Thursday, April 30, 2009

Corey O'Brien for Congress?-the interview

I talked with Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien on Tuesday about his possible run against Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski in the 2010 primary for the 11th Congressional District seat.

After reading this we may be able to drop the question mark.

Corey was born and raised in Dunmore, PA and graduated from Dunmore High School. He went on to Penn State and is still a big leader of cheers for the Nittany Lions. He got his law degree from Catholic University in Washington, DC. He told me he is a life long Yankees fan (what is it with these guys?) but likes the Phillies in the National League because we had the AAA team, the Red Barons, located for many years at the Montage Stadium.

What do you think of Arlen Specter’s move today?

I welcome him to the Democratic Party. He has certainly sided with our party and our agenda on some of the hot button issues over the years and we are a party of inclusion. We hope everybody kind of comes over to have somebody of Arlen Specter’s caliber, somebody who’s been a distinguished member of the Senate for over 20 years, this is great for our party so I welcome him with open arms and I am happy to see him come over to the Democratic Party, the party of progress and the party of the future so it’s exciting to see him make that move.

It’s kind of like he got chased out by the Republicans.

Well I think he got wooed in by the Democrats. We’ve wanted to have Arlen Specter as a member of this party for a long time and he’s been courted for many years by the Democratic Party and he’s glad that he’s now aligning himself and joining the Democratic Caucus.

You have all the rumors out there that say you’re going to be running for Congress. Well, are you?

It sounds like a rumor because it’s a rumor, you know that. I’m very seriously considering a run for Congress. I think we need at some point to move forward in the 11th and to have a vision for the future and a vision of really putting everyone on an equal playing field, young and old, wealthy and poor, and people who have a lot and people who have very little. And there’s been a wide discrepancy, I think, in this country and in Washington over the years with respect to that gap and we need to do things in a different way. I mean, I have two young children and I think about their futures and I think that it’s important that we have a member in Congress that’s thinking about the future of children and grandchildren. I don’t know how long Congressman Kanjorski, he’s toward the twilight of his career I think it’s safe to say and I think it’s going to be time soon here to move beyond that and to move forward in a progressive way and I think there are many people who don’t give me much of a chance but I’ve been told that before.

Well my initial reaction was that anyone who takes on Kanjo in a primary, it’s a suicide mission, but the more that I think about it, why not?

I think the math works. There’s been a lot of calculus that has gone into just testing the waters in this race and a lot of people have underestimated what we would be able to do over the years. When I was 17 years old and working to build a community center in Dunmore everybody told me I couldn’t do it, it would never happen, and then we received a federal appropriations of $600,000 from Senator Wofford. I was 17 ½ years old going down to Washington and lobbying to build a community center, making this national model program where you have seniors and youth and Head Start and all these other components that bring them together because as you probably know, back when I was working on this in 1990, 1991 there was no real such thing as a community center. What we had were youth centers and senior centers. What I said to Senator Wofford was we want to put this together and have a concept where we have a co-generational really multi-generational facility and he bought into that idea as a national model and he helped fund that and then it sat on the shelf for 10 years as the political leadership just failed to get the job done on it. And that frustrated me.

Who was your Congressman at that time?

The Congressman at the time was Joe McDade. And at that time it really was a struggle for me in trying to figure out. As a community activist you can only take a project so far but here we are just kind of waiting, waiting, waiting. But that was really my first thought of really running for office was during that period of time where I thought unless you’re an elected official you can’t actually get it done, but we got that done. But then there was a Commissioner’s race. I entered that Commissioner’s race. Look back at it. It’s going to tell you a lot. I had a very difficult time at the beginning of that race. I lost my job. I lost several things in that just through the party politics of things. I’m not born and bred into a political family that has just been given things. For all intents and purposes as an outsider, just a younger person, I’m 35, some people are reporting I’m 36 but I’m still 35. 35 year old, the guy who’s just trying to get it done for our family, for our community, and everybody said, if you look at those early articles, this guy doesn’t have a chance, are you kidding me, then I won and we did fairly well in that race, we won by the largest margin in Lackawanna County history as a matter of fact and I think we proved that we can do that and then Barack Obama comes along and nobody supports Barack Obama and I came out early and supported him. I was on his statewide leadership council. Most people do not know that. There were 7 or 8 of us. If you go and search Obama and Corey O’Brien you’ll find a February 2007 document with my name on it, statewide leadership council, with Franco Harris and about 9 other people throughout the entire state.

Ok , so it can be done?

So that can be done. So I mean I think that people will continue to underestimate me and I like that. I like being in an underdog role.

You said that Congressman Kanjorski is at the twilight of his career. Why not just wait until he retires and run then?

I think I have some philosophical disagreements.

Like what?

Some disagreements on some votes and I shouldn’t say philosophical disagreements but let me state this differently. You can’t choose timing, timing chooses you to some degree. We have an urgency in this country right now as to where we’re moving. We’re going to make fundamental decisions as to where our country moves in the next 50 years right now over the course of the next 3 years with the stimulus package, with energy independence, with education, with reformatting or formulating our whole health system potentially. There are big ticket items coming up here and I think it’s critically important that that long term vision is articulated now and in 2010. It’s not about Paul Kanjorski and his career. Well, how long does he want to be here? There are significant issues facing our country right now that require bold, I believe, new leadership and new vision for the future. I know what it’s like to balance a budget. I’ve done it. I know what that’s like. I know what counties need. I know what people of Northeastern Pennsylvania need because I go door to door consistently, regularly. I talk to people here. I’m not in Washington. I don’t spend most of my time in Washington. I spend it on the streets right here. I understand what we need as a people here moving forward.

I think Congressman Kanjorski would contend that he’s done a good job helping local government through federal funding over the years.

Over the years is a great way to put it. Over the years in the past. We’re talking about the future.

And will continue to do it.

I’m talking about the future. I don’t know how long Congressman Kanjorski intends to be in office, if it’s 2 years or if it’s 20 years. I could assume that it’s not 20 years, but we need to at some point start moving forward and move in a new direction and I think that that opportunity to move in a new direction may be now, may be sooner rather than later. We need to start going there. The longer you just kind of wait on that the more time it takes so I think there’s a unique opportunity to turn the page, and turn the page on a lot of the things that have been going on in Luzerne County quite frankly. Turn the page on the ethical lapses that we have seen, on the lack of openness and transparency in government. My first day in office we adapted a code of ethics which was covered in the USA Today in the Germany edition, believe it or not, of the USA Today, because it was strong and it was a forceful code of ethics which doesn’t allow me or any member of Lackawanna County government to accept a cup of coffee from somebody. Nothing. No gifts from a county vendor.

