Friday, July 30, 2010

Turning the tables on Bonusgate

This is amusing.

Corbett campaign lit displayed on AG booth at county fair

Campaign materials for Republican Tom Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign were displayed at a booth set up by the attorney general’s government office at a recent county fair in Troy, has learned.

A photo provided by a Democratic operative not affiliated with Corbett’s opponent shows campaign buttons and literature on a table, and an official banner for the Office of the Attorney General hangs off the table. Though the photo lacks context, has confirmed that it was taken during the Bradford County Fair in Troy. At that fair, the attorney general’s office had set up a consumer protection booth.

The explanation from the AG's spokesman strains credulity. Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the materials were placed on the table before staff from the office arrived. Well, who set up the table?

Corbett has been prosecuting Democratic politicians and staffers for doing campaign work on official time but has ignored the Republicans in Harrisburg that have been doing the same thing. He has used his office and taxpayer money to pursue a FRIVOLOUS lawsuit to block Health Care Reform that everyone knows is politically motivated and doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding.

Keystone Progress filed a Right to Know request but has been stonewalled.

Keystone Progress recently uncovered emails that revealed Corbett’s office has been working with a Republican campaign organization to plan to overturn the recently enacted federal health care reform law. KP uncovered the relationship in a series of emails released by the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice under a similar request by One Wisconsin Now.

Of course the requested information was denied and KP is going to court.

...the Right to Know Officer (Robert A. Mulle) and the Right to Know Appeals Officer are under obligation to turn this information over to the appropriate legal authorities since every correspondent in this request is a political organization or operative and would have no legitimate reason for being in correspondence with the AG or OAG staff using the time and resources of the Commonwealth.

The list of contacts that KP is requesting:

Republican State Leadership Committee
Republican Attorneys General Association
Republican Party of Pennsylvania
Republican National Committee
American Justice Partnership
Caleb Consulting
Tom Corbett for Governor
Tim Barnes, Chairman, Republican State Leadership Committee
Scott Ward, President, Republican State Leadership Committee
Ben Cannatti, Political Director, Republican State Leadership Committee
Erin Berry, Associate General Counsel, Republican State Leadership Committee
Casey Phillips, Regional Political Director, Republican State Leadership Committee
Michael Luethy, Regional Political Director, Republican State Leadership Committee
Adam Temple, Press Secretary, Republican State Leadership Committee
Robert Sechrist, Director of New Media, Republican State Leadership Committee

Michael Steele, Chairman, Republican National Committee

Karl Rove

Chirag Shah, Campaign Manager for JB Van Hollen WI Attorney General

Rob Gleason, Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania

Joyce Haas, Vice-Chair of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania

Christine J. Toretti, Republican National Committeewoman

Robert Asher, Republican National Committeeman


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back and forth in the 11th CD

The fur sure has been flying in the Pennsylvania 11th Congressional District race between incumbent Democrat Paul Kanjorski and Republican challenger Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta and it's only July.

The Republicans smell blood in the water after Kanjo polled only 49% in the primary against a underfunded challenger and a fringe candidate who got 17%. If that 3rd name wasn't on the ballot I may not be writting this post and we would be discussing Corey O'Brien's fundraising/poll numbers, etc. Add in the history of the President's Party losing seats in the mid-terms during his first term

Since then Kanjo has said some things that gave ammunition to his opponents such as the "minorities and defective" flap that was taken way out of context and his decision to conduct telephone town halls instead of the real thing then saying “We will do everything we can to meet with people, but I’m not going to set myself up for, you know, nuts to hit me with a camera.” In 2008 his campaign hired a guy with a video camera to follow around Barletta hoping to catch a Macca Moment so he knows the danger of the video/internet age.

The Kanjorski camp has been on the attack the last few days about Barletta's management of Hazleton's pension plan and the unemployment rate in the city.

"Makes you wonder how much more the people of Hazleton can take. They have the highest unemployment rate in the state, skyrocketing city taxes and fees, reduced services, arguably polluted sludge being dumped in their landfill, broken down infrastructure and now, unfunded pensions for their workers. Lou is a one man wrecking crew," Ed Mitchell, Kanjorski campaign spokesman, said.

This brought a furious response from Barletta spokesman Shawn Kelly:

Once again, the Kanjorski campaign is stretching the facts in a desperate bid to stay in power.
Kanjorski spokesman Ed Mitchell lied to you about the City of Hazleton’s pension fund. Mitchell said Tuesday: "Other cities have pension problems, but like the jobless rate, Hazleton's is the worst.”
Completely false.

Here’s what the Scranton Times published today:
“Scranton, compared to cities of similar size, has one of the most poorly funded pension plans in the state, the report states, while 55 percent of pension systems in the region are in some form of distressed status. … Scranton has $64.3 million in its pension fund, but obligations of twice that, $138 million, for a funding ratio of 47 percent. Any funding ratio under 50 percent is deemed severely distressed by the Public Employee Retirement Commission.” (“State: 55 percent of NEPA municipal pensions distressed,” Scranton Times, July 28, 2010)
Hazleton’s funding ratio, for comparison, is 52 percent, and the city is considered “moderately distressed” by the state. (“Pa.: 28 pension plans distressed,” Times Leader, July 27, 2010) ...
Mitchell continues to lie on behalf of his desperate boss, and reporters continue to report their bogus claims as fact.
I know it’s easy to get drawn in by the lies of Kanjorski and his spokesman. Kanjorski and his Mitchell-led spin machine are getting incredibly desperate.

Pennsylvania Guys by Sloppy Secondz

This is funny. Thanks to Mr. F for sending this to me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poll results

Who will be the next Speaker of the House?

Nancy Pelosi(D) 40 (61%)

John Boehner (R) 25 (39%)

After I made a wager with Joe Valenti of I asked you my dear readers of Gort42 to give us your opinion of what would happen in the fall. And you have predicted the soft spoken grandmother from Sodom on the San Andreas will be wielding the gavel for at least 2 more years and the chain smoking guy with the orange skin will still be saying no. That tanning bed tax is a bitch, heyna.

Forbes: Tea partiers confused, taxes ‘lower by every measure’ under Obama

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wilkes-Barre charter change

Wilkes-Barre city council want's to amend the the city charter to return electing council members at-large instead of by district. This is a guest post from Ray Arellano who ran for council in 2007.

