Wednesday, February 28, 2007
We're in the money
As a resident of Plains Twp I just want to say "Thanks Suckers."
But I question if our town fathers will spend this new windfall wisely. Last fall they included the anticipated the slots revenue in the annual budget. This first chunk of money is to be used for normal housekeeping expenses such as overtime costs related to the storm that should have killed us all with the leftover used to pave a few streets. But the original purpose of reducing property taxes is still on hold until the reassessment is finished, if ever.
The gaming revenue could eventually be used to lower township property tax bills, but that could depend on whether the county imposes new assessed property values in 2008, Filippini said. The county commissioners last year decided to delay the county’s first reassessment of property since 1965.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Hazleton this week
CV: In documents released last week, the plaintiffs challenging the immigration laws argue Hazleton has no factual basis to believe illegal immigrants adversely affect the quality of life in the city...Deposed from more than eight hours over two days, Mayor Lou Barletta conceded the city has no data on how many illegal immigrants use municipal services such as code enforcement, fire protection, garbage collection and road maintenance.
I really thought this nonsense would be dropped after the 2006 election. It was an obvious stunt to help Rick Santorum retain his Senate seat. Instead Mr. Small Town Defender seems to want to bankrupt his city defending an indefensible ordinance.
He may have awakened a sleeping electorate. Business owners Amilcar Arroyo and Luisa Sandoval as well as Anna Arias, a family outreach coordinator for Catholic Social Services in Hazleton, will join retired eye doctor Agapito Lopez in running for five open Hazleton Area School Board seats. Like most candidates, all will cross file as Democrats and Republics. Real estate company owner Rudy Espinal, a Democrat, officially declared his intention to run for one of two available Hazleton City Council seats.
Then a few questions were asked about Hazleton's contracting pratices by local government watchdog and mayoral candidate Dee Deakos:
Deakos said she “find(s) it hard to believe” that Barletta didn’t know if his brother was a manager for Triple K. She said she was concerned that awarding a contract to the company could be a conflict of interest for Barletta...“I find it interesting that such a new company would get such a major contract for one of (Barletta’s) pet projects, and now the company his brother works for gets a city contract as well.”
Triple K was incorporated in November.
Barletta's reaction to such criticism was over the top calling it a "witch hunt" and "dirty politics."
“Every time I point out something wrong or questionable in his administration, he calls it a witch hunt,” she said. “Every time I ask a question, is it dirty politics? … All I pointed out was that a close member of his family who falls under ethics rules was employed there. What did I really do other than say I was concerned?”
And Judge Corey Stevens got into the act backing Barletta and the ordinance when ethics rules clearly prohibit a sitting Judge from commenting on a pending case. A Big Fat Slob tells us why this is not allowed.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Skrep and Petrilla make it official, so does Urban
Can they be beat?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Gatorade and corporate welfare
Just how much Incentive did PepsiCo get. Under the terms of the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance plan, the county would waive an estimated $52,741 in annual property taxes per year between 2010 and 2016....Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development granted $1.25 million for the project, primarily in infrastructure costs for roads. Luzerne County donated a $100,000 grant to the project....The seven-year LERTA will reduce property taxes for Pepsi by about 50 percent and kicks in after the Keystone Opportunity Zone status expires in three years. KOZ sites have temporary state and local tax breaks. The combined tax breaks guarantee Pepsi reduced tax status for 10 years. Rapid Edward tells us that The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce supported efforts to obtain a $1.25 million funding offer for the project from DCED that includes a grant of up to $1 million through the Infrastructure Development Program and a grant of up to $250,000 through the Opportunity Grant Program.
I just got my county/municipal property tax bill for 2007 and will pay the full amount. We've done many improvements to the property over the years keeping local contractors busy without any government loans or tax breaks. How did we do it? Remember this and all the other sweetheart deals when you get your new valuation if the reassessment is ever done.
Capitol Ideas suggests a payoff may be involved:
What the statement failed to mention is that Rendell will now have 36 cases of Diet Pepsi delivered to the governor's mansion each week until he leaves office.
Mark your calendars
Yonki's previous work, "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" is also available in local stores or at ALUBIRP54@aol.com.
A resident of Wilkes Barre, Yonki is also author of two blogs,
The LuLac Political Letter
and AUTHOR: David Yonki http://authordavidyonki.blogspot.com/.
