Friday, November 14, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2776, November 14th, 2014


Just wanted to announce that The LuLac Political Letter was named the Best Political Blog on October 11th at Blogcon held at College Misericordia. To all those readers who voted for this site, my heartfelt thanks. Blogcon is held every fall and the principals behind it are Karla Porter, Mandy Boyle and Michelle Hryvnak Davies. It is an honor to be associated with that group as well as Mr. Harold Jenkin’s NEPA blogs.
We are entering our ninth year in doing this. We try to be fair, informative and timely. My goal is to combine the rich political heritage of this area but also never lose sight of the future. LuLac has become for me a labor of “like” for me. Love is too strong a word.
I did ask for votes and I appreciate all who gave me a thumbs up. When I had to run for Eighth Grade Class President three times (that is a story I’ll share someday) I remembered the old adage that you have to make your case…………..and then ask. I’m glad those who voted, asked or not, look to this site as something worth reading. Thanks again. As my friend the Reverend Tom Carten is fond of saying, “We’ll keep doing it until we get it right!”


Mayor Tom Leighton during the Flood of 2011 managing the situation. (Photo: WBRE TV)
Now that the 2014 Statewide elections are over, the municipal contests are ahead of us. One of the big races that will be front and center will be the race for Mayor in the City of Wilkes Barre. Right now there is a candidate who has made no bones about the fact that he is running. Tony George, the former Police Chief and current City Councilman has made it known that he will run for the office. George has been a Democratic maverick on Council and has seemed to stake out ground for an opposition campaign.
I’m hearing reports that a soon to be announced candidate will be First District Councilman George Brown. Brown recently retired and is putting out feelers. Brown comes from the South Wilkes Barre District that always gets out the vote.
Former Congressional candidate Brian Kelly has been making noises too. Kelly has a strange pedigree. He was backed by the Tea Party when he ran for Congress in 2010, came in third behind then Congressman Kanjorski and Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien. Then after he lost, he backed Lou Barletta for the seat. Democrats in Wilkes Barre, at least the established McLaughlin-Namey Democrats don’t take too kindly to a thing like that. Plus with that plethora of conflicting philosophies, no one is sure of where he is politically.
There might be a few others but here are my thoughts. I think that Mayor Tom Leighton should run for a fourth term. Through the years I disagreed with some of the things going on in the Leighton administration. But as a city resident, blogger and taxpayer I was always treated with the utmost respect. But that is not why I think Leighton should go for another term. After surveying the field, looking at the facts, seeing the progress this city has made, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tom Leighton is the person who could lead the City in this decade. It is up to him, after all the guy has been in the line of fire for three terms. 12 years, longer than any modern era Wilkes Barre Mayor. Public service, while rewarding can take its toll. But here’s why I hope Leighton runs again.
1. CITY FINANCES: This Mayor took the city off the brink of fiscal disaster. He restored the credit rating, got the city consistently on target in terms of its spending projections and gave the City the opportunity to once more use its credit for the future. Last night Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright proposed a 19% tax increase on City Residents as well as raising the garbage fee to $300.00. I pay 6 bucks for a small bag, the kids from King’s next door pay $32.00 for four large bags every week. Think about it.
2. THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE CITY. Take a look at the improvements to all of the streets in the city. They are passable and a pleasure to travel on. Then go to Scranton or Hazleton. See how that works out for you. Neighborhood houses that were blighted properties have been methodically and logically jettisoned. Even though many remember the great old days of The Hotel Sterling and scoffed at Leighton’s traffic plan (myself included), the take down needed to happen. The downtown has been revitalized and even though businesses leave, they are replaced by others.
3. RESPONSIVE CITY SERVICES. Wilkes Barre has responsible department heads that have treated taxpayers like consumers. Complaints are handled quickly and efficiently. Plus the Police and Fire Protection, in my opinion is second to none.
4. A SOUND MANAGEMENT PLAN. While many have been critical on the way the city has been run, look at the people who have served under this administration. All were hands on professionals who did their jobs without fanfare or controversy. The Mayor usually took that flack.
5. CRIME. Despite the 13 murders in Wilkes Barre in 2013, this administration has kept the lid on rampant crime. Fugitives from out of town have been nabbed and investigations of major crimes have yielded convictions. That comes from a Police Department that is professional and allowed to run itself without political interference. The issue of Sherman Hills was addressed and is still being worked on. But a Mayor can’t control social ills. A Mayor can’t control a city woman with no self esteem who takes up with out of town criminals. A Mayor can’t control the influx of drug pushers who are housed by naive residents. A Mayor can’t control Housing Developments and neighborhoods that have been infiltrated by criminals with landlords who previously have taken the money and looked the other way. To blame a Mayor for every crime means that when there is a day of peace in the city, then you must surely give him that credit.
6. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT. Pennsylvania now has a Democratic Governor who has stated he will build partnerships with cities. This current administration has the political and government infrastructure in place to take advantage of any help that could come our way.
Leighton has been the target of various investigations. No sale. The rumors of something terrible at City Hall just never happened. There is a Hosanna Chorus of political opponents who have tried three ways to Sunday to defeat him. Guys, you need the votes in a General Election through registrations committed to YOU. Tom Leighton gets more votes going to Mass on Sunday than you do in your entire campaigns.
7. THE ALTERNATIVES. Tony George and George Brown clearly love the city. But a new administration will take months to gain traction. There are too many nuances and curves waiting to trip up a rookie. The GOP most likely will go to the extremes, they’ll either have a multi candidate primary field and eat each other alive or have no one. (Except maybe getting an “R” nomination for Tony George.) No one should be Mayor for life…..but the time to change horses right now would be counterproductive.
Tom Leighton has had his ups and downs. There are people who say he isn’t warm and fuzzy. Sometimes he is blunt to a fault. But here are the facts, while other cities have floundered and have been gasping for breath, Wilkes Barre has navigated the fierce waters of the early part of this century with competence and clarity. Like any city or governmental entity, it hasn’t been a pleasure cruise. But the ship of state is on course and sailing full steam ahead. That’s why if Tom Leighton makes up his mind and forms a campaign committee, I’m not only going to support him but send him a check. You should too.

