Saturday, October 31, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3060, October 31st, 20015

STEF AND VITO SQUARE OFF
This was the scene Thursday night as Vito Deluca and DA Stefanie Salavantis debated the issues on the campus of Wyoming Seminary. ((Photo: Times Leader).
The two candidates for District Attorney in Luzeerne County confronted each other at a late debate Thursday night in Kingston. Both candidates made their points from separate tables partitioned by a representative from The League of Women Voters. I guess you could call this a “he said, she said” debate.
Challenger Vito DeLuca said that Salavantis was not as efficient in running her office as she claimed. He noted that protecting the public was sometimes expensive and would not pander to voters saying he would save money.
Salavantis meanwhile noted her office saved the taxpayers over $200,000 and that her forays into the community helped educate crime watch groups as well as non profits about preventing fraud.
DeLuca criticized the number of arrests county detectives make while Salavantis said that she wanted to expand its drug task force by taking control of it and increasing revenues.
DeLuca also said the $250,000 Salavantis said she saved for taxpayers could have been spent on solving 13 unsolved murders in her time in office. He did not say how he would spend that money to get the crimes solved.
The League opened the question to audience members and the candidates had to answer questions about living in drug houses and on legalzatrion of pot, two things their office can’t control.
For a debate that took so long to get to between the two candidates, it was interesting to see that both felt they needed more time to explain their positions. It was a good effort, both candidates didn’t seem to hurt each other and the attendees who supported each proclaimed their side won.


AND IN THE LAC….
Here come the bullets

County Commissioner candidates Laureen Cummings, Bill Jones and Charlie Spano. (Photo: TimesTribune.com).
Rumor has it that in the Lackawanna County race for Commissioner on the GOP side, the bullets are coming out. The bullet vote that is. My sources tell me that Bill Jones who has been paired with Laureen Cummings is urging his people to vote only for him. It is no wonder he is doing that since Pat “The Statesman” O’Malley did the same thing to Jones in ’11 when O’Malley was a member of the GOP.
Cummings people are surely going to make the effort to give her a single vote since she is well known and can be seen as being a very tough Minority Commissioner. As a matter of fact if Cummings or Charlie Spano who is running a Write In gets to be the Minority Commissioner it will be the Democrats worse nightmare. Jones in the meantime seems to be humming to the lyrics of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3059, October 29th, 2015

ENDORSEMENT TIME!!!!


The Times Leader endorsed Stefanie Salavantis for a second term. 
Here is what the newspaper wrote: District attorneys tend to excel at one of two things: Either they’re the chief prosecutor, handily winning important cases, or they’re the chief administrator, setting up their team for success.
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis has chosen the latter approach, and in that regard she’s seemingly been quite capable. For her strong administrative skills, we believe Salavantis deserves to be re-elected on Nov. 3.
This is exactly what Salavantis has been running on. Vito DeLuca’s campaign seems desperate. The time for making the experience argument was not in this election. Plus calling Salavantis an insult to the DA’s office is essentially calling the voters who picked her dumb asses. If DeLuca wanted to hit one of her weak spots he could have. But he never made the time to meet with people who could help him. Too late now.
Meanwhile Salavantis has thrown DeLuca's website back in his face. Here's the latest ad from the Salavantis group courtesy of its creator Mr. Bob Harper. Kind of timely I'd say.



AND IN WILKES BARRE

Frank Sorick has received the endorsement of the paper for the office of Mayor. Here’s what the paper said about him: 

Put Frank Sorick in charge at Wilkes-Barre City Hall.
The Republican mayoral contender, 42, can’t boast of vast government experience, but his candidacy offers voters what many say they desperately want in this city: a new approach. If elected on Nov. 3, Sorick not only would succeed three-term Democratic mayor Tom Leighton, but he would become the first GOP mayor of Wilkes-Barre in 55 years.
More important than bringing symbolic change, Sorick offers good ideas. His proposals, if adopted, could improve how city government serves its residents and, ultimately, make living here even better.
The Leader admitted it struggled with the endorsement because of Sorick’s back tax issues and George’s issues of financial reports. The endorsement does not mean election and we can name many politicians endorsed by the Leader who crashed and burned at the polls. But the very fact they picked Sorick is something else.
Both Salavantis and Sorick had good days today courtesy of The Leader. BUT an election still needs to be won on Tuesday and both candidates have less registered voters in their party than their opponents. It’s nice to read good things about you but the proof in the pudding is on Election Day.

6TH DISTRICT CHILI BAKE OFF

The GOP 6th District had a Chili Cook off the other night in downtown Wilkes Barre. The event was put together by Alex Milanes and my good buddy Ron Ferrence was in attendance. Plains Township Commissioner candidate Barry Kresge made an appearance too. These events always help to build party support.


ELMY’S FINANCES

Lou Elmy is running for Wilkes Barre City Council in District B against Tony Brooks. But days before the election a complaint was filed alleging fraud on his campaign finance forms. The Election Board solicitor said that a violation had been filed against him regarding his 2011 and 2015 campaign finance forms. We’re told Elmy failed to report contributions and expenses. It is also alleged that he spent part of the money from fundraisers for personal use.
A few things here. This is a late hit to the Elmy campaign and it is paperwork. The personal use of the money is another thing. But it is now a public investigation much like the one the Elections Bureau held in the summer with Mr. George. Whether this goes anywhere will be determined later. But the timing can only help Elmy’s opponent Tony Brooks. We shall see Tuesday night.


NATIONAL GOP DEBATE

The CNBC panel was a joke. Tarone, Gary Perna and I could have done better rolling out of bed before our morning cigarette, coffee or Tab. Take your pick.
The candidates got the better of the moderators and made points. But CNBC is a financial channel, why didn't they ask questions about the economy. Turned the game on after the first 15 minutes.