Yonki began writing as therapy after being injured in an auto accident several years ago. Currently he is working on other literary projects and shopping "A Radio Story" around to national film and publishing organizations.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Luzerne County Commissioners race-Democrats
The story also noted that Attorney Ray Hassey will not be a candidate. Fine with me as he is quoted that his biggest worry was the reassessment's impact on the elderly. I got news for you Mr. Hassey, senior citizens aren't the only ones who pay property taxes. My raise this year was less than what Social Security recipients got. I'm sure I'm going to pay much more when this thing is done. Yeah I could go get a 2nd job to pay them but that would eat into my family time just like running for office will interfere with his.
According to the CV the other Democrats interested in running are:
Pittston Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Greg Gulick.
Dennis Kijek, a Rice Township Democrat who is retired.
Greg Skrepenak is seeking a second term
County Controller Maryanne Petrilla.
Joseph Killinski, a retired Wilkes-Barre resident.
Mario Fiorucci, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Sugar Notch as a Green Party candidate in 2005.
Update on the Republican candidates is coming
Sunday, February 18, 2007
The promise of spring
Pennsylvania constitutional convention
On February 22 at Duquesne University, the Senate State Government
Committee will be holding a hearing regarding the possibilities of holding a
constitutional convention. A convention could address issues Pennsylvanians have
been talking about since the pay raise, such as changing the size of the
legislature, enacting term limits and setting new redistricting guidelines.
The Committee will be hearing from selected experts in constitutional law
and from a few established reform-minded organizations, but has not yet called
for any input from the general public.
Participate in the latest PACleanSweep poll and tell us what YOU think
about a constitutional convention. Please forward this message to as many
Pennsylvanians as possible - we can't let the Legislature move forward on this
Cast your vote now in the PACleanSweep
Current PA Constitution...
History of PA's Constitution...
Lackawanna County Commissioners
Chris Birk had the wool pulled over his eyes by Mike Washo and Harry McGrath. Chris Clauss is as dirty as they come -- a former Alberigi/Corcoran crony, appointed to the COLTS board by Castellani and Corcoran in 2000, he has a track record of being both disingenious and unconcerned with laws and ethics.
In a brash embrace of hypocrisy, Clauss had the nerve to utter "My honesty, coupled with Mike's experience, we can pull this together and do the right thing for the county.
"Baloney." A political newcomer" and "clean political slate" shall go down in newspaper history with headlines such as the infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" snafu.
Chris Clauss accepted over $40,000 in illegal health insurance benefits as a member of the COLTS authority.
In fact, as the stories below will show, was the ONLY member to NOT give up the benefits in a timely manner! And, he's an INSURANCE agent! Hahahaha. Boy, the days move by but things just never seem to change! Here's the evidence
COLTS official still receiving free insurance
COLTS Board Rides Taxpayers
COLTS board drops health perk, but most keep free life insurance
COLTS Directors Drop County Fight
Don't Look Toward State Law for Simple Answers
COLTS Board Still Mired in Animosity
COLTS elects Chris Clauss as new leader
What a week
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The anti surge
Washington, D.C.-Congressman Christopher P. Carney went to the floor of the
House of Representatives today to voice his support for the bipartisan
resolution on Iraq. Below is the text of his remarks:
"I stand today as a proud veteran in support of this bipartisan resolution, which states that Congress and the American people support our men and women in uniform, but do not support deploying over 21,000 additional troops to Iraq.
"I fear that President Bush's plan to increase troop levels is a mistake. Sending more troops will not reduce the violence.
"Indeed, in the past two years we have had
three surges to Iraq, only to see dramatic increases in violence. Why would we
think a fourth surge will be different?
"Mr. Speaker, 21,000 troops is far
less than a half measure of what is truly needed to secure Iraq. But the
unfortunate reality is that we no longer have the troops available to do the job
properly. Indeed, the army's strategic reserve is used up. They told us so. We
are now less able to respond in other trouble spots around the globe because of
this failed policy.
"Why are we not matching our military surge with a
diplomatic surge? Why are we not engaging every nation in the region to end this
"A superpower at war uses all means at its disposal to
win-including diplomacy. Diplomacy is the only way for us to succeed now, and I
urge the administration to launch a diplomatic offensive in the region.
