Friday, April 30, 2010
Thanks to all of you for pointing out that the audio of the WILK interview with Tom Marino was automatically playing every time you opened up Gort42. I tried to disable it by tweaking the HTML code several times but nothing worked so I deleted the post. I did save it and the comments and will repost it over the weekend.
Mrs. G said it's typical, you just can't get Corbett to shut up.
His Holiness grants dispensation. The Saturday meeting will now officially be observed as The Gort 42 birthday/Blogiversary Party.
This dispensation, however, is valid only for this singular occasion. Next year, the gathering shall revert to its traditional name.
The 13th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1st 4PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre.
The weather people are saying it will get into the 80's tomorrow so a good way to cool off after you get your yard work done is to grab a cold beer at a neighborhood bar that has great burgers.
But you have to order it right.
A cheeseburger, medium rare on a lightly toasted bun with just a hint of mayo. Topped with freshly washed iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes and circles of raw onion. To be accompanied with golden pommes de terre frites and a special treat would be if it came with a quarter stick of a kosher dill.
Stop by and I will buy you a beverage. I have a bunch of chits that I need to cash in.
Full list of candidates on the Luzerne County website.
My name is Sabrina McLaughlin and I am running for Democratic State Committee. I am 28 years old, a resident of Conyngham Borough, and a graduate of Wilkes University and SUNY Binghamton. I am the daughter of a single mom and a military dad who spent most of his career with the USAF serving overseas. My grandparents also had a very influential role in my upbringing—they are hard-working blue collar labor Democrats who raised me to understand the value and the potential to serve others that is represented by the Party of F.D.R. and The New Deal, of J.F.K. and L.B.J.’s “Great Society”. I do not come from a family that is very well-connected when it comes to proximity to political power, but by their modest example my parents and grandparents taught me the importance of patriotism, political awareness and activism, and public service. In my professional life I have worked in the educational sector (as an adjunct professor at LCCC), and I have had opportunities to work for the Democratic Party professionally, most notably as a junior staffer on the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008.
Regarding my motives for seeking a more visible leadership role in the Democratic Party—one important reason I am running for State Committee is because I strongly believe that it is vital to have a variety of generational perspectives represented in political leadership. In discussions with local voters over several years of active political involvement, I have come to realize that there are sometimes deep divisions that exist between the generations—between more youthful voters, my generation of older 20somethings and 30/40somethings, middle-aged folks, and senior citizens. I sincerely want to work very hard to bridge these gaps and improve communication and cooperation between voters of all ages. We have more in common than we might think when it comes to important issues, and we are all stronger when we are working together for our mutual benefit. I believe it is also very important for strong, well-informed, and politically independent women to share in a more visible leadership role in our local and state Democratic Party. I will challenge myself to help provide that leadership, and will provide mentoring and encouragement to other women—especially younger women—to become more well-informed, and more politically aware and active.
In this primary election, there are more of us running for Democratic State Committee than there are available positions—voters will have to choose a selection from among us, and every vote is critical. I am 3rd on the ballot in the list of candidates running for State Committee—I am respectfully asking for your vote, and I promise that in return I will hold myself accountable to you and will work hard to have earned your trusting me with this responsibility.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
SCRANTON - Former Luzerne County Judge Michael Conahan has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to a single count of racketeering conspiracy.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Controller’s Office did not have copies of several contracts that have come under scrutiny in recent months, including ones for a River Common video, the Wyoming Valley Airport management company and a county records improvement consultant, he said.
Griffith has recently been in the news a lot lately and some people have accused him of grandstanding. I'm reminded of the old adage "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." I say every time he finds a problem he should make it public.
He wants the Sheriff's Department to account for all the firearms that are in their possession after it came to light that they were selling machine guns and other weapons without approval. Acting Sheriff Charles Guarnieri has been stonewalling.
Former Sheriff Michael Savokinas agreed to the Tommy gun sale in August 2009, and the transaction was completed after Savokinas resigned and Guarnieri became acting sheriff in September. Solicitor Vito DeLuca has said only county commissioners can approve sales of property, including firearms issued to the sheriff's office.
Records submitted by Guarnieri show the sheriff's office sold 42 handguns to sheriff's deputies in May and January. Those sales totaled $5,150.
He has also stopped outrageous bonus payments to a select few Sheriff's Deputies.
Other items under scrutiny are cell phones and driver's licenses.
I always said Walter was a pain in the ass and that is a good thing.
With just a few weeks away I wanted to remind everyone that it is so important to exercise your right to vote and that all of you who are registered republicans in Luzerne County I hope that if you seek change here in the county, if you want to be proud to reside here, and if you want to trust in our elected officials again, I ask that you vote for me for Republican State Committee and together we'll put our county back on the right track again.
Through the election of true conservative candidates who value integrity, prudence, and responsibility in the execution of their duties as elected officials, we can create the change we need in the hope of making the future of this county much brighter for the next generation of citizens. Not only should our public officials hold these personal values, but they should seek to protect our interests as Pennsylvanians both in Harrisburg and Washington.
First and foremost, for too long elected officials, both Democrat and Republicans alike, have created an environment of apathy and discontent, which has led to such widespread corruption on so many levels that it is no surprise to open up the newspaper on a daily basis to see another elected official being investigated for some ethical and/or legal matter related to their conduct as public officials. We need to put a stop to the corruption and return the trust of the people and create an environment where citizens want to participate in our state and local government and ensure that the future of our county shines much brighter than those dark days we have become so accustomed to.
Secondly, we need conservative elected officials to believe that the way to rebuild our economy is through using fiscally responsible ideas and continue to push for new, innovative ways to create small business opportunities that are so vital to sustaining our local economy.
Lastly, we need conservative leaders who look to strengthen our communities because the citizens of Pennsylvania deserve to live in a Pennsylvania that creates hope and opportunity for its citizens, not despair and distrust. Our children and grandchildren deserve all the opportunities to succeed in the 21st century and without the right leadership, we cannot create an environment for success.
