Sunday, February 28, 2010

Carney in the middle

WASHINGTON – Today, the highly respected National Journal Magazine released its annual “Vote Ratings” issue and Congressman Chris Carney (PA-10) has been ranked among the most bipartisan members of the 435-member House of Representatives. The nonpartisan magazine analyzed the 92 most significant votes in 2009 and ranked Congressman Carney the 11th most centrist member in the entire House of Representatives.

Congressman Carney, in his short time in Congress, has established himself as a pragmatic lawmaker who puts people in the region above political party. It is the third straight year since his election that he was named among the most bipartisan members in Congress by National Journal.

“I strive to be an independent voice for our region who represents the people, not a political party. I am glad to see those efforts recognized,” Congressman Carney said. “The families in our district want a representative who will put solving our country’s problems above ideology.”

In particular, the National Journal analysis ranked Congressman Carney the most fiscally conservative Democrat in the 19-member Pennsylvania House delegation. That finding is a point of pride for Congressman Carney, who played a key role in the recent enactment of pay-as-you-go rules in order to bring down the deficit. Pay-go rules force lawmakers to make an equal cut for every new dollar in spending.

Carney also recently voted to end the health insurance industry's exemption to the anti-trust laws and announced that broadband Internet access grants are available because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He defends his vote for the stimulus noting that in Bradford County alone 26,000 families got tax cuts, schools got $10 million and has paid for roads, bridges and sewers. That has been the story throughout the 10th Congressional District. This recession would be a lot worse if the government hadn't spent money to replace the demand that was sucked out of the economy because of the bank and mortgage collapse. Macroeconomics has never been a strong suit of my Republican friends.

The Republican challengers to Carney all sound the same. They oppose deficit spending but propose more tax cuts saying that is the only way to stimulate the economy. If that was the case the Bush tax cuts should have led us into a period of unending prosperity. In 1993
tax rates on the wealthy were increased a point or two and millions of jobs were created when President Clinton was in office.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bob Morgan in the 119th race

I'm taking a break from digging out and this popped up in my inbox.

Morgan will run for seat vacated by John Yudichak in the 119th District

Bob Morgan announced his candidacy to become the next Representative from the 119th District. The seat will be vacated by John Yudichak, who is currently running for State Senate. Morgan, 47, is a Financial Advisor from Fairview Township.

Morgan, a Democrat, feels that economic issues are a priority for the constituents of the House District: “I believe that many of our residents have felt the effects of the recession and have had to make tough financial choices in the face of ever present increases in the cost of health care, prescription drugs and school and county property taxes. I believe that my background in finance provides me with a keen awareness of the impact of these issues on our everyday lives and has prepared me to clearly assess the ramifications of proposals before the General Assembly in these areas.”

“Completing the budget in a timely manner and getting people the property tax relief they were promised are tops on my list of priorities; we need to have smart solutions to handle these issues and not just anti-Harrisburg rhetoric,” stated Morgan. “Seniors need relief from crushing tax burdens, jobs need to be created by it. Instead, we need plans. We need green energy programs that provide new skilled, long-term jobs to skilled workers. We need to continue to develop the industrial parks as well as the downtown revitalization projects in our district so that we can keep employers here as well as create new, good-paying jobs. We need to have solid schools so that our teachers are able to shape the leaders of tomorrow and a solid vision for our educational system to train the next generation of workers. I will dedicate myself to these projects to benefit our citizens.”

“The people of the 119th District work hard, pay their taxes and make sacrifices to educate their children. I believe that we need a person who recognizes their needs, works hard to address their concerns, and reaches out,” said Morgan. “My office will always be open to help people in any way that the state government is able. The people of this district deserve that in their representative.”

The 119th District extends from Bear Creek Township, portions of Mountaintop, Nanticoke, Newport Township, Nanticoke, Hanover Township, Sugar Notch, Warrior Run, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Larksville and Edwardsville.


New 11th CD candidate

“A regular person holding an office becomes a politician when trying to be re-elected.”- Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly is a retired IBM executive and assistant professor at Marywood University in Scranton. He will not accept campaign donations and vows to serve only one term if elected. If he actually gets on the ballot it is good news for Congressman Kanjorski because the anti-Kanjo voters will have another choice other than Corey O'Brien. The Machiavelli in me has been expecting another Scranton area Democrat to get into the race.

He has a website
Brian Kelly for Congress
Reading his Patform Bullets he takes some interesting postions for someone calling himself a Democrat, to put it mildly. He says he has been influenced by the writings of Allan Keyes saying that they think alike.
Some of his positions:

Abortion is "prohibited" in Declaration of Independence

Public display of the Ten Commandments is a state’s right.

Official Language of US is English.

Marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is a Christian Nation.. Prayers to Christ should not be barred.

Schools forfeit funds if they expose kids to gay propaganda / pornography.

