On “Corbett” we’re talking and listening and reading and writing at the high-energy fast pace that makes us or breaks us. Indeed, some have broken. Just ask a few politicians who tried to deceive and cajole and spin us into their reality at the expense of our own political future.
Most of us are in this continuing conversation for the duration, whatever that means. And each day we’re anxiously looking for more and better ways to speak freely and convey whatever messages we believe matter.
Obviously communication is everything in media.
But in 2012 WILK News Radio is more than a voice on the radio.
You’re a major voice as well.
So welcome to the first ever “Corbett” listener/reader/talker survey so I can get a better grip on what you want, need and appreciate in the five days a week, four hours a day we spend together.
And that’s just the beginning.
On the air I’m not only sharing my opinion and live observations, I’m digging into stories, investigating politicians and breaking hard news in real time. You quickly interact and offer your impressions. Off the air – at my home and office and elsewhere - you offer tips in person and through phone calls, emails and the regularly mailed hand-written letter.
You email me while I’m on the air.
The other week during the show I received an email that instructed me to call the emailer at my next break for a “huge” story. When we spoke during the news at the top of the hour, he explained the urgency of his message. He was right and I told him to do his best to get a certain political candidate on the air with me as soon as possible.
I emailed another source and put the word out.
The candidate appeared on the show in less than in 15 minutes.
We broke the story and the candidate provided details as to the serious nature of the matter. The next morning he held a press conference outside the Luzerne County courthouse that might have made the difference in his election victory on Primary Election Day.
Now Matt Cartwright is likely headed to Congress in January.
News happens fast around here. The way we communicate happens equally fast. I’m now tweeting during the show. You’re texting. I’m linking stories and videos on my Facebook fan page as well providing material on the WILK News Radio Facebook page. You’re commenting on both pages.
And I’m wondering how we can best use our time together, interacting in ways unheard of until recently.
What do you like most?
Do you go to Facebook to interact with me and others even if you aren’t listening to the show? That seems strange to me but some people say they like to get into comment discussions even when they can’t listen.
Many people listen in the car while driving from here to there. Do not text and drive, by the way. Others listen at work and can’t call or text or tweet. Some listen at work with headphones and text and tweet and comment on company time – also not a good idea.
Still, I need to know how you best communicate with me and others during the time I’m on the air as well as off.
Some Saturday nights I check the pages and add a comment here or there – even on my own time.
That’s the draw of immediacy. That’s speech. In many ways that’s freedom. So let’s be free together.
The power of the people can be as savage as the political candidates. And, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we know the feral force of politics. Our primitive lust for power and survival is rooted deep in the cultural veins that paralleled hard lives and the hard coal that drew many of our immigrant ancestors to this region.
Good battles evil every day. Good sometimes wins. Evil often takes public office.
And the brutes still hold sway in the political arena where candidates do giddy battle with crude weapons that often omit intellect. Last night’s primary election results illustrate exactly what we’re up against.
Newcomer candidate and millionaire lawyer Matt Cartwright survived a brutal race against 20-year incumbent Congressman Tim Holden that upset the status quo and turned establishment Democratic Party politics upside down. Cartwright overcame the company man who had the support of the company even though party bosses knew they couldn’t trust Holden.
With more than 60 endorsements, Holden courted U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, state senators John Blake and John Yudichak, state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich and other establishment Democrats.
Cartwright came into the race with a squeaky voice and too much dependence on scripted jargon. Yet his sincerity and willingness to buck the system he perceives as too conservative and oppressive for an “FDR Democrat,” offered the people of his party an alternative.
The people took him up on his invitation. Now, with little significant opposition on the Republican side in November, Cartwright looks like he’s headed to Washington in January. If so, we’ll see if he keeps his word. We’ll see if he can walk the walk through the darkened halls of power in the nation’s capital.
But last night the power of the people prevailed.
Enter the savages.
Three major upsets in Northeastern Pennsylvania also illustrate our primeval side. Primordial to its core, the legislative races centered in Lackawanna County offer classic case studies of the primitive nature of the political beast.
But we in hard coal country understand the grunts and the growls. Up here, the call of the wild shapes a symphony.
Just because the newest likely members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives – two of whom ran without any Republican opposition - deserve the jobs doesn’t mean that they are fit to uphold the public trust.
They are not.
