The LuLac Edition #2115, July 5th, 2012
CHANGE IN WILKES BARRE?With the recent revelations about the gas pumps in Wilkes Barre, one has to think about just what could ever blown an incumbent Democrat out of the Mayor’s chair (since the strong Mayor form of government began in 1975, there has been a 37 year hold on the top job in Wilkes Barre by a Democrat) or propel just one Republican to a seat on City Council. It seems like the harder the political storm a Democrat suffers, the easier the path to re-election. Here are a few reasons:
1. There is no real Republican party in the city. They have no money and very little organization. The County party pretty much ignores the city even though the 6th District has the hardest bunch of workers there ever was. But with no concerted registration drive, there can be no progress.
2. The Libertarian party has been trying to make an inroad but all they seem to be doing is trying to reduplicate the efforts of the GOP. These two entities need to merge to become one force.
3. The city has changed demographically and so too politically. The vestiges of the Democratic machine set up by the likes of Dr. Tom O’Donnell and the Wilkes Barre City Democratic organization are still in power because no one has challenged them successfully with money and organization. If you look at the election returns though, any Democrat can win a Council seat with less than a thousand votes and a Mayor can win with just a few thousand. A Republican can get 400 pure votes in a Council race. These are people fed up with the status quo or friends of the upstart. But they can’t beat the more than 700 votes allocated to the Democratic candidate who has been endorsed by “the party”.
4. “The party” stays in power because younger voters fed up don’t register in City Elections. They get turned on by the Presidential contest but need to be kidnapped in order to vote in a municipal election. People who have lived in the city and tried to vote the party out found that it was less trouble to just pick up and move out of the city.
5. Then there are the transients. They fall into three categories. The people moving to Wilkes Barre just passing through, trying to sell the family homestead, staying in a job they’ve been transferred to or just marking time until they move on. The college students who use the city services, try to navigate through King’s or Wilkes in a drunken haze and then use their education to get out. The last group are the drug dealers and hoods from Philadelphia or New York who are just alluding police hoping they can have a big score until they are either thrown in jail, killed or find another welfare mom to shack up with in another town. The problem for the future of the city of Wilkes Barre is the last three groups I mentioned don’t vote. They never will. So the people who do vote elect a Magistrate who is not an Attorney, put in a double dipping former police chief on City Council, and ensconce “Straubie’s daughter” as City Controller over a Certified Public Accountant. Will any of this change? You tell me but I really don’t think so.
Last week Mayor Chris Doherty scaled back wages of every City Hall employee to the minimum. These people should be thanking God for Teddy Kennedy because he was the one who advocated for the increase. If it were up to the GOP in Washington, the wage would still be under 6 bucks. Surely the unions will take this to arbitration and once more Scranton will have to fish or cut bait. The city has been in trouble for decades and has kicked the can down the road. Unlike previous Mayors, at least Doherty has the guts to say the city needs a tax increase. It also has to come to terms with the public sector unions. They have to give an inch or two. If not, nothing will change. Scranton and their distressed city situation reminds me of a reporter, any reporter doing a story about an impending snow storm. The story starts and ends the same way. You could replay a reporter from 1993 saying essentially the same things about Scranton’s books and wouldn’t have to change a thing.
