Thursday, October 06, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1786, October 6th, 2011

The Lackawanna County Jail, home to criminals and the dashed dreams of incumbent County Commissioners.

A woman I am really getting very fond of, Elizabeth Warren.

Cuba Gooding Senior.

Our 1972 logo.


I have this Aunt who is the last surviving member of my dad’s family. Her favorite quotation is “The things you worry about never happen, the stuff you don’t think of will do you in”. This is sage advice in life but more so in the political process of Lackawanna County. I’m sure the Democratic candidates for Commissioner Corey O’Brien and former State Representative Jim Wansacz were trying to figure out how to make amends for their bitter primary fight and keep their respective supporters in line. I figure they were trying to shore up fissures to stop Republicans Patrick O’Malley and Bill Jones from winning the majority. How ironic would it be that those two win in the wake of the Cordaro//Munchak convictions. And that win would come because of a divided party. Yeah I might worry about that. I understand that O’Brien and Wansacz have been doing their best to mend fences. But just when things were getting better, someone from left field emerges. One Michael Simonson who escapes from the County prison by scaling or walking through a weakened fence. A fence that prison officials say was damaged to begin with. A fence that was unguarded. A prisoner that was unguarded. All of a sudden O’Brien is faced with a Lackawanna County prison problem. A problem of security, safety and concern. A problem of doubt that translates into a political problem for O’Brien in particular. As a sitting County Commissioner he is the steward of the prison system. Mike Washo his compatriot from 2007 isn’t running so O’Brien is the front man. O’Brien called for an investigation. A source inside the prison says that there was a faulty fence. What did he expect O’Brien to do? Break into the Glen Maura toolbox and fix it himself? The big question is not the fence but why was a violent convicted killer left alone unguarded in a prison yard? There will be an investigation and upon its conclusion there will be dueling talking points. Corey O’Brien will be in the position of defending his record even though the event was out of his control. The Lackawanna County Prison has always played a role in elections. In 2003, Commissioner Joe Corcoran was beaten by 200 votes because of the actions of the prison warden. During the Munchak Cordaro administration a woman had a baby in jail. And now during the O’Brien/Washo administration a convicted murderer goes for a stroll in downtown Scranton. I’m sure O’Brien will weather this storm but you have to think that in Lackawanna County, the ticking political time bomb, capable of exploding at any minute is that prison. Makes a Commissioner want to cross the street and have a few beers at Andy Gavin’s and contemplate ways to privatize the damn thing.


Governor Chris Christie did something politicians rarely do. He took the long view. Rather than go into the instant gratification that is most important to the average political bear, Christie told a press audience that he was committed to staying the course in his current job. There are a lot of Larry Mondello’s in the political class. You remember that kid on “Leave It To Beaver” who always encouraged Beaver to the heights of mischief. Then when push came to shove, The Beaver was holding the bag. It is easy for supporters and the money men to tell Christie they are behind him. It is quite another to put up or shut up or show the Jersey Governor the money. Christie was wise enough to chart his own course instead of being lead down a garden path of promises of support. Plus I take him at his word that he wants to continue his work in the Garden State. There are some who say his moment may have passed with his decision but in reality by the thoughtful process of this situation, his moment might be in the future.