So I’m not going to be able to buy you a beer?

No gifts from a county vendor and if you work out a project with a vendor then you’re precluded from working for that vendor for a 2 year period after leaving government. Well you say how do you enforce something like that? Well, that’s easy. Enforce it against the vendor. We just won’t let you do any work for the county for a period of time. So we want to try to take a lot of the ethical issues that have come up, take them off the table now moving forward. It’s a different time. We live by different rules. We’re held to a different standard and we need to start moving beyond that. And I think if you talk to people in Luzerne County I think a lot of them will tell you I don’t want to elect anybody from Luzerne County because of the mess and the things that are going on and it’s been going on for a long time in northeastern Pennsylvania. The era of corruption, the era of secret government secret deals is over. Those days are numbered in Luzerne County and they are over throughout this region and people today I believe have a different philosophy. I think we have already started to usher in a new level of openness and transparency in government which has to continue and has to continue at the congressional level.

You mentioned Congressman Kanjorski and what’s going on in Luzerne County in the same breath, do you think he has any ethical problems?

I’m not going to talk about other potential candidates in 2010. I can just tell you that my record on ethics reform, openness and transparency are very, very clear. I have a strong record with respect to that. Other people can judge his record of ethical considerations and that kind of stuff. I think that there is a clear distinction there between myself and him with respect to that. But that’s for somebody else to talk about. If I get into this race I’m going to be running a campaign based on what I’ve been able to get done and what I want to do going forward and other people can make those comparisons. Some people may say our records differ with respect to openness and transparency.

One of the more liberal bloggers said this about you. (DWT)

But progressive Democrats can cool their heels for now. O'Brien is no champion of progressive values-- In fact, he's a better packaged avatar of social conservatism-- anti-Choice and against equality for gays.

Reaction? I don’t know what your positions are on the hot button social issues.

Wow, I don’t know them. I would venture to guess that they don’t know many of my positions on those issues as well. I can tell you this. I would represent the values of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Those issues and values will be brought forward if I decide to enter the race. I think what they will find is that I’m certainly a progressive Democrat that believes very strongly in universal health care and health care reform. That believes very strongly in energy independence and that energy independence is a national security priority that we need to embrace. And education reform is a critical component to compete in a global economy, especially early childhood development. As you probably know 90% of a person’s brain growth is completed by the age of 5 yet we spend the least amount of dollars by the age of 5. I don’t know why we don’t have programs were we start spending more money on early childhood development, we start spending more money on bilingual education. I don’t why as a sophomore in high school it’s the first time people start taking French or Spanish as I did at Dunmore High School. Why we don’t have a second or a third language from early childhood education through college. But I also think that college should become a right and no longer a privilege and that’s something that I’ll talk about if I end up getting into this race. I think you are going to hear a lot from me about energy independence because my record is strong there. We are replacing our fleet of vehicles in Lackawanna County with hybrids. We will have set of 10 hybrids in a week or two. We are replacing our fleet of COLTS buses with hybrids. With these progressives actions we are now a COOL County, we are only the second COOL County in Pensylvania. Which is guaranteeing a reduction in our carbon emissions to reduce the effects of global warming. So we are taking some significant steps toward energy independence and we are doing them right here in northeastern Pennsylvania. I will talk a lot about energy, education and job creation throughout any kind of campaign.

I asked him about Accountability Now because they contacted me a few weeks ago inquiring about possible Democratic primary challengers to Paul Kanjorski. I threw out a few names including his and they got a hold of him. His response.

A number organizations in Washington and throughout the country have contacted me and I welcome any support that is offered.

After I first broke this story last week a number of national and local news outlets/bloggers picked up on it including:



The Hill

Swing State Project


Capitol Ideas

Dr Dave

Above Average Jane


Down With Tyranny

Kentucky Derby

The 12th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, 4PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre (map it).
We may lack a quorum of the original committee members which may make it easier for the rumored coup d'état to succeed in deposing the tyrant El Señor Presidente Pope George Ringo.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Luzerne County Home Rule

A guest post.
Home Rule - An important question for the voters
The question on the May 19th primary election ballot regarding the Luzerne County Government Study Commission presents a unique opportunity for the voters of Luzerne County to have a direct, positive impact on the quality of their government. Since it is a non-partisan question, all voters, including registered Independent voters, will have an opportunity to approve or reject the question and to select 11 candidates to serve on the Study Commission. A "no" vote on the question will ensure that the current form of county government stays in place and the voters will have no reason to expect anything other than "more of the same" will continue to dominate the Luzerne County Government. A "yes" vote, on the other hand, will result in the establishment of a Government Study Commission to study the current form of county government, see what works and what doesn’t, and then develop a recommendation that fixes the current problems and establishes a form of government that works fairly for all of the residents of Luzerne County. That recommendation will then be submitted to the voters for approval.
There are 20 concerned residents on the ballot for the 11 Government Study Commission positions. These are voluntary, unpaid positions. Most of the candidates have completed a questionaire for the Luzerne Home Rule Organization. These questionaires provide insights into the candidates and can be viewed online at _www.luzernehomerule.org_ <> . I urge the voters to review the information posted on each candidate, vote "yes" to establish the study commission, and to vote for the 11 candidates that they believe will best promote an open, effective, and fiscally responsible government for the residents of Luzerne County.
To acquaint voters with "home rule" and the candidates for the study commission, the Luzerne Home Rule Organization has held four candidate forums throughout the County, the fifth being on Wednesday, April 29th at 7:00 at the West Wyoming Town Hall. The time and place of future home rule forums will be announced in the local newspapers and posted on the home rule organization web site, _ .
If you haven’t already done so, please plan to attend a future forum to meet the candidates and to find out about this important question on the May 19th ballot.
Ray Gustave
Swoyersville, PA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kanjo welcomes Specter

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) issued the following statement regarding Senator Arlen Specter’s (D-PA) announcement to join the Democratic Party.

“As a Pennsylvanian and a Democrat, I welcome Senator Specter to the Democratic Party. I greatly respect the Senator for his independent voice and I hope that he will feel more at home in a political party which I believe is more accepting of the kind of thoughtful representation that he has provided for Pennsylvania for so many years. Senator Specter and I have a long history of working together in the interest of Pennsylvanians and I hope that relationship will only continue to grow as he joins the Democratic Party.”

A friend tonight reminded me of this blast from the recent past when Specter warned against one party rule in Washington.

TV Ad: Hackett-Specter

I have also asked Conressman Chris Carney for a statement.

