Saturday, April 27, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2409, April 27th, 2013

Lackawanna County Judge Patti Grande Rieder. (Photo: Facebook). 


On Thursday afternoon, Lackawanna County Judicial candidate Patti Grande Rieder posted this on Facebook: My campaign hit the airwaves this morning! Please share the video with your family and friends. Thanks very much for your support! She put this commercial up airwaves.  
So far so good, right? Well no. 
Then she submitted to an interview that was previously scheduled with WILK’s Steve Corbett three weeks ago. Broadcast on Thursday between 4 and 5pm and then re-broadcast Friday, the interview was horrible mainly because the candidate was woefully prepared for the questions from Steve Corbett. Campaign Media 101 states that any question you will be asked by the media already knows the answer. So it is how you respond to the question. 
Grande Rieder did not respond well. Or coherently. Her prior career was in the Lackawanna County Judiciary with the man she hopes to replace, Judge Chester Harhut. She was a Family Court Master. Apparently somewhere along the line, she was let go and then reinstated. But her responses were so foggy and unclear that to the average listener, she sounded evasive. By not answering the question clearly, she did what no political person wants anyone to do, speculate badly on who they are. 
All she had to do was say this: “Every day of my twenty-three year legal career has prepared me for the role of Lackawanna County Judge. I have worked for some of the most respected jurists on both the federal and state court benches – the Honorable Richard P. Conaboy, who at the time was the Chief Judge of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie, presently a member of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and most recently with the Honorable Thomas J. Munley, President Judge of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. As a Special Hearing Master in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, I have presided over thousands of cases, many of which protected the elderly from fraud and children from abuse. I pledge to use my experience and my knowledge to protect the rights of our citizens, make our communities safer, and ensure that Lackawanna County remains a wonderful place to live.
That’s from her website. If you notice the people on Cable TV, all they do is stick to the script. She didn’t! Couldn’t. 
Grande Rieder was also heard in her conversation to be prompted by someone with her. Not good. When she is on the bench, no one will be whispering in her ear when she is presiding. Then when she denied Corbett’s question whether or not she was prompted, (and folks this is radio) she told Corbett "I don't know. I don't know what you're talking about". 
What mystifies me is that no one, not even the candidate pulled the plug on this interview. If she were my wife, my sister, my candidate, I’d lunge for the phone and pull it out of the wall. Or if she was on a cell phone, I’d take it from her and throw it in the water cooler. Anything to stop the carnage.
On the candidate’s Facebook page, there are three people I know  listed as friends of the campaign. One is a political savvy guy I respect, the other two are involved in the media. (One I worked with years ago, the other I worked with in the Luzerne County Judicial trials when I was covering the cases for WYLN TV 35.) I wish she had consulted one of the three of them before she did this interview. 
In her discussion with Corbett, she talked about the appearance of impropriety and how a Judge has to surpass that bar. In her case, she should have been more concerned about the appearance of incompetence and incoherence than anything else.
Jeffrey Kulick, Girard Mecadon, Len Sanguedolce, Mark Singer, Art Bobbouine, James Red O'Brien, Qiana Murphy Lehman and Alexandra Kokura, at a recent forum in the Pittston Area. (Photo: Citizen’s Voice) 


