Friday, July 29, 2011

Rick Perry a Moneychanger and Hypocrite?

There's a good post at the Ob Lure blog concerning Rick Perry's prayer event.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can Lisa Cope Cope?

Underdog Lisa Cope has too much to lose in Wilkes-Barre City Mayoral contest.
According to the Citizens' Voice, the reason Lisa Cope hasn't been more vocal in her criticism of Mayor Leighton is that her husband is a city employee--a police officer. According to her, he was given the message that if his wife were to damage Leighton's reputation too much, it could mean bad things for his job. Lisa Cope openly admits that
"I don't feel I can come out and say 100 percent what's on my mind at any given time...Call it screening what I say for the sake of my husband."
What's more, Cope herself has applied to be a W-B police officer.

It's bad enough that Republicans are outnumbered 4 to 1 in the city, but now there is the disadvantage of Cope limiting herself to a kind of graduated mummery. But if she really cared about the city, wouldn't she be willing to put her husband's job and her career aspirations at risk in order to expose the wrongdoings of the Leightonian Regime?

Leighton deserves a harum-scarum opponent who will speak out freely against corruption in spite of intimidation, like the prophets of ancient Israel did or the bards of ancient Celtic yore. Unless Cope begins to do this, Leighton will carry the election with many votes to spare. Even if a good outspoken Republican candidate has no chance of winning in the Democrat stronghold of Wilkes-Barre, she would at least loosen Leighton's grip on W-B this election cycle so that perhaps in another 4 years he will either be voted out in the primary or in general election.* Lisa Cope doesn't appear to be this candidate.

Word around the campfire is that there is a third party candidate on the way who, unlike Cope, has nothing to lose and everything to gain from speaking out against Leighton. Keep posted.

According to a recent Citizens' Voice article:
While Cope has said before she's worried about speaking out because her husband is a city police officer, she's since backed off that stance. Her husband's union protection and a discussion with an attorney eased her mind, she said.
The third party candidate we alluded to earlier is Betsy Summers. By criticizing Cope for not speaking out more, it seems Summers has pushed Lisa Cope into being more vocal--at least we hope.
*We have a feeling that Leighton's career will end in typical NEPA fashion--with investigations and, possibly, imprisonment. This may happen within four years.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Opinion: Wilkes-Barre City Officials Want Glodzik's Records to be Kept Secret

Tow truck owner Leo Glodzik's contract is selectively enforced by Wilkes-Barre City officials so that his towing records can stay hidden from the public.

According to the Citizens' Voice, Glodzik's receipts, which his contract mandates must be kept in an "accurate and running log" with the police* are not being kept. Glodzik says he only needs to keep them if he's asked to, and apparently he hasn't been--but this is not what the contract says. The logs are necessary to enforce the part of the contract which states that Glodzik's fees must be "reasonable and according to the standards of the industry generally." Without the logs, there can be no assurance that Glodzik's fees are reasonable, and if there is no such assurance, the contract is not being followed. I imagine the city would have power to demand Glodzik's records from the police chief, but they cannot do this if there are no records being kept in the first place. Why is only the chief allowed to demand Glodzik's records? And who wrote this language into the contract? Was it Bill Vinsko--Glodzik's Facebook friend and former lawyer?

City officials have dodged Citizens' Voice reporters' questions, and thus seem happy that only the police have the power to demand from Glodzik his records. Therefore, they enforce only the part of the contract that absolves them from having to apprehend Glodzik's records directly from him for public review, yet these same officials seem totally fine with the fact that the part of the contract mandating the log and its necessary clause of ensuring fair prices is not being kept by the police chief. It is clear that the ultimate goal of the city officials, including Leighton and McLauglin, is to protect Glodzik from any scrutiny over his business practices.