How about the gall of the Council to propose an "end run" to hopefully get at least some of the mayors allies re-elected? They have not done anything in the last 4 years, but to "rubber stamp" the Mayor. By District representation, they are accountable to their constituents within the area they serve,(except for Tony Thomas who is a part time resident). Why not advertise this meeting, and set it at a time when more people are home from work, and can attend? Bill O'Boyle titled his article in the TL, "W-B wants an at-large council". That's not exactly so. What we need is a referendum to go back to the City Mgr. type of governance, and get away from the Mayor being the last word on everything? Council members should be elected based on their merit, not as a "team" which gives us the bad with the good. I don't care about partisan politics as much as I care about whats right for Wilkes-Barre...All the hard work that the citizens of Wilkes-Barre put in to reduce Council size, and have representation by district, should not be abolished by the whim of the present Council. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!
It won't reduce our taxes, improve our services, nor make the council respond to the will of the majority. Turn out the lights, the party is OVER!
Lets get some good non-partisan folks to run for these council seats. Now that would be constructive!!! Enough is enough!

Walter Griffith is also opposed to this.

Longtime critic questions W-B’s at-large voting issue

Griffith criticizes at-large election proposal

Adult Basic Sings the Blues! Wilkes- Barre

Save Health Insurance for 46,000 Pennsylvanians! Meet up outside Blue Cross of Northeast PA, 19 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre 18711, tomorrow at noon, to stand up and tell the PA "Blues" to fulfill their obligation to the public! The PA Blues now have a $6.5 Billion surplus stashed away, and yet they are refusing to continue funding the Adult Basic program! This program provides affordable health insurance now for 42,957 Pennsylvanians, and a shocking total of 397,671 are on the waiting list. These folks, mostly working people who don't make enough to afford insurance, will be able to get federal health insurance in 2014, but in the meantime they may be left without any coverage if this program isn't renewed.

We'll be releasing a new report by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center at this event and have a chance to hear from people who are at risk of losing the only insurance they can get.

CV: When the legislative session started in 2009, House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-116, Hazleton, introduced House Bill 1 as the vehicle to expand the AdultBasic health care program to include an additional 85,000 jobless Pennsylvanians between 19 and 64. The measure passed the House last year, but last summer's budget stalemate prevented further action.

Now program supporters have lowered their sights. Mr. Eachus is concerned the 50,000 individuals currently enrolled in AdultBasic will lose benefits when a state law requiring financial support from the Blue Cross insurers expires. He is seeking bridge funding until the new federal health care law takes effect.

"Now we are just striving to keep the current program whole," said Eachus spokesman Brett Marcy

Friday, July 23, 2010

DCCC backs Carney and Kanjo

DCCC buys time in 40 districts

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested approximately $28 million worth of television air time to defend vulnerable incumbents running for reelection this fall, a senior Democratic official confirmed to POLITICO .

Most of the money is going to freshman but they will drop a few bucks to help out our local Congresscritters just like they did in 2008. This is only reserved air time and will surely change before November. I don't see them throwing much money Carney's way after Marino reported he is just about broke.

Congressman Paul Kanjorski however is in another close race with Lou Barletta and needs all the help he can get. He only got 49% in the primary against an underfunded Corey O'Brien campaign and some unknown teabagger who got 17% so they should be on the air soon tearing Barletta a new one.

Kanjo did another telephone town hall yesterday that has the Barletta camp howling.

Economy, health top town hall agenda

Accidental Democratic committeeman Another Monkey gives us the play by play but he never got to ask his question.

And the Dump Carney signs look a bit different.

Anti-Carney force takes new tack

Bergman get's a signature

The local libertarians put out a challenge to the major party candidates for the state legislature a few days ago to sign the petitions of their hopefuls as a show of good faith that they truly believe in the democratic process and that all qualified candidates should be allowed to compete.

As predicted the Republicans declined the invitation.

CV: Steve Urban, a Luzerne County commissioner and 14th Senatorial District candidate, called the move a "ridiculous request" and refused to sign Summers' papers...West Pittston Mayor Goldsworthy also declined to sign Mullen's papers, advocating Mullen join his campaign to usurp 10-term state Rep. Mundy. Goldsworthy said he has a stronger campaign and more name recognition than Mullen but believes in the similar ideals as the Libertarian Party...Rick Arnold brushed off signing papers for Bergman, a potential opponent in the 119th race, for fear of invalidating his own campaign.

Democrats John Yudichak and Phyllis Mundy haven't been heard from yet but Gerald Mullery believes in the small "d.""I would sign it. What the hell? I don't have any problem with thatI've met Brian. He's a nice guy. I welcome him into the race."

The lineup

Senate 14

Steve Urban (R)

John Yudichak (D)

Betsy Summers (L)

State Rep 120th

Phyllis Mundy (D) incumbent

Bill Goldsworthy (R)

Tim Mullen (L)

State Rep 119th

Rick Arnold (R)

Gerald Mullery (D)

Brian Bergman (L)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Prez signs Wall Street reform bill

The last time speculation on Wall Street created a crises that crashed the US economy FDR and a Democratic Congress put some rules in place to prevent another great depression. Over the last 20 years many of the safeguards that were put in place in the 1930's were repealed including the Glass-Steagal Act when Bill Clinton was President. Add in lax enforcement of the laws on the books after 2001 then in 2008 all hell broke loose again causing a deep recession that we are just recovering from so it's time to rein in the big banks to prevent a three-peat.

Congressman Paul Kanjorski has been working on a fix for a long time and it got past the finish line despite universal opposition from the the Republicans in Congress. Boner already wants to repeal it. The Republicans want to repeal everything but have no solutions to the country's problems and after fiasco of the last decade it's clear they don't know how to govern.

Kanjo was on stage for the signing.

Kanjorski Joins President for Signing of Wall Street Reform Bill into Law

Ezra Klein takes on the liberal argument that it doesn't do enough.

I had a brief conversation on the telephone with Kanjo yesterday about Wall Street reform and a few other things. I don't report telephone interviews very well since I don't know shorthand and I'm a not a trained reporter/journalist and have never claimed to be. He promised I can sit down with him in person when I can use my recorder in the near future. So this is paraphrased but certainly not taken out of context.

On Wall Street Reform

I don't think we will appreciate for decades how much good this law will do... My amendment could be described as surgical Glass-Steagal. I look forward to discussing this with you in the future... I had a good conversation with the President today.