CARTWRIGHT INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO HALT EXPLOITATION OF VETERANS AND FEDERAL WORKERS
Congressman Matt Cartwright. (Photo: LuLac archives)
U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright and Gerry Connolly introduced the bipartisanAnnuity Safety and Security Under Reasonable Enforcement (ASSURE) Act, with the support of 24 colleagues.
The legislation aims to protect federal workers, military retirees, and postal retirees by expandingTruth in Lending Act disclosure provisions to any situation where a federal or military pension is used as consideration for an “advance.” The bill also caps the interest rate on such an “advance” at prime plus six percent.
“Federal annuities were designed to provide retirees with a stream of guaranteed income that gives them a sense of financial security in their golden years,”Rep. Cartwright said. “Unfortunately, ‘pension advance’ companies often prey upon federal retirees and veterans.”
The legislation also addresses the lack of a private right of action in many of the applicable federal statutes that prohibit pension assignments. This means that private individuals may not sue to enforce laws that are already on the books, instead it is up to governmental authorities to take action. This legislation would create a private right of action allowing for the recovery of treble damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
These simple measures will protect federal retirees from exploitation, allow individuals to assert their rights in court, and ensure that retirees maintain their financial independence.
“While current federal law already prohibits federal and military retirees from assigning their pensions to a third party, many companies have resorted to skirting state and federal laws by requiring the retiree to deposit his or her pension in a separate bank account controlled by the firm,”Rep. Cartwright said. “Moreover, firms refer to the product they sell as a “pension advance” rather than a loan. In reality, these “advances” require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks and carry interest rates that are often many times higher than those on credit cards.”
“Federal pensions have long ensured that after a lifetime of honorable service, veterans and federal employees would be able to live out retirement with dignity and security,” said Rep. Connolly. “It’s our responsibility to help protect retirees from unscrupulous lenders only looking to make a quick profit.”
A review byThe New York Times of more than two dozen contracts for pension-based loans found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from 27 percent to 106 percent — information not disclosed in the ads or in the contracts themselves. Furthermore, to qualify for one of the loans, borrowers are sometimes required to take out a life insurance policy that names the lender as the sole beneficiary.
Most recently, in March 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a consumer guide andadvisory concerning pension advances and loans. The notice warned that many of these companies use “patriotic-sounding names or logos and even claim they are endorsed by the VA as a way of enticing potential customers”
Cartwright summarized his effort, “These simple measures will protect retirees who spent a lifetime earning a federal annuity, an annuity to which they’ve contributed each paycheck, from exploitation; allow individuals to assert their rights in court; and ensure that people maintain their financial independence.”
Cosponsors:Blumenauer, Brownley, Conyers, Cummings, Delaney, Edwards, Frankel, Garamendi, Jackson Lee, Johnson (MS),Jones, Kaptur, Kelly (IL), Kirkpatrick, Langevin, Lujan Grisham, Lynch, Norton, Pocan, Schakowsky, Takano, Tsgonas, Van Hollen
Supporting Organizations:American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Federal Managers Association, National Federation of Federal Employees, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), Senior Executives Association, Professional Managers Association (PMA), Military Order of the Purple Heart, Retired Enlisted Association, American Foreign Service Association, American Postal Workers Union (APWU)

BARLETTA BACKS BILL NAMED FOR SLAIN CORRECTIONS OFFICER
BILL NAMED FOR NEW CANAAN OFFICER ERIC WILLIAMS MANDATES ISSUANCE OF PEPPER SPRAY
Congressman Lou Barletta. (Photo: Barletta Office).
Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today used a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security to promote a bill that requires the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to supply oleoresin capsicum spray, commonly known as pepper spray, to prison officers or employees who may respond to emergency situations with inmates. TheEric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act (H.R. 472), of which Barletta is a co-sponsor, is named for an officer at the United States Prison at Canaan who was brutally murdered by an inmate in 2013.
Senior Correctional Officer Eric Williams, of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, was murdered by convicted gang assassin Jessie Con-ui at the high security prison on February 25, 2013. Con-ui, a member of the violent New Mexican Mafia gang, was serving an 11-year sentence when he suddenly attacked Officer Williams, knocked him down a flight of stairs, and stabbed him more than 200 times with homemade blades known as shanks. Con-ui is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder of a U.S. corrections officer, and possessing contraband in prison. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The bill Barletta co-sponsored would mandate the issuance of pepper spray to officers or employees at medium or high security prisons who may respond to emergency situations. The bill calls for training on the use of the spray, and also requires a report to Congress evaluating the effectiveness of the program within three years. The bill was authored by Rep. David McKinley (WV-1) and was originally co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17). Senator Pat Toomey (PA) has sponsored similar legislation in the Senate.
During a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Barletta asked a representative of the Tennessee Department of Corrections about the value of such a program.
“Can you describe the conditions under which pepper spray would be helpful to prison workers?” Barletta asked Tony Parker, Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Corrections. “And why would pepper spray be preferable over some other form of non-lethal weapon?”
“We issue chemical agents to our officers in Tennessee, especially those working in maximum custody units and high security restricted housing areas,” Parker said. “Yes, it is a very productive tool. You have inmates in physical altercations, or even an inmate that may attack an officer. It basically hampers the offender’s ability to see, it disorients them. It makes it a little easier to handle the inmate.”
Another witness at the hearing, Brian Levin, the director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, said that pepper spray may not be effective in close quarter conditions. He also indicated that some inmates may be physically impervious to such weapons.
“In this case, Con-ui kicked Williams down a flight of stairs before brutally beating him and slashing him to death with two shanks,” Barletta countered. “This may have been a case of: had he been able to have something to defend himself, he’d be alive today.”


MEDIA MATTERS

ECTV


ECTV Hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender will welcome John Gleason to the program during the week of November 2nd. Mr. Gleason is the Director of the Keystone Rescue Mission Alliance which operates facilities for the homeless in both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. He'll recount the work of the mission and its plans for the coming cold weather on the program. ECTV Live is seen on Comcast channel 19 (61 in some areas) and is broadcast three times daily throughout the week.

THE RIVER ON AM RADIO

I do hope this lasts a while. The River 104.9 is on AM 1340. A reader informed us Fox Sports is on the 1400 frequency in Scranton. It is good to have music back on the AM side.

BOLD GOLD COMMUNITY FORUM


This week's guests are Sister Ann Walsh from Friends of the Poor, and Linda and Ryan Robeson, co-chairs of the Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program. Tune in Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on The Game Sports Radio Network 1400/1440 and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River



SUNDAY MAGAZINE

This Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with entrepreneur Mark Chamberlain about his new book and Indie Go Go project.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Dave Skutnik from the American Red Cross about the
importance of changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during the time change weekend.
And Brian speaks with Sandra Serhan and Dave Chappelle about the Gate of Heaven Family Fun Food Drive Festival, coming up next Sunday, and Dave performs to close out the program.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93-.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X
& Sports Radio 590, WARM and 6:25am on Magic


SUE HENRY’S SPECIAL EDITION

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.