Finally, the fact that Glodzik isn't keeping records with police is a sufficient condition for the termination of his city contract. However, the contract only states that failure to follow it means that city officials "could" terminate but not that they must do so. Therefore, Glodzik can violate the contract all he wants, and city officials have no obligation to terminate it. This sort of non-binding contract seems suspicious. Therefore, the people who wrote the contract ought to be investigated.

The Wilkes-Barre City attorney is Timothy Henry and the assistant attorney is William E. Vinsko, Jr. Vinsko is friends with Glodzik on Facebook and incorporated some businesses for him. Bill Vinsko is also friends on Facebook with Wilkes-Barre police chief Gerald (Jerry) Dessoye. Vinsko is also friends with Drew McLaughlin who is on record as stating that the logs the contract mandates are unnecessary because Dessoye can track city-directed tows through internal police department records. But McLaughlin's premise is false. The contract says that logs are necessary so that they can be apprehended from the police chief by people such as the Mayor or reporters or concerned citizens. If McLaughlin really believes that we're just supposed to take his buddy Dessoye's word for it that Glodzik is charging industry standard, then he is either naive or knowlingly misrepresenting the city contract.

Click above photo for larger view
The contract requires that L.A.G. shall provide the police chief on the 10th of each month:
1. An accurate and running log of all vehicles currently in storage
2. The tows made by the Contractor by the Contractor under this contract for the preceding month
3. A copy of all inventories held
In legalese, "shall" is synonymous with "must"; therefore, the records must be received.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Facts in Glodzik / Robbins Dispute

This is a listing of the facts in the dispute between Mark Robbins and tow truck businessman Leo Glodzik III. Robbins has accused Glodzik of charging exorbitantly high fees which violate Glodzik's contract with the City that mandates reasonable fees in accordance with industry standards.

Facts not in Dispute:
Glodzik charged Robbins a total of $200 for a tow.

Facts in Dispute.
Robbins quotes the contract between Glodzik and the city as stating "Contractor is permitted to charge its own fees... provided so long as the same are reasonable and according to the standards of the industry generally." Glodzik told the Times Leader that the charge of $175 for a base rate on a "rollback tow" is a "standard industry charge". (He did not mention what the remaining $25 of the $200 total was for.) More importantly, Glodzik made a rollback tow sound like some sort of special, expensive tow.

However, former city tow truck contractor Bob Kadluboski, owner of City Wide Towing, has implied that he charged $75 for such a tow when he held the city contract. We found a rate quote of $83 for a rollback tow from Ace Towing in North Carolina. It would be strange if the price in NC -$83 was over double what Glodzik charges -$175- in the Wyoming Valley. If these numbers are correct, then there is suspicion enough to warrant an investigation into Glodzik's records to make sure he is charging industry standard.

Problematic Enforcement
Robbins believes there is much more going on than predatory pricing and that the Wilkes-Barre police chief may be up to no good. This is significant because in the contract the police chief, Dessoye, has the power to demand an inspection of Glodzik's receipts*. If Dessoye and Glodzik are in cahoots, then nothing can be done about the alleged predatory pricing.

More Facts not in Dispute
Robbins passed a professionally administered and legally valid polygraph test, and his answers were deemed truthful by the tester. Here they are:
A) When you called Wilkes-Barre 911 on June 1st, did you report Leo Glodzik's threatening behavior?


B) On June 1, did a Wilkes-Barre police officer say to you "l don't give a fuck about your car”? (The cop leaning on the car in the police cruiser picture said this to me... classy, huh?)


C) On June 1st, when Wilkes-Barre police arrived on the scene after you called them, did officers speak to Leo Glodzik first before speaking with you? (3 separate instances... Leo Glodzik gets "extra special attention" from police... even in the face of a 911 call made against him.)


D) On June 1, did Leo Glodzik suggest that you lie to AAA by telling them your car had overheated? (Part of his "fraud proposition"...see Section IV)

Robbins' account seems to indicate that there may be some sort of connection between the police in general and Glodzik.