Specter now a Democrat

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.
.Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.
When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.
Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.
I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.
I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.
I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank especially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.
I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.
I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.
While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.
My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.
Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Photo via GrassrootsPA

Four more years

A few days ago Gort42 passed the 4 year mark. One of my first posts was about the Phillies losing again and then they surprised me by winning the World Series in 2008. Now it's back to normal despite the sweep of the Marlins.
It's been quite a ride and the great thing about this adventure is the friends I've made. I've met some of you but for most part this is the only contact that we will ever have.
My earliest political memory is of Hubert Humphrey leaning out the window of his car on his way to the airport after a rally on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre in 1968 and saying "Hi Kids." I had a slingshot in my hands and was thinking of dinging his car but I was too chicken to do it. If I did something like that a year ago I would have ended up in shackles and sent up the river by the Juvie Brothers. Ca-ching. I have been a political junkie ever since.
Gort42 occasionally has come up with some breaking news but like most political bloggers I rely on the reporters that work for the local newspapers for most of my material. We are lucky to have 2 papers in the area that compete with each other and have reporters that do such great work. I'm worried by the financial failure of newspapers across the county. As much as bloggers on both sides bitch about the MSM we really can't live without them.
It's impossible to predict the future but I hope to be writing about politics in the next four years on this platform or something similar. Career and family pressures take up an increasing amount of my time and I've come close to pulling the plug on a few occasions. This is the best hobby I have ever had. I used to play golf but wasn't any good at it, the last time they they figured my handicap I got special parking.
In the interest of historical accuracy I will reprint my very first post below:

Is this working.
Leave me a note.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Controller forum tomorrow

The League of Women Voters is hosting a forum on Tuesday, 7-9PM, April 28, for candidates running for the office of Luzerne County Controller. The candidates are: Bob Morgan, Democrat; and Republicans Robert Sypniewski, Alice B. Coffman, Nanda Palissery, Edward A. Brominski and Walter L. Griffith Jr.

It will be at Wilkes University’s Stark Learning Center, Room 101 from 7 to 9 p.m. Stark Learning Center is located on River Street between Northampton and South streets in Wilkes-Barre.

I plan on being there. Hope you can make it.

The LuLac Political Letter Judicial Forum

Our good friend David Yonki put together an excellent program with 15 of the 17 candidates for Luzerne County Judge yesterday at Gennetti's in downtown Wilkes-Barre. I had brief chats with a few of the contenders and can honestly say I'm still not sure who I am going to vote for but this helped me narrow it down a bit.
You can read a summary of all the candidates remarks at

WBRE and WYLN covered the event for TV and the local papers have write-ups today..
Bill O'Boyle in the Times-Leader
The Citizens Voice Erin Moody

The candidates are Republicans Richard Hughes and Michael Pendolphi, and Democrats Joe Terrana, Joseph Sklarosky Jr., Daniel Zola, Thomas O’Connor, Eugene Sperazza, Jennifer Rogers, Tina Polachek Gartley, Thomas Marsilio, C.J. Bufalino, William Amesbury, Molly Hanlon Mirabito, Tony Lumbus, Steve Menn, Michael Blazick and Joe Musto.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tangled web

Dunn tied to Powell

Judge Mike Toole the Next to Fall

Like Ann Lokuta said it's a

Incestuous criminal cauldron

Culture of corruption

Experts: Convictions spark more evidence

Where will it end? Many people tell me that they hope every elected official goes to jail. All these guys helped each other out.

Puppies and Politics

I was on WIlK with Sue Henry a few days ago and she suggested that I rename the site Puppies and Politics in order to appeal to a wider audience. I've been finding out that just about everybody that is interested in local politics reads my drivel so that is unnecessary. She mentioned that we have a really cute puppy and unknown to Sue he is 6 months old today. Sue is a class act, whenever I have been on the radio with her she gives me time to state my case unlike some of the other hosts. She mentioned the Cory O'Brien story that I broke last week and gave me time to explain how I got it. Now if she could just teach those kids on WRKC how to pronounce Wilkes-Barre. It's berry not Burrrrrhhhh.

We celebrated John Quincy Adams birthday today by giving him a bath. He celebrated yesterday by ripping off Mrs. G's steak from the grill. I will never hear the end of that one.

More Puppy pictures can be found on my Facebook page.

Ptolemy was not impressed by all the hoopla.

Nanda has a website

Nanda Palissery for Luzerne County Controller

My name is Nanda Palissery and I am running for Luzerne County Controller. As we all know, there are many issues in our current county government.
Of all candidates running for Controller, I am the most qualified to review and audit the legal aspects of the position.

The reviewing of contracts
Implementing the law as it pertains to county expenditures
Applying legal remedies for wrongs committed by any county entity (i.e. illegal spending).
I am familiar with the legal process and court system and know the proper way to implement and win a legal battle on behalf of the taxpayers of Luzerne County.

As Controller, I have a plan for
Open all county finances to the public
Tell the public what is proposed to be spent
Hold those who misspend taxpayer dollars accountable
Grant access to the office records on designated evening and weekend hours
Be available 24/7 as your controller


We have a beautiful courthouse building, but what's going on inside is ugly

Saturday, April 25, 2009

YouTube weekend

Kanjo's Greatist Hits

Pa 11th CD Congressman Paul Kanjorski now has his own YouTube Channel

Congressman Kanjorski's Channel

I'm trying to figure out how to set this to music. I think a waltz would be appropriate.

Rumor has it that his press secretary, Abbie McDonough, is working on getting him to sing. Maybe we can hook Uncle Paul into coming to our next committee meeting and he can join in with our slurred version of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Judicial Forum set for tomorrow

The LuLac Political Letter Judicial Forum is on Sunday April the 26th from 2 to 5PM at Genetti's in Wilkes Barre, candidates running for Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge will be on hand to introduce themselves and take questions. WLYN News Director, long time newspaper man and broadcaster L.A. Tarone will moderate the forum.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bob Sypniewski for Controller-the interview