Sex education if it exists at all, should be abstinence-based

Eliminate Department of Education

Drill here, Drill now

Global Warming is a hoax

CAFE standards kill people in crashes - abolish them

Recognize the UN as an anti-US agency

Repeal all aspects of Obamacare including the "Porkulus" bureaucracy

Seal the borders of the United States

No U.S. citizenship for “anchor babies” of non-citizens

Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment

Abolish the income tax and IRS and spend money responsibly

Constitution does not require separation of church and state

TL: 11th needs non-politico, Kelly says

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Harry Haas for school board

A few weeks ago I suggested that Harry Haas should be appointed to the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board to take the place of disgraced former board President Frank "kneecaps" Pizzella. Harry finished 5th in the recent election to choose 4 board members and if they follow recent precedent in choosing replacements for admitted crooks he should be a shoo in. Christine Katsock was the top vote getter in the primary so she was chosen to take the place of previous board President Jim Height who plead guilty to taking a bribe. The other admitted (so far) crook on the board, Brian Dunn, didn't stand for reelection.
The TL reports that 8 people have applied for the vacancy but the identity of the applicants is a secret. When will these people ever learn? The Luzerne County GOP put out a press release backing Haas which will probably be a kiss of death.

WILKES-BARRE (Feb. 24, 2010) – The Luzerne County Republican Party is urging the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board to “do the right thing” and appoint Harry Haas to the open seat on the board.

Haas, a Republican, finished fifth in the November 2009 race for four seats on the school board. Haas missed out by 116 votes.

“We are asking the School Board to do the right thing,” Republican Chairman Terry Casey said. “Harry is exactly the type of person we need to make decisions for the district, its taxpayers and most importantly, its students. He is intelligent, open-minded, fair and has a background in education.”

Appointing Haas to the vacancy created by the resignation of Frank Pizzella would offer the school board the opportunity to prove to residents of the district that it is “not business as usual, or even, politics as usual,” Casey said.

Haas, 34, of Wilkes-Barre, is a teacher in the Dallas School District. During his campaign last year he advocated the preservation of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s old buildings, promised a fair-hiring process and supported training and advanced technology to meet the needs of a changing student body.

Haas has submitted a letter of interest to the school board which is expected to make an appointment on March 8.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tax bill flap

Luzerne County started sending out tax bills this week that didn't include the Homestead exclusion so they had to stop the mailing and print new bills.

County officials: Homestead tax break remains in effect

In a first for this blog Commissioner Chair Maryanne Petrilla sent me a press release about this issue and listing her accomplishments.

Statement by Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla
February 24, 2010

I want the taxpayers of the county to know I hear their frustration and anger at the recent mix-up concerning the Homestead Tax Exemption. There was a mistake made here. We’re all human. I told the people attending the commissioners’ meeting last week who protested that we would correct this. And we have.

I can’t dial back the play clock on this one item. We will make sure things like this don’t occur again.

I also hope that all I have tried to do to improve county government at this crucial time in our history will not be judged by this one incident. I’ve finally put an end to the wasteful practice of seemingly endless county borrowing. We had to raise taxes, but we made many cuts in this year’s spending to try to minimize the pain. We now have a fairer tax system with everyone paying their fair share instead of some receiving a better deal over others. This preferential treatment went on for decades beyond when other counties reassessed. Additionally:

• I singlehandedly worked with the principals of PA Child Care to end their lease that cost $58 million.
• Discovered the practice of contract piecemealing, stopped and exposed it, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
• Completely put an end to nepotism and cronyism by hiring professional and experienced directors to fill jobs.
• Developed a cooperative working relationship with the courts to streamline their budget and save taxpayer’s two million dollars a year.

There has been much to cleanup since I became chairwoman of the commissioners. I’ve worked hard to begin the cleanup. I hope people won’t rush to judgment on my overall record before some time passes and it can be judged in it’s entirety.

These have been tough times in Luzerne County for a variety of reasons. We’re doing our best in these trying days. I hope people will look at the big picture. Thank you to the taxpayers for any patience they can afford us. We will continue to try and do better.

We're all going to die!

Most people will be off to the grocery store for bread, eggs and milk but I have the essentials already. Charcoal, steaks, gas for the snowblower and a case of beer plus toilet paper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arlen Specter in Wilkes-Barre

Senator Specter was in Wilkes-Barre yesterday touring the new muli-million dollar over budget and behind schedule parking garage (intermodal transportation center) promising more money for the project. The city needs another $500,000 to replace sidewalks on Public Square. The Blogfather has documented the incompetence of the last administration in doing simple maintenance especially because the materials have been available for years. On a side note Mark is feeling bit neglected by the local blogosphere so I thought a little link love would be appropriate.

While in the area Specter picked up the endorsement of a couple of local unions. Specter has declined a debate invitation from Meet the Press so his Democratic challenger Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey are going to try to recreate the magic of the Alllentown beer summit.

A few months ago the reports I was getting was that Sestak's campaign was a mess. He could show up on MSNBC all the time but his campaign couldn't bother to return a phone call or send out an email alerting local supporters when he would be in town. That is improving.

In his latest web ad he slams President Obama for supporting Specter despite his own support of Hillary Clinton in the primary.

I really can't make up my mind in this race. I've never been an Arlen fan but Sestak's campaign has been just so incompentent until lately.