Gas Drilling

I support the smart development of gas extraction which includes development of a plan for best practices and oversight. We should have an energy institute to develope that plan...PA is one of only 2 states that doesn't have an extraction tax. That money could be used to fund the oversight/inspections that are required.

...on a lighter note I asked him what was his favorite baseball team. He likes the Philiies and the Yankees. I pointed out that he had that Yankee thing in common with Lou Barletta. I invited him to our next meet the candidates/blogger event September 17th and he said he would make it if Abbie would let him.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Romanelli suing 100 plus

CV: Green Party member Carl Romanelli believes Pennsylvania Democrats orchestrated a "Herculean" - and illegal - scheme to dispose of his 2006 U.S. Senate campaign so Sen. Bob Casey might more easily defeat incumbent Republican Rick Santorum, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

Now Romanelli wants them to pay.

Romanelli asked the court to award him more than $300,000 in total damages after he alleged Democrats used public time and resources to challenge successfully his nomination petitions and strip Romanelli from the ballot.

You can read the lawsuit at this link.

Carl Romanelli Fights Pennsylvania Democrats with a Federal Lawsuit Related to “Bonus-gate” Convictions.

Romanelli filed a lawsuit, July 12, against the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and their House Democratic Caucus. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court, additionally names Rep. William DeWeese, former Rep. Michael Veon and a number of former and current House Democratic staff employees found to have worked on the petition challenge that removed Carl Romanelli from the 2006 ballot for US Senate. Romanelli alleges in the lawsuit that state employees were paid to do political work while using state resources and equipment in that effort to challenge his petitions.

Romanelli backs up his allegations by pointing to the recent convictions of several defendants in this lawsuit including former House Democratic Minority Whip, Rep. Michael Veon who received a 6 to 14 year sentence on June 18, 2010 and Brett Cott, a former policy analyst for Rep. Veon and Rep. DeWeese, who was sentenced from 21 months to 60 months in May 2010. Michael Manzo and Jeff Foreman were given deals to testify against Cott and have not been sentenced. Rep. William DeWeese faces trial in the coming months.

In 2006 Romanelli needed a ridiculous number of signatures just to get on the ballot and submitted over 90,000 but had about a third of them thrown out because of challenges by the Democrats. Then he got whacked with $80,000 in legal fees by the Commonwealth Court for having the audacity for even trying.

But he is not just an innocent victim of the system when you look at who was helping him and their motivations

A repost

Oh Blackwater keep on runnin' Green

In the Blackwater hearings today Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) quized Blackwater CEO Erik Prince about his political contributions trying to show that he and other company executives gave to candidates other than Republicans. Prince and other well connected contractors from companies such as Haliburton indeed funneled money to the Green Party or maybe just one particular Green Party candidate in Pennsylvania.

From TPMMuckraker:

...he (Prince) and his wife shelled out $10,000 in contributions for a Green.It was part of an effort by connected Republicans (lobbyists and millionaire CEOs among them) to recruit Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli to enter the 2006 Senate race. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was trailing Dem moderate Bob Casey in the polls -- and Romanelli, the scheme went, could take some of those liberal votes away from Casey...Ultimately Republicans raised more than $150,000 for Romanelli.

It's always good to find a local connection to a national story. Lehigh Valley Ramblings had all the details.

Pennsylvania's Green Congressional Candidates Were Funded by Republicans

Carl Romanelli was screwed by the PA Democratic Party and the Courts but he was hardly an innocent victim.

Libertarians make a good point

And issue a challenge.

If your not a Democrat or a Republican the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes you jump through all kinds of hoops to get on the ballot.

I got this press release from the NEPA Libertarian Party.

Wilkes-Barre, PA— According to Northeast Pennsylvania Libertarian Chairman Lou Jasikoff, “the Libertarian Party will be wrapping up their ballot initiative over the next few weeks, and will submit their signed petitions to Harrisburg on July 30th. The deadline for submitting petitions is August 3rd and the Libertarian Party is challenging all candidates to sign the petition as a show of good faith, especially in light of Bonusgate, that they truly believe in the democratic process and that all qualified candidates should be allowed to compete in the arena of ideas.”

“I think it is important for all the candidates to be on record as to whether they are willing to sign the petition because it has been the Republicans and Democrats that have made the rules by which another Party or Independent candidate must meet to be placed on the general ballot. We will focus on those candidates within the districts that we have candidates running for office, specifically John Yudichak, Steve Urban, Phyllis Mundy, Bill Goldsworthy, Rick Arnold, Gerald Mullery, Dan Rae, and David Millard, but will be encouraging all candidates to sign” said Jasikoff.

With the Republican and Democratic parties having a strangle-hold on access to the ballot, candidates from other political camps must go through the lengthy process of getting signatures from registered voters on their petitions to run. The process for Libertarian candidates Betsy Summers, Tim Mullen, Brian Bergman and Tom Anderson began in the cold and rain on primary day.

"Candidates from the major parties say they support all of those who are qualified to be on the ballot. Now is the time for their actions to speak louder than their words," noted Betsy Summers, Senate candidate 14th District.

Jasikoff concluded, “We explain to potential signers that this is not an endorsement but simply an effort to allow them, to allow us, to be on the ballot. That we have men and women dying in Iraq so they can have free elections there and we should not have to fight tooth and nail to get on the ballot here. We hope our current legislators and opponents agree and we will post their responses to our requests after August 3rd.

Good luck getting any of the Republican or Democratic candidates to sign on to this. But if I was running any of the Democratic campaigns I would have my people out there helping them get signatures.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Barletta on gas drilling

For those of you who pay attention know that I have invited all local officials and candidates for office to give us a statement about gas drilling. The latest is from Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta.

"There is no question the Marcellus Shale has the potential to be a catalyst for our region's economic recovery and to be a major part of solving our nation's energy dependence problem.

"This opportunity does not come without its fair share of questions and concerns. It should be the goal of all affected parties to tone down the rhetoric and increase the sharing of information.

"The government and energy companies need to put all the cards on the table and proceed with full transparency. Residents and landowners should continue to express their concerns.

"Our region and our nation have been blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We should not turn our back on these blessings. We need to harness these gifts while continuing to be stewards of our land.

"If we can do this, if we can have the transparency and rational dialogue, we can move forward in a way that benefits the community, the nation and the world."