BUDDY RUMCHEK

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!”

KAREL ON THE STREET

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.


CORBETT’S SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME

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.


BOBBY V’S DOO WOP SOCK HOP!!!!!

The Doo-Wop Sock Hop can be heard every Sunday night from 6P to 9P on “105 The River (104.9 FM) Host is the incomparable Bobby V. www.105theriver.net
www.doowopsockhop.net


1965

Our 1965 logo.

Beatles receive MBEs at Buckingham Palace………………Sandy Koufax wins NL Cy Young Award unanimously….Days of Our Lives" premieres on TV……………On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" opens in NYC for 280 performances……

in Pennsylvania election day is relatively quiet as politico gear up for the statewide aces upcoming in 1966……in Scranton James Walsh beats out incumbent Mayor Bill Schmidt and in Wilkes Barre Ethel Price wins handily for seat on City Council….and fifty years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was "Positively Fourth Street" by  Bob Dylan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3058, October 28th, 20105

LULAC WORSHIP ON WEDNESDAY





This week here is another inspiration edition of our musical Worship on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3057, October 27th, 2015

LUZERNE COUNTY GOP BACKS FIVE FOR COUNTY COUNCIL

The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Luzerne County has voted unanimously to support and endorse the candidacies of Marc Dixon, Ray Gustave, Eugene Kelleher, Mark Rabo and Steven J. Urban for Luzerne County Council.
“In a county that continues to face difficult financial challenges, it is critically important to elect council members who will apply common sense conservative principles to governance,” Luzerne County GOP Chairman Bill Urbanski said. “These five candidates bring a combination of experience, innovation and vision that will best serve the citizens of Luzerne County.”
“As Republicans, we understand and are guided by conservative principles,” Urbanski continued, “a belief in a small and limited government, a government that respects personal responsibility, protects individual freedom and promotes opportunity so that all may succeed.
“These may be broad ideological principles, but when applied on a local level, they can and will provide for the effective and efficient county government we so desperately need and the citizens of our county rightly deserve.”
The sixth person on the GOP ballot is Robert Schnee. I can understand Urbanski’s philosophical logic by not endorsing a candidate from another party on the GOP ballot. But he did win the GOP nod and is on your slate. If part of the ticket wins and Schnee pulls Democratic votes and wins, why alienate him by not endorsing him?
Just my thoughts. I told Gene Kelleher that one thing Home Rule did for the County as give County Leadership a more bipartisan duel party bent which did not exist before Home Rule.
It will be interesting to see how Schnee does. You know Democrats in his area will pick him over one of the other Dens running.



ANOTHER GEM FROM CARSON

On Sunday, Ben Carson went on national TV and said he opposed abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. He said legal abortion is like slavery. He said he'd "love" to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Ben is really obsessed with this slavery thing isn’t he? The latest polls find him surging into first place in the Republican primary. The scary thing is that his first test is in Iowa and those people agree with his views. 


Again it is sad that the Media and American politicos put so much stock in a state that is totally unrepresentative of the United States.


PANEPINTO RUNNING AS INDEPENDENT

Paul Panepinto, candidate for State Supreme Court. (Photo: Morning Call).
Here’s an Independent that is trying to get on the Pa. Supreme Court. He’s Paul Panepinto and here’s a few facts about him.
Paul Panepinto, 66, of Philadelphia Panepinto
Party: Independent
Occupation: Philadelphia County Court judge
Educational experience: Villanova University, B.A. and M.A. in Political Science; Widener University School of Law, J.D.
Political experience: Philadelphia County judge
Where he stands on the issues: Panepinto believes the Supreme Court should not be involved in matters of alleged misconduct by judges and justices.
Money/backers: Raised $200,000 since Sept. 14. Endorsements include former candidate Cheryl Lynn Allen and his daughter. (Morningcall.com)

Monday, October 26, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3056, October 26th, 2015

ELECTION 2015 VIDEOS

Thanks to our good friend Kathleen Smith, we present this video she passed on to me from Facebook. This is a meeting of candidates in Wilkes Barre last week. The video features candidates for Mayor and Council in the city.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3055, October 25th, 2015

WRITE IN MANIA SWEEPING LULAC LAND
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.

WILKES BARRE

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.


AND IN THE LAC

THE CASE FOR CHARLIE SPANO 
 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. http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/spano-positive-about-negative-flier-s-source-1.1904333
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: http://www.charliespano.com/#xl_xr_page_index
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.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3054, October 24th, 2015

LUZERNE COUNTY  GOP THIRD DISTRICT MEET UP

I have not had the opportunity to get to many events this fall season. My work schedule is packed, I am currently trying to get an outline approved for a new project that hopefully will be an exciting part of my writing career as well as just living my normal life. I even had to have a few scouts at the Wilkes Barre Mayor’s race debate Wednesday because I was a panelist on WYLN TV’s 35’s Mayoral debate which was held on the same night as the face off with Frank Sorick and Tony George. So it was with great anticipation that I made sure the decks were clear for the Third District event held in Dupont on the VFW Thursday night.
The evening was highlighted by the appearance of District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis who was the main speaker. Salavantis made the case for re-election citing the 100% conviction rate in her office, her ability to juggle the many tasks required of a sitting DA as well as the savings her office generated (some $250,000) to the County. Standing in front of the group, she calmly paced from one side of the room to the other making her case as an experienced DA who has navigated the uncertain sea of crime in this County. 
After getting a round of applause from the group, she worked the room while enjoying a quick bite from the VFW Kitchen. (By the way, Jimmy O’Meara Senior not only knows wings, he knows hot dogs too.)
O’Meara who served as District Chair in Wilkes Barre before they reconfigured everything is now in charge of the Third and is running things swimmingly with Mr. Pat Marranca. Here are a few photo from the event.


