Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1315, Sept. 29th, 2010



County needs home rule more than ever

Paul Golias is an old school newspaper guy who has been on the scene in Luzerne County for more than fifty years. Throughout that time, we have had our differences of opinion. But in his reaction to the campaign for Home Rule Mr. Golias hits it out of the park.
Is Luzerne County about to sustain a double whammy? Is the evil eye of history about to allow some severe smacks on the side of the head, again?
If I am reading the mood of many people correctly, there is a deep-seated anxiety that our 224-year-old county (as of Sept. 23) is headed for the great abyss of mediocrity, destined to be a second-rate, or worse, follower and never a trend-setter.
The fears that I hear are that the federal probe into government corruption is slowing down and possibly grinding to a slow death and that political forces too powerful to overcome will kill home rule. The hope of the political power brokers is that the status quo can be maintained despite the stench of corruption, that the probe into corruption itself will go away and that the old political game can continue.
"All politics is local," Thomas "Tip" O'Neil said. Locally, it has been played to the hilt and the politicos, their business supporters and job holders are at work, overtly and covertly.
About 30 people have been charged to date in the corruption probe. Yes, judges, county commissioners and other high-profile government officials or business people have been named, but there is a general feeling that many more people are involved in corrupt activities. The arrests made in local school districts alone should provide the fodder to more indictments.
The major political parties have a stake in defeating home rule. Controlling a county and controlling row offices equate to political power. Opposition to past home-rule efforts was bipartisan. It is no surprise that Republicans and Democrats are speaking out against home rule again in 2010. This November's vote is about control and power and in Luzerne County it has been a rough and tough game as strong-willed, seasoned politicians have had their way.
Our area's history is one of rough and tough people bearing with difficult challenges. The coal mining industry that was the backbone of our economy for 100 years also killed people, raped the land and left the county in economic shambles. Now we must hope that development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas bonanza does not wreak havoc on the environment.
Let's try to put all of this into perspective: The feds have found corruption in our courts, some school systems, county government and some local governments; the best home-rule charter yet drafted for Luzerne County, a real shot at reform, is being talked down; production jobs are down and unemployment is up; out-migration of our best and brightest continues; fragmented local government often can't provide quality services, yet regionalization initiatives are routinely snubbed; natural gas drilling has begun in Pennsylvania and Clean Water Action, an environmental group, said "we are stunned" at the number of violations being found; our state and federal legislative bodies are polarized and, finally, we are an angry populace but we really don't have a real grasp of what we are angry about nor do we have the willingness to engage in the research of issues or the level-headed debate necessary to get to the decisions necessary to meet the needs of all.
We really need the federal corruption investigation to not only continue but to intensify.
We need to summon the courage to take the dramatic step of adopting home rule.
These steps won't resolve all of our challenges overnight but, absent these actions, we may begin speculating on who will turn out the lights as Luzerne County slips into that abyss.
Paul Golias, retired managing editor of The Citizens' Voice, writes a weekly column on regional issues. He can be contacted at


At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11 people and patronage. No way. I'm voting no. It isn't the system it is the people. Look at Katsock and now Walter with home rule changing his post he is against it. It is not the system. this new one will make a bad situation much worse. I am voting NO NO No

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Tony said...

I can't believe how easily people can Bull S*&%$d when we listen to the likes of James ("Red" Wheel and Deal) O'brien, Maryann (Wearin a wire) Petrilla And Vito (Don Don't do it)DeLuca. Could you Imagine if we had the oportunity to elect our manager and because of a popularity contest we got a Skrep clone or worse yet a Petrilla pet. My God would a Fortune 100 company elect a leader or chairman of the board from the local politicians or would it appoint a professional with knowledge and experience. We do not need on the job training with our lives and well being. Give me professionalism over popularity everytime VOTE YES and if you live in Pittston near O'Brien vote Yes Twice.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony, as a Pittston resident I am offended by your comment. It is only the *DEAD* that can vote twice in Pittston.

At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:07 can you imagine if the united states elected their president? What would this world become?


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