I have also asked Congressman Paul Kanjorski's office for a statement.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A friendly wager

I have a bet with Joe Valenti of

Let him tell it:

This bet came after much debate at a blogger roundup this past week in Plains.
Gort says the Democrats will hold the US House of Representatives after the general election.
I, however, think its 1994 all over again and the Republicans will take control of the House.
Both of us feel the Dems will continue to hold the Senate.
Next came the deliberation. What are the stakes?
Some in attendance thought money or dinner.
Nah, neither of us liked that idea.
Then Gort came up with something that would make my stomach curdle.
“If the Democrats hold the House,” Gort said, “you have to replace your picture at the top of your site with Nancy Pelosi.”
“And if the Republicans take control,” Gort continued, “I have to use Newt Gingrich’s photo.”
Wow! Those are some pretty tough stakes, but I agreed.
The only question left is how long do we have to leave the
photo up?

I think we should change the bet. In the unlikely chance that the GOP wins the House I should post a pic of the new Speaker. That chain smoking guy with the orange skin I think his name is Boner or something.

One week max.

Will the Dems hold on. Vote in the poll on the sidebar.

Good week for Barletta

PoliticsPA gave him a thumbs up.

11th CD challenger Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta pulled in more money than incumbent Congressman Paul Kanjorski this last quarter but Kanjo still has a million bucks in the bank vs. less than half that for Barletta.

When you look at his latest CFR you find that all the excited Republican groups are throwing money his way because they smell blood in the water. Kanjo is holding is own in fundraising.

Barletta went on the air this week and released an internal poll that said he had a big lead in the race.

Tomorrow he has fund raiser with the other America's Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But you must dress appropriately:

Tom Marino is short on cash

Marino has $11K on hand for campaign

What a big disappointment this has to be for not only the Marino campaign but for the Republicans hopes for retaking the House. He only raised about $80K this reporting period compared with the six digit numbers being reported by other GOP challengers. In contrast, Congressman Chris Carney has brought in $173K during the reporting period and has $792K in the bank.

You can read Marino's 2nd Q report here. Some of his donors are familiar Don Ely, Harold Flack, Davis Haire, Dan Meuser and the Tunkhannock Strangler himself former Congressman Don Sherwood.

What I find interesting is who is missing. None of the GOP House leadership PACS or the NRCC has pitched in to help him.

Marino had a competitive primary that he had to spend money to win but it's been a month and a half since then. From what I know a candidate in either party has to show some fundraising ability before the national committees will commit to helping them. He has failed that test.

There a few bright spots in his CFR. He attracted the support of the lunatic fringe such as the Eagle Forum and Sarah Palin sent $3500.

NCFE reports:

Sarah Palin wants you to contribute to SarahPAC so that she can support conservative candidates. Funny, but her recent campaign disclosure notes that for while $87,500 was distributed to candidates, almost three times as much money, $210,000 was spent on consultants.

Last year Sarah Palin pulled in $2.13 million but spent only about $57,000 on candidates and causes.

I don't think that Sarah Palin is as stupid as many people think. Anyone who could parley a VP gig into $12 million in endorsements, book deals,etc. is on the ball. I do think that she is willfully ignorant about issues.

Sarah Palin campaign was a 'train wreck', insiders say

"Palin couldn't explain why North Korea and South Korea were separate nations. She didn't know what the Fed [the Federal Reserve] did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. Later, on the p
lane, Palin said to her team: 'I wish I'd paid more attention to this stuff'."

Why rent when you could buy

County opts to buy, not lease, 911 tower

Luzerne County officials plan to buy land in Fairview Township for a new 911 communications tower, which will end the county’s need to lease a tower on privately owned land nearby...Commissioners are set to vote Thursday to buy about 6 acres on the Penobscot Mountain from James and Amy Schall for $215,000. The purchase price was established as fair market value by a certified appraiser, county officials said.

The land must be subdivided to delineate the portion being purchased by the county.

The county currently pays about $500 per month plus utilities to lease another tower on Penobscot Mountain.

A friend sent along some concerns about the deal:

Today's TL announces the county has decided to purchase property for its 911 tower. It had been leasing the property for $500/month and is now going to buy it for $215000.

The property is part of a 120 acre parcel purchased in 1996 for $10 by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, which at the time declared a tax value of $223,000. It was most recently mortgaged for a little over $250000. So the county is buying 6 of these 120 acres for nearly the 2009 mortgage value.

There is also something shady about the ownership. The TL says that it is owned by James & Amy Schall, but the mortgage was granted by "Mission Broadcasting, Inc."

In 1994, the Schalls (d/b/a Penobscot Antenna Rental) were granted a 45 year antennae easement from Diversified Communications (Bill Christian VP/Gen'l Mgr) at $500 a month after the first 25 years. I couldn't find a deed to the Shcalls online.

So the County decides it makes sense to pay what amounts to 35 years of lease payments (without even considering discounting to present value, which would likely so reduce the value of the future lease payments as to make this purchase equal to 100 years of leasing.

FBI expands probe to Luzerne County 911 center

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bob Reilly admits he is a liar

Reilly pleads guilty to lying charge

Reilly says he’s guilty of telling lie

But he still denies he broke any laws.

Reilly was originally charged in April with soliciting bribes from Pittston contractor Barton J. Weidlich, who was paid more than $53,000 for 19 no-bid county government construction jobs between July 2006 and December 2008. Most of the work was connected to a records-retention initiative headed by Reilly that remains under federal investigation.

Reilly faced up to 10 years in prison on that charge. But following months of plea negotiations, federal prosecutors replaced the soliciting charge with one of lying to federal agents and Reilly agreed to plead guilty in June.

Weidlich pleaded guilty Wednesday to threatening a grand jury witness in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Weidlich and Reilly are among more than 30 people charged in an ongoing federal probe of public corruption.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

About that hiring policy

The Wilkes-Barre Area school board is supposedly working on a hiring policy for school teachers and other personnel. The sub-committee is being led by board member Chrisintine Katsock and she has asked for input from the masses and got very few comments.

This will fire people up.

W-B Area hires Pizzella's daughter

W-B Area hires daughter of disgraced ex-president

How fucking stupid are these people on the school board? Former Board President Frank Pizella has pleaded guilty to a charge of job selling then they hire his daughter?

Big win for Kanjo and the country

Congressman Kanjorski has been working on this bill for months. It got to finsh line today and the President will sign it into law next week.