Jim O'Meara Senior with the main speaker, current DA Stefanie Salavantis. 
Three veterans of the political wars in Luzerne County. Pittston Area School Director Charlie Schiandra, a guy who has been involved in politics since his high school days, Art Boubouinne. Boubouinne and Bill Lewis who is a long time GOP state committee official.
The guy on the left used to hang out in my house years ago. We bought it from hi grandmother and it is always great to see him at these events. Ron Ferrence, Pat Marranca and Jim O'Meara stop to get a photo from the soup can. 

Was Lynette Villno texting Donald Trump? She was sporting a Trump for President button, in the center is Bill Lewis and on the right is Ray Gustave candidate for Luzerne County Council. Ray has a lot of signage popping up and is making many an appearance on the campaign trail.

Here is the DA on the right chatting with Council candidate Gene Kelleher. 

(All Photos from LuLac)

SPEAKING OF GENE

Mr. Kelleher and I reconnected and started to talk about the issues in the County. Here are some of the thoughts he outlined to me. I asked him to send me an e mail so that people will know where he stands. Kelleher was on the Council, lost a close re-election bid and ran as a Write In during the GOP primary. He is now on the ballot and here are his thoughts. 

SUCCESSFUL GOVERNMENT THROUGH COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION

Running an extremely large, exceedingly demanding, very complex county government is not only a rigorous task…it is a vigorous challenge…requiring multi-skilled, diversified leadership.
And to handle this task capably and resourcefully we need a highly functional, problem-solving, decision-making team…a team that strives continuously to provide what every single voter wants…a sound, practical, productive government.
Our County Council is obligated to function as a vital linchpin between an effectual government and the larger community, and this can only be accomplished through the efforts of a dedicated team…a team that will strive to provide the most viable and valid programs for our county, and then work diligently to implement them in the most competent, cooperative and economically feasible way.
Our politics should be the doctrine of the possible…the workable…the attainable. Our leadership team should exemplify two things…performance and results. We need to maximize the expenditure of our tax dollars while simultaneously implementing sound monetary policies. We must also effectively respond to our diminishing revenues by discovering alternate opportunities that do not burden the elderly on fixed incomes. This will help to establish a financially stable and administratively competent government which will eventually create a system of tax reform and tax equity our citizens so desperately need.
Today one thing is certain…our government has drifted into financially troubled waters, and we have a hobbled sense of direction. I believe to navigate back to the shores of a credible, respectable and fiscally stable government, we must commit ourselves to where we are going and how we are going to get there.
We must mobilize our resources and unify our efforts within our government as well as establish a sense of order and civility within the political process.
I know we will always have conflicting points of view, adversarial relationships and personal confrontations…but when they arise out of good intentions and are for the betterment of the government, we can resolve them properly.
I believe conflict resolution should be achieved through cooperation…not character attacks. Healthy conflict…when handled properly…breeds what our government needs right now…creativity and productivity.
At one time leadership meant strength and authority…but today it means getting along with colleagues and putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. Cooperation and teamwork…planning and goal setting…will lead to an improvement in services, more cost-effective fiscal policies and successful governing. This will not be attained without an effective system of communication between the County manager, County council, department heads and the taxpayers. To that end, I will establish a landline available for the taxpayers 24/7.
Our commitment to the county’s future and the well-being of our residents can only be sustained through cooperation and communication.
Submitted by Eugene Kelleher …Luzerne County Council Candidate.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3053, October 23rd, 2015

HILLARY’S TRIUMPH
Hillary Clinton.  (Photo: CNN)
I listened to the grilling of Hillary Clinton Thursday when I was going to Scranton and then an event in Dupont. (That in a future edition). As I listened to the sneers of the GOP and the questions, then the opinions and then the frustration, I concluded one thing. The GOP Benghazi committee handed Hillary Clinton a victory. She was reasoned, didn’t blow up, seemed like a scholarly professor trying to teach a lesson as those students kept on harping. It was the male members of the Benghazi committee that got shrill while Mrs. Clinton plodded on with details and good humor.
As I listened I wondered why when the 911 attacks happened no one grilled President Bush. When the Iraq War was found to be conducted on a lie, no one called Dick Cheney into a hearing room.
Iraq 4500 dead: Benghazi 4.
Sorry those are the facts.
Here are other facts. This committee is the longest investigative committee in the history of the Congress. 75 weeks.
Kevin McCarthy has said this was a political way to bring Hillary Clinton’s numbers down. Yesterday this committee proved it.
What Hillary Clinton proved yesterday is that she can withstand unreasonable and unfair attacks. What better way to prove how tough she can be in a sustained situation. If anything, that committee yesterday proved Hillary Clinton could be ready for anything. If she could deal with these GOP clowns, she could sit down with Mr. Putin.
I cannot tell you the number of people I spoke with who told me today that as a result of this hearing, they are now strong for Hillary. As a matter of fact, reports are that the committee filled Clinton’s campaign with a lot of cash.
Hillary Clinton will be elected because of her skills, her message as well as how she can persuade the American people as to her leadership. Another reason she will be elected is because this committee of GOP wannabees acted liked partisan politicians. She acted like a President.


BIDEN’S ANNOUNCEMENT
Vice President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden. (Photo: CNN)
Vice President Joe Biden announced the other day that the window of opportunity for a Presidential run was now closed. Like past politicos Teddy Kennedy (who said no in ’72, and ’76), Hubert Humphrey who said no in ’76, Nelson Rockefeller in ’68,and Colin Powell in 2006 this was not a no. This was “damn I’d love to do this but there isn’t a path”. The aforementioned candidates were firm in their decision. Find someone else they said. But Biden seemed sad and reluctant. There was no sarcasm of a Rocky, the defiance of a Humphrey who said he didn’t want to be seen as the horse who jumped when the leaders snapped and Teddy who cited family reasons and the fact that he wanted to live longer than his three brothers.
Biden and his people know that this was what he was prepared to do all his life. When he participated in those 2008 debates he was regarded as the winner on policy. Local Democrat Jim McNulty was so convinced Biden was going to run that the wily politician from Scranton was forming a scenario where Biden and Mrs. Clinton would bury the hatchet in the Electric City once the nomination battle was over. Attorney Bill Vinsko said on Facebook that Biden would have been a great President.
But Presidents, great or otherwise are held hostage by timing and events. I think Biden knew that as he made his statement.
Here are a few things to watch. He chose the Rose Garden with the President watching. He boldly told many Democrats who have been cowardly lions (see Joe Mancian on gun registrations in 2013) that they should run on the Obama agenda. And he did not endorse.
A day is a lifetime in politics and Biden wisely said “so long” and not “farewell”. That window Joe Biden spoke of might be closed but that doesn’t mean he can’t peer longingly out of it. And if events change, he can stand there and motion to many Democrats who highly regard him indicating, “Still here guys, still here”.



