Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Election Day

Posted by David Caines-
Hi all, in the spirit of the blog I just thought that I'd mention that Election day is a week away.
Also (since Easton doesn't send out sample ballots or we didn't get ours) we would like to know who's voting for who and why?
From the junk mail we know that a few judges are up for election, and those are damned important spots locally, so here's a chance to influence our vote and maybe a few others...
Particularly we'd like to know which judges lean towards or against the general interests of the town, which ones support unlimited code appeals or oppose them?
What other issues are on the board right now?
All opinions welcomed and wanted...
David and Jeanette


David Caines said...

Okay, well voting is sort of a personal thing, so I'll share first--- I'm just using quotes here because it's a busy day.
"Are you a registered voter in Northampton County?" asked the young woman behind the counter at Josie's New York Deli in downtown Easton Tuesday afternoon.
Not a typical lunchtime question, but at Josie's it made sense. Josie's son is District Judge Michael Koury, who is running for a seat on the county bench. Or at least that's his plan." M-call

"My intent is to be a candidate," Koury said Tuesday. He'll make an official announcement next week, and said he's also running for re-election to his district court seat in Wilson."

"Koury ran unsuccessfully for judge in 2003. This time his opponents will include fellow District Judge James Narlesky, attorneys Sam Murray, Candy Barr Heimbach and Barbara Hollenbach. County Judge Leonard Zito, who was appointed to a vacancy on the bench late last year, is also in the running"- Mcall

+++ "Michael J. Koury, Jr., an Easton attorney and District Judge in Pennsylvania District Court 03-2-12, located in Wilson Borough, won the nominations of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the May 19th Primary Election for Northampton County Judge. He will be a candidate in the 2009 General Election for Northampton County Judge, appearing on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. In the General Election, the voters of Northampton County will be able to choose 3 candidates when they go to the polls on November 3, 2009."
Vote Koury home page

+++ "Jack Panella of Easton, who in a recent speech recalled his freewheeling days as a lawyer representing such celebrities as former world heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes, comes across as friendly and eager to please." M-call

"A Melvin victory in the Supreme Court race would restore the one-seat majority the GOP lost in 2007, while a Panella win could sustain the Democrats' 4-3 edge for five years. No other changes in the court's makeup are anticipated before 2014, when Chief Justice Ronald Castille will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70. Some observers consider the court's political balance a potentially crucial factor in the decennial redrawing of legislative districts -- like the one that will follow the 2010 census. But lawyers in both parties familiar with the process note that the justices have not overturned any of the legislative redistricting plans crafted by bipartisan panels under a constitutional amendment approved in 1968." M-call

The +++ are our current picks but I've had a bit of a time finding more info -of particular interest is an appearant county council race for NH count any input?
Also of particular interest to us is denying the not so "Grand Old Party" any parrity in the state sumpreme court. I mean seriuosly... I may be a moderate but I'm not an Idiot (Well okay maybe but I do try to hide it most of the time).
Anyhow any outside info would be great, we really should have a sample ballot at least one on line...
But well there you have it, our Democratic proccess in action.

Alan Raisman said...

Keep in mind that three seats on Easton's City Council are being replaced. Each district will be given their own representative. As of now, the West Ward representative is Michael Fleck, for he is running unopposed in the general election.

Also, for those reading this from parts of the West Ward, Downtown, and College Hill will be voting for the District 1 seat. Current appointed Councilman Roger Ruggles (R) is looking to get re-elected, and Peter Koehler (D) is looking to get elected for his first term.

I am unsure who is running besides Sandra Vulcano in the South Side district seat.

noel jones said...

Here's what I've gathered so far from putting my ear to the ground:

JUDGES: 3 Seats, 4 Candidates

Michael Koury (D): (incumbant) Very intelligent and known for taking no campaign contributions from special interests, but is not always as even-keeled as other candidates.

Len Zito (D): (incumbant-appointed-has to run for re-election to keep the seat) has been called brilliant, and is known for exercising good judgment, even when it requires going against allies, i.e., he ended up on the O'Reilly factor because, I am told, his close friend, D.A. John Morganelli, had a bunch of illegal immigrants rounded up at a construction site and wanted them deported, and Zito let them all go because they had "committed no crime" and were basically "guilty of working."

Craig Dally (R): An attorney and State rep with 12 years on the Judiciary Committee and is known for being even-keeled.

Barb Hollenbach (D): An employment attorney that defends the companies being sued. First woman to be elected president of Northampton County Bar Association. Is known for being very down to earth and having a good sense of humor.