Let him crow:

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, applauded the Senate’s passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Chairman Kanjorski participated as one of the few negotiators to resolve the differences between the original House and Senate versions of this legislation. The Senate approved the final agreement on this historic bill by a vote of 60-39, clearing the bill for the President’s signature.

“Today, I am very pleased that the Senate followed the House in voting in favor of passing and implementing the most sweeping financial regulatory reforms since the Great Depression,” said Chairman Kanjorski. “This is an enormous achievement for the American people. I, and many other Members of Congress, have been working on this legislation for over two years now. Now is the time for action to rein in Wall Street. This bill ensures that American families and small businesses will be better protected in the future from the wizards of Wall Street, and it takes strong steps to protect our economy from Wall Street’s casino culture.”

Chairman Kanjorski added, “The Kanjorski amendment, which aims to end the era of ‘too big to fail’ and prevent future bailouts, is one of the strongest provisions to hold Wall Street back from harming our economy in the future. MIT Economics Professor Simon Johnson has called the Kanjorski amendment a powerful tool for reining in Wall Street. Many Wall Street lobbyists have also viewed the Kanjorski amendment as one of the biggest threats to their profitability. We fought back and won. By passing the Kanjorski amendment, Congress has sided with the American people, not Wall Street’s titans. We will no longer allow financial firms to become so big, interconnected, concentrated, or risky that their failure could threaten the stability of the American economy or rock the credit of small businesses and Americans’ retirement nest eggs.”

“During the past two years, too many Americans have faced serious financial problems as a result of the economic crisis,” concluded Chairman Kanjorski. “In sum, this bill contains sweeping authority to help avoid future taxpayer-funded bailouts, prevent financial companies from threatening the stability of our economy, and protect the American public from once again experiencing such tremendous financial turmoil. I am therefore heartened that the Senate followed the House in passing this thoughtful, transparent, comprehensive, and sweeping financial reform package. We will all be better off because of this legislation. I look forward to watching the President sign it into law.”

Click here to view an op-ed published yesterday by Simon Johnson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. The op-ed explains how the Kanjorski amendment relates to anti-trust laws where the power of firms can be constrained.

Click here to view an article from the New York Times which states that former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., believes that the creation of the systemic risk council is “perhaps the most important aspect of the bill and crucial to preventing the next crisis.” The article explains that the council has “the power to shut firms down or change practices that might put the system at risk,” referring to the Kanjorski amendment.

In addition to shepherding the Kanjorski “too big to fail” amendment through the legislative process, Chairman Kanjorski played a pivotal role in drafting many of the bill’s reforms, including provisions to better protect investors and enhance the powers of securities regulators, register and regulate hedge fund managers, reform the operations and regulation of credit rating agencies, create a Federal office focused on insurance matters, improve mortgage servicing and appraisal rules, and create a national program based on Pennsylvania’s successful experiences in providing bridge loans to help temporarily unemployed workers keep their homes.

The President agrees that this is a BFD.

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. With today’s vote in the Senate, the United States Congress has now passed a Wall Street reform bill that will bring greater economic security to families and businesses across the country.

It was clear from the moment it began that this recession was not the result of your typical economic downturn. It was the result of recklessness and irresponsibility in certain corners of Wall Street that infected the entire economy –- irresponsibility that cost millions of Americans their jobs, and millions more their hard-earned savings. It’s why businesses cannot get credit and why families haven’t been able to see appreciation in their home values -- in fact, the values of their homes have plummeted.

Even before the financial crisis that led to this recession, I spoke on Wall Street about the need for common-sense reforms to protect consumers and our economy as a whole. But the crisis came, and only underscored the need for the kind of reform the Senate passed today -- reform that will protect consumers when they take out a mortgage or sign up for a credit card; reform that will prevent the kind of shadowy deals that led to this crisis; reform that would never again put taxpayers on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes.

The reform that Congress passed today will accomplish these goals. It is a bill that was made possible first and foremost by the tireless efforts of Chairman Chris Dodd and Congressman and Chairman Barney Frank, as well as the leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. I am extraordinarily grateful for their determination in the face of a massive lobbying effort from the financial industry, and I’m also grateful for all of the members of Congress who stood on the side of reform -- including three Republican senators who put politics and partisanship aside today to vote for this bill.

The financial industry is central to our nation’s ability to grow, to prosper, to compete and to innovate. This reform will foster that innovation, not hamper it. It’s designed to make sure that everyone follows the same set of rules, so that firms compete on price and quality, not on tricks and traps. It demands accountability and responsibility from everybody. It provides certainty to everyone from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers. And unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear from this reform.

For all those Americans who are wondering what Wall Street reform means for you, here’s what you should expect. If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a student loan, a mortgage, you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print. It’s a big step for most families, and one that’s often filled with unnecessary confusion and apprehension. As a result, many Americans are simply duped into hidden fees and loans they just can’t afford by companies who know exactly what they’re doing.

Those days will soon end. From now on, every American will be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make financial decisions that are best for you. This bill will crack down on abusive practices and unscrupulous mortgage lenders. It will reinforce the new credit card law we passed banning unfair rate hikes, and ensure that folks aren’t unwittingly caught by overdraft fees when they sign up for a checking account. It will give students who take out college loans clear information and make sure lenders don’t cheat the system. And it will ensure that every American receives a free credit score if they are denied a loan or insurance because of that score. All told, this reform puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history, and it creates a new consumer watchdog to enforce those protections.

Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts -- period. If a large financial institution should ever fail, this reform gives us the ability to wind it down without endangering the broader economy. And there will be new rules to end the perception that any firm is “too big to fail,” so that we don’t have another Lehman Brothers or AIG.

Because of reform, the kind of complex, backroom deals that helped trigger this financial crisis will finally be brought into the light of day. And from now on, shareholders and other executives can know that shareholders will have greater say on the pay of CEOs, so that they can reward success instead of failure, and help change the perverse incentives that encouraged so much reckless risk-taking in the past.

In short, Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on Main Street -- to families who are looking to buy their first home or send their kids to college; to taxpayers who shouldn’t have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes or irresponsibility; to small businesses, community banks and credit unions who play by the rules; to shareholders and investors who want to see their companies grow and thrive.

Now, already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backwards, and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well. We can’t afford another financial crisis just as we’re digging out from the last one.