I hope that those of you who believe that there are better days ahead for us here in Pennsylvania and in Luzerne County, who believe that the corruption has gone on for too long and we need leaders who will bring responsibility and trust to the table every day, and who want to create an environment for our citizens where hope and hard work lead to success, I ask that you vote for me on May 18th, and together we can be the change we need and make our community, state, and country, great again.
Thank you and God Bless,
Frank J. Mazza
Candidate for republican State Committee
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
O'Meara is a local conservative businessman who decided to run because he knows he can make a difference and was tired of seeing an uncontested race for the seat. O'Meara believes he can right the ship in the 121st District and bring common sense back to the statehouse.
Good luck with that common sense thing. He is unopposed for the Republican nomination and will take on 2 term state rep Eddie Day Pashinski in the fall. Pashinski has had success in getting legislation that he authored actually passed into law including tracking illegal scrap metal and reforming the way Liquid Fuels Tax funds are used. He is a guy with a big toothy smile who has become a hero to Dental assistants throughout the Commonwealth. Pretty good for a 2 term rep.
Yes Pashinski was unopposed in 2008 but he won a spirited primary in 2006 against Brian O'Donnell, Ed Hayward and used car salesman Bob Reilly who has been arrested for taking bribes in connection with his other part time job as the Luzerne County Clerk of Courts.
In the fall of that year he defeated former reformer Christine " please vote for me for something" Katsock. When Katsock finally did get elected to something after countless tries she wasted no time in disappointing all the people who supported her over the years.
My name is Thomas Shubilla, candidate for Democratic State Committee. I was born, raised, and currently reside in Plains Township, attended Bishop O'Reilly High School and graduated from King's College with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications.
The question I have been asked most often is, “Why are you running for Democratic State Committee?”.
The answer is simple, because I am committed to the Democratic Party and the party's principles. I am not committed to one individual candidate. Instead I am committed to electing Democrats in the general election, and endorsing the candidates that embody principles of the party in the Democratic Primary, such a commitment to keeping the Democratic Party the party of progress, labor, and working families.
I have made 4 campaign promises, these promises I will keep-
-Increase voter participation, registration and communication
-Make informed decisions on the adoption of party resolutions and goals
-Support the socio-economic concerns of labor
-Organize the Democratic Party to better meet the needs of the people
My involvement in politics began in 2006 when I interned for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Wilkes-Barre. My duties were, but not limited to, office management, volunteer recruitment, voter identification, and special events coordinator. In 2008 I volunteered for Obama for America, by canvasing neighborhoods, making phone calls and serving as Staging Location Director during both the primary and general election. I was a the treasurer and assisted in the organization of Luzerne Home Rule which passed in Luzerne County with 88% of the vote. In the general election in 2009 I assisted all Democratic Candidates in their election bids.
If elected I will continue my involvement and will work hard for the Democratic Party. I am located first on the ballot and I would appreciate your vote!
Thank you for your consideration,
Thomas M. Shubilla
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Since I started this there must have been a 100 sites that popped up devoted to local politics that disappeared after a short time. We have a hard core of people that have toughed it out that keep tapping away and were recognized in newspaper stories recently. Forgive me for not linking to you all but I'm sure I would omit someone. See the sidebar.
We are truly fortunate to have a couple of local newspapers with great reporters that give us fodder to write about everyday. W-B/Scranton is one of the few markets left in the USA with competing papers. I have occasionally broke a story but our local press do it everyday.
The Blogfather put together this video a few years ago.
I'm tempted to bill the Kentucky Derby get together as the Gort 42 birthday/Blogiversary Party. I will need the permission of Pope George Ringo to do that.
None of us are big horse race fans but this is just another excuse to infuse cash into the malt beverage industry to ensure it's liquidity. After all, we don't want D.G. Yuengling & Son to go the way of General Motors.
This is not a mega-meetup like the one last month a Rooney's (we will do that again in the fall) and it has not been sanctioned by the Northeast Blogging Council. But of course everyone is welcome.
All candiates are invited to send along a guest post. Here is the first offering.
My name is Jane Waitkus and I am running for a position on the Democratic State Committee during the May 18 primary election. My husband and I live in Mountain Top.
My family came to Luzerne County about one hundred years ago from Eastern and Central Europe. My grandparents were not wealthy people, but they were willing to work hard to improve their lives. My grandfathers were coal miners, and my grandmothers worked long hours running family boarding houses and caring for their children. I have been blessed with educational opportunities not even imagined by my grandparents, and I am employed at Penn State Hazleton. This spring I am teaching an American Studies class on Anthracite coal mining.
If I am fortunate enough to win one of the positions on the Democratic State Committee, I will do my best to represent ordinary working-class Democrats. I will be accessible to all Democrats in Luzerne County and will hold meetings several times a year in order to listen to thoughts and concerns. For many years in Luzerne county-going back to the coal barons-the wealthy, the powerful, and the well-connected have been the only voice heard in Harrisburg. It is time for that to change.
The Democratic State Committee positions are unpaid. If elected, I will spend my own money to attend meetings several times a year in Harrisburg. There is no reimbursement for travel. One of the responsibilities of the position is to help identify candidates to run for statewide office-what a great opportunity to open up the party to Democrats from all walks of life.
In Luzerne County there is a long list of candidates running for a slot on the Democratic State Committee, and my name is next to the bottom of the list on the ballot. I humbly ask all registered democratic voters in Luzerne County to look for my name on the ballot and vote for me.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Vice President made a compelling case to Democrats to vote for you although you were a Republican. What do you tell a lifelong Democrat like myself who never voted for you in the past why should I vote for you this time?