But they did what they had to do to capture the trophy that will pay them more money than they ever earned in their lives in exchange for their vow to uphold the public trust.
Between our victors – Frank Farina, Marty Flynn and Kevin Haggerty – we encounter an array of past criminal charges likely unmatched by any regional political trio of newcomers in any region in America.
Politicians usually wait until they take office before they compile a police record.
Not our mugs.
They’re loaded – and I do mean loaded - with DUIs, bad checks, a questionable military discharge from the Marines, fistfights and bad barroom behavior. If the pasts of our newly elected public servants comprised a reality show the director would best be a SWAT team.
But our future lawmakers all promise pure public service for the people.
Here’s looking at you, fellows.
Here’s looking at the losers, too, poor saps who actually did themselves in.
Incumbents Kenny Smith and Kevin Murphy piled all their misery on themselves. They couldn’t have done a better job losing re-election if they had decided to launch campaign death wishes and lose on purpose. Smith is a major tax scofflaw who owes about a quarter of a million dollars in debt and liens. Murphy publicly claimed for decades a four-year-degree from the University of Scranton that he does not possess.
Good people struggling with their own lives eventually had enough.
Except for Farina, whom voters embraced even though he actually said on “Corbett” last week that he couldn’t remember how many times police charged him with crimes. To his credit and in the spirit of good government, though, Farina did remember the public drunkenness charge.
That was St. Patrick’s Day in Scranton, he said, as if that somehow excused his degeneracy.
Farina’s opponent, Randy Castellani, once had a county commissioner’s job. But he quit in the middle of his public service without explaining his departure. Even with party backing, people argued that a quitter never wins.
Instead they welcomed Farina, who also denied ever being sentenced to probation. Farina told me on the air that maybe the guy in the probation report I held in my hands was his father, who has the same name. Farina’s campaign manager then called the show to explain Farina’s loud lie by saying his client had been nervous when I asked about his probation.
Too many political lug nuts in hard coal country are drunk and disorderly and proud of it. But more and more of us now refuse to buy the party line and place trust in those who are clearly untrustworthy.
Music might soothe the savage beast, but, around here, politics agitates the whole damn jungle.
At about 3:35 yesterday afternoon, while I was on the air, an email came in advising me to call the emailer at my next break. I know that person to be a credible news source and a well-known and upstanding member of the community.
I was on the phone at the four o’clock news break.
At 4:05 I was on the air again, deftly trying to explain the gist of the story that I would try to confirm even though I was deep into my show.
The tip involved the latest televised political attack in the desperate race for the Democratic nomination for the newly expanded 17th Congressional District.
Twenty-year incumbent Tim Holden wants to be re-elected. Challenger Matt Cartwright wants to go to Washington, too.
Both sides admit that one-time underdog Cartwright is in the lead.
Even Holden supporter and former Congressman Chris Carney - like Holden, a conservative “blue dog” Democrat - admitted as much during a Saturday afternoon Holden campaign rally in Scranton.
The tip was ugly.
Holden was airing a campaign commercial that insinuated that Cartwright had contributed campaign cash to admitted criminal and former Luzerne County Judge Michael Toole, who is serving a federal prison sentence for political corruption, in exchange for a favorable medical malpractice verdict for a Cartwright client.
If true, Cartwright would have bribed a crooked judge.
Cartwright would have committed a crime.
Cartwright would have been in a position to be arrested and maybe go to jail.
But the ad was false, my source said.
The ad was a terrible lie.
Cartwright was livid, the source said.
I told my source that I needed Cartwright on the show as soon as possible. I emailed another source and made the same statement. Both sources said they’d see what they could do.
Cartwright called at 4:15.
Cartwright’s interview, which can be heard in the wilknewsradio.com “audio vault,” sent shockwaves through both campaigns.
Cartwright’s reputation was on the line. He said he would fight the scurrilous slander that Holden had authorized. Cartwright said he planned a press conference this morning on the steps of the Luzerne County Courthouse where Toole had betrayed the public trust by becoming a gangster judge.
As bad as the inference was for Cartwright, though, the accusation was worse for Cartwright’s client, who planned to appear with him at the press conference.
Doctors had diagnosed the woman with a serious form of cancer. She underwent 12 bouts of chemotherapy. She thought she would die. She said goodbye to her toddler children.
But the woman never had cancer.