Here's a Morning Call article covering the candidates:


Koury and Zito are favored to win, and what I've heard about them impresses me the most of the four candidates. As I have been focusing on City Council closely for the last two years, the judicial race is not my forte, so I am learning what I can and still making up my mind between Dally and Hollenbach. On one hand, even though I am a liberal, I think our area is in sad need of the fiscal conservativism that Republicans offer. And I'm not too fond of attorneys that represent companies that are getting sued in labor disputes. But I have more research to do...the article gives some more background, but not much color on the differences between those two. One has years of experience writing law, the other has years of experience presiding over cases.

I welcome any and all comments here--who do you think would make a better judge and WHY? That's the most important part, the WHY. Post your comments here and let's get this debate rolling!

I will get back to you on County Candidates soon...

David Caines said...

Thanks Alan and Noel,
Saddly election day always sneaks up on me and I often pay more attention to national stuff than maybe I should. And well in our old town I just asked the police officers and assitant DA's and the like who used my Gym. No better way to get an honest and sometimes frank vew of those running for office.
Aywho, I going to take this opportunity to ask Mayor Panto and anyone for our varried local agencies who they support and why?
Who's best for easton? Who's running that might make life here a bit easier? Who do you folks feel support enforcement, aid in settling code stuff and who has been an obstacle?
Then again that's why I've put this out with a week to the day.
And Mr. Mayor, we may not agree on somethings but the truth is that depending on who's running against you -you may well have our vote next election. Time will tell...
Thanks all,

David Caines said...

Saddly Noel,
You just took Koury of the list for me. I can't support a candidate who is so far removed from the working world of the common man that he would support illeagal workers.
And please believe me this is not a racist thing.
I stopped cooking because the field was so inundated by illeagals (of all nationalities) that the field became ecconomically untenable for me. And even as a contractor, I had to get into dangerous work (Or hire illeagals myself) because it was simply impossible for me to be in any way compettetive with what are basically slave labor companies.
I will look at his other stances, but that kills him for me.

Dennis R. Lieb said...


Some corrections to Noel's and your comments. First, Koury is NOT an incumbent for judge. He is currently the magistrate for our neighborhood and is running for both the magistrate and one of the judge positions. I think he is good in his current role and I will vote to keep him there.

Second, Koury was NOT the one deciding the immigrant cases...that was Zito. The immigrant cases may look cut and dried on the surface but here is the sub-text: Morganelli is extremely anti-illegal immigrant and may have this position because his biggest supporters are the unions. They feed him info on places that may be hiring illegals and he rounds them up for arrest.

In this way he looks good to his biggest supporters. Unfortunately, judge Zito needed to reign him in...not for being too hard on illegals, but for overstepping his local authority. The immigrant laws are mostly enforceable at the Federal level and he didn't allow the process to take it's course. Rightfully, as Zito said, he couldn't imprison people just for working. Remember; people come here to make a living from countries that suck. Most of them could have stayed where they were if imperial American corporations (with this government's blessing) hadn't screwed up the places they are coming from. Our immigration problem is a foreign policy/corporate state problem that we aren't willing to deal with.

Next, some candidates you mentioned were eliminated in the primary. Noel's list is the currently accurate one. My info is that Dally is intelligent, respected and qualified. Legal professionals I know told me that Hollenbach is OK but a bit arrogent during trial and this would not be a good fit as judge if she carries it forward. Zito is eminently qualified, experienced and nobody's puppet. I don't think there is anything overly critical youn can say about any of the four (and I'd not be too harsh on Zito over an isolated immigrant decision with special circumstances).

With these four vying for three spots I would go with Hollenbach, Zito and Dally, keeping Koury (though intelligent, the least experienced) at his current magistrate post a bit longer.


noel jones said...

Thanks for the correction Dennis--I knew he was already in office and thought it was the same office--good catch.

One thing that I like about Zito's decision is that it showed independence and backbone to act as he felt was right despite his friendship with Morganelli who had ordered the raid. There is a distinct lack of independence, in my opinion, in the voting practices of many of our politicians, i.e., I think every vote I have seen in over two years of City Council meetings has been unanimous--ye ole rubber stamp. We do not have enough independent Democrats and Republicans in office to create a balance that fosters the real debate that should precede the average City Council vote. Even the one Republican on Council, Roger Ruggles, votes with the Democratic mayor and rest of City Council every time I'm there.

It took guts for Zito to do what he did.

David Caines said...

