here’s his announcement made to e mail recipients:



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The LuLac Edition #829, May 26th, 2009





PHOTO INDEX: THE COVER OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE FEATURING BRISTOL PALIN AND BABY SON TRIPP, FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS AND THE LATE LACKAWANNA COUNTY REGISTER OF WILLS SAM CALI. (PHOTO FROM TIMES LEADER).

SAM CALI

Sam Cali, former Lackawanna County Register of Wills passed away over the weekend at the age of 92. Cali was a personable, glad handing politico who was a mainstay in Lackawanna County politics in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Cali’s signs for re-election could be seen on buses and in yards during his heyday. Mr. Cali was known for his civility and for his willingness to help anyone regardless of party. Cali also served for many years on Dunmore Council. Normally when a former elected official passes on, there is a strong identification of his political party. Nowhere in his obituary was there an indication of his party affiliation. And honestly, I cannot remember what party Mr. Cali belonged to, I just remember him as a dedicated public servant of all the people. That speaks volumes of his service and not the vehicle of how he got there.

SHIMKUS SCORES!

Paul Carpenter of the morningcallonline writes that former State Representative Frank Andrews Shimkus scored big at a New York State casino. He writes: Rep. Frank Shimkus, D-Lackawanna, another gambling supporter, hit a $7,000 jackpot in New York State in February of last year. Not all the amazing jackpots for Pennsylvania pols were out-of-state. Rep. Flo Fabrizio, D-Erie, another gambling industry backer, won a $1,500 jackpot at a casino in his county after inserting only 75 cents in the machine.Those are only the ones that were well publicized. Last May, I characterized the good luck of politician/casino boosters as ''miracles'' -- because I have yet to hear about such good luck. Mr. Carpenter, let us not forget that former Representative Shimkus is an ordained minister, that wasn’t luck my friend but the Lord’s will.

MUNLEY FALLS SHORT

Lackawanna County Common Pleas Judge Tom Munley failed in his bid to ascend to the Superior Court in last Tuesday’s statewide election. Munley, a Vietnam War vet and charismatic campaigner who parlayed his appearances on WYOU TV to a Judgeship a few years ago was the victim of a few things in his campaign. First off he was sidelined with a major health concern and secondly there were more than a few people who said Munley, just recently elected a few years ago, was overreaching. More importantly, Munley did not have the large geographic advantage that propels statewide judicial candidates into office. The results statewide were thus: Allegheny County Judge Robert J. Colville claimed 21 percent of the vote, while Allegheny County prosecutor Kevin F. McCarthy had 20 percent and Philadelphia Judge Anne E. Lazarus had 19 percent. Philadelphia Judge Paula A. Patrick had 15 percent, Munley had 13 percent and Philadelphia Judge John Milton Younge had 12 percent.
I am not an advocate of Merit Selection for Common Pleas Court Judges. I think it takes the voice away from the people. Statewide though, I think it should be considered. We don’t know candidates from Western Pennsylvania or even from one of our neighboring counties. But if a candidate has a gender and geographic base, they’ll win. Take the case of Barbara Jo Ernsberger, a Pittsburgh lawyer who was the only one of the 22 appellate-court candidates to receive a "not recommended" rating from a state bar review panel. In a crowded field she attracted 22 percent of the vote. Twice defeated for Alleghany Common Pleas Court, she was the top vote getter on the Democratic side for a seat on Commonwealth Court. But the people spoke, not knowing who she was and there she is, steps away from the bench. Food for thought.

BRISTOL AND BABY

Bristol Palin will tell you she just doesn't have the time anymore to educate herself to become a nurse. But she has managed to pose for a cover on People Magazine with her out of wedlock child. The recent magazine photo did nothing but glamorize teen pregnancy and irresponsible behavior when it comes to teen age sexuality. The law of unintended consequences will tell us that Bristol baby didn’t knowingly want teen girls to follow her example but the reality of the situation is that the photo makes her the pinup girl for teen motherhood. On the surface, I don’t begrudge her the fame or fortune she might have received from the cover. But what bothers me is the sanitized article where you see no dirty diapers, no stressed out single teen mom abandoned by free and easy sperm contributing jocks who had their way with the daughter of a United States Governor. Her picture looks beautiful, the baby looks well fed, happy and perfect. It’s almost like she’s saying, “I can have it all, how about you?” Teen age girls and boys will find this as acceptance of bringing a child into the world without two grounded parents. People reports that she will enroll at a local college, not for medicine but for real estate. I must give her credit for finishing high school because most unwed teen moms don’t. But her education is going to depend on the kindness of family members who will watch the child or on grandparents who will take the all too familiar route of raising the child. Bristol Palin joins the staggering statistic that less than 2 percent of unwed teenage mothers get a college degree by the time their 30. Why? Because life happens, kids get sick and if she is any kind of a mother she’ll put the child first. But that comes at a personal cost that can only be calculated at a later date. In an interview shortly after the birth of her child, Palin said her life was changed radically and she couldn’t do the little things for herself like she did before like getting her nails done and texting her gal pals. As she will find out like most single teen moms, especially those without her unique support system, that isn’t even the half of it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The LuLac Edition #828, May 25th, 2009


PHOTO INDEX: MARINE SALUTING AT ARLINGTON.