McCONNEL/BOEHNER ON TVI was stunned this past weekend when I saw the two leaders of the national legislative branch, Congress stumble when pressed by the media on the Health Care Bill. Boehner sounded like a broken record when CBS’s “Face the Nation’s” Nora O’Donnell kept asking him why he would repeal the entire bill. Boehner never answered clearly why he was against preventative vaccinations for children, preventative procedures like colonoscopies for adults and a waiver on pre existing conditions. No, no, no was all he had to offer. McConnell couldn’t get out of his own way when asked to explain what the GOP alternative was. You have to have a plan and these guys just don’t. Even when many members of the GOP and Southern Democrats were against Civil Rights in the 60s but those opponents at least could come with a semblance of a reason that could have been debated. It shocks me that the party that touts how much they love the Constitution and liberty can’t explain or understand either.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
WHY BLAKE VOTED NO
22nd District State Senator John Blake voted no on the Pennsylvania State budget that was recently passed. Here’s some of his comments on why this budget was not a good one for the little folks in Pennsylvania. On Friday, the Senate passed the $27.65 billion 2012-13 state budget on a largely party-line 32-17 vote. I voted no on the state budget because of unnecessary cuts to human services and child care services – cuts that inflict hardship on persons with disabilities and working class families – and due to the budgetary indifference to the fiscal challenges of our cities and public schools. There were some things in this budget that were good – but not good enough. While significantly better than the one proposed by the governor in February, this budget does little to protect and respect our most vulnerable citizens. It cuts 10 percent – or $84 million -- from the Human Services Development Fund -- a key funding source for counties and local human service providers. This cut adversely affects not only the quality of service counties and their partner non-profits can provide to our seniors and persons with disabilities but it will put educated, skilled, caring and compassionate human service workers out of work. This is also a state budget that kicks nearly 70,000 people – including nearly 2,800 recipients in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe Counties – to the curb by eliminating temporary General Assistance payments to citizens in deep poverty. This program has for years been an essential safety net for persons with disabilities or victims of domestic violence who have been in need of a temporary stipend from the Commonwealth in order to bridge the divide between a serious crisis and a life of daily dignity and security. In this budget, the state’s General Assistance program was eliminated outright with little notice and with almost no effort by the state to prepare program beneficiaries -- or the service providers in the communities where they reside -- for the personal and social consequences of the complete and abrupt elimination of the program. Of course the oil industry got massive tax breaks from the Corbett administration which has been in the tank for them even before the election.
ANDY GRIFFITHAndy Griffith died the other day at the age of 86. He was an iconic figure on TV but was an incredible stage actor. “The Andy Griffith Show” was one of the first shows that used another show to introduce it to a new audience. In an episode of “The Danny Thomas Show”, Danny and his family are driving through a little town called Mayberry and get a traffic ticket. Comedy and history ensued.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Every week Shadoe Steele hosts “Saturday Night Live At the Oldies”. Tune in because this week from Prague Czechoslovakia Jan Hammer, of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and composer of the "Miami Vice" theme! The show airs from 7pm to midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour on WILK AM and FM.
ECTVMusic and the Arts will be featured on ECTV Live during the week of July 9th. Hosts Judge Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will welcome Maureen McGuigan to the program to discuss a free Guitar Workshop and Concert being offered at the Scranton Cultural Center on Friday, July 13th. The program will also offer information about "Art in the Park starting on July 10 and the new ARTS Engage Program and the Sat. might music concert being offered in Lackawanna County this year. ECTV Live is presented on Comcast Ch19 weekdays at Noon and Midnight with selected rebroadcasts at 6pm.
SUNDAY MAGAZINEThis Week on Sunday Magazine: Brian Hughes speaks with nutrition expert Dr. Chris Mohr, who claims fatty foods are as addictive as cocaine, and how you can break the addiction. An encore of Brian’s interview with Lucia Peregrim, who discusses her “Sounds For Scoliosis” fundraiser. And an encore of the Northeast Pa. Rainbow Alliance “It Gets Better” campaign, which raises awareness about bullying & suicides among LGBT youth. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on Great Country 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM.
The first UK colour television broadcasts begin on BBC2. The first one is from the tennis championship at Wimbledon. A full colour service begins on BBC2 on December 2…. 967 Newark riots: After the arrest of an African-American cab driver for allegedly illegally driving around a police car and gunning it down the road, race riots break out in Newark, New Jersey, lasting six days……....The All Star game was played on July 11, 1967 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. The game resulted in a 2-1 victory for the NL. At 15 innings, it was the longest All-Star Game by innings ever. It held this distinction by itself until 2008, when that year's game was also decided in 15 innings……in the Commonwealth, Congressman John Dent of the 21st Congressional District admits he might mount a primary challenge against incumbent Democrat Joe Clark in the 1968 primary……..in Luzerne County, Dr. George Young was re-elected Chairman of the Board of the newly minted Luzerne County Community College and 45 years ago this week the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was "Windy" by the Association.