The LuLac Edition #1761, September 18th, 2011
PHOTO INDEX: INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR LUZERNE COUNTY COUNCIL RICK WILLIAMS, ANTI CORRUPTION RALLY SATURDAY AT WILKES BARRE CITY HALL, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY MOLLY HANLON MIRABITO RECENTLY SPOKE TO THE HOLY REDEEMER HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT BODY DURING THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF PRESENTATIONS ON ISSUES FACING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. HER PRESENTATION FOCUSED ON THE ILLEGAL USE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND HOW THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN LUZERNE COUNTY DEALS WITH YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS. AT THE PRESENTATION, FROM LEFT: ROBERT MUSSO, DIRECTOR OF GUIDANCE; S.A.D.D. (STUDENTS AGAINST DESTRUCTIVE DECISIONS) CLUB MEMBERS ELIZABETH NICHOLAS, OLIVIA ZURAD, ALLIE GRISWOLD AND JULIA WIGNOT; AND MIRABITO. (PHOTO AND BLURB FROM TIMES LEADER), THE LATE SENATOR CHARLES PERCY OF ILLINOIS (CIRCA 1972) AND THE LATE ELEANOR MONDALE.
WILLIAMS MOUNTS RACE
Kingston architect Rick Williams was making so many comments about the Home Rule change and the primary election results that many of his friends got sick of hearing him talk about. I’m told they told the west sider to put up or shut up. That’s when Williams decided to run his for the County Council as an Independent. Williams is extremely personable and qualified but you need more than that to get elected. Quietly over the summer as he gathered signatures on his election petition, Williams has quietly built a coalition of supporters from all walks of life and every political stripe. His candidacy appears to be a true independent effort that might just have some important ramifications in the County Council race. Williams is getting a field organization in place designated for his success. He also has been holding events and pressing the proverbial flesh on the campaign trail. Here’s a little bit about him:
Rick Williams is an architect who works in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Over 30 years ago, Williams choose to locate in Luzerne County. He began his career with Bohlin and Powell Architects until he formed Richard Williams Architecture in 1983. Today that company has evolved into Williams Kinsman Lewis Architecture. Rick has had a sincere and long-term commitment to Luzerne County and Wyoming Valley. His professional expertise addresses community needs.
Approach to Serving on the new Luzerne County Council. Rick brings independent thinking to the new county council. He believes we must change the way county government operates. His experiences as a business owner, architect and active member of the community will serve the new County Council. He has experience analyzing, designing and implementing complex projects including regulatory processes, budgeting, contracting and collaboration among many stakeholders.
While he has never run for public office, he believes the start of the new county government provides a unique opportunity to change the way we govern ourselves. We can change the political patterns of the past. He is running for County Council because he believes his experience, independence and communication skills will:
1. Foster a culture of professionalism, fiscal responsibility and excellence in our new government.
2. Get the new county government started on a strong foundation based on cooperation, listening, honest analysis of issues and making tough decisions.
3. Encourage thoughtful decision-making so that a strong, professional County Manager is hired and supported by the new County Council.
He believe independent, honest people are needed in government to avoid the problems of the past. Good government comes from good people working together, not just parties and politics.
Community Service. He is and has been involved in varied community organizations.
• Vice-President of the Board of Directors Habitat for Humanity from 2010 to 2011 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.
• Transportation Task Force of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Area Chamber of Commerce.
• Design Committee of the Diamond City Partnership.
• Riverfront Parks Committee.
• President of the Board of Directors of the Luzerne County Historical Society 1995 to 1997.
• President of the Board of Directors of the Wyoming Valley Montessori School 2001 to 2003.
• Youth soccer coach with the Wilkes-Barre YMCA and other local leagues.
Education and Family. Rick Williams, 63, attended public schools. He received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Cornell University. He earned a Masters of Architecture degree from Columbia University. He is married to Linda Casey. They live in Kingston with their children, Lily and Oliver.
As I sat with Williams the other day in a downtown coffee shop with a cadre of his team, I noticed a long time political pro walk into the same establishment. At the very onset of this campaign, this political wizard who has been a veteran of many a campaign said the successful candidate for Luzerne County Council has to tell the people who he or she is, how they see the job, and what type of demeanor they’ll bring to the position. It appears Williams is on the right road to meeting that criteria in this campaign.
Molly Hanlon Mirabito candidate for Common Pleas Court Judge is now into the fall phase of her effort. Mirabito who traveled from church picnic to summer festival through the summer of ’11 is now gearing up for what the late County Chairman Joe Tirpak called “The Big Push”. Here’s a list of two key events:
Molly For Judge: Next Volunteers' Meeting
Swoyersville American Legion.
