Saturday, May 28, 2011

RIP Jonathan Balester

I had run into Jonathan at various Luzerne County Republican events over the last few years and thought he was a good guy. So the news that he has been apparently murdered really hit me hard. I didn't know him that well but he struck me as a gentle soul who would help anyone he could. I'm sure we learn more over the next few days.

Suspicious death is investigated

Police seek information on homicide victim's activities

Also Rusty Flack has died. Another good guy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What a storm

I arrived home last night to find that the internet and many cable channels on the telly had been knocked out by the electrical storm that went through the area during the evening. Thus I wasn't able to post or watch my favorite talking head shows. Thankfully no tornadoes touched down in the vicinity. I blame Al Roker.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How they doing?

The people of the 10th and 11th Pennsylvania Congressional Districts traded in Democrats Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski for Republicans Tom Marino and Lou Barletta in the last election so how are they doing representing your interest? Has unemployment been reduced or has the deficit been brought under control? Are there less illegal immigrants lurking in your neighborhood? Is your health care secure?

They both voted for the Paul Ryan budget that will phase out Medicare and want to continue giving oil companies tax payer subsidies despite the fact that they continue to rack up record profits. They have both voted for bills in the house that have no chance of passing the Senate about abortion and other things.

Vote in the poll on the side bar and sound off in the comments.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Tube weekend

Not the first time it has been predicted.

22 is not enough

As we wander into the uncharted waters of electing 11 members of the new Luzerne County Council a few more waves have hit the bow. At least 4 independent or 3rd party candidates are looking to get on the November ballot. Expect a few more.

More eye county council
The November ballot for the legislature could get independents, others.

Libertarian Tim Mullen was working the crowd at Blogfest gathering signatures as was Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko and the TL reports that Jere Packard, Kingston, and Richard Williams, Slocum Township, are jointly circulating petitions to run as Independents.

Stefanie Salavantis for District Attorney

Like most political junkies I hate unopposed elections so I was glad to see that Jackie Mo will have an opponent in November.

CV: Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll will have competition in the November general election.

Stefanie Salavantis, a Republican attorney from Kingston Township, won the Republican nomination with 713 write-in votes in the primary election May 17, according to Luzerne County Election Bureau officials, who counted the write-in votes today... Musto Carroll garnered 311 write-in votes on the Republican ballot.

I was surprised that the local GOP couldn't recruit a candidate after the success they had in the 2009 row officer races and go the usual route of gathering signatures on petitions but better late than never.

I haven't found a website for her but she has a Facebook fan page.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Looking to the fall-Luzerne County Council

What a cluster**** this primary has been. 49 candidates for 22 spots on the ballot and most of the nominees I still don't know very much about.

I'm looking for links to campaign sites and Facebook fan pages so help me out. I found some via The Nothington Post.


Stephen A. Urban

Linda McClosky Houck

Jim Bobeck

Edward A. Brominski

Jane Walsh-Waitkus

Eileen M. Sorokas

Salvatore Licata

Tim McGinley

Michelle Bednar

M. Theresa Morcavage

Elaine Maddon Curry

Republican nominees

Stephen J. Urban

Rick Morelli

Kathleen M. Dobash

John Ruckno

Harry Haas

Blythe H. Evans III

William Bill James

Eugene L. Kelleher

Gina Nevenglosky

Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt

Michael Cabell

Looking to the fall-Luzerne County Judge

I got it wrong last night as 5 (not 4) candidates won both nominations. Barring some unforeseen scandal 5 of our 6 new Judges of the Court of Common Pleas will be:

Fred Pierantoni
Michael Vough
Joe Sklarosky
Lesa Gelb
Jennifer Rogers

I base that prediction on the fact that almost 10,000 people voted the straight party ticket in the 2009 election and the top vote getter in the Judicial election won with just over 38,000. Dick Hughes is again the odd man out topping the ballot on the GOP side but like 2009 he failed to garner the Democratic nomination. Molly Hanlon Mirabito snagged the Dem nomination so it is down to those 2 for the remaining fitting of robes on the 3rd floor. I have been hearing a lot of carping today that Terry Casey and Luzerne County GOP couldn't deliver the vote for the other 3 Republicans ( Haggerty, McMonagle, Saporito) on the ballot. I think that is unfair as judicial races are strange creatures. Let's see how the Republican candidates for county council do before we make judgements on his leadership. But I do think that they miss the organizational skills of Renita.

