Friday, November 06, 2009

The LuLac Edition #997, Nov. 6th, 2009



The dust is settling on Campaign 2009 and there are a few questions people are asking given the results. Here are a few:
JUDCIAL APPOINTMENTS: One of the biggest items of discussion when I was on WYLN TV the other night was future appointments by the Governor to the Court of Common Pleas. Host Dan Pachance predicted that GOP nominee Richard Hughes would get an appointment. I agree with him in the respect that Hughes would make a great Judge but a few Democrats might be in line for it too. First and foremost would be current Judge Joseph Musto who was defeated in the primary. The Harrisburg powers were annoyed with Musto when he took the last appointment and said he would not run for the seat. In a turn on words ... he did not seek that seat but did run for another opening. There are those that say he will not get another appointment but there is another side to this coin. With 3 openings, the deal will include a Republican in the mix and that would be Hughes (if there are no strings). So with brother Ray and good friend and power broker Bob Mellow putting things together, the Joe Musto promise will be overlooked. The only negative will be if the Guv’s office insist that Hughes not run and given the success of his campaign effort and his relative youth, that is not going to happen. With his new found name recognition, he will be a major almost unbeatable contender in two years. He had a large Democrat following among Democrats but could not overcome the Amesbury popularity and the power house campaign of Tina Gartley.
SUPERIOR COURT: Judge Judy Olson, Sallie Mundy and Judge Paula Ott all prevailed for three seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The last seat has 4 candidates bunched up trying to obtain that last seat. It is so close that the outcome on Tuesday could trigger an automatic recount. Look at these figures: Judge Ann Lazarus leading Judge Robert Colville for the fourth seat, 714,531 to 713,019. Temp Smith has 710,111, and Kevin McCarthy has 702,212. Lazarus, Colville and McCarthy are Democrats, Smith is a Republican.
NEXT MAGISTRATE: With the election of Bill Amesbury as Judge, political wags are wondering who will be the next Magistrate in that section of Wilkes Barre. The Governor makes the appointment and it will be a Democrat. When the late Michael Collins died, Kathy O’Donnell wife of Neil O’Donnell was appointed by Governor Ridge. It was Bill Amesbury who mounted a serious primary challenge and lost on the Democratic side but won on the GOP ticket in the primary. He later won in the general election. Possible candidates mentioned for the post are Bill Vinsko Junior, Lou Elmy and Beth Boris the daughter of the late long time City Councilman Al Boris. Attorney Charles McCormick who was joined at the hip beside Amesbury might be a contender but you have to think Amesbury might want him under the dome in the Judiciary in some capacity. The 6th District Democrats of Wilkes Barre will have a major say in this. You can bet there’ll be more than a few casual conversations about this on the dike near Barney Farms or on the steps of St. Nick’s after Mass on Sunday.
SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL: Mayor Doherty won a third term over Gary DeBilio on Tuesday. The margin was 3,000 votes, pretty impressive given the fact that DeBilio ran a write in effort. Doherty’s cross if you will is going to be the election of the unified team of Janet Evans, Pat Rogan and Frank Joyce. All three have been Doherty critics. Complicating matters will be the resignation of Bill Courtright who won a term as Tax Collector. There is great pressure to put the thrice defeated DeBilio on Council. Many will be watching to see what Doherty will do in terms of dealing with Council. My feeling is the Mayor will either do the bare minimum or totally cede control to Council while he tries for the Governor’s seat. It would be politically smart to get along with them and not have that block of the Democratic party hurt him in his bid for the state’s top job.
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL: With Tom Gabos gone from Council in a brusing campaign, Mayor Barletta will have a super majority to work with. Political observers say this might be a way for the Mayor to cap off this term in office with the support of retained council member Democrat Jack Mundie and GOPers Karen Cabell, Jim Perry.
LUZERNE COUNTY GOP: After facing a total wipeout in the 2007 elections, the GOP did a very respectable job in increasing awareness, registration and having 2 candidates win the Prothonotary and Controller’s post. (Although the party did not endorse the eventual winners, Medico Olinginski and Griffith in the spring primary.). The party held events that energized the base and did more volunteer canvassing than ever before. What the county GOP needs to do now is have a major registration drive. They should mandate that every member of the Executive Committee bring in a quota of new registrations. The party also needs to find candidates for the State Representative races and try not to encourage primary races that only deplete its resources. Most of the Republicans who won office in Luzerne County, Frank Trinicewski, Jim Phillips, the late Blythe Evans, Red Jones and the aforementioned Medico Olinginski and Griffith were not endorsed by the party. Also the GOP should be cautious if a Republican wins the Governorship in 2010. In the past the election of Richard Thornbough and Tom Ridge was taken as a sign that the party is strong and that aura would carry over into next year’s county elections. It did not. The focus must stay local if they are to continue to compete with the Democrats.
EDITOR'S NOTE/CORRECTION: Carolee Medico Olinginski was in fact endorsed by the county GOP for Prothonotary in the Spring primary.