When the Magisterial system was set up in the early 1970s to replace the old Justice of the Peace system, it streamlined the number of levels of law your average citizen needed to go through if arrested or wanted to file a small claims case. The Magisterial system also created a lower Judiciary where probable cause could be found in a criminal case. Known as inferior courts of limited jurisdiction magistrates routinely handle landlord-tenant matters, small civil claims (cases involving amount in controversy up to $12000), summary offenses, violations of municipal ordinances, and preliminary hearings and arraignments in greater misdemeanor and felony offenses pursuant to Pennsylvania's Rules of Criminal Procedure. As the lowest level of the Unified Court System, Magistrates operate in all of the 67 counties of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania except for Philadelphia. 
To be a Magistrate, you don’t have to be a lawyer. This was done politically because when the change happened, there were many popular Justices of the Peace in various towns all across the state who had the life experience but not necessarily the law degree. Those who are non lawyers have to pass a certification course prior to serving. 
In Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, the Magisterial system has been a feeding ground for Attorneys who later went on to become candidates or actually Common Pleas Court Judges. District Justices like Joseph Augello, Fred Pierantoni, William Amesbury (the late Michael Collins who held a DJ seat came very close in his bid) and the otherwise occupied Michael Conahan used the DJ office as a springboard toward a seat on Common Pleas Court. DJ Joe Carmody made a bid for State Representative prior to his time in the Courts. 
In Lackawanna County, Magistrates Alyce Hailstone Farrell, and James Gibbons are entered into a race this year to replace Chester Harhut. In the past, long time Mid Valley DJ John Pieski made a few attempts to become a Common Pleas Court Judge. So it is a good career move if you are an aspiring lawyer and want to get exposure. 
On the other hand, the non lawyers have served with distinction in their time. James Tupper in the Back Mountain, Paul Roberts in Kingston, Martin Kane in Wilkes Barre, Joseph Zola in Hazleton and Mike Dotzel in Wilkes Barre Township are non lawyers who have the respect of the legal system. As a matter of fact, the late Andrew Barilla and John Bednarz Senior are still highly regarded as two of the very best Magistrates around in their time sans degree. So if you ask someone is a lawyer more qualified than a non lawyer to be a Magistrate, the ultimate opinion lies with the voter. 
Attorneys have run against the likes of Martin Kane and Paul Roberts only to go down to defeat. In the Magisterial race to replace Bill Amesbury, Wilkes Barre Councilman Rick Cronauer faced off against more than one Attorney and prevailed. So it all comes down to name recognition as well as campaign organization. 
In the Greater Pittston Area to fill Fred Pierantoni’s seat, these are the candidates. 
Mark A. Singer, has served as an Assistant District Attorney for Luzerne County, First Assistant Liaison to the Lower Lackawanna/Upper Luzerne County Drug Task Force., Juvenile Public Defender for Lehigh County, and a Public Defender for Luzerne County
Art Bobbouine, 37, of Pittston, acting Luzerne County prothonotary and former chief deputy sheriff.
Alexandra Kokura, 30, of Dupont, a Lackawanna County court master, a judicial officer for the court. 
Jeffrey Kulick, 27, of Hughestown, who runs the Kulick Law Firm in Exeter. 
Girard "Jerry" Mecadon, 47, of Jenkins Township, who runs a law office in Pittston and is an assistant public defender
Qiana Murphy Lehman, 37, of Dupont, a Luzerne County court master and trial attorney for the Brady and Grabowski law firm. 
James "Red" O'Brien, 44, of Pittston, who is the former Luzerne County Recorder of Deeds, former Avoca mayor, 
and former Pittston Area School Board president. 
Len Sanguedolce, 34, of Pittston, who operates his own law office in Pittston. (Source: Citizen’s Voice-Bob Kalinowski) 
So it appears that in the Greater Pittston Judicial race, the only two people having to take the certification test are Red O’Brien and Art Bobbouine. They must take it before they can serve. So they might want to hit the books between the beer and chips events at the Knights in Pittston. 
The interesting thing about this race is that it is anyone’s to call. You can’t even say there is any gender or ethnic advantage since there are multiple Italians and women in the race. Flip a coin but my guess is it will be a lawyer following the career path of two the three previous Magistrates in the Greater Pittston Area.


At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CORBETT IS NO GENIUS, BUT HE DOESNT SUFFER FOOLS GRANDLY! These are the candidates we get around here. Usually they at least know their own pitch. Most don't want to tangle with Corbett. Clearly she didn't want to and was intimidated. Hell of a Judge she'd make!

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been pointing this out for almost two years. Here is a better explanation.

The Student Loan Bubble: A Crisis the Government Created

Privately held student loan debt surpassed 1 trillion dollars last November. More money is owed in student loans than in privately held credit card debt. This past year, bank write-offs of student loans are up almost 35% from the previous year. Almost every single market signal indicates a growing student loan bubble is on the verge of popping. Many economists agree the student situation is very similar to the 2008 housing crisis; the student loan industry is still receiving massive subsidies and false incentives by the federal government. In order to fully understand the student loan crisis we must first look at why tuition is skyrocketing, look at cultural influences swaying kids towards college and then examine alternative methods of education that might offer solutions to the problems facing higher education.

Government backed subsidies have been one of the key reasons the cost of tuition has grown faster than inflation every year since 1981. The intention of government backed loans is to lower or control the cost of tuition as well as increase access to college for millions of young Americans. It is important to note that government primarily subsidizes the students not the universities themselves. Government gives students the cheap capital they need to attend high priced colleges. Most educational spending from the federal level goes towards increasing access to low interest loans, instead of trying tackle increasing tuition costs.

