Sunday, January 15, 2012

The LuLac Edition #1903, January 15th, 2012

Home Rule organizer, P.J. Best.

The original Home Rule Yes logo.

State Senator John Blake.


I saw a letter in the newspaper on Friday that did some chest thumping for the pioneers of Home Rule. It was a good history lesson for historical trivia fans like myself. It also put in perspective how far Home Rule has come and how far it has to go in order to work. Anyway here’s the letter that ran in the newspaper:
I would like our new county council to understand how they got here - (not by election if this went on as they did in the two previous government study commission attempts):
You are here for two reasons:
1. Due to the hard work of chairman Jim Haggerty and his Luzerne County Transition Committee (but they could not publicize or fight for adoption).
2. You are here because Ed Chesnovitch and I recognized that if no publicity organization was formed the cause would be lost. Chesnovich recruited Michael Giamber, who took the bull by the horns and carried forward the attempt to publicize Home Rule and helped raise the funds necessary to accomplish our goal. If Giamber did not get the grant I doubt there would have been enough funds to win our goal. The sister of Ronnie, who was the secretary for the study commission was the first one who purchased 100 yard signs at $400 out of her own pocket and my son, Ronald, contributed $1,000 to fund the publicity. Fred Heller made a CD at his cost and Dave Chaump donated his band to play at our VFW rally. Chesnovich, as our treasurer, also contributed - even with a fractured leg - as I took him to our meetings.
Certainly others contributed and I am not trying to slight anyone who helped bring about a victory for Home Rule, with the vote in favor of the charter being 49,343 to 40,304. About 55 percent voted yes.
Home Rule backers blamed the past form of government for corruption, cronyism, patronage hiring, wasteful spending, higher property taxes and out-of-control debt.
We, Home Rule yes committee, had the Democratic organization, the Republican organization and even the union involved with the fight. Now the county council has to take over the reigns and prove that our Home Rule yes efforts were justified.
I wish you good luck in your endeavors and remember that Ed, Michael and I will still be here to help in any way.
Thomas W. Dombroski
One key omission here. One of the key movers in the adoption of Home Rule came from the leadership of an impressive young man named P.J. Best. Best of Pittston City took the bull by the horns and helped get the thing on the ballot. Best then off to Pittsburgh to finish law school. When the history of Home Rule from inception to whenever is written, P.J. Best has to be right up there with all the others.


Last week we promoted on event at Brennan Hall on the campus of the University of Scranton regarding women in government. The event featured former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolles Mezvinsky as one of the featured speakers. Bishop Bambara, following his predecessors rants declared that the University as a Catholic College should not have invited Margolles-Mezvinsky because she was pro choice. Pro choice is giving women the right to choose. Margolles Mezvinsky is not going to advocating for abortion or even addressing the pro choice issue. All she is going to do is promote the election of women candidates. The Bishop’s reaction was nothing if not predictable. And sad.


State Senator John Blake recently sent an opinion on Governor Tom Corbett’s Budget Message. Here’s how he reacted to the news from the Governor’s office:
While our economy continues to be sluggish in rebounding from recession, Governor Tom Corbett has decided that cutting financial support and freezing access to essential state programs and services will remedy Pennsylvania’s below-estimate tax revenues.
With the biggest months for tax revenue collections yet to come, Governor Corbett directed his Budget Office to freeze nearly $160 million in state spending last week – inflicting additional pain on families already struggling to cope with the deep cuts contained in the 2011-12 state budget.
The Governor has directed most state agencies to reduce their overall 2011-12 spending by 3 percent, although some individual appropriations will be reduced by up to 10 percent. Indeed, upon review of those line items experiencing the deepest cuts, there is little question that those cuts impose greater hardship on the poor, the sick, veterans and on workers administering important economic development programs throughout the state.
The Governor , already presiding over $500 million in un-appropriated funds within the current 2011-12 budget cycle, advanced additional budget cuts during the traditionally-lower revenue collection months, rather than waiting to see what the traditionally-higher revenue collection months hold for Pennsylvania. Revenue collections in the Spring have always served to inform the true status of the state budget going in to final budget negotiations in the General Assembly. This brings into serious question both the timing and the necessity of these additional cuts within the current fiscal year.
I understand the need to tighten our belts in times of economic hardship but we cannot balance a state budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens while billion dollar corporations with sophisticated accounting and legal departments work to evade taxes or other similar corporations continue to profit from the extraction of our abundant natural resources without providing some relief to the working class taxpayers of this state.


