3-6-2007 Ready…set…campaign!

Well, we‘ve got until 4:30 pm today before the fields for the upcoming electoral scrums are set in stone.

From the Times Leader:

2 W-B mayor hopefuls drop out

WILKES-BARRE – Two city mayoral candidates bowed out of the race on Monday, but a new one has emerged.

On the same day that tow truck driver Bob Kadluboski and former police Chief Tony George, both Democrats, announced they are dropping out of the race, Republican Linda Stets said she will run for city council and mayor.

No Republicans currently serve on the board.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

W-B mayor will face political novice in upcoming primary election

So Tony George and Bob Kadluboski have both decided not to enter the scrum in the making. Neither announcement surprises me, or phases me either way.

The news, which was heavily rumored, is that Linda Stets is running for both mayor and council. And as I have previously alluded to, I have a problem with any candidate that files for more than one race. Plan A is, I do X,Y and Z if elected. Oh, and Plan B involves A, B and C if I’m elected. But, the more the merrier, I suppose. I suppose.

With less than 5 hours before the filing deadline, this is how things are shaping up:

(* denotes incumbent)


D Tom Leighton*

D Tim Grier

R Linda Stets

Should be interesting. On one hand, we’ve got a political neophyte who’s specialty seems to be launching into incendiary and accusatory missives in lieu of documentation. On the other hand, we’ve got a loyal and well-connected Republican foot soldier who is a fiery and vitriolic orator. Prediction? Despite his obvious achievements, the incumbent mayor will be accused of practically everything only marginally short of pederasty.

City Council--District A:

D Shirley Mario Vitanovec*

R Walter Griffith

D Time Grier

D Rick Cronauer

Hmmm. A popular incumbent squaring off against 2 challengers who happen to have the same “taxpayer watchdog” message. Tim Grier’s entry into this race cannot help Walter Griffith. I know not of Rick Cronauer, but there are those who tell me this guy is definitely worthy of a vote.

City Council--District B:

D Tony Thomas Jr.*

D Ray Arellano

R Lisa McGlynn-Cope

R Vincent Guarneri

D Bruce Reilly

They’re coming for you, Tony. Whoever they are.

City Council--District C:

D Kathy Kane*

D Sam Troy

R Peter Gagliardi

A very popular incumbent, in fact, the top vote-getter amongst all comers during the ‘03 election, faces a one-time council loser and the city’s newest self-appointed obstructionist-in-chief. If there’s an upset in this race, the Sun will likely implode the very next day.

City Council--District D:

D Bill Barrett*

D Mike McGinley*

D Timothy Anderson

D Joe Daniel

D Bruce Szczecinski

D James G. Taylor

D Sarah McCaffrey

R Linda Stets

Whew! First off, 2 incumbents enter, 1 incumbent leaves. Secondly, with this many candidates running the equivalent of popularity contests in their own neighborhoods, will it take more than 79 votes or so to eke this one out?

While the referendum toting revolutionaries promised us an improved system by which we would elect our council members, what they did was deliver us to Sugar Notch, where sweeping the vote of your immediate family delivers an election night victory. Should I be deferent to a politician who manages to do what I could probably do?

City Council--District E:

D Ron Silkosky

D Virgil Argenta

R John Yencha

D Charlotte Raup

D Mike Merritt

D J. Shelley Soltis

D Frank Matello Jr.

With no sitting councilman in this district, this one is wide open and next to impossible to predict. Both Argenta and Soltis have thrown their hats into the political ring during previous elections, but the remainder of the field are new to electioneering and suchlike. And one in particular is already slinging mud in the direction of another. Mud, that is, that has absolutely no basis in fact.

Fundraisers and advertising aside, what these people need is to get out there and bang on as many doors as possible. Probably not mine, though. During a typical election cycle, this adobe is usually avoided like the plague.

Anyway, without any last-second entries, that’s where we’re at.

Stay tuned.

I guess it‘s a tad early yet, but then again, the election is only 10 weeks away. With the petitioning process just about behind us, things should start heating up in a hurry.

To this date, I’ve become aware of only 2 Web sites from candidates seeking an elected office in this city, so let’s add one to the list with this latest entry into cyberspace.

Charlotte Raup for City Council

As for Charlotte‘s entry into the fray, here’s what I had to say on February 8, 2007:

Well, here’s my thoughts.

First of all, Charlotte is the first candidate to announce that has differentiated herself from the rest of the “forgotten neighborhoods” pack. As a long-time crime watcher, I’m sure she knows that our neighborhoods need some work, but she also works closely with the police department and city officials, so she has to know that what can be done is being done. I guess what I’m trying to say is that her expectations would be realistic.

I’d have to say that her volunteerism is probably second to none. I’m out there on my bikes all the time, and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve encountered her doing something or other somewhere or other.