Another observation is I really don't like cross filing. The fewest voters have just decided an important election. The same goes for school director races. And don't get me started on state wide judicial elections.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Luzerne County Council

Republicans The top 11

Stephen J. Urban . . . . . . . . 8,865 8.02
Rick Morelli . . . . . . . . . 8,769 7.94 8,529 Kathleen M. Dobash . . . . . . . 8,081 7.31 7,853 John Ruckno. . . . . . . . . . 7,875 7.13 7,670 2
Harry Haas . . . . . . . . . . 7,747 7.01 7,532
Blythe H. Evans III . . . . . . . 7,081 6.41 6,866
William Bill James . . . . . . . 6,747 6.11 6,526
Eugene L. Kelleher . . . . . . . 6,664 6.03 6,422 2
Gina Nevenglosky . . . . . . . . 6,601 5.98 6,402 1
Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt . . . . . 6,586 5.96 6,392 4
Michael Cabell. . . . . . . . . 6,582 5.96 6,402
Linda J. Urban. . . . . . . . . 6,349 5.75 6,160

The Dems

Stephen A. Urban . . . . . . . . 12,142 5.24 11,681 461
Linda McClosky Houck. . . . . . . 11,001 4.75 10,683 318
Jim Bobeck . . . . . . . . . . 10,526 4.54 10,221 305
Edward A. Brominski . . . . . . . 10,299 4.44 9,891 408
Jane Walsh-Waitkus . . . . . . . 9,488 4.09 9,169 319
Eileen M. Sorokas. . . . . . . . 9,357 4.04 9,006 351
Salvatore Licata . . . . . . . . 8,967 3.87 8,658 309
Tim McGinley . . . . . . . . . 8,948 3.86 8,617 331
Michelle Bednar . . . . . . . . 8,818 3.80 8,485 333
M. Theresa Morcavage. . . . . . . 8,106 3.50 7,835 271

Tough choice in the fall

Final returns

Republican Judge

Dick Hughes. . . . . . . . . . 9,622 10.55 9,622 0
Joe Sklarosky Jr.. . . . . . . . 7,097 7.78 7,097 0
Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 7,078 7.76 7,078 0
Fred A. Pierantoni . . . . . . . 6,941 7.61 6,941 0
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 6,165 6.76 6,165 0
Jennifer Rogers . . . . . . . . 6,081 6.67 6,081 0

Democratic Judge

Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 14,700 9.01 14,700 0
Joe Sklarosky Jr.. . . . . . . . 13,549 8.31 13,549 0
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 13,359 8.19 13,359 0
Jennifer Rogers . . . . . . . . 12,669 7.77 12,669 0
Molly Hanlon Mirabito . . . . . . 11,797 7.23 11,797 0
Joseph F. Saporito Jr. . . . . . . 11,307 6.93 11,307 0


4 cndidtates won both nominations

Mike Vough

Joe Skalarsky

Lesa Gelb

Jennifer Rogers

The scramble will be for the other 2 spots.

Tom Leighton wins in Wilkes-Barre

Tom Leighton . . . . . . . . . 2,603 55.67 %
Charlotte B. Raup. . . . . . . . 1,810 38.71 %
Nick Punko . . . . . . . . . . 242 5.18 %
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 21 .45 %


His opponent will be Lisa Cope

Lisa Cope . . . . . . . . . . 357 34.59 % 357 Frank R. Sorick . . . . . . . . 283 27.42 % 283 Karen Ceppa. . . . . . . . . . 260 25.19 % 260

Almost 6000 votes for the Democrats and less than 1000 for the Republicans

Early returns

Hey, where is everybod?

With 28% of the precints in the leaders are on the Democratic side:

Fred A. Pierantoni . . . . . . . 4,138 9.04 4,138 0
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 4,117 9.00 4,117 0
Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 3,947 8.63 3,947 0
Molly Hanlon Mirabito . . . . . . 3,869 8.46 3,869 0
Joe Sklarosky Jr.. . . . . . . . 3,549 7.76 3,549 0

The Republican Judge hopefuls:

Dick Hughes. . . . . . . . . . 3,842 10.17 3,842 0
Jim Haggerty . . . . . . . . . 3,161 8.37 3,161 0
Fred A. Pierantoni . . . . . . . 3,138 8.31 3,138 0
Michael T. Vough . . . . . . . . 2,947 7.80 2,947 0
John Aciukewicz . . . . . . . . 2,816 7.46 2,816 0
Lesa Gelb . . . . . . . . . . 2,800 7.41 2,800 0

In about an hour we should have the final numbers.

Pennsylvania exit poll

Me and Mrs. G were voters number 212 and 213 at 4Pm at our polling place at the Plains Twp. fire hall out of 1000+. There were a number of poll workers handing out palm cards for Judge, County Council but only one pushing a Township Commissioner candidate. For the most part I think handing out cards at polling place is a waste of time as most people already have made up their minds.