I said when I took office we can’t simply rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand -- on maxed-out credit cards, houses used like ATM machines, or overleveraged firms on Wall Street. We need to rebuild on a firmer, stronger foundation for economic growth. That’s why we invested in renewable energy that’s currently creating new jobs all across America. That’s why we’re reforming our education system so that our workers can compete in the global economy. That’s why we passed health reform that will lower costs for families and businesses. And that’s why I’m about to sign Wall Street reform into law -- to protect consumers and lay the foundation for a stronger and safer financial system -- one that is innovative, creative, competitive, and far less prone to panic and collapse. Along with the steps we’re taking to spur innovation, encourage hiring and rein in our deficits, this is how we’re ultimately going to build an economy that is stronger and more prosperous than it was before, and one that provides opportunity for all Americans.

Thanks very much.


The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society will gather on the Big Deck at Dan's Keystone Grill 162 Union St. Plains, PA 18702 this Friday, July 16th from 5 to 10PM.

This a gathering of bloggers, readers, political types, friends and anyone else that is interested. All are welcome.

A quick check of the agenda reveals that there isn't one but we usually cover local politics, baseball, old movies and whatever comes to mind.

Meet the candidate

Urban For Senator Meet-and-Greet

Time: July 16, 2010 from 5pm to 8pm
Location: Bo Brother's Pizza (Wyoming)
Street: 2004 Wyoming Ave
City/Town: Wyoming
Website or Map:
Phone: For Info: 570-825-2901

Big day for political junkies

The FEC reports have been posted online. I still say this is a terrible way to pick our leaders and representatives. I favor a public financed system that will free our reps and candidates from whoring themselves to every special interest in sight for campaign cash.

But these are the rules in place right now so I will be looking at each report in the 10th and 11th District.

Barletta claims big lead in poll

Hazleton, PA The congressional campaign for Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta today released a memo from the nationally recognized polling firm The Tarrance Group. The poll was conducted on July 12-13. Four hundred likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District were surveyed.

The poll showed that a majority of voters favored Lou Barletta over Paul Kanjorski by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent. It also indicated that only 32 percent of voters believe Paul Kanjorski deserves to be re-elected.

Mayor Lou Barletta said, “The only poll I care about is the one taken on Election Day. However, this poll is a strong indicator that the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania realize Paul Kanjorski’s failed policies and reckless spending are hurting their lives, our region, and this nation. There are just over three months left for me to make my case to the voters of the 11th District, and I plan to do so at the grassroots level, over the airwaves, and through the Web. I only wish Paul Kanjorski would change his mind and agree to meet me in a series of debates and town halls across this district, rather than constantly send out negative attacks from his taxpayer-funded Washington, D.C., office. Kanjorski’s negative campaigning is not creating one job or improving our economy by one cent.”

On Monday, the Barletta campaign announced it had passed the $500,0000 raised mark with more than 10,000 individual donors. This puts the campaign ahead of where it was at this point in 2008.

On Wednesday, Lou Barletta for Congress began airing its first campaign commercial on both network and cable television. View the ad:

Click here to view the full memo [PDF].

If you click on the link you will find that a few pages seem to be missing from the memo such as the methodology, the order of the questions and the cross tabs. You always have to take internal polls with a grain of salt whether it's from this outfit or Democratic pollsters such as Momentum Analysis.

About the Terrance Group

The Tarrance Group is an opinion polling and "strategic research" that works for Republican candidates, corporations and some non-profit groups.[1] On its website it states that it has "helped elect more than 80 Republican governors, U.S. Senators and Members of Congress, as well as scores of state legislative candidates. All of these clients would say one thing about The Tarrance Group: We hate to lose.

Of course I asked Ed Mitchell about this poll and he sent along this analysis:

Statement on 'So-Called' Barletta Poll by Ed Mitchell

These numbers look highly suspect to us. With such little information presented in the memo, we don't know what was tested but not revealed. It's hard to comment definitively on such unreliable and little data.

What we do know is that Barletta has a money problem. We'll know more about that tomorrow, but from what Barletta has said, he's raised less this year to date than in 2008. He's started a three or four day, small TV buy, which is laughable and almost a waste of money. And all this is aimed at drumming up interest in a major fundraiser event he has next week and raising money among Washington special interest PACS.

Moreover, Barletta is trying to shift attention from his botched job as mayor of Hazleton where he is laying off employees, contributing to the city having the highest unemployment rate in the state. He's raising taxes 70 percent and shipping toxic waste into the city. No wonder he wants to talk about something else.

This looks like more of two-time loser Barletta's smoke and mirrors. Remember, in 2008, Barletta repeatedly released polls showing he was going to win. Congressman Kanjorski won. Barletta lost again.

The Boss died

SS: Two days ago, legendary public address announcer Bob Shepherd, the man once referred to as the "Voice of God" by legendary slugger Mickey Mantle, passed away at the age of 99. Tuesday, New York Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III died at 80

"It won't be the same without him. He's probably already fired Billy Martin in heaven," Barletta quipped.

The BP Youtube channel

I ran into this tonight on Youtube

I think that BP should put all their efforts into stopping the leak and forget the PR. I don't care how much advertising they do if that well is still gushing oil it doesn't matter.

Congressman Chris Carney can ask the BP bigwigs what is the point of these adverts when he has his hearing in New Orleans

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Chris Carney (PA-10), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight, has scheduled a field hearing in New Orleans on July 12 to examine the immediate response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. The hearing, entitled “The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Chain of Command: An Examination of Information Sharing Practices During a Spill of National Significance,” will include testimony from the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, BP and state and local officials. The time and location of the hearing have yet to be determined.

Congressman Carney, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and six other committee members visited the spill site and surrounding area June 21.

The response to the spill has left many unanswered questions, including how information was shared in the days immediately after the April 20 explosion.

“We must find out what was done to ensure the severity of this disaster was understood and how that information was shared,” said Congressman Carney. “This hearing will hopefully shed some light on the current chain of command, the roles and responsibilities of the participants, what the government and BP could have done better in response to this crisis and lessons that should be put to use in the future.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kanjo family connections

Rep. Kanjorski has a lot of nephews- Above Average Jane

After the Cornerstone fiasco the last thing Congressman Paul Kanjorski needed was another report of a company that employes one of his nephews getting government money. Even though it looks likes he had nothing to do with it. This just adds to the pile of his latest gaffes such as not wanting to be be caught by some nut with a video camera at a town hall and other things. The Barletta people are having fun with that one sending out somebody dressed in a Mr. Peanut outfit saying "I'm a nut for Barletta."