"Our enemies are encouraged and emboldened by the success that they have enjoyed already. We do not need to send 21,000 troops additional to reinforce
"Instead, we should be changing our focus. Rather than sending more
American troops into combat, we should be training Iraqis to handle the jobs for
themselves. For every Iraqi battalion we train, we need to bring an American
"My district in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania has many of its bravest men and women in harm's way. I am very proud of them, so are their families and their communities. Our district has lost 22 men in this war.
Brave troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I rise today to
honor them and also to stand up for the troops currently in combat.
"The stories I hear from soldiers who return home leave me concerned that the
administration has not done enough to protect them.
"One of my own former students, a member of a Pennsylvania National Guard Unit, told me how his unit had to scrounge through Iraqi junkyards for scrap metal to weld onto their trucks for protection.
"Junkyards?! Scrap Metal!?
Where is the outrage that this administration has not given troops the protection that they need? "Where is the outrage that our fine men and women, whose job is to protect our nation, are scrounging through foreign junkyards to find that protection?
The troops have won the war, but the administration has failed to secure the
peace. We must now pursue policies worthy of our troops and their
"Mr. Speaker, I came to Congress to serve and protect my country.
That is why I rise in support of this resolution.
"Mr. Speaker, in the navy when we run a ship aground we change the course. It is now time to change the course in Iraq, not needlessly send more American troops in harm's way.
The video is here.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
TO HELL WITH VALENTINES DAY!!! By Mean Old Man
I'm angier than Hillary Clinton in a singing class over the way the Commies have
prissied up my “Manly” country with their Valentines Day celebrations!!! Every year on that damned day I see schmuck after schmuck go into the different florist shops (that are, no doubt, fronts for the American Communist Party) to order flowers for the wife or girlfriend who said she didn’t want any (and if she didn’t get any—the poor saps would have a shiner the size of a softball on their eye); all the while paying ten times the normal price—money which I am sure is going right back to the Kremlin!!!!
In my day we celebrated Valentines Day too, but it wasn’t infected by the Commie manifesto. You bought your best girl a new ironing board or cake pan, or if you were really a Don Juan, a pair of bloomers—to make her womanly duties easier---she didn’t want or expect stupid flowers, or candy to make her fatter than she already was—she wanted things to help her along in her housework!!!! Sure, she toiled all day long, cooking, cleaning, baking from scratch and puttin’ the clothes through the ol’ trusty wringer washer--then hanging them out in the bitter cold—and it didn’t matter if she was sick—the work had to be done and the man’s dinner had to be on the table at 5—whether he was coming home or not---and she knew what would happen if it wasn’t---and she loved it!!!!
But now, all these damned commie “career women” have ruined all the fun of being a real woman. The dumb broads today can't even boil water—let alone cook a good biscuit. My stupid hippy son Clay’s harlet wife had us over for Thanksgiving last year and I saw her put this dust that looked as if it came from out of a sweeper bag into a pot of boiling water—I had to ask; she told me it was stovetop stuffing—all of a sudden this dust starts swelling into some concoction that looked like the droppings that my ol’ hound dog Titus used to leave on the living room floor (and if you have a problem with my argument, think of this--can you imagine Duke Wayne after a hard day if chasing cattle rustlers, coming off of the range (no pun intended) and eating stove top stuffing? NO!!!). My whole Thanksgiving ruined because of some Commie stuffing (no doubt filled with some sort of mind altering drug)---Damn!!!!! And all of this sorry crap is rooted in the modern day Commie Valentine’s Day!!!
All the men (?) of America today have been feminized to make the women happy—well, what about the happiness of men!!! MY stupid grandson Josh is even forced to take home economics in school nowadays. Can you believe that?? Our schools are raising a bunch of girlie panty waste wimps!!! In my day we took shop—and you got your trusty saw out with your drill and sometimes you lost a finger or an eye—and we loved it (!), and would laugh it off---it was great!!!!!! That’s when men were men and a woman knew her place (and it wasn’t whining about getting Valentine’s candy and a damned dinner!).
So all you prissy Commie loving men out there---make sure you get to the florist on time (the Kremlin is depending on you) and don't forget those chocolates too (gotta keep the little woman as fat as Mrs. Stalin and Mrs. Khruschev were!). As for me, I’m stopping by the Wal Mart and picking up a good ol baking pan and some bread crumbs for the little woman (at my age, I'll just skip the bloomers). Then I’m hitting home, popping open a Steg, listen to a little Nat King Cole while waiting for my biscuits to be served straight from a brand new pan.