After a month-long trial, a jury found in her favor and awarded her a sizable amount of money.
To infer that her lawyer had bribed a judge in exchange for a favorable verdict added to the woman’s already horrific experiences.
Holden’s TV commercial made no mention of the jury trial or the jury award. People who saw the commercial said the commercial accused Cartwright of giving a crooked judge money and that the judge presided over the trial and made the award himself.
That simply was not true.
That also is simply inexcusable.
I called Holden’s campaign and left a message – the fifth invitation, including two personal invites, in several weeks.
Holden failed to respond to my message.
Voters should fail to respond to his re-election bid.
We know all about life in the Northeastern Pennsylvania school of political hard knocks.
But Tim Holden is simply too damn mean for Congress
Wannabe state attorney general Kathleen Kane finally answered her cell phone.
“You’re a tough woman to get in contact with,” I said early yesterday afternoon.
“I’m running a busy campaign,” she said.
After weeks of Kane failing to return my phone calls I finally had a chance to ask questions about the latest implosion in her race to become the first elected female state attorney general.
In the past few weeks she has refused to answer my questions about allegation of fixed parking tickets, exactly how she picked up former President Bill Clinton’s personal endorsement and her role in the family trucking company business that is mostly financing her campaign.
But now I had her on the line. And I gave her more than enough rope to hang her campaign out to dry.
Finally, Kane was able.
You are airing a television campaign commercial in which you are surrounded by what look like uniformed police officers, I said. You’re standing beside what looks to be a police car, I said.
One of those officers is the Dunmore Borough police chief. He’s wearing his Dunmore police uniform. By appearing in uniform in your partisan political ad, he is trying to help you influence voters with his position as a law enforcement officer.
“Do you think that is appropriate?” I asked the aspiring top state law enforcement official.
Kane said she would not have used the chief had she not thought his appearance was appropriate.
Critics say you’re using the leader of a public police force as part of your private political army.
“Do you agree?” I asked Kane.
“I don’t,” she said. “But obviously you do.”
“Did the police chief have to ask for permission?” I asked.
Kane said he got permission.
“From whom?” I asked.
“The (Dunmore) mayor,” Kane said.
For the record, it’s illegal in some states, such as California and Washington, for a police officer to appear in a partisan political ad while wearing a police uniform. And some people claim that the federal Hatch Act prohibits a police officer from appearing in uniform in partisan political campaign commercials. I say “claim’ because I do not have a legal opinion yet but hope to know by this afternoon.
“How about the cop in your TV commercial with the beard?” I asked. “He’s wearing a Dunmore uniform and he’s not even a Dunmore cop.”
“He’s a retired police officer,” Kane said.
“Do you think it’s appropriate to mislead voters by dressing up a civilian in an official Dunmore police uniform?” I asked.
Again Kane said the man was a retired officer.
And that’s correct. He’s a retired Dunmore captain. He’s a civilian who is not authorized to wear the Dunmore uniform. He’s a partisan Kane supporter trying to help her win an election.
Kane said he wasn’t wearing a uniform.
“He’s wearing a coat,” she said.
The man is indeed wearing a coat – emblazoned with what observers say is the Dunmore Police Department patch – what insiders describe as the “new” police patch.
Ok, I said.
How about the squad car? Did you have permission to use an official Dunmore police car in your partisan political campaign commercial?
Yes, Kane said.
Who gave you permission?
The mayor, she said.
Did you pay for the use of the car, I asked.
No, she said.
You used an official Dunmore police car for free?
“I said we didn’t pay for it,” she said.
So, yes, Kane used an official Dunmore police car for her personal and political gain, didn’t pay for the prop and used it for free.
I invited Kane to come on the show yesterday to talk about this latest implosion of her campaign. She said she already answered my questions and that I should pass along her answers.
Maybe I’ll ask the Dunmore mayor if I can borrow the Dunmore police chief, a Dunmore police uniform and an official Dunmore squad car.
Somebody needs to blow the siren and alert the good people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to yet another example of public corruption that allows a political candidate who should know better to use public resources for private political gain.
Maybe the current attorney general should investigate.
Although appointed and not elected, she’s a woman, too.
This obituary appeared yesterday in the Meridian (Mississippi) Star newspaper.
