Wednesday, October 12, 2011

County Council Forum Recap

This is a recap of the speeches presented by candidates for Luzerne County Council at a forum hosted by the League of Women voters that took place at KING'S COLLEGE. It is more a commentary on their speeches and not on each of them as a whole. I begin with the best ones.

Pleasant Surprises
Salvatore Licata's (D) speech was quite good. His points included taxpayer relief, the creation of a business friendly environment, and fighting crime. You can't lose with those points.

Eugene Kelleher (R) began his speech with some humor, and proceeded to stress the importance of an independent manager. He did well.

Jeremy Packard's (Ind) speech was very polished, but he seemed to favor a strong county manager and a weak council. The spirit of his outlook seemed a little too Hamiltonian for my tastes. Nevertheless, the speech was good.

Blythe Evans (R) seemed eager to be an independently-minded candidate.

Decent Speeches
Tim Mullen (Libertarian) emphasized the need to address the county debt but said he wouldn't do so by raising taxes or increasing fees. He seemed humble and honest as he said he would make up for any lack of experience with common sense.

Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt (R) listed her diverse career experience and also made a solid pledge not to raise taxes. Her ending sounded a little trite but at least she made some solid promises.

Ed Brominski (D) noted that when he was in county government, budgets were balanced, and listed his volunteer efforts.

Rick Williams (Independent) discussed his architectural career and called himself an "Independent Independent".

Jane Walsh-Waitkus (D) calmly related her government and business experience, but she didn't seem to list any specific policy stances.

Linda McClosky-Houck (D) spoke well and noted her extensive involvement in her church; but she also didn't make any definite policy proscriptions.

Tim McGinley (D) gave a good oration, except for the part when he said that the Home Rule charter was "the best form of government we could possibly have." This may have been hyperbole, but even for a hyperbole it seemed a little unreasonable. Probably none of the framers of the constitution thought it was ideal, since each camp had to give up certain things to their opponents.

Having witnessed the booming speeches of Charlie "Bible Buck" Hatchko (American Independent), it was not a little disappointing to see him appear so nervous up on the stage as he awkwardly read his speech. Toward the end he seemed to return to his old self, however. Hopefully he does better in his upcoming speeches because, despite what some might say, Buck actually knows a lot about corruption, has experience with government contracts, and has a strong moral backbone. A person like him would benefit the council.

Harry Haas's (R) speech seemed to ramble from point to point, and was a little disjointed.

John Ruckno's (R) was decent, but he didn't mention any stances or policies. Hopefully he will in the future because he seems to be a strong candidate given his business and financial experience.

Elaine Maddon Curry (D) spent too much of her speech on her role in getting a drama theatre built. Building a bunch of theatres won't do much to actually increase Luzerne County's earning potential or improve its overall economy in the long run.

Rick Morelli (R) seemed to stammer quite a bit and came across as insincere. (We're a little biased against him, and with good reason.)

Theresa Morecavage's (D) speech was bland.

Kathy Dobash (R) emphasized the need for transparency and pledged to be a protector of taxpayer dollars. She sounded a little too angry though.

Eileen Sorokas (D) read from her sheet in a sing-songy way. She was correct, however, in stating that she is an independently-minded candidate. Our experience has verified this.

Jim Bobeck (D) was perhaps the biggest disappointment. Despite having an impressive resume and being somewhat of a front runner, his speech was overly melodramatic. The cadence of his voice made him sound sort of like a beatnik in a jazz cafe, and he actually compared the home rule charter to the Declaration of Independence. Anyone who knows history would realize how tasteless this was. The rest of his speech was vague.

No-shows included Mike Cabell (R), Gina Nevenglosky (R), Stephen A. Urban (D), Stephen J. Urban (R), Michelle Bednar (D), and Brian Bergman (Libertarian).
We ask that the reader not judge the candidates from this analysis alone, and sorry if we've been too biased or harsh.

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