At 3:16 AM, Blogger PoorRichard said...

What don't you people get about Gov Corbett and his Republican type of government? He an the Republican party could not care less about the people they serve, it is all about them. Get over it and take what you deserve, you voted for the bum.

PJ Best, Giamber and the crew have a lot to answer for and damn little to take credit for. This form of government is exactly what I thought it world be, a total cluster F***. The Council is a collective body with no balls and no idea how to make this thing work. Urban and Petrilla left a budget that is little more than a joke and this group of 11 don't get it. They missed the fact that the joke is on us, the taxpayers and citizens who will be looking for services. All they have accomplished so far is to have a group of Tea Party nuts stand ad scream fire everyone and don't raise taxes. There isn't a member of the Council with the ballz to do what is right to run government and I guess we should all send a thank you note to PJ Best, Mike Giamber and the other idiots who knew nothing about government but decided to rewrite the rules under which it operates. Here is a question for you, where the hell are they now? Where are the answers to this government they so proudly take credit for? I wonder if any of those self righteous founding fathers know what the employees are going through after 6,7 8 and 9 years of employment and their house of cards are about to fall? Their very lives are being torn apart, does that please you? Are you happy now? I pray God save us from ourselves.

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the history of home rule is written, these people will be the villians, along with media,y talk show hosts and bloggers, who riled the ignorant masses to adopt this farce, not out of reason but out of fear, hatred and envy.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The LuLac Edition #1903, January 15th, 2012":

Your 100% correct about PJ Best. Not so much on some of the other people you mentioned about Home Rule.
Lets be honest, this process only took place a few years back and almost won. So the concept was fresh.

The real reaon Home Rule passed in the Luzernce County is because of the corruption scandal. Lets also not forget that the people of the county are the one's who put this new charter into affect.

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the people in the county approved the measure by a very small magin so becuuse a some judges were bad, we had to change the format of government. What idiots! Just read the daily accounting and you can see it is the blind leading the blind the crowning jewel is the manager they plan to hire. Now that's a real jke and those fools insist on hiring him. I will give LuLac credit for taking on the Council's choice but where is Gort and Pittston Politics and the others in all of this? Sitting at the bar, slugging thier beer and slapping each other on the back.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of hearing about why we needed home rule I could just flip out at the sound of it. Let me ask you where are these people now? PJ Nest I understand is a lawyer and working locally. Where is he? He can take credit for this mess and he hasn't appeared to offer even one suggestion on how it can be fixed. What he did do is start the bal rolling and then sat back and took a contract providing the Committee with computer services so he made a few bucks and now we pay for it with an upside down government. The same can be said for everyone mentioned in that self aggrandizing letter, where the hell are they with solutions, other than fire everybody?

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Richard, you cannot be serious. You declare the new government a failure at two weeks old! Apparently you dream of the good old days of yesteryear, which brought our county a $450 million debt and a corruption scandal of almost unimaginable scope. If only we kept those nifty county commissioners and row officers, things would surely be fixed soon, right?

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:06PM.....Yonki is a big supporter of Pribula's and he actively advocated Home Rule. As a matter of fact, he even said he wanted to decertify the unions. His gift is that he sees many sides to an issue. And you're right, even though he advocated for it, he isn't afraid to criticize the new Council's actions. I just wonder if his obvious picks like Toole, Simpson, Sorokus, Evans and LIcata won whether he'd be so on point against them.

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

It's only been two weeks for Christ sake. Things take time. And by the way, David heavily promoted Bobeck, Bromo, Morelli, Maddon Curry, Harry Haas and Rick Williams. I think he just recognizes that the other blogs in this area are erratic and he is offering a daily dose of consistency. The only problem is the Yonk is getting old and cranky and doesn't look like he gives a crap anymore. Ever see him on TV with Tarone? Those guys go at it hammer and tong. In the meantime, read the papers, read the blogs and make your own opinion. But remember, we're not even a month into this. The people who were against Home Rule want this hysteria to last. And David, calm down some. Too much friggin Tab.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's not around anymore, and she didn't play a big role in things once they got started, but the late Nancy Kamp and her "Luzerne County Forum" played a big role in calling attention to Home Rule a decade ago. It was laregly through her and her group's work the Study Commission of '03 was formed and drew up that charter. It failed, but this recent group drew heavily on what its predecessor did. So, I think Mrs. Kamp deserves some credit -- or blame, depending on your perspective. And yes, the main reason it passed this time was the collection of scandals from the courthouse.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger PoorRichard said...