BARLETTA LEADS LETTER TO GOV. WOLF: RELEASE FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDS DURING BUDGET IMPASSE
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS ADVANCED FUNDS WHILE SCHOOLS FACE DISASTER
Congressman Lou Barletta. (Photo: LuLac archives).
Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today requested that Pennsylvania Governor Thomas W. Wolf release federal education funds already appropriated by Congress and dispensed to the Commonwealth while the impasse over the state budget continues. School districts across Pennsylvania are encountering severe financial distress as a result of the stalemate between the Wolf Administration and the state legislature. Barletta led a letter signed by seven other members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation, whose districts are especially impacted, asking Wolf to release the funds.
“We all understand that political disagreements happen from time to time, but holding school funds hostage is beyond the pale,”Barletta said. “This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. This is a Pennsylvania issue. School children should not be the ones hurt simply because the governor is trying to score political points.”
“The governor is withholding federal funds that are used to support impoverished children and disabled learners across the Commonwealth,” saidRep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, PA-5. “The funds appropriated by Congress should not be subject to the ongoing budget impasse. It is time for the Governor to step up and stop putting politics over the well-being of the Commonwealth’s young learners.”
‎"My highest priority is taking care of the teachers, students and schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania,” saidRep. Tim Murphy, PA-18. “Congress intended these education dollars to get back to local school districts and into the classroom. I implore Governor Wolf to release the federal funds right now and help my local schools survive this budget meltdown.”
According to the Pennsylvania Auditor General, at least three school districts in or near Barletta’s 11th Congressional District are experiencing severe financial distress, causing them to seek loans or dip into emergency funds: Mt. Carmel, Warrior Run, and Steelton-Highspire. In addition, the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, which includes Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties, is in peril.
“While we acknowledge the state’s right to negotiate a budget that both the state legislature and the governor’s office can agree upon, holding federal education funding hostage during this state budget impasse is unacceptable,” the letter reads in part. “As you know, the lack of funds has forced schools to take extraordinary measures to keep their doors open. Teachers have gone without pay. Vendors have provided products and services on credit. Schools themselves have taken out private loans. The continued failure to fund Pennsylvania schools could result in school closures as early as November 1, 2015.”
The members of Congress noted with alarm that while at least one school district had been denied an advance of its funding, the House Democratic Caucus had been able to secure a $1.9 million advance to keep its political employees working.
“Schools seeking actual loans are paying four to five percent interest just to keep their doors open, while the House Democratic Caucus continues to run smoothly without interruption or additional cost,” the Congressmen wrote. “This is intolerable and should be embarrassing to all parties involved.”
The Pennsylvania House members specifically referenced federal Title I, II, and III funding, as well as federal grants provided through the 21st Century Learning Centers Program, which provides critical afterschool programs for at-risk children. Afterschool programs such as SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) at work in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties for the past decade, and this year in Luzerne County, will also suffer tremendously.
“While this money is being held in limbo during your ongoing budget disagreement, school districts in more rural and urban settings are being affected the most,” the letter reads. “Please do not allow partisan conflict to interfere with federal funding that should already be flowing.”
The letter to Gov. Wolf was signed by Barletta; Rep. Mike Kelly, PA-3; Rep. Scott Perry, PA-4; Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, PA-5; Rep. Bill Shuster, PA-9; Rep. Tom Marino, PA-10; Rep. Keith Rothfus, PA-12; and Rep. Tim Murphy, PA-18.


YOUNG DEMS ON THE MOVE

Beth Gilbert with your blog editor earlier in the year along with Controller candidate Darren Synder. (Photo: LuLac archives).
The Luzerne County Young Democrats have picked their officers and they are on the move. Elected President was Beth Gilbert currently the Democratic nominee for Wilkes Barre City Council in District B, Dominic Butchko was named Vice President, and Matthew Ford was named Secretary. These are three very strong leaders who are essentially the future of the Democratic Party in the County. We wish them luck in bringing new ideas and energy to the party.


MEDIA MATTERS

ECTV


Photo of miners from Hazleton. (Photo: ECTV)
It will be "Johnny Mitchell Week" on ECTV Live during the week of October 26th. Hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender will welcome Margo Azzarelli to the program to discuss the great coal strike of 1902 that brought the likes of Labor Leader Johnny Mitchell, and famed Attorney Clarence Darrow to Scranton. ECTV Live is carried on Comcast Cable channel 19 (61 in some areas) and is aired three times daily throughout the week.


THE RIVER ON AM RADIO

I do hope this lasts a while. The River 104.9 is on AM 1340. A reader informed us Fox Sports is on the 1400 frequency in Scranton. It is good to have music back on the AM side.


BOLD GOLD COMMUNITY FORUM

This week's guests are Steve Pitoniak and George Kelly, members of the Lackawanna County Land Bank Committee. Jim Riley hosts Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on The Game Sports Radio 1400/1440 and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River



SUNDAY MAGAZINE

This Week on Sunday Magazine
Brian Hughes speaks with John Fabiseski about the "Celebrate Sobriety at the Movies" event, coming up on November 4th at the Dietrich Theatre in Tunkhannock.
Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Melissa & Suzanne from Junior Achievement about their 2nd annual "Chair Affair" fundraiser.
Brian speaks with Michael Desiderio about getting an Executive MBA.
And Brian speaks with Olympic softball star Jennie Finch and Dr. Jennie Murase about Eczema Awareness Month.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X and Sports Radio 590, WARM and 6:25am on Magic 93.


SUE HENRY’S SPECIAL EDITION

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.


BUDDY RUMCHEK

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!”


KAREL ON THE STREET

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.


CORBETT’S SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME

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.


BOBBY V’S DOO WOP SOCK HOP!!!!!

The Doo-Wop Sock Hop can be heard every Sunday night from 6P to 9P on “105 The River (104.9 FM) Host is the incomparable Bobby V. www.105theriver.net
www.doowopsockhop.net


1965


Our 1965 logo.