Another 119th state rep candidate

A fourth Democrat has thrown his hat into ring to succeed John Yudichak who is running for the state senate. Justin Behrens is an Iraq war vet from Mountaintop.

TL: “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to serve our community and what we can achieve together.” said Behrens.
“I served my country with pride, honor and integrity. I will serve the 119th District upholding those same values along with vision, leadership and compassion.”

Gary Zingaretti and Jerry Mullery have previously announced that they are running for the seat and Bob Morgan is circulating petitions for the Democratic nomination.

The lone Republican so far is Rick Arnold. I miss attributed a quote yesterday by Arnold to Zingaretti.

Arnold said

"In my mind, I have more opposition now in the primary than I will in November," he said, adding "we'll pretend like we're running a primary right through May."

My apologies to both gentleman and thanks to the reader who corrected me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

119h update

Bear Creek Township Chairman Supervisor Gary Zingaretti is seeking the Democratic nomination for state rep in the 119th district to succeed John Yudichak who is running for the the state senate. He has been in the news trying to reduce the fatalities on Route 115 urging a reduction of the speed limit as a first start. He brags that "I'm the only one who's got actual experience in government."

That may not be a plus this year.

Ziggy is a number cruncher who went to Coughlin HS in Wilkes-Barre then went to King's for his undergrad degree then got a masters from Wilkes U.

His opponent in the Democratic primary is Jerry Mullery who welcomed him into the race.

"Anybody who believes that they can help the citizens of the 119th should get involved and should make a run for the seat, and hopefully the voters will educate themselves as to the position of each candidate and select the one that they believe can best serve them."

The other Dem mentioned as possibly running is Bob Morgan who lost the Luzerne County Controller's race to Walter Griffith in the last election.

Mullery sent out this PR a few days ago:

I am that type of leader and I ask for the support of anyone else who shares these values.

Attorney Mullery resides in Alden with his wife, the former Michele Mech, and the couples four children, Leah, 9, Lauren, 8, Liam, 4, and Louden, 2. Attorney Mullery operates a private law practice in Kingston. He is a graduOn Wednesday, February 17th, Attorney Gerald J. Mullery of Newport Township officially announced his candidacy for the 119th Legislative District. His reasons for running are outlined below:

My political aspirations of late have been fueled by the corruption at all levels of government and the overwhelming evidence that many of our elected officials have demonstrated a complete lack of fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately many elected officials have abandoned their constituents, pandered to those few who can secure the elected officials' influence by the promise of large donations, a quid pro quo or alternatively by way of creating a perception that a particular group can deliver the vote necessary to keep those already in public office well entrenched, to the detriment of the rest of the community. This unfortunate environment is no less a threat in the 119th Legislative District of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania than in our country as a whole.

I have four young children, an elder parent, elder in-laws, relatives and friends whose children's futures are at stake, much like my own. We need leaders who are willing to put personal ambitions aside and work toward creating a better community for all, regardless of race, age, sex, religion or political beliefsate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, King's College and Duquesne University School of Law.

The Coffee Party

The Tea Baggers have received all the attention lately so it's natural that there would be a blowback.

A new Facebook group called The Coffee Party now has over 6200 members. At least we'll be more alert than those teabaggers.

Join the Coffee Party Movement

We recognize that the federal gov't is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will...As voters & volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, & hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Patte's Sports Bar

Pat is down in the Bahama's on a long planned trip and the Fed's are trying to seize his bar using forfeiture laws that are also used in drug cases that have been abused in many cases. He hasn't been convicted of anything yet but they are already trying to grab his property. No matter what your political stripe is you should find this action to be outrageous.

A Facebook group has popped up supporting him and the website he is accused of running is still online. Willtobet requires a login and password that I have never been privy to.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Russ Bigus for State Represenative

Russ Bigus is circulating petitions to run for state rep as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Karen Boback in the 117th District. He got clobbered last time out.

Kanjo is running for reelection

Corey O’Brien is a nice young man; he supported me in the past. I understand ambition.”- Congressman Paul Kanjorski

With no kickoff rally or other hoopla Paul Kanjorski announced on twitter that he is seeking a 14th term in the US House of Representatives. Congressman Paul Kanjorski's volunteers in PA-11 are circulating his nominating petitions. He's running for reelection.

He sat down with both the Times-Leader and Citizens Voice (but not bloggers.. Abbie?) to state his case that his seniority is more of an asset to the people of the district than ever before.
“If I were to leave this year, the longest-serving legislator in the region will be Sen. Bob Casey,” Kanjorski said. “We are losing state Senators Bob Mellow and Ray Musto, who are retiring. If I go and Sen. Casey is not re-elected in his next run, then we might as well close down the ballroom....“We must avoid the shock of having no legislator with clout,” he said. “When I leave and Sen. Musto and Sen. Mellow are gone, there could be a long desert to cross.”
He has some irons in the fire such as his "to big to fail" amendment and defended the stimulus bill that has brought $150 million to the district. He said the focus on health care reform was a disconnect from people's anxiety about the economy and jobs. He attacked the Senate Republican strategy of filibustering everything in the Senate in order to defeat the President.