In Memory of
June 10, 1920 - April 9, 2012
Olive O'Neill Webb Corbett
Olive O'Neill died Monday, April 9, 2012 in Murrieta, CA. Olive was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1920, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and lived primarily in Meridian form 1942 through 2009, having moved there after her marriage to James L. "Skeeter" Webb.
Olive felt blessed to have grown up in a sports family; her father, Steve O'Neill was in the major leagues for more than forty years and her husband, Skeeter, for twelve years, including playing shortstop for the 1945 Detroit Tigers World Series champions, a team managed by her father.
James J. "shamus" Corbett, Olive's second husband, was twice the heavyweight boxing champion of the Marine Corps during World War II and later became the most decorated state trooper in the history of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Olive was twice widowed, first by Skeeter's death in 1986 after 42 years of marriage and leter when her second husband, Shamus, died in 1997 after nearly seven years of their marriage. Olive lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania during her marriage to Shamus, who had been her childhood friend and sweetheart. After Shamus' death, Olive returned to Meridian.
Olive was a devoted mother and wife, a registered nurse who supervised at three Meridian hospitals, a local radio and television personality during her televised "Miss Broadmoor" series, a strong supporter of the Red Cross, gave much of her time to nursing seminars and several local charities and a long time performer in Meridian's Little Theatre. She treasured her many friendships, especially those in Meridian, some which were fostered were in the lady's "Red Hats" program and many others forged while during her forty plus years as a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Olive was especially passionate about her family, her nursing profession and numerous nursing students and her Catholic faith, through which she was involved in several outreach programs for children and new church members. She died while living with her oldest daughter, Carol Ann Potter and leaves a void in the lives of her five children (stepsons James L. Webb, Jr of Slidell, LA and Steve Corbett of Scranton, PA, daughter Carol Ann Potter of Murrieta, CA, son, John Robert Webb of Dallas, TX and daughter Pamela Mary Webb Burton of Atlanta, GA), fourteen grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren, including extended family members.
Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 11 am at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Magnolia Cemetery with Barham Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Visitation will be at the funeral home on Monday, April 16 from 6pm to 8 pm.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of the Valleys, 25240 Hancock Ave, Suite 120, Murrieta, CA 92562.
A young black girl leaned against a telephone pole on Hill Street Saturday afternoon, staring sadly at the homemade banner draped across the front porch of the small house where 14-year-pld Tyler Winstead lived with his grandparents.
“REAL LOVE NEVER DIES,” read the sheet adorned with soft pastels and the image of a white dove.
“WE LOVE YOU 4EVER.”
“Hi,” I said.
The child smiled weakly.
An hour or so later, I encountered her in a candy store with her grandmother, a dignified and kindly woman who I knew. We talked about the sadness and she later reminded me that her African-American ancestors went back six generations into the city scene in Wilkes-Barre. I knew her deep roots and had years ago written a column about the contributions and sacrifices her family made in the life and times of her city.
Turning to her heartsick grand-daughter, she pointed to me and said, “He wrote a story about Pop Pop.”
The child clutched an Easter basket and looked at the ground.
I remembered sitting in the woman’s home that’s just a short walk to where Tyler died last week after being shot once in the chest – a crime scene a few doors down from Tyler’s house where stuffed animals and balloons now created a mounting memorial to his death.
After gently shaking hands with me the child drifted off to look at the candy.
I asked the woman what she had been hearing. The woman shook her head. Nothing, she said. The tragic mystery of who killed Tyler and why he died remains thick and stifling, a reminder that we are not what we must be to survive as a good community. Until we know the answers to this bad mystery, we are lost.
Law enforcement officials have backed off the vague description issued Thursday night just a few hours after the shooting. Police were then on the lookout for a car and a suspect, black, about 5-feet-10 inches tall and possibly wearing a “hoodie.”
The question came into my mind Friday on “Corbett” as we talked about speculation, stereotypes and the confusion surrounding the description as to how “his” height” could be known if he was sitting in a car.
A caller said upped the ante, saying now that four “blacks” were suspects. And the confusion, speculation and stereotypes continued despite my best attempts to head them off and appeal for facts that we could confirm and document – facts that might better lead us to an explanation for Tyler’s death.
But too many people already had made up their minds. “Black-on-black” crime, they screamed. Gangs, they wailed. New Jersey and New York transplants, of course, got blamed.
But police and prosecutors are backing off on a clear description. As of this morning, we don’t know who or what police are looking for.
