We’re really just a few days out of Primary Election 2013 – an election that shapes the things to come.
You might not realize just how important this election is. I do, and want you to understand the importance as well. The quality of life in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties depends on the outcome.
With good reason, most of us still do not trust public officials – particularly county judges.
That’s why the judicial race in Lackawanna County is crucial.
So far, Patti Grande Rieder and Jim Gibbons have distinguished themselves – not as good candidates, but as people who do not rise to the level of judgment we need o the bench.
Rieder babbled her way through a recent on-air interview with me, refusing to tell us what happened when she got fired and then re-hired as a county judicial clerk. She also defended and downplayed the role of a suspended lawyer who works on her election campaign. She al;so seems to have flat-out lied about an audible "whisperer" who tried to provide answers to my questions.
Gibbons left me a voice message in which he defended a well-known lawyer member of his finance committee who acted as moderator for the only debate of the season – a clear conflict of interest and an obvious appearance of impropriety – which seems to be a clear violation of the state judicial code of conduct. Frankly, because Gibbons is a magistrate, I believe an ethics violation might very well have already occurred – before he even becomes a county judge – something voters must make sure does not happen.
Another big race is the Scranton mayoral contest.
No matter how many candidates aspire to the job, only two have a chance – Democrats Bill Courtright and Liz Randol.
Neither will get my vote.
Courtright has botched his job as the Scranton tax collector and Randol lost a loaded handgun that turned up on a city sidewalk a block away from an elementary school. Intelligence must be measured by more than academic degrees. If anything, Randol’s Ph.D. should have taught her discipline and responsibility, two traits lost in her armed and dangerous shuffle.
Scranton needs common sense whether or not you have a doctorate.
Another dandy race in Scranton is “Little Billy” Gaughan’s run for city council.
Gaughan is the ticking time bomb candidate who I believe accosted me and my WILK News Radio colleagues two St. Patrick’s Days parades ago with a barrage of foul language and homophobic slurs. He was clearly under the influence of recklessness and made a complete fool of himself as we watched in awe. In a bizarre on-air interview with me, Gaughan said he could not remember the encounter. He did not deny the episode that at least a dozen eyewitnesses observed. He just said he could not remember.
Gaughan went on to use his mental prowess and local Minooka section of Scranton political connections to obtain a job as a teacher in the Scranton School District – which makes all sitting school directors who approved his hiring – including Bob Lesh and Bob Sheridan, who are running for re-election – incompetent to serve the public and not fit for public office.
Gaughan seems to have more signs on the street than numbers in his IQ yet seems to be a favorite to win. Scranton is in for trouble if this young lout takes a city council seat. He’ll be great for the news business and terrible for the city.
But Scranton is used to misery.
And, of course, misery loves “Little Billy” Gaughan & Co.
Down south in Luzerne County, sitting county Controller Walter Griffith is in trouble since the district attorney accused him of illegally recording telephone and other conversations. Griffith has not been arrested but the attorney general’s office is investigating. As a result, Walter refuses to talk with the press or even give a deposition in a lawsuit filed against him and the county.
As weird as Luzerne County politics has been, and it ranks right up there with the worst that can happen,. Griffith is to my knowledge the first candidate running for re-election who refuses to answer questions from the press.
I no longer trust Walter Griffith.
I used to trust him but no more.
I used to trust Liz Randol.
But no more.
Politics is getting scarier and nastier in Northeastern Pennsylvania.