Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Lulac Edition #2923, June 2nd, 2015




First off when I started LuLac, my intention was not to get into the minutia of local governments. The sheer multitude of issues, fiefdoms and other thing would be just too depressing to follow. But this story caught y eye because it involved my old hometown and two events, one now venerated and a new one, now celebrated in its infancy that intrigued me. Back in the day Pittston Mayor Bob Loftus always got a bad rap for running Pittston with an Iron Fist. But if the recent take over by Pittston City Council of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the late Loftus is a piker compared to these guys. Here’s the back drop of the story.
At a March 18 city council meeting, City Administrator Joe Moskovitz said council was approached following this year’s parade about dissension within the parade committee and members leaving. The city stepped in to help. They named an advisory committee. Who left what type of dissension there was never came to the front. The advisory committee then created by-laws for the parade committee, stating where monthly meetings will be held, how memberships are approved, requirements for the creation of a board of directors, requirements for appointing officers, instructions on sending in annual reports to the city, how meetings should be run and how the committee can apply for 501(c)(3) status, which would make the St. Patrick’s Parade exempt from taxes.
But in April the council representatives tabled the vote to approve the set of by-laws. So whatever the hell happened to the Advisory committee?
Well they did approach the Tomato festival people. Tomato Festival Chairperson Lori Nocito was approached by the advisory committee about taking over the parade. The Tomato Festival Committee didn’t necessarily want anything to do with the St. Patrick’s Parade, she said. But once the city approached them, Nocito said, the committee agreed to help the city in any way possible.
“We certainly respect the work (the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee) has done in the last two years,” Nocito said. “If there (are) internal issues that (are) prohibiting them from moving forward, then we are obligated to the city to help.”
Nocito said the Tomato Festival organizers were not looking to run the St. Patrick’s Parade and did not reach out to the city. Apparently the city reached out to them.
Here’s a question, what was the dissension, what was so harmful that the city had to take it over? You have two years of growth from nothing and there’s a problem?
The following month, the city approved a resolution to hand the parade over to the Tomato Festival committee at the May 18 meeting.
On May 18th the Times Leader reported that the Pittston City Tomato Festival acquired a subcommittee to manage the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Now the St. Patrick’s Day parade is two years old. It was put together by a group that thought it up, organized it, raised money for it, contacted the participants and garnered some very positive media attention. From what I understand it didn’t cost the city anything. As a matter of fact the city charged for barricades, police security and clean up.
So on May 18th City Council voted to take over the parade 3 to 1 with it becoming a subcommittee of the Tomato Festival. Danny Argo was the only dissenting vote asking “if it isn’t broke, why fix it?’
Council members Michael Lombardo and Kenneth Bangs, along with Mayor Jason Klush, voted for the resolution. The paper reports that the purpose of the sub-committee will be to organize and administer the necessary functions associated with the staging of the annual parade.
Correct me if I’m wrong but that seems to be a duplication of effort and services. Plus it seems like the Tomato Festival Committee going into its 32 year has its hands full with their event. They said they’d help if the city asked them. Those volunteers like Lori Nocito are already over stressed. My apologies to Barrister Lombardo.
Joe Moskowitz the City Manager and Councilman Lombardo said that the involvement the last few years has been stressful.
A few questions here. First off define stressful.
Second are there any records or minutes from City Council meetings that showed any type of problems or stress going on?
If the city didn’t have to spend any money, where did the stress come from? Was Moskowitz so overwhelmed that his office couldn’t handle it? And f that’s the case, why acquire something if it was “so stressful”?
After the meeting the Parade Treasurer one of the guys who helped formulate the parade was told to set up by laws. Then was told someone else would do the by laws.
Then things really got strange.
A meeting was held last night. It was an open meeting. Okay, open means anyone can attend right?
Next thing we know Patrick Toole, one of the founders of the parade and the guy who was charged to write the by laws was told not to attend. If he attended, he’d be escorted out. Did Moskowitz send the e mail? Did the Mayor of Pittston send the e mail? Did a representative from the Tomato Festival which is supposed to be the boss of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade subcommittee write the e mail?
Nope it came from the former Mayor Mike Lombardo. Jeez I thought Lombardo was done when started doing whatever he does at Quad 4. .
The following is the email former mayor Mike Lombardo sent to Patrick Toole and a list of all who received copies of it.  Keep in mind that this is the meeting the city said had to happen in its resolution.

Subject: Re: Saint Patrick's Parade Meeting


You don't dictate the terms to me or the Tomato Festival committee or the city. Given the inflammatory comments you made in the paper. Do not show up at the meeting tonight or I will have you removed. Do what you need to do with your lawyers. Do not contact me or the Tomato Festival Committee any further. Consider yourself placed on notice.


As Jimmy Johnson says on the Fox NFL show, let’s break this down.
Pat, You don't dictate the terms to me or the Tomato Festival committee or the city.

But didn’t they want the members of the original committee to be involved? Plus in any local news articles I don’t see Toole dictating terms, all I saw was that he had never heard of a city entity taking over another organization. I mean does La Festa Italia in Scranton take over the St. Patrick’s Day parade?
Given the inflammatory comments you made in the paper.
Please point out what was so inflammatory? Toole said, I’ve never heard of that before,” he said. “What kind of message does that send? We’re asking them to allow us to run something we started. This is a slap in the face.”No F bombs there.
Do not show up at the meeting tonight or I will have you removed.
Hold up, this is an open, public meeting right? Do not show up or I will have you removed? By whom? The police? The Tomato Festival committee? Moskowitz? Really?
Do what you need to do with your lawyers. Do not contact me or the Tomato Festival Committee any further.
So it looks like the sender of the e mail already had his mind made up about how this was going to go down, ya think?
Consider yourself placed on notice.
Placed on notice? Is this detention? Will Pat Toole get banned from the city? Is being placed on notice like being a targeted figure? Are there "on notice" drones hiding on the roof of Quinn’s Supermarket?
I’m just wondering because I never got an e mail like this. Placed on notice? The tough nuns at St. John’s on William Street never even placed anyone on notice.
The meeting was last night and from what I’m told Patrick Toole kept his distance. Putting one on notice will do that to a guy.
But last night it was decided that Sarah Donahue the city’s events coordinator was named the Chairman of the parsed. Councilman Lombardo has said he will step aside due to ahem, stress, so that leaves Paul Reedy in the mix. Toole wasn’t invited, having been placed on notice so who knows.
But here’s what I know. A few people got together and put together a good parade. It was a success. Their mistake was not to license it or incorporate it. This thing has been a success and people have really enjoyed it. They took the gamble. They raised money. It was their idea.
Now the city through the Tomato Festival subcommittee essentially took it away. If that’s the case then is every fundraising event in Pittston like the St. John the Evangelist bazaar subject to being “adopted” by the city? And if that’s the case, then is the city in the business of providing services or entertainment?
If you ask me, this is really a blot on Pittston. During the last few years the city has rebuilt its image and the downtown. The late John Watson of The Sunday Dispatch marveled at how beautiful the downtown was and even said it had a cosmopolitan look. Many people have said the same thing.
But a fight in May over a St. Patrick’s Day Parade just goes to show, “Once a small town………..always a small town”.
I grew up there and it pains me to say this but Jesus “Can’t anyone get along??” A place like Pittston has only one size fish bowl. And God forbid if the newcomers who do something really good want to run it. That would cause undue, ahem “stress”.
Because as we all so painfully know here in LuLac land, there are only so many big fish in those ponds. And for a guy like Patrick Toole and his band of brothers and sisters, they found that the elbows are sharper in that pond than his Parade Committee could have ever imagined when they thought up this idea and brought it to fruition on their own a few years ago.

Sources: Sunday Dispatch, Times Leader, Mayor Mike’s e mail box. Note: next time don’t copy many people if you want to put someone on notice. Also I will also publish any clarifications on this verbatim from interested parties.


The car is in the shop the last few days and Mrs. LuLac has been picking me up from work this week. (Damn Retractable tops!)
Anyway we have Steve Corbett on and Larry calls him. Here are the gems from Larry.
On July 15th in Texas there is going to be a dry run for a likely Marshall Law takeover of America engineered by President Obama. Larry will tell us “he told us so” on July 16th. Larry must have forgot about the Health Care website engineered by this administration but hey, I digress.
Larry also says that this guy Sinclair on the internet said that President Obama is gay. As Jerry Seinfeld said “Not that there is anything wrong with that!” But Michelle might have beat him silly with those guns of hers if that was true by now.
Finally Larry says that the President is trying to feminize the military. Corbett tried to get details but Larry demurred. I don’t believe one or two but number three, old Larry might have something there. Obama might be trying put his plot of feminzation with this person! How diabolical! That damn Muslim Barack! 
After all, like Larry, I read it on duh internet.


At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Tomato Fight Batman, it seems that the tomatos in Pittston have gone "nuts." Former mayor Mike Lombardo should be home licking his Primary election wounds but here is is opening another war front. Wont be long before citizens of Pittston might start thinking it is time for some change and please, let's not consider "back to the future." W Pittston needs some of that old time thinking that Lombardo said was so wrong.

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that old time thinking is that if you can't afford it, stop the debt thinking process. Pittston taxpayers are up to their tomatoes with taxes and fees. Maybe a few less administrators would be a good start. That moskovits ego that manages the city has a way of talking to tax payers like they are lowere than dirt. Just what they need, a manger that is more full of himself than he is full of tomatoes.... hey, I think I just hit on a new saying, "your full of tomatoes." I like it.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beauty of talk radio here in NEPA is that ignorance is allowed to shine. I'm dumb and I'm proud. Loved the way Corbett questioned him. He had opinions but no facts. Larry that is.

At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the Part 2 story, I had to search out the original LuLac story. Are you friggin kidding me? This guym the former mayor Lombardo is just off the wall on his ;power kick. How did you go from a great kick in his ass to whimping away wishing both sides good luck? Seems to be that for him to have the brass balls to call you and try to squirm his way out of his obnoxious email to Pat Toole just goes to prove what people say about him, he has a hard face and can talk his way out of every problem he causes. I truly sorry you backed away from giving the parade committee the strong support you started with but that just goes t show that even the Mighty Yonk can be snowballed by Sneaky Mike Lombardo. Consider yourself Lombardoized and you're not alone.


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