Friday, January 29, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1082, Jan. 29th, 2010



Senator Ray Musto made it official the other day. He is stepping down after 37 years as an elected official. That’s the stat on his resume. The veteran lawmaker served in the state House from 1971 to 1980. He began his career when he was elected in a special election in 1971 to fill his late father James Musto’s unexpired term. Musto was then elected to Congress in a special election in 1980. In 1982, he was elected to the state Senate. Musto has the distinction of being among only a few public servants to serve in the U.S. Congress, the state House and state Senate. However Musto led a life of public service before assuming the vacant seat of his father in 1971. When Musto’s father was a State representative, the young Ray worked as an unpaid unofficial aide to his father. The younger Musto also kept on eye on the family store. The oldest child, he delayed his college education while his younger siblings sailed through colleges in four years. Musto got his degree the same year as he won his late father’s office. I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions I’ve been hearing about the Senator on talk radio and in the newspaper comment sections.
1. The Handoff: First, Musto was not handed his office when he succeeded his father. He had to fight like the dickens to get it because the local Democrats endorsed a local milkman named Roscoe Mulchahy. It didn’t hurt that Mulcahy was third district chairman. Musto was forced to run a Republican in the special election. As a high school junior, I volunteered to put 8 by 11 flyers on cars in supermarkets and bowling alleys The print piece had Musto’s name and ballot position circled so that voters, mostly Democrats would vote for Ray. So to those who said the office was handfed over to the younger Musto, I say you’re wrong.
2. Laying Low: I heard that all Musto did when he was in office was that he layed low and got goodies for his family. To be sure he helped out friends but it was part of his constituent service. After assuming office Musto continued the constituent service of his late father with the help of the late Paul Delaney as his point man in the Pittston office. There is a reason why Musto used to have more than 1500 people at his annual breakfast meetings in the fall. They were all friends of Ray.
3. Musto was a lifelong politician: It is true. Musto was just that, but he was proud to be a public servant. What we need in our society today are people not afraid to call themselves politicians. Musto embraced that title more than others. In his career he had token opposition in the General Assembly. When he ran for the Senate the only time he broke a sweat was in 1990 when fellow Democrats Frank Trinisewski and Brian O’Donnell ran against him. He beat those challenges back handily.
4.The Congress: Musto served briefly in Congress winning a Special Election in 1980 against the likes of Ed Mitchell, Paul Kanjorski, Dick Adams, and Frank Harrison. Many believe Musto lost the general because of the Reagan landslide and in fact that was partly true. Another component of that defeat was the defection of Democrats in Wilkes Barre who voted for Jim Nelligan in order to back a city candidate in 1982. (Dr. Tom O’Donnell or the ultimate winner in ’82 Frank Harrison were high on the list). In Saturday’s “Interview” segment we’ll talk to a former Musto staffer who worked in the D.C. office during the Congressman’s short tenure.
5. The Musto Dynasty: A lot has been said about a Musto dynasty. Musto’s kids never ran for office. His niece won her office. His brother ran for Judge twice and certainly didn't benefit from Ray's coattails. Musto won his office by the will of the people and not appointment. The recent appointment of former Judge Musto to Court Administrator (reported here earlier in the month) has tongues wagging. But truth be told, Joe Musto at his age could be doing better things than trying to rehabilitate the Luzerne County Court system. Were the Musto's provincial in some cases? You bet. There were some victory parties where only Musto family members were invited on stage. In this political world, family are the only ones you can trust. While there is not a Musto dynasty, there is a “Musto Tree”. Branches of people who worked in politics and public service because of their association with Ray Musto on the state and local level. To this day they serve the public with lessons they learned from Mr. Musto.


Here are some names bandied about for the seat in the 14th District. (Since 1966 when the District was gerrymandered, only two men have held the office, Musto for 28 years and the late Martin L. Murray for 16 years. It is unlikely a Republican will try to break this tradition. Here’s a list of Dems that might try:
John Yudichak: Heavily favored, he’s young, articulate, been a state rep for more than a decade and is a very good campaigner. His feud with Congressman Kanjorski will not be a factor since Kanjo will have his hands full trying to retain his own seat and not be a kingmaker.
Tom Leighton: The Wilkes Barre Mayor certainly has some achievements to point to with the revitalization of the city. In a primary, Leighton will have the strong Wilkes Barre Democrats out in force just as Bill Amesbury did in the Judicial race. The Mayor has a great relationship with Governor Rendell and might even use that leverage to gain a leg up. So he can be a factor.
Michael Lombardo: The former Pittston Mayor and Social worker has a state job that he’ll have to resign from should he run. Talk was Lombardo stepped aside in the contest for the Wilkes Barre Chamber job with Todd Vonderheid in anticipation of this very circumstance.
P.J. Best: Another name being tossed about is that of Study Commission activist P.J. Best who ran unsuccessfully in a primary against state Representative Mike Carroll. Best also was the impetus behind the Home Rule Charter.
Todd Eachus: The House Majority Leader might be hard pressed to give up his powerful position to be a Freshman in the Senate. And there has been controversy surrounding him this year because of Bonusgate. But he is an incredible campaigner with a huge warchest, has native ties to Wilkes Barre and can bring the Hazleton area voting bloc with him in a run for the seat.