There are protests in the air these days. People are protesting Wall Street and big business. There are some who say it is unfair. There are many who will tell you that the protests against the big bailout are long overdue. I have been saying for a very long time that there is an assault on the middle class. Real income for people in the $20,000 to $100,000 range has dropped. As the wages and opportunities for more money diminish, costs go up for health care, housing, eduction and basic necessities like food. People are paying more for services in local and state taxes. The middle class is being squeezed. When I was growing up, as a child of two Depression era children, there was always a hope that our lot in life economically would be better than my parent’s. And it was. But today, friends of mine who are parents can’t make that promise to their kids. One of the hallmarks of the 50s and 60s was that business made a product, sold it at a fair price and expected to make a profit for taking the risk. It was part of the equation. It was fundamental fairness that has always been an attractive quality of the American people. Business owners were respected by their workers. Workers in return for the most part were treated fairly. But today, businesses aren’t satisfied to make a profit, they want to make 10 times more than that. When I was in radio I worked for a station that broadcast the Phillies. The Phils cost $9200 to broadcast. We were told that in order for the Wall Street mavens to be happy and satisfied, we had to sell 8 times over the cost of the broadcasts. People today feel abused. While they are asked to make sacrifices, the people that brought us to the brink of economic disaster got bonuses. There are protests across the country against Wall Street. It is not against the institution per se but against the unfairness. The rich and well to do have always served as an inspiration to the middle class to do better. They were looked up to. Today the rich are vilified and deservedly so. You cannot in good conscience take huge bonuses while your rank and file have no raises as they work in the trenches. People are finally beginning to get the message that the rich are not their friends. They see profits soar. They see jobs sent overseas. They see giant companies setting up accounts in the Bahamas to escape corporate taxes. These protester finally see that the middle class is not in their wheelhouse anymore. A protester summed it up perfectly, “There’s the rich and then there’s the poor. The rich want to make the middle class non existent and part of the poor.” She is correct. And it’s gong to get worse and sadly more violent. We, as a nation have protested against war, and against discrimination. These were policy issues that needed to be changed. This economic protest is not against policy, it is against people. The corporations that Mitt Romney says are people. It has all the makings of a 21st century civil war. But there won’ be anything civil about it.


You tell us you can’t create jobs with all the government regulations. Fair enough. But with Republican rule in the White House, House and Senate the last 8 of 11 years, how many jobs have you created with those tax breaks? And why have all those people with those jobs you created had a lower paycheck and standard of living? Just asking.



Luzerne County advises any property owner affected by the September 8, 2011 flooding that they have the right to file an Appeal with The Board of Assessment Appeals within the remainder of the County fiscal year in which the catastrophic loss occurred or within 6 months of the date when the catastrophic loss occurred, whichever period is longer. A Catastrophic loss is a loss of 50% or more of the market value of the property. Appeal fees for flood victims will be waived. You may obtain appeal forms from the following sources: On the internet at under “Departments and Agencies”. At the Assessment office located in the basement of the Courthouse. By calling The Assessment Office at (570) 825-1858 to request the form be sent to you.


At a recent Airport Board meeting, Luzerne County Commissioner Tom Cooney asked that a commemorative plaque be altered so that the names of the County Commissioners in power at that time be removed. Conney said the names of three convicted Commissioners should not be on the board. The names of Lackawanna Commissioners Robert Cordaro and A.J. Munchak as well as Greg Skrepnak of Luzerne County are on the plaque. The best line came from outgoing Commissioner Mike Washo who said, “You know history’s not always pretty,” said Mike Washo, a Lackawanna County Commissioner who served as minority commissioner when Cordaro and Munchak served as the majority. “To have an accurate record of what happened, I think you need to consider living with those people on the plaque.” Washo said he understood Cooney’s concerns, “but we can’t rewrite history. We can’t sanitize history.”
Urban noted that their names were part of the record in meeting minutes and media archives, but to have it publicly displayed on a plaque “does a disservice to the people of both counties.”
Those comments came from a story in the Times Leader. I’m conflicted here. I think history, no matter how ugly should be noted. Even though Huey Long was a scoundrel he was responsible for Louisiana institutions like LSU. Do we erase him from that? On the other hand I’m all for taking the businesses off of the plaque because they presumably had a role in offering or paying the money. These guys were not a profile in courage. I’d split the difference and keep the elected official’s names on and take the businesses off.