I’m looking for public officials to walk Hill Street the way I walked Hill Street Saturday, knocking on doors, talking to children and maybe even stopping by Tyler’s grandparents’ house. A simple presence can reassure people in the most terrible times. A hug, a handshake and a kind word can do wonders for grief and the feeling of abandonment that too often comes to people – particularly black people – in Wilkes-Barre.
As a Times Leader newspaper columnist I wrote about race in that city for decades. I say today without reservation that progress has not been made in race relations in the city.
Tyler was a black child. His grandparents are black people. His family is black. And even though the short narrow street between Wilkes-Barre Boulevard and Park Avenue is mixed, it is fair to say that black people there feel more alone today than white people or Latinos.
Race always matters.
So does how people approach a discussion of race and the related circumstances that come with living in a predominately white city where Western European roots run deepest – descendants of immigrants from Poland, Ireland and Italy and elsewhere who have developed into the power structure that has given the community one of the most politically corrupt governments in the state and maybe in the country.
I empathize with the oppression of minorities and the fight against discrimination because I take seriously my Irish-American roots – harkening back to signs that said “Irish and Dogs Keep Out” and “No Irish Need Apply.” I have a friend who as a child held her 12-year-old friend’s head as she lay dying on a Belfast street after being shot in the head by a rubber bullet the size of a toilet paper roll that was shot by a British paratrooper.
But this is America. This is Wilkes-Barre, the city where I lived for 17 years, longer than I lived anywhere in my life. And this is as real as it gets for the future of a city where quality of life is declining for too many people no matter what their race or ethnicity.
The sadness I saw in the eyes of a child leaning against a telephone pole on a narrow street of gunfire and bloodshed is enough to move me to action.
All I have to do to see corpses in the street is close my eyes.
After all these years a young woman’s bullet-riddled body covered by a white sheet is still stretched out in the middle of South River Street. A homeless guy curled up in a garbage-littered gravel lot at the end of a little street off Jackson. A drifter still stiff in bed after days in the stifling August heat in a gag-reflex reeking motel room on Kidder Street.
Others are wheeled from buildings and lifted into the coroner’s wagon. Some rest in coffins ready for burial as mourners weep and wonder how life came to this.
I saw this death in the 17 years I wrote newspaper columns in Wilkes-Barre and lived in the heart of the city. But as bad as each homicide is, I’ve never seen anything like the heartlessness that happened last night.
In a way I’m glad I wasn’t there, that I saw the television news at 11 and heard about the child’s death from a distance. In another way, though, I wish I had been on Hill Street. Maybe I would have seen something. Maybe somebody would have said something. Maybe I could have helped put together information that one day might lead to the shooter.
I hope it’s not too late.
Somebody knows who gunned down 14-year-old Tyler Winstead, as he walked home in the early evening after playing basketball at the nearby Catholic Youth Center.
Daylight still danced on the street. Then gunfire erupted and all turned dark. A child crumpled to the ground, a pair of sneakers by his side. Taking his last breath within sight of his school and his home, his death should take our breath away.
But what impact will his loss have on us?
Will Tyler’s murder be used to further divide an already divided city? Will people line up on the white and black side of the street, chanting their disrespect for each other before grass grows over Tyler’s grave? Will politicians line up to march at his funeral and make the same false promises that put more guns in people’s hands than voter registration forms? Will we blame the child for asking for it, for killing himself because of the way he looked or dressed or spoke?
We will like do all of the above and then some.
Will more gunfire erupt? Will more children die? Will this terrible cycle ever stop?
Yes, yes and probably not in my lifetime.
Even hardened cops usually take very seriously a killing like this one. Detectives, patrol officers, even dispatchers must pursue even the most remote trace of evidence and work ever diligently to find Tyler’s killer. Politicians and members of the press must do their best to uncover the killer.
This trail must not be allowed to grow cold.
But I’m not so sure my wish will be granted. Wilkes-Barre is a cold town nowadays. Politicians pay professional lip service to the most grievous aspects of existence, downplaying life and death struggles on a daily basis. People grow cold, too, as their dreams are frustrated by drugs and crime and sickness and poverty and callous political corruption that murders hope.
Maybe the shooter will surrender. Maybe he or she or they have already fled the city. Maybe Tyler looked like somebody else. Maybe Tyler’s friends know what happened and are too afraid to talk. Maybe we’ll never solve this terrible crime.