MEMORIAL DAY


We remember those today who gave their lives and spirit in the fights for our freedom in all wars, whether popular or not. We thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. What better way to capture the essence of their sacrifice through two videos produced with songs performed by Trace Adkins and Shawn Zola.


Friday, May 22, 2009

The LuLac Edition #827, May 22nd, 2009





















PHOTO INDEX: OUR 1964 LOGO, CONGRESSMAN PAUL KANJORSKI PICTURED WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AT A BILL SIGNING, SUZANNE KELLY, WILK'S KEVIN LYNN, SUE HENRY AND STEVE CORBETT ON THE SET OF "THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA", WILK'S SUE HENRY AND WBRE TV'S ERIC SHEINER.

NEPA -TISM

WVIA TV's “State of Pennsylvania” hosted the WILK talkers on Thursday night. Kevin Lynn, Sue Henry and Steve Corbett joined in the discussion of nepotism in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Fielding questions from callers, e mailers and audience members the WILK staff were kept on their toes regarding this issue. Can nepotism ever become a thing of the past in LuLac land? At this point, the answer is “who knows”. But “who knows” is much better than “who cares!” And in my humble opinion I think we’re making progress. Voters and citizens are rebelling against the “same family cliques” dominating elective office. Just look at the two top vote getters in this week’s judicial race. Bill Amesbury became Magistrate in 2001 mainly because South Wilkes Barre voters did not want another member of the O’Donnell political clan in office, even if she was related only by marriage. Amesbury and Tina Polachek Gartley won this week because voters rejected the “name” candidates whose families were involved in politics generationally. In the 2006 State Representative race to succeed Kevin Blaum, voters picked Eddie Day Pashinski over another O’Donnell family member and Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly. Furthermore, earlier this year the appointment of former Mayor Jim Connors’ son to a plum job in the Doherty administration raised such a public outcry that the young man stepped aside. Nepotism still exists but it is on the run due to more vocal citizens, an active and competitive media and a more independent and thoughtful electorate.

JUDICIAL MEDIA REVIEW

We’re still dissecting the Luzerne County Judicial race and in today’s edition we present to you an opinion from Scott Cannon, a well known video and visual arts technician. Cannon has started a blog site and in one of his latest offerings he critiques the media of the candidates in the primary for the office of Judge on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Here’s his link:

BUMPER MUSIC

There is a mini deb
ate going on in the hallowed halls of WILK Radio. The topic, bumper music. For those not familiar with the term, “bumper music” are the tunes you hear when a show comes back from commercial break. The morning show’s producer on WILK, “Bosco” and I have been on the same wave length regarding tunes. Some of the songs “Bosco” has used mirrors our 1964 and 1968 editions where we present a top tune of that week in that year. The wily producer has even reached back to the 1950s much to the delight of morning host Kevin Lynn and myself. Sue Henry’s show features an eclectic blend that can go from Dinah Washington to the Talking Heads. Henry lets “Bosco” have at it letting him dredge up obscure offerings like Gloria Woods’ (she of “The Woody Woodpecker theme) “Hey Bellboy”. Steve Corbett has been known to feature local artists, has now gotten into lounge acts singing at a make believe going away party for Judges Conahan and Ciavarella as well as having Polka Fridays. A few days ago morning co host Nancy Kman opined that she would prefer newer music say something like from the late 80s or 90s. My personal opinion is that Kman cringes at songs from her high school days which is only natural. However she is not the only one who has urged us oldies aficionados to get with the new century when it comes to music. Eric Sheiner from WYOU TV used to beseech me to put some newer music on my You Tube features and no less an authority than Mrs. Lulac has pointed out to me that the music I regularly listen to with the top down is older than the music my parents listened to when I was growing up. She says, “You didn’t hear them pine away for “The Charleston” like you do for “The Limbo” do you?” She has a point! Anyway, since this is a slow, lazy hazy Memorial Day weekend, I figured I’d throw this out for discussion. Is Nancy Kman on the right track when she says the “bumper music” should be modernized or do lovers of the music of the baby boom era like Bosco, Kevin Lynn and me have the stronger argument? And if you were producing a radio talk show, what songs would you use? Let us know. And to give you an idea on how things can progress, let’s take a look at two videos featuring the Meri Wilson song, “Telephone Man”, then updated to “The Internet Man”. I suppose if she could update, Bosco and I can too!