I met with Luzerne County GOP Controller candidate Bob Sypniewski last Sunday. Bob was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre. He graduated fron GAR High School and attended LCCC. He's another Yankees fan which now seems to be a requirement for the position. He likes the Eagles in the NFL and defying the logic of my world he somehow roots for the Miami Hurricanes in college football.
Why should you be the next Luzerne County Controller?
I believe the background that I come from being the 15th of 16 kids and my dad being a Wilkes-Barre police officer for 40 years taught me that hard work and honesty will get you somewhere in life. Today with the corruption going on in Luzerne County I have no ties to anyone and everything I have in life I’ve gotten because of hard work. I believe the qualities I possess and the leadership I possess will change and help the foundation of Luzerne County to head in the right direction. My financial background is 10 plus years running my own business on my own. I believe what I’ve done to help people to buy homes will help to fix the county. The biggest thing is sitting on the county board and seeing the corruption that I saw with this assessment. I fought hard to get on this board to help people lower their taxes, not because I felt sorry for them but it was the right thing to do. One thing I want to talk about is a property being assessed at $125,000 that is right next to the Susquehanna River and our county hired a company that assessed it at $125,000 and we knocked it down to $7,000 because that was were it belonged because the property flooded six months out of the year. I believe my time on the board showed what I can do. I can also bring it to the county as the Controller.
You mentioned that the last time I heard you speak. Why didn’t you go public with it sooner?
The reason why I didn’t go public was this. I knew the corruption that was going on in the courthouse and if I went there and said listen, this is what I’m seeing, I know that would have done to me. They would have got me off the board and replaced me with somebody else. You saw when the formal appeals first started, the cries in the newspaper of foul, there weren’t a lot of people on that board that I believe that were really out there helping the people. They made some changes and I sat there quietly and made reductions where I could. And I knew this, if I went to Skrep or Petrilla they would have got me out of there.
Will you be a full time Controller?
I will be a full time Controller. Just like when I ran the assessment board, I ran that full time. I put my businesses to the side. I am the only candidate that can say that I took 2 of my business and shut them off from 8 o’clock to 6:30 at night for 4 months. I did that with my business. The proof is in the pudding and my will tell you that, I was gone. What I did for the assessment board in 4 months I can do better as a full time Controller in 4 years.
I have a couple of questions from some of my helpers. Will you commit to serving no more than 2 terms?
It’s going to take at least 4 years to get the county courthouse headed in the right direction. I believe 2 terms after that will be enough were I can sit back and ask do I want to further my life as a politician or do I want to sit back. That’s a tough question to answer. I learned in politics very early that you never say never. Right now I’m committed to getting elected for 4 years with the understanding that this is going to take longer than 4 years to clean up. It’s been going on for how many years? So we’re going to put 4 years into this and look into this every time you’re up for reelection.
The Controller doesn’t have a lot of policy input. Who would you partner with in the county government to help clean things up?
When I come to office I understand that are positions that I can change immediately. My assistant Controller is going to change immediately, my Solicitor is going to change immediately. I have a list of people from both sides of the aisle that we are going to bring in. I really respect Steve Urban for what he has done in the past, I respect Steve Flood and what he’s done. I don’t believe I’m going to partner with any of our elected officials right this second because I do not know who to trust in there. We need new faces, we need fresh faces. We need people who never worked there before to come in and clean house. At this very moment I’m not willing not commit to working with anyone in that courthouse other than the team of people we’re going to come in with to clean house there.
So you’re saying that you won’t be a rubber stamp for what has been going on
Most definitely, it makes sense that when that when a contract is handed to you and not a single Commissioners signature is on it that you don’t make payment on it.

The Republican Party endorsement went to Nanda Pallisery. How do you feel about that?
It disappoints me not about the endorsement. It disappoints me that there is 275 committee people and less than 130 even cast a vote. I believe that 29 cast it do not endorse which I believe I take credit for. I was the only candidate out there crying do not endorse, let us all run on our own merits. So if you look at it, Nanda walked away with 40 votes. I don’t know if that is a Republican endorsement or if that is the same old politics endorsement. It doesn’t affect me, what I want is the people’s endorsement. I want their vote to represent them not as a Republican, not as a Democrat Controller but as an independent voice that’s going to bring change.
You want to add to your earlier comments about reassessment.
I want to touch base this about this assessment. I didn’t understand as much as I thought I knew until I sat down and realized by helping people through the appeals process and adjust them adjust their home values and saw the hurt that our political people did to our people. It caused me to contact Derrick Williams from Tioga County. People may remember that Tioga County kicked out this same assessment company, Century 21 Appraisals. They got kicked out because of a breach of contract. I spoke to Derrick Williams twice and there is a new report coming out on the 28th that I believe is going to back Tioga County and this is why I stayed private with this because silently I want to put together a majority of people to one day see that we can take what Tioga County did and bring it here to Luzerne County. I believe we need to start all over with this with our own people. In the next coming days you are going to see a press release from the independent arbitrator that was assigned to Tioga’s County dealings. And I believe if you elect me as Controller I will have a bigger say when you look at that actual contract and I think that will be a big key to my race as well. There is only so much you can do as a taxpayer crying foul but there is more you can do as an elected official.
As Controller you are going to oversee the county’s finances. What experience do you have with government accounting?
I was a business major in high school. It’s pretty easy, when your debits outweigh your credits you have a problem. When you have a Controller that’s not monitoring statements showing all these debit card purchases coming out and not saying anything that’s a big issue. A lot of it is commonsense thinking first of all. Second of all we are going to bring a good team of people into this. You take the last 10 years of my business and I’m looking at people’s finances. Could they afford this house? Not just based on what is on their credit reports. We are looking at their grocery bills, their utility bills… and in 10 years of helping people buy a home I never had a bank call me back and say you misquoted their budget and now we’re taking this house back and we want our money back that we paid you. So I believe the common sense thinking I bring to it plus the 10 years of helping people with their finances is going to be a huge benefit to the county. But understand this too. I can’t do it on my own, I know I can’t. That’s why the team of people that I bring there is going to be an effort as a team of people that are going to come together to put this in order. It’s not humanly possible to do it alone nor could any other candidate say that. If they did, they are lying to you. I will have a CPA as my assistant Controller and I will have a Solicitor that has the minds, thoughts and interests of the taxpayers in mind. The three of us are going to look at this and get this done right.
A little nuts and bolts about campaigning. How are you doing on money?
We just sent out our first fundraising letter about 2 weeks ago. I actually funded most of my campaign right now. I don’t look at it as money today; I’m going door to door. I’m doing the old style politics where I go out and meet the people so they know who I am. We are going to raise some money but not a whole heck of a lot. People are asking me where is your website, where is your signs? I understand that websites and signs don’t get you elected. If people don’t know who I am they are not going to vote for me so I am making more of my efforts in getting out there. But like I said we just put together our first fundraiser and we probably raise about 10 to 20 thousands dollars. That is our expectation on that.
Do you plan to do any media? Print, radio or TV
Right now we’re taking advantage of the free press. We sent in a lot of letters to the editor and I will be a frequent caller into the Steve Corbett show as well as Sue Henry and Nancy and Kevin in the Morning. I plan on trying to put together a commercial. Humanly possibly there is no way I can get to the four corners of the county. Maybe a couple of commercials.
What do you think about Home Rule?
I’m big supporter of open government. Take Steve Flood for example. When this Juvenile Detention Center was being built wanted a public forum on this and he was chastised for it and then his own party took him out. I don’t know all the policies of Home Rule but from what I understand about it, it’s going to be more of an open government which I stand firm with.
As far as streamlining the county do you have any ideas? I have been an advocate of getting rid of elections for things like Prothonotary, Jury Commissioner and possibly even Controller if you can up with a different way of doing it.
I believe in what you just said there. The Controller is a position you need a leader in there and if that is changing hands because of political powers then there is a problem, same thing with Prothonotary. Down the road I believe, hopefully not right now because I’m running for it, those should be positions (not Union positions) that should be full time. Because if you are constantly doing this every 4 years you have to run for reelection so somewhere along the line in that year that you’re running for reelection you’re going to burn yourself out to the point of what’s going to come first and what are you going to walk away from? You are going to walk away from time on the job just so you can be elected again for another 4 year term. So I would agree that somewhere down the road to possibly rewriting the Controllers position, the Prothonotary and also the Jury Commissioner to make them not political seats. And make them full time position not political positions. I’m open to that.
My observation that some people may not agree with in this economic climate is that the Row Officers and Commissioners are not paid enough.
If you look at the size of our county and look at some smaller ones, they’re paid more. In my business I actually hired an ex-president of a bank. People say why would an ex-president of a bank work for a 28 year old broker? I paid him well. I realize this, if you pay people well they will be there full time. And you look at what the Commissioner get paid and there is a lot going on. Sometimes they have second jobs so they can actually maintain a life. I believe in time, once we get this in order there should be a pay raise for some of the county officials not because of political purposes. My philosophy is this, pay them right and the job will be done right. If you look at what has been going on in the county, look at the greed.

