Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1284, Sept. 1st, 2010




Ever since I was a young kid, I enjoyed reading the Scranton Times Roderick Random column. Last Saturday's edition on the Kanjorski/Barletta bomb flap was pretty revealing.
Here's the bottom line right at the top for Republican congressional candidate Lou Barletta.
As dangerous as he suspects a potential training center for State Department security personnel could be to the surrounding neighborhood in Conyngham Twp., Mr. Barletta is taking just as big a risk politically by publicly opposing it.
In the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, with unemployment rates at their highest levels in a long time, with jobs a big issue in his contest with incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, the Hazleton mayor just went on record as opposed to a proposal that could bring 1,000 jobs to the region.
There is no way this project will be built by Election Day and maybe it won't even be far enough along for the State Department to decide on a site.
Its merits or demerits will be debated over the coming months. The truth of the matter might not be known for a long time, but for the next two months Mr. Barletta will have to explain why he's questioning jobs that Mr. Kanjorski has worked to bring here for more than a year.
"He's saying, 'There are jobs and then there are jobs. These are not the jobs we want here,'" Thomas J. Baldino, Ph.D., a professor of political science at Wilkes University. "Before you make a statement like that, you need to investigate. Better for him to have remained silent and say, 'Maybe I should have studied this more.'"
Mr. Barletta has hedged. He has said he is willing to be convinced otherwise about a project that could also bring hundreds of annual bomb blasts and machine-gun fire.
For now, it looks like he just wrote a campaign commercial for Mr. Kanjorski.
"Absolutely," Dr. Baldino said.
Let's start in Conyngham Twp., a southern Luzerne County neighbor of Hazleton. If there is going to be opposition to the project, most of the outrage will be there.
You won't see it in Lackawanna or Monroe counties.
In the eyes of Lackawanna and Monroe voters, Mr. Barletta's opposition might not be that of a neighborhood protector. They could see him as an obstructionist trying to stop people from finding a job.
Certainly, Mr. Kanjorski's campaign commercial will portray it that way. You won't see or hear anything in that ad about the project risks. You'll just see and hear that Mr. Barletta is against new jobs.
Ed Mitchell, Mr. Kanjorski's media consultant, will connect that with Hazleton's high unemployment rate.
Mr. Mitchell got a quick start Friday.
"Isn't that incredible? Mr. No. He'll fit right in with the Republicans in Washington," Mr. Mitchell said. "A bomb range. He makes it sound like it's Hiroshima ... The State Department wants to get it going. The last thing we need is a public (fight) over it to block it or stop it ... It's no wonder Hazleton has the highest unemployment rate in the state if he has that attitude. He's against any kind of progress."
You can see where this is going.
In interviews, Mr. Barletta prides himself on doing what he thinks is right. Maybe he is right. Maybe it's a dangerous project that shouldn't fly, at least not where Mr. Kanjorski proposed it. Maybe Mr. Barletta can suggest a better location. He wondered Friday why the State Department has not decided to build the center at one of the dozens of closed military bases. By the way, none of them are in the region. Mr. Barletta suggested this whole announcement might be nothing more than a political ploy on Mr. Kanjorksi's part.
"I'm not coming out against jobs. I want to weigh the impact of the project," Mr. Barletta said. "As far as political risk, I've never put the politics over the importance of doing my job. I've taken political risks before."
So far, in his third bid to knock off Mr. Kanjorski, the narrative has favored Mr. Barletta. He's done most of the attacking, benefitted from the publicity of his attacks and Republican polls that show him way ahead and avoided mistakes.
Maybe this is a Republican year, as the Washington congressional-race trackers believe, and Mr. Barletta is wearing a suit of Teflon so that no matter what he says or what anyone else says about him just slides off.
There is one more maybe.
Maybe Mr. Barletta just handed Mr. Kanjorski a bomb and a machine gun.

BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, The Times-Tribune politics reporter, writes Random Notes.


At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tens years ago , I bought the Kanjo job lies, then I woke up ....

I sent you a laundry list of Kanjorski job prospect fabrications. All 100% true. All staged before thev election, none came to fruition.
Ten years ago I helped him. I raised a lot of money for him. I stopped when I realized how much of a crook he is.
Your unwillingness to check that out or include any of it in your opinion suggests to me that you are in the tank for Kanjorski. Thats a shame.


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