Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Is Tom Marino running for reelection?

In his latest FEC filing Republican Rep.Tom Marino  (PA-10) reports that his campaign raised only $3500 in the 2nd quarter of 2017 and has $113K cash on hand. Even a candidate in a safe seat usually raises a lot of money and hands it off to competitive campaigns. His campaign site has not been updated since January and the Facebook page has been dormant.

2016 Democratic candidate Scott Brion is running again but has not raised much money.

Another Democratic candidate announced on July 5th.

Counselor announces candidacy for seat in 10th 

   “This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Judith Herschel, shortly before she was due toride in a Fourth of July parade in Montrose. This is her first foray into elective politics. She is a certified drug and alcohol counselor.......Under the proposed new health care bill, she said, “those recovering from substance use disorders will lose access to the necessary support that is required to recover from this devastating disease, and that affects all of us. It is imperative that we expand programs and access for individuals who suffer from mental and behavioral health issues, particularly our veterans. The new proposed bill affects most everyone and hits the most vulnerable the hardest. Children will go without food, and our elderly and disabled neighbors will go without medications, fuel assistance and medical care.”

 Her Facebook page: Judy Herschel for US Congress 

 Website: Judy Herschel for US Congress 


H/T to Jerry Kairnes

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Opioid epidemic and Medicaid

 This is now working backwards. From Facebook


Listening to Sue Henry who has our representatives talking about the opioid epidemic and cuts in Medicaid. Apparently, those who support the philosophy of the Republican Party don't have relatives who have addictions or who are intellectually disabled or old. Well, aren't you a lucky buck. Have you got a solution to this problem? How to stop addiction, prevent intellectual disabilities and stop people from growing old? Other than needing revenue to finance it?
Come on now, you voted for Trump. Give me a solution. Bet you can't.-


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Young Dems getting together

This is great.  Luzerne County Young Democrats  are having a meeting at

53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18701
Thursday, July 27 at 6 PM

LCYD Meeting at Rodano's 

 A night to celebrate local Democrats, engage in current events, and increase membership in the LCYD!
 I have always been a supporter of our local chapters of the Young Democrats and Young Republicans in Luzerne County . Both outfits have been  very generous to me over the years.

 Just looking at their Facebook pages they both have been dormant for a while so it's good to see one of the organizations getting back in gear

President: Beth Gilbert
Vice President: Dominick Butchko
Secretary: Matthew Ford
Treasurer: Kyle Kocher
Immediate Past President: Thomas Shubilla

Saturday, June 03, 2017

This is why we do it

To make a difference for our kids.

Some politicians with some kids. 

The whole idea is to give them a better world than we found it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Luzerne County Council

The thing about the the latest Luzurne County Council race was the lack of acrimony. With a few exceptions the candidates avoided trying to tear down their opponents. It was a race about ideas to make our county a better place to live.

The 2 people that impressed me most were Republican Marc Dixon and Democrat Wendy Cominsky. They have some ideas to improve
our lives and are running to do something not be somebody. You may disagree with them but they will listen to your ideas and try to come to a solution.

On the Republican side 5 candidates advanced for 5 seats. Incumbent Harry Haas may just win another term.Gregory S. Wolovich Jr. is running hard. 

Linda Houck was near  the top of the ballot on the Demcratic side and Sheila Saidman topped it. Matt Vough and John Godamski round out the field

Monday, May 22, 2017

Looking to the Fall- Luzerne County Controller

The headline race in Luzerne County will be the contest for Controller. Incumbent Democrat Michelle Bednar is being challenged by former Republican Controller Walter Griffith.
I hope I'm wrong but this one may get a bit nasty. Both candidates have been friends for many years and I would hate to see that. My advice to supporters of both candidates is to stick to issues and qualifications. Skip the personal attacks

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The return of Blogfest

A big Thank You to Brian and the staff of Ole Tyme Charley's for hosting great event. The Green Party came out in force in addition to  many Democratic and Republican candidates,  labor leaders, bloggers  and most importantly voters. More in the AM.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Wilkes-Barre Area School Board Meeting

About 70 people attended the school board meeting tonight. I got there late and had to leave early because of another commitment. I expected it to be a lot more contentious but for the most part it was civil. The board applauded the speakers and answered their questions. There was a lot of back and forth between the board and Attorney Kim Borland of Save our Schools. I was surprised to learn that many board members have not visited the sites under consideration for the new school. Most of the public speakers asked that they delay any decision and gather more data. Board member Joe Caffrey said this issue has been kicked down the road for over 15 years and it was time to act.

In the end they voted 7-2 to start the  process of  building a new  high school on the 80-acre site between Maffett and Main streets in Plains Twp. Shawn Walker and Christine Katsock voted no



W-B Area Board narrows site selection for planned consolidated high school


Monday, April 24, 2017

The return of Blogfest

It was so much fun in the past people have been asking us to do it again. Started as an informal political mixer it became a networking event for bloggers, voters and political candidates.

Past events have drawn crowds of 100 to 150, including political and non-political bloggers, politicians from every party as well as independents, and those curious about politics and blogging.

Since its inception Blogfest has been described as the best political event of the season. The rule is "agree to disagree, but don't be disagreeable." Many local and statewide candidates will be attending. All are welcome, and there is no charge for admission.

 This a joint venture of NEPA Blogs, The Lu Lac Political Letter and Gort42.

Ole Tyme Charley's Restaurant & Pub
31 S River St, Plains, Pennsylvania 18705
Saturday May 6th starting at 5 PM

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rock the County-Wendy Cominsky for Luzerne County Council

Wendy Cominsky is one of those very special people who decided to run for office. She doesn't have money or powerful friends just a desire to make a difference. I asked her why she would want to do such a thing and she told me she has been an activist about issues she cares about and people suggested she should run for office. So she listened to them and threw her hat into the ring. She is a middle class worker who owns her own business and she said if she is successful it will encourage more people like her.

