3-3-2009 The Valley With a Breaking Heart

I really hate to get into the minutiae and all of that but that Obama team is off to a rip-roaring start.

First they claim to be stirring the economy by pumping untold billions into social programs. Next they say theyíre encouraging private investment and economic growth by punishing capitalists and industrialists. Then they offer more relief to people collecting unemployment benefits than to those busting their humps for a living. And lastly, more importantly, they declare war on Rush Limbaugh.

Hey, at least the roads and bridges will be fixed when weíre all finally out of a job. Why take a flying leap from some broken down unsafe bridge when you can toss yourself off a shiny new bridge?

No more Bush.

Thank the lord.

Can somebody clear something up for me? More specifically, can Gort or some of his readers nail this one down for us before we next vote.

Itís well known that Iím not a big proponent of allowing those stubbornly clinging to their anonymity to post anything on this Web site. But that practice flies in the face of what the great majority of bloggers do. On your average blog, an anonymous author posts their thoughts, and then encourages the mostly anonymous readers of said blog to add their comments to the mix. But rarely if ever do the readers attach a real name or a real e-mail address to anything posted as a follow-up the authorís original comments.

Not my cup of tea, but who cares?

Anyway, after reading Gortís February 26 post, some of his readers got into a bit of a dustup contained within the readerís comments. They got to arguing about what exactly Nanda Palissery, one of our County Controller hopefuls, had to say in response to a question of whether he would be a fulltime controller or not.

Listed below is the exchange that piqued my interest, but left me confused as to what Palissery actually said.

Anonymous saidÖ

Nanda Palissery announced his candidacy at the 6th District Republican meeting and was asked point blank if he was going to be a Full Time Controller and the reply was he is not going to give up his law practice to serve the people of Luzerne County...

Zen saidÖ

talk about a unflattering pic!!!! anon 12:19, nanda announced on Tuesday night at the repub. HQ on the square and was never asked that question. I was there from about an hour before it began until it was over.

Terri-W-B saidÖ

Hey Zen, where you there at the 6th district meeting. Nanda stated at the meeting that he was running. The official announcement was this past Tue. Nanda was asked the question by Walter and his response was no, this is a part time position.

See what I mean?

So, which is it already? Did he say itís a part-time gig? Or did he say otherwise? For the sake of accuracy, somebody who was there at his announcement needs to step forward and shed some light on this one. Can someone confirm this, or not?

With the Countyís financial situation being the unexplored, rarely audited morass that it is, do we really want to elect anyone who thinks the controller position should not be a fulltime position? Do we really want to go there? Or should I say, do we really want to go there all over again?

Just for the fun of it, take a gander at the followingÖ

Excerpted from the October 27, 2005 Times Leader:

Medico Olenginski said many people have reported to her that Moran is rarely in the courthouse office, and Medico Olenginski doesn't buy Moran's excuse that she's often working out of the Hazleton office. Medico Olenginski said she would be a full-time prothonotary as she was before because of her strong "work ethic."

Moran said she is in the office "as much as I need to be."

That would be Moran, as in Jill Moran, the prothonotary who was recently forced to resign by the Feds, who agreed to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation of corruption at the hands of County employees; the same Jill Moran who is alleged to be facing federal charges of her own in lieu of her agreed upon cooperation.

Sorry, but I donít want anymore of this lackadaisical attitude on display whereas the importance of County row offices are concerned. If a candidate for any row office thinks that sought after position is a part-time position, they do not deserve a single vote. Enough already!

Iíve received a few phone calls from people who could not believe I might actually vote for Walter Griffith for County Controller. Not e-mails, phone calls. And Iíve pretty much heard it all. Heís hard to get along with. He speaks before thinking every now and again. He was arrested for (insert unsubstantiated claim here) many moons ago. Yeah, Iíve heard the arguments against voting for him.

But as far as Iím concerned, heís got three things working in his favor. First, heís saying unequivocally that itís a fulltime job. Second, he even stated to me that he might be willing to deep six his business if elected. And three, his track record as an activist clearly demonstrates that he views just about every expenditure as an expense.