8:45 PM It never ceases to amaze me how people such as you continually fall back on the stupid comments that people such as I who can plainly see the failure that is happening must want corruption as a form of government. Can I please ask what the hell makes you tick? Of course I don't want corruption but the problem we had was two fold. First we elected people without thought to their ability. Second, most eligible voters did not vote and many who were eligible didn't even bother to register to vote. The problem isn't with me and people like me. What I see as the problem, is people like you who refuse to see the real problem and still look to the past as though we had no real choice. The last think I want to say is "I told you so" but the first steps usually determine how the race will end and I see nothing but disaster. Read what is available with regard to the new manager to be and what his accomplishments are. The only thing he has accomplished is to find a new job every two years. I have no problem with Probulia but the fact is he is an accountant not a problem solving manager. You tell me how we can win this fight and as I said, the first steps out of the blocks were weak at best. By the way, I'm just wondering if you personally ever attended a county meeting, school board meeting or local municipal meeting? I would guess not.

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Poor Richard. 8:54 here. Let's address your two points: "First we elected people without thought to their ability." Richard, that was the problem exactly. Our county was run by politicians, not government professionals. The charter fixes that -- a professional day-to-day manager and merit-selected department heads instead of elected row officers!

Second, you blame lack of voter participation. To the extent that was due to one-party rule, big money donors, campaign slates, non-competitive elections, etc. the charter changes all that, too. More frequent elections, diluting the impact of big money, a large council not controlled by the parties or political slates -- the charter is a huge improvement.

You post a lot, but it's not clear you're paying close attention.

By the way, I attended over 90% of government study and transition meetings. Don't be so smug.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger PoorRichard said...

12:29, to begin with, attending the charter meetings was a bit late. The damage had already been done. Example, where were you when Petrilla and Urban were spending over a half million dollars on a super sophisticated finger print reading time machine? Yes, the one with the $6,000 annual maintenance agreement and the two commissioner's executive secretaries being hired to monitor the system at over a hundred thousand dollars a year.

Apparently you don't have a clue how bad government can be with bureaucrats at the helm. Having a county manager with the authority the Charter grants him is outrageous. There are no controls over him and we are about to hire a dandy. Your school district is a good example. The Superintendent is the "professional' manager. NO THANK YOU! Remember, we had both ends of the spectrum when we had the football player and the Chamber of Commerce Professional and with the Chamber Professional, we went deeper into debt and had more bad management then at any time in our history and that's a simple fact.

Your post excuses voter citizen participation being the fault of one party control, wake up. Every little berg in NE PA is run by one party or the other. Go to the farm lands and traditionally, it is the Republicans. Same was/is true in areas such as Kingston, Forty Fort, West Pittston, etc. There was a time when the Republican Party ruled Luzerne County. It is the group of people with the most ambition who rule, not the stay at home complainers. You truly don't get it. Please, please, please take a look at what's going on in Luzerne county and you will see the tail wagging the dog. The Tea Party type of mentality is running wild and there isn't a sole on the Council that has the ballz to stand up and do what is right. All I hear is, fire, lay off, don't raise taxes. Well my friend, the county is eyeball deep in debt and taxes do need to raised to pay for them Taking it out on the employees is not the answer even though the heartless, brainless think it is. I do agree that the courts are a problem but I mean the courts, not the court affiliated employees. The judges are lawyers and they will continue to hire lawyers to work part time at twice the salary of the average Joe and they will be paid benefits for that part time work. Why are people not screaming at these new judges and Judge Burke for not standing up for the small guy employees and the tax payers? The judges don't need the personal staff they demand but I don't hear a word about that and that my friend is a big part of the financial problems of the county.... LAWYERS! The debt must be paid but more lawyers don't need to be hired.

I think a point has to be made that history shows that the reformers are often worse than what they want reformed. PJ Best is an excellent example. He worked hard to get Home Rule on the ballot without the work of gathering signatures on a petition and then he took a contract to do work for the Study Commission and we have not heard rom him since. Nuff said.


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