Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Kul 'am wa antum bikhair
Urte Berri on
Sun nien fai lok
Stastny Novy Rok
Onnellista uutta vuotta
Ein glückliches neues Jahr
Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos
Hauoli Makahiki hou
Boldog uj evet
Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu
Sehe Bokmanee Bateuseyo
Nyob Zoo Xyoo Tshiab
Godt Nytt År
Manigong Bagong Taon
Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
La Multi Ani si Un An Nou Fericit
Ia manuia le Tausaga Fou
Feliz año nuevo
Heri za Mwaka Mpya
Gott Nytt År
Sawatdee Pi Mai
Chuc mung nam moi
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We have a chance to fix this reign of incompetence.
Luzerne Home Rule
Luzerne Home Rule is proud to announce that it is now time to start circulating petitions to place Home Rule on the ballot in May. Click here to download yours today!
4,790 valid signatures are needed to get it on the May primary ballot that would elect another study commission that would draft a new home rule charter. If they use the 2003 Charter proposal with some tinkering it could be on the ballot in November.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Monty Python - Spam
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Skrep objects to Philly law firm
Skrepenak said he received no contact whatsoever about this hiring in advance. Commissioners should have followed county policy by declaring a state of emergency to avoid the public request-for-proposals search process, he said. He also questioned why no executive session was called to brief all three commissioners on the hiring plan.
He believes the failure to notify him violates the state County Code.
Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla's response was to suggest that he show up for work once in a while if he wants to be part of the decision making.
This pissing contest between the Commissioners and President Judge Mark Ciavarella is going to end up costing Luzerne County a pretty penny if the State Supreme Court doesn't take original jurisdiction. Zen left a comment on an earlier post advocating the throw away the key approach and Mark points out that our demand that every criminal be prosecuted to "full extent of the law" is expensive and maybe the Judge has a pretty good case.
So the Commissioners are being sued by top Judge in the county and the case will be heard by a bunch of other Judges. Who do you think will win?
Job cuts are scheduled in all offices of the Luzerne County Government except the Judiciary at this time.
County approves 27 job cuts to begin Jan. 1
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. on Monday sentenced 19-year-old Nora Rynkiewicz to nine to 18 months in county prison followed by three years of probation.
The shrinks offered the usual psychobabble explaining her behavior which may be valid because I have a hard time understanding how such a young girl could be so full of hate. I think the sentence is excessive for an act of vandalism. She should probably spend a short time in jail and make restitution and be on probation as ordered by the Judge. He could have have been creative by putting her in a community service requirement such as working at the Jewish Community Center as a condition of probation.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Between snow shoveling and puppy training I haven't had much time for blogging this weekend. Sometimes you have to say screw politics because what is going on in your life is more important. This little guy is learning faster than any dog I've ever had. He already knows his name, fetch, sit and is getting an idea of what NO means. I'll explain the name later.
Friday, December 19, 2008
CV: Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. escalated his fight against county commissioners, filing a lawsuit Wednesday to block judicial branch layoffs outlined in the 2009 county budget....Ciavarella named himself as a defendant for his role as a member of the Luzerne County Salary Board, and as the plaintiff, as president judge.
Clerk of Courts Bob Reilly is also threatening to sue over staff reductions.
For the longest time the county payroll has been looked at as some sort of jobs program for the relatives and friends of the well connected and now the gravy train has come to end of the line. Luzerne County has been so mismanaged that they can't even get a normal tax anticipation loan so the axe has to fall somewhere.
I have to give credit to Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Steve Urban for trying to clean up the mess that they have inherited although I think that they are partially responsible for it. The past budgets proposed by Greg Skrepnak, Todd Vonderheid, Tom Makowski, Tom Pizano, Rose Tucker, Frank Crossin, and an almost endless list of past commissioners, were works of fiction.
Apologies to McGruff for stealing his headline and the Yonk suggests some possible solutions to the impasse.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I have spent all of my Blogging Energy Units for today.
Microsoft issued a critical security warning Tuesday that a malicious exploit is making the rounds and attacking vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 7.
The risk is believed to be widespread, given that IE 7 is the latest version of Microsoft's browser and is bundled with XP service pack 3 and also Vista, said Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications for McAfee's Avert Labs.
The AZN Trojan, which has been making the rounds since the first week of December, has the potential of infecting users' system with a Trojan horse, or "downloaders" that can download other forms of malware onto a user's system.
Microsoft announced it will release a security patch Wednesday via its automatic update system to patch users computers.
The patch will be available after 1PM. You can still probably use IE7 as long as you don't do anything stupid like click on a link in a spam email. But I'm not taking the chance.