And thatís something Iíve taken him to task for quite a few times. Sorry, but not every expenditure is an expense. Some financial outlays are investments, investments in the future of our communities. But with that said, isnít that what the County government needs right now? A Controller who views every expenditure and every invoice with a suspicious eye? And a Controller who is vowing to be at the courthouse doing his job to the tune of fulltime hours?

Now, somebody told me that if elected, to expect missteps from Walter. Maybe even quite a few. Missteps as in, ruffling too many feathers over at the courthouse. Okay, maybe. I suppose that if he were to see every invoice to come across his desk as yet another to be investigated rather than reflexively rubber-stamped, heíd hurt some feelings, generate some press, and perhaps even get a few wrong on occasion. But what the hell is wrong with that? Do you want accountability, or donít you?

And whatís the alternative? Yet another familiar name and face? Yet another well-connected figure who actually gets invited to those backroom soirees by which the favored political few are anointed by the unseen party power brokers? Yet another candidate that thinks a full-time gig is somehow beneath them? Yet another candidate that thinks the pittance that is the Controllerís salary is beneath a fulltime commitment on their part?

Hereís where we should be on that: If the job isnít lucrative enough, donít seek it. If it doesnít pay enough, keep your name off of the ballot. If you canít or wonít commit to performing this most critical of jobs on a fulltime basis, stay where you belongÖelsewhere.

In addition, the clarion call to have time clocks installed at the courthouse continues unabated. What is an elected politician telling you when they out rightly refuse to prove to you that they are working fulltime hours? Why the resistance? Why not have them installed, prove to us that we have fulltime elected officials working hard and put that puppy to rest already? Why? Gee, I dunno. Perhaps because none of them are working anything close to fulltime hours?? Might that be the reason?

You can bet your ass it is!

And while weíre on this subject, let me tell you about the wireless Personal Data Assistant my employer provides me with.

Basically, it goes with me no matter where I may go. And with one click of my stylus, I can punch in, start my workday, and from no matter where I happen to be. And with yet another click of my stylus, I can punch out effectively ending my workday. And after I make my way back to the shop, I upload the data within mere seconds.

Yes, depending on the travel time involved, I can start my workday as I am leaving the modest adobe. I can start my workday when I arrive at a jobsite in Wilkes-Barre, or from the other side of Weatherly. Itís that simple.

So, why donít our elected and appointed officials have the same hardware and software at the disposal? And why do they continue to refuse to prove to us that they are doing what we demand of them by making and documenting a fulltime commitment to their jobs? Why?

You know why. Because they donít want to. They donít want to prove or disprove anything. They like and hope to continue operating out of the ever-expanding gray area that is our unaccountable county government. And we can only assume, they donít want to be on the job on a fulltime basis.

Yeah, well fu>k that!

And letís explore the fact that our elected county officials are grossly underpaid. Whether you want to admit it or not, they are underpaid.

This is totally ridiculous. Court administrators, clerks, secretaries and wardens earn near about $100,000 a year, but the commissioners and row officers earn half that amount? With that much noted, letís highlight the controller position for the purposes of this rant.

You know, I canít even recall what the controller salary is, but I know itís in the neighborhood of $40,000 a year. Letís go with that number.

If you canít get by on that salary, again, keep your name off of the ballot. If the lack of pay translates into a lack of a fulltime commitment on your part, we donít need you nor want you. And if the lack of pay pales in comparison to the cash haul that accompanies your other more lucrative employment; your business, your practice or whatever it may beÖkeep your name off of the ballot. If itís really not worth it to you, if itís really not worth a fulltime commitment on your part, then keep your damn name off of the ballot.

The County is in debt up to itís fast-fraying hair extensions. County officials have demonstrated in recent years that they can not balance a single fiscal budget to save their childrenís lives. And when the County has to seek more than one Tax Anticipation Note (red flag every time) during any fiscal year, as it has made a habit of of late, the financial wheels are worn down to the point of exposing the sidewalls.