"They've decided that it doesn't matter what's good for the country, 'let's bring him down,'" Kanjorski said. "It's not having an impeachment, literally, but it's a political impeachment. If you destroy the validity of a presidency, you don't have to worry, he's just putting in time and then he'll be out of there."

He gives an honest assessment of the political environment like he always does:

"If the election is decided as a referendum on the last 14 months, this coming November, the Democrats are going to lose."

For all you Cornerstone obsessed people he says that Bush Justice Department found nothing illegal.

Don’t you think with a Republican president and administration that I was checked out thoroughly?” Kanjorski offered. “And they found nothing wrong.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chris Doherty for Govenor, Lt. Governor, Congressman, State Senator or whatever

This guy has now become a joke.

Elect me to something!

From Borys

Scranton mayor to run for state Senate, not governor

Pennsylvania 14th Senatorial District

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton tossed his hat into the ring to succeed Ray Musto in the state senate yesterday before a big crowd at Rodano's on Public Square. He pointed to the remake of Wilkes-Barre's downtown and said he wants use his experience to help other distressed cities in the district. You can read his entire announcement speech on his website.

On Monday119th State Rep John Yudichak kicked off his his campaign to be a state senator at the construction site of the new LCCC food school in Nanticoke.

“The construction you see happening here on Main Street in Nanticoke, a $30 million investment that will bring hundreds of new jobs to Luzerne County, represents just how hard I am willing to fight to create jobs and economic opportunity for all of northeastern Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “I have listened to the workers on this site and they want Harrisburg to get to work for them; they want good jobs, betters schools for their kids and safer communities for their families. I believe, with the support of working families from Luzerne, Carbon and Monroe Counties, I can be a leader who gets things done in the Pennsylvania State Senate.”

That’s not a lot to ask for,” Yudichak said. “People need a safe place to live and work and they want health care security.

Yuddy has all the muli-media bases covered.

Website: Yudichak for State Senate

Facebook: Yudichak for Senate

Twitter will probably follow shortly.

YouTube: YudichakForSenate's Channel

SPPE covered Leighton's announcement and Lu Lac handicaps the race.

The only Republican in the mix so far is Republican Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban who is circulating petitions for state senator and Lt. Governor.

Mullery for State House

Nanticoke Attorney Gerald Mullery is a candidate for State Representative in the 119th Legislative District. His campaign kickoff is scheduled for tonight at 7PM at the home of Jim McDermott, 4 Marie Drive, Nanticoke, PA 18634 (735-1713)


He doesn't have a website up yet but those of you on Facebook can get more information at Mullery for State House.

Republican Rick Arnold is the only other announced candidate in the race but we are waiting to hear from Hanover GOP politico Dave Shipula and Democrat Bob Morgan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Richard Shermanski for State Represenative

Back Mountain Republican State Representative Karen Boback has an opponent.

TL: Richard Shermanski Jr., a 23-year-old law student, announced Monday he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state representative in the 117th Legislative District.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is “plagued by our representatives’ inability to work together, which, in effect, is only hurting this state’s citizens.
“I, for one, am tired of it,” he said. “If elected, I promise to finally set aside this partisan arguing and work to create a General Assembly that works for the people and not the party.”

Good luck with that bipartisan thing.

Shermanski has worked in the state house and interned for Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

He has a website that has more information.

Elect Richard Shermanski for the 117th district

Candidate announcements

Senate 14

The Blogfather is reporting that Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton will announce that he is running for the state senate seat currently held by retiring Ray Musto tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. at Rodano’s on Public Square in W-B. State Rep John Yudichak has previously announced he is running for the seat. No Republican has thrown their hat into the ring yet.


With Yuddy trying for the senate spot the first Republican in the race to succeed him is
Rick Arnold, 47, of Rice Township, who will announce his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 119th Legislative District at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 2260 Church Road, Rice Township. Other candidates looking at the race are Republican Dave Shipula and Democrats Bob Morgan and Gerald Mullery.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

One of worst kept secrets in these parts is that you could make a friendly wager on sporting events at Patte's Sports Bar in the North End of Wilkes-Barre. When I was a little boy my dad would take me there occasionally on a Saturday afternoon for a burger and a soda to watch a baseball or football game. Listening to the chatter of the patrons I remember asking him "what is a point spread?"
When I was a kid the place was just another corner bar that was later renovated and expanded and over the years the clientèle expaned from just the local working stiffs to include the who's who of the local Democratic Party. That seemed to accelerate after the closing of Aldino's Manor in East End.
The owner Patrick Patte and an employee have now been charged with what amounts to bookmaking. The TL story suggest that they were wiretapped. I have seen many local politico's there over the years and many of them are now under indictment or copped a plea. It looks like they are all singing to the Feds trying to save their own asses and will give up a name no matter how unrelated to the government corruption that has been going on forever.
A crime is a crime but you can legally gamble a few miles to the north at the casino in Plains that used to be called Pocono Downs. I think that the thing that should be investigated is how his kid got the job as the Coughlin High School football coach.
The Blogfather wasn't impressed by the food or the atmosphere. I think the food is good and I always enjoy talking politics.