IN THE LOOP

Congressman Kanjorski, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, joined President Obama at the White House for the bill signing of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act. The legislation includes two of Chairman Kanjorski’s provisions to help people remain in their homes and protect the viability of their credit unions. Chairman Kanjorski’s first provision will work to stem the increase of home foreclosures by allowing mortgage servicers to modify loans without the fear of legal action from investors who oppose changing loan terms. His second provision aims to recapitalize the credit union deposit insurance system to ensure the long-term stability of the credit union system. “Foreclosures hurt everyone – the neighbor, the servicer, the investor, and most importantly, the homeowner,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “My provision aims to decrease the number of foreclosures nationwide by making it easier for lenders to take losses earlier in the process, enabling people to stay in their homes, and preserving our neighborhoods. By passing this provision, Congress has taken a giant step towards helping to gain control of the increasing number of foreclosures.” Chairman Kanjorski added, “Furthermore, without including the language from my credit union stabilization bill, two-thirds of credit unions would have negative earnings in 2009 as a result of the need to rebuild deposit insurance reserves because of recent losses. But, with the inclusion of this provision, credit unions will be able to recapitalize over seven years and continue to provide needed credit to their members, an essential element which could help to revive the economy during these difficult times.” According to Realty Trac, in April 2009 alone there were 98 foreclosures in Lackawanna County; 46 foreclosures in Monroe County; and 28 foreclosures in Luzerne County. The bipartisan Kanjorski loan modification provision will help to reduce the foreclosures in these counties, throughout Pennsylvania, and around the country by limiting the ability of disgruntled investors to bring lawsuits against servicers who modify a mortgage in order to keep a family in a home.

1964

New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller defeats
Barry Goldwater in the Oregon Republican primary, slowing but not stalling Goldwater's drive toward the nomination………Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru dies; he is succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri…….Statewide, hearings on 561 absentee ballots get underway in the city of Philadelphia. Similar challenges began to take place in Lackawanna County. There are 361 votes disputed in the Scranton area. The controversy is surrounding the close U.S. Senate nomination between Judge Michael Musmanno and Internal Affairs Secretary Genevieve Blatt. When this process started Blatt held a lead of 640 votes over a million cast………………………the 1964 Phillies lose two out of three to their cross state rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pirates pitchers Vern Law and Bob Veale best Phillies hurlers Chris Short and Ray Culp……in Wilkes Barre, School Board member George Ritchie, a Wilkes Barre city attorney pressed the board for a motion against the proposed merger of city schools. Dr. David Kistler, also a board member said a majority of the school board felt the merger was a good thing. Ritchie’s motion lacked a second and died in the meeting……….and 45 years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was the Ray Charles singers doing their version of “Love Me With All Of Your Heart”. The You Tube version calls it as a number 3 hit but it did make it to the top of the heap for one week according to my records.


We may be taking a little break for the Memorial Day weekend. It will depend on the news cycle. I'm trying to finish the ever elusive third book which again has been hurled back at me from the editors for the ninth time. So we'll be dealing with that this weekend. Have a safe holiday in case we don't post this weekend. But stop by and visit anyway.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The LuLac Edition #826, May 21st, 2009





PHOTO INDEX: WYLN TV 35'S L.A. TARONE, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OFFICIAL CHRIS McLAUGHLIN, JUDICIAL CANDIDATE TINA POLACHEK GARTLEY AND THIS BLOG EDITOR. THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN BY LOCAL POLITICAL CONSULTANT AND FORMER STATE COMMITTEEMAN ROBERT CARUSO AT THE LEAGUE FORUM. CARUSO TOLD ME HE WS GOING TO POSE ME WITH CANDIDATES WHO HE WAS CERTAIN WOULD WIN IN THE SPRING PRIMARY. HE WAS RIGHT AND THUS THE PHOTO. THE BOTTOM PHOTO IS OF THE WYLN TV 35 COVERAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT MODERATOR DAN PACHANCE, POLITICAL ANAYLST JOE ZOBA, THIS BLOG EDITOR AND LUZERNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER MARYANNE PETRILLA. THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN BY COMMISSIONER PETRILLA'S HUSBAND, JACK.

ELECTION AFTERMATH

WYLN BEHIND THE SCENES

I was very happy to be on the Election Night coverage with the folks from WYLN TV. We were on the air from 8pm to 11pm with perhaps the most comprehensive election coverage in Luzerne County. My fellow panel members were Hazleton political analyst Joe Zoba, Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, WYLN TV News Director L.A. Tarone and WYLN TV host Don Pachance who anchored the coverage. Having worked in radio and TV broadcasting in the 70s and 80s, the election night hustle and bustle brought back some great memories. Also as one who worked in various campaigns, the waiting for election results brought back memories of those nail biting days. The WYLN TV coverage was shown locally on Service Electric Channel 19. During the night we covered the Judicial race in Luzerne County getting an opportunity to speak to the two Democratic winners, William Amesbury and Tina Polachek Gartley. We also watched as the crack WYLN news staff garnered interviews with winning candidates from the Hazleton Area for Council and School Board. The people you see in the photo index were the lead people for the coverage and again I was happy to be included. But the true credit belongs to the behind the scenes people who scurried about with statistics, photo clips of what and who we were talking about as well as getting the latest returns in from the precincts. News Director L.A. Tarone was like the captain of a ship sailing steady into a sea of statistics and information. And of course this piece would not be complete without a shoutout to two old radio guys, Tony Pacelli and “Cruisin" Bob Adams who found their way from radio to TV. Hope anyone who saw it enjoyed the broadcast.

CHANGES

After the defeat of Pittston Mayor Joe Keating for another term as Pittston Mayor by new comer Jason Klush, we all figured were were finished with surprises. But Wednesday Keating resigned his post as Mayor saying that his remaining time in office would not serve the city well since his views were rejected. Councilwoman Donna McFadden Connors was named acting mayor. Michael Lombardo will take her seat. He won a Democratic nomination for a city council seat Tuesday.