And with that much agreed upon, do we really want to vote for anyone that is not wholly committed to the job? Is the sub par, phony baloney Luzerne County part-time business-as-usual really what we want or need right now?

So, what we need is a clarification from none other than Nanda Palissery. And itís a perfectly fair question to ask of him. To ask him if he believes the crucial duties of the controller can be achieved in oneís spare time. You know, in the scant amount of time one can manage to pull themselves away from their much more lucrative endeavors.

And until I receive that clearly articulated answer, he is not worthy of my vote.

Víger needs to know.

More ďtarget letterď talk. Yep, no matter where I go; newspapers, television, internet or talk radio, I keep hearing bout all of these yet unnamed persons that have received target letters from the Feds as part of this ongoing corruption investigation.

More importantly, WBRE keeps reminding us that more arrests are imminent. And the rumors about some highly recognizable names persist. And I keep hearing that a former county commissioner may be in trouble. While I know not of which they speak with any degree of certainty, I will resist the sudden and overriding urge to speculate.

The way I see it, if and when I devolve into fanning the flames of rampant speculation and rumor mongering, I might as well quit the internet all together and take my then rightful place among the talk radio show hosts.

Anyway, the rumors persist. And hereís the latest from the print media, from the Times Leadersí Mark Guydish:

Stay-out-of-jail cards add up in this scandal

On Feb. 24, outgoing Prothonotary Jill Moran signed an agreement with the feds in which she pretty much admits committing fraud but, hey, she was just an unwitting pawn. There isnít even talk of her going to jail unless sheís dumb enough to violate the terms of that agreement.

Then there are attorney Robert Powell and mega-developer Robert Mericle. In the original federal paperwork about Ciavarella and Conahan, they are allegedly ďThing one and thing twoĒ Ė oops, I mean, ďParticipant oneĒ and ďParticipant two.Ē So far, not a whiff of charges for them.

Scuttlebutt says they are all getting better treatment than the kids caught in their alleged scams for a good reason: Feds are after bigger fish.

Letís hope so. A major catch would mitigate all this delayed justice.

Otherwise, weíve been Buffaloed, Bub.

Bigger fish to fry.

Thatís the rumor thatís gaining all of the momentum of late. Thatís the tantalizing one that just wonít go away. Sounds to me that many from within the recently depleted ranks of the local press are in line to earn some overtime when those impromptu press conferences are hastily arranged and soon.

So move over Chicago. Move over New York. Move on over Miami. Luzerne County has got some serious corruption game to bring to the fore and will not be denied itís rightful place as the most corrupt and most morally bankrupt place throughout all of Amerika.

Thatís the latest from The Valley With a Breaking Heart.

Greed is good.


Below is but a tiny snippet of an e-mail I sent to a local print journalist. I publish it here because I need some help from whoever it is that might be able to help.

From the e-mail outbox Hi there,

Iím writing to you because you are a print journalist. Just in case youíre wondering who the heck I am, Iím Mark Cour, the guy who gave Tom McGroarty fits by way of Wilkes-Barre Online.

Basically, what I want to know is how you would go about trying to find a person who probably doesnít want to be found. Got any journalistic tricks or heretofore unknown resources up your sleeve?

This recent genealogic adventure of mine has been a rewarding personal journey. And the reconnecting with some kinfolk long since lost to me has beenÖwell, it tests the long-unrelenting tear ducts.

But despite all of the revelations, the pictures and the familial anecdotes Iíve recently received seemingly out of thin air, itís become painfully apparent to me until I find, contact or learn whatever became of my father.

I know, I know. Supposedly, Iím a big boy and I should be long since over it. The thing is, the more I learn, the more I seem to need to know. And itís become blatantly obvious to me that the personal journey of discovery will fall far short of itís ever expanding goal until I answer that one niggling question IĎve had for the past forty years or so: What of my father? Whatever happened to Eugene J. Cour?

So I ask of you, those unfortunate enough to have happened upon all of my electronic madnessÖhow would you go about trying to find a person who probably doesnít want to be found?

Does anyone out there have any ideas? Are there any untapped internet resources, or unknown search engines that have so far escaped my vast reach?

Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.