That’s My America, Commies. That’s My Valentine’s Day.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY---I HATE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!
A Florida television station is reporting that former Congressman Joseph McDade has been accused of exposing himself in public.
Prosecutors in Florida say McDade exposed himself on Sanibel Island in Florida. The 76-year-old McDade has been ordered to appear in court.
Update from the TL:
Former Congressman Joseph M. McDade has been charged by Florida prosecutors with exposing himself in public.
McDade, 75, of Fairfax, Va., was issued a summons on a charge of exposure of sexual organs in connection with an incident that occurred on Jan. 18 in Sanibal Island, according to court papers filed by the State Attorney’s Office in Lee County, Florida.
The summons states McDade unlawfully exposed or exhibit his sexual organs, or did go naked, in a public place or on the private premises of another in a vulgar or indecent manner. The state Attorney’s Office did not release any further information regarding the incident.
McDade, a Republican, served in the 10th Congressional District from 1963 to 1999. McDade was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on charges he accepted gifts in exchange for helping defense contractors win military bids, but he was acquitted of the charges in 1996. He chose not to seek re-election in 1998.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Take it to the people
Tim Grier, Sam Troy, Bob Kadluboski and Walter Griffith Jr. have acquired nomination petitions for council, mayor or both.
Great! The upcoming election in Wilkes-Barre may become a lot more interesting. These gentleman have been very critical of Mayor Tom Leighton and the city council for some time and now they will have the opportunity to tell the voters what they would do differently.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Things I want to write about
There is a growing list of Luzerne County commissioner candidates
Three Dems throw hats in ring for Luzerne County coroner seat
Coroner. Another job that should be hired on qualifications not elected.
This pool of money will not be controlled by the Bond Brothers or their successors. Good.
I apologize for the light posting. My Uncle Howie is in bad shape so I have been at the hospital a lot. Uncle Howie taught me how to play baseball so he is special to me.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Viacom vs. YouTube fallout
the waitresses: i know what boys like [video unavailable]
I haven't done any research but I doubt if Viacom has a copyright on that or many of the other songs that have been deleted. The Big Chill is on.
While it lasts enjoy some Clash.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Hazleton Cargo Airport
Is this faith based economics or has Skrep watched too many sports movies?
Expert: Plan flies too high Some more marketing research needs to be done.
The money and connections are detailed in this story by Steve Morcarsky in the TL and ties back some of the people involved to the PA Child Care sweethart deal.
Other things are in play as the developer has a dispute with some of the owners of the land where the airport is to be built.
UPDATE: Truth in our House has the real reason this airport might be built near Hazleton:
One e-mail I rcvd from a frequent blog reader told me he knows the real
reason behind the airport proposal. He thinks that Mayor Lou Barletta is really
behind the proposal but is staying quiet for now. The real proposal he
Planes will land with river dredge and fly ash from across the globe to be
used in area mine reclamation. Planes will then take off full of area illegal
aliens for immediate deportation to their country of origin.
And Barletta is in the process of negotiating contracts to make a huge amount of money from both
the incoming/outgoing flights for revitalization efforts.
Hugo can be charged with escape
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
More eminent domain
Another case of blackmail of the taxpayers or just a knee jerk reaction by the commissioners? The owner of the Huber Breaker threatens to sell the place for scrap and the Luzerne County Commissioners vote to take it by eminent domain and there's that whole thing about the building in Hazleton.
Mike Gravel for President
I know what you're saying. Who? Mike Gravel is a former Senator from Alaska (1969-1981). We've never had a President from Alaska. From his bio:
In 1971, he waged a successful one-man filibuster for five months that
forced the Nixon administration to cut a deal, effectively ending the draft in the United States. He is most prominently known for his release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret official study that revealed the lies and manipulations of successive U.S. administrations that misled the country into the Vietnam War.
I caught his act on CSPAN at the Democratic Winter meeting and liked what I heard. More background:
During his first term in the Senate, Gravel authored a book titled Citizen Power. In it, he advocated the implementation of numerous populist ideas, including a guaranteed annual income (dubbed the "Citizen's Wage"), public financing of elections, a progressive tax with no deductions or exemptions, steps against the military-industrial complex (which he calls the "Warfare State"), a national law to do away with voter registration and other barriers to voting, abolition of the death penalty, universal health care, school vouchers, a drastic reduction in government secrecy, and an end to what he viewed as an imperialistic foreign policy.