My roots go back to the Democratic Party originally. My parents were immigrants, FDR immigrants, hard hit by the depression. I was a JFK Democrat even served as one of the young lawyers on Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Came back to Philadelphia were I won some big cases and wanted to run for DA on the Democratic ticket but the party leaders said we don’t want an honest, tough DA in Philadelphia which won’t shock anybody about Philadelphia. The Republican Party came to me and said we haven’t won an election in a long time run on our ticket no strings attached. I didn’t even change my registration I ran as a Democrat on the Republican ticket ,won, and for a long time tried to bring some moderation to the Republican Party. And when President Obama wanted the stimulus package and we were about to slide into a 1929 Depression I simply would not be part of Republican obstructionism and I joined Obama. During my tenure in the Senate I have voted with Democrats probably more often on the big issues than with Republicans. I supported a woman’s right to choose, I opposed Bork. It would be a different country with Bork. I’m pro labor and got the AFL-CIO endorsement. I’m against warentless wiretapping, against Guantanamo and in favor of raising the minimum wage. Provided the 60th vote for the health care package. When August came I went out to the town hall meetings and defended Obama and the health care package
Part of the Military Commissions Act says that the government can declare a United States citizen arrested in the US an enemy combatant and hold them indefinitely. Is there any chance you can revisit that?
I think that’s wrong unless there is probable cause and a reason to hold them. The federal courts have taken jurisdiction over habeas corpus which I have pushed and I think that is an issue to be revisited and I think that the courts are taking it up. You have seen some limitations on detentions. There has to be a reason, there has to be a risk to the United States government on an evidentiary basis before that kind of detention can be justifiable.
Friday, April 23, 2010
In an interview with the CV he defended the tough decisions he has had to make as Mayor such as raising taxes and closing Firehouses.
for "modernized government in Harrisburg."
Of course, according to some other "Tea Party" types out there, it is often said that Kenya's major export is none other than President Barack Obama, who was supposedly born in Kenya, then covertly smuggled into the United States so that a biracial child named Barack Hussein Obama would one day grow up and run for president as part of a grand Marxist conspiracy.
But so far, it just looks like the Kenyans are bringing in some of their fine tea for this Capitol Hill event.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The League of Women Voters hosted a debate last night between the three Democratic candidates for State Representative from the 119th district. Gort knew I would be going and would have a lot to say so he asked me to prepare a guest post.
The candidates are Gary Zingaretti, Bob Morgan and Gerald Mullery. I had reached out to each of them as soon as I realized that John Yudichak would not be running for the seat again. Eventually I volunteered briefly for Justin Behrens before he dropped out of this race. I have friends who are supporting Morgan, my grandmother has a Zingaretti sign in her yard and at one point I thought I would vote for Mullery on a friend’s recommendation. So I was there without a horse in the race.
One thing that surprised me was that the candidates all took care to position themselves to the right. It was as if they were apologizing for having a “D” after their names, claiming it is mostly because their parents were doing it. I wonder if they realize that this district has one of the highest percentages of Democrats outside of Philadelphia. No matter who wins this seat, they leave themselves open to a challenge from a populist progressive. Especially if that challenger can expand the electorate by speaking to issues that traditional media isn’t covering.
Before the candidates got there I wrote a question about taxation. It stated that property and sales taxes are regressive and a burden to working class families so what, if anything, can be done about it?
Morgan was the only one to answer correctly, that we need a more progressive income tax even if it takes an amendment to our constitution. He added that we can eventually eliminate property tax.
Zingaretti believes that, to lower property tax, we must have economic development first. That we should expand the number of items that sales tax applies to and bring it lower than 6%. With the working poor loosing almost a third of their income on taxes, I believe economic development is dependent on reducing property tax.
Mullery wants to know where the gaming revenue is that was supposedly going to lower our property tax. Yeah where the hell is that money anyway? We gave those casinos low taxes and plenty of incentive to make a killing suckering us out of money and didn’t get our tax relief. I think we threw good money after bad.
Mullery also stated that progressive tax is unfair. That is real bad news for the poorer 98% of us. If our federal government agreed with him we would be paying much higher tax rates and getting much less from our government.
Often, it is mentioned that, our state’s constitution bars a progressive tax with its uniformity clause. But the federal government and other states that have graduated taxes have similar clauses. Uniformity requires that the law applies the same way regardless of geographic location among other things but if they wanted a flat tax to be part of our constitution why didn’t they say so? What we are left with is that the working class people are paying a higher percentage of their income into property tax and sales tax than our very rich.
But less about what they didn’t talk about and more about what they did.
The issue of the state pension crisis came up at several points and I think all of the candidates had real solutions to it. Mullery noted that we should start by not hiring one more person under the current system. Morgan went a step further in saying that we need to role back the pension for legislators but not for teachers or state employees. Zingaretti agreed and pointed out that taking the new pension plan away from teachers would result in an uphill legal battle so it is out of the question.
He feels that we need to move away from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. This sounds pretty smart to me. Instead of guaranteeing a pension we promise a certain amount that the state will contribute. Again this is all for people that we hire going forward and wont effect anyone already teaching or working for the state.
On library funding Morgan and Zingaretti both see it as part of our commitment to education whereas Mullery expressed his support for libraries but qualified it with something to the effect of, only when our state can afford it.
Public education is the best investment our state can make. A national study showed that we get back 17 dollars for every 1 we put into educating. That is only a ten year turn around too. A similar, more recent, one in New York State showed that their return is closer to 27 dollars. If these numbers hold up at all, we need to be pumping cash hand over fist into our schools not waiting till we can afford it.
On another topic Mullery supports term limits and serious campaign finance reform. He even supported a limit on how much money can be spent for a campaign. Hells yeah, this would help force candidates to get out and talk to people more about specific policies instead of raising more money for TV adds that make you look like a nice guy but don’t reveal any of your ideology.
Morgan mentioned that we need more controls on lobbyists. He said we have legislators getting paid to lobby the governor. I didn’t know that but I did know we have some of the weakest campaign finance reporting laws in the country.
When they were asked about the budget impasse they all had some ideas on the budget. I didn’t take notes on the impasse part because as ridiculous as the delay was it is still more important that the thing works, which for the most part, it doesn’t.