Spam attack

In the space of 3 minutes tonight the same spam comment was left on 15 different posts. It is just gibberish so I clicked on it to find the source to find out it was from a Chinese porno site. Now I will have to expend my precious Blogging Energy Units deleting the garbage.

Because of the brief time frame I fear that the the spammers have found an automated way to defeat word verification that is supposed to prevent this kind of bullshit.

Anybody else have this problem?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Libertarian candidates

I'm glad to see there are couple of Libertarian Party candidates running for seats in the state legislature. The Libertarians and the Greens put a lot of energy in putting up candidates for President, Governor or US Senator with no hope of winning those races but rarely field candidates for school board, city council or county commissioner, etc. I always ask my friends in those parties 'how to you expect to win a statewide race if you don't build a bench'?

Betsy Summers has announced that she is in the the race to succeed Ray Musto in the 14th state senate district. She has previously run for US Senator and Auditor General and coming back to earth was a member of the previous Luzerne County Government Study Commission. She has a website


State Rep John Yudichak is the first Democrat in the race to take Musto's place and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton will announce his intentions shortly. Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban is mulling over this race or a long shot campaign for Lt. Governor.

Another Libertarian, Tim Mullen, will be taking on long time state rep Phyllis Mundy in the 120th District. He is a registered nurse and an Army Reserve vet.

From his website:

In the past two years I have become active with the Campaign for Liberty and the Tea Party movement, speaking at the latter's events and writing letters to the editors that have appeared in both local newspapers on both groups' behalf. The economic events of the past year and the steepening slide toward the abyss of socialism as evidenced by nationalization of the banking, insurance, and auto industries, and the push for socialized medicine has pushed me to act.

The Republican Mayor of West Pittston, Bill Goldsworthy, is also expected to get into the race.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No school today

Or blogging because of the snow that these guys think disproves global warming.

10th CD happenings

Dave Madeira's Magical Mystery tour of the district started in Honesdale yesterday and made it to the Pierce Street Deli in Kingston but cut it short because of the predicted snowstorm skipping his last stop in Lewisburg disappointing tens of people awaiting his arrival. What is it about the Pierce Street Deli and Republicans? Tom Marino also made a stop at the place on his announcement tour. Maybe they like the really rare roast beef sandwiches that I enjoy.

Some choice quotes

He predictably called incumbent Chris Carney a "liberal" that is “deceiving the district into thinking he’s a Blue Dog Democrat.”

His message is simple.I’m running because I believe the time is right for a businessman and not a professional politician to represent the people of this region in Washington,” he said from his home Tuesday night... “I’m making no personal attacks on him, but it’s his record I strongly disagree with. He likes to wave his Blue Dog credentials, but one year ago, he voted for President Obama’s stimulus plan that not only brought no stimulus, but saw unemployment jump to over 10.1 percent. I’m alarmed at the deficit. And Carney has to take responsibility for his votes. Is this who we want representing us?”

He then talks about being inspired by the Tea Bag Movement " It’s a grass-roots movement comprised of independent thinkers, businessmen, doctors, but the common thread in the group is how people feel disconnected with their congressmen. It doesn’t seem like Congress is listening to us. ”

Nice try Dave but you wanted to run for this seat long before the tea parties started.

The Dems react

DCCC: With the official launch of his campaign, this morning David Madeira became the latest candidate to enter the contest for the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania ’s 10th congressional district. With his announcement, however, he is also bringing a heavy dose of irresponsible rhetoric with him, highlighted by his recent call for the expiration of regulations that protect children from dangerous lead toys.

“Dave Madeira's recent call to sunset regulations that ensure children have safe, lead-free toys speaks volumes about how grossly out of touch he is with northeastern Pennsylvania ,” said Shripal Shah , Northeast Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Dave Madeira is seriously mistaken if he thinks voters across the 10th district are going to buy in to these kinds of beliefs.”

From his blog Could we please have our country back now?

Yesterday I featured a clip from Stossel's expose' on Crony Capitalism with the other Carney. In todays clip, Stossel says that Salvation Army says it had to dump $100,000,000 worth of second hand toys and another $100,000,000 worth of second hand clothing to comply with new regulations...Congressman Chris Carney proudly touts his support for these new measures on his website. We need to sunset all regulations so Congress has to review them regularly to make sure that they are counting the cost of all these good intentions.

PA Democratic Party Chairman TJ Rooney:

"Dave Madeira offers more canned partisan rhetoric at a time when Washington needs to come together to solve our nation’s problems. Now is the time to bring the parties together, not separate them further. Congressman Carney is a leader who voters in the 10th District can be proud of, having shown the kind of bipartisanship that has twice ranked him among the most independent members in the House. He is a strong advocate for the needs of his community, having fought to fund area projects and pushed for tax cuts for area families and tax credits for small businesses."

Congressman Chris Carney's camp said:

"Congressman Carney is proud to have fought hard to bring investments to our region that boost employment, provide improvements to our region’s hospitals and infrastructure and enable our community’s law enforcement officers to have the equipment they need to keep us safe. He stands up for the needs of our region every day in Congress and will never stop fighting for the many worthy projects throughout our community."

