The LuLac Edition #2122, July 12th, 2012
THE SCRANTON SITUATIONScranton is on the brink. A city that just a few years ago got national recognition with a network TV show now is on the precipice of a cliff. It’s been a long time coming but the chickens have come home to roost. The only way out for Scranton is to declare bankruptcy. It is the not the most attractive option but it is the only option left when no one wants to budge an inch. The City Council which presented its own budget blames it on the Mayor. The Mayor blames it on the City Council. Right now the temptation is to beat up on Chris Doherty. Doherty is after all the captain of the ship but in my mind he is acting as a strong leader. The issuing of pay checks for everyone for $7.25 an hour got everyone’s attention. The unions are complaining that the Mayor is not honoring the contracts. Doherty has been at odds with the unions for years. Not because of any meanness but because, like Ed Rendell did in Philadelphia in the early 90s, he knew he’d be running out of money. It was Doherty who floated the idea of a tax increase. Mayors don’t do that on a whim. Especially Mayors who always had their eye on the future. It can be argued that Doherty’s run for the State Senate, Ltn. Governor and even Governor might have been his wishful thinking for an escape from this day. But give him credit, he knew it was coming and sounded the alarm. In a nutshell, Scranton’s problem is its history. Scranton has always been a volatile city politically. While public officials in Luzerne County stayed in office a very long time, Scranton’s Mayors office was like a revolving door. There are only two Mayors who served three terms since 1961. Jimmy Connors and Chris Doherty. Politics and the desire to keep a job has brought Scranton to this problem. Jimmy Connors used to brag about the fact that he never, ever raised taxes in the city. He spoke of how important police and firemen were and somewhere in that period very rich contracts were doled out. And some were ridiculous. Like if you are a retired police chief and a new chief is hired at a higher salary than you, as a retiree you get a raise in your pension. If you are married to a policeman or a fireman, you too get health care for life. Right now there are over 2,000 retirees getting benefits from a contract. But they are getting those benefits at the expense of the 400 current employees. It does not appear that there will be any communication among the Council, the Unions, or the Mayor’s office. It’s time for the principal (and dear Lord not the Pennsylvania Economy League) to step in and guide these poor children. Scranton must do the following:
1. Declare bankruptcy.
2. Find a way to pay its bills.
3. Raise taxes.
4. Essentially fire every staffer, break the union and start all over again.
If during the Mayoralties of Connors and Doherty just one of these things were done in a substantial manner, Scranton, the place where Larry Holmes fought his title bout and the place where Dunder Mifflin resides mythically, might not be in for such a fight or becoming a national joke.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
CARTWRIGHT WOWS THEMMy reports tell me that the biggest hits of State Senator John Blake’s mid summer picnic was the appearance of 17th Congressional District candidate Matt Cartwright. Cartwright worked the crowd, re introduced himself to old friends and impressed the new ones. Cartwright is not letting the summer slow him down in any way and is running hard to be the new Congressman from LuLac land.
BOBECK TO STEP ASIDE
Attorney Jim Bobeck who has been a founding father of the County Charter and its first Chair is thinking about stepping down. Bobeck was exhilarated and enthused about the new government. Even when the slings and arrows were being aimed at or near him, he faced all of it with good humor, and dare I say wisdom. Bobeck was a very good steward for the new County Council in its infancy. If he stays, great. If not, we wish him the best.
CALLING MR. PEANUT????Exclusive Lulac Report We were going to send a correspondent to the Mr. Peanut convention in Wilkes Barre but couldn’t pony up the gas money for the trip. And unlike City Hall, we have no free pump to access. But here’s what our roving reporter did attempt: Was going to the MR Peanut Convention late this afternoon and called ahead to make arrangements. Much to my chagrin, I was told that MR Peanut himself would be leaving at 4PM and that today was his last day at the show. Obviously MR Peanut had a pressing engagement elsewhere. The demand for MR Peanut must be tremendous. Or is it that Peanut has some relationship issues and a taste for that drink which goes so well with his salted variety? Perhaps Peanut had to dash off for a rendezvous with another well known Snack Treat! Whatever the reason, I figured I’d go next time and get there in time for MR Peanut.
31 AND COUNTING
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVEThis week on Saturday Night Live at the Oldies Shadoe Steele welcomes B.J. Thomas. Saturday Night Live can be heard from 7pm to midnight on WILK AM and FM.
ECTVECTV Live hosts Judge Tom Munley and David DeCosmo will welcome Todd Pousley to the program during the week of July 16th. Mr. Pousley is a Director of the Habitat For Humanity program in Lackawanna County. He'll be discussing the status of the organization, it's future plans for the area, and it's need for volunteers. ECTV Live is a Public Affairs production of Electric City Television which is seen on Comcast Ch19 each day at Noon and Midnight with select showings at 6pm throughout the week.
SUNDAY MAGAZINEThis Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with disaster preparedness expert Art Aiello on what you need to know to protect your family and homes during severe weather events. Brian speaks with Marywood University Professor Lindsey Wotanis and members of her Communications 224 class about their spring class project on hunger in Northeastern Pennsylvania. And Magic 93’s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Steve Kepic from Wendy’s about their “Frosty Key Tag” promotion to support the Red Cross and local adoption efforts. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on Great Country 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:25am on Magic 93, and 7am on True Oldies 590, WARM.
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