Thanks for the corrections,
For me the illeagal alien stuff is just a dollars and sense issue. And for the reasons you mentioned (Dennis) I opposed an effort some years back to put immigration enforcement responsibilities on the shoulders of local law enforcement, it's a tough issue.
This is however why it is important to get local input, I never heard about any of that looking through the news papers.
So, who's up for state supreme court? And to you in particular Dennis who do you like for the spot?
Jeanette voted for you by the way, but I couldn't- I'm registered independant. I'm thinking about changing that though because I'm tired of not having a say in the primarries.
I'll keep trying to ensure that my vote is as informed as possible right up until the moment I step into the booth.
I know you all will as wellI doubt I'll have a chance to post today because I'll be out and about, but please keep the conversation going...this is kind of the fun part of the process for me.

David Caines said...

Just a last note,
Get the illeagals to demand a living wage, or at least prevailing wage, and I think most blue collar Americans would have no real issues with them. I wouldn't. As an American hirring Americans my overhead as a bussiness owner was just so much higher than my illeagal comepetitors that it was apples and oranges. If I bid $30,000 on a job, they could come in at $6,ooo. There's just no way to fight that without going illeagal myself.
And believe me I considered it.

noel jones said...

David--your wish has come true--you WILL have an opportunity to vote for Dennis after all, as he has just announced that he cannot stand to see this race go by without WW residents having a choice for our first ever rep on city council and he has signed up as a write-in candidate!

I'm really excited about this, not just because I endorsed Dennis the first time, but because writing in candidates is a built in ability in our democracy that rarely gets used. We will not only have the opportunity to use it, but have a good chance of actually winning, since Dennis got 46% of the Democratic vote, and is also being endorsed Republicans and Independents.

Most of all, just as political will is starting to brew a little here in the WW, we will have an actual race on our hands, rather than a default win--this is exciting!

Dennis R. Lieb said...


I'd be lying if I told you I know anything about the state court races. I'm lucky to have enough knowledge at the city and county level to make those choices.

Speaking of the county, there is one thing that has driven me crazy the last few days. I saw Dertinger putting his signs out on 22 when I went to work Sunday morning. He has the signs that just say "Charles" in big letters. Now, I admit a few of them are placed next to signs with his last name (so they end up being twice the size of everyone else's) but this only happens in a few spots. Mostly, it's just big "Charles" signs everywhere.

First of all it's stupid marketing because anyone unfamiliar with the candidates is going to think that it is someone's LAST name...it doesn't even say "vote for" or mention the office he is running for anywhere on the sign.

Secondly, it seems rather presumptuous and vain to go by your first name alone...who does he think he is; Madonna or Elvis? Really now. Besides, he lets Angle goad him into too many public screaming matches that tarnish the county's credibility with the citizens.

In any event, this is a long way of saying that I endorse at least the following for county council:

Bill Wallace(D): Pro rail advocate who met with us four years ago when the idea of a regional study was just a dream.

Peg Ferraro(R): Level-headed glue on council.

Need time to think about the rest.


Alan Raisman said...


David Caines said...

Thanks everyone, I am coninuing to get iformed.
Thrilled that Dennis is running and will be voting for him.

Anonymous said...

i am perplexed at the comment one of the individuals made about independent thinking on City Council and that all votes are unanimous. Since I am an avid NRA member I can tell you that both times the mayor brought up his Ordinance for lost and stolen guns he lsot 5 - 2. (Even his wife didn't vote for the ordinance).

However, you see that a lot in local councils because local governments deal in services unlike the Congress that really voteson many more policy issues and political and emotional issues such as the war, abortion, national health care, etc. So I really don't think that jsut becasue it it unanimnous it is bad. I follow the council closely and I would say that none of them are afraid to speak their mind.

Dennis R. Lieb said...

To Anon@10:49...

It seemed to me that the major issue with council supporting the mayor's gun ordinance (and I think Warren had a lot to do with it too) was that they couldn't figure out if they had a legal ability to pass it because of lawsuits elsewhere and less to do with actually agreeing on the language.
Just my take having been at two meetings when it came up.


noel jones said...

Anon 10:49--I haven't been there when the gun issues were on the agenda, and can only speak for myself and the votes I've witnessed. The last time I remember any vote that was not unanimous was over two years ago, before Home Rule Charter passed, over the Riverwalk issue, when Carol Heffley (sp?) was the lone no vote and gave an eloquent and impassioned speech against the project. She retired after that, and I haven't seen a truly engaging debate among members of City Council since, and that includes from the lone Republican on Council, Roger Ruggles. The closest I've seen to actual dissent or real discourse was when Council was request $300K+ plus to build a hydro plant on the river, and Roger Ruggles came alive, because it was an engineering issue and therefore within his expertise, and he asked how they were going to pay for it, to which they replied that the quote was $300K, to which Ruggles laughed aloud, caught himself, then shook his head politely. I almost laughed aloud with him, because I