The other GOP candidates are Steven Solieri and young Ted Yale who not eligible for the office according to the Scranton Public Examiner and Malcolm Derk.

Derk sent out a press release today that said this about the stimulus "Malcolm Derk strongly opposes this type of reckless spending . The Daily Item reports that the Snyder County Commissioners will create a job using, you guessed it, stimulus money.

Update: a dissent from the inbox

Hi Gort,I read your blog frequently and I saw this today about Malcolm Derkwho is running for Congress in PA10:"Derk sent out a press release today that said this about the stimulus"Malcolm Derk strongly opposes this type of reckless spending . TheDaily Item reports that the Snyder County Commissioners will create ajob using, you guessed it, stimulus money."

I think the whole premise of the paragraph is misleading. I'm fromSnyder County and have followed the county government issues closely. My understanding on the matter is that the Snyder County Commissionershaven't yet voted on creating the position- and all of the quotes inthe article come from Joe Kantz (the other snyder countycommissioner). The article only mentions Malcolm Derk in passing.

And personally I think it's different if a Congressman votes against legislation and then later claims credit for the bill's benefits-that's being hypocritical. Congressman have a vote on the house floor, therefore they directly have a say in the matter. Chris Carney has voted against Appropriations bills in the House, but then claims credit for the earmarks in those bills- which annoys me. But Governors, Mayors, and Commissioners don't have a vote in Congress- so they can't determine the amount of federal money that is allocated to their constituents. Similarly, Governors, Mayors, and Commissioners don't get to pick and choose which federal laws tofollow- they have to follow all of them.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mellow out

HARRISBURG -- Sen. Robert J. Mellow, D-Peckville, the Pennsylvania State Senate’s longest-serving member and its highest-ranking Democrat, announced today that he will not seek re-election.

“It has been my profound personal honor to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania. It has literally been my life’s work. I am deeply grateful for the trust that my friends and neighbors from northeastern Pennsylvania have shown me by electing and re-electing me to work for them. We have accomplished many great things together,” Mellow said in a statement.

Lou Barletta's campaign owes money to Lou Barletta

According to lastest FEC report Republican 11th CD candidate Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta has debt of $263,170 including $65,000 owed to Legacy Bank in Harrisburg that he says he is making the payments himself. The dean of local political reporters Borys points out that Barletta sent out a fundraising letter last November asking donors to help retire the debt but He has not paid off a cent yet. His campaign Manager Vince Galko said that will happen soon.

Barletta's Republican opponent, Chris Paige, charged that "The undisputed and indisputable reality is that Barletta is taking money from his campaign and putting that money into his own pocket."


This is rich. The shady company that Luzerne County gave a no bid contract to do a basic function of government, paying it's employees, subcontracted the work to another outfit. Former HR Director and debit card abuser Doug Richards has been indicted for taking a bribe from an unnamed contractor. It's not hard to figure out the connection.

Outsourcing a basic government function like housing juvenile offenders blew the lid off this mess.

It's not hard to understand why many people oppose a 15% increase in county property taxes to pay for years mismanagement and corruption.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Campaign Kickoffs

TL: State Rep. John Yudichak Monday announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination for state Senate in the 14th district.

Yudichak, 39, made the announcement at the construction site of the Luzerne County Community College's Culinary Arts Institute in center city Nanticoke

Rick Arnold, a Republican from Mountain Top, will announce that he will run for Yudichak’s House seat.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta starts his tour of the 11th CD at the Wilkes -Barre Twp Fire Hall tonight at 6:30PM.

Attorney Tarah Toohil has switched parties and will run for GOP nomination to take on 116th state rep Todd Eachus. Join her tomorrow at the The Elks Lodge 635 E. Broad Street Hazleton, PA at 6PM.

Dallas, PA, - An 8 a.m. breakfast stop at Cordaro’s, a family restaurant in Honesdale is the perfect start for a multi-county tour for Congressional Candidate David Madeira. The retired chiropractor is running as a conservative Republican, and will be joined by his wife and 6 children as they make their way through several of the counties that make up the 10th Congressional District on Tuesday, February 9th, meeting supporters along the way.

After his 8 am start in Wayne County, he will make his way to Luzerne County to spend some time with voters at the Pierce Street Deli at noon. “I look forward to continuing the conversation I have been having with people in the district who want their government to work for them, not against them. Last summer I was asked to speak at a rally just over the river from the deli on the Square by voters who were concerned about some of the votes Chris Carney has taken.”

The last stop on his day-long tour is Zelda’s CafĂ© in Lewisburg at 7 p.m. “I get energized talking with people who care about what’s happening to our country and want to get back to ‘We The People’ “ Madeira said, “and that’s what my candidacy is all about.”

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Marley and me

We just got done with dinner and Mrs G selected the video of Marley and Me to watch tonight. I'm told I will cry at the end.