HOME RULE WINNERS

The voters spoke loud and clear on Tuesday regarding Home Rule voting overwhelmingly to form a commission to look at the county way of doing governmental business. The commission will be set up to study new ways to improve county government or keep it as is. Here’s the list of the top 11 vote getters:
Jim Haggerty of Kingston, 23,977; Walter L. Griffith Jr. of Wilkes-Barre, 23,010; John Adonizio of Hughestown, 16,193; Veronica Ciaruffoli of Larksville, 15,456; Frank E.P. Conyngham of Shavertown, 15,385; Rick Morelli of Sugarloaf, 15,200; Jack Schumacher of Kingston, 15,206; Richard “Kick” Heffron of Dallas, 15,167; Robert “Whammer” Wanyo of Forty Fort, 13,916; Christopher “C.J.” Kersey of Kingston, 13,887; and Charmaine H. Maynard of Sugarloaf, 13,640. The mix is interesting especially with the selection of Haggerty, Schumacher, and Adonizio all who served or are in political office. My concern, with all due respect to those elected, is that I do not see a name on here that might be able to bridge the gap between the reality and theory of government. That said, this will be interesting to watch.

DEBILIO TO RETURN

Word on the street in Scranton is that Gary DeBilio, defeated Mayor candidate against Chris Doherty might be in the running for a seat on Scranton City Council. Bill Courtright was elected tax collector and thus will be giving up his seat. DeBilio has not denied interest and if he were to join the Council, Chris Doherty’s win Tuesday night might turn into a pyrrhic victory.

JUDICIAL NUMBERS

Looking at the numbers in both the Democratic and Republican sides in the Luzerne County Judicial race, it is fascinating to see the numbers range. It took less than 11,000 votes to win on the Democratic side and less than 5,000 to garner the GOP nomination. The candidates coming in after the winners on the Democratic side, Joseph J. Musto 7,642, and Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. 7,374, cracked the 4,000 mark. Other candidates who got above that were, Daniel Zola 5,017, Gene Sperazza 5,710, Thomas A. O'Connor 5,719, and Jennifer Rogers 4,048. The others in the field followed with less than 4,000.
On the GOP side Hughes and Amesbury cracked the 4500 vote mark while Polachek Gartley, Sklarosky, Zola and Rogers broke the 2600 vote barrier. The rest finished below 2600.

ROLL OF HONOR

It was a tough campaign, a ballot filled with perhaps too many names at a time in county history that was at best trying and difficult to mount a campaign. But whether they won or lost, we must salute the men and women of the Luzerne County legal profession who sacrificed their time, energy and resources to run this race. Their names are:
Joseph J. Musto
Tina Polachek Gartley
Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr..
C.J. Bufalino
Daniel Zola
Richard Hughes
Stephen A. Menn
Tom Marsilio
Gene Sperazza
Michael Blazick
Joe Terrana
Thomas A. O'Connor
Tony Lumbis
Jennifer Rogers
Molly Hanlon Mirabito
William H. Amesbury
Michael Pendolphi.
For making the effort, in the eyes of many citizens, you all are winners. And if you're feeling a tad disappointed, let me leave you with the immortal thoughts of the Chairman of the Board.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The LuLac Edition #825, May 20th, 2009























PHOTO INDEX: DISTRICT JUSTICE AND DUAL BALLOT JUDICIAL NOMINEE WILLIAM AMESBURY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY ATTORNEYS SET TO SQUARE OFF IN NOVEMBER FOR THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, FRANK CASTELLANO AND MARGARET BISIGNANI MOYLE, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE TINA POLACHEK GARTLEY AND GOP NOMINEE RICHARD HUGHES. POLACHEK GARTLEY AND HUGHES WILL FACE OFF IN NOVEMBER FOR THE LUZERNE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS SEAT.

ELECTION 2009

The off year election 2009 is now in the books but not before making history on a few political fronts. We spent this election night at the studios of WYLN TV 35 in Hazleton reporting and commenting on the results. (More on that in future editions). Here’s a recap:

THEN THERE WERE 3

17 candidates ran for two open seats on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Wilkes Barre Magistrate William Amesbury emerged victorious winning the nomination of both the Democratic and Republican party. Amesbury is no stranger to the concept of cross filing having won his last Magisterial race that way but more importantly launching his career as a District Justice by winning a GOP nomination against then incumbent and Ridge appointee Kathy O’Donnell. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Amesbury appears to be headed for a seat on the Common Pleas bench. Finishing second on the Democratic side was Tina Polachek Gartley who ran a spirited campaign for the other nomination. On the Republican side, Attorney Richard Hughes won the GOP nomination with under 5,000 votes. Amesbury followed closely behind. All along during this race, it was believed a nomination on the GOP side could be had in the 5,000 vote range because of the sheer number of candidates. The nominations of Amesbury, Gartley and Hughes happened because each of the candidates had a unique voting characteristic that set them apart from the pack. Amesbury had literally no competition in the heavily Democratic 6th district as opposed to candidates Musto, Terrana, Bufalino and Sperraza who claimed the Pittston area as their home base. The 4 divided up 25% of the total vote cast while Amesbury held steady with about 13% on his own. Polachek Gartley ran a focused campaign that accentuated her gender as well as her experience but also her connection to the community. While her female opponents Rogers and Hanlon Maribto could lay claim to the same type of volunteerism, it was Polachek Gartley’s message that resonated more. Hughes worked both sides of the aisle hard but did not shy away from the GOP label citing his experience in all areas of the law. His fellow Republican Michael Pendolphi finished way down on the totem pole. It is apparent to me the county GOP did nothing to push their two candidates because if they did, Pendolphi would have finished higher. As it was Hughes barely eked out a win being trailed hotly by Daniel Zola, Joe Sklarosky and Polachek Gartley. On Friday I was wondering what if anything the county GOP was going to do organization wide to help Hughes. Terry Casey, GOP Chairman never returned the call. This set of circumstances for Hughes is a good news/bad news type of story. The good news is he won the GOP nod, the bad news is he’ll be facing a formidable opponent in both the Democratic organization and their newest star, Polachek Gartley.
The three candidates also had a message that voters seemed to like. Amesbury’s was, “What the other candidates tell you they’ll do, I’m doing right now as a Magistrate”. Polachek Gartley’s line was, “When I became a lawyer I made a decision not to make a fortune but to make a difference”. And Hughes’ line was simple, “People know my reputation”. These three tag lines seems to have set these three apart from the other candidates.

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

If you look at the big spenders in the race, it appeared money couldn’t get them over the top. C.J. Bufalino: $182,622.87, Joe Musto: $193,037.88, Thomas A. O'Connor: $122,578.49, Gene Sperazza: $281,542.59 all spent considerably more than the three winners, Amesbury who spent $137, 350.00, Hughes with $100,587.00 and Polachek Gartley with $30,193.00. A few of the big money candidates hired ad agencies that primarily do not do political work. Gene Sperraza at his forum appearances and rallies told poignant stories of his upbringing which were real, tugged at the heart and gave you an insight into the man. None of it appeared in his ad campaign. While Musto and Bufalino’s ads were top notch touching on all the points you’d want, their candidacies were hampered by too many contenders dividing up one big voting block. Polachek Gartley’s advertising was targeted to the most visible outdoor advertising and very limited broadcast media advertising. Hughes started late on TV and that seemed to be a good strategy but one must wonder if he had started earlier whether he might have broken that 5,000 vote plateau. Amesbury’s ads never went off message, so much so that by the end of the campaign you could recite his commercials in your sleep. The wins of Amesbury, Polachek Gartley and Hughes prove that you needn’t break the bank to be successful in a crowded race.

NOT DONE YET

Even though three candidates won this primary, you can bet you might be seeing more of the lawyers who wound up on the short end this season. Sklarosky, Zola, Musto, Sperraza, O’Connor and Rogers with their vote totals can lay claim to the Governor’s office that perhaps they should be appointed when the seats of Hugh Mundy and Mark Ciavarella become open. While there might not be second acts in politics normally, in Pennsylvania they are commonplace so don’t be surprised if you see the same names re-appear in a few years. Or months.

ROW OFFICES

The row offices in Luzerne County certainly yielded some big news. Carolee Medico Olinginski returned to the stage winning the GOP nomination for Prothonotary against Bear Creek Village Mayor Walter Mitchell. Medico Olinginski who served in the office before will face off against Nancy Bellas McGinley who beat off challenges from Al Akulonis and Gerald Mullery. The Controller’s race this fall will pit taxpayer advocate Walter Griffith from Wilkes Barre against Democrat Bob Morgan who ran unopposed. Griffith with no endorsement and lean campaign coffers fended off 4 challengers. The candidacy of Griffith might gain more steam mainly because many voters feel the Controller should be of another party in order to keep things more transparent.

HOME RULE

The proposal for a Home Rule Study Commission passed 80% to 20%. Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty was the top vote getter and Walter Griffith got a seat on the commission. More on that in future editions.

CITY SIDE

In Kingston, Mayor Haggerty was nominated once more but in Pittston City Joe Keating was defeated by newcomer Jason Klush. Many attribute Keating’s defeat to his state job provided by Senator Musto.

TURNOUT

The turnout for this election wasn’t too bad. I was predicting about 30% while some of my fellow political observers were looking at less than that. Democratic total was 38%, GOP 37% and total turnout came in at 35% according to the Luzerne County website. Not great but better than I thought.

WILKES BARRE SCHOOL BOARD

Jim Height might have been gone but not forgotten. The guy got 600 votes Tuesday night but a new day seemed to have dawned. Long time candidate Christine Katsock nabbed two nominations along with Lynn Evans and Michael Corcoran. Former Wilkes Barre city councilman Phil Litinski will square off against GOP winner Harry Haas for the fourth spot in the fall.

HAZLETON AREA

One incumbent and three newcomers appear to have wrapped up nominations on both tickets in the race for Hazleton Area School Board. Incumbent Steve Hahn had a narrow lead over former Hazleton Area employee Rocco Formica for a fourth and final nomination. Former Hazleton Area special education teacher Robert Mehalick, Hazleton Area High School Principal Clarence John and incumbent Carmella Yenkevich appeared to have secured nominations on both the Democratic and Republican tickets. These election results mean that the bulk of the school board will be made up of former educators or administrators.