Mayor Lou Barletta is taking an axe to the City of Hazleton's budget trying to avoid a tax increase. He is about $900,000 short of balancing the city's $9 million budget and is proposing to close the gap by canceling a 3% pay raise for employees and requiring them to contribute toward their health care plan. He is also proposing going after people who have not paid the garbage fee and businesses that have not paid the mercantile tax.
With all these hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown around by the Feds to bail out banks, Wall Street investment firms and Auto companies a few dollars to help out our local governments is not an unreasonable request.
Note: I had a chat with Mayor Lou yesterday and he agreed to an interview in the first week of the new year. Send me your questions for his Honor in the comments or email. I'll put up a reminder before we meet. Please keep it clean people.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
PittstonPolitics.com has been keeping the scorecard of who might be running. Some of the names he has tossed out are:
Joe Terrana, Tom O’Connor, Jackie Carroll Musto, Lisa Gelb, Fred Pierantoni, CJ Bufalino, Mark Bufalino, Rose Randazzo, Eugene Sperazza, Joe Cosgrove, Ray Hassey and Mike Vough.
And these are only Pittston area attorneys! I'm sure there are Barristers from Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and the Back Mountain that are considering a run.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Incumbent Luzerne County Prothonotary Jill Moran should not seek reelection. I have an archive of her missteps and will repeat them if she decides to run again.
I've heard a few names that are willing to take on the challenge. We really need Home Rule.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Center will be hosting Chris Caruso, PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, on Wednesday, December 17th at 6:00 p.m. as part of our Economic Human Rights Speaker Series.
Mr. Caruso will be clearly outlining the roots and manifestations of the present housing market collapse and economic crisis, and we invite the public to attend this presentation and discussion.
Any local residents, organizations, or community leaders interested in participating are encouraged to join us on Dec. 17th or to contact us at www.nepaorganizingcenter.org.
President-elect Barack Obama's struggles with the evil tobacco weed is in the news again.
I know what Barry is going through because it's easy to quit smoking, I've done it about 6 times. For all the gimmicks and crutches out there that will make your wallet lighter the only way to do it is.....
In other news
Supreme Court Overturns Bush v. Gore
Friday, December 12, 2008
"I don't know anyone who's been bought at Pennsylvania Society, Rented maybe -- but not bought." - Montgomery County Republican Ken Davis
Again I haven't been invited to any of the swanky parties this weekend. It must have been an oversight because I was ready to cash in my aluminum cans at Bilecki's Junk Yard to finance the trip.
The big news is that Tweety won't be attending according to Politico: Chris Matthews no longer plans to attend a ritzy Saturday night dinner hosted by the Pennsylvania Society, as Politico reported earlier. Matthews informed the event organizer that he and his wife could no longer attend, according to the organizer's assistant.
There will be plenty of other office seekers making the rounds. The list of potential Governor's includes Tom Corbett, Pat Meehan, Don Cunningham, Tom Wolf, Tom Knox, Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner and Jim Gerlach who will all be pressing the flesh at various soirees. And Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey plan to attend. I've asked some of our local office holders if they plan to take part and will update when they get back to me.
The last few years Gene Stilp has sponsored a pot luck dinner at the capitol in Harrisburg at the same time but I'm not sure if he is doing it this year. There has been grumbling about the fact that this event has been held out of state forever and many people think it should be held in the Commonwealth but as Governor Rendell said "People say if you had it in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh no one would come." That would break my heart.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
TL: “Therefore, I am placing you on notice that as a supervisor of the fiscal affairs of the county, I will not pay any bills for any unauthorized and unwanted services that you force upon the county, for the reasons stated in this letter.”
Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla was the the previous Controller replacing Steve Flood who asked a lot of of uncomfortable questions about the PA Child Care lease and other things. There is no way to tell but I think the debit card scandal and the no bid contracts at the prison would have come to light earlier if Flood had a 2nd term.
Governor Rendell was supposed to appoint a new Controller with the consent of the State Senate but he punted. A couple of people applied for the job but they were ignored. Former Wyoming Valley West School District superintendent Augie Piazza wanted the post but I haven't heard if he is running next year. PittstonPolitics reports that former Pittston Area School Director Tony Rostock has been shaking the bushes and a potential rival let everybody know that he got a $30,000 no bid contract at LCCC. That potential rival is Wil Toole.
Wil Toole wanting to be a fiscal watchdog has to one of the funniest things I've ever heard. He charged thousands of hours of overtime to Pittston City and is now suing because he contends that the city should pay for his wife's health insurance indefinitely. He is good at lawsuits.
Piazza, Rostock and Toole are all Democrats.
I think we need a Controller from the other party. The Dems have been in charge for too long and have become arrogant and reckless although Petrilla and her new BFF Steve Urban is trying to right the ship.