Way back when I was actively involved in campaigns I got into some heated arguments with my peers over the best use of volunteers on election day. Depending on the campaign if you had enough money to phone bank along with knocking on doors and other direct contact efforts you should have identified your voters and your resources should be spent on voter recontact on election day to make sure your definite and maybe voters get to the polls. The best technique that an old pol in Massachusetts taught me was to work the room with the voter list after your guy/girl made an appearance at a senior center, etc. to ID people who might vote for them and give them a call on election day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wilkes-Barrre School District

One of the most important votes you will cast tomorow will be for a school board member. My taxes for the schools are more than double than the county and township combined. I have lost count of how many school board members that have been indicted and plead guilty.

The candidates are:

Dino L. Galella

Kathy Grinaway

Louis Elmy

James Susek is also running for Plains Twp. Commissioner

Maryanne W. Toole an incumbent that asks some good questions

Barry Matthews II

John Quinn was my 10th grade Social Studies Teacher, He was bit of a hot head in the classroom and on the basketball court.

Leonard Cornish deserves a vote.

The other court races

With all the attention on the six seats open for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and the new county council the spots up for grabs on the state appellate courts have been overlooked.

The candidates are:


Vote for 1 for a 10 year term

Paul P. Panepinto (R)

Anne Covey (R)

Kathryn Boockvar (D)

Barbara Behrend Ernsberger (D)


Vote for 1 for a 10 year term

Vic Stabile (R)

Paula A. Patrick (R)

David N. Wecht (D)

To save my time I'm not providing links to their websites, Facebook, etc. You can google them if you are interested but I will bet that you are not that interested.

I don't pay much attention to the statewide Judge races because the candidates run on their bio's and promise to be tough on crime with an emphasis on locking up all the drug dealers. But then every politician promises to lock up all the druggies and we all know that policy has worked out well over the past 50 years. Their campaigns are financed by the lawyers that will appear before them but they assure us that that will not influence their rulings. What a bunch of hooey.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts make a good case for scrapping the present system and going with merit selection of Judges. Their blog documents the problems with electing appellate Judges.

I'm willing to go further and go with merit selection for county judges. Do you think Michael Conahan could have survived a background check?

In the 2009 contest for PA Supreme Court Justice we elected Joan Orie Melvin who is now in a lot of hot water along with her sister despite the assurance from a local high ranking GOP operative that said "she is an honarable person."

There has to be a better way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Needed shake up

i predict that every person who voted in favor of home rule will have serious buyers remorse come nov. the cast of characters, rable rousers, never have beens and wanna be's who may be in charge of county gov't is frightening.
thanks to the likes of you, yonki and corbett voters reacted out of anger instead of insightful thought and deliberation.

This may be true. This was a reaction to all the corruption that has been going on forever so the voters decided to change the form of government. The good thing is the structure of the government can be changed in 5 years without reinventing the wheel. but if you want to start all over agian that is an option

The road back

I have been posting sporactly the last few weeks after shutting down the operation last November. It looks like I have lost my audience as the Sitemeter tells me my unique visitors have dropped from 400-500 on a good day to less than 100 now. I miss blogging so now my challenge is to rebuild an audience. As the Blogfather told me many moons ago the way to create traffic is content, content, content so now I will opine again on various local and natonal issues and let you my dear readers take my head off if you disagree. I have made so many friends ( and a few enemies )doing this that I just can't resist. Even Mrs. G want's me to do it again.

So what is going on?

The Blogfather has been in a full throated defense of Tom Leighton as Mayor of Wilkes-Barre, Mark is a Republican and Tom is Democrat which validates my theory that party labels don't matter much in local elections.

Another Monkey has been all over a site that has been stealing content from the rest of us. Blogger etiquitte demands a link back to the source. But it looks like this jerk has taken the site down.

NEPA Blogs has been hot with a bunch of new bloggers being listed.

The Lu Lac Political Letter has been trying to cover everything.

Common Sense Political Thought wants to play games with the debt ceiling and still thinks because it snows there is no such thing as global warming.

Steve is also worked up about the content thief

Then there is the best political blogger in PA. The Morning Call's John Micek who writes Capitol Ideas. What a natural, well informed and funny.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It has always been a feature of this blog to predict the winners of the elections the Saturday before Tuesday but this time I have no idea. I usally get it wrong anyway.

In the race for Luzerne County Judge 16 lawyers are chasing 6 spots on the bench. My favs are Lesa Gelb, Jen Rogers, Joe Saporito and Vito DeLuca who I just might bullet vote.

The Luzerne County Council is a new beast with almost 50 people aspiring to be elected. The good thing is there will be some Republicans elected to this new body in the fall although I think the D or R label doesn't matter much in local government.

I will go out on limb and predictict that Tom Leighton will win renomination as Democractic nominee for Mayor of Wilkes-Barre and James O'Meara will be the nominee for Republican candidate for Plains Township Commissioner. Also Jackie Mo will be the next District Attorney.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


I have long had the view that most endorsements are only good for a press release unless they bring boots on the ground or bundles of money. That being said it is better to get the endorsement of the local newspaper than not.