HAZLETON COUNCIL

In the Mountain City, councilmen Jack Mundie and Tom Gabos will advance to November’s general election, as will newcomer Jean Zunski Mope. But incumbent Councilman Robert Nilles, who also ran on the Democratic ticket, didn’t have enough votes to advance to the general election. Unofficial Democrat tallies showed Mundie with 1,073 votes, Gabos with 917 and Mope with 789. Rounding out the ballot were Nilles with 702 votes and newcomer Ignacio Beato with 479. Voters chose up to three names from the ballot, which means that the trio of Republican candidates – Leonard Brenner, Karin Cabell and James Perry – will see their names on November’s general election ballot.
Hazleton results from combined reports of WYLN and Hazleton Standard Speaker.

THE ELECTRIC CITY

Fighting off charges that he was an elite and aloof leader with future political ambitions, Mayor Chris Doherty prevailed in the race for Scranton Mayor. Doherty becomes the first Democratic Mayor since the late Jim Hanlon to win a third nomination and most likely a third term. Doherty was opposed by former Council President Gary DeBilio. DeBilio was endorsed by the city Democrats. Doherty mounted a write in campaign on the GOP side against Bob Bolus but the results of that effort will come later in the week.

SCRANTON COUNCIL

The mean girls will be gone. Judy Gatelli and Sherry Nealon Fanucci were defeated in their bid for re-election. Incumbent Janet Evans won the Democratic primary along with running mates Pat Rogan and Frank Joyce.

LACKAWANNA JUDICIAL

There will be a race come this fall for the one seat on the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. Margaret Bisignani Moyle will square off against Frank Castellano after the duo won their respective nominations. Bisignani Moyle fended off Mid Valley District Justice John Pesota and Attorney James Tierney to win the Democratic nod. Castellano prevailed on the GOP side setting up the fall contest. This campaign was pretty tame except for the implosion of the Tierney candidacy shortly before Mother’s Day when the Scranton Times ran a story about an uninsured motorist claim favorable to Tierney. Tierney and his campaign made no comment on the story and many thought that was a big reason why the Democratic endorsed candidate, who was up 10 points before the story broke, lost ground.

NEXT EDITION
More results, observations and behind the scene at WYLN TV 35.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The LuLac Edition #824, May 19th, 2009








PHOTO INDEX: WILK NEWS/TALK LOGO, WYLN TV 35 LOGO, SERVICE ELECTRIC LOGO AND A TEE SHIRTED REASON WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTO).

RADIO NEWS COVERAGE

WILK Radio will be doing live election returns tonight from 8pm to 11pm with Nancy Kman and Steve Corbett anchoring. Sue Henry and Joe Thomas will be in the field.

TV TOO!!!!!!!

WYLN TV 35 will be doing a three hour extended election broadcast from their studios in Hazleton. News Director L.A. Tarone will anchor with some guests you may recognize. WYLN TV 35's Election coverage can be seen on Service Electric Channel 19 in the Wilkes Barre area.

VOTE!!! TODAY!!!

Your one vote can make the difference!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The LuLac Edition #823, May 18th, 2009

BREAKING NEWS

HEIGHT ARRESTED


On the eve of an election campaign that ended a few days ago, Wilkes Barre Area School Board member Jim Height was arrested and charged with bribery- A plea agreement signed by former Wilkes-Barre Area School Director James Height calls for him to serve 15 to 21 months in prison based on sentencing guidelines, but the sentence could be further reduced if he provides substantial assistance to authorities in their ongoing corruption probe. Height was charged this afternoon with accepting $2,000 for aiding a contractor in his attempts to secure a contract within the district. Height, who abruptly resigned from the school board last week, is the third school official to be charged with corruption within the past month.

From combined reports of Times Leader and Citizen's Voice.

The LuLac Edition #822, May 18th, 2009









PHOTO INDEX: DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTY LOGOS.

THE ELECTION

One of two things is going to happen in tomorrow’s elections in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. It will either be an election for the ages, one of transformation and change. Or one that continues the tradition of politics as usual. Some races to watch:

THE JUDICIAL RACES

17 candidates are vying for 2 seats. This is a wide open race because too many candidates have too many advantages that will tend to cancel each other out. First geography, the 4 candidates with roots in Greater Pittston, Terrana, Musto, Sperraza and Bufalino may cancel each other out in terms of coming out of the Third District with a decisive majority. Add to the mix the candidacies of Menn and Rogers, who were both born in West Pittston and O’Connor’s family connections on his wife’s side. With that addition, the vote could be split 7 ways. The Hazleton area which has a hometown candidate with Zola, also has candidates Sklarosky, Marslio and Hughes making inroads there. Money should be an advantage in any race but it might be the candidate who uses the dollars most efficiently that will win. There has been more than 1.5 million dollars in spending in the Judge’s race but it is my opinion because there have been so many candidates, the effect of the spending might be diluted. Then there’s the experience factor. Do voters pick a Judge over 60 knowing that individual will only serve one term? Or do they go for a younger person who will be on the bench for at least two decades barring unforeseen problems? Will voters take Mike Blazick's youth into consideration for better or worse or will they be impressed by his endorsements from the two newspapers? What about gender as a voting criteria? With the Ann Lokuta seat still vacant, some voters may want to fill one of the seats with a female. How about ballot position? Will Musto and Bufalino’s ballot position help them in their quest? What of Rogers number 2 position on the GOP side? Will that plum help her offset her fundraising efforts which while admirable, have not been near the top of the heap? Then there’s the issue of the type of experience. Does Marsilio’s broad range of experience give him an advantage? Or does Amesbury’s or Musto’s role in the Judiciary give them an edge? How about the focused experience of Lumbis in one area for more than 25 years? In terms of community service, will O’Connor’s work with veterans, Gartley’s and Morabito’s volunteer work with local social services make a dent? Rogers forays into volunteerism in Jamaica? Will that matter? Background and stories of the candidates. Will Pendlophi’s family history or Sperraza’s compelling story of poverty as a child resonate? All of these factors go into the final decision making voters will have to face on Tuesday. Northeast Pennsylvania’s premiere political consultant Ed Mitchell told us the other day: “It is a complicated election with so many candidates. Plus many people who are running are new to the scene, not like before when you had a well known District Attorney going after the office. There are some candidates that seem to me might be rolling the dice in their bid with so many running”.
I asked Mitchell about voter turnout and he said that historically off year primary elections have a low turnout. Mitchell predicted a 20 to 25% turnout, Coulter Jones from the Citizen’s Voice heard estimates of about 25% and this writer thinks we’re looking at 30%. Mitchell indicated that there was polling data to suggest that voters in Luzerne County were extremely unhappy with politics in general and despite the scandals might shy away from civic involvement.
On ballot position, Mitchell pointed out that in 1991 one of the candidates who was his client, Hugh Mundy, was in the middle of the pack on both the Democratic and GOP sides and won a dual nomination. Another candidate in that race had top ballot positions and finished near the bottom of the pack.
Another big race of interest is the Lackawanna County Judicial race with Frank Castellano, Margaret Moyle, James Tierney and John Pesota facing off. Mitchell said, “That race was thrown into disarray with the recent story about Tierney and the uninsured motorists connection. That could be anyone’s race at this point”. A Lackawanna County political observer characterized the Judicial race as “a jump ball. Each candidate has a pocket of strength now. Tierney was up 10 points before the Times story broke and now that lead has gone away. Castellano is now reaching out to Democrats, Moyle has the advantage of being the only woman in the field which galvanizes a block of voters, Tierney despite his problems has the endorsement and this is after all a primary while Pesota has the entire mid valley and ethnic edge in his corner. So it’s anyone’s game”.

SCRANTON MAYORAL


The Scranton Mayor’s race between Gary DeBilio and incumbent Chris Doherty will be a hot race to watch. Mitchell thinks Doherty will prevail but it will be close. Our source in Lackawanna County says there is a real possibility of a DeBilio victory mainly because the Doherty campaign spent too much money, mailed too many mailers, some of which were out of area pieces from the state Democratic committee, and did not articulate what the Doherty administration actually did. “The campaign got caught up in stretching its accomplishments instead of telling the people what they actually did. There are 25 square miles in the city of Scranton and there are people who are actively looking for those 6,000 jobs the campaign claimed the administration brought in. They should have highlighted the actual workers who did gain employment because of the Mayor’s policies. Plus the endorsement of the Governor, Ed Rendell, right in the middle of the Scranton School for the Deaf controversy might have done more harm than good because of the Governor’s active involvement in the closing process”. The effect of the Democratic party endorsement is also huge because in 2005 just 500 votes separated DeBilio from Doherty. This race will without a doubt go down in the history books of Scranton politics.

UP TO YOU.....

There are thousands of questions we can ask these hours before election. While it is fun to speculate for us political junkies, it is only that, guesses and suppositions. The real answers to these questions will not be up to the political observers, talk show hosts or website editors. The truth will come from the citizens who take the time and energy to get out and vote. That will happen Tuesday. We respectfully await your decision.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The LuLac Edition #821, May 17th, 2009































PHOTO INDEX: SUPREME COURT JUSTICES SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, RUTH BADER GINSBURG, LOUIS BRANDEIS, ANTONIN SCALIA, THURGOOD MARSHALL AND EARL WARREN.