But we have to everything in our power to try to bring peace and justice to a city that has now peaked in its disregard for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Tyler’s death provides a turning point in the future of Wilkes-Barre.
True city leadership depends on more than egomaniac Mayor Tom Leighton, who measures progress in the number of new downtown restaurants, bars and other window dressing in an increasingly dangerous city where traditional black and white neighborhoods go forgotten and the lives of the young take second place to the hiring of the mayor’s family members for summer city jobs.
An invisible city council is also to blame for the destruction of hope in the midst of decreasing civic values.
And what will the new Luzerne County Council have to say about Tyler’s death? Don’t be surprised if not one of the eleven members says anything.
I do expect a small army of elected officials to show up at Tyler’s funeral, though.
This is an election year.
We must all take a stand on this one. Count me in. I’ll be looking to count you in as well.
Of all the corrupt political bodies in Northeastern Pennsylvania, none deserves more public scrutiny – and perhaps law enforcement inquiry - than the board members at the Scranton School District.
Our “directors” rival the most dangerous street gang members in any American city. But our gang might be more threatening than most Crips and Bloods subsets in the nation. Democrats all, members of the largest most dangerous gang in hard coal country, these political powerbrokers have turned public service into a family and friends business plan that harkens back to the bad old days when no checks and balances existed to stop corruption.
Sadly, few checks and balances exist to day at the school district. Board members, including the newly-elected new generation, perform for their own benefit rather than for the public good. They insulate and isolate better than anybody left standing in the wake of the ongoing federal public corruption investigation.
For that reason, board members better beware. You are begging to be investigated and already have behaved publicly in ways that I firmly believe warrant federal inquiry. You have made clear to the taxpayers that you won’t even give the appearance of propriety, choosing instead to flaunt your power and rub voters’ noses into your abuse of power
Public service is a gift to be taken seriously and not to be squandered for personal gain.
But Scranton board members have used and continue to use public service for their own benefit.
Board president Bob Lesh, a bus driver by trade who is not known for his intellect, recently admitted that he violated the very ethics pledge for which he has voted. Then he took public pride in a radio interview on “Corbett” in admitting his gross stupidity that deprives parents, students and others of basic honesty in the performance of his public duties.
No test is required to be a school board member. No real qualifications are required to ascend to the rank of president. Lesh is on top because of crony politics. Lesh has no qualifications. Lesh does for himself before others. Lesh is a serious problem to local democracy.
Quoted in today’s paper, Lesh says that the board did not discuss in advance the appointment of Armand Martinelli, Lesh’s campaign manager, to fill a board vacancy. But Lesh says board members “absolutely” talked with each others about the appointment.
That’s right – I said Lesh’s campaign manager.
Remember I said that.
Actually, remember Lesh said that.
Some of those board members also received – as in accepted – cash campaign contributions that Martinelli raised as a longtime Democratic operative who now is in a position of power to play nice with his colleagues and vote for their relatives when they come up for jobs.
That’s the way it works at the Scranton School District.
School superintendant William King recommends board member Nate Barrett’s wife, Megan, for a $62,000-a-year-job plus benefits for herself and her school director husband if he wants them. Barrett abstains from the vote but his buddies handle the deal for him. He then, in turn, is in a position to vote for their family when the time comes. And Barrett joins his colleagues in wielding power over King.
King has a severe conflict of interest which he refuses to discuss publicly. I know this because I invited him to come on “Corbett” to talk about recommending the wife of a board member who wields power over King’s career, earning potential and benefits.
Martinelli’s presence on the board adds to the stacked deck that passes for public service.
Fourteen qualified candidates applied for the position. Seven candidates spoke before the board but not one board member bothered to ask a question. The vote shook out as 7-1 for Martinelli with the lone dissenter charging politics as usual.
Corruption as usual won again.
For what it’s worth, the state ethics law needs to be exercised here. A complaint should be filed against King, an investigation should follow and taxpayers should know if King violated any ethical standards he is bound by law to obey. Formal complaints should also be filed against any and all board members who talked with each other in advance of their vote about appointing Martinelli.
Quid pro quo, by the way, is Latin for “you scratch my back with money and I’ll scratch yours with a political job.”