Involving some very high paid people
But the funny this is this, you had 2 Commissioners that had to allow that juvenile detention center to go. Those judges were corrupt but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those 2 Commissioners, Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid, they were the ones that brought this forth. If they had listened to Steve Urban and Steve Flood this would have been thrown out. So when you put people in the Commissioners area make that worth their while to make sure the county is run effectively. I believe a lot of theses deals probably would not have been made. I agree that there should be an increase but also there are some offices that shouldn’t have as much. There is too many chiefs and not enough Indians out there. There is too much manpower in some of the offices in the courthouse that could be let go, we don’t need it. I won’t harp too much on this but if the Assessor’s office had done the job that was required we wouldn’t had to need hire an outside company to reassess our county. I would take a look at the stories I hear about people going out in the field to measure properties, I want to see their work reports. I want to see where they have been. I tell you what, it doesn’t pass my test as far as getting the job done. With an increase to certain positions in the courthouse there could be a huge decrease in personnel. I know it’s not a popular statement and I know a lot of county officials won’t like that but a fact is a fact. There are too many people that work in these offices and there is not enough work to show for it..
Closing statement
As I worked hard on the assessment board I saw what the corruption of county politics can do to the hard working people. The people that are trying to make a living but yet our government constantly knocks us back. I worked 4 months for the county people and have been able to decrease thousands of household’s property taxes. I believe if I’m the Controller I can do even more. I could be the inside person for the people in the county courthouse. A lot of people have hammered me because I didn’t come public with this but they have to understand if I went public they would have taken me out and replaced with somebody else. I’m the 15th child out of 16 children grew up in the Wilkes-Barre Heights and I have no political ties and I have no strings attached. I’m going to run this job like I ran my own businesses, it will be full time. It will be with all my heart and soul to get this thing right. I have 3 boys that are counting on me to make this right. Here is a fact, if I don’t get this right my generation of people are moving out, they’re going. My biggest fear is getting a phone call from Harrisburg or Washington, DC saying Luzerne County we’re cutting you off until you get this right. We need to elect a fresh face, someone new with no political ties. There is a debate coming up on the 28th at Wilkes, I encourage people to get down there. I hope they broadcast it. I think this is going to be a great chance to see the differences. Who is going to run that office? Who is going to run it efficiently? Is it going to be an attorney that is running a law firm? Is it going to be the guy that runs the mechanic business? Is it going to be an accountant that already runs a business? I’m the only candidate that has shown that I can work for the county, work for the taxpayers and then do my life second. I’m done it before, give me 4 years so I can prove it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skrep says Petrilla is being investigated by the Feds

TL reporter Jennifer Learn-Andes witnessed a blowup between Luzerne County Democratic Commissioners Greg Skrepnak and Maryanne Petrilla that confirms that they are not exchanging Christmas cards anymore. Petrilla stormed into Skrepenak’s because he was repeating a rumor he says he heard that Petrilla was being investigated by federal authorities. She said she checked with the Feds and is not under investigation and said he should be the one worried about a federal investigation. Hard to argue with that because the Secret Service investigation of the debit card abuse has been completed and sent to the US Attorney plus there is still the question of why Skrep and former Commissioner Todd Vonderheid approved that 20 year lease of the PA Child Care facility. Why Petrilla didn't continue the investigation of it started by Steve Flood when she was Controller is another question.

“See what I put up with?” Skrepenak told the reporter after Petrilla left his office. “How dare she come into my office? I didn’t defame her...I think there’s a lot of animosity on both sides, and I think it’s at the point that it becomes personality not principle,” Skrepenak said. “It is what it is at this point, and it’s unfortunate.” Skrepenak said he and Petrilla have reached the point that they can’t have a productive working relationship. Petrilla said Skrepenak will have to “show up for work” to have a working relationship.
“He works maybe – and I’m really stretching it here – five hours a month."

She threatened to sue him for defamation and Skrep told her to sue him.

Just another day under the dingdome.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dunn is done

The local media are reporting that Wilkes-Barre Area School Director Brian Dunn has been arrested for selling jobs.

I'll have more later tonight.

Wilkes-Barre Area School Director Brian Dunn federally charged

School Director Charged with Taking Bribes

Wilkes-Barre Area school board member charged with accepting kickbacks

Read the criminal complaint


I never understood why someone would want a job like school director. You have to spend time at meetings and learn something about a myriad of subjects like building codes/construction, federal and state academic standards, finance and budgeting, etc. to make informed decisions when you have to cast a vote. Since the job doesn't pay an "official" salary our local school board members also have to hold down a daytime job to pay the bills. The one area that our local board members are all experts in is personnel. They vote to hire everyone from the superintendent to the janitors with a special focus on the teachers positions. It's long been an open secret that you can't get a teacher's job around here unless you are related to a school board member and if you're not the only way to land a job teaching is to grease the wheels. And we lament that our young people move out of the area. Paul Golias in the CV says the going price for a teacher's job is $4,000 in addition to what they get/demand on construction contracts (10%). I think that is a low number. The arrest of Brian Dunn confirms these suspicions and a few more might be next in line.

