Monday, April 11, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1545, April 11th, 2011




Red O’Brien is endorsing a slate of candidates for Luzerne County Council. This comes as the election of the Council starts getting heated up. You have Casey Evans having a fundraiser featuring drag queens. At $5.00 a head, Evans got tons of publicity that most likely far surpassed the monetary take of the night. Because of his questions about is personal life which came via rumblings the candidate heard, Evans got 3 days of free publicity on radio and in the newspapers. Bruce Simpson is issuing press releases and talking issues. The C.O.P.S. people are endorsing and withdrawing endorsements like strippers change g strings. You need a scorecard to see who’s up and who’s down. We bring this up because one of the criteria the O’Brien group used was that if you were endorsed by C.O.P.S., you couldn’t be endorsed by his team. Are the two groups exclusive? Why wouldn’t one candidate have a shot at all endorsements? One is in Hazleton, one in Pittston. Anyway O’Brien is using his political muscle to give a nod to Mike McGlynn, Stanley Knick, John Adonizio, Wayne Wolf, John Adonizio, Tim McGinley, possibly Mike Giamber and Michele Bednar. These guys except Bednar and McGinley have connections in greater Pittston. But here’s my question, how many votes does Red O’Brien control? And if you were a candidate do you want the nod of a guy who shortly after he was elected had back tax issues with the county and who was criticized for not showing up at work at his job in the Recorder of Deeds office? Pus his deputy who has a professional office in Avoca was accused of being a no show too. If reform is on the horizon, do you as a county council candidate want this endorsement? Just asking.


A conglomeration of local unions has come up with a “Working for Families” slate in Luzerne County. They have endorsed Democrats Linda McClosky Houck, John Nadolny, Theresa Morcavage, Jane Waitkus, Salvatore Licata, John Livingston, Brian Overman, Joe Padavan; Frank Sorokach, Michael Collins, and Michael Chrobak, of Dallas. Working Families for Luzerne County will also endorse two Republican candidates: Rick Morelli and Michael Cabell. You have to wonder though if these candidates backed by the unions will turn a blind eye to the abuses that have gone on in Luzerne County in prior years. Was it not a few union members in the courthouse who came and went as they pleased without worrying about putting in a 40 hour week like the rest of the world? And wasn’t it the unions that drove up the cost of health care in the county? How would any of these candidates react if say a new county manager wanted to renegotiate a union contract? Would they look at it as a taxpayer issue first or a union issue?


Bruce J. Simpson, candidate for Luzerne County Council has issued a statement on jobs and economic growth. In an effort to revitalize both our economy as well as our areas that have fallen into a "blighted" status, Simpson is recommending the use of LERTA (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act) as a tool for achieving the above goals. A major obstacle for business has always been that improvements both minor and major to their physical structures increases the value of the property and would or could lead to increased taxes being levied on the property at a time that they might not be able to afford it. LERTA allows local taxing entities under authority of Article VIII, Section 2(b)(iii) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to provide tax assistance in the following form: "This act allows local taxing authorities to exempt improvement to business property IF SUCH PROPETY IS LOCATED IN A DETERIORATINAG AREA AS DETERMINED BY A MUNICIPAL GOVERNING BODY or is subject to a governmental order requiring the property to be vacated, condemned or demolished by reason of noncompliance with law, ordinance, or regulations. Improvements eligible for tax exemption include, repair, construction, or reconstruction including alteration and additions having the effect of rehabilitating a structure so that it become habitable or acquires higher standards of safety, health, economic use or amenity, or is brought into compliance with governing laws, ordinances, or regulations." Tax exemption may be based on actual costs of the improvement or renovation, or a graduated tax increase each year for a maximum of ten years when the business would pay the full tax levied by the taxing authority from then on. This program offers the County and municipalities a unique tool to encourage the revitalization of areas that are now producing little if any tax revenue and no jobs. With revitalized buildings, companies will reopen and employ people in need of jobs. If the owner of a building is interested in revitalizing a building they own, but not to reopen a business, they would be urged to put the building on the rental market for a company to move into. Luzerne County would have to engage in a robust working arrangement with the various Chambers of Business and commerce to recruit outside companies to move into Luzerne County and create the badly needed jobs. How many buildings that now stand empty could house a call center? Hilton International closed their call center in Hazleton, laying off almost 140 employees and shipped the jobs overseas. Other companies have decided to locate their call centers here in Luzerne and a concerted effort can be made to attract new call centers into the area using various means. Manufacturing jobs might be added to the county to manufacture the various parts for the wind turbine industry. One company is already operating in this field in Luzerne, why can't we bring in more of this type of job? Solar panel manufacturing plants would be another excellent industry to bring into the county. A second program that might benefit the County is called PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) which essentially asks tax exempt organizations to make a voluntary payment to the County in recognition that they are legally exempt from taxes, but still benefit from municipal services. Any exempt organization including churches of all denominations can be asked to contribute in these tough times when funding is so badly needed to meet the requirements of government. They of course can say no, but the County should at least make the attempt to get voluntary donations while maintaining the integrity of their exempt status. Luzerne County is currently engaged in these programs but increased use can and should be sought. Additionally KOZ, or Keystone Opportunity Zones need to be more vigorously promoted by the County in order to continue to add one more avenue for increased industry and jobs.