There was a media board that has been shut down this past week. It was the NEPA News & Media Gossip Board. I became familiar with it around Christmas time when I had a conversation with former WYLN TV 35 anchor Sonia Shepard. Apparently Shephard was routinely savaged on the board which took tremendous liberties with the truth. Shepard to be sure had some transition issues but what was said was totally mean spirited, uncalled for and totally out of line. WILK’s Steve Corbett referred to a board that was causing him concern but I can’t say for sure this was the one. When I covered the Ciavarella trial for WYLN TV 35 I was totally unaware that every night my reporting or lack thereof skills were being criticized. I found this out a couple of months after I had the assignment. I could take criticism. I also know I was totally outclassed by media members who were young, more mobile and experienced than I was. But what I did have a problem with was the fact that someone said that WYLN TV was going to lose their license because I was editorializing about Mark Ciavarella. That’s just plain crazy because most of my close friends and relatives were on my case for “being too sympathetic” to him. Recently the anonymous haters on the board took after WBRE’s Monica Medeja. She has proven herself as one of the brightest new reporters in this area and is now co hosting the 4PM Magazine Show on WBRE. But if you believed what these guys were saying, you’d think she was some brainless twit from off the shrimp boat. A few weeks ago the board featured an individual that essentially cursed and made scatological remarks that were beyond the pale. Finally last weekend someone put this miserable piece of garbage out of its misery. I’m told that this board’s posters was populated by fired employees of various media outlets with an axe to grind. This board represented the very worst the Internet had to offer. Ironically it was this type of board that inspired me in 2006 to start LuLac. I edit my comments because I try not to be mean spirited or have anyone else on this site do the same. Even though a good media board is needed, with gossip and a little bit of spice, savaging people in the business professionally is the act of cowardly losers who aren’t watching enough porn and most likely drinking too much cheap beer.



On Storm Politics this week: Meet the Hazleton Area School Board Candidate Team of Early, Yanic, Childs, you can catch it again WYLN TV -Th 930p, Sat 5p, Sun 11a, Mon 830p, Tues 930p among times. Please know other candidates--Robbie Wallace, Tony Bonomo, Rocco Formica have, thus far, declined interviews--but ALL have been extended invitations, should they choose to do so in future.


This week Shadoe Steele’s guest on “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies” will be Robin Scott UK group M. Saturday Night Live is heard on WILK AM & FM from 7pm to midnight with ABC news on the top of the hour.


With Halloween just around the corner parents and grand parents who have Comcast may want to make sure they catch ECTV Live for the week of October 10th. Host Judge Tom Munley and co-host David DeCosmo will welcome a representative from the Chinchilla Hose Company Station 2 who will be discussing the unit's annual Open House and
Halloween Party. The event, scheduled for October 16th., includes fun and games for children where they and their parents can get some valuable safety tips related to Trick or Treating activities. ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast Ch19 throughout the week at Noon and Midnight.


This Week On Sunday Magazine: Brian Hughes speaks with Frank Hager, the owner and operator of several Lay-Z-Boy Furniture Outlets in Northeast Pa about their donation of 200 thousand dollars worth of furniture to area flood victims.
Brian interviews with Roxanne Pauline, the Co-Ordinator of the Northeast Pa Area Labor Federation, who discusses President Obama's American Jobs Act, and the need to imrpove bridges in Northeast Pa. And Brian speaks with Thomas Churilla, a student at the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, about his study linking low levels of Vitamin D to cancer. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5:30am on JR 93.7 & 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am on Magic 93 & 9:30am on WARM 590 AM.


The United Reformed Church is founded out of the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches……A train crash in Saltillo, Mexico kills 208 people….Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern says that the Nixon administration is responsible for more deaths in the Vietnam conflict and that if he were elected, he would immediately withdraw the troops from Southeast Asia…….in Pennsylvania Senator Dick Schweiker tours the mobile home parks that are occupied by flood victims throughout the state. Schweiker is joined on his tour by Governor Shapp……………and in Scranton Mayor Gene Peters outlines a plan to coordinate neighborhood watch groups with city police in order to keep the crime rate down in the entire city….and 39 years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac was “Everybody Plays the Fool” by Cuba Gooding Senior and the Main Ingredient.