She organized a great event and invited other candidates to circulate  petitions. The other council candidates gathering signatures were incumbent Linda Houck and newcomers Phil Gianfarcaro, David Popiak and Sheila Saidman.

Michelle Bednar is running for reelection as Controller and said she is proud of the job she has done. She has reorganized the office and has done more with less people because of the county financial problems. The audits are on time and she will be looking at the  books of the local tax collectors next. The audit of the Homestead exemption has netted $100K in back taxes.

A couple of Wilkes-Barre Area School Board candidates also were seeking some ink.Melissa Etzle Patla and Jarvis Wright. More on Jarvis tomorrow.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Another update from Walter

"I never denied that I did something wrong and I paid my fine as well as served my probation, and resigned from the job that I loved doing for the people of this County I think I left my guard down and was very stupid in allowing them the opportunity to get me out of office. I think it was truly an honest mistake that cost me dearly financially and emotionally and I am truly sorry for my mistakes."

Harry Haas, Carolee Medico, Walter Griffith, Stephen J.A. X. Y .Z Urban, The Judge, Charlie Lemmond

Walter is back

A photo from Griffiths campaign in 2009

To the surprise of no one former Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith has announced he wants his old job back. Walter was elected to the office in 2009 but resigned in 2013  after he was charged with illegal wiretapping and sentenced to probation. “I think it’s a valid concern for people to have about me resigning my position as a controller,” he said. “If I made a mistake, I made a mistake.”

I expect a few other Republicans  will enter the primary to take on incumbent Michelle Bednar.

This race should be one of the most hotly contested in 2017. Many of my Republican friends are telling me they won't support him this time.

From his FB page:

Today I'm officially announcing my candidacy for Luzerne County Controller. I will be circulating Nominating Petitions to have my name placed on the ballot for the Republican party nominee in the May 16th Primary election. If you would like to sign my petition please let me know as soon as possible. Please remember you can only sign 1 petition.
Thank you and please share this with all of your friends.

I'm surprised he didn't send me a press release, he's pretty good at that.  I will have more on this next week.

Former county controller convicted of obstruction wants the job back




Walter Griffith responds:


 Ben I want you to know I respect your post. I also want everyone to know the circumstances that led to my removal. Everyone knows that the entire courthouse wanted me gone because of my uncovering the poor practices of the administration. I did not "Wiretap" anyone I recorded the Chairman of City Vest in my office at 7 PM because I was there alone. I placed him on speakerphone and was not aware that this was a violation of the law. I simply wanted to have a source of reference for myself of what was told to me regarding this very important audit of 10 million dollars of Federal Funds. I never released this recording to anyone and no one ever knew I had the recording. The FBI issued a Warrant for all the information that I had regarding my audit of this money and under the threat of Contempt, it was provided to the FBI ONLY. I was not aware that I was doing anything illegal or wrong. The County Power-brokers wanted me removed from office, plain and simple as was evident by the plea agreement. The taxpayers of this County are all smart enough to see that and will support me in my effort to finish the job I started. Thanks for listening and I appreciate your time.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Luzerne County Council election 2017

The TL has a rundown of the candidates that have so far expressed an interest in becoming Luzerne County Councilors. Democratic incumbent Council chair Linda McClosky Houck is up for another run but Eileen Sorokas will take a pass.

 I backed Eileen last time but her support of Trump as reported in this Newsweek article ( Why Did Donald Trump Win? Just Visit Luzerne County, Pennsylvania) poisoned her potential support among  local Dems. The news of the last few weeks revealed a serious lack of judgement on her part.

Incumbent Republican Harry Haas says the county has made progress on the debt and other issues and will seek a third term. Kathy Dobash is being coy but is probably in.

Independent Rick Williams is non committal about  term.

A bunch of Democrats will be circulating petitions:

Wendy Cominsky, of  Dallas Township

 John Gadomski, of Wyoming

 Philip Gianfarcaro, of Pittston

 David Popiak, of Hazleton

 Sheila Saidman, of Kingston

 The Republicans looking to get on the ballot:

Mark Dixon, of Wright Township,

 Chris Perry, of Fairview Township

 Stephen J. Urban, of Wilkes-Barre

 Gregory S. Wolovich Jr., of Newport Township

This Sunday candidate Wendy Cominsky is holding a petition party open to all Democratic candidates.

Rock the County

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Time for some grownups

So Mike Flynn was fired as National Security Advisor. Expect more staff changes in the Trump Whitehouse. Priebus, Conway, Bannon, Miller, etc. have no experience in government and it has showed in the first 3 weeks.  I expect that some people from the Dubya years will be brought in to restore some order. But who would want the jobs when you have to deal with Twitty.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


A few years ago Atrios nicknamed Chris Matthews of Hardball on MSNBC Tweety. I picked up on it because I thought it was funny.

Now the resident of the White House is a person who  likes to type   things on Twitter who may or may not realize that he may crash markets or start a war with a 5AM Tweet.

God help us all

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Know Hope

I am just overwhelmed by the turnout in Washington, LA, Scranton and other cities around the country and around the world protesting the result of the the recent Presidential election.

 Again, the Republican candidate has been installed by an archaic system. Hilary Clinton and Al Gore both won the popular vote but the Electoral  College went against the popular vote. That  needs to be corrected. The Republicans have won both the popular vote and the Electoral College only once since 1988.

It is easier to organize against something than for something. The Tea Party groups proved that. But the problem is you really can't figure out  what Trump actually want's to do or even believes it himself

The women and men that marched today announced the opposition to Trump and the Republican Congress starts today  .