Dunn is an interesting character and his profile in the TL sometimes reads like a rap sheet. He drove his car onto the sidewalk after having a few cocktails in 2005 slamming into a building and running over a pedestrian. He was sentenced to the ARD Program by, who else, former Judge Michael Conahan and he lost his drivers license for only a month. These guys really take care of each other. Dunn also didn't bother to file campaign finance reports for his past races in 1995, 1997 and 2001. What is the point of having campaign finance laws if they are not enforced? His wife was the treasurer of his campaigns and I know it will shock you to learn that she is also an employee of the W-B Area School District. Dunn is also on the W-B Vo-Tech board which hired his wife for a part time gig that was worth $7,000. Of course he didn't vote on the hiring, just like the rest of them who don't show up when one of their relatives are up for a job. But they still get hired.

A few months ago a friend told me that Luzerne County needed a good enema. It looks like the US Attorney has delivered one and the shit is splattering everywhere.

Prothonotary forum tonight

The League of Women Voters is hosting a forum for Luzerne County Prothonotary candidates tonight at Wilkes University’s Stark Learning Center, Room 101 from 7 to 9 p.m. Stark Learning Center is located on River Street between Northampton and South streets in Wilkes -Barre.

The candidates are Democrats Gerald L. Mullery, Nancy McGinley Bellas and Alfred Akulonis Jr. and Republicans Carolee Medico Olenginski and Walter Mitchell.

I can't make it tonight but if anybody attends please give us a report in the comments.

Lokuta wants decission tossed

HARRISBURG – Saying it would be “easier to unscramble an egg than to extract untainted testimony” from her misconduct trial, former Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta on Monday filed a legal brief urging the state Court of Judicial Discipline to dismiss or reopen her case.

In her brief she blasts the disciplinary court’s chief judge, Richard Sprague, accusing him of a conflict of interest because he was the lawyer for PA Child Care owner Robert Powell. Powell has been named as one of the people that was paying bribes to the Juvie Brothers, former Luzerne County Judges Conahan and Ciavarella. I think she has a good case and at the least she deserves a new hearing.

Idiot watch

From the Times-Tribune

Naked woman assaults firefighter, starts blaze while heating chicken wings

Firefighter John Judge was attempting to clear people out of a smoky, second-floor apartment at 1540 Wyoming Ave. on Saturday about 10:30 p.m. when he was confronted by a naked Amanda Masker, 27, police said. When Mr. Judge told her to get clothes and get out, Ms. Masker cursed at him, pushed him and then struck him in the chest with her fists, police said. Mr. Judge escorted the struggling woman downstairs, where she was arrested by officers who were called to assist.

For the record, I have never tried to cook wings or anything else without at least wearing an apron and I always cite my sources.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Corey O'Brien for Congress?

A few weeks ago I was contacted by an outfit called Accountability Now who wanted to know if I knew of someone that would be willing to take on Congressman Paul Kanjorski in the Democratic primary next time out. I told them I thought it would be a suicide mission for any sitting office holder but threw out a few names of politicians that might be interested in going to Washington if and when Kanjo retired. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, former W-B state Rep Kevin Blaum and Nanticoke's JohnlYudichak came to mind.

This past week a few people have told me that Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien is gearing up for a primary challenge to Kanjo in 2010 for the 10th CD seat. . In fact I have found out that Jimmy Siegel, a big Democratic media gun, has been contacted by O'Brien. I'm not still convinced that O'Brien will make the race. I sent an email to him asking for comment. If he answers I will let you know.

Update: Corey got back to me. He neither confirmed or denied my report. We will get together later this week. I asked him if he was running for Congress and he said "I am seriously considering it.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Luzerne County finances

According to the story in the TL today Luzerne county is less messed up this year than in years past. The county has 'only' has to borrow $17.9 million to make the books balance in 2009. I won't be too hard on the Commissioners about this because it was part of this year's budget. At least they were up front about it. The county took in $1.6 million less than anticipated but spent $5.4 million less than they expected in the first 3 months of 2009. Property tax revenues are up and the the cost of locking up juvenile offenders is down. We we all know why property tax revenue increased (reassessment) and spending on juvenile placements is down (Juvie Brothers).

Another day another indictment

The FBI shows up at the Pittston Area School District with a subpoena for school board minutes and the next thing you know Superintendent Ross Scarantino is indicted and arrested for taking bribes from contractors. He is out on bail and has asked for a leave of absence. US Attorney Martin Carlson noted that this was “the first charge in an ongoing investigation into allegations that teachers and contractors were required to provide money or anything else of value in connection with being hired or obtaining a public contract.” This is probably just another example of how government business is bid out in Luzerne County but this time it involved money from the Federal Government. The School Board members are all “shocked,” “saddened” and “surprised” by the charge . What next ?

Update: This dropped into my inbox yesterday


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pittston Area under scrutiny

As first reported on Pittston Politics on Tuesday Pittston Area Solicitor Joe Saporito has confirmed the FBI paid a visit to the district Tuesday, April 14th. “The FBI served a subpoena requesting minutes dating back to April of 2004,” Saporito said.

The Times-Leader says the investigation seems to be focused on purchases and contracts, not teacher hirings.

Who's next?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Busy Wednesday

Back from his trip to the Middle East & Central Asia Congressman Chris Carney will be having a town hall meeting today at Eagle Hose Company, 1 Eagle Lane , Dickson City , from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

The Luzerne Home Rule committee has scheduled its latest weekly forum at 7 tonight in the Hazleton City Hall council chambers.

Gerald Mullery, Democratic Candidate for Luzerne County Prothonotary, will be hosting a meet and greet at the House of Wings on Main Street in Plymouth from 6 - 8.

And there will be a Tax Day Tea Party from 4 to 7 p.m. on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. RNC Chairman Michael Steele has sent me a few emails urging me to attend and I know of at least one person that is going.

Rachel and Anna Marie explain what it is about.

Unfortunately my schedule won't allow me to make any of these events.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Harry Kalas is "outta here"

When I heard that Harry Kalas died today I felt like I lost somebody I knew. I've been listening to him call Phillies games since I was a kid and spent many enjoyable summer evenings in the yard with the radio tuned to Harry and the rest of the broadcast crew.

He is most famous for his home run call "it's got a chance, outta here." But my favorite line of his was "right down the middle for a ball."