I have little faith in the state ethics commission, by the way. Admitted criminal, Democratic gang leader and former state Sen. Bob Mellow appointed a local representative to the state ethics board. When I called him to ask why he got the appointment, the new president of Lackawanna College told me he didn’t know. He, too, refuses to come on the air and talk about it.
So I strongly encourage you to anonymously send this column to the Scranton office of the FBI, in care of the William J. Nealon Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 235 North Washington Avenue, P.O. Box 1148, Scranton, Pa., 18501.
Attach a note requesting an investigation of the Scranton School Board.
Kathleen Granahan Kane wants to be the next state attorney general.
The family trucking business suits her better.
Actually, even in the trucking business, she’s no friend to workers or anybody else who expects fairness and equality, traits you’d think a woman running as the first woman to be elected to the office would understand.
Pennsylvania already has an appointed woman in the office but Kane still highlights her gender even though she pretty much does as the good old boys tell her to do.
Ask Kane if she’ll fight in court to gain access for herself and other Irish-American women who are barred from the Lackawanna County Friendly Sons of St. Patrick annual dinner, where “tradition” forbid her from campaigning last month while her male counterpart would have been welcomed with open shamrocks had he chosen to attend.
Kane went to the “girls” dinner instead, where the marginalized females of the Society of Irish Women argue that discrimination doesn’t matter.
Fetch the cabbage, Bridget, and get me another Guinness.
Kane last week took considerable – and justifiable - heat when Murphy railed against her anti-labor stand as an executive in the family trucking company. Kane is a Democrat, of course, and knows that in order to be taken at all seriously that she must pay lip service to unions.
But when the issue of making organized labor more powerful through fairness came up during a recent television interview, Kane said she opposed the “card check” fair labor practice.
Then her campaign press spokesman howled she had been misunderstood.
Kane doesn’t understand that she can’t have it both ways.
Kane’s family has contributed most of her campaign money so their business is definitely the people’s business. And the people have a right to know exactly where she stands on this and other matters – matters such as parking tickets.
The parking ticket controversy started for me in a round-about way when Kane called my office last week and left a message to tell me that she had received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton. The support is nice but likely will not make her a household name in the Commonwealth. Most voters probably don’t even know her in Northeastern Pennsylvania, let alone in Philly or Pittsburgh.
I left her a message inviting her on the show. I’ve known Kane for a few years now and have watched with wonder as she played with the idea of running for elected office. She planned to challenge former state Sen. Bob Mellow, made a grand show of the upcoming fight and then mysteriously dropped from the race. Mellow resigned and has now pleaded guilty to public corruption. I’ll always believe that Kane might have won a Senate seat had she remained a candidate. But she quit.
Kane called the show and we had a good talk about the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, gun rights, self-defense and, of course, Clinton. Kane beamed at the endorsement and said Clinton’s chief-of-staff at the Clinton Foundation remembered her from when Kane headed up Hillary Clinton’s regional campaign when Hillary ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
I was a little confused, though. How did you actually make contact to even ask for the endorsement, I asked. Kane said she simply called Clinton and asked. He’s not in the book, I said. No, she said, she just Googled the foundation, got the telephone number and called. Nobody else helped? Kane said she did it all herself.
Interesting, I thought.
To the best of my knowledge, and I checked again this morning, no telephone number is attached to the Clinton Foundation website. If it’s there and I’m missing it, maybe Kane’s PR flack can email me the way he emailed me when the parking ticket matter came up.
The day after Kane appeared on “Corbett” three websites and Sue Henry, my WILK colleague, hammered Kane about fifteen parking tickets Kane critics claim she dodged or somehow made disappear without paying them a few years ago.
In the spirit of fundamental journalism I called Kane’s cell phone number, which she had given me, and left as message. I invited her to clear up the matter. Her PR man called me back and wanted to know what I wanted. I hadn’t called him and said I wanted to talk with Kane on the air.
I soon received an email telling me that Kane would have no further comment about the tickets. No further comment? She hadn’t provided me with any comment.
I left another message on Kane’s cell phone, telling her that I was disappointed in her unwillingness to answer simple questions that gouge her credibility to the core.
But that’s apparently the way she wants it.
Kane is able to answer questions, but she’s definitely is not ready and willing.
Pennsylvania voters should be ready and willing to reject such behavior from any candidate who claims to want to represent the best interests of the people while insulting them by ignoring legitimate questions.