British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Commonwealth Secretary Arthur Bottomley travel to Rhodesia for negotiations……British police find the decomposed body of a boy on Saddleworth Moor….. The Soviet Union declares its support of African countries in case Rhodesia unilaterally declares independence……Anti-government demonstrations occur in the Dominican Republic….. Brazilian president Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco removes power from parliament, legal courts and opposition parties....Süleyman Demirel of AP forms the new government of Turkey (30th government)…..French Foreign Minister Maurice Couve de Murville travels to Moscow…….

Pope Paul VI promulgates Nostra aetate, a "Declaration on the Relation of the (Roman Catholic) Church with Non-Christian Religions" by the Second Vatican Council which includes a statement that Jews are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus (Jewish deicide)……

In St. Louis, Missouri, the 630-foot (190 m)-tall inverted catenary steel Gateway Arch is completed…..Former Governor George Leader indicates he is flattered that the Democrats might want him to run for another statewide office but indicates his business affairs are keeping him busy….in Scranton James Walsh and Bill Schmidt count down to the final days before the election for Mayor of Scranton…and the number one song in America and LuLac land is “A Lover's Concerto “ by The Toys.

The LuLac Edition #3052, October 23rd, 2015

LOCAL DEBATE COVERAGE

HAZLETON CANDIDATES DEBATE THE ISSUES
The candidates prepare before the debate. From the top left, Republican Jeff Cusat, Independent Scott Cahalane and Democrat Jack Mundie. (Photo: LuLac).
Your blog editor and WYLN TV 35's Gary Perna. (Photo: WYLN TV 35)
There were two debates on the same night this week for the office of Mayor of Hazleton and Wilkes Barre.
First Hazleton. I was happy to be on the panel that interviewed the three candidates running for Mayor in Hazleton. The debate was held at The HIP Center, a building that was developed and spearheaded by Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon to help unite the city of Hazleton. Prior to the event there was a buzz about The Cubs trying to stay alive in the National League Championship Series. But at 7Pm the business of politics started as WYLN TV 35’s Tiffany Cloud, Gary Perna and I began to hear what the candidates had to present to voters.
The three candidates, Democrat Jack Mundie, Independent Scott Cahalane, and GOP member Jeff Cusat exchanged views. A few observations on the candidates and what they had to say.
MUNDIE: The most experienced of the three Mundie is currently in his fourth term on Council. At the debate Mundie touted his role as a member of council in regards to a services agreement between the city and Hazleton City Authority that made about $4 millions so far and according to him and will gain another $8 million when it concludes.
Mundie suggested selling authority-owned land that could raise money for hiring police and repairing roads. At one point Mundie said his relationship with the current Police Chief is good after a disagreement and an e mail exchange between the two. Mundie touted his experience in his final remarks and seemed to have some very vociferous supporters in the crowd.
CAHALANE: The ex Marine and Independent came off very well in his appearance. He cited his role as an outsider who could offer another set of eyes in city government. One of the things he told the audience he wanted to avoid was the back and forth insults that didn’t seem to be productive between the Mayor and Council. The Independent was the only candidate who was using social media and said he hoped voters would turn out for him in this effort. The Independent also added that he was running because he felt he felt crime was out of control and that there was a dangerous eroding of the tax base. He was the only candidate to address the issue of performance reviews and stated he’d ask city employees what type of job they can do for the city. In closing statements, Cahalane had the best line when, sitting between two incumbent and experienced Council members he said, “The Titantic was built by experienced people, Noah’s Ark was built by amateurs. Which one worked out the best?”
CUSAT: Cusat trumpeted the same themes from his primary race against Mayor Joe Yanuzzi. The Council member who ran for Mayor in 2011 said he didn’t agree with how the city treats its citizens, and takes advantage of businesses. He also said that the recreational facilities in the city seemed to deteriorate. and allows its playgrounds to deteriorate. Cusat referred to 30 items he as a Republican has proposed before Council only to see them not voted upon. Cusat, a multi business owner said he would be a full time Mayor and have other people tend to his affairs.
All three candidates were cordial, and each presented a calm and reasoned rationale for their candidacies. On interesting side note that was brought out was names of both former Mayors John Ford and John Quigley. Mundie cited Quigley’s leadership and newcomer Cahalane and Cusat brought up the late Mayor Ford as a person who looked for the city.
All three said they would attend Council meetings which has been a bone of contention between the current council and outgoing Mayor Joe Yanuzzi.

WILKES BARRE CANDIDATES DUKE IT OUT
Wilkes Barre Mayoral candidates Frank Sorick and Tony George. (Photo: Times Leader).
During the summer GOP challenger Frank Sorick took to defending Democratic nominee Tony George for his issues with his campaign finance reports. But the gloves were off on Wednesday night at the Burke center when both men stated their opinion on the issues.
Both agreed crime was the biggest concern. Tony George said that before any economic development could begin, crime had to be tamped down.
Sorick brought up a letter that George had written about former Judge Mark Ciavarella saying that a Law and Order candidate should not have complemented a convicted official. George said that the letter referred to Ciaverella’s role as a Judge who promised he’d be tough on juvenile crime.
On crime both men agreed that more officers were needed as well as a neighborhood presence in the city.
About 200 people attended. Here is a video of the big event. 

One interesting side light of the debate was that there was a consensus that both candidates did well but did not necessarily inspire. As a matter of fact there was even talk of the current Mayor Tom Leighton mounting a Write In campaign to return for a fourth term. Leighton was noncommittal but according to the Times Leader’s Bill O’Boyle seemed and these are my words, intrigued.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3051, Octoberr 19th, 2015