Date: Sept. 20
Time: 5 PM
Light refreshments will be served
The American Legion in Swoyersville is also a drop off point for those affected by the flood. The Legion is collecting cleaning supplies (e.g. buckets, scrub brushes and cleaners with bleach). So if any volunteer wants to bring a little something, or for that matter a big something for flood recovery, by all means please do. The Hanlon Mirabito campaign wanted to get the word out, particularly since the Tuesday night Volunteer's meeting is at the Legion.
Another event for the Molly for Judge: Meet the Candidate series will be at the
Elk's Lodge 109, 39 Evans Street, Pringle
Date: Sept 30
Time: 5-7 PM
Food and beverages will be served.
Vinsko for Congress Committee is having a cocktail party to support Bill Vinsko for Congress at the Wyoming Valley Country Club on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Cost is $125 per person / For Tickets call 570.970.9700.
Luzerne County Architect Rick Williams is going to have a campaign event at the River Street Jazz Café on September 26th from 5 to 7pm. This event is a meet and greet with some sweet jazz music and refreshments being offered. Williams is running as an Independent for Luzerne County Council.
BLOG FEST AT ROONEY’S
We’re planning another blogfest and will keep on doing them until we get it right. This fall’s event will again be on Friday September 23rd at Rooney’s Pub 67 South Main Street in Pittston and will last from 6pm to 11:30PM. Candidates, the media, bloggers, people who love us, people who hate us are welcome to attend. Rooney’s is a great place to congregate and talk politics. Hope to see you there.
Bill Kellly from WVIA TV did a wonderful job on “State of Pennsylvania” this week interviewing West Pittston Flood victims from resident Clifford Melberger’s home. Melberger spoke about the need for low interest or interest free loans and grants for victims to recover. I hope there is a real push to get the people affected their chance to rebuild. But as I’ve said on Topic A the last few weeks we are in a very different political climate than we were in 1972. It will take some heavy lifting to get funding directly to the people in terms of grants. And I can’t see interest free loans being granted either because I don’t think any of those were made available to Katrina victims or other people who had natural disasters. (Sallie Mae gave loans of $500 to $1000 for students in Katrina but after a year they reverted back to the interest they needed to charge). I hope Melbeger gets his wish but I can only imagine a Congressman in a far distant place affected by a disaster questioning why his district never got interest free loans and we here in the our area did. In addition to a political climate where conservatives want the money made up for the sake of their sainted deficit straddled grandchildren, West Pittston is not represented by Dan Flood. With all due respect to Lou Barletta, Flood on his worst days had more lift than half of this current Congress combined. The show re-airs this afternoon on WVIA TV at 12:30PM.
One of my earliest political heroes on the Republican side was Chuck Percy of Illinois. He was CEO of the Bell & Howell Company at the age of 29 then ran for Governor in 1966 against Otto Kerner. He lost in the Johnson landslide but came back in 1966 to be elected U.S. Senator. Percy beat three term Democratic Senator Paul Douglas. Percy had tragedy in his life, during the ’66 campaign his daughter was murdered. Valerie, was bludgeoned to death in the family home in Kenilworth, Ill., during Mr. Percy’s 1966 campaign. She was 21. The police kept the case alive for more than 20 years but never identified a suspect. Percy’s other daughter Sharon married West Virginia Attorney Jay Rockefeller who is currently a long time serving Democratic Senator.
Percy was touted as an attractive Kennedy like candidate and for a short time was on Richard Nixon’s list to be his running mate. But even Percy knew he was too liberal for Nixon’s tastes. When asked If he had a shot at the Veep’s job in Miami, he succinctly said, “It’s possible but not probable”. That summer of ’68 whenever any of my Unction gang were asked by their parents if we had done our chores, we simply answer, “It’s possible but not probable”. Our parents thought it was slang from some rock and roller.
In 1967, only three months into his first Senate term, Chuck Percy, as he was familiarly known, drew attention when he proposed legislation to create a private foundation to finance low-cost housing and foster home ownership among low-income families. Though the measure did not pass, it drew strong support from Republicans in both the House and the Senate.
Mr. Percy briefly considered a bid for the White House only once. In June 1973, he formed an exploratory committee to look into a 1976 candidacy. But he closed it down after Nixon resigned in August 1974 and Vice President Gerald R. Ford became president. Within a week, Mr. Percy said Ford had gotten off to an excellent start and was likely to be nominated in 1976, as he was.