It seems fishy that only the police chief can demand to see Glodzik's receipts and that other city workers seem totally uninterested in them, with city official Drew McLaughlin telling a Citizen's Voice reporter that records are not necessary.

City attorney Bill Vinsko probably had some sort of say over the contract with Glodzik. Indeed, as of writing this article, Glodzik is friends on Facebook with Bill Vinsko who, according to the Citizen's Voice, "incorporated several businesses for Glodzik." Vinsko is friends with Leighton on Facebook, and Leighton has served as Glodzik's real estate broker.

It seems there is a deep rabbit hole involving Glodzik and property acquisitions. According to the Times Leader, County Commissioner Steve Urban has accused Leighton and his city workers of selling a property to Glodzik for $7,500 without advertising it and after paying $10,000 total for it.

A big deal has been made over the fact that Glodzik has donated $10,500 to Leighton’s campaigns since 2005; but he has been the city’s contracted tower for six years. Glodzik gave $2,500 to Leighton's state senate run, but it is important to note that Falzone's towing also gave this amount, as did Bill Sordoni of Sordoni construction, Albert Boscov, and the McCarthys of McCarthy Tire, so Glodzik's donation amounts are relatively normal among that crowd of businessmen.

Nevertheless, there are far too many coincidences and ties to quell legitimate suspicion. Robbins has made some stunning claims involving everything from possible FBI corruption to possible kickback schemes involving the towed vehicles, all of which are all viewable on his website.

Update 8-1
We neglected to mention that Glodzik pays Wilkes-Barre City $50,000 per year to maintain his city contract. City administrator Marie McCormick took offense at Robbins' criticism of this $50k payment as being a "kickback". But as Bob Kadluboski correctly replied: the fee is actually a tax on the people who have their cars towed, especially if Glodzik is able to get away with charging upwards of $200 per tow. Kadluboski went on to note that these sorts of payoffs, however contractual they may be, were outlawed in New York because of the perverse incentive they promote. Bidding on the contract should have been on the towing rates and not on a payment to the city government. But, understandably, the city wanted the money, and getting in such a round about way shifts discontentment that would otherwise be directed toward them toward Glodzik.
*Section 18 (f) of the city contract with L.A.G. says ”the Contractor shall provide to the chief of police an accurate and running log of all vehicles currently in storage; the tows made by the Contractor under this contract for the preceding month; and a copy of all inventories held. If requested, the Chief of Police is entitled to information pertaining to the amount of money collected under this or pursuant to this contract… and other information that the Administration or the Chief of Police find relevant to maintaining the integrity of the city.

More Info
"City tower’s conduct blasted"

"Critical remarks target Wilkes-Barre's towing operator"

"W-B tower denies driver’s claims"

"Wilkes-Barre Towing Contract Not Enforced"

Mark Robbins' Website Detailing the alleged "Cars for Cash Scheme"

"Judge re-opens Old River Road Bakery lawsuit"

"W-B’s sale of house criticized"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wilkes-Barre City Government's Tow Truck Monopolist Chastised

Times Leader: Watch as Mark Robbins and Bob Kadluboski make accusations against the Leighton administration of the City of Wilkes-Barre. Council members and administration become upset and Marie McCormick, city administrator, is offended by the claims Robbins made against the administration. Robbins and Kadluboski are upset over what they call a "kickback scam" in regards to the new city tower. This council meeting was a joint session and was held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12. The next meeting is not until September.
See Times Leader article:

Robbins and Kadluboski accused LAG Towing and its owner Leo Glodzik of price gouging. It is important to note that the monopoly LAG holds over Wilkes-Barre City is an artificial one that is supported by a contract with the city government. $75 is said to be a fair rate for towing. But because LAG charges upwards of $200 per tow and $50 per each day a car is left in the lot, it seems the cars have been piling up there. Robbins has photographed 78 vehicles in the LAG lot, and suspects the reason there are so many is that people cannot afford to pay off LAG, which is why Robbins accuses the owner Glodzik of "profiting off the backs of the poorest, most vulnerable and most defenseless citizens", ie, those least able to pay the exorbitant fees. What we would be most interested in is receipts for towing charges on any of Glodzik's/Leighton's/etc friends or family members.