In a way he was lucky because not many people leave this world while doing the thing that they love. I'm glad that he got to see his team win the World Series, let's hope we don't have to wait another 28 years for another one.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nanda Palissery for Controller-the interview

I had a chat with Republican Luzerne County Controller candidate Nanda Palissery on Thursday. Nanda emmigrated with his family from India to Wilkes-Barre when he was 2 years old and has lived the American dream like many other immigrants. Hard work and a good education pay off. He graduated from Wyoming Valley West High School then went to Texas A&M (go Aggies) where he got an Engineering degree. He then went on to Temple University Law School.
He is a New York Yankees fan but I will forgive him for that.
Why should you be the next Luzerne County Controller?
A couple of things that I think that are important. One is that I always believed and was raised to believe that if you want something to be done right, do it yourself. Among the candidates that have submitted their names in this election to run I think I am the most qualified for a couple of reasons. One is that I have a business background, I’ve had various businesses in the area including my own law practice for 15 years. I’ve been fairly successful with that. Two, in addition to a business background I have a legal background and I think a lot of what the Controller does is legal in nature. That is interpreting contracts and appropriateness of spending and so on. I think for those 2 reasons if nothing else I think I am the most qualified candidate. And third I’ll you that, not to be boastful, that I am a hard worker. I work all the time, as of right now in fact my wife and kids are on vacation. They went to Florida, I did not. I’m here and working, I have to work that’s who I am. Being a hard worker is a quality that I think that is important is this race as well.
Will you be a full time Controller?
I know that there has been talk about that. I’m going to be a 24/7 Controller. That is I will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any issues that come up. A lot of the work that has to be done in this case is not a matter of being in the office 8 to 5 because that’s not what this is about. What this is about is reviewing expenditures, reviewing contracts and so on and understanding what the Controller does. He doesn’t necessarily have to be there 8 or 9 hours a day but I will be available whenever the office requires me to be there.
The last time I heard you speak you said you knew a lot about the operations of the office and they were behind on audits. I don’t know how it’s staffed but what kind of people would you be looking for such as your deputy and auditors. The type of people not necessarily names?
One of the things that is happening in the office as I understand it is that there are several people on the Controller’s staff that actually don’t do work for the Controller that should be reassigned to the Treasurer’s office. They do some work for the Controller’s office but not enough. So there is a lack of auditors in the office and we need more of those. So one of the first things I want to do is propose to the commissioners a reallocation of the people in the office so we can get more auditors on board so the office can do one of the things it has to do. That is to complete the audits of all the magistrates’ offices and municipalities and so on. So that’s one of the first thing we have to do.

When Steve Flood took over the office he made a point of hiring a deputy that with a CPA that was from out of the area and no political ties. Are you willing to do something similar?
I think it’s obviously important having a CPA as our deputy, there is no doubt about that. Having CPAs as much as we can available in the office is important. As far as political ties are concerned, I am absolutely for someone who is independent and without ties. The problem is a practical matter. If you can find somebody who is qualified, who doesn’t have political and will relocate from outside the area then great. I don’t know if those persons exist, if they we will seek them out. And another thing I want to bring up as well because we talking about whether I will be a full time Controller. One of the things you have to consider is that in order to do this job effectively you have to be beyond reproach and that’s what I am. I’m not doing this for the money as I said before and I’m also not doing this for any other advantages or whatever benefits that may come from it. It’s a matter of doing it for the right reasons and being beyond reproach means being financially beyond reproach as well. That is what I am, I’m not easily bought. If the public is looking for a guy who is going to be there from 8 to 5 and give up whatever he does for a living to do this then the public is going to get that. There going to get somebody who is striving to get a $35,000 a year job. Or if you want to have somebody that is beyond reproach I believe that you have to have someone who has a life and who has the ability to not cave to money offers and whatever else might come along if it did. And that’s who I am, I’m beyond that. I’m not for sale is my point.
A few years you ran for Judge. Why run for Controller instead of Judge this time with a couple of seats open?
That’s a good question. The reason is I don’t think a judge can do what needs to be done in this county to start bringing fiscal responsibility back to the county and to bring transparency to the government and so on. Those are things I’m running on. A judge can’t do that, a judge is limited as to what he can promise to do. He is limited as to what his role is in government because he doesn’t have a role in government. He’s in a different branch, the judicial branch. As a Controller we have a voice on the Pension Board and Salary Board and those are things that I can bring some order to and bring some regularity to. As well as what I call normalcy, that is being beyond being bought. I think I could do a great job as judge I really do. Maybe someday I may reconsider it. As of right now Controller is a position that I think we can make a change in our government that we need to make at this point.
You were recently endorsed by the Luzerne County Republican Party. What has that gotten you?

As this point I’m very proud to have been endorsed. What has it gotten me so far? I’ve had discussions with the party concerning advertising and so on. Obviously I can advertise in my campaign that I am the endorsed Republican. But I think what’s important that the people know that there was an endorsement procedure and of the people who were up for endorsement I was the one who was selected. And it was a matter of qualification. What it does is that is gives me the ability to say that I’m qualified for this position and not only do I think so but so does the Republican Party of Luzerne County.
A little nuts and bolts about campaigns. How are you financing? Are you doing it yourself, are you asking for donations?

At this point the bulk of the money that has been promised so far is from me. As far as donations are concerned we haven’t had… any… So when I say the bulk…
You’re it.

I’m it. But I’m expecting there will be some financial contributions. We want to do a fundraiser maybe 2. The main part of our campaign at this point is going to be mailers targeted to super voter Republicans and targeting people who are most likely to vote in this election. We need to put money together for that reason. In addition to that obviously I’m going around to different events and introducing myself to people who do not know me. I have a small breakfast scheduled for tomorrow just for a select group of people that I’m hoping that will be able to help me financially as well.
Other than mailers are you planning radio or TV?

Radio and TV are in the schedule and I just ordered signs today, some cards to hand out and stickers to wear and so on.
Around here people make a big thing about the ethnicity of politicians. You don’t look Irish.

You don’t look Irish. If someone thought I was Irish I would have to tell them I was from the southern most tip of Ireland. No I don’t, I thought it would be an issue in the campaign when I ran in 2003 but I don’t think that it was. If it was it was a small issue. At this point I don’t think that it’s an issue at all. And I’m really happy to say that for a couple of reasons one is that it’s good to know that people aren’t looking at your skin color as the issue or your ethnicity as the issue. The issue is am I qualified to do the job. I forget what blog I read it on but someone said, maybe it was Gort42, if we can have a President with a strange name we could have a Controller that has one too.
I wrote that.

I loved that, it was a great line.
Palissery almost sounds Italian.