Mr. Percy’s clash with Nixon came in the spring of 1973 as the president was trying to contain the Watergate scandal, set in motion by the break-in at the offices of the Democratic opposition by a White House team of burglars and aggravated by the administration’s efforts to cover up the crime.
18 years after his election Percy suffered the same fate as the man he beat, Paul Douglas. Even in the Reagan landslide, Percy lost his bid for re-election to the late Paul Simon. Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, his fellow conservative Republicans never trusted him. Some actually supported Mr. Simon in the hope that Senator Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, would succeed him in the chairmanship. The Illinois economy was weak, and Mr. Simon won a narrow victory with 50.1 percent of the vote.
After his retirement, Percy opened a consulting business in Washington. He died Saturday at the age of 91 Percy had been treated for Alzheimer’s disease for many years.
“Percy’s passing reminds us that today’s Republican Party is not your mother’s Republican Party,” said Thomas C. Mann, in the New York Times a Congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, adding that Mr. Percy had worked “comfortably” with Democrats.
With the current debates about flood relief going on now, I can tell you without equivocation that Chuck Percy wouldn’t be worried about making up the money in other cuts while people were suffering!
TED’S DAUGHTER DEAD
Kara Kennedy, the oldest child of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, died at a Washington-area health club, her brother said Saturday. She was 51.
Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island, said his sister died Friday.
"She's with dad," Patrick Kennedy said. Their father died in 2009 at age 77 after battling a brain tumor.
Kara Kennedy had herself battled lung cancer: In 2003, doctors removed a malignant tumor. Patrick Kennedy said that his sister loved to exercise, but that he thinks her cancer treatment "took quite a toll on her and weakened her physically."
"Her heart gave out," he said.
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate said in a news release that Kara Kennedy died after her daily workout. The statement said Kennedy, a board member for the institute, was a filmmaker and television producer who produced several videos for Very Special Arts, an organization founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith.
She also served as a director emerita and national trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
Kara Kennedy was the oldest of three children. She and her brother Edward Kennedy Jr. helped run their father's U.S. Senate campaign in 1988. The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome lists her as a national advisory board member on its website.
Edward Kennedy Jr. himself was a survivor after losing a leg to bone cancer as a child. And Patrick Kennedy had surgery in 1988 to remove a non-cancerous tumor that was pressing against his spine. In 1990, Kara Kennedy married Michael Allen. The couple had a son and daughter, both now in their teens.
Kara Kennedy was born in 1960 as her father campaigned for his brother, John F. Kennedy, during the presidential primaries.
The late senator wrote in his 2009 memoir, "True Compass," that "I had never seen a more beautiful baby, nor been happier in my life."
She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 and was given a grim prognosis by doctors, her father wrote.
MONDALE’S DAUGHTER DEAD
Eleanor Mondale, the vivacious daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale who carved out her own reputation as an entertainment reporter, radio show host and gossip magnet, has died at her home in Minnesota. She was 51.
Mondale, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer years earlier, died early Saturday, said family spokeswoman Lynda Pedersen said.
In a statement emailed to friends, the former vice president said he and his wife "must report that our wonderful daughter, Eleanor Mondale Poling, after her long and gutsy battle against cancer, went up to heaven last night to be with her angel."
Eleanor Mondale had been off the air at WCCO-AM in Minneapolis since March 19, 2009, when she announced that her brain cancer had returned a second time. She had surgery to remove the tumor Aug. 12, 2009, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a posting on her CaringBridge website declared the surgery a success.
Mondale, the middle of three children born to Walter and Joan Mondale, stumped for her father in his failed campaign to unseat President Ronald Reagan in 1984. She also made calls in her father's last campaign in 2002, when the former vice president took the ballot slot of Minnesota's U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash just days before the election.
A striking blonde known on the party circuit when she was younger, Eleanor Mondale also attracted gossip. Her dalliance with the late rock musician Warren Zevon was detailed in "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon," a posthumous biography published by Zevon's ex-wife in 2007.
ANTI CORRUPTION RALLY
Saturday the first anti corruption rally was held at City Hall in Wilkes Barre. The plan was for people upset with the towing situation to come out and protest. There was also some anti current administration sentiment there too. From what I’ve seen on Facebook the turnout was small but organizer Mark Robbins put this spin on it, " I was happy with it. In the big picture... the key is getting in the paper. This carries 50 times the weight of "how many people showed up." That might be true if you want to get a message out, but last I looked, newspapers don't get people's asses to the polls to vote out someone you don't like or want. See second picture in photo index.