High Anxiety

Poor Sam Hyder, he just couldn't take it anymore. Despite being a martial arts expert and possibly the most well trained employee in the history of Luzerne County who has travelled all over the USA to gain knowledge on how to be the best deputy warden of a county lockup he could be he just couldn't deal with people whispering mean things about him at church.
He has been on paid leave until the County Salary Board eliminated funding for his position in a cost cutting move.
Hyder has filed the fourth workman's compensation claim in his career. This only the second one with Luzerne County when he previously got beat up triyng to break up a fight in the jail and the other two had to do with injuries in a warehouse. Greg Skrepnak brought him back after his traumatic experience at the jail.
He made some wild accusations at his workman's comp hearing including receiving death threats from a motorcycle gang and alleged that Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla was out to get him, participating in an autopsy against his will and being responsible for a suicide.
To add his stress level Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith says the numbers don't add up as far as his vacation and sick pay claims and refuses to pay him any more money

14th Senatorial District

Former Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo has dropped out of contention to succeed retiring Sate Senator Ray Musto saying he has more important things to do than run for office. Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton is looking at making the race and will let us know later in the week. The early favorite is Nanticoke State Represenative John Yudichak who shot down the wishful thinking of local Republicans that he was switching parties. Yuddy will tell us more on Monday whether or not he he running but I would be very surprised if he doesn't. promises that another Tomato City pol will make the race and I expect a few more trial baloons to be floated before petitions are circulated. We may even see a Green Party or Libertarian candidate on the ballot in the fall. The only Republican mentioned so far is Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban. I want to see multiple candidates on the ballot in the primary on both sides.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Count the Mexicans

Officials: Latinos key to accurate city count

The Census in key not only to the apportionment of the House of Representatives in the Congress and state legislature but it used in funding formulas for a myriad of federal and state programs.

Legal or not America's Mayor Lou Barletta wants you to fill out the form so Hazleton can get it's fair share.

"Hopefully everyone will participate....I believe this census will indicate a substantial increase based on enrollment in our schools as well as our own observations in providing services in the city," Barletta said. "However, sometimes it becomes difficult for the census to get an accurate count."

I wonder why people of Latino heritage in Hazleton would avoid government forms?

Another 10th CD candidate

Steven Solieri is an accountant that lives in Lake Ariel that has a number crunching business in New Hyde Park, NY and Lake Ariel and is a Professor of Accounting at Queens College in New York City who has a Ph.D. and 4 Masters Degrees.

His welcome message on his website:

I am not a politician and do not want to act like one, ever. I consider myself a businessman and patriot who, like so many of my friends in the Tea Party movement, have had enough of sending people to Washington that are not responsive to their constituency.

Reading his issues page he proposes at least 3 Constitutional amendments and laundry list of tax cuts. He wants to cut the size of government in half except for veterans benefits, doubts global warming and wants to end regulation of business.

The other Republican candidates

Tom Marino has a website up that gives his bio and promises more information at a later date. He also has an online fan club The Unvarnished Truth on Tom Marino

Malcolm Derk was interviewed by the Scranton Policy Examiner

David Madeira will kick off his campaign on Tuesday.

I hope to talk with young Ted Yale later today and give you a report.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Harry Haas for school board

Now that Frank Pizzella has resigned from the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board a replacement must be chosen by the board. Christine Katsock was tapped to fill the spot of admitted crook Jim Height because she topped the ballot in the primary. Harry Haas was the runner up in the general election and should be appointed to fill the vacancy. Fat chance of that happening, it would make too much sense.

Corey says Kanjo has "Zero" chance of winning

“There is zero chance Paul Kanjorski defeats Lou Barletta. Zero,” Corey O’Brien told POLITICO in an interview. “I may be wrong about that, but I’m not good at negative numbers. Republicans are giddy about this race.”

He said the Massachusetts miracle helps his campaign and Kanjo can't rely on the President's coattails this time out predicting "we’re going to win this primary.”

He then attacked the seniority argument.

“If seniority was the benchmark, you’d never run against anyone. His seniority has gotten us 10 percent unemployment, his seniority has not developed any regional vision for the future… and his seniority has brought a lot of Wall Street money in his coffers,” O’Brien said. “Every single day, I’m chipping away at Kanjorski. People in the 11th district want a change in Washington.”

Senior member of Congress Kanjorski had this to say about the AIG bonuses today:

WASHINGTON - Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (D-PA), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, expressed aggravation and disappointment about reports that American International Group (AIG) will pay $100 million in bonuses to employees at the very business unit that caused the company to lose tens of billions of dollars and seek a federal bailout. These bonuses only highlight the need for the Kanjorski amendment which will prevent the existence of companies that are deemed "too big to fail," like AIG.

"I am deeply disappointed that AIG has, yet again, failed to halt excessive employee bonuses after receiving access to more than $180 billion in taxpayer money to keep the company afloat," said Chairman Kanjorski. "AIG is a shining example of why we cannot allow companies to become "too big to fail." The Kanjorski amendment will make it so that in the future, companies including AIG, will not be able to become so interconnected that they could severely damage the American economy if they collapse. Last year, I held two hearings on these issues, including one where the then CEO of AIG testified. I will continue to examine these matters as Congress works to ensure that the government swiftly winds down its support for AIG."