Election 2009 is over but the race for Governor is heating up big time. Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox is gearing up to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor. The last successful business mogul to run for Governor and succeed was Milton Shapp back in 1970. Here’s a message from Knox that appearing on to You Tube that was geared toward possible supporters:


Were the two Democratic losses for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia harbingers of things to come for President Obama? Not really, these races had local issues and while there was a demonstration that people were unhappy with the President, one must realize there were local dynamics in the contests. Virginia’s gubernatorial race was for an open seat — as it incredibly is every four years — and it was an uphill battle for the Democrats from the beginning. Democrat Creigh Deeds was a weak candidate, and I believe that former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe would have fared been more energetic and articulate. The party that controls the White House hasn’t won the off-year gubernatorial election in Virginia since 1977 — that’s nine straight elections. In New Jersey, Chris Christie demonstrated that under the right circumstances the GOP can be successful in a blue state. He pulled off the win by capitalizing on the state’s troubled economic environment. Keep in mind that New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country, and the ousted millionaire Jon Corzine did not lower them as he promised. The state’s unemployment rate is the second highest in the Northeast, and like almost every other state in the country, the Garden State had a major budget crisis. These races do not indicate the collapse of the Democrats even though many GOP pundits would want you to believe that. So as ESPN’s Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”


Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) voted for H.R. 3548, Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, which passed in the House by a vote of 403-12. The bill will extend emergency unemployment insurance for another 20 weeks for Pennsylvanians to help the many individuals and families that have been forced out of their jobs as a result of the troubling economic situation. Pennsylvanians who have been unable to find jobs can now receive a total of 79 weeks of unemployment insurance. The legislation will also extend the tax credit for homebuyers which was originally implemented through the recovery package. “As unemployment rates at all levels continue to increase, it is clear that laid-off workers need greater assistance until they can find jobs and get back on their feet,” said Congressman Kanjorski. “The many families that are personally feeling the effects of the slowing economy will receive benefits for a longer period to help them through these difficult times. By providing this assistance to families which have temporarily lost wages, we benefit the entire economy because those dollars will be immediately spent on needed goods and services.” Unemployment insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Regular unemployment insurance provides up to 26 weeks of benefits. Emergency unemployment insurance is a federally funded program created in 2008 to provide additional benefits of up to 34 weeks, and an additional 19 weeks of benefits for those living in states with high unemployment. Pennsylvanians qualify to receive the additional 19 weeks. The extension is fully paid for and aims to help boost the local economy, while helping those who are unemployed. The Congressional Budget Office has cited unemployment benefits as one of the most cost-effective forms of economic stimulus, and every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new demand, according to Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi. State unemployment offices should notify individuals who have almost exhausted their regular benefits to make them aware of their potential eligibility for emergency unemployment benefits. Once eligible individuals apply, they should receive extended benefits with very little or no gap in coverage. Additionally, the legislation will extend the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers through April 30, 2010. It also provides a $6,500 tax credit to new home purchasers who have lived in their current residences for five years or more. It also helps military families struggling to make mortgage payments by making those payments tax-exempt. “The homebuyer tax credit has first and foremost provided a valuable resource for many individuals and families to help them to buy a home for the first time, as long as they have the financial means to afford it. It has also helped stimulate our economy by encouraging responsible investments in a part of the market that was deeply affected by our country’s financial problems,” said Congressman Kanjorski. H.R. 3548 passed in the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 98-0. It will now go to the President for his signature.