SUPREME JUDGEMENT

At the League of Women Voter’s Judicial Forum, I went around with a microphone and asked the candidates running for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas who their favorite Supreme Court Justice was and why they admired said individual. Here’s the results:
AMESBURY: WILLIAM BRENNAN: For Brennan’s compassion and socially conscious awareness as he ruled from the bench.
ROGERS: LOUIS BRANDEIS: Brandeis’ writing and opinions were what impressed Attorney Rogers.
SPERRAZA: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: For her ability to be a bridge and middle ground between factions on the court.
SKLAROSKY: THURGOOD MARSHALL: Was in the trenches fighting the good fight for civil rights and overturning “Jim Crow” laws in the U.S.
O’CONNOR: EARL WARREN: Admired him because he was a free thinker. As a conservative California Governor, President Eisenhower thought he had a right wing jurist. He didn’t.
MENN: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: For her ability to present and mediate both sides of the spectrum.
HANLON MORABITO: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: Her pioneering for women as the first female Supreme Court Justice.
MARSILIO: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: For her ability to reason with conflicting, passionate arguments.
MUSTO: THURGOOD MARSHALL: His landmark decisions and arguments set the state for true reform. Musto cited Marshall’s involvement in Brown vs. The Board of Education.
BLAZICK: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: Provided middle ground, coherent arguments. Blazick also used O’Connor in radio ads for his campaign.
PENDOPLHI: ANTONIN SCALIA: Saying you can’t legislate from the bench, Pendolphi cited that as his main reason for his pick.
HUGHES: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: Her ability to blend the courts rulings with everyday life situations of citizens.
TERRANA: ANTONIN SCALIA: Agreed with some of his personal philosophies even though they crossed party and ideological lines.
LUMBIS: RUTH BADER GINSBURG: For her ability to frame, defend and articulate an argument.
BUFALINO: SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR: Admires her for being a middle of the road voice on the court, a sort of bridge to different parties.
POLACHEK GARTLEY: RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Her determination in the face of personal adversity and her ability to call attention to social concerns on the court.
ZOLA: No clue because he never showed up for any of the Judicial forums.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

The LuLac Edition #820, May 16th, 2009





PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE RADIO BROADCASTER PAUL GRIMES (CIRCA 1970) JUDICIAL CANDIDATES THOMAS MARSILIO, RICHARD HUGHES AND THOMAS O'CONNOR, AND GOP PRIMARY CANDIDATES RICHARD HUGHES (JUDGE) CAROLEE MEDICO OLENGINSKI (PROTHONOTARY) WALTER GRIFFITH (CONTROLLER) GINA NEVENGLOSKY (REGISTER OF WILLS-UNOPPOSED IN THE PRIMARY) THOMAS MARSILIO (JUDGE) AND WALTER MITCHELL (PROTHONOTARY). ATTY. THOMAS O'CONNOR WAS NOT IN THIS PHOTO BECAUSE HE LEFT FOR ANOTHER EVENT ON HIS SCHEDULE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS.)

THE BIG PUSH

The late Luzerne County Controller and Chair of the Democratic Party Joe Tirpak used to call the last weekend before an election "the big push". Candidates were doing just that this Saturday. We stopped in to the Walter Griffith breakfast at Pickett's Charge in Dallas and found a r0om packed with candidates going for that last chance to meet and greet the voters. Attorneys Tom Marsilio, Tom O'Connor and Richard Hughes pressed the flesh. All three agreed that this campaign for Judge has been a pretty collegial event with no sign of mudslinging. Candidates Walter Mitchell and Walter Griffith spoke of their credentials and interest in the office of Controller and Prothonotary respectively along with former officer holder Carolee Medico Olinginski. She got the biggest laugh in the room when she told the group how her family members did not want her to run again. "You're getting all their votes" she said to her primary foe Walter Mitchell. Government Study Commission members Jeffrey Niemiec, Charmaine Maynard and Ray Gustav also were in attendance with Home Rule archetect P.J. Best. The hours are getting closer and after the event the candidates went their seperate ways putting on their own "big push" for this election.

LAWYERS FUNDING

A lot has been made about lawyers giving to lawyers when one is running for Judge. And while it is admirable to not accept money from fellow attorneys, let's look at the issue more closely. Wouldn't a lawyer know who is going to be the best judge if they practiced in front of that person? Would they not get a glimpse of character, work ethic? Why should an attorney be prohibited from donating to his or her favorite candidate just like a plumber, teacher or a contractor? What about a family that has a few lawyers in it. Tom O'Connor, Joe Sklarosky and Joe Terrana have a boatful of attorneys in the ranks of their own families. When the campaign amounts from lawyers appeared in the paper this week, there should have been a breakdown of family contributions. A brother or sister, lawyer or not is going to contribute to a loved one, yet the way it appeared was that many candidates had "lawyer" money instead of "sibling" money. Margaret Moyle, candidate for Lackawanna County Judge said during their debate that campaign reports are in black and white. You know the contributors. What she wanted to know were the connections between attorneys and judges like who is in business with who, what relative has a business with another lawyer or dare we speculate what candidate's child is the godson to a President Judge? The money issue is an easy sound bite. The connections issue, a tough one to unravel.

PAUL GRIMES

Long time broadcaster Paul Grimes died yesterday. Grimes was a broadcast mentor of mine at the old WPTS in Pittston. I started working there doing weekend news at the age of 15 and Paul was very helpful and kind. That was after he shut the lights off in the news booth when I nervously began my first broadcast. He was a tremendous environmentalist and could tell a great story. Like many of his broadcast cronies of the time, George Gilbert, Ron Allen, Len Woloson, his passing will not only be noticed but signal the end of an era in local broadcasting that will never return.

NEW/OLD BLOG

Our friend Mark Cour has a new blog location. Here's his site address: http://mcour.blogspot.com/. Very timely and informative.

WRITE INS

If you are a Democrat and not happy with the slate of candidates you have, it is easy to write a row officer candidates name in from the GOP. Just use the keyboard and you can vote for any candidate from the other side as a write in.