Then candidate Tom Wolf on the campaign trail. (Photo:

Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf announced Thursday who will aid his Chief of Staff Katie McGinty transition into the governor's mansion.
Some of the members of Wolf's transition team may look familiar. But it is common to have a talent pool from previous administrations. Wolf tapped Rendell and Casey people just as Governor Corbett picked Ridge people to get things moving.
Here's the line up of Team Wolf straight news release:
John A. Fry - Transition Chair
Fry, Drexel University’s 14th president, has served in higher education for his entire professional life, as a consultant, board member, chief operating officer, and chief executive. Fry has positioned Drexel to become the “modern urban university of the future,” harnessing both long-established and still-emerging strengths to serve its students, its neighborhood, its city, and the nation. Drexel is setting a new standard for cooperative education, investing in its research capacity and becoming a major force for economic development
Mayor C. Kim Bracey - Transition Vice-Chair
Bracey was elected the first African-American Mayor of the City of York on November 3, 2009. As the City's chief executive officer, she is responsible for all aspects of the general management of the City, including its $98 million budget and the enforcement of all City laws and ordinances. Previously, Bracey was the appointed director of the Department of Community Development for the City of York from June 2003 until January 2009 under Mayor John S. Brenner.
Jim Brown - Transition Vice-Chair
Brown currently serves as Chief of Staff to United States Senator Robert Casey, Jr. Brown served as Chief of Staff to Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Sr. from 1989 to 1994. Brown has also served as Pennsylvania Secretary of General Services and was a partner at the law firm Dilworth Paxson, LLP. Brown was a founding partner of SCP Partners, a family of venture capital funds.
Cynthia Shapira - Transition Vice-Chair
Shapira is a community activist at the local, state, and national levels. She serves on the board of the Allegheny County Airport Authority and chairs the Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics at Chatham University. She also serves on the boards of Brandeis University, Point Park University, United Way of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Promise, WQED Pittsburgh, Vibrant Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Shapira is secretary of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, as well as a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Commission on Women. Previously,
Denise Smyler - Counsel to the Transition
Smyler is the founding attorney and owner of the Smyler Firm, which joined with Wadud Ahmad and Joseph Zaffarese to form Ahmad, Zaffarese & Smyler, LLC in September 2013. Denise is a well-respected commercial litigator and public finance attorney who has successfully represented municipalities, corporations, and government entities for over twenty years.
Mary Soderberg - Budget Deficit and Fiscal Stabilization Task Force Chair
Soderberg is the former secretary of the budget appointed by Governor Edward G. Rendell and began serving in the position on July 7, 2008. Prior to her appointment as secretary of the budget, Soderberg had served since August 2005 as executive deputy secretary of the budget and chief financial officer of the commonwealthand Montgomery County Commission Chairma. 
Josh Shapiro - Budget Deficit and Fiscal Stabilization Task Force Vice Chair
Shapiro was elected Montgomery County Commissioner in 2011 and was elected unanimously to Chair the three-member Board on January 3, 2012. As the Commission Chairman, Josh helped lead a dramatic turnaround in Montgomery County by eliminating a large budget deficit, reducing overall debt, and replenishing the County reserve fund. Prior to his election in Montgomery County, Shapiro represented the 153rd Legislative District in the state House for seven years. Before serving in the state legislature, Josh served as a Congressional staffer in Washington, D.C. where at age 25 he became, at the time, the youngest person on Capitol Hill to serve as a Congressional Chief of Staff.


