2-23-2009 Walter? The next Steve Flood?

I don‘t normally do this sort of thing… publishing campaign announcements and all. The usual modus operandi goes like this: I give you my unvarnished opinion of the candidates and then you send me particularly nasty e-mails. Works for me.

While I’m going to publish the announcement in question, I also want to point out that I was not paid to do so, so the candidate did not violate any campaign finance laws and the like.

And I think that’s an important distinction because this candidate is a Republican in Democrat Country, and because he probably doesn’t have the fundraising wherewithal that his fellow declared Republicans have, one of which is an attorney and the other being from a well-connected political family.

Now, with criminality practically oozing out of every corner of our judiciary of late, I will not vote for any attorney to serve as any County row officer. Not a one. To more aptly state my present state of mind, I ain’t voting for no fu>king lawyers!

And while I have nothing against the other declared Republican, I think the present disturbing situation calls for some new blood, not the same old political pedigrees. With that said, I’d just assume show up at Osama bin Laden’s cave announcing that I sexually violated all of his female relatives than vote for any Democrat for any County position in either the primary or the general election this year.

And mind you, the arrests and such have been limited to the judiciary. But let us not forget the other potential scandals under investigation, the too-many-to-list missteps and mistakes made by county commissioners past and present, and the precarious financial situation of the county. Plus we’ve got the obvious arrogance and sense of entitlement that seems to pervade the sensibilities of the majority of the people entrusted with the keys to the courthouse. Then throw in the many in-your-face Sunshine law violations, and what you’ve got here is not a government that needs to be replaced. No, what you’ve got here is a party, perhaps, an establishment spanning many decades that needs to be replaced.

Any many of you wondered why I tended to avoid writing about the county government for all these years. Why? Because, from here, nothing that went on over there made any sense.

Sorry, but begrudging translucence doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time for some transparency.

Anyway, on to that aforementioned announcement:

My name is Walter L Griffith Jr. and I am currently 54 years old and a lifelong resident of Luzerne County and pleased and proud to introduce myself to every taxpayer and citizen of Luzerne County as your 2009 Candidate for Luzerne County Controller.

My background regarding my qualifications for this very important position in County Government is that I currently own and manage my own Auto Repair business and have done so very successfully since 1989. I am also very active in managing an organization that is responsible to submit a budget and balance our books each year, as well as organize and facilitate the operation of an organization that covers 4 states.

I currently have been very active in Wilkes-Barre City Government, as well as Luzerne County Government, and have been very active in the daily operations of these governments for the taxpayers of the City and County and have made much progress in being sure that our elected officials are held accountable to “us” the taxpayers .

My presence at most County and City meetings has prompted our elected officials to more aware of the desires of the taxpayers as well as the best way to operate your government.

I am running as your County Controller and have demonstrated time and time again my desire to represent each and every taxpayer and citizen in Luzerne County by my constant asking of the “tough questions” of your elected officials and will continue to do this on your behalf if elected as your County Controller in 2009.

I represented “YOU” the taxpayers when the County Commissioners were going to plunge the County into more debt with regard to the 16 million dollar loan and was successful in representing “YOU” by having that amount reduced to only 5.6 Million.

I also was at the meetings to represent “YOU” when the Debit Card issue was happening and the feel the Controller should have known about this long before the people were swindled out of thousands of dollars.

I was at the courthouse when 21st Century Appraisals were doing our appraisals in a very shoddy and haphazard way that has cost the taxpayers of this County thousands of dollars.

I was at the Courthouse when the Salary Board was not functioning according to the law of the County Code as well and was very instrumental in helping your elected officials cut spending by my information.

My background politically is very simple…I am not related to any one in Luzerne County that works in the courthouse and I will not bankrupt my moral or ethic character to get elected to any position in government.. I will promise you that I will always be in the Office of County Controller and will work to bring “honesty and integrity” back to Luzerne County Government by being having Honesty and Integrity that you can trust and rely on in a person that you are voting for in government.

My past history and track record will speak for itself and please remember this quote on May 19th 2009 when you are casting your vote for County Controller…


Elect Walter L Griffith JR to Luzerne County Controller

We’ve also been treated to an article highlighting Walter’s many activist exploits. To say this piece is overly generous would be an understatement, but here it is…

Taxpayer Advocates Are Improving American Democracy

As of this moment, I am still registered as a card-carrying Democrat. And for two reasons. I switched my party affiliation back in 2003 so as to vote in the Democrat primary. More accurately, to vote against our then mayor, one Tom McGroarty. After much procrastination whereas switching it back was concerned, I kept that affiliation intact so as to vote for Hillary Clinton over the caped crusader we now have in office. But no more.

No, I going to head down to the voter services outlet and become a card-carrying Republican again. And, unlike many of my peers who constantly rail against the corrupt one-party machine but then will likely vote for the next best thing from within the withering ranks of that same party, I will vote for any attractive candidate the Republicans offer forth…but no Democrats.

And being that I absolutely refuse to vote for an attorneys at the present time, and being that the very last thing I will opt for is the locally recognizable political name…right now, Walter is the man.

