Thursday, February 19, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2840, February 19th, 2015

Mayor Tom Leighton a few years ago with your blog editor at a downtown event. (Photo: LuLac archives).
This afternoon this announcement came from Mr. Leighton indicating his intentions regarding this year's Mayoral election.  It may come as a surprise to a few people.However in future editions we'll write about the vacuum left by this announcement.
In February 2003, I was proud to announce that I would be a candidate for Mayor of Wilkes-Barre city. In doing so, I knew the serious challenges that I faced when elected as Mayor, such as the fiscal issues, the infrastructure problems, equipment and city owned equipment and property in need of immediate replacement and repair, along with a depleted police department that needed immediate attention. The past 11+ years have been a tremendous experience for me while leading a great city during a serious recession which affected the entire nation.
I made a commitment when I campaigned and became Mayor that the city would return to fiscal responsibility and that I would make difficult decisions in order to accomplish that. We have satisfied the approximately $10.8 million dollars of unfunded debt that my administration inherited and have restored the credit rating to an A - Positive Outlook. The city had no credit rating in 2004. By restoring the credit rating, with the assistance of City Council members who supported our financial restructuring, we have saved our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. There have been many projects that certain members of City Council have supported and I thank them for that.
There were many places to start at the beginning of my first term. The revitalization was foremost with many people requesting that we start right in the heart of our city, the downtown. With so much to do and so little money, many days were spent in Washington DC and Harrisburg meeting with federal and state officials to request and work on getting grant funding. Many cities were in the same fiscal position, making competition challenging and fierce. The city went with solid goals, plans, and specifications which gained the attention that was needed to secure adequate funding. There are so many to thank from each level of government, but first would be former Governor Ed Rendell, who shared the same vision as we did for urban downtowns, former State Representative Kevin Blaum and now Eddie Day Pashinski, along with current Senator John Yudichak, have been of great assistance. Congressman Paul Kanjorski shared our vision of rebuilding our city, as well, along with Senators Bob Casey, Arlen Spector, and Rick Santorium.
I have been fortunate to have very talented professional administrators work with me throughout my time as your Mayor. My senior staff hit the ground running and has never stopped. The work and positive attitude from the senior staff to department head to all of the city employees resulted in so many good projects and moments for our city. My sincere thanks go to each and every one of them.
I have been criticized by a few that I have neglected the neighborhoods. This criticism comes from individuals who clearly have not paid attention to what has transformed in the neighborhoods the past 11 years. The Pine Ridge and Courtright Street housing developments have removed years of slum and blight from the their neighborhoods. The Coal Street Park, which was a complete embarrassment with crime, vandalism, and neglect, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility with two great tenants and a recreational facility that has enhanced the economic market for our city. The city has built new playgrounds and repaired many that were in poor condition. The city and my administration have invested the following dollar amounts in each of the following neighborhood districts:
District A$18,152,250.00
District B$12,276,750.00
District C$16,145,650.00
District D$28,655,550.00
District E$10,563,760.00
Total Neighborhood Investments:$85,793,960.00
Based on the work completed and the work which is planned for 2015, the neighborhoods were and always be the focus of my administration.
My administration heard the pleas for more police presence and has responded by immediately hiring more police officers in my first term and throughout my time as Mayor. The city has upgraded the police cruisers and equipment, DPW equipment and fire equipment in a timely manner so that the safety of our employees and residents would not be compromised.
There have been many long days, nights, and weeks the last 11+ years and so many people to thank. I want to personally thank all of my supporters who have been with me since 1991 and those that have joined my campaign along the way. I’d like to thank my family - my mother, Nancy, and my late father, Jack, who always taught me to believe that anything can be accomplished with hard work; my sister, Patti and brothers John, Brian, and Patrick, who all have been very supportive throughout the years; my children, Kelly, Tom, Jr., and Courtney, they always knew that I would be there for them and they certainly have always been there for me; my wife, Patty, who supported me from the very beginning, giving birth to Courtney approximately 10 days before my first election in 1991, along with taking care of Kelly and Tom, Jr. during the initial campaign. Patty has been a solid foundation for me as a wife, mother, and friend during some difficult times over the years with city flooding, snow storms and everyday issues. My family’s support the past 12 years has been nothing less that tremendous.
I believe that today I am as proud as I was 12 years ago when I announced my plans to seek the office of Mayor and when I was inaugurated on January 5, 2004. I am extremely proud of my administration’s accomplishments and today announce that I will not be seeking a fourth term for the Office of Mayor of Wilkes-Barre.
Thank you and I Believe…..
Mayor Tom Leighton


President Obama has abandoned some of his restrained language regarding ISIS. For the first time the President said the militants masquerade as religious leaders but are really terrorists. Finally. There has been a lot of semantics on ISIS and their actions when really there should not have been. Plus the President has to stop this silliness about how young militant Muslims need a better opportunity in life to succeed. Wow! You can’t fix the social ills of a country or region when young people are being recruited to kill us. Sorry, it doesn’t add up. I understand what he is trying to tell us…but there is no rationale for it in countries that are still longing for the good old days of the 7th century. Obama said we aren’t at war with Islam but those who pervert that religion. Again, semantics. It would be very nice to compartmentalize these issues but the sheer terror of ISIS is not making that possible. Did we dither about what ills the poor German youth were exposed to as they were recruited by the Nazis in WWII? Plus rehashing the history of past terrorist organizations just won’t cut it. The threat is ISIS and the threat is now.
The President and this country need to build a coalition of various stripes and beliefs and come after ISIS. This coalition needs to be from the Middle East consisting of countries that are in immediate danger from ISIS. Let’s start with Turkey and then take advantage of Egypt and Jordan’s aggressiveness. We should not judge who our allies are, we should use them and their ground troops to stop this threat. Again, going back to WWII, Stalin was a dictator but we needed him to beat back the ultimate threat. We can’t thread the needle on this thing.
President Obama’s statement was a start and his meeting will bear fruit. But the gloves need to come off and we need to track down these murdering savages. There will be collateral damage. There already has been with Americans being beheaded. It is war, there are casualties.
We cannot apply western values to ISIS or even people in the Mid East. What we have to do is get into this for the long haul. This will be like a NATO like force that policed Germany after WWII. This is long term and there is no way we can fight ISIS with jobs. We fight them with force, bullets and fierce determination that their type of interpretation of the Muslim religion is a bastardizaton and an attack against all humanity. Unless you take the tact that ISIS is really the Muslim religion and that they are following the basic tenants of the violence that was part of that religion years ago. The common sense thing to do is not to squash the hearts, but eliminate the minds that control the terror. You can only do that with a bullet to the head. Over and over again. With as many unseemly allies as we need. However long it takes. With every body. The President’s words were a start but now we need to work with the world. But we need to be careful. We have to make sure we are part of the coalition, not leading it. The U.S. can’t be all over the place either. We can’t have one segment of the administration talking about the poor children of underdeveloped Muslim economies, we need to be speaking of poor children in the Mideast violated by ISIS. It is a fine balance, we can’t be dragged into Armageddon because this is what ISIS is crazy enough to want. We have to have a smart, balanced plan that will for once be in our own best interests as well as those who will fight with us. If this administration can’t or won’t do it, the next one will. Plus the American people need to know and understand this not like a 6 week mini series, it is without exaggeration the way this current century’s history will be shaped.

Celebrating with Mayor McNulty

Former Scranton Mayor James Barrett McNulty will be 70 on Feb. 27, and he’s planning to celebrate with as many of his friends as possible.
Those friends are represented by a committee that includes, honorary chairmen U.S. Sen. Bob and Terese Casey, as well as Jimmy Barrett, Brenda Bistocchi, Brian Cali, Tracy Doherty, Eleanor Kerrigan, Todd O’Malley and Chuck Volpe, with an assist from Jim’s wife, Evie Rafalko McNulty, in planning “A Community Celebration of James Barrett McNulty’s 70th Birthday,” which is both a party, and a fundraiser.
Jim is battling late stage colon cancer. As any family fighting the cancer fight knows, there are many expenses beyond what insurance covers.
Get yourself a nice birthday card for the ex Mayor, throw something in it and join many people next Friday February 27th at The Radison. Event starts at 6pm. Who will close it down…….no one can say for sure!!!

Governor Wolf in Wilkes Barre. (Photo: Citizen’s Voice).
Tom Wolf came to Coughlin High School announcing his education policies and even dropping in on a biology class. Wolf called his program the Education Reinvestment Act,”. The plan would levy a severance tax on natural gas extraction and use the money to boost education spending. Let’s hope if that happens it will decrease property taxes. If Wolf could get behind a plan with GOP legislators to decrease property taxes in exchange for this tax, he might score a big win in his first year. His current proposal is a tax of 5 percent on the market value of the gas which he expects could generate 1 billion dollars.

The Brothers Bush, George W and Jeb. (Photo:
This week Jeb Bush the former Governor of Florida made a strategic move that most likely will serve him well with moderate voters. Bush saying that he loved both his father and brother opined that mistakes were made in Iraq and the Mideast. He did praise the surge that George W. conducted (with the urging of Senator McCain) and said that the Obama Foreign Policy has left the United States less influential in the world. Bush said he will be his own man and will come to his own conclusions.
Bush is doing something politically smart. He is distancing himself from the mistakes of 41, and 43 but leveling heavy criticism on 44. Bush most likely will be the GOP nominee mainly because he seems to straddle the middle that the GOP so desperately needs in a General Election. I had some doubts until I heard my friend L.A. Tarone on WILK the other night when he said that he wasn’t comfortable with Bush as the nominee. That seals it. Bush-Walker, 2016.

In honor of our nation’s first Republican President, the Republican Party of Luzerne County will host a Lincoln Day Breakfast on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM at the Genetti Hotel and Convention Center in Wilkes-Barre.
A donation of $20.00 per person is payable at the door.
All candidates, committee persons, elected officials, and supporters of the Republican Party are invited and welcome to attend.
RSVP (not required but appreciated) to: Lynette Villano, Breakfast Chairperson @ or by calling 570-654-6567 or


Promotional piece from Scranton University featuring Mike Remish. (Photo:
I never met Mike Remish in person but felt as if I knew him. Remish was the color man in the initial broadcasts of the Wilkes Barre Scranton Red Barons. When Triple A baseball came to LuLac land, there were many rooting for it to succeed. However this being who we are and where we live there were many saying it wouldn’t work. Remish was one of the early pioneers of the Triple A gospel. Local Media in sports reporting always led with the Barons for the first three years. Remish was constantly touting the team in his regular broadcast job with WWDL and WICK/WYCK AM.
Remish touched the lives of thousands of high school athletes by broadcasting hundreds of high school football and high school basketball games. Remish also was the cornerstone of the great St. Patrick’s Day broadcasts on WWDL and now The River called “Kilarney Kapers”. He was 68, a great voice and a good man. He will be missed.


This Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with Michael Boyd from the "Reading Terminal At The Mall at Steamtown" group about their plans to revitalize the troubled downtown Scranton mall.
Magic 93''s Frankie in the Morning speaks with Tonya Oliviani about Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northeast Pa's "Bowl For Kids Sake" fundraiser coming up at the end of March.
And an encore of Brian's interview with Stephanie Wissman from API Pennsylvania about the future of Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X & Sports Radio 590, WARM & 6:25am on Magic 93.


ECTV Live hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender will be looking forward to signs of Spring as the program airs the week of February 23rd. Their guest will be Sarah Elizabeth Donahue who will be outlining plans for the 2nd annual Saint Patrick's Parade in Pittston. ECTV Live is broadcast on Comcast Cable channel 19 (61 in some areas) and can be seen several times each day throughout the week. Goggle ectv schedule for approximate air times.



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 1965 logo.


Joan Rivers makes her Tonight Show debut……………Ranger 8 crashes into the Moon, after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts…… A new, revised, color production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella airs on CBS. Lesley Ann Warren makes her TV debut in the title role. The show becomes an annual tradition…….African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated in New York City…………

in Pennsylvania Governor Scranton tours sites for State Parks as his program to develop them comes to fruition…… Scranton Mayor Bill Schmidt announces he will run for re-election. Schmidt is the first Republican in a generation to hold that office and fifty years ago today the number one song in LuLac land and America was “Eight Days A Week” by the Beatles which debuted from the number 39 position to number 1.


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

Dave, I saw in the paper that your buddy Ned Evans was at Coughlin when your other buddy Tom Wolf was there. Did Evans ask Wolf to fix his parking ticket?

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very comprehensive LuLac. Working your butt off even on your birthday!!!
Your thoughts on ISIS are like the problem complex. I agree that this feeling we should aid young terrorists because they are poor is bunk. But I don't think we should send ground troops. But we can't trust the people there to keep their armies ready to fight.
More questions than answers.


At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to stop ISIS. Gather all the snow from the East coast. Package it and dry ice it. Then load it up and drop it in the deserts.
We'll solve two problems at once.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice tribute to Mike Remish. He was a very good sportscaster and very nice man.

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malcom X. Can it be fifty years? My heavens I remember that well. But there was very little coverage.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, your thoughts are good on ISIS but there are too many options to figure out. We need to know who to trust and the fear is there is no one to trust. Israel has been distanced by this administration but it has not done itself any favors either by accepting an invitation to speak to Congress.
This is a quagmire but I do agree 100% with you that the history of the remainder of this century depends on what we do now.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now that Leighton has decided not to run, who you backing? That was the most surreal LuLac I ever read when you said he should run again. Just saying.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Dave, I saw in the paper that your buddy Ned Evans was at Coughlin when your other buddy Tom Wolf was there. Did Evans ask Wolf to fix his parking ticket?
Don't know. Wasn't there. But as they say, "good one".

At 10:34 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

So now that Leighton has decided not to run, who you backing? That was the most surreal LuLac I ever read when you said he should run again. Just saying.
Have to survey the field. Have an article in the hopper on this very subject.
Surreal? Hey I'm a child of the 60s, what can I say. But I stand by my comments.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Malcom X. Can it be fifty years? My heavens I remember that well. But there was very little coverage.
It happened on a Sunday night and the next day I was home from school. Most likely Washington's birthday. All I remember was the word assassination and being scared. Very little news coverage though. There was no such thing as a 24 hour cycle then.


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