Congressman Matt Cartwright with fellow Congressmen. (Photo: Cartwright office)
U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright was elected Regional Whip by his Democratic colleagues representing Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
"I look forward to working with my fellow Democrats to support a legislative agenda that puts people first," said Cartwright. "Now more than ever we must be unified in putting forth an agenda that will create jobs and improve our economy, support our veterans, protect the environment, and strengthen Social Security and Medicare."
Regional Whips develop strategy, count votes, gather and distribute information among Members. Cartwright will join Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer in garnering support for key legislation and bringing members of the Democratic Caucus together.
"I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and confidence, as well as my constituents in Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district for entrusting me to be their voice in Congress," said Cartwright. "I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that we will face together in the 114th Congress."



Live host David DeCosmo will welcome Kathleen Nelson to the program during the wee of November 17th. She'll unveil plans for the 31st Artisans' Marketplace at the Waverly Community House along with the annual Holiday bHouse Tour. ECTV Live can be seen on Comcast Cable channel 19 (61 in some areas) and is presented several times each day throughout the week.


This Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with Michael Zimmerman and Nora Bagulsky from Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley about their National Family Week Conference coming up on Thursday at Genetti's in Wilkes Barre.
Brian speaks with Janet Sweeney & Palmeri Miller from the Pa. Environmental Council about their Shoe Dropoff Program.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Tom Fritz about Scranton's Santa
Parade coming up next Saturday.
Brian speaks with real estate investor Kelly Rafuse about her company's "Home For The Holiday's promotion.
And Brian speaks with Natalie, Joe & Jacob about their 3rd Annual Abilities Tipoff Wheelchair Basktetball Tournament coming up on Sunday at the University of Scranton Byron Center.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X and 6:25am on Magic 93.



Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.


Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”


Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.


Every Wednesday at 5PM, Steve Corbett shines the light on a Public official with his “Somebody’s Watching Me” segment. Corbett picks an alleged public servant to eye ball and observe. Batten down the lawn furniture in the driveway and that e mail machine. There is nowhere to hide when “somebody’s Watching”. Wednesdays at 5 on WILK’s Corbett program.

Our 1974 logo.


Union of Banana Exporting Countries (UPEB) forms…..Aliança Operário-Camponesa (Worker-Peasant Alliance) founded in Portugal as a front of PCP(m-l)……..Rangers' Jeff Burroughs wins AL MVP…… The US files antitrust suit to break-up AT&T……Freedom of Information Act passed by Congress over Pres Ford's veto…in Pennsylvania K. Leroy Irvis becomes the first black to be named to a House of Representatives Leadership position assuming the Majority Leader role under House Speaker Herbert Fineman…….in Lackawanna County the Democrats try to line up candidates for the 1975 Commissioners race. Names that come to mind are those of James McNulty, aid to Mayor Peters and for the GOP,  Ed Hughes the Mayor’s Communications person and forty years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was “Everlasting Love” by Carl Carlton, a remake of the 1967 Robert Knight hit.


At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mayor of Scranton reappeared this week to announce a tax increase for city residents of 19%! Unless you rent and are temporary there is no good reason left to live in Scranton. How much can these people be taxed? My Son owns a nice house in one of the finest neighborhoods and he plans to take the hit and bail out in the spring. He has no choice. The city will one day soon be left with only those city employees required by residency rules remaining! The opening answer is simple and overdue, tax the schools particularly the University which owns too much property to be tax free! The commuter tax was a good idea as well. Without Scranton there would be no suburbs. Soon there will be no Scranton!

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave..congrats on the big news. You earned it by being here everyday (almost) for 8 years. You are my must read in the A.M.

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comment on Tom Leighton exhibits why you are well read and respected. You have the ability to be flexible. I hope the Mayo goes for another term.

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

Leighton again. I think the guy has done a good job. He got his knuckles rapped when he tried for SEnate but he was running against a powerhouse.
Like Yonk said the city is running smooth. You actually see workers working.
And I like the fact that he is not a reinvent the wheel type of guy. Thank God he left the garbage thing alone.
The test of a true leader is someone who knows enough to leave the stuff that is working alone.
As always Yonk, ya got me thinking.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job. You are always available and dependable.