This Saturday in Edition #1083 we interview a former Musto Congressional staffer. And check out our archives from June of 2009 when we did a Father's Day feature highlighting Senator Musto and his late father. Click Archives, June 2009 and look for Edition # 854, June 21st.


I laughed my butt off Thursday when I heard the Republicans in Congress, in particular Representative John Boener asking for a “seat at the table” with the White House in getting things accomplished. What a crock! This self serving little dandy with his little rep tie sat on his hands with a scowl on his face when President Obama gave his State of the Union address. He has opposed every piece of progressive legislation for middle class families. He wants a seat at the table? To say no? Uh, I don’t think so.


A lot has been said about Tim Tebow and his supposed Super Bowl ad where his mom talks about his life. Tebow’s mother was told she should have an abortion for her health. She didn’t. The ad focuses on the fact that Tim is a true, living success. The pro choice women’s groups are angry because the ad is going to be on the Super Bowl. Ladies, it’s all about choice. That’s what you say, right? Mrs. Tebow had a choice, she made it. The advertisers had a choice, they picked the Super Bowl. CBS had a choice to take the money and they did. You have a choice to protest the ad but a better idea might be to either keep your mouth shut because your opposition has given the ad more traction than it deserves or produce one of your own. And you all know how I feel about choice.


PCN viewers will get an opportunity to hear from the candidates vying for the chance to get on the democratic ticket for Governor of Pennsylvania and U.S. Senate in the upcoming state primary.
Democratic Gubernatorial debate, hosted by PA Progressive Summit
Airs LIVE on PCN Friday, January 29 – 7:00 p.m.
Scheduled to attend: Chris Doherty, Joe Hoeffel, Tom Knox, Dan Onorato, and
PA Auditor General Jack Wagner
Re-airs on Saturday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m.
Democratic U.S. Senate forum hosted by PA Progressive Summit
Airs LIVE on PCN Saturday, January 30 – 7:30 p.m.
Invited to attend: Sen. Arlen Specter, D- PA and Rep. Joe Sestak, D – PA
Re-airs on Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m.

And Now for Something Completely Different


The British government promises the U.S. that British troops in
Malaysia will stay until more peaceful conditions occur in the region...The first of 608 performances of Sweet Charity opens at the Palace Theatre in New York City.......Statewide, Philadelphia area businessman and Cable TV mogul Milton Shapp declares his candidacy for the Governor’s office in the state….and in Kingston’s newly reconstituted 5th district, Kingston GOP Council Chair Frank O’Connell enters the race for State Representative and 44 years ago this week the number 1 song in LuLac land and America was “A Well Respected Man” by the Kinks.


At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk: A few things. Once more you prove why you are the historian of local politics. Love the picture of the Congressmen. And your Father's day article is a must read for all LuLac readers. Glad you reminded us of it. And thanks for the dancing anchor babes. Love the LuLac!!!

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was 1966 as uneventful and dull as
LuLac is making it? One paragraph
with no punch whatsoever. Maybe you should have chosen another year
as this one so far is a complete letdown!

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave: Nice job on Musto and his career. And to 7:02AM, '66 started out slow but got very interesting. I was there. Although next year Dave, step into a more modern decade. The 80's might be nice.

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Musto a true gentleman politician. You hit the nail on the head. And while he did not need to be self-congratulatory and flamboyant as others, he was effective in getting things done.
I am wondering was it one of the local talk show hosts that stated he was given his seat?

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... least we aren;t hearing about his 7th grade girlfriend like we did when the yonk profiled 1968.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the sleepy days of 1966 not a whole lot went on. A one sentance synopsis of the big news of the week is enough for me. Please don't encourage this guy to do a history lesson every edition. We do like to stay awake reading LuLac.

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Your bisexual Female Fan said...

would i like to be in the middle of a kristi/eva sandwich

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, well, well, i'm surprised that the editor of this blog has called out the sistahs who are pro choice. can a conversion be near for the lulac baby killer?

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'66 will get more interesting.
It's a good LuLac feature and the song choice couldnt be much better!
Rock On, Yonkstur.


At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 10:45 ME TOO! By the by where did Eva get to?

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone think Rep. Pashinski could be a serious contender for Musto's seat?

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eachus cannot run for the seat. He does not live in the district. He lives in John Gornder's neighboring 27th District.

At 12:42 AM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Eachus cannot run for the seat. He does not live in the district. He lives in John Gornder's neighboring 27th District.

At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elvis was the man.
Like your take on Tim Tebow. Nice to know that a pro choice guy can still defend the right of moral groups to at least give an opinion.

