Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The LuLac Edition #996, Nov. 4th, 2009



If you had to categorize this election in a few words, I’d say “Split Decision." With a huge scandal surrounding Luzerne County, the Democratic party held its own winning two Judicial seats and two row offices. The GOP on the other hand made inroads by winning the Controller’s seat as well as the Prothonotary’s office.


William Amesbury: Bill Amesbury had a sigh of relief in his voice. The South Wilkes Barre Magistrate won a convincing victory to become a Judge. To be sure the Amesbury camp was nervous and took nothing for granted. But the bottom line was people respected, liked and felt comfortable with Bill Amesbury to don the Judicial robes.
Tina Gartley: Finishing second, Gartley ran a smart efficient campaign reminiscent of her spring primary effort. She left no stone unturned and impressed many with her message. She becomes the second woman and first mom to serve on the bench.
Richard Hughes: Hughes was counting on a great deal of bi partisan support. He had some cross over Democrats but not enough. Decent, likable and very well grounded, Hughes, if he wants to endure another campaign will be back. His 30,000 plus showing was more than respectable given the registration disadvantages of his party.
On Judicial retention Luzerne County voters kept Tom Burke but said goodbye to Peter Paul Olszewski Junior. Olszewski was the victim of some pretty unfair characterizations with no basis of fact and a non attributable photo that showed him at Judge Conahan’s condo in Florida.
I see Olszewski ‘s loss as a knee jerk reaction of the public for wanting to punish someone for the sins of Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella. Olszewski unfortunately got hit in the cross fire.
Maragaret Bisignani Moyle: Margaret Bisignani Moyle won a hard fought victory over Frank Castellano in a race for the Lackawanna county's newest judge Moyle worked very hard and presented her credentials in a wide ranging campaign that gives Lackawanna County its second female judge.
Frank Castellano: The Assistant DA ran an aggressive campaign but fell short. Many criticized a few of his campaign commercials which attacked Moyle’s lack of experience in Juvenile cases. Castellano said he would remain as an Assistant DA.
In the Luzerne County row offices, the hottest race was the three way Controller’s contest.
Walter Griffith: Walter Griffith has finally made it to the top of the mountain. After two tries for Wilkes Barre City Council and a bruising primary with 4 other candidates, Griffith won the Controller’s seat in a three way race. The self proclaimed tax advocate and watchdog will close his gas station down and be a Full Time Controller.
Robert Morgan: Morgan made a great run for office and did everything right. The problem was this was the year of the Democratic judicial scandals and the presence of an Independent on the ballot.
Wil Toole: Toole polled more than 8,000 and made a very impressive showing as an Independent. He did things on a shoe string but was very credible. However his lack of money and alternative party status gave his candidacy this epitaph: He had a great message, most likely was the most qualified but not enough people heard what he was saying.
If you look at the total you can make the argument that Toole’s presence cost Morgan the race. My friend Gort 42 was saying all along that Toole’s presence guaranteed a Griffith win. But let’s not take anything away from Griffith. In the primary Morgan polled 21,000 votes. Griffith and his opponents polled a total of only 18,000. So Walter and his party (but I’m not convinced the entire GOP was behind Griffith) made up some serious votes since May.
The Prothonotary’s contest was made lopsided by an event that occurred in the immediate family of the Democratic nominee Nancy McGinley Bellas. The office was held by Jill Moran who resigned earlier this year and had connections with the Powell Law Firm. The winner was Carolee Medico Olinginski but you have to wonder if her lead would have been cut down if there was another candidate running against her.
There have only been two Register of Wills in the last 48 years. That trend was continued when Dottie Stankovic won still another term.
Dottie Stankovic: Criticized for not being at work all the time, Dottie worked very hard in this campaign. (She was unopposed in 2005). Her margin of victory should be viewed with concern by the Democrats. But a win is a win and I’m sure she’ll be paying more attention to her swipe cards from now on.
Gina Nevenglosky: Nevenglosky came very close and has earned her stripes as a viable county wide candidate. She is enthusiastic and strategically got her message out. In my opinion she might have pulled this off but made people uncomfortable with her “Rally for Prayer” on the lawn of the Courthouse earlier in the campaign.
The race for Jury Commissioner became interesting in the late summer when Jerry Bonner was charged with a federal crime. He has plead not guilty. Bonner won going away, there were about 335 write ins.
The city of Hazleton had a race for city council.
Democrats Tom Gabos , Jack Mundie D and Jean Mope faced off against GOPers Karen Cabell, Jim Perry. Perry led all candidates with 1,585 votes, followed closely by Mundie, who had 1,578 votes. Cabell wound up third with 1,397 votes, with Zunski Mope earning 1,134 votes and Gabos in last with 1,104 votes.
In the city of Scranton the incumbent Mayor Chris Doherty who was re-elected to a third term on dual nominations in the Spring faced a write in challenge from longtime nemesis Gary DeBilio. Debilio issued his challenge when Doherty began an exploratory committee to run for Governor. Although the write ins aren’t counted in full yet, Doherty won running away.
The Scranton Council races featured:
Janet Evans, Pat Rogan and Frank Joyce:. The team that had a slogan “Voting for one won’t get it done” won over Republican challengers Doug Miller, Lee Morgan and a write in effort by Council member Judy Gatelli.
In Lackawanna County many row officers went unopposed. They were Sheriff John Szymanski, District Attorney Andy Jarbola, Recorder of Deeds Evie Rafalko McNulty and Register of Wills Linda Munley have no opposition and are virtually assured of winning. Everyone mentioned is a Democrat except Jarbola.
In the Lackawanna County Judicial level Judges Mike Barrasse and Terrence Nealon ran for new ten year terms and won easily.
Statewide Judicial races usually seesaw with various leads because of the size of the state. The hottest Judicial race is for a seat on the Supreme Court between Republican Jane Orie Melvin and Democrat Jack Panella. However, Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin, an Allegheny County Republican, overcame large deficits in campaign cash and voter registration yesterday to win a pivotal seat on the state Supreme Court. Four Republican candidates for four open Pennsylvania Superior Court seats and two Republican candidates for two open Commonwealth Court seats were also leading their respective races at midnight, although final results were not in yet.