Mullery believes that we need to cut way more than the 1% of spending like we did with the most recent budget. He talked about the 20% of our budget that is reserved for discretionary like he couldn’t wait to find stuff to cut. The other 80% is the money they have a more specific plan for when they write the budget. He believes we need “sheer fiscal responsibility.” I don’t see how his brand of fiscal conservatism is responsible and I argue that it has led to this state to conserving more problems than cash in the past.
Zingaretti pointed out that much of the discretionary spending is used to keep our kids in school and that makes us money in the long run (DING!). He believes the state should ask its agencies to prepare budgets, not based on how much money they got last year, but a 10% cut.
On gas drilling it was Morgan’s turn to answer first and he feels it will be a boon to our economy but that we must do it right to protect the environment. He and Zingaretti agreed we need higher standards than we had with coal mining back in the day. Zingaretti again offered some operational specifics like properly staffing DEP agents at the well locations and charging those costs to gas companies who are making a profit.
It is a great idea to internalize the costs, but I wish there was someone on stage to rail against the privatizing of this effort. If we are going to rape our land in a risky move to pick up a few bucks can’t we put all of the profits into our state instead of a portion? We could still involve the free market but it would be subservient to our democracy instead of vise versa.
Mullery is opposed to a moratorium on drilling because we need the jobs so desperately. If I can light the water in my tub on fire, I’m moving. I don’t care how awesome my job is.
There was a question about infrastructure and some of the candidates talked about the proposal to toll I80. Mullery did not. He said we should maintain our current budget and infrastructure. Which is impossible, over 20% of our bridges are in substandard conditions and at the current rate we will still be over 20% in five years. PennDot did a study and said they need $400 million to ensure we don’t have a collapse.
Morgan wants 40% of the money from gas drilling in Marcellus Shale to go towards infrastructure in the communities affected by it. Zingaretti would not move forward with another proposal to tax I80 and would also use money from gas drilling. He believes we need to privatize our interstate highway system (facepalm).
All of the candidates noted that Pennsylvania’s small businesses are paying a tax of 9.9%. That is good for second highest in the nation. In post game questioning Morgan noted that 71% of companies doing business here are not paying that tax. Many of them achieve this by incorporating in Delaware where it is easy and cheap. I didn’t realize it was that bad.
There were some opening and closing arguments, wherein the candidates touted their experience and reputation. There are some differences in experience but I don’t think it would be a big factor in their overall performance as a legislator. They all seem like great members of their communities.
I was very pleased that we heard some distinctly different policies and some new viewpoints. There were a bunch of people covering it and if there papers hit their mark, the voters will probably know a bit more about these candidates then they usually do when there isn’t an incumbent. In that regard the evening was a win for everyone.
I am surprised to report I might vote for Morgan. I tore him up in his last effort to become controller for what I felt was a conflict of interest. Zingaretti and I had a great, although quick, conversation about local government reforms including the forthcoming home rule charter and we saw eye to eye on a lot of them. He is hesitant to fight for a more fair system income tax though and that is a big issue to me. Regardless I will tell my grandmother to keep the red sign in her yard and I will probably not endorse anyone to my friends. They will be shocked.
Another big issue for me is healthcare. Nobody mentioned tonight that there are a couple million people in this state without care. That the states are more empowered to deal with it even considering the restrictions in the recent federal bill. We will either fight like hell for a real solution or continue to see our care decline in quality and rise in costs.
I also had a chance to speak with Rick Arnold the lone Republican in this race. I asked him about how the Democratic candidates are talking up their conservative credentials and asked if he was impressed. He avoids the labels and says that in this district we are cut from the same cloth of traditional values and real character. “It is about the people not the party.”
About our income tax he feels replacing it with a progressive one would be unconstitutional. He wants to cut wasteful spending and create a better business environment. That we have a huge amount of red tape and fat to cut although he wouldn’t be casual about supporting the elimination of state employee jobs.
He seems like a pretty genuine guy who I happen to disagree with on everything he said. I wonder if he will give on of our conservadem candidates a run for their money.
The CV and TL covered the event
119th Democrats find middle ground
As three Democrats sought to separate themselves in the chase for the 119th Legislative District seat, a longtime finance man embraced business, another called himself a Blue Dog Democrat and a third declared himself "quasi-Republican" when considering economic development.
House hopefuls talk issues
Morgan, Mullery and Zingaretti are scheduled to debate again during the Meet The Candidates Night hosted by the South Valley Chamber of Commerce at 7 p.m. May 10 at the Luzerne County Community College’s Educational Conference Center.
I chatted with and exchanged emails with Jerry Mullery a few days ago. I said I was disapointed with him and he thought it had to do with his CV interview about a teachers union questionnaire that he refused to answer. That wasn't it. I was talking about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promoted by Grover Norquist.
He emailed: So, I've received literally dozens of questionairres from just about every PAC, special interest group and lobbyist you could name and I've told them all to "go to hell I'm not for sale" and the one I sign causes you disappointment. That, in and of itself, is disappointing.
I suppose I could make like every other pol in the mix and continue to make promises I know we cant keep. I've chosen to be honest. I also know that the people I've spoken with when I've gone door-to-door are taxed out. That is why I signed the Pledge.
As I told the voice and as I'm telling you now, I will represent all the taxpayers if elected. What better way to show that then to sign a pledge protecting them.
On the phone I asked him if he knew anything about Norquist and his association with the Club for Growth. He admitted he didn't know anything about him but signed the pledge anyway.
Norquist is best known for this quote, "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years," he says, "to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." He's also a good friend of Jack Abramoff, even helping him with his work for some Indian tribes' that landed him in jail.
I asked him how he would close the budget gap next year if he would handcuff himself by ruling out tax increases. He railed about the the size of the legislature and the associated cost. I pointed out that cutting the legislature would not close the budget gap and would take years to implement anyway and asked him "what programs or agency's would you eliminate to close next years gap? He said he would get back to me. To be fair no politician I have ever talked to, Republican or Democrat, has ever answered that question.
He later sent me an email:
You asked how we close the deficit gap. I will go through each line of the proposed budget before Tuesday's debate, but I am certain it can be done. After the 101 day budget impasse and all the fighting, we cut spending a whopping 1%. 1%. I repeat ... 1%. We can do much, much better. And, we have to (the $2+ Billion in federal funding is gone next year and the "fiscal tsunami" is coming the year after).
Government waste must be stopped.
On gas drilling Mullery supports a moratorium on drilling in state parks and has a family connection to Moon Lake Park so he doesn't want the place destroyed.
Morgan claims he is only "Real Democrat" in the race
BoB MORGAN ONLY DEMOCRAT IN THE ROOM
Bob Morgan only candidate defending Democratic principles
Bob Morgan, Democratic candidate for the 119th District State House Seat, left the House Candidate's Debate the only Democrat in the race. At the debate held Tuesday April 20 held at King's College, one opponent said he was “often accused of bring a Republican” and yet another declared himself “quasi-Republican.”
Morgan, Fairview Twp, was the only candidate who stood up for Democratic principles and repeatedly pledged to put the people of the 119th District ahead of partisan politics.
In the debate, hosted by the League of Women Voters, Morgan was the only candidate committed to dramatically altering the state’s tax system. Morgan said that he would work toward eliminating the use of property taxes as the major funding source for schools and local communities in Pennsylvania. He also expressed support for a Constitutional Convention to deal with fixing the Pennsylvania personal income tax to create a graduated income tax similar to the Federal system. Morgan said “For too long we have created a tax structure that penalizes part-time employees, students and working seniors while preserving a tax structure that benefits corporations. One of my opponents has proposed cutting the corporate tax, while I have advocated restructuring the income tax and property tax systems to benefit the great majority of our citizens.”
Morgan also addressed the upcoming pension funding crisis and placed the blame squarely on the State Legislature for the 2001 pay hike and 50% pension increase. “We must remember that the Legislature voted to increase their own pay and benefits at 2 a.m. in the hopes we wouldn’t notice. We now have to solve that crisis.
“It is time to remember we serve the people when we are in Harrisburg, not the powerful. For too long our citizens have felt their elected representatives do not work for them, to that end I have pledged to be a full-time representative, I will not have any outside business interests. ” said Morgan. The remaining candidates chose not to make this commitment.
In addition Morgan expressed strong support for increased education funding for our schools and libraries.
When it comes to protecting the Susquehanna River and the waters that feed it our online and in person leader is Don Williams, also known as Kayak Dude, who will be busy today.
*** PA Statewide Earth Day Protest ***
On Thursday April 22nd, we will be gathering outside the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s regional offices - as one - to call for:
an immediate moratorium on all horizontal hydrofracturing in the Commonwealth, including in our state forests and on floodplains,
an immediate freeze on all new Marcellus Shale drilling permits throughout Pennsylvania,
the immediate suspension of the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions’ authority to approve drilling-related water withdrawals anywhere in their respective watersheds, and, if necessary,
the immediate resignation of DEP Secretary John Hanger.
*** Keynote speakers and scheduled activities will commence at noon at the following DEP Regional Offices: Norristown / Wilkes-Barre / Pittsburgh / Williamsport / Meadville / Harrisburg ***
DEP Regional Office locations can be found at:
This April 22nd marks the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day. In 1970, almost 20 million people gathered across the nation to celebrate, educate and demonstrate. It was a nationwide grassroots teach-in that gave rise to the modern day environmental movement.
The 1970s saw passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Beginning in the 80s, large Earth Day events have been dominated by corporations with little grassroots input and limited involvement.
Today, drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation - utilizing horizontal hydrofracturing - is a serious and growing threat to our Commonwealth's precious clean waters and majestic state forests.
Pennsylvania’s Constitution states that "All power is inherent in the people". This April 22nd, it is time to come together - as one - to protect our Commonwealth's public natural resources and to renew the promise of the first Earth Day for generations yet to come.
The local Green Party will also be out in force:
Green Parties of Northeastern Pennsylvania to join citizen groups for Earth Day press conference/rally/protest regarding gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region. Events are part of statewide events on drilling scheduled throughout Pennsylvania.
On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010; groups from all over Northeastern Pennsylvania will come together on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre; beginning at 11 AM; for a press conference on the environmental threats of gas drilling in Pennsylvania. The event is being coordinated by the Green Parties of the northeastern section of the state. Greens from Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Wayne and Susquehanna counties participated in the planning of the event, along with members of various citizen groups concerned about this issue.
Among the activist groups supporting the Earth Day protests are: The Sierra Club, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition (GDAC), Citizens for Clean Water, No Drill NEPA, Energy Justice; to name a few. Speakers will include Dr. Gere Reisinger of GDAC, Dr. Richard Aston of the Green Party, Atty. Frank J. Muraca from the PA Sierra Club and Jay Sweeney of the Wyoming County Green Party and candidate for State Representative in the 111th District.
Speakers will address the unified demands of environmentalists concerning drilling issues, which include:
* an immediate moratorium on all horizontal hydrofracturing in the Commonwealth, including in our state forests and on floodplains,
* an immediate freeze on all new Marcellus Shale drilling permits throughout Pennsylvania,
* the immediate suspension of the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions’ authority to approve drilling-related water withdrawals anywhere in their respective watersheds, and, if necessary,
* the immediate resignation of DEP Secretary John Hanger.
Similar protests and rallies will be held throughout Pennsylvania on Thursday. They are planned for Norristown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Meadville, and Williamsport. Speakers will be available to answer questions for the media from 11:00 to noon. Speakers and activities commence at 12:00 noon.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
If you want to see our always colorful Vice President who is never at a loss for words on Friday at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport you will need a ticket. They can be obtained at the Arlen Specter Scranton office today and tomorrow located at 520 Spruce St, 2nd floor in Biden's hometown of Scranton between 10AM and 5PM. The rally will be in one of the hangers just follow the signs and look for lots of law enforcement types. Doors open at 12:30PM and the program is scheduled to start at 2PM but they always run late. This is a BFD.
Update from Herself: For folks from Luzerne County and other areas who can't make it to Scranton there will be a ticket pickup for Friday's event in Wilkes-Barre as well:
DAY/DATE: THURSDAY APRIL 22nd
TIME: 12pm to 6pm
PLACE: BARNES & NOBLE ON PUBLIC SQUARE in WILKES-BARRE-- 7 S. Main St.
Specter's Democratic primary opponent was in Wilkes-Barre yesterday saying small businesses should have greater access to federal contracts decrying the influence of big business in the US Senate. Joe Sestak slammed Specter
CV: "I believe that the Democratic establishment in Washington, D.C., supported by the Democratic establishment in Harrisburg, got off track when it felt it had to make a political deal with Arlen Specter so he could try to keep his job because he couldn't win in the Republican primary," Sestak said.
Sestak finally dipped into his $5 Million warchest to go up on the the air with this bio ad
Specter had 2 positive ads running over the weekend but now is up with a spot that starts off calling Sestak Captain Queeg. If I didn't know better I would think that Capitol Ideas helped write the script. What about the strawberry's? Then he accuses him of being AWOL from Congress. Specter has switched to the Dems but this ad is out of the Karl Rove playbook. Attack your opponent's strength. Just like Bush tore down John Kerry's military service Specter is trying to do the same to Sestak.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The candidates are
Gort42 should have a report from a special correspondent later tonight. I had a chance to talk with Mullery over the weekend and will include it in the recap.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Republican Candidate for State Representative, 118th District
Monday, April 19, 7 p.m.
Dupont VFW, Main Street, Dupont
O'Conner is the only candidate for the nomination and will take on Democratic State Rep. Mike Carroll in the fall.
Here is list of what is important to him from the issues page on his website:
PROTECT OUR LIBERTIES
• Support state sovereignty under the 10th amendment.
• Fight unconstitutional federal takeovers of healthcare and industry.
• Support the Pa. Freedom of Healthcare Act (House Bill 2053 of 2009).
• Reduce the size of state government
• Lower taxes on individuals and businesses
• No toll booths on Route 80
• Lower property taxes
• Build nuclear power plants to meet growing energy needs and create jobs.
• Drill for natural gas to reduce dependence on foreign energy.
• Marcellus shale drilling creates jobs, economic growth and domestic energy.
PROTECT 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
• Repeal state sales tax on ammunition.
• Reclaim abandoned quarries by converting to public shooting ranges.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Joe will join members of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre business community to describe how he will work to bring more federal funding to Northeast Pennsylvania as the state's next U.S. Senator. Joe's opponent, 30-year Senator Arlen Specter, has made his ability to obtain earmarks for Pennsylvania projects the hallmark of his campaign, but Specter has lost his seniority and actually brought back less funding to the Commonwealth than first-term Senator Bob Casey in Casey's first year.
In his District, Joe has demonstrated other ways to win federal resources. As one example, Joe will bring to the event businessman Ed Brill, founder of Brill Worldwide Investments (BWWI). Through Joe's Business Procurement Summit, Ed has helped Pennsylvania small businesses win more than $13 million in federal contracts.
The event is Monday, April 19th at 1:00pm at The Innovation Center at Wilkes:
The Innovation Center at Wilkes
7 S. Main Street
2nd Floor (above the Barnes & Noble Store)
Wilkes Barre, PA 18701
On Friday Vice President Joe Biden will be at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport for a rally to support the Pork King himself Senator Arlen Specter. I don't have all the details yet but I'm told many local Democratic officials will attend including Congressman Kanjorski
I hope to make this event because it's not everyday that the Vice-President of the United States comes to town. It's a Big Fucking Deal!
Yes Health Care Reform is a BFD. Just ask this guy who was rejected for health insurance because he has a pre -existing condition.
Geisinger TV rep can’t get a Geisinger policy
“Our decision to decline your application for insurance was based on the following reasons: STROKE,” the letter stated. “According to the non-group underwriting standards and guidelines, the above mentioned condition is disqualifying.”
Saturday, April 17, 2010
SELINSGROVE, PA – Today, Commissioner Malcolm Derk announced the endorsement of one State Representative and five former and current County Commissioners in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District.
State Representative Adam Harris (R-82), Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz, Union County Commissioner Preston Boop, Tioga County Commissioners Erick Coolidge and Mark Hamilton, and former Montour County Commissioner Harold Hurst announced today that they have endorsed the candidacy of Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk for Congress.
With these endorsements, Malcolm Derk now has the support of nine State and County officials, including State Senator John Gordner, and Representatives Merle Philips and Russ Fairchild.
Three of these endorsees, Rep. Harris, Commissioner Boop, and Commissioner Kantz have worked closely with Derk throughout his tenure as Snyder County Commissioner and during his prior service as a member and President of the Freeburg Borough Council.
Regarding his endorsement, Representative Harris said, “I have known Malcolm for a long time. He has the values that we desperately need in Washington. He will stand strong against government bailouts, massive government takeover bills, and will represent the people, not special interests.”
“I have worked with Malcolm Derk everyday for two years and I am certain that he is the right person for this job,” said Joe Kantz. “He is the only person running who has balanced budgets, refused to raise taxes, and has had the courage to say no to corporate bailouts. While other candidates talk about being fiscally conservative, Malcolm has a proven record.” Kantz added, “Washington DC needs someone like Malcolm Derk. He is someone who favors smaller government and has conservative values.”
“As a commissioner, I am humbled to have the support of these six individuals,” Derk said. “Representative Harris and Commissioners Boop, Kantz, Coolidge, Hamilton, and Hurst represent the best in government leadership and I will work hard every day to represent the citizens of PA’s 10th district as well as these leaders have represented their constituents.”
He also sent this to the TL.
Recently I have seen letters supporting Congressman Chris Carney as "brave and courageous." I dare Rep. Carney to tell me that he did not have a one-on-one meeting with Nancy Pelosi, the most liberal democrat in Congress. He changed his vote and his courageous and brave stance doomed many of the unborn. However that is a whole other letter.
There is a reason I don't trust the Citizen's Voice and it is this. Among research I noticed on opensecrets.org that James Haggerty Sr. has donated three thousand dollars to the campaign of Chris Carney. Matthew Haggerty has donated 2500.00 and Daniel Haggerty has donated eight hundred dollars to Rep. Carney. This wouldn't be an issue except that two are publishers and one is the General Manager of Times-Shamrock which owns our local Citizens Voice and Scranton Times. How am I supposed to read their endorsements knowing that they have invested money in candidates. I also researched the editors and managing staff of your news paper and there were no donations to candidates. I guess this clearly shows why the Times Leader is the newspaper to trust when it comes down to endorsements.
In the end, predictions don't matter when you have a horse in the race. Citizens voice has turned out to be biased and now should be seen as flawed when they make their endorsements this fall when it comes to candidates they monetarily supported. So if the Citizens Voice doesn't print your letter that is against Chris Carney's vote then perhaps this has set the record straight.
Here are my sources for your review
Maybe he missed this LTE in yesterday's Voice
Reps. Carney and Kanjorski voted wrong on health care
I find the editorial section describing the "courageous" actions of congress downright insulting. If anything, this vote demonstrated how Congress is more interested in special deals and listening to party leadership than in respecting the wishes of their constituency. Chris Carney's 10th district is 5 to 4 Republican, yet he voted for a wasteful bill because "Americans deserve the same health care as congress." Unfortunately, Mr. Carney fails to understand that Americans are not allowed to spend money recklessly like their congressional counterparts.
Paul Kanjorski is worse. He essentially voted for the end of Sallie Mae in his own district with the Federal takeover of student loans. In this economy, he didn't place the interests of his constituents first.
I intend to vote against Carney in the upcoming election.
Friday, April 16, 2010
28 and counting
Feds: Reilly took $1,500 in bribes from constructon contrator
The bribery charges filed against Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Robert Reilly today relate to his alleged acceptance of $1,500 in kickbacks from contractor Barton Weidlich for work Weidlich performed in the Clerk of Courts office and another county building, according to an affidavit...
Weidlich said he also paid Reilly kickbacks for work that was performed in a building the county was using for storage located behind Antonio’s Pizza on River Street. All tolled, Weidlich said he paid kickbacks to Reilly five to seven times totaling $1,500.
Statement by Ed Mitchell, spokesman, Pennsylvanians for Kanjorski
Like he does when discussing Hazleton city finances, Mayor Lou Barletta cooked the books all week on how much money his congressional campaign raised this quarter. In press releases, Barletta said he took in about $300,000 since he began his race. He actually took in $286,013. He says he has $202,000 cash on hand, but when you subtract the $136,000 debt he has, the amount is actually closer to $67,000 cash on hand.
Barletta fails to inspire people. People don’t donate to him like other Republican candidates for congress in the state. He’s a spin meister. He’s actually spinning his wheels.
And despite telling potential donors that he was raising money to pay off his debt to himself, Barletta has paid nothing back yet. He misled donors to get them to encourage him to run and he might pay himself off at any moment thus further weakening his cash situation.
Another sorry fundraising quarter for Barletta who’s lost twice now to Congressman Kanjorski and looks to be on his way to “Strike Three and You’re Out.”
I love red meat in politics and this is it. What is interesting is that the Kanjo camp is ignorring primary opponent Corey O'Brien.
I'll be reading the FEC campaign finance over the weekend and will give you a report .
Sometimes there is not much to write about and then there is too much. I hope to cover some of these topics in the coming days but will not get to them all. Guest posts are always welcome.
The FEC reports for the 1st quarter from our Congressional candidates are online.
Where does W-B councilman Tony Thomas actually live
The PA DEP shut down Cabot Oil and Gas
Moon Lake I'm thinking of joining the Sierra Club
More corruption in Luzerne County that spills over into Lackawanna County ensarling a PA 22nd Senate District candidate
The Luzerne County Commssioners can't even to agree to buy a time clock without intrigue
The decision by Luzerne Borough to drop police coverage by Swoyersville stinks to high heaven
The Luzerne County Government Study Commission is hell bent on putting something on the ballot by November
Yuddy and Leighton will debate
This guy is a big disappointment
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The conventional wisdom is that a freshman congressman is most vulnerable in the next election. But the national trend combined with the primary bloodbath that left many Meuser supporters resentful saw Congressman Chris Carney reelected by a big margin (56%-44%).
This year the Republicans have convinced themselves that Health Care Reform is so unpopular with people that think like them and live in the same echo chamber that he is a goner. I think the economy will be a bigger issue in the fall as it always is in any federal election.
All 3 GOP hopefuls oppose HCR and rail against deficits yet propose even more tax cuts. I call them the Tax Cut Triplets.
Malcolm Derk will not be on the air anytime soon. He is the first to file a FEC report showing that he only raised $18,000 in the first quarter with just $11,000 cash on hand. A few days ago his campaign sent out a press release that said he will be touring all 14 counties in the district. That sounds nice but it didn't bother to tell us where he will be and when.
Dave Madeira has the best website of the 3 with a full calendar of events plus all his press releases. and much more. He is planning a really neat event on 235th ANNIVERSARY OF PAUL REVERE'S FAMOUS RIDE . He will be riding a motorcycle across the district and tells us where to find him.
The ride will start at 12:30 p.m. in Shamokin and make stops in Muncy, Dushore and Tunkhannock before ending in Honesdale at 5:30 p.m. The 165-mile ride will go through Northumberland, Snyder, Union, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Wayne counties.
I hope he wears a helmet or at least a tri corn hat. This is kind of like teabaggers meet the Hell's Angels.
Tom Marino made a typo on his financial dislosure report. Louis DeNaples paid him a quarter of million dollars not $25,000. He defends writing a reference for DeNaples when he was applying for a slots license saying
"Mr. DeNaples has been a friend of mine for a long time," Marino said. "He's been very good to this state. He's created thousands and thousands of jobs, and I'm not throwing Mr. DeNaples under the bus for vote."
DeNaples was later indicted for lying on his application but the charges were dismissed. Marino also claims he started the investigation into the Juvie Brothers corruption scandal in Luzerne County when he was the US Attorney.
Conservative website REDSTATE is not a fan of Marino.
Meet Tom Marino, who will certainly be in the DCCC’s crosshairs if he wins the GOP primary in Pennsylvania’s 10th to go up against Rep. Chris Carney (proud member of the Stupak Sellout crowd instrumental in voting ObamaCare into law last week). Marino, a former US Attorney, has his own shady dealings which will make for good campaign fodder in the general.
During Marino’s tenure as US Attorney, local businessman Louis DeNaples was under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for his ties to William D’Elia, head of the Bufalino crime family. It seems DeNaples lied about his relationship with D’Elia to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board when applying for a licence for the Mount Airy Casino. Listed as a personal reference on that same application was none other than US Attorney Tom Marino, the very man running the office investigating DeNaples’ organized crime ties.
The Department of Justice got wind of the conflict of interest and ordered Marino off the investigation, and shortly after the media broke the story he resigned his post… and went to work for Louis DeNaples. (The charges were eventually dropped when DeNaples agreed to place the casino project in the name of a family member.)
The reality is just as bad as–if not worse than–the optics of this scandal. Do we really want someone like Marino representing the GOP in what will be a battleground district this fall? Rep. Carney, the Pelosi-enabling, abortion-funding “Blue Dog” Democrat from a conservative district in northeastern Pennsylvania will have a hay day with Marino’s record. I’ve spoken with people in the district who feel uneasy about Marino and will likely just stay at home rather than having to choose between him and Carney.
One of the keys to a Republican resurgence is not only ensuring we have credibly conservative candidates running for office, but also candidates with a personal and professional record we can be proud of and defend. Tom Marino doesn’t fit the bill.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Dredge-site firms eyed
“I surely don’t want to speculate on what’s happening. … We need to wait and see if there was any wrongdoing. … I hope the reclamation of the minelands will continue and that the amphitheater project also will continue,” Barletta said.
Congressman Paul Kanjorski has been busy defending his vote for Health Care reform to just about every group that will listen to him. He also came up with one of his big ideas like Wall Street West
Kanjorski: W-B could host energy institute
I think this idea has merit in the long run but the potential damage that gas drilling can do to the area can't wait to be addressed. The gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale will happen no matter how much me and other bloggers rail against it. The challenge is to get the federal and state governments to put in tough regulations to protect the water supply.
Corey O'Brien is making hay out of the rift between Kanjo and neighboring Congressman Chris Carney over the Appropriation Committee seat that came open when Jack Murtha died. The long and short of it is Carney thinks that Kanjorski screwed him over when Kanjo voted for Patrick Murphy instead of him to replace Murtha on the committee.
I got this release from the O'Brien camp:
The fallout from Paul Kanjorski’s betrayal of Northeastern Pennsylvania continues – today, Politico reported that Kanjorski is to blame for igniting “open warfare” on Congressman Carney. According to a chief of staff to a member of the Pennsylvania delegation “The person to blame for this … is Kanjorski.”
Paul Kanjorski voted against Chris Carney for a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and in doing so, cost our region hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite Congressman Carney’s requests for an explanation, Kanjorski has failed to provide a reason for his betrayal and instead continues to hide behind secret ballots and lame excuses.
Pennsylvania Dems feud over seat
My advice to Kanjo and Carney is to stop it. It doesn't help you or you constituents.
This one is rich.
Kanjo's pollster actually called Corey O'Brien.
The first rule of polling is “make sure the pollster doesn’t call your opponent’s house.” To that rule I would add “…especially when the campaign manager is sitting next to the phone.”
But last week, Team Kanjo broke this rule, and in doing so, revealed just how low he will sink in his desperate attempt to keep his seat. Not only did the poll seek to find ways of tearing down Corey O’Brien, it also tested just how angry voters are with Paul Kanjorski.
The set of questions written by Kanjorski’s own team says it all. The pollster asked “if any of the following would be a reason not to vote for someone”:
1. Paul Kanjorski is a professional politician.
2. Paul Kanjorski has voted for pay raise after pay raise after pay raise, while we struggle with unemployment and stagnant job creation.
3. Eleven Democrats, including Paul Kanjorski, voted against the stimulus package. Now Paul Kanjorski is trying to take credit for its success.
4. Paul Kanjorski was the architect of the bailout and defends the bailout. (Campaign manager’s note to pollster -- you should also ask whether taking campaign contributions from bailed out banks only two weeks after the multi-billion dollar bailout would be a reason “not to vote for someone”).
5. Paul Kanjorski was named by a journalist as a corrupt Member of Congress because he funneled $10 million to his daughter and son-in-law’s company, Cornerstone.Team Kanjo: In case the answer wasn’t clear from your poll, please stay tuned for May 18th.
Stop Twisting the Truth
Perhaps a telling omen of what Kanjorski’s smear machine will look like, the pollster also made a series of misleading, negative attacks on Corey O’Brien:
The fact that Corey and his wife have debt was twisted into “a lack of fiscal discipline,” even though the debt is from student loans for law school, Corey’s wife’s small business, and child care expenses.
Corey’s career as a community banking attorney became “representing Wall Street” (those are your donors, Congressman).
There is another candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination. Brian Kelly thinks that the world should be made safe to drink tea and talks to the ghost of Dan Flood.