Anyway, the last bit mentioned by Kadluboski about Leighton receiving $10,000 in campaign contributions from LAG owner Glodzik is most interesting. That seemed to rile up council member Kane. More to come.

Assistant city attorney Bill Vinsko (wearing suit and tie) looks up as Bob Kadlabouski chides Wilkes-Barre City council for not heeding his warnings about the contract between Leo Glodzik and the city. At the end of the video, open-records officer Jim Ryan (1st from right) becomes anxious for Kadluboski's time to expire and keeps glancing at the clock, finally nudging councilwoman Kathy Kane, who thereupon declared that Kadluboski's 5 minutes was up.

Update 7-15 Here's a link to Robbins' website:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Santorum the Sophist

Rick Santorum supported a balanced budget amendment when Clinton was in office, yet voted for a total of 1.25 trillion in deficit spending from 2001-2006 while Bush was in office, and now again claims to support balancing the budget in his 2012 presidential campaign.

In ancient Athens, every citizen would serve a term the general assembly--Athens was a democracy. Citizens wanted to make speeches in support of things and wanted to sound convincing so others would vote for them. They thus consulted the Sophists, who were a group that taught how to argue effectively. The Sophists were primarily concerned with winning arguments and not, per se, with whether what they argued for was right or truthful. One famous sophist boasted that he could take either side in an argument and win.

Socrates, on the other hand, wanted to go beyond just arguing well and to really reach the truth. So concerned with the finding the purest truth was he, that he concluded that he knew nothing since he could find no such pure truth. Yet Socrates still had his opinions. For example, he thought democracy was doomed to fail because voters weren't smart enough to make it work--we would agree given our experience.

Anyway, "some contemporary social critics [including the NuPo] compare modern day advertisers, lawyers, and politicians to Greek sophists. Many of these people, the argument goes, are concerned only with convincing you to believe them, not with the truth."

We accuse Santorum of being a sophist. Santorum wants you to think he's a poster child for balancing the budget, but Where was his advocacy of balancing the budget when Bush II was in office? Santorum was too busy sabre rattling for the costly Iraq war and voting for spending increases such as Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind. Perhaps Rick merely lost his way during the Bush years and forgot his balanced budget ideals.

Yet, it makes sense that one would want to constrict spending when a member of the opposing party is president but conveniently forget this desire when a member of your party is in office. Think about it, a president from your party will be more likely to sign on to your preferred spending (and that of your campaign contributors) than would a president from the opposing party.

Democrats have shown the same sophisms. Many may remember that the Democrats complained loudly about Bush's huge deficits, but now that Obama is in office, they are silent.

Is Santorum concerned only with getting us to believe he supports a balanced budget, when in reality he has no concrete plans to balance it? Indeed, in 2011 Santorum has called for more spending on foreign aid and implicitly for more spending on the Libya war since he supports remaining there. Spending increases are the last thing someone would advocate if he were was truly concerned with balancing the budget.

Are there any modern-day presidential candidates who truly support balancing the budget and do not argue like Sophists but more like Socratic altruists? Gary Johnson cut the size of government astronomically as governor of New Mexico. Ron Paul votes against every budget, believing each to have been to large. Both are opposed to the Libya war and Paul wants foreign aid to end. Johnson has offered a plan that would balance the budget by 2013. Paul plans to balance the budget. They do these things because they follow a philosophy of limited government, as a matter of principle. They have consistent records to match their avowed fiscally* conservative principles. But alas, just as Socrates was in the minority, so too are Paul and Johnson.
*Gary Johnson is a social moderate and Paul is a social conservative.