I've been asking for months for an interview with Kanjo but I'm just some nut with a blog.

This is so stupid it's funny

But I do like the Carl Orloff music

Patrick Murphy is one of my favorite people in Congress. He told me that he reads my blog!

Influential Blogger?

A DC type didn't like what what I wrote about his/her person/politician. He reminded me that I am a influential blogger. First time I heard that.

Carney camp says one debate is enough

From Carney Campaign Manager Max Cummings...

"Congressman Carney visits every county in the district multiple times a year and holds townhalls throughout the region. His door is always open to anyone with a question or concern. And as he has in the past, the congressman plans on participating in at least one debate. He has already accepted an invitation to debate at WVIA, giving the forum the broadest reach to voters in the 10th District. Given the constraints of the Congressional schedule and his commitment to fulfilling his active military duty requirement, Congressman Carney feels that the WVIA forum provides an opportunity for a broad number of 10th District residents to understand the differences between the Congressman and his opponent."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marino wants 9 debates

Williamsport PA- Marino for Congress Campaign Manager David M. Weber sent a letter via certified mail yesterday to Carney Campaign Manager Max Cummings, formally requesting the Congressman's attendance at nine one hour debates throughout the 10th Congressional District. One of the debates has already been scheduled by WVIA, however, Carney has yet to respond to their invitation. Weber's letter is attached and can be reprinted.

In his letter, Weber states "Mr. Marino believes in the importance of giving voters the opportunity to hear the views of their candidates for public office." He continues, "It is every intent of Marino for Congress to work with the representatives of
Carney for Congress as well as representatives from various media outlets in the selection of venues and formats to allow for maximum participation from the voting public". Weber has asked for a response to his request by Thursday July 22, 2010, in order to allow enough time for planning.

"The people of this District deserve to hear directly from both candidates about their positions on important issues like jobs, spending, taxes, and health care. Mr. Marino is not afraid to share his common-sense conservative message with the people of this region. I hope that Mr. Carney will show the same degree of political courage and agree to participate in this series of debates" said Marino for Congress Communications Director Jason Fitzgerald. "Folks deserve to know why Chris Carney votes with Nancy Pelosi over 91% of the time and why he voted for the Obama/Pelosi Health Care legislation" added Fitzgerald.

Barletta on the air

Hazleton, PA The congressional campaign for Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta announced today that it would begin airing its first television ad on both network and cable stations starting Wednesday, July 14.

The 30-second spot highlights Mayor Barletta’s accomplishments and the tough stances he has taken as mayor.

Mayor Barletta said, “Our strong fundraising efforts have allowed us to begin our TV campaign sooner than expected. Paid media is a part of every campaign, but it should not be the only part. I hope Paul Kanjorski will change his mind and agree to meet me in a series of town halls and debates across the district over the next three months.”

“This is our initial ad and we plan to rotate it with other commercials in the weeks and months to come. We felt it was important to get Lou Barletta’s record of accomplishment and positive message out to the voters. The ad will run for indefinite period of time, and we will likely change things up as we head into the busiest part of the vacation season,” said Lance Stange, campaign manager for Lou Barletta.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This aging process stinks

It's bad enough that I have to switch between 3 pair of glasses. After my adventure with the bleeding ulcer last month my medical brain trust decided that a colonoscopy was in order. The prep was was much worst than the procedure. I might be out of the loop for a day or two.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hit the Deck

The Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society will gather on the Big Deck at Dan's Keystone Grill 162 Union St. Plains, PA 18702 this Friday, July 16th from 5 to 10PM.

This a gathering of bloggers, readers, political types, friends and anyone else that is interested. All are welcome.

A quick check of the agenda reveals that there isn't one but we usually cover local politics, baseball, old movies and whatever comes to mind.

Hope to see you there.

Note: The next Mega-Meetup with bloggers and candidates will be Friday, September 17th starting 5PM at Rooney's Irish Pub
67 S. Main St.
Pittston, PA 18704

The date was changed from August because of a conflict with the Plymouth Kielbasa Festival and many of you thought we should hold it after Labor Day.

Late to the game

I see Mark is engaging in one of his favorite passtimes, bashing WILK's Steve Corbett:

Not too long ago, I chastised WILK's Steve Corbett for finally coming around to the Marcellus Shale drilling issue way, way, way too late to make a discernible difference...Still, you belittled the clarion calls coming from the Internet while telling us at length about the systematic rejection of your upbringing. And you wasted your time as well as ours by droning on and on about the inconsequential, the meaningless Friendly Sons get-togethers, something you had to do so as to promote domestic tranquility after you shed the headphones.

So I thought I would join in the fun. Because of my work schedule I stopped listening to his show month's ago but on Thursday I was in a place that had WILK on the radio so I had no choice. Corbett was droning on about the 3 candidates for the Federal Bench for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and what a shame it was that they are all men. To make matters worse in his eyes one of them belongs to that sexist organization the Friendy Sons of St. Patrick.

In 2008 presidential primary his show turned into the Whoring for Hillary Hour then after she lost the nomination he backed MCCain because Sarah Palin was on the ticket. To him issues don't matter only gender. I searched for an explanation of this bizarre behavior and it may be found in his interest in eastern religions.

He just may be a reincarnation of the guy on the left in this video.

Or maybe this is just a WLIK staff meeting.

For more Corbett fun check out Steve Corbett: The Drinking Game

If you're on Facebook vist this group.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

O'Meara and Pashinski on gas drilling in Plains

The 121st District State Representative candidates sound off about the proposed gas drilling in Plains Twp.

Republican James O'Meara left this in the comments on my last post and also sent it out as a press release.

I am deeply concerned that an exploratory well may be drilled in Plains Township by Rice Energy, LLC.

The proposed drill site raises a number of questions: Is this site a Coal-Bed Methane extraction site versus a shale extraction site? The northern anthracite field runs under the heart of our valley. What special hazards exist when drilling for gas in regions where extensive coal mining was once practiced? Are there risks of subsidence or methane explosions? What are the risks to nearby residences, hospitals, and schools?

Rice Energy has indicated that if the well is productive they will drill more. Where? Will they continue drilling in Plains, or perhaps elsewhere in the valley?