The only Republican name that I have heard that is willing to take a stab at running for Controller is Bob Sypniewski. We have a draft Bob movement going on in the comments but he is reluctant to make the run so let's encourage him.
Update from the inbox:
I am also contemplating a run for the Luzerne County Controller Position...I am a republican that really cares about the lack of accountability of our elected officials and will work hard for the Taxpayers of Luzerne County...
Walter L Griffith JR
Luzerne County Taxpayer and Activist
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
HARRISBURG - Luzerne County Judge Ann H. Lokuta will be removed from the bench, the state Court of Judicial Discipline ruled in a 6-1 decision today. Lokuta will not be allowed to hold any other court office.
I agree with the Yonk: This punishment does not fit the crime or perceived crimes... Lokuta is gone because all of her fellow Judges (two who have some worries ahead of them I've heard) complained about her behavior. The staff on the third floor was angry because the Judge, a working class daughter of coal miner parents didn't think anyone born on third base was entitled to say they hit a triple. So they got even. And they won.
Her cooperation with the investigation of the business dealings of then President Judge Michael Conahan may have played a roll in this. And it's no secret that they can't stand each other and Conahan was behind the charges being brought against her.
Monday, December 08, 2008
And he is pissed.
WASHINGTON - Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) provided the statement below about the Associated Press article that recently appeared about Freddie Mac and Members of Congress.
"As early as 2000, I have consistently and vocally promoted a strong, independent, world-class regulator for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with the resources needed to get the job done. Unfortunately, President Bush, with the support of some Republican Members of Congress, obstructed efforts to improve the regulation of these government-sponsored enterprises. In 2005, with my strong support, the House Financial Services Committee, on a bipartisan basis, passed a comprehensive reform bill. A short time later, the bill passed the House, but this legislation died in the Senate in part because of the lack of support in the White House. Mike Oxley (R-OH), the Republican Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee at the time blamed the White House for failing to pass the bill and causing the current crisis with Fannie and Freddie, stating ‘What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute.' When the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, we made regulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae a priority and passed a regulatory reform bill in May 2007, which the Senate passed and the President finally signed a year later. I only wish that the President had heeded warnings earlier about the need to act.
"Finally, there are strict rules prohibiting Members of Congress from receiving most gifts. I have never violated those rules. The ticket to attend the opening game of the Washington Nationals was valued at less than $50, which was the gift limit at that time. The Associated Press article misled its readers by refusing to include this information in the piece. Furthermore, it is ludicrous to suggest that my positions on policy could be influenced by any factors other than the merits of the policy."
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Note to The Onion Lawyers: I know I went past fair use by reprinting the whole thing, please forgive me.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Forget the Secret Service and the US Attorney General the agency that matters in this is the IRS. I think it's pretty simple. If the people who had the debit cards in 2006 and charged personal expenses to it without declaring it as income on that year's 1040 should have to answer to charges of tax evasion.
Also, there has to be a Pennsylvania law about then County Manager/Chief Clerk Sam Guesto having a slush fund to pay the bills for Sam Hyder's trips to strip bars, etc. that then Controller Maryanne Petrilla claims she was not aware of. I don't know if any federal laws were broken but the PA Auditor General and Attorney General should be all over this.
Some of my previous posts on this and other related subjects:
Luzerne County Prison
No Bid Contracts
The Latest Outrage in Luzerne County
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
If your in America and can’t speak English, get the Fuck out.
Check out how "you're" is spelled. The police cited him for disorderly conduct because he used an obscenity in the message, adding that children walking to Pittston Area middle and elementary schools might see it. OMG, the children might just melt or become mass murderers if they read or hear a dirty word. I hope the Hughestown police drop this before it becomes a circus involving the ACLU and Focus on the Family.
The way I see it is that some local yokel wants to be the next Joey Vento, owner of Geno’s Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, who is famous for posting a sign at his restaurant that says “This is America. When Ordering, Speak English.” But since that has already been done Mr. Decker decided to spice up the message.
Maybe he was a classmate of this guy
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Jobs like Prothonotary and Register of Wills are clerical positions that should not even be elected offices. Same goes for Jury Commissioner who's only official duty is to once a year hit the print button on a computer to get a list of prospective jurors. But we will have elections for these jobs until we get Home Rule.
As usual the action will be in the Democratic primary that will probably make the November election a formality. I hope that I'm wrong about that prediction and new county GOP Chairman Terry Casey can recruit some quality candidates and the back mountain money guys raise some serious cash for them.
I will be posting some scuttlebutt about who may be running for these positions in the coming days. If you have heard any names being tossed around let me know in the comments or toss me an email.
We will also get to pick at least one new Judge plus various school board members and municipal offices.