And make no mistake about it, while he and I differ on a ton of city-related issues, he knows the issues. He does much more homework than your average citizen. He’s invested his own time and money in his various and sundry activism forays. And at this point in our troubled political history, I think he’d be a real burr in the saddle of the oft-disgraced Democrats if they were to retain the majority of the three commissioner seats.

Walter? The next Steve Flood?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news of late, you already know we could have and have done much worse. When the entire barrel’s been spoiled by more than it’s fair share of bad apples, it’s high time we pick a few peaches instead. Or pears. Or plums. Anything but more bad apples, i.e., more local Democrats.

As crazy as it may sound to those who read my usual swill, he’s my early favorite.

(Note to the Committee to elect Walter Griffith: I don’t pay for campaign buttons. Just ask those mentally vapid trailer park escapees that once infested Obama’s downtown campaign headquarters here in Wilkes-Barre.)

My niece, my niece who weighs all of, oh, 110 pounds, got mugged in front of the Parsons Turkey Hill on Friday night. That’s bad enough.

What makes it worse is the fact that the assailant--the large black male--felt the need to down her by punching her in the face before grabbing a handful of personals and her cell phone from out of her purse. Large male versus a petite female? Uh, punch her in the face! Nice.

And as of this very moment, she is not buying the “diversity” bit.

Can’t say I blame her.

My intent is not to keep pounding you with the family history stuff. But this one is unique being that it’s an archived Sunday Independent story from 1961. I didn’t know anything from the Sunday Independent made it’s way into any internet archives, let alone from so many years ago.

From the Sunday Independent - Oct 24, 1961:

Fugitive Child’s Return Sought By Circuit Judge

Ah, the good old days.

It‘s about time. One of our two local newspapers, The Times Leader, has a piece in the paper today detailing the risks involved with, er, the dangers associated with the hydraulic fracturing of bedrock.

‘Bout time.

The danger down below

Natural gas drilling in this region might do wonders for landowners’ bank accounts, but concerned Pennsylvanians are wondering about the effect on another important resource – water.

Water rights issues defined gas drilling in Pennsylvania last year. Some drillers rushing to exploit high commodity prices were surprised to find the Susquehanna River Basin Commission standing in their way, requiring water withdrawal permits that aren’t necessary in other states or, until recently, even in western Pennsylvania. In May, the state Department of Environmental Protection partially shut down two Lycoming County operations, which didn’t have those permits, for failing to protect nearby waterways from pollution and excessive withdrawals.

Sure, it’s about time. But it’s also a tad late for the homeowners who have already leased their properties to the drilling companies. Why is it that the investigative journalism always comes during the latter stages of a problem rather than beforehand? Hmmm, must be a media thing.

Just as a precaution, from here forward, do not light a cigarette or a cigar while standing in close proximity to any body of water, or any well head anywhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I mean, no sense getting blown to smithereens. Right?

More on that homegrown spontaneous combustion stuff from yours truly:

7-26-2008: Frickin’ fracking?

1-25-2009: Kayak Dude interview

Dude, before the 2009 Wyoming Valley River Fest (June 19-June 21) gets underway, perhaps we should have “No Smoking” signs affixed to each and every kayak and canoe. We need not set the Susquehanna and ourselves all ablaze. Besides, I don’t think the many local fire departments have much experience fighting river fires. <> I dunno.

Check this out. follow me here.

From the Times Leader:

Believing in Wilkes-Barre, mayor’s wife to open downtown store

WILKES-BARRE – One person with every reason to believe the downtown is experiencing a comeback will open a business in the Midtown Village in March.

Patty Leighton, wife of Mayor Tom Leighton – the man who coined the rallying slogan “I Believe” – will open a gift shop called The Bee Hive in the former site of Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound. The shop will sell collectibles, stationery, greeting cards, small furniture, candles and other items, Patty Leighton said.

“I’ve wanted to do this for about 10 years,” she said.

Seems innocent enough. The Mayor’s wife is diving into the retail world. Cool. No biggie, right? Think again, because this is Northeastern Pennsylvania, the home to tens of thousands of malcontents still roaming free. In this area, seemingly good news is somehow bad news to be viewed with skepticism. A place where even the most innocent of news stories get skewed into being a source of discontent. The place where negativism is championed again and again.

Yes, just last night, I got an e-mail from someone who suspects that Humford Equities is not charging the mayor’s wife any rent for her new retail slot. Yes, an e-mail from yet another bitter person who would have been better off had his parents never met.

I never thought I’d say such a thing, but I am slowly but surely becoming a proponent of abortion, so long as it’s done very selectively. If the combined IQs of the prospective parents amount to less than the average scoring output of any NBA team…the fetus gets it.

Sorry, but it’s become necessary.

I heard two interesting quips while watching the WBRE nightly news during the past couple of days.

Firstly, during the tail and of Andy Mehalchick’s report on the arrest of Sandra Brulo, he said, “…more arrests are coming.”

If it keeps up like this, we won’t have a functional judiciary. Well, that is, the assistants to the assistants will be put in charge of countless things they don’t fully understand. So we’ll go from being corrupt to being incompetent.