At 9:19 AM, Blogger David DeCosmo said...

David, I hope you won't mind if I include a line from my own blog about the recent escape in Lackawanna County. On October 2nd
I wrote........"Now let me get this straight. We can keep a dog inside a yard with an 'invisible fence.' But we can't keep convicts
inside a prison yard with a high wall topped with razor wire. So, do they make an 'invisible fence' for jails?"
I was also impressed with the strength and quality of bed sheets used in our local lock ups and wondered if they're available for the general public. I suggest they might last a long time!

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Warren dosnt know what she is talking about. Companies pay taxes as well, the workers those companies hire pay taxes as well..companies are paying their "chunk" and so are all the workers those companies hire all pay their "chunk".

At 4:15 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

David, I hope you won't mind if I include a line from my own blog about the recent escape in Lackawanna County.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there are invisible fences for jails they should carry a lethal dose of electricity.
This particular convict singlehandedly makes the case for Public Executions!
There must be other good uses for these heavy duty bedsheets. Maybe no bedsheets at all would be a good idea? Sheeeeet.

Once A Bleeding Heart Liberal but no more in Lackawanna County.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole prison system in the Lack is a mess. Somebody take a look at Work Release sometime where one "guard" is responsible for up to 45 residents on the overnight and leadership is totally lacking. Then follow on down to House Arrest where the monitoring equipment doesnt always work.
You know who I am and you know I know what I'm talking about because I worked for both outfits.
Its a time bomb and it has exploded twice with this inmate!
One victim is in a coma and we are damn lucky some citizen wasnt murdered if not for quick work by the much maligned Scranton PD!


At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, 2 things, first off I get what Elizabeth Warren is trying to say. I like her too.
I am not a member of the media but I'm a media fan and that board was atrocious. I did not know of Sonia Shepard but I've watched Monica Medaja and those postings on her were unkind and brutal. Good riddance to those cancerous bastards and their gutless opinions.

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Your BiSexual Female Fan said...

As an admirer of both men and women I would much rather have seen her opponent naked, then Ms. Warren. Yuck! But if I had to be with her to get to you.. well, I would just shut my eyes.

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN dumped Randall Williams for good! Good move. The moron even shocked Fox with his rantings. As previous posters said he was livin
off Dads reputation and had he been Randall Williams, stations never would have played his music in the first place.
Are you ready for pay cut?

At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex Steroid strikes out to end the season. It doesnt get any better. The Yankee 3rd baseman has certainly proved worth every penny
and his post season heroics are legendary. Bye Bye Bronx Bombers.
Watch all the Yankee hats disappear around here.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Michelle D said...

That is interesting about the NEPA Media board. Some people found my blog this week searching for it. I went to google myself to see what it was, and by that time it was already shut down.

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That (edited) Petrilla is offering a cut in taxes for people who had flood damage. I gues she doesn't realize that the vast majority of those homes will be repaired and up to par so why te reduction? It is apparent that Petrilla never did understand the budget process or she would be well aware that the current budget is in effect and the new budget is in the works so now she wants to redsuce income blowing both budgets out of the water ........ why can't she just go away? (edited) 0bviously the voters don't know how bad Urban is or he would not be the top vote getter. I coud write a book but the mindless voters of Luzerne county can't read.
By Anonymous on The LuLac Edition #1786, October 6th, 2011 on 10/7/11

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous bob quarteroni said...

As bad as the nepa media blog site was it was the best local site -- or at least the best I found -- to share info on local media. I miss it and think it served a vital function so, as cyber-duncy as I am, I am going to try and start a new blog site devoted to local media. It's at Please visit it and post something, or pass along the info to those who may be interested or let me know of other places I can post this message to let others know of its existence. Thanks. Bob Quarteroni. I can be reached at


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