At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Wil Toole:
My election was pretty much what I expected with no surprises. Approx. 10,000 straight party votes and that is something that just can't be overcome. No physical organization + No money = no advertising = a good ass kicking.
I am satisfied with the way things turned out because I had an agenda and I accomplished everything I set out to do ....... except actually win but that was never a reality, just a hope so there is no complaint on my part.
My Independent campaign was exactly that, independent. No organization and very little physical help but that's the road I chose. I do appreciate the people who helped me gather almost 1600 signatures to get on the ballot.
With all that has gone wrong in Luzerne County over the past 8 - 10 years and all of the problems that face us including national disgrace, 35% of the people thought it important enough to vote -- Sad at best but absolutely disgraceful. Voters or I should say non voters cause us all to suffer with the way things are. I just don't understand how 130,000 registered voters out of a total of 191,000 voters stayed home. The most important Row office in this election was the Controller's election, the auditor of the county, the watchdog of the taxpayers and 10,000 voters thought it less important to vote for Controller than the other Row Office elections. The Register of Wills garnered 10,000 more votes than the office of Controller. Apparently, people are more concerned with who will handle their death records than their tax dollars. Things won't change because of general population apathy so the tail will continue to wag the dog and taxpayers will continue to stand around looking puzzled.
I would venture to say that everyone was looking for change and in many ways we did get change. Now all that remains will be the future and what the change will actually bring.
It is a healthy hope that each and every successful candidate will attack their new responsibilities with a fervor that will make a difference.
Thanks to all for the good wishes and please celebrate along with me in the accomplishment of my personal agenda. If this is my last night on earth, I will leave truly happy ...... honestly. Again, thanks ........ Wil

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I see Olszewski ‘s loss as a knee jerk reaction of the public for wanting to punish someone for the sins of Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella."

Don't forget how bad Olszewski pounded on Dave Lupas when he became DA. Do people think that the Lupas family doesn't have any power anymore? Who knows what they did do, but you can be sure they didn't support the retention.

That photo didn't help, but don't forget that Pete made his share of enemies over the years, some really powerful ones.....

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

woo hoo break out the black mini robes and fishnet stockings the hot ladies are in the chambers.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enough politics! Go PHILLIES!!!

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Margie Bisignani Moyle campaign and the issue of juvenile experience,

a.) Margie Bisignani Moyle does have extensive juvenile experience


b.) Any specific focus just on juvenile issues was non-relevant as the position was not for juvenile court, and instead was court of common pleas, which is far broader than juvenile court, they handle criminal cases, civil suits, malpractice and the entire breadth of cases.

I think it was in part the attempts to spin credentials and the position which backfired on Castellano

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a posting on Gort that pointed out an obvious error in Toole's comment on vote totals that was credited to a typo. The count difference was actually
1,000, not 10,000.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter was arrogant in his acceptance. He is really to dim to understand that his win was the culmination of a perfect storm and had nothing to do with his own qualifications, or lack thereof.
-low voter turnout
-Wil Toole's independent run
Are the 3 conditions that allowed him to finally get elected to something. Instead of acknowledging his good fortune he proclaimed his own moral superiority.

Walter really needs to get on his knees and thank Wil Toole, not extol his own virtues.

I give Walter 2 years before a scandal befalls him. The most high and mighty, judgmental individuals fall the hardest and the fastest in politics, Walter, because of past indiscretions, will be no different.