ELECTION DAY IN CANADA

HARPER OUT-TRUDEAU IN
Justin Trudeau. (Photo: PrinceArthurHerald.com)
The election in Canada had a few issues that certainly had an impact on the final outcome. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, one of the West’s longest tenured leaders was in a fight for his political life.
He lost tonight. Big. It was the longest campaign in Canadian political history. 11 weeks.
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau won an overwhelming victory along with his party. Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a school teacher a scant five years ago. But in a very short time, he will be Canada’s new Prime Minister.
The totals are significant because at the start of this campaign Trudeau was an underdog. Even two weeks ago there was talk that Canada would have a Minority government because there was fear of a three way split. But Trudeau’s Liberal Party garnered 170 seats to incumbent Stephen Harper’s 130. The New Democratic Party which made significant gains in 2012 only wound up with about 30 seats.
The reasons for Harper’s loss can be linked to voter fatigue with his party as well as a downgrade in the economy largely driven by a collapse in oil prices.
The Conservative Harper’s campaign was faced with many hot button obstacles ripe for liberal exploitation, including a scandal over lawmakers’ expense accounts and controversies over his government’s recent decision not to take in more Syrian refugees. Plus there was a move for a ban on the right of women to wear the face-covering niqab while taking citizenship oaths.
The campaign was marked with four spirited debates as well as an ad featuring Justin Trudeau walking backwards on an escalator to illustrate the fact that Canada was going backwards.
Nanos Research an Ottawa pollster conducted a survey last week, and a resounding 71% said it was time for a change in government.
The Liberal victory is all the more stunning since they came into this election with only 31 seats after having a very disastrous showing in 2011.
The Trudeau victory, much like his father’s initial election in 1968 might signal a second wave of Trudeau mania in the provinces. Plus Trudeau’s victory might prove to be a lesson to Democrats running in the states. Trudeau said that there would be deficit to fix things like the infrastructure of the country as well as take care of those on pensions. Our neighbors to the North have spoken and very loudly for a change to the left.The question is are they just catching up to the U.S. in picking a liberal government or are they paving the way for more change here concerning fixing things at home and taking care of those who still struggle.

The LuLac Edition #3050, October 19th, 2015

ONE THING KANE IS RIGHT ABOUT
Attorney General Kathleen Kane. (Photo: NY Timescom)
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has had her detractors. Heck she might even be gone by the end of the year. But one thing that she is totally correct about is the content of those e mails she uncovered when her office was doing its due diligence. She is correct when she says that the e mails passed around were racist, sexist and wrong.
Well how about adding unprofessional. Look everyone has seen some questionable e mails since Al Gore invented the E Mail machine. Some people send them and you can deal with it in two ways on your home computer, delete it or respond to it. You can forward it I guess but that takes more work than I want to do.
Here’s where Kane is on target. These e mails were done on government time and government devices. How arrogant and idiotic do you have to be to use your work computer to pass these things on? I mean you’d think these guys in Harrisburg were like a Policeman in Exeter who trolled for sex on the internet! Someone sent me an e mail about that but I didn’t get the joke. Oh wait, it wasn’t a joke!!!
Anyway I digress.
When I was a kid growing up I was told by my parents and my uncle who was employed by the County that Judges were not only the big guys but the good guys. They held themselves at a higher level. So to think that these learned Judges were passing around shit like this reminds me of grade school little boys passing around a Pent House.
Kathleen Kane may very well have her own self inflicted issues. But she was right about two things. The e mails were morally wrong and bordered on unprofessional conduct. She was too polite to say it in her Press Conference but I think if you got her in private she’d call the e mailers sleazebags, Justices or not.
I’ll add grossly overpaid and totally under-worked if they have the time for this crap.

STANDING WITH ISRAEL

Since the start of October, Israeli citizens have been attacked by a series of stabbing by Palestinians. The first stabbing was of a couple who were killed in front of their children. Subsequent attacks have taken place since then but have been thwarted in two ways. First by the Israeli Intelligence services and second by putting a bullet into the brain of the knife wielding terrorists.
Friday a group of Palestinians set fire to the compound containing Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.
The Palestinian Authority security forces dispersed the hundred-strong crowd and managed to douse the fire at the tomb, believed to contain the remains of the biblical patriarch Joseph. Israel Defense Forces troops arrived at the scene to also restore order. Hamas is said to be planning a major attack on Israel. There are reports that Palestinian school children are learning chants that say “Death To Israel”.
I’m sure there will be blow back from the anti Israelli crowd because the people doing the stabbing are teenagers. You can bet that there will be some that Israel is killing teenagers and leave it at that. Attack Israel for defending itself for more times that I can count.
It might be prudent to reflect upon the words of Golda Meir who once said of Israel’s Mideast enemies, “We can forgive them for killing our children our children….. but we can NEVER forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”
Knife wielding teenage terrorists most especially.
That is why this flawed Roman Catholic American will always stand with Israel.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3049, October 17th, 2015

GRIFFITH AND LAWTON
Back in happier days, here's Luzerne County Controller Walter L. Griffith Jr., Attorney Joseph P. Giovannini Jr. and Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton at a meeting. The photo was taken by one of the LuLac Women We Love recipients Kristen Mullen of The Citizens' Voice. 
The Times Leader reports that former Controller Walter Griffith sent e mails to an Arizona County where current County Manager Bob Lawton is in line for a job. Griffith sent some disparaging comments about Lawton and the reaction has been fast and furious.
There are those who say Griffith should not interfere with anyone’s prospects for employment. County Council Chair Linda McCloskey Houck was especially critical calling Griffith’s actions “an unwarranted personal attack that completely ignores the fact that a lot has gotten done in this county under Mr. Lawton’s management.”
Others I’ve spoken to are now scared to death that Lawton now has a path to stay even though the Council is short one vote of having the goods to fire him.
Griffith defenders say he is only speaking his mind like he always did and making the good people of Arizona aware of what they might be getting. With all due respect, I don’t think they need Walter’s help. There are many ways to do a search on one’s qualifications as well as what that person stepped into. If I’m a guy in Arizona checking Bob Lawton out, I’m seeing three Judges in jail, a former Commissioner jailed, a row officer jailed, an assistant Controller convicted, the railroading of the first temporary Manager not only out of that job but the entire county completely as well as the colorful cast of characters populating the newly former County Council (including our Kathy calling from Hazleton) after the voters decided to chuck it all. They might question Lawton’s common sense for stepping into this mess but not his work ethic. Then if they did a search on Mr. Griffith they’ll see the reason why he is now a former County official.
Sometimes there are times when it is better not to act on something like this. Griffith did, the County looks stupid and Lawton looks like a guy that can take the heat. Don’t forget, heat political or otherwise is heat. But in Arizona it’s a dry heat. For all the hand-wringing, Griffith just might have put the Lawtons on the fast track to sunny, dry Arizona.