Chairman Kanjorski added, "The House passed a Wall Street reform bill which includes this amendment. Just last month, the President expressed his support for a similar proposal. Now, the Senate must do its part by passing Wall Street reform legislation which includes the Kanjorski amendment or similar language in the larger bill. AIG's bonuses only reemphasize that we must take action as soon as possible to better protect the American taxpayers and the American economy. I look forward to the day when the phrase ‘too big to fail' is no longer a part of our vocabulary."

Chairman Kanjorski has been a leader in crafting landmark Wall Street reform legislation to work to prevent future financial crises and better protect every American. H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in the House in December. The bill includes the Kanjorski amendment which would work to prevent another situation like we encountered with AIG. Specifically, the amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected, or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well-capitalized and healthy. Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become "too big to fail."

Here is a picture of Corey and Kanjo in happier times (2008)

via The Scranton Guardian

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chris Paige Town Hall

I will be holding a Town Hall meeting at the Hazleton Elks Lodge on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 6 PM. I will discuss Mayor Barletta's plan to sell the HCA's water assets, and I will answer questions from the audience.

Again, the meeting will be held at the Hazleton Elks Lodge on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 6 PM. The Lodge is at the following address:

635 East Broad Street
Hazleton, PA 18201-6832
(570) 454-3901

The Standard Speaker has a back and forth between Paige and Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta with Vince Galko chiming in. Chis Paige may be the first blogger candidate and now has a flame war going on with Sights on Pennsylvania.

Frank Pizzella pleads guilty of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States

With all the election horse race news lately I have been remiss in covering the latest in the ongoing Luzerne County corruption scandals.

TL: Wilkes-Barre Area School Board President Frank Pizzella Jr., charged with passing a bribe onto another school board member, has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

I'm actually disappointed in Frankie kneecaps. He vowed to fight the charges and go to trial just last week and wanted the names of his accusers. I wanted a trial so we could start learning the names of the other people involved. Former reformer Christine Katsock must be heartbroken

In other corruption news:

SCRANTON The sentencing for former Wilkes-Barre Area School Board member James Height on charges he accepted a bribe has been continued until March 9.

Oliveri sentenced to 366 days in prison

And the big one

Former commissioner Skrepenak pleads guilty to bribery charge

Greg Skrepenak said he didn't know what he did was wrong at the time but realizes it now. Another reason to end the corporate welfare programs known as Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) and Tax increment financing (TIF). I think that Skrep and former Commissioner Todd Vonderheid are guilty of a worse transgression, doubling the County debt because they wouldn't raise taxes because of political reasons. Now taxes are being raised because of their mismanagement and the rampant corruption.

Property tax up 15 %

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

This made me laugh

TL: Thom Greco was thinking about entering the race in the 14th Senatorial District... but his legal residence lies outside the district.

He has property in Wilkes-Barre but lives in Butler Twp. I have to be careful here because he has a bad habit of suing people everytime one of his bars/restaurants doesn't work out. Greco also got Luzerne County to take the railroad junkyard on Market Street off his hands a few years ago supposedly to open a visitors center. The last time I drove by Market Street Square it was still empty.

The serious candidates are former Pittston City Mayor Mike Lombardo, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and State Rep. John Yudichak who are looking at seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed Ray Musto. So far the only Republican mentioned is Luzerne County Commissioner Steve Urban. We should have a better idea who is running after this weekend.

Mother's milk PA 10th CD

The Democrat

Congressman Chris Carney took in $153,000 during the 4th quarter of 2009,
$121,000 from PACs and only $25,000 from individuals and has $483,746 cash on hand.

Carney campaign spokesman Josh Drobnyk told the TL:

“Congressman Carney is grateful for the support he receives from Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike and is working hard to protect our families and improve our region’s economy during these tough times.”

The Republicans

The 4 GOP candidates got a late start and didn't report raising any money in the 4th quarter of 2009. That's zilch, nada, zero, goose egg. By this time last cycle Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett had campaign organizations in place with healthy bank balances. So far only Malcolm Derk even has a website up. I asked 3 of the 4 Republican candidates for comment on Carney's fundraising, I don't have contact info for Marino yet. Ted Yale didn't respond which is not surprising since I spent a week playing email/telephone tag with him without success.

I did get a response from Malcolm Derk:

"Chris Carney's numbers are much lower than the other vulnerable PA Democrats. I'm sure he'll be quick to call on his friends next quarter, including Jack Murtha, Charles Rangel, and the former members of the PMA lobbying firm. One troubling aspect of his most recent report is the fact that only 16% came from individual donors, while 84% of his contributions came from inside the beltway lobbyists, PACS, and other sources. His votes, like his contributions, are clearly aligned with the Washington, DC establishment. Chris Carney should be more concerned about protecting the citizens of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania than the special interests in Washington, DC."

And Dave Madeira:

I'm not surprised that Congressman Carney has a big pile of special interest money. Washington politicians trade money for favors all the time. The recent races in NJ, VA and MA show that the people's voices will be heard no matter how much money lobbyists lavish on their wards. I'm looking forward to providing a positive alternative to government bailouts for Wall Street and big business.