So we hear that there is a real donnybrook going on between Elaine Maddon Curry and Rick Morelli. Both served on an area school board together and were never “best buds”. Now we hear both camps are accusing each other of stealing competing slogans. Morelli is being touted as a top vote getter on the GOP side and Maddon Curry has strong support in the Hazleton Area. I don’t know what will be more fun, seeing them campaign against each other in November or having them serve on the Council together.


I’m getting reports from politicos, media people and worse yet key community leaders in the 116th district that newly elected State Representative is not getting back to these people in a timely manner. Granted she’s new but the key to any long term successful career in politics is getting back to the folks. It’s nice to have Speaker Sam Smith on your side but that lawmaker from the west can’t get you many votes in the Conyingham Valley come 2012.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is Red's group the citizens in support of political oppression?\
said it before... cluster ****

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few observations...
COPS is nuts period! No one outside of their tin-foil-hat crowd will vote for their people. Charmayne Maynard is a (edit) who tries to sue everyone that even looks at her wrong. not surprising that they cant make up their minds on endorsements. Isn't this the fifth or sixth time they changed their minds? Who's gonna listen to that!
Red O'Brien's slate might include a few good names, but his true pull remains to be seen. Will that support reach out past Pittston and Avoca? Theres a smart move by backing a number of candidates smaller than the office is due to elect, but people will be clamoring to get his nod. However, with the hoopla about the absenteeism and the taxes, one wonders how the rest of the county will take his street cred. Still, he has the pull in Pittston. I noticed Wil Toole isn't on his list. That is interesting indeed! It's gonna be great entertainment to see who has more pull in Pittston, O'Brien or Toole. This one is gonna be fun to watch.
Bruce Simpson needs to realize that people need more than policy ideas, they need a reason to vote for HIM! Have you noticed these candidates with a few noteworthy exceptions are all saying the same thing? Simpson also holds a fundraiser with a man that the CV outs as gay and he doesn't say a word? Not a word?? Silence was an interesting move. I wonder what his speech was at their fundraiser, and I also wonder who else showed up. If the big name judge candidates showed like Vough or Sklarosky or Radick, then it was a big deal.
Which brings us to Casey Evans, who showed he may be possibly the smartest politician on the Democrat side. The CV outed him, and he confirmed it and I don't know many people let alone candidates who wouldnt hide under a rock after that. Instead, he handled it impressively well, got on the radio and gave stellar performances to Sue Henry and Corbett and the Times Leader got FOUR political experts to weigh in on his race, making him the 1st contender to be treated like a serious and viable candidate by the media. Politically, he just got a ton of votes with WOMEN the largest voter bloc and galvanized every gay, lesbian, and liberal to his rank and file and god knows how many more who thought it was "brave". These candidates all need some way to be noticed out of a pack of 30. He was the subject of 3 radio shows, three newspapers and is the talk of the town: he just slingshotted himself to be at the front of the pack with the top contenders. He was honest & that goes a long way with people. Evans may be young, but that was a smart move and it bought him pages of ink and hours of air time in free publicity.
Did the CV ask him if he was gay because they heard about the fundraiser or was this Evans's plan all along? Either way, it's obvious he learned a lot from Hillary. Being part of the Clinton machine may well win this for him after all.

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who in the media is complaining; LA Tarone, those at WILK? If Tarah is smart she will never get back to any of those clowns.

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evans has guts for doing what he did. wow. The Citizens Voice should never have asked him if he was gay. It's not newsworthy but he gets points for telling the truth and in Luzerne county we need more of that for sure. He showed a lot of grit for addressing it how he did, he sounded great on the radio, very well informed and sharp. He's got that "it" factor the other guys and gals running lack.

I don't know if I'll vote for him or not, I need to know more about what his platform is, but he seems smart, with it, and confident and he's not the worst looking guy to ever run for office, which may not be good for votes but it sure grabs peoples attention. I don't think he can win on youth and good looks but then again, Kennedy did.