Being controller requires more than just standing up and spouting off. We will see if Walter can actually pull it off. I stand by what I wrote above, but I hope he proves me wrong.

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know if you are listening to WILK, but some lady is really calling Corbett out for kissing people's asses when he has them on the phone and then bad mouthing them once they are off the phone. it's about time. Corbett = Hypocrite

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, saw you on TV yesterday and you really, really nailed it. Maybe your friends ay WYLN TV should consider giving you a weekly show instead of showing that home shopper at 530pm. How 'bout it guys?

At 6:53 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Being controller requires more than just standing up and spouting off. We will see if Walter can actually pull it off.
don't know if you are listening to WILK, but some lady is really calling Corbett out for kissing people's asses when he has them on the phone and then bad mouthing them once they are off the phone. it's about time.

At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard you on Sue Henry today and thought you were fabulous. Need to tell you that I agree 100% with you on the Register of Wills race. I met Gina, thoght she was great but was put off by that prayer rally. Religion is a private thing and I'm sure God has a lot on his mind and doesn't care what any public official has in their heart. There is a seperation of church and state and I was totally uncomfortable with that rally. Are we to imply that Dottie and the Democrats are godless? And that the local GOP has a pipeline to the almighty? I don't think so. And I'm glad someone had the guts to say it.

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a statement made today that Toole caused Morgan's defeat. In response, the point was made that Brian and Neil O'Donnell were Morgan's biggest financial contributors so how would the Amesbury people feel about that. Also Eddy Day's people were not happy with Morgan and finally, Morgan has served on campaign committees in he school district. The bottom line was that Morgan had some serious problems to overcome in Wilkes Barre and the greater WB area and not all of those votes went to Toole. Griffith lives in WB, had run for city council twice and his well known name offered an alternative to Morgan. The blame game need not be applied to this situation, sometimes people need to take responsibility for our own political life time actions.

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... guys really scrutinize this don't ya? 825PM, the ballgames on. relax, watch it. bet morgan, toole and walter are doing the same.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:25, Heard the same thing today. Every election there are those who want to point fingers everywhere but at themselves. Excellent explanation. Morgan was simply not the best candidate the Dems could have offered but he was the only choice in the Primary. Any other D would have had a chance if if Toole had the money his old friends kept away from him, he would have walked away with this thing. He was hands down the best candidate and to bad for Luzerne county that he is to old to consider another run.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, for all you bean counters out there who think that Morgan was a winner with Toole out of the race, here are some numbers right from the county's web site.

G rec 28160 votes

M rec 21916 votes

T rec 8197 votes of which 385 were straight Ind votes. so deduct the straight Ind votes because they were not going to G or M and T now has 7812 votes.

Griffith only needs 1569 of those votes to beat Morgan's total votes combining his total with Toole's 7812. Now anybody who thinks that Morgan did not have 1569 people in the entire county annoyed with him for some reason, especially his involvement in the Amesbury/O'Donnell race or the Eddy Day race or the two school board races he served as campaign treasurer ..... oh hell, give me a break. Morgan lost, it had nothing to do with Wil Toole being in the race and if anyone insists on blaming Toole then their head is so far up their ass then they have already been overcome by gas!

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those shorts are truly hideous.

At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

Great job on WYLN's election coverage, Dave. It's always a pleasure seeing you on TV! :)

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Job overall on the election.
Take a rest. Go to Barbados or Montego Bay for a week or two, but for Gods sake leave those shorts at home. Yikes!

Lady Lac

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a message from Gina Nevenglosky:
"We worked hard. We attained over 47% of the total votes. This is a significant message made by the voters of Luzerne County. I thank you for your confidence in me. Clearly this is a move forward to promote change for accountability and reform in our government. I am hopeful that everyone will continue the fight for our families within this community. The political tide in this race was too strong to overcome. The effort to include straight party voting on the election ballot displayed the intentions of the current majority leadership. Perhaps our fight to expose corruption scared the opposition. I will continue to work for a better government that follows procedures and a code of ethics. I am grateful for the new friends I have met in my travels around Luzerne County throughout this campaign."

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it kind of funny how anyone thinks anything will actually change. It doesn't matter. Go live your life before you die, stop worrying about this crap. Eat, drink and have sex with plenty of random strangers.

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, if the voters can elect Carrolee and Walter, you can wear those shorts. Whatever you do, don't discard them becasue by next summer, the taxpayers will need a lgith moment.

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok i can't take it any more, something must be said...DAVID i LOVE the shorts. where can i get them? And im serious to bloggers, gets some taste those shorts are the bomb.. You go David.

At 12:47 AM, Blogger David Yonki said...

DAVID i LOVE the shorts. where can i get them?

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:50, I'll drink to that!

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everytime Yonk gets dressed it's like a menage a toi. Him, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonk the Trend Settee - T thought worth keeping.


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