Saturday, October 17, 2015

The LuLac Edition #3049, October 17th, 2015

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.


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.

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.

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.


At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will Walter learn? He only gets in trouble when he pokes his nose in other people's business. I could understand it if he was squeaky clean. He nearly went to jail. It's time to step back for a while, Walter.

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kaufer's bill is great and I think your stance on it is pretty good too.
Social programs are great but as you say there has to be some accountability. You are the type of Casey Democrat this area that makes sense.
You are not afraid to cross the lines and not afraid to go after those like big business and Wall Streeters too.
Loe your stuff.

At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter is a very mean horse's ass and I'm sorry to bring all American horses to such a low level. This guy is so high on himself that he ignores what people think of him and his attitude and he spends his time trying to destroy the lives of others..... he will never learn and he will never stop. Jerks never learn and Walter is king of the jerks.

At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter is getting to be scary... Lawton should consider filing charges of libel and harassment.
I know he is a public figure, but Gabby Giffords was one also, and this Walter guy really seems unhinged.
Who does something like what he did?
Certainly not an emotionally stable adult.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Walter is a very mean horse's ass and I'm sorry to bring all American horses to such a low level.


Jeez, I wish you'd stop holding back like that!

At 8:09 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Lawton should consider filing charges of libel and harassment.


I don't think that would fly.

I know he is a public figure, but Gabby Giffords was one also, and this Walter guy really seems unhinged.


I've known him for over 10 years and his passions run deep. How can people celebrate the stuff Trump and Carson say and not call them unhinged?

Who does something like what he did?
Certainly not an emotionally stable adult.


That's your opinion but the guy still has an element of support out there. And his beliefs.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wally's vendetta. When Lawton got here Wally had his head so far up Lawton's ass, you couldn't tell where his mustache began and the hair on Lawton's ass ended.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From pleading (edited) loitering up to illegal wiretapping, people never learn --- Walter is a hypocrite and a loose cannon. One day he will snap, and his supporters will be on tv saying, "We never saw it coming."

At 9:29 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

and his supporters will be on tv saying, "We never saw it coming."


Or given this area, he might get elected again. To something.


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