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Sunday, September 10, 2006
11th Congressional District roundup part 2
Paul Kanjorski's Republican opponent Dr. Joe Leonardi has been the Energizer bunny lately. He has few resources but a lot of enthusiasm and seems to be on a quest to meet every voter in the district. Even some of the local press notices:
GOP congressional challenger talks about Social Security, coal
He is hopeful that the rich farmland of northeast Pennsylvania and deep beds of anthracite coal could create new energy options for the nation and foster economic redevelopment in the region. Leonardi said corn for ethanol fuel production could be grown in the northeast, and that coal could be converted, through a new scientific process, into gas without having to cut up the earth as the strip mines of the past did....
Leonardi wants Social Security to be preserved for future generations. He said it should be removed from the general fund and placed in a ''lock box.'' He said the wealthiest citizens of the country are not paying their fair share of the Social Security tax because of a government cap.''This is a crisis,'' Leonardi said. The government does not apply the Social Security tax to more than $90,000 a year of a person's earned income. Leonardi said the tax could be reduced for all taxpayers if the wealthy would pay based on their entire income.
''A lot of these politicians come up with these grandiose ideas and don't tell you how they're going to pay for it,'' Leonardi said.
The latest is that Paul Kanjorski won't debate him:
On today's Sue Henry Show, carried on the WILK network, Dr. Joe Leonardi expressed his concern that the voters are being denied a debate between the two candidates. Dr. Leonardi explained that about two weeks ago, he received an invitation from the Lackawanna League of Women Voters to debate the incumbent congressman. Dr. Leonardi told Sue Henry that he immediately cleared his schedule and made time to participate. He went on to explain that on Tuesday he received a call from the League of Woman Voters informing him that, the Congressman had declined the invitation to participate. In a discussion with Sue Henry, Dr. Leonardi said he would welcome a debate at the WILK studios. Dr. Leonardi stated that he would make himself available anytime if WILK could set up the debate.
What do you have to lose Congressman? Debate the man and defend your record.
Joe has a blog that tells you where to find him and Kanjo doesn't publish his schedule. Joe has many beefs with the incumbent but the inflatable dam idea just strikes him as stupid.
Dam plan for Susquehanna River would create hazard
I recently heard an area talk show host suggest two ways to revitalize Wilkes-Barre. The first, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is to capitalize on Wilkes and King’s and become a full-fledged college town. The second, with which I vehemently disagree, is to dam the Susquehanna to create a small lake.
I’m not sure where the idea of damming the Susquehanna originated, but it is an idea that must cease to exist. The following are but a few of my many reasons for wanting to terminate this dam project.
1. Basic science. Rivers cleanse themselves through perpetual motion. I didn’t pick this tidbit up in professional school or college. I learned this in Miss Pupa’s 5th grade science class. So why in the name of science would anyone halt the essential, healing motion of a polluted river?
2. The Butler Mine Tunnel. From the EPA Web site – “In 1979, an oily discharge coming from the tunnel created an oil slick on the river.” “The oil contamination was then traced to the illegal dumping of hazardous chemicals into a four-inch borehole located 3 1/2 miles from the outlet of the tunnel. The borehole was found to drain into the Butler Mine system.”
Interestingly, there was another discharge in 1985, approximately one year after the discharge monitors were deemed no longer necessary and removed.
Does illegal dumping continue today? Possibly. Commercials still air from time to time asking people not to dump into bore holes. Obviously there is no predicting when or if there will be another discharge, but if there is, how fast will the contaminants settle in a motionless river? From the same site, “Potential human risks exist if individuals ingest or come into contact with contaminated surface water and groundwater.” Do you really want your children exposed to a “potential human risk” recreating in this contaminated lake?
3. Combined Sewer Outflows. According to the American Rivers Web site there are “16 sewage outflows that pour untreated human waste into the very reach of the river where the current would pool behind the dam.”
4. Potential flooding. I testified at the hearing at King’s College. We were assured that in the event of potential flooding the dam could be deflated in 20 minutes. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad I don’t live downstream. Can you imagine a 450 acre, 4 1/2 mile long lake rushing over your community? For the sake of argument, what happens if the river crest is underestimated? What will happen to upstream communities? We reside in a flood zone. These questions are real. The wrong answer could make us forget Agnes ever happened.
5. Damming the river is not necessary. I am astonished to be told, that unless we dam the river we cannot utilize it. Well I’m sorry but that is just plain, old hogwash. A free-flowing river can be just as vital a community centerpiece as any lake.
6. A tourist mecca? We need to honestly examine what we are being sold. With our proximity to the Poconos, the shore, Atlantic City, the Finger Lakes, New York and Philadelphia — are we to believe that a polluted, man-made, mini-lake is going to become the tourist destination of the northeast?
7. Political will. I’ve heard that this may create the political will to clean the river. Well, that is flat out the sorriest statement I have ever heard about past and current leaders. The free-flowing Susquehanna River is our heritage and plain and simple it must be saved.
If you want to create the political will to clean this river — elect me to Congress.
Joseph Leonardi Candidate PA-11 U.S. House of Representatives