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

An open letter to Steve Corbett:
You are constantly talking about State Attorney General Kath-uh-leen Kane's accident.
How can you have missed this?
Yonki HAD to be in the car with her. A good knock on the noggin is the only explanation for this post and his support of Tom Leighton for another four years.

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mayor of Scranton turned up again at the scene on the West side
where a man was barricaded and threatening suicide and spent two hours standing around where he wasnt needed or most likely wanted.
He wants to be a cop not a mayor, but he is not totally invisible. The police obviously had the situation under control.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:50 Loved the Kath-uh-leen Kane
comment! Thats either Irish or Minooka or in this case both.
I wonder if she gets a ticket for not wearing a seat belt or is the chief legal officer of the state ex-
zemt from the law? She has consistently shot herself in the foot since taking office.

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Must have still been in a celebratory mood when you posted this one Yonk.

I'm sure you meant "TEAM" and I will respect your award but it is ripe for satire.

"...keep the change."

At 8:58 AM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Must have still been in a celebratory mood when you posted this one Yonk.
I'm sure you meant "TEAM" and I will respect your award but it is ripe for satire.
"...keep the change."

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first I thought this post was incorrect about Leighton for another term. But then I read the announcement yesterday from the latest candidate to enter the fray, Brian Kelly. Kelly thinks that a Public Safety Director is going to fight crime? Change the neighborhoods? Look we criticize Leighton for having a top heavy staff and this guy wants to add another layer?
Leighton has let people do their job. Adding another wanna be Mayor or wanna be Police Chief isn't the answer.
I pretty much agree with Yonki on this one. And I predict this, the more the challengers say, the more likely Leighton has a shot at term number 4.

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My, my, my, such short memories we have concerning all of the shenanigans Leighton has pulled, gas, personal security system, I could go on. But hey, let's keep doing like good ol Wilkes-Barre has always been doing. Lets be a bunch of lemmings and vote all the Dems in AGAIN! Wake up Wilkes-Barre, will you ever learn?

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay 5:04 pm.....a Mayor needs a Security system. The J.J. Murphy thing, no. But is there anyone that can do better?
The city looks great and the services are good too. You want Scranton? Don't think so.

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few things here, a little bit of a surprise LuLac is coming out so strong for Leighton but that reflects the shift in this blog. Still worth reading though.
On the Carl Carlton song, no one can beat Robert Knight's version.
Because of LuLac I try to get a glance at Dave DeCosmo's program as well as Brian Hughes show on Sundays. Great informational pieces.
And best to Mr. Yonki on winning this recognition. Great work.

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

6:18 ...City looks great ... You've got to be kidding me. Where may I ask have you been looking in W-B. If it's doing so great, why is it almost impossible to sell a property in W-B? I guess it looks great if don't happen to own a business in our fair city, most likely you'll have been robbed or will be robbed in the very near future. Crime rates are soaring way out of control in our fair city. Taxes? Well I'm not particularly thrilled living in W-B. Nepotism runs blatantly rampant in City Hall and the School District. The amount of rundown and dilapidated properties is climbing way out of sight. Yes, Scranton does have its own set of problems, but we're talking about Wilkes-Barre here. Let's keep our sights focused.
Oh and one more thing Yonki ... Congratulations on you being Top Political Blog, you deserve it. Quality column.

At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 10:52

I believe Yonk may have been using Dragon Speech Recognition software before the effects of the Black Cherry Zilch wore off.

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

Yonk, congrats on your award, it is well deserved.

The negative comments on Leighton are based on a few issues that can happen in any administration. Remember folks, 12 years is a long time to not step off the line a few times. I grade the job done by Leighton by comparing WB to the other 3 cities in the county. Nanticoke seems to be straightening out, Hazleton is still a mess and Pittston is nothing less than a mini Luzerne County except the people seem to be too stupid or numb to feel the bite real estate staxes, wage taxes and fees are taking out of their pockets. Considering this and the way WB sis financially, I think Leighton is doing a great job and absolutely deserves another term.

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two Nashville cats penned EVERLASTING LOVE. Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden. It’s a songwriters
dream as it becomes a hit and a great cut over and over. If it hasn’t it oughta be used in a commercial.
Another example of Nashville guys writin rock pop and disco hits. It’s a damn shame whats become of
the music industry although I admire and support Taylor Swifts Spotify move. She has the clout to do it!


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