The recently-passed Pennsylvania budget cut funds to the DEP at a time when we seem to be entering a “Wild West Anything Goes” era in gas exploration. This flashes a big fat yellow warning light that we may not be paying enough attention to the potential risks of this industry.

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it goes to the very heart of ensuring public safety and preserving our natural resources. In the case of drilling in Plains or elsewhere in the valley, we need to put the brakes on until we have answers.

James O'Meara, Sr.
Candidate for State Representative
District 121

I have asked incumbent Democratic State Rep Eddie Day Pashinski for a statement but have yet to receive a reply. He was quoted in the Times-Leader

Reacting to news of the drilling permit application, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, said he’s “in favor of economic development and job growth,” but he supports a temporary moratorium on gas drilling in Pennsylvania “until safeguards are in place.”

“There needs to be regulations in place, enough inspectors on the ground, enough state police to monitor and check vehicles and proper water treatment facilities to protect drinking water sources,” Pashinski said.

“We were all very excited when we learned this new industry was coming to Northeastern Pennsylvania. … Their initial presentations were very encouraging. But in light of what happened in Dimock and Clearfield County, I am supporting a temporary moratorium,” he said.


A comment on the TL website:

Dan said...

"THEY CAME FIRST for the people of Western PA, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't from Western PA. THEN THEY CAME for the citizens of Dimock, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't from Dimock. THEN THEY CAME for the the good people of the Back Mountain, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't from the Back Mountain. THEN THEY CAME for my backyard and by that time no one was left to speak up.
The Plains Twp. planning commission and the Commissioners have to give Rice Energy the go ahead. I hope my neighbors will join me in putting up a fight against this.

Pet blogging

Tonight Quincy is producing more natural gas than the Marcellus Shale.

Friday, July 09, 2010

They want to drill in Plains Township

A few months ago I attended a meeting about gas drilling in the back mountain region of Luzerne County. An old friend spotted me and asked why I was there since I didn't live anywhere near the proposed drilling sights. My answer was "Because I drink water."

According to the Citizens Voice it looks like a gas company wants to start drilling about 2 miles from my home near the Geisinger Hospital. The Vo-Tech School is also in the area.

Rice Drilling B LLC, a subsidiary of Rice Energy LLC, applied for a permit with the state Department of Environmental Protection on June 24 to drill and operate a well on Theta's property just east of Interstate 81 and south of Jumper Road, according to the department's website.

I shudder to think what all that fracking below land that was heavily-mined for close to a century is going to do. What roads will the tanker trucks be using to get to the site in Plains? Where will they be getting the water for fracking? Subsidence insurance, anyone?

To my friends who live within the walls of the Wyoming Valley, welcome to NIMBYville.

Connect the dots, folks. Once again, you have been had.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. A crew drilling a natural gas well through an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle hit a pocket of methane gas that ignited, triggering an explosion that burned seven workers, state and company officials said Monday. The blast created a column of flame that was initially at least 70 feet high, but the rig operator said the site was secure and the fire was about 40 feet high by late morning.

This madness has to stop.

Barletta wants 5 debates again

It's déjà vu all over again. In the 2008 campaign Republican candidate Lou Barletta wanted 5 debates , one in each of the five counties Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe of the 11th Congressional District but Congressman Paul Kanjorski's camp would only agree to one on WVIA just before election day.

That worked out so well last time that Barletta has put out the same proposal this time.

Hazleton, PA Hazleton Mayor and 11th Congressional District candidate Lou Barletta challenged Paul Kanjorski to a series of five debates – one in each county of the district.
“It’s very simple. Either Mr. Kanjorski believes he has a record that he can defend and has the courage to meet me in a debate or he does not,” Mayor Barletta said. “Will he accept my challenge – yes or no? Does Mr. Kanjorski think the people of the 11th Congressional District deserve at least five hours of his time between now and November? If so, he should agree today, right now, to these debates.”

Here is what Mayor Barletta is proposing:

• One 60-minute debate in each of the five counties (Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe) of the 11th Congressional District. The WVIA-TV debate scheduled for Oct. 28 will count as the Luzerne County debate.
• Debates will be open to the public and members of the media.
• Campaigns can negotiate terms and format.

.“Kanjorski will no doubt brush this off and say there will be time for debates, and he will say his staff will handle the requests. After 26 years in Congress, can’t he just tell you yes or no, right now, to five debates over the next four months?” asked Shawn Kelly, a spokesman for Mayor Barletta’s campaign.

Kanjo spokesman Ed Mitchell gave the usual answer to the debate challenge:

“The congressman’s first priority is representing the people of the Northeastern Pennsylvania and believes there will be plenty of time for politics and campaigning in the months ahead.”

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the only debate we will see between the candidates will be on Oct. 28th at WVIA.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Haggerty responds


Just read the Kathy Dobash post. Quite entertaining.

A couple of points:

1. Please don't fall into the trap of letting charter opponents attack the charter by ripping on me, Morelli, or anyone else. If someone wants to attack the charter, let them attack what's IN the charter. That's the question for voters: Is the plan of government set forth in the charter better than our current three commissioner/row officer system?

The charter plan is plainly better than the current system, and in dozens of different ways. Dobash cannot in any way, shape, or form make a coherent argument that the current corrupt system is better than the system set forth in the charter. Hence, the personal attacks. Don't let her get away with dodging the main issue.

2. Facts are clearly not an impediment to a Dobash argument. I was delighted to learn that I'm a "good friend" of Bob Powell. While he, like dozens of lawyers, donated to my state senate campaign in 2006, I can't remember ever meeting the man, although I can't say for sure we never crossed paths. But Dobash here is just making stuff up. She does that. Another case in point: Dobash alleged at a public meeting (as did Steve Urban to the Standard Speaker) that, under the charter, the controller can't access county books until 18 months after a transaction. Well, the charter actually gives the controller access to any county record or employee upon "reasonable notice." Somebody made up the "18 month" argument. Hey, why let the facts get in the way of an important public policy debate?

3. Steve Urban came out against the charter before we even had a charter, and Dobash is a Steve Urban acolyte. Check out her posts worshipping Urban on WILK's website. If the charter passes, Urban loses his job as county commissioner since the office is eliminated. Dobash is clearly unhappy about this.

4. I think Norton may have mentioned to you that study commission members would love to meet with the blogger community to discuss the charter. (And you can see our awesome slideshow comparing the existing form of government and the charter!) Is this something you can set up?

Thanks for listening.