I agree with 9:53 on Cops too. Whatever he/she said about charmaine maynard that got edited was probably right on the money. COPS should really stand for Crazies Offering Political Stupidity! They want to split the county apart! Secession?? Tell it to Abe Lincoln!

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Bruce J. Simpson said...

Dear Anonymous:

Try signing your name next time so that someone might just give your views some interest. I not only have the experience in government, but I have plans to address the issues that we are facing. Let's see, experience and plans to solve problems.....doesn't add up to you, huh? As for Casey Evans, why should I have said a thing? Give me one good reason why I should comment on Casey Evans sexual orientation? It is a NON-ISSUE, or has that escaped your keen eye? By the way, we had candidates galore at the fundraiser, Judges, you name it. Most people are beginning to join the 21st century, give it a try.

Bruce J. Simpson
Candidate for County Council

At 9:00 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Who in the media is complaining; LA Tarone, those at WILK? If Tarah is smart she will never get back to any of those clowns.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious. Who is Red O'Brien and who the **** would take serious an adult who goes by a nick-name?

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red O'Brien is a local never been. He was elected to the Pit Area School Board and made more enemies there than any politician should have. He worked to get Jim Haddock the Third District Chairmanship but it didn't require much work. He beat a guy that as a Democrat District Chairman was looking to support a Republican over Rep Mike Carroll. Haddock winning that Chairmanship was not an accomplishment, it was non issue, nobody else wanted it. Proof is that Haddock and O'Brien together can't get 20 people to a District Meeting. Pitting O'Brien against Wil Toole is not a contest. A contest requires two participants and Toole quit the local political power game over 15 years ago. I personally spoke to him and when asked about the endorsement led by O'Brien, he just smiled. Toole said he wasn't angry with O'Brien and said he told O'Brien that he was hurt by the snub but in no way upset about not getting the endorsement. From that I took it to mean that Toole isn't impressed with O'Brien's ability to gather votes and he acknowledges he and Haddock have never drank from the same political cup. Toole just doesn't seem to care one single bit about local politics. As he told a group of us, "I'm experienced, I have solutions, I have been recognized as a professional government manager, I've written dozens of letters to the editor with solutions to county problems and i've attended more county meetings than I can remember offering solutions to problems." He also said, he wanted the job but if not elected, he wil simply go fishing and let O'Brien and Haddock fix Luzerne County government. As Toole put it, he is a winner if he wins or if he loses.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments on county council candidates. I agree that Bruce Simpson had absolutely no reason to comment on the Case Evans gay issue. Evans brought this to light when he commented on it on his facebook page. You folks think he did a brilliant political move by getting 3 days of free publicity but let me remind you that the majority of voters in Luzerne County are senior citizens who are religious and church going voters. Being gay with them is very simple, it is against the law of God. Agree or not, that is something for Evans to fear in this clever move. Personally, I don't give him credit for being clever, I think he screwed up, got some lemons and made lemonade. He lost the senior vote and his youth and lack of life experience will cost him the vote of the thinking middle aged. The more Casey Evans meets the public, the more his inexperienced youth shines.

As for O'Brien endorsing candidates who are not endorsed by COPS is just not true. Michelle Bednar is endorsed by COPS and endorsed by O'Brien. Young girl who will lose support in the Pittston Area and will be used by O'Brien to get his slate out in her home area. O'Brien is clever and Bednar is inexperienced and that's a formula for being taken advantage of. The only winner in that marriage is O'Brien and his Pittston Area slate. Remember, in his mind, it is a return to old time politics and he only needs 6 of the 11 votes on Council to have control and that means that he only needs part of his slate to sin to have that control. Besides, Red O'Brien's job will come to an end with Home Rule and he sees being appointed to one of the manager's positions. Flash to Red, Ain't gonna happen!
Not paying your taxes, not showing up for work and giving a no show job to your campaign manager does not qualify you for further consideration. Seems the RED Slate a danger sign.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red's endorsment article seemed a little whinny.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no winner in the Obrien/Toole feud...just losers.
The real good candidates are the ones not being endorsed by anyone, but maintaining independence so they can do the job right.
For the Ds, we have 1) bruce simpson, who has put forth some earnest proposals, 2) Jim Bobeck, who has spent the most time working to transform the new government, and as the current chair, it's clear he can manage the big egos around him, 3) there's Elaine maddon curry who did great work transforming Hazleton’s school board and cleaning up the mess left by her predecessor, and 4) harry skene, a very smart, reasonable, legal mind who can work with others to forge compromise.
On the Rs, we have guys like harry haas, who is smart, cooperative, reasonable man who argue his points while respecting other's views, and also Ruckno, who has lots of business smarts and can read through budget numbers to trim the fat.
These are real candidates, not prancing candidates who will say whatever to get elected.


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