I think her candidacy brings a unique perspective to this voting district. And I also think that if she aggressively pounds on front doors, she would have to be the odds-on favorite in these here parts.

One last thought being that she and I have one glaring thing in common. The only reason I ever got involved by way of the internet is because I wanted to live in a better city than I was at the time. And that’s why she got involved as heavily as she did. She didn’t seek the limelight. She didn’t fancy herself as an elected leader. She simply sought to improve her neighborhood and her city. In my mind, she got involved for all the right reasons and is certainly worthy of a vote.

Mayor Raup?

Could be.

Hey, it’s easier to spell than Vitachevynova.

(Sorry, Shirley. It’s just that I still need to amuse myself.)

I’ve given it a lot of thought as to whom I’ll eventually vote for. And so far, not a single city council candidate from this district has promised to bring J. Wayne Anderson, the owner of R/C Theaters, to his knees and force him to sell Junior Mints at Wilkes-Barre Movie 14’s concession stands. Not a single one.

There’s progress, and then there’s Junior Mints.

Yeah, we need a few streets paved here and there. Yes, we need a little bit of this, that and everything, as does virtually every community. But let’s get our priorities straight, shall we?

Who is going to bring Junior Mints to downtown Wilkes-Barre?

All kidding aside, check out her site and make notice of the fact that she is going to blog us through her door-to-door campaign.

Should be interesting, if not different.

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

At one point during the early colonization and westward expansion in Pennsylvania, the Wyoming Valley was one of the most hotly contested pieces of real estate in the commonwealth and probably the country. The Iroquois considered the valley critical to protecting their southern flank, and had placed many subjugated tribes there over the years to keep an eye on who was traveling up the Susquehanna River valley. The folks from Pennsylvania and Connecticut also felt the land was rightfully theirs through a charter granted by some king on some island near France in the 1600's. The whole brouhaha was settled in 1784 or thereabouts, and peace and prosperity reigned until January 22, 1959.

There are a few good links for you history buffs ( and buffettes ) out there, including:







By the way, I'm scheduled to close ( as John Doe ) on a property in Wilkes-Barre in a few weeks, which will make me a tax-paying property owner of the city, the county, and District 11. I'm told my $303,000 mortgage ( at 0% interest ) will be approved by a group of private investors in the next few days. Did you ever hear of WaterJet Funding Corp?


Kayak Dude

You know, I figured if anyone would know about this “Westmorelandtown” thing right off the top of their head, it would be you…Professor Kayak Dude.

Thanks, I look forward to following those links.

And January 22, 1959? What’s the significance of that date? The Knox Mine disaster, or was that the date of some violent union uprising at Grandma‘s sewing factory? V’ger wants to know.

Hey, don’t be busting on Jill Moran. She’s perfectly within her rights as a Luzerne County Democrat to falsify whatever documents she damn well pleases. And there’s no evidence of impropriety as of yet, so being that she’s inescapably eye candy, we should support her. In fact, I wish the majority commissioners would relax the dress code and allow tube and halter tops to be worn under the rotunda dome. Steve Urban would no doubt vote against it, but that’s to be expected from Dr. No.

WaterJet Funding Corp? Oh, yeah. I’ve heard of that outfit. That’s the nonprofit organization that’s going to rebuild Nanticoke top-to-bottom, build skyscrapers in the Newtown section of Upper Askam South, turn the soon-to-be defunct regional equipment center into a residential development tentatively called St. Mary’s Bells, use Glen Lyon for above-ground nuclear testing on weekends only and deliver hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs to Honeypot. There’s also that persistent rumor about Concrete City being converted into the new Spring Training home of the New York Yankees.

And somebody told me that Paul Kanjorski’s cousin’s ex-wife’s sister-in-law’s step-brother’s ex foster child is in charge of the whole shebang to the tune of only $80,000 a year.

Quite the bargain, no?

I had better stop there. That last one has me scratching my pointy little head. I figure self-induced scalp scratching is a definite hint.

From the e-mail inbox There is no date set yet – the event is questionable again this year, due to lack of funding. We’re working on it. Thanks


Julie A. McMonagle

Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Director, NE Regional Office
175 Main Street
Luzerne, PA 18709
(570) 718-6507 (phone)
(570) 718-6508 (fax)

How is that an event like RiverFest should be in question, which draws hundreds of people to the river each year without amenities such as expensive dams, marinas, or river portals, but events of much lesser value come off without a hitch? Both the County and the City will support countless other gatherings that have absolutely no educational, recreational or health benefits at the mere mention of them, but RiverFest lacks funding?

If RiverFest 2007 never comes about, it will be due to a failure of leadership on the part of our elected officials as much as anything else.