Since colleges have no trouble filling seats and getting people enrolled in their university, they have no incentive to cut costs. Until the demand for college decreases, the cost of college has no indication of going down soon. This allows universities to be exorbitantly wasteful in their pending habits for no matter how much they charge, students will continue to take out massive loans to attend their schools.

If it was not for the low interest loans offered by the government, many students would not be able to afford these highly inflated tuition costs from these universities. Looking back to the 2008 housing crisis, when we began to give loans out to people who could not afford them, we saw high rates of foreclosed homes and people not being able to make their mortgage payments. The exact same principle applies with student loans, government is incentivizing people to go to schools they cannot afford by pushing loans to people that have little chance of paying them back.


At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 2

New reforms in the student loan industry after the passage of Obamacare have credit risks among young adults much more common. Included in the Affordable Healthcare Act was a clause that allowed students to sign off on major loans without a co-sign from a parent or guardian. Without parents cosigning with their children on loans, it is up to the student to make the payments on time and be able to pay off their own student loan debt. This has resulted in massive amounts of extra loans being taken out under the students with increasing cases of non-payment.

Very few people saw the housing bubble coming, but countless economists and pundits are sounding the alarm about the upcoming student loan bubble bursting. Despite the poor governmental policy, there is always an underlying cultural aspect that we must challenge in regards to higher education. There is still a belief in the US that everyone must go to a four year university in order to be successful. This thought process is rooted in the same perverse belief as “everyone must own a home to live the American way of life.”

Make no mistake, the government created the housing bubble, just as it has created the student loan bubble. But we can’t ignore the fact that our culture has been pushing college beyond its limits the past 30 years. If we continue to fuel this idea that college is a mandatory right of passage, the bubble will only continue to get bigger, until it finally pops.

We lived through the perils of 2008. It is never pretty when a bubble bursts. But imagine being back in 2006 and knowing the bubble was coming. It is becoming more accepted that higher education is approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t approach this head on, we will live 2008, all over again.

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Corbett was more than kind in trying to get her to answer a simple question. When you get laid off, let go, whatever, then get reinstated, why refer the audience to a news report? I mean isn't getting reinstated a good thing? Obviously this Grande should have stuck with the plumbing business.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, my dad took me to a rally and I saw this lawyer make a fool of himself as the main speaker. I was puzzled and said, "Dad, I thought all lawyers were smart?"
He said, "Not all son, not all".
This interview proved it.
The guy we saw when I was a kid was drunk at the time, this lady can't even use that as an excuse.

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I heard the interview and she was like a third grader repeating the same thing over and over again. I saw your Tweet on this the other night too Yonk and if she said "the takeaway to this... one more time, like you mentioned, my head would explode. Corbett gets a lot of heat here from WILK haters but he did a public service by protecting us from this disaster waiting to happen.

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

Everyone forget Lisa Gelb's interview w/Corbett when she ran for judge? That was a train wreck too, but she won.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the woman was (is) unprepared. No question. Yes, Corbett brought it all to light. Yes, he kept it up and giving her the chance, she blew it. There also comes a time when you're beating a dead horse, and it's time to let go. The show and interview got very boring. Even more so the second day when he aired it and kept it up. She deserved everything she got, but you can't tell me Corbett doesn't love to kick a person when they're down. He doesn't let up. Like the proverbial bully, when he gets the upper hand, he just keeps pounding until his "journalist" being gets completely out of hand. Out of hand to the point he gets boring and his show gets redundant.
Just saying.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Like the proverbial bully, when he gets the upper hand, he just keeps pounding until his "journalist" being gets completely out of hand.

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interview will have no effect on the election. WILK just isn't as influential as some insist on believing. The WILK audience is made up of the same people like the callers. I know they have ratings, but ratings are an advertising sales tool not a measure of real listeners or impact on the area. WILK bashers and supporters continue to overstate the importance of a radio station which is just another of too many. Anybody remember Fred Williams or Kevin "the Ego" Lynn? I like Corbett better than either of them,
but one day he too will simply disappear and never be missed.

Chris Lytle

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's always easier to talk about what other people should do than it is to command your own ship. The wise individual won't comment; he is too busy steering his own vessel."
Funny how Corbett never had or has the guts to make a serious run for office.