But just remember how the Times-Leader endorsement gave us State Rep Christine Kotsock way back when she was still a Republican. She even printed signs that said "Endorsed by the Times-Leader." She got clobbered by Eddie Day Pashinski 2 to 1 in 2006. I'm sure I can find other examples but this one comes to mind. Congressman Malcolm Derk, if he wasn't in the race I think Dave Madeira just might have topped geographically challenged Tom Marino.

The endorsement that matters the most in this election was made by a collection of Unions that natuarally pissed of many of my Republican friends. There also some hard feelings on the Dem side.
Maybe the question should be "why don't I have those protections" instead of why do "those people have them."

Anyway here is the annointed list:

Our endorsement: Luzerne County Council, Republicans

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

First GOP Presidential Debate

The most highly anticipated and ignored event of the Presidential pre-primary season will be held in South Carolina tomorrow.

The participants are:

former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who I like

Congressman Ron Paul, who I respect but disagee on many things

former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who I have met

former Virginia Senator Rick Santorum, who makes me laugh

and Herman Cain, I ate a lot of Godfather's Pizza when I lived in Omaha

Of these guys the only one I can take seriously is Pawlenty.

As Steve Bennen said:

I'd call this a clown debate but I don't want to insult clowns.

As far as the supposed serious candidates:

Mitt Romney declined; Gingrich won't set up an exploratory committee until next week and is therefore ineligible; Huntsman is in a similar boat; Michelle Bachmann hasn't made any formal moves; Mitch Daniels is still figuring out what he wants to do; Roy Moore and Roy Roemer can't break 1% in the polls ; and Palin and Huckabee are still on the Fox News payroll.

It's going to be tough to run against the President that killed Bin Laden.

And speaking for the Almighty we get this:

Karen Santorum says the 2012 presidential race, in which her husband, Rick, is a likely Republican candidate, is "not just another political race. It’s about going on to the battlefield and defending God’s truth in the world." [...]
She says the couple has "prayed a lot about the decision" and the former senator's decision--apparently she's referring to his forming a presidential exploratory committee--"
is what God wants."

Pic is for my friend Dan

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Redistricting of PA Congressional seats

This is the map I spotted on Politics PA last month. It moves the 10th west and turns the 11th into something that looks like a lobster and Tim Holden's 17th district curls up and eats Lackawanna County. I don't think this will stand but I decided to run some numbers based on the 2008 election. I broke it down and found that this configuration gave President Obama 164,290 votes versus John McCain's 151,307. The old boundaries gave the President a big victory 203,162 to 156,262. Of course this is just back of the envelope math so please don't beat me up on it. In a way I like this map because it restores Luzerne County to one CD but I don't like it because Scranton had always been the anchor of the 10th CD until 2002. I'm a traditionalist and believe that Scranton and Wilkes-Barre should have different Congressmen.

Kevin Blaum, where are you?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Kentucky Derby

The 14th annual get together of the Saturday OT Committee and Operatic Society to watch the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7th 4PM at Marks Pub 1287 N Washington St, Wilkes-Barre.

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.

Osama has just left the building

I don't know how I feel about this yet. I don't like extra Judaical killings or the death penalty in general but if anyone ever deserved to get a bullet in his head it was this guy. At the same time I can't imagine him going through our judicial system.

The question now is will the US draw down the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? 100,000 troops chasing around a couple of hundred terrorist is not an efficient use of our resources.

Of course there are doubters.

Blogfest 2011-Spring Edition

I wasn't involved in the planning and promotion of our 3rd gathering at Rooney's Irish Pub in Pittston but as soon as I walked in the door I realized how much I miss blogging. There are many people of all parties that I now call friend because of this Internet venture. I came up with the idea of having a low key gathering of politicians/bloggers/activists and helped organize the first 2 meetups that were great successes and even got some coverage from the local papers. Kudos to David and Joe for keeping it going. I noticed that many of our local political bloggers didn't make it this time but there were plenty of candidates running for various offices.

We got there around 7PM and missed the first wave of judicial candidates who were off to the 3rd district meeting, like committee endorsements matter anymore, but you have to make the rounds. I'm not going to run down of list of people that were there but if you are interested the Yonk took attendance. Keeping in the spirit the people who attended agreed to disagree without being disagreeable, there were no speeches and the dress code was adhered to. I will be more active for the Fall Edition.

Plus I got to d to my button and political paraphernalia collection.

The bloggers report:

Blog Fest report, Spring 2011 edition

The LuLac Edition #1573, April 30th, 2011

Blogfest turns out great crowd

Video from Scott of Video Inovations