It does, if I just changed the y to an i, I would be Italian and change Nanda to Nando.
I forgot to ask him about Home Rule in our sit down so I called him to ask. This is a paraphrase.

I want to see the plan because they could come up with something worse than what we have. It’s important that people with a knowledge of how government works be elected to the Study Commission. Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty is a good choice for the commission.

I have 2 questions from my fellow bloggers. I don’t know if you a familiar with Wilkes-Barre Online.

No I’m not.

This goes back to the full time thing.

In a county mired in countless political corruption scandals, a county near overwhelmed by crushing outstanding debts, a county where recent, unrealistic budgets amounted to red ink ultimately paid for up by even more future outstanding debts, should the newly elected County Controller put his or her chosen career on the back burner for the time being and take the taxpayer’s financial bull by the horns?

One of the misconceptions is about the actual role of the Controller and that’s something that people need to understand that there is not a lot of discretion that the Controller has. The Controller does not have discretion over what items are to be paid or funded. All I can do as the Controller is to say is hey look this was supposed to be approved by the commissioners before it got paid. Just like I said before Dr. Vita is my example having collected $1.2 million since 2001 that was never approved by the commissioners. That’s what the role would be. As far as budgets and so on I will do and say whatever I can say as far as they accept input from the Controller. But I don’t have a lot as a Controller that I can do about the budget there is not a lot of discretion that I exercise in that regard. What I am saying is the time that I’m going to make available will be anytime they need me to do anything. I don’t necessarily need to put my career on the back burner to do that.

And bloggers being wise guys Norton wants to know what cigars you like?

There is whole bunch of cigars I like but for the most part I’m generally a Maduro smoker.

That’s it. Anything you want to add?

Just to say I firmly believe I think I’m the best candidate for this job, I really think I am. I don’t just say that to be boastful I just think that I am. I don’t know if anybody can do a better job than I can. Because I will work as hard to as I need to… to get this job done right. I have absolute confidence that’s going to be me.

NEPA Blogs

DB Echo and Michelle have been adding some sites to NEPA Blogs and I finally got around to listing some links that I have been sitting on.

Check out these recent additions:

Whitmoyer Art Studio & Gallery
Scootin' da Valley
PolishBear's World
Old Forge High School Class of 1976
Breaker Brewing Company
Luzerne County Ghost Hunters
Hazleton's Cargo Airport
Luzerne County Juvenile Detention Center Analysis

Two local bloggers have also been added to the Gort42 blogroll:

Not Cease From Exploration

Could we please have our country back now?

And Michelle has started a Facebook page for NEPA bloggers.

If you are linked from NEPA Blogs and want to join, search for the "NEPA Bloggers" group on Facebook and join in on the fun.

And being the social butterfly she invites all local users of Twitter to the third official NEPA Tweet Up.

#NEPATweetUp v3.0

Start Time: Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 7:00pm
Arena Bar & Grill
Coal Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Details here.

Hippity Hoppity


An Easter Message from Mean Old Man

I'm fit to be tied over the fact that the glorious Holy Day of Easter Sunday has been used over the years by the liberal establishment as a brainwashing technique to swerve our children into Communism!!
Every year the children of my great country go to bed in hopes of waking up to baskets full of Easter joy---for which they are asked to give nothing in return! Hey, at least the secular invention Santa Claus demands that kids be good all year in order to get their presents. But the Easter Bunny promises everything and for nothing in return, and we all know where promises of that kind are rooted---right out of the playbook of Chairman Mao, and President Obama's stimulus plan, that's where!!

In my day Easter was a sacred day, not a day for kids to have fun. On Sunday morning you got your butt out of bed, went out to the railroad yard to fetch some coal (the colliery guard wouldn't catch you, if it was a good year) and bring it home for Mom to stoke up the trusty stove so that we could fill our guts with nauseating oatmeal. Then us kids would have to keep the furnace fired up, while keeping the noise down so as not to wake Pops up (he was usually sleeping off the previous night's poker game). Of course, Pops always did end up dragging himself down the stairs and he would wallop each of us with his shaving strap. One time he got me right in the jaw, God, I can still feel the sting and then the swelling that followed. My mouth was so swollen that I couldn't eat or sleep for days, it was brutal, painful, wrong, and degrading for me to experience that, but I LOVED IT!!! Because he wacked me to show how much he loved me!!!! Boy, that's a lesson a lot of snot nosed kids could learn today, but of course, their prissy fathers don't have the guts to give it to them. Thanks Dr. Spock (your show Star Trek was as Commie as you are!).

And what's the deal with all of these pagans who don't follow Jesus showing up at church every Easter, taking the seat I've had for myself all year long?!!!! The missus and I always have to stand for the whole mass while the fair weather Judas's sit in comfort showing off their 600 dollar suits and dresses. Maybe instead of closing the churches up, the Bishop can pass out tickets for Easter mass during the regular services throughout the year, then only the true Christians can come to praise our beloved Lord.

And while I'm at it, what is it with the candy industry selling out our Judeo Christian values? I was sitting in my living room the other day watching Lawrence Welk when I noticed my stupid granddaughter Danielle fiddling with a cellophane wrapper that to my horror contained a chocolate cross---that's right, you didn't read it wrong, a chocolate crucifix, the symbol of our Lord's sacrifice, which she proceeded to devour like a human garbage disposal. Talk about teaching kids to disrespect our values and our Savior. Maybe the Bishop should get on this too!!! Needless to say, I threw the little twerp out of the house and told her to go back home to her parents and that hippy commune they call a gated community.

I bet if you asked any kid today what Easter is all about, they would tell you some gibberish like it is the "day I get a basket of candy and an 8 track tape player…" or something to that effect. Kids today don't know a damned thing about the holiday or what it is about. And they have it too damned easy, too!!! We didn't get an Easter basket when I was a kid; we were lucky to get new cardboard to fill in the holes in our shoes and even luckier if Mom found the time to mend the holes in our gloves!!

But what's the point of my even trying anymore. I've had it with today's prissy parents and their kids. And I could tell you a thing or two about the stupid relatives coming to my house this weekend, but all you need do is to view my past columns to know that story. To be honest, if I go through the trouble of printing the whole sorry scene once again, I'll throw up!!

So, all you dimwit, robotic liberals, enjoy your Easter. Hell, maybe you'll even get a stimulus check in your baskets. As for me, I'll feast on a dinner of fresh smoked ham, retire to my upstairs attic which I've turned into a den, light up a lucky, pour down a bottle of Steg, and fire up the ol' victrola to listen to the soothing sounds of Bing Crosby singing Easter Parade.

Happy Easter, I hate you all!!!!!!!