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

Corbett is "shock jock", thats what he does...and also thankfully, exposes the corrupt, the inept and the greedy, which is why his show is so successful. Love him or hate are listening!

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corbett is anything but a bully when it comes to female candidates. I think Corbett would like nothing but women in elective office.

The Greater Pittston Magistrate race is really something. Here is the truth and I hope the moderator will allow it in print.

The two non attorneys are simply not qualified to hold the seat. Bobbouine is a law school graduate who has tried and failed several times to pass the Law Board examine so obviously his legal education leaves him wanting. Red O'Brien is a super nice guy, a great back-slaper but has a terrible record in office. Remember that WILK called his office several times and O'Brien was never there? Corbett called O'Brien's Deputy and rather than be in the office taking care of business, he was found in his insurance office doing his personal business. O'Brien just didn't understand that either he or his Deputy (actually both) should have been in the Court Hose at al times. Now, add to that the fact that O'Brien took the Magistrate Course but FAILED the qualifying test. So the question is, when will Red O'Brien begin to take life serious. As for the others, Kulick has done nothing note worthy to deserve tyhe seat and you can add Mecadon to that category. A big surprise that the most qualified for public office is Mark Singer who has been President of the Pittston Area School Board and served in the DA's office. He has done little to get elected. Qiana Murphy Lehman is a qualified young woman who also has DA experience and has worked as a master but just doesn't have the political following to get elected. Alexandra Kokura who was born and raised and is now a resident of Dupont has judicial experience as an officer of the court and a Master in Lackawanna County is another qualified candidate. Kokura does have a well known name in Dupont and seems to be doing well in Duryea. Her personality grabs you the first time you meet her. She has gone door to door in Pittston, Dupont and other communities. It appears that the 3 candidates who appear to have a chance is Red O'Brien, Girard Mecadon and Alexandra Kokura. One is qualified the other two are not. What do you think the chances are that the voters of Greater Pittston will recognize the value of the experience and work ethic of Kokura and elect her District Magistrate? I am not related to any candidate and I am not politically active and supporting any particular candidate. What I just stated is how I see the race. If Mark Singer with his temperament would begin to campaign, I could see him winning but it appears that Singer is relying on name recognition alone to get elected so that leaves me with Alenandra Kokura.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opps, forgot Len Sanguedolce whomost people say "WHO?" and that says it all. His brother is the DA's First Assistant so it appears that another family trough session is in the offing.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:54AM.....Just because someone is a critical media member, it does not compel them to run for office. I mean has anybody suggested Rush imbaugh run for President?
Investigative reporters like a Joe Holden, Dave Bohman, Andy Mehalchick, and people in the newspapers and guys like Corbett provide a very good service. Why would you suggest that they have no guts just because they don't run for office?
I can't even imagine sharing the same stage with the dunce Corbett interviewed Thursday. And I'm not all that critical of anyone!

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Yonkster, I like the analysis of 9:51 Am because it makes sense to me. I wonder why that person left Red's not paying his taxes out of the negatives? Maybe because anyone can fall on their luck but still, do we need politicians or puppets of politician's running our Magistrate courts? Mecadon seems very much to be the politician's candidate and you can see that by who is promoting him. Why can't we just have a magistrate with no political ties? If the day ever comes that I have to stand in front of a magistrate, I would hope that being an American is enough to guarantee me a fair decision. I think we have had enough of politicians sitting behind the bench. Amen brother.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That lady running for Judge seems to have crazy eyes. Just sayin'.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave.....once more great edition on the upper and lower judiciary in what we now call LuLac land.
Thoughtful and informative.
And as far as the crazy eyes, give her a break. That's piling on from one of your commenters.

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:51 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...


The Lu Lac Political Letter: The LuLac Edition #2372, March 8th, 2013



At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, good thing you corrected that about Attorney Singer. His brother Frankie would hit you with his tuba. Us Detato Market boys of the 70s have to stick together you know.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Hey Dave, good thing you corrected that about Attorney Singer. His brother Frankie would hit you with his tuba. Us Detato Market boys of the 70s have to stick together you know.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, if Pittston District Judge candidate Murphy -Lehman is Dock
Murphy's Daughter and sister of Pa. State Trooper Murphy, she had the sense to get the Heck out of District Attorney MUSTO'S
office' and proximity.


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