LUZERNE COUNTY COUNCIL CANDIDATES MEET UP AT FORUM

The candidates running for Luzerne County Council sat down the other night on the campus of Luzerne County Community College and presented themselves to the public. There are six open seats and nine candidates showed up.
Those in attendance were the six Republicans running, Ray Gustave, Marc Dixon, Mark Rabo, and Stephen J. Urban. The other two have compelling stories. Eugene Kelleher won a primary write in because the GOP could only pony up the aforementioned four candidates. Then Robert Schnee, a Democrat won the GOP nomination and has been campaigning non stop. There are Democrats in the county whose noses are out of joint because Schnee has the backing of many top Democrats in this GOP race. The Dems feel that it will leave out one of their own who won as a donkey in the primary.
The Democrats who came to the event were former Council Chair Tim McGinley, former County Commissioner Stephen A. Urban and Jane Walsh Waitkus. Those not attending were Pittston Area politico Tony Rostock, John Gadomski and former County Commissioner and current Council Chair Vice Chair Edd Brominski. Brominski told me he wasn’t feeling well having just recovered from a surgery.
The candidates dished out the predictable things you’d expect them to say in a race like this. Quality of life (is anyone against that??) firing Lawton, blaming Lawton for the county problems and I guess for that matter the sun coming up late, lowering taxes, getting out of debt, working smarter, new revenues and a little bit of a personal self promotion as to why they can do the best job.
The Citizen’s Voice reported that a dozen people showed up for this forum. So anything that all nine of them said that night will neither help or hurt their campaigns. One of the reasons why LuLac stopped doing Forums of our own is that if it is a local election, no one comes. Maybe it’s the fact that this wasn’t really promoted well, was in The ‘Koke which for some residents is like a trip to Pittsburgh to hear them talk and the fact that the County Council has become an opaque instrument of County government. It just doesn’t have the personality of Crossin and Wideman feuding, Trini and Phillips trading barbs, Skrep and Vonderheid making deals with Rose Tucker wagging her finger at them from the sidelines. When Vondie left, Skrep had Rose right in his face. That was entertainment, this is process.
Plus the County Council race has become a series of smaller races. Each candidate most likely will start out with 500 to 1,000 solid votes especially for them, but then region (see Kathy Dobash’s win in 2013) name recognition (see Bromo and the Urbasns this year) and who is willing to work the hardest (see Tim McGinley every time he has ran) to tell their story. In a way it has become less political and given the GOP a chance for real wins in the County. But that has to drive old line Democrats nuts.
Kudos to the League of Women Voters for putting this event on. Service Electric will air the event at 8 p.m. Monday.


LUZERNE COUNTY GOP SUPPORTS D.A. SALAVANTIS
GOP Party Chair Bill Urbanski. (Photo: Times Leader).
Our friend Bill Urbanski sent us this missive the other day in full support of DA Stefanie Salavantis. Here what he wrote:
The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Luzerne County voted unanimously at their recent meeting to endorse and support the reelection of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.
"There is only one candidate on the ballot for District Attorney with proven, hands-on experience in fighting crime in our county, and that is Stefanie Salavantis,” Luzerne County GOP Chairman Bill Urbanski said.
“She has effectively and efficiently managed the District Attorney’s Office and has earned the sincere respect of law-enforcement, and the deep appreciation of the residents of all of Luzerne County,” Urbanski continued.
“Since taking over as District Attorney in 2012, the conviction rate by her office in criminal homicide prosecutions is a perfect 100%. She has been innovative in restructuring the office to provide a community-based approach to law enforcement, and in a time of deep financial distress for our county, Salavantis’ prudent management has saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“With the formidable challenges we face every day in this county, we need the outstanding professionalism and the resolute commitment District Attorney Salavantis has brought to her office,” Urbanski concluded.
This call to arms is very important in this campaign. Urbanski needs to get every Republican out solidly for Salavantis. There is still a deficit in registration and there are Democrats who want that DA’s seat back badly. Let’s never forget two things, the GOP didn’t even have a candidate in the 2011 race during the primary. Stefanie Salavantis got enough write ins to get on the November ballot and then won narrowly against Jackie Musto Carroll. Even though most political observers feel Salavantis will win given her record, the tale of the tape comes on election day. I have friends in the County GOP but one of their failings as a party is that sometimes they think an occasional win is progress. Progress is winning all the time and Urbanski’s statement makes it clear that the party needs and wants a united front with a proven candidate and a decent record.
I understand the Democrats argument that there needs to be more focus on crime prevention. But that’s the job of the police, the politicians and the social scientists. A good start on that  is thinking about what Representative Aaron Kaufer said to the Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce the other day.



KAUFER’S BILL
State Representative Aaron Kaufer. (Photo: LuLac archives).
The Freshman Legislator talked about this area being a welfare haven and the way that there are some recipients getting money from Pennsylvania and other states at the same time. His House Bill 1322 will end the loophole currently in the law that allows recipients to go longer than 5 years on the dole. One of the things that can get you an extension is that if you are able to work but can’t find a job, you can still get benefits. Granted, we do have some pretty crappy pay scales here BUT if people don’t accept these jobs, then this region being a poorer area will become a self fulfilling prophesy.
Personally, I’m not against welfare. In my life I’ve known three people who were on it. All three used it to get educations and are now working in Pennsylvania and Florida. They used welfare for what it was intended.
I think at its core, used in the right way it is a life changer and a Godsend.
That said, let me leave you with an anecdotal story. A week before my eye surgery I had an issue with my online credit union account. I discovered it on a Sunday night and decided I wanted to get it taken care of in person before I had the procedure. It was the first Monday of the month and pulling into the parking lot I knew was early. So I started working on my phone. At 8:56AM I was startled to see about 9 cars converged on the lot. What looked like to me (and I write this with a little hesitation because no one even suspects I have Myastehina Gravis when they see me) were about 12 able bodied men between the ages of 30 and 45. I got out of my car and stood in line outside the locked door behind a woman who got there first. Before they let us in, she nodded to the group in the parking lot who were chatting as if it was an old time reunion and said to one in particular, “It’s pay day and party night”. I wanted to ask her what she meant but by that time we were let in and we proceeded to the tellers waiting for the Monday morning onslaught.
If you asked her about Kaufer’s bill, she just might tell him the pay days and the parties have to stop.