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, if you don't mind, another view on the candidates:
John Yudichak: Strong possibility. He has legislative experience, a political base, political savvy and strong name recognition. The negative is his relationship with Kanjorski. He and his father both owe Kanjo a great deal and turned on him. Kanjo does have a strong following in Yudichak's district and they won't forget the past.
Tom Leighton: No following outside of Wilkes-Barre. His base is not solid but substantial. His lack of experience and political influence does not lend itself to being a strong candidate. If newcomer Rep. Pashinski should throw his hat into the ring, Leighton would be finished. 2 never goes into 1.
Mike Lombardo: Not a chance. He left a fiscal legacy in Pittston that has caused the local tax base to be 3 times higher than Nanticoke and Hazleton. His cousin Joe Keating won his mayoral election by beating his opposition over the head with Lombardo's record. Besides, Lombardo had a second chance to shine when he took over the Chamber and under his guidance, the Chamber went belly-up and for the first time ever, could not even make payroll. Not a strong record to run on.
P.J. Best: Hard to believe that Best would finish law school and jump right into the political ring before having a chance to pass the Bar. He is known in his District due to his taking on Rep. Mike Carroll in the last Representative election. He made his mark when he spearheaded the Home Rule Commission. He was the driving force and it would not have happened if Best did not push the issue. That alone would give him a big push toward the seat. I just don't think he would walk away from his law degree this early.
Todd Eachus: If Eachus lived in the Senatorial district, I doubt he would even consider it. He will have all he can do to ride out the current Harrisburg storm. I think he will be happy enough to just continue wearing suits without stripes!
Sleeper - Rep. Mike Carroll: The real sleeper in all of this is Mike Carroll. He has strong support in a very important district. He has earned the respect of his constituents with his personal service and winning personality. He is never too busy to talk with people and makes a strong presence in the District. He doesn't miss many public happenings and people see him as a regular guy who is always willing to lend a hand. It would not surprise me a bit if his next title is "Senator". It would be interesting if Musto and former state Rep Tom Tigue would help him as much to win the senatorial seat as he did to win the representatives seat.
Surprise candidate - Bob Morgan: Morgan is still licking his wounds from the county Controller race and has a campaign debt that needs to be addressed. The question for him would be, did he create friends or make enemies during the Controller campaign? It is well known that he was Petrilla's pick and had her support but is that a sail or an anchor?
Lost Opportunity - Rep. Phyllis Mundy: If Mundy lived in the district, I think she would be the absolute leader of the pack. Mundy has a super strong constituent service record and has fought the insurance companies for years. There is not stronger advocate for senior citizens in Harrisburg but the map did her in. Too bad for the Musto District, she would have been a great State Senator.
This is the view from my political work bench and there isn't a cloud in the sky.

Hometown Harry

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops ...... Just realized that Rep Mike Carroll lives in Avoca and Sen Mellow took Avoca into his district a few years ago. Too bad for Musto's district because Mike Carroll is a quality guy and would have made a great State Senator.

Hometown Harry

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just curious who said Sen Musto was given his seat. was it one of the wilk talk show hosts???????

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Yonki, Since you are pro choice I also assume you are a morally fundamentally flawed freak, puke, self engrandizing, mediocre, foolish, God and children hating, liberal facist, reactionary bastard!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

By the by where did Eva get to?
Oops ...... Just realized that Rep Mike Carroll lives in Avoca and Sen Mellow took Avoca into his district a few years ago.
Since you are pro choice I also assume you are a morally fundamentally flawed freak, puke, self engrandizing, mediocre, foolish, God and children hating, liberal facist, reactionary bastard!

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Suzie Creamcheese said...

Kudos on the Tebow logic Yonk.

Would devo's "freedom of choice" been a youtube contender?

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:00 is an eloquent spokesperson
for all the idiot wings he attempts to speak for as evidenced by his/her mastery of the language.
Why is it so many of these folks feel they speak for God and are moral judges? Also, what is a puke?

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Yonki, I noticed you did not answer a question. Who claimed Sen. Musto had his seat handed to him?

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:00 is a fine example of a puke!

At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so which WILK host are you covering for by not telling us who erred in saying Musto was handed his seat? We have a poll at the office, the majority are saying it was Corbett.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

come on our office pool has over 500.00 in it. we need to know who was the WILK talk show host that got it wrong?

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is your loyalty to WILK? you can't even name the numbskull who really doesn't understand politics and talks out his or her ass on a daily basis. But if someone else factually stumbled in public they would be all over them.
Was it you man crush, the soon to be replaced Kevin Lynn?

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eva is being laid off she is a street reporter until her contract is run out. She is being given the same out the door treatment that they gave the great on air talent of Lyndall Stout. Wbre stinks anymore. Wish Dave you could get Lyndall Stout back on Wbre miss the WYOU interactive show with you on with Lyndall and Eric. How about seeing if you can get it back on WBRE maybe that would get Lyndall Back on WBRE.


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