45 years ago the '64 general election was held this week. President Lyndon Johnson and Vice Presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey won in a landslide over Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and Congressman William Miller. Goldwater carried 5 deep south states Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and his native Arizona. In Lackawanna County Johnson piled up a 53,000 vote margin. In Luzerne County LBJ had a margin of over 60,000 votes. In the U.S. Senate race, it appeared that Hugh Scott the incumbent won but by a slim margin. Buoyed by the Democratic landslide and her own tenacity Genevieve Blatt the Internal Affairs Secretary of the state was locked in a dead even battle with Scott until the early morning hours when Scott pulled away. Blatt refused to concede even though Scott’s margin climbed to 51,000 citing the fact that many absentee ballots were still outstanding. In the end Scott won a second Senate term Washington as a stalwart, attractive Republican moderate…….Statewide, Grace Sloan won her race for State Auditor General and Thomas Minehart won his race for Treasurer for the Democrats in virtual landslides……In the 11th Congressional district Dan Flood polled 100,000 votes over his opponent George Thomas. It was the first time since 1940 that a Congressional candidate polled over 100,000 votes. The last one to do it was Judge Harold Flannery who won that 1940 Congressional seat for the GOP….in Lackawanna County the race for the 10th Congressional district race was so close that the Democrats refused to concede. Congressman Joseph McDade working on his second term was in a close heated battle with Scranton Attorney James Haggerty. Lackawanna County Party Chairman Patrick Melody declared that the Democrats would not concede until there was an official count. Haggerty carried Lackawanna County by 13,000 votes but lost in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. With more than 10,000 absentee ballots outstanding the count stood at McDade with 87,992 and Haggerty with 83, 090 on election night. McDade ultimately went on to a second term in Congress followed by many others until 1998………In contests for state representative in Lackawanna County incumbents Cyril Moran Joseph Wargo and Michael Needham were re-elected. In a twist, GOP Representative William Edwards lost out to John Wansacz even though the district was thought to be gerrymandered for the Republicans……In Luzerne County, William Bachman representing the Hazeton area won another term. Shickshinny’s Bill Curwood and Pittston’s James Musto won another term (Musto’s 9th) while Stanley Meholchick , Fred Shupnik and Bernie O’Brien romped to new two year terms in Harrisburg……………..and 45 years ago this week the number one song in America and LuLac land was by Robert Goulet (of all people) with his song “My Love Forgive Me”. (And in this era of economic uncertainty, we add as a bonus Goulet’s version of “I'd Rather Be Rich”. )


At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert "Freaking" Goulet?? Man oh man your brain must be friewd cfrom all those coding classes and the elections.

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

I think a female Attorney to replace Amewsbury would be wonderful. Beth Boris would be a very good choice.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Knox seems pretty sensible which is why he has no shot.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scranton City Council is going to be an interesting place. You are correct, if vDoherty is smart and not arrogant he should just let council alone and run his ass off for Governor. I think he may have a great shot at the nomination, bet he gets the Clintons in the state but any Democrat is toast in the general.

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

Anybody who doesn't give Charlie McCormic a fighting chance just wasn't watching the General Elction. He wanted Amesbury more than he wanted life so ask yourself why? The next time you see a photo of Charlie, color it with a robe. He want's that seat so bad he has already begun to run. But, and it's a big but, never underestimate the O'Donnell appitite for taxpayer money. They are not out of the mix, not by any stretch of the imagination. And with the bad judge's accident verdict, funds will be readily available for the race. Interesting.

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doherty will do exactly as you said
which is nothing and run for Governor as long as that lasts. I believe Mayors should attend Council Meetings once every 3 or even six months to face comment and polite well thought out questions from Council. Heaven forbide they should ever come to terms and compromise on something and move it forward! This Mayor will have a tough time with Janet Evans as the Dragon Lady and her Boys. Not that these folks wont be an improvement on those they replace. Ah Hell, Might as well run for Governor, Mayor.

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Charlie McCormick wants that job, he'd be the very best. He ran a credible campaign for Judge in the 90s and was lost in the morass of 14 people running. But ikt depends on whether he wants a lower Judiciary post when he is obviously qualified for something bigger.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A job is a job! But speaking of Scranton's mayor attending council meetings and having some put and take with Council, I think we need to consider that people go to Scranton Council meetings every month and bitch and complain about what done and not done and what the mayor does and doesn't do so I just want to remind all you good folk that Scranton is HOME RULE AND THE PEOPLE HAVE NO CONTROL! Nuff said!

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The home rule committee is a waste of time and money. NOTHING will change. People forget, except the folks in Pittston. Anyone see how poorly, (edited) Wil Toole did in the town he worked and slaved for? We didn't forget the real Wil Toole? Yet.


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