Secondly, Mayor Tom Leighton said to expect some “exciting announcements soon,” as retail development in the downtown continues unabated. Funny thing, one of these days, people will be moaning about not being able to secure retail space in our filled-to-capacity downtown.

And many of you mocked the whole “I Believe” slogan. Many of you mocked the crazy notion that Wilkes-Barre could and would eventually start righting itself. Many of you questioned not only his sanity, but his tireless enthusiasm. Many of you confidently predicted that a movie theater would never work in downtown Wilkes-Barre. And still others said absolutely nothing would help.

I think some apologies are clearly called for.

Click here to deliver them.

Go ahead, do it.

A couple of local blog posts caught my eye this morning.

First there was this from Gort:

Billy D'Elia is the reputed successor to Russel Bufalino as the head of the Bufalino crime family. I have always been reluctant to write about Denaples and D'Elia and I noticed my local my local blogger colleagues are as well. Maybe it's because I like to have both of my knees in working order.

I’m not sure how I’ll manage to exit this life (shot down by a future City Council hopeful?), but I’m absolutely certain I don’t want to be encased in concrete right next to some granite cornerstone somewhere. With that said, anything I could write about any alleged mobsters would be pure speculation. So why bother?

Interestingly enough, I was once in Bufalino’s former home. And with all that’s been repeatedly whispered about him over the years, I found it to be quite fascinating. Although, being the guy who crawls around in the darkest of places for a living, I got to wondering, if there was one, what might be buried in the crawl space down below.

And then I ran across the Yonkster’s attempt at listing the best political movies of all time. And in the reader’s comments were a few more worthy selections. But not a one of them listed my all-time favorite political movie…“Bullworth,” starring Warren Beatty.

For what it’s worth.

This episode with a court administrator being on a 5-month sick leave with a county-owned car in tow should be almost as troubling as anything else coming from the judiciary.

What this demonstrates is the total lack of oversight at the courthouse. And I’m not talking about the judiciary overseeing it’s own. I’m not talking about the row officers following up on their underlings. Nor am I talking about the road and bridge guys knowing where the heck their crews may be at any given moment. I’m zeroing in on the responsibilities of the commissioners as the ultimate overseers of every aspect of county business.

No, they can’t be everywhere. But exactly what do they supervise? Who, exactly, is held accountable? Who is subjected to, at least, periodic oversight? And when, if ever, is accountability demanded of anyone?

Personally, I’m sickened every time Steve Urban appears on the nightly news acting all shocked at the latest bad news emanating from the courthouse. If the best you’ve got is “Gee, I’m shocked!,” you are not in control of anything. And it’s obvious that checks and balances are beyond your reach, or less than important to you.

I remember very clearly from my management days that the last thing you wanted to do was have bad news come as a complete surprise to your boss. If there was something amiss, it was your job to identify it and give him a quick heads up. But if he were to be surprised and have to explain himself to his higher-ups without prior warning, you were going to be very, very unhappy just as soon as he got a hold of you.

His entire point was this: If you’re properly managing the place, if there is effective oversight and accountability in place, surprises should be few and very far between. If you had your finger on the pulse of the place, surprises were rare. If you were doing what you were being paid to do, bad news, scandals and the like should not come about.

Yet, damn near every time I see a commissioner on television, there they are making with the “Gee, I’m stunned!” routine. Yes, they are always stunned, shocked, saddened, pissed, flummoxed or angered. In other words, they are not in control. They are not doing their jobs, or they are not seeing to it that others are doing their jobs. There is no oversight and there are no checks and balances. And with the county code being little more than a gray area the size of Montana, there is rarely if ever any accountability.

So my question is, who is managing that place? Anyone?

Or is it really just a place where the friends of, the relatives of, or the spouses of do whatever the hell they want and whenever they want?

Okay, we had a county-owned vehicle missing for half a freaking year. Fine. Now somebody needs to ask these three commissioners of ours what’s going to be done to ensure that it never happens again. What, if anything, will be done differently in the future? What?

Seriously, the place is out of control.

And I’m watching the news the other night when I spied a sheriff’s department car with the County Sheriff’s name plastered all over it. What the hell is that? Is the county not in hock up to it’s drooping eyelids? Is the county not trimming the payroll? Is the county not known for deficit-spending? How much did that bit of auto detailing cost? And what’s up with the business-as-usual approach when the county has outstanding debts approaching that of Russia’s?

Allah H. Christ!

And today the prison board appointed a new prison warden. Yeah, you got it. Yet another “relative of” somebody or other.

Even with scandal and investigations and shame swirling all around these people, it’s still business as usual. Spend what you want. Hire whoever you feel like hiring. Do whatever you want. That pretty much sums up what goes on over at the Luzerne County courthouse. And trust me, Steve Urban will be outraged when he finds out.

You know, it’s really getting to the point where the Pentagon ought to put Northeastern Pennsylvania at the very top of it’s list of targets to be nailed if and when we resume nuclear weapons testing. In fact, it’s probably long overdue.

Sez me.