I'm not ready to commit to any candidate for President yet but I always have a softspot for the underdog. Mrs. G is backing Dennis Kucinich again and LeftIndependent likes him too.
A transcript of his speech to the DNC is on his website. h/t to A Big Fat Slob.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Viacom vs. YouTube
SF Chronicle: YouTube, the popular online video site, has begun removing more than 100,000 unauthorized clips belonging to Viacom -- everything from snippets of Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" to Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants."
The purge comes after Viacom demanded that YouTube take down the material, accusing the site of violating its copyrights. Viacom says it's the largest order to delete videos it has ever made.
How short sighted are these people? Sure the law is probably on their side but if I post a clip of the Daily Show how am I hurting them financially? If anything it creates more interest the show and when more people tune in that results in more ad revenue. Let's post some YouTube:
Are you ready for the Viagra Courthouse Tower or the Depends Public Restroom. Instead of Moon Lake Park lets call it the Exxon Valdez Wildlife Sanctuary. Why stop with buildings why not rename the river the Pennsylvania American Waterway and I'm sure many roads and streets can be auctioned off to lawfirms that make their money by chasing ambulances after auto accidents. We have many culm banks that can use a better name than big ugly black things. How about tattooing Goldenpalace.com on Skrep's forehead. I think most politicians should be sponsored by e-bay because they go to the highest bidder.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Happy Groundhog Day
The big bucks
Pennsylvania has very few restrictions on the amounts that can be given to a candidate for any office. A story today in the TL by Jennifer Learn-Andes spells it out:
Big money for Skrep, Dem mate to end ’06
Some of the names that gave big bucks to the incumbent Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid (the Bond Brothers) jumped out at me:
Developer Robert K. Mericle was the top donor, giving $10,500 to the campaign. Other representatives of his company, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, gave another $7,000.
How many times has he asked for a tax break from the county or the school district and local government where his next project is located?
Christopher Hackett, of One Source Staffing Solutions in Wilkes-Barre, $5,000
When the Bond Brothers came up with the Life Transition Plan to give a golden parachute to long time employees to get them to retire many of them were hired back to "ease the transition." They used a temp service. Guess which one.
There are many more examples but you get the idea.
Cargo airport near Hazleton
Airport would bring new jobs, identity
Key players anticipate big return on project
$1.6B cargo airport eyed
Officials: Airport would spur growth unseen since coal era
Thursday, February 01, 2007
In the race for Luzerne County Judge Tom Marsillio slaps around current District Attorney Davis Lupas on his new website. I thought that sort of thing was a no-no in a judicial race. Ed Mitchell doesn't like his client being taken to task over his record.
“The Web site is mostly a nasty, negative diatribe,” Mitchell said. “Itignores the thousands of successful prosecutions and convictions Dave hashad asDA and as an assistant DA.”
Check out the fun at http://www.marsilioforjudge.com/ and http://www.lupasforjudge.com/
In the DA's race Jackie Musto Carroll is online at http://www.jackiemustocarroll.com/
Wilkes-Barre council districts
The biggest electoral change in the history of the city of my birth takes effect this year. Instead of electing seven at-large members of the city council the choice will now be five seats chosen by districts. Some are fretting that this will reduce city government to some sort of tribal warfare and deal making such as you vote to pave my road and I'll vote to repair your bridge, etc. That may come to pass but I hope not. In the end the overall health of the city is in everybodys interest.
We can all wax nostalgic about Mr. Peanut walking around Public Square and the big department stores that dominated the landscape but those days are over. Like any small city Wilkes-Barre needs a vibrant, clean and safe downtown. That benefits all residents and I've seen progress in the last few years. Still a long way to go but there has been progress.
Not to say I'm happy with everything that has been going on. It seems like every developer has his hand out and wants to get out of paying property taxes for every proposed project. Sometimes it comes across as blackmail. "Give me a tax break and a government loan or I won't build this project." The city, Luzerne County and the W-B Area school district are always happy to oblige. My economics training tells me you should do things because they make business sense not to lower your tax bill.
The TL has rundown of some the announced council hopefuls.
TV for History Nerds
I get home from work tonight and surfed into this gem.
The Supreme Court on PBS.