The LuLac Edition #3159, March 3rd, 2016
Jim McNulty was an American original. Like many in LuLac land I came to know him through the media as a larger than life figure when he was Deputy Mayor under Gene Peters in the early 70s. As the son of a railroader, I was delighted when he used a train to campaign through Lackawanna County when he attempted his first run for County Commissioner in 1975. Interning at WARM in 1976 I attended Jim’s farewell news conference at Scranton City Hall when he went to work for the Frank Elliot Senate campaign. He was back within a year running for Mayor of Scranton in an incredible write in campaign against Gene Hickey and Reverend Vernon Searfoss. When he was elected Mayor in 1981, he lost no time in implementing the foundation of what would be a new Scranton.
Before McNulty became Mayor Lackawanna Avenue was the forgotten step child of the city of Scranton. Sure there were institutions like Pete Bordi’s but there were also a plethora of strip clubs and joints that were not stellar attractions to the city.
When McNulty came to office, things moved at a very fast pace. There was the Steamtown acquisition from Bellow Falls, Vermont. Scoffed at first, Steamtown has become a tourist Mecca that ironically is respected more by visitors than by its residents. But hey the statue of Liberty has the same issue with New Yorkers. Then there was the gem called The Lackawanna Station. This stands as a monument to McNulty’s vision for the future of the city.
Scranton under his short administration became a nationally known entity. Bringing Boxing Champion Larry Holmes to the city for a World Championship bout didn’t hurt either. McNulty’s administration was a blur of non stop action. Then there was that ill fated Tropical Storm in 1985 right in the midst of his re-election campaign. McNulty helped clean up the flood ravaged streets of sections of the city, lugging garbage bags with DPW workers. There was a perception however that he ignored the neighborhoods in favor of downtown development (a charge every Mayor seems to get) and he lost that election by 121 votes.
That defeat might have been a blow to his ego and his very being. But being McNulty, he got up off the canvas and carved out a niche as a political adviser, TV host, and radio talk show personality on WARM.
This is where I came in. I had never formally met McNulty until after he was Mayor. The first time we had lunch (and this was long before Lulac) I brought a yellow legal pad with tons of questions. He was amused as well as flattered. McNulty cautioned me that he could go on and that after each question I had, if I was satisfied with the answer, and he was still speaking, to give him the cut sign. That lasted for two questions because he always reverted back to one of the original points saying, “Getting back to the first thing you asked”. Through the years McNulty attended blogfests and we had our 4 hour lunches at La Troteria every 8 months or so. When the Mayor and I spoke on the phone, I made sure I had my provisions handy because the calls always lasted at least two hours. His mind was a treasure trove of political nuances, strategies and trivia.
McNulty as a political consultant brought to office many current elected officials. But in the 70s his work was groundbreaking and enormously effective. From using Mama’s Cass’ “New World Coming” for Luger and Pettinato’s first run for Commissioner in 1971, splattering mud on a photo of Gene Peters when he was up for re-election as Mayor of Scranton to highlight a smear campaign conducted by Peters’ opponent or using “Getting To Know You” from “The King and I” to elect his wife Evie as Recorder of Deeds, McNulty’s advertising was innovative and targeted. He brought to the table ad strategies that are now commonplace. Ever see a 15 second commercial for a candidate, then three longer commercial in a row, then the same 15 second commercial that started the break? That was called “bookending”. McNulty used it here first.
Florida Radio ad guru Bob Harper remembers McNulty fondly saying after learning of his death,” I'll miss knowing he's not there
for sure but warmly remember the
wild times we had and the things
I learned from him in Politics.”
He hosted a talk show on WARM Radio (which we will highlight on our 590 FOREVER WARM BLOG) as well as a TV show on WYOU TV. At the end of every show McNulty sent a shout out to a friend who was having an anniversary or some person who had a family member ill. Some listeners and viewers would say that no one really cared about the people he was singling out. That was one of my questions when we got together. I asked him what he thought about the criticism and he just smiled and said, “People on a very basic level don’t want much. They tend to live their lives knowing they are on their own pretty much. But once in a while they like to be validated. Told they are important, noticed. If you do that, they become your friends for life”.
Through the years Jim McNulty spent his public and private life validating people. That’s the reason why he was described by many yesterday as “beloved”. Politicians never, ever are called “beloved”. You’ll hear words bandied about like “respected” and “colorful” but never “beloved”. But that’s what happened to Jim McNulty Wednesday when he died at the age of 71. His energy, vision as well as his very being was “validated” by his city, his friends and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.
McNulty was fond of saying, “I don’t believe in miracles, I count on them”. He’d throw one of those wood fired rolls from La Trot at me for writing this, but Jim McNulty was our miracle………and we could always count on him. Rest in peace my friend.
From the 1971 Luger and Pettinato campaign.
From the Corcoran for Controller race, 1975.
From the 1981 Mayor’s race.
From Evie’s first campaign.
Can Hillary Clinton be stopped? Only legal action will stop this steamroller.
But what about Trump? Well, while Clinton has over 1,000 of the 2300 or so she needs, Trump needs about 1200. Here’s where they stand today on the GOP side:
March 15th will be the day to watch. If Rubio loses Florida and Kasich loses Ohio, it may very well be over.
“In the next five years, half of all federal GSA leases, or 100 million square feet of space, will expire,” Barletta said. “Since last congress, we have worked to reduce the federal footprint through consolidating space and improving space utilization. And through those efforts, we have saved more than $2.9 billion dollars. With the large number of leases expiring in the near future, we have a good opportunity to save even more.”
To put the numbers into better perspective, 100 million square feet of office space equates to more than 46 Empire State Buildings worth of office leases that are about to expire. With this in mind, the legislation reforms the GSA, enabling the agency to better facilitate consolidations, reduce space, and negotiate the best possible office space lease deals to save billions of dollars. The bill also strengthens authorities of the Federal Protective Service in order to improve security at Federal buildings.
“To take advantage of this opportunity, our bill establishes a temporary leasing pilot program,” Barletta said. “This will allow GSA to streamline the leasing process to work through these expiring leases more quickly and lock in good deals for the long-term. In addition to these reforms, I am pleased we were able to include provisions that will improve building security by clarifying requirements related to the training and accountability of the Federal Protective Service.”
This week's guest is Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano. You'll hear the program Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on NEPA's Sports Radio-The Game 1400/1440 am and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River.
Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.
Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”
Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.
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