Sunday, October 25, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3055, October 25th, 2015

Sample ballot of how Lisa Markowski, defeated in a primary for the Senate in Alaska won another term as a write in winner. (thepeoplesrepublicof californiablogspot)
It appears that more than a few politicians in the area are thinking of or are now actually using The Write In tool on Election Day. In Both Luzerne and Lackawanna County, the there is buzz about Write In candidacies. Let’s go to Wilkes Barre first.


After the debate this past Wednesday between Tony George and Frank Sorick, the Nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties in the city, there was talk of a Write In campaign for Mayor by George’s primary foe George Brown and then outgoing Mayor Tom Leighton. First off there have been rumors about a Write In for weeks but no one really said much. In the summer that talk was fueled by the investigation of Tony George’s Spring Campaign Reports but after he was given a clean bill by the DA and the County Elections Board, the talk subsided.
What brought it back though were the lackluster performances of George and Sorick. Now I wasn’t at the debate but the video is up on LuLac. People who have seen the video think both men could have acquitted themselves better. No less an authority than Mayor Leighton made a statement to the press after the debate saying that he was not impressed.
That’s when the talk about a Write In for Leighton started. Then supporters of Brown got in the fray. Brown told the Citizen’s Voice that if Leighton mounted a write in, he wouldn’t. At this hour there is no word on if an attempt would be made.
If it was attempted, it would be a long shot. First off, there are only ten days left. Educating voters to write in a candidate, even with the easy peezie ballot screens would be tough. Voters rarely pay attention to an election anyway and to throw learning something new into the mix just might be too taxing for some of them.
There is no doubt that Leighton could get people out there. He has had a base of support in the City that has gotten him elected three times as Mayor. So the South Wilkes Barre wards, the most populous in the city can be targeted, educated and galvanized.
BUT……(there’s always a BUT there isn’t there!!!) will Leighton and/or Brown be able to get a majority? Remember George got a primary win by about votes. His votes were solidly and passionately for him. So there will be very few deserters from the George camp.
Then there’s Frank Sorick the GOP nominee. Sorick has a base of support among the Wilkes Barre GOP but that base is very small. (For years I have been preaching to the Wilkes Barre City GOP that it is all about the registrations.) Sorick will have those along with people who subscribe to the theory that all of Wilkes Barre City Government is corrupt. You can scream corruption all you want but no one has been led out of City Hall in cuffs. As a matter of fact with some voters corruption where it is imagined can be a detriment to the city. Then there are those who want change.
George’s base is bigger, Sorick’s is smaller but these are bases nonetheless. Throw in a write in effort from the populous South Wilkes Barre wards and anything can happen.
However if there is a Leighton and/or Brown win in that scenario, they have to get cracking. If they don’t, then the issue is mute.
Here’s what I think though. If George’s base stays intact, Sorick’s grows a bit and Leighton/and/or Brown do a write in, the election can very well be thrown to Sorick. That would be historic because the last Republican Mayor in Wilkes Barre was about 45 years ago.
Why the sweat about the competence of George and Sorick? There is speculation that Leighton feels he should have run for a fourth term as I urged him to do. There are those who feel that George will only be a one issue Mayor and Sorick may not be prepared to be the “citizen Mayor” he envisions. These are all valid.
What I really think though is all this “write in” talk in Wilkes Barre is not about George or Sorick and worrying about whether they can do the job. Rather I feel that there are people worried about who George and Sorick will bring with them to run the city.


 Charlie Spano. (Photo: Spano campaign).
Charlie Spano is a guy everyone has heard about. When I worked for The Metro in Scranton and then when the paper moved Pittston, I always missed Charlie by a few minutes. In his long public service career (Chairman, Scranton City Cable Consumer Advisory Commission, 2001-2010 Chairman of the Board, Scranton Chapter of UNICO, 2006-2007 Chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of Lackawanna County, 2007-2010 Chairman, 9/11 Memorial Committee, Lackawanna County, 2005-Present Chairman, Board of Directors, Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces Association, 3 Years President, Scranton Chapter UNICO, 2005-06 President, Columbus Day Association, Lackawanna County, 2005 President, Phi Delta Kappa Education Fraternity, University of Scranton Chapter President, South Scranton Lions Club Vice Chairman, Scranton City Planning Commission, 10 years Director, Lackawanna River Corridor Assn., 10 years Chairman, Advocacy/Education Committee, Heritage Valley Task Force, 1990 Chairman, Administration/Finance Committee, National Park Service Nay Aug Task Force, 1989 Chairman, City Hall Centennial, 1988 Secretary, Lackawanna County Constitution Bicentennial Commission, 1987 Chairman, Magna Carta in Scranton, 1987 Chairman, 120th Anniversary of Scranton, 1986 Member, Home Rule Study Commission of Scranton, 1999-2001 Member, Gov. Ridge's 21st Century Environmental Commission, 1997-1999 Member, PA State Job Training Coordinating Council, 1995-1997 Member, Statewide Mock Election Commission, chaired by Sr. Earnon O'Neil AWARDS Awards: Past President's Award, Columbus Day Association, 2006 Past President's Award, Scranton UNICO, 2005 Governor's Citizen's Crime Prevention Award, 1997 Volunteer of the Year, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission…….did I mention Charlie is a busy guy???) Spano always made it a point to connect with the media and the public.
Now with this type of public service it would be natural for him to become politically involved. He has and even though he’s come up short in a few races, Spano ran for Commissioner on the GOP side in the spring. Sources tell me that when he was circulating petitions for the Commissioner’s primary in the Lac, another candidate Bill Jones, who ran in the 2011 race with his GOP running mate, now turned Democrat, Pat “The Statesmen” O’Malley) was actually helping him get signatures. Additionally Jones who works for a lobbyist firm in Harrisburg, actually promised NOT to do anything nasty against him etc.
With the campaign entry of Laureen Cummings who ran a credible race against Congressman Matt Cartwright in 2012, and Spano with his name recognition, well  maybe Jones was getting worried. A week before the primary, Jone's Lobbyist firm popped out a scathing and "personal" direct mail piece that ripped Charlie to shreds and delved into divorce, personal bankruptcy etc. BTW, he had to file 20 years ago because he had 2 daughters with cancer and the bills were astronomical. (Both girls made it through and Charlie settled with all). For more on that here’s the link to the Borys blog on the Times Tribune website.
Spano released this statement regarding the rationale behind his strategy. During the primary as I am sure you read about in the Scranton Times, a deceitful and misleading attack was directed at me by the lobbyist employers of one of the endorsed candidates who went on to be nominated.
When I was on the home rule commission in Scranton I voted to cut taxes. I am the only candidate running who actually voted to CUT taxes when given the chance. I have years of government experience at every level from a federal manager to state director to county assistant director to teacher. I have actually managed employees, met budget goals, payrolls and implemented policy. I have years of leadership experience as the President or Chairman of many non-profit groups from UNICO to the Lions to Phi Beta Kappa and the 911 Memorial Committee. This is the kind of experience along with mature judgment a Commissioner needs.
As hard as I am fighting to win this write-in campaign I will fight for you as a Commissioner. Many veterans fought and died for your right to choose freely. Use your freedom of choice this November.
My life since 1970 is devoted to community service. I have the experience, qualifications and leadership to serve. I had a great career as a teacher and nearly 10,000 girls and boys passed through my classrooms. I’m not seeking a new career. I have worked in every level of government, served on the Zoning Board and the Planning Commission led organizations from the 911 Committee to UNICO to Columbus Day to the Lions, no outside distractions retired and won’t take the county benefits or pension.
We want to trust our officials and can't risk hidden political agendas.
After the primary Spano got very angry and decided to do a Write In campaign. But not content to just ask politely, Spano has come out with guns blazing against Jones. He did a comic strip which outlined Charlie’s version of the events in the primary, (Mr. Jones is more than welcome to give me his side) as well as putting up a video with the help of renowned political advertising genius Bob Harper.
Here is the cartoon and you may have to click and then increase your view on your own computer.
Or you can find it on Spano’s website. Here’s that link:
And of course here’s the video.

This late event in the otherwise staid Commissioners race just might shake some things up. Spano is on the attack, Jones is the object of that attack. The only person happy about this situation has to be the aforementioned Laureen Cummings who might become the first female County Commissioner in the history of the Lac.
Evie Refalko McNulty and Liz Randle who both tried to be the first Woman Commissioner in The Lac must be thinking, “Who knew, all we had to do was get someone to piss off Charlie Spano!!!!!!
10 more days until the Election and who could ever guess that in the late days of the two biggest races in The Lu and The Lac, writes ins would be a factor.


At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, I don't know how you feel about the mayor's race but I watched the debate and I gotta tell ya that Sorick really pissed me off about talking how corrupt WB is. These people have no clue how damaging it is to a community to spread that kind of message....... true or not. If it is corrupt, clean it up but don't broadcast it to the world. The one thing I have learned is that politics is politics and if you're on the inside all is well but if you're on the outside, all else is corrupt. The one thing my observations have shown me is that the WB police Dept is in serious need of new leadership. The BS that went on with LAG is disgraceful and even arresting Robbins for trespassing in that alley was disgraceful. I find the guy is not all wrong but delivers his message with a 5 inch paint brush rather than an artist brush that makes an exact point. If I lived in WB I would encourage Leighton to run a write in and if he wouldn't then I guess I would throw my vote on George but he isn't the most impressive guy I've seen campaign. The one question that drives me nuts is the two colleges being located in the city. My point would be that administrative and classroom building would be off the tax roles but housing, and other such facilities would be taxes like all other property. The tax base in the city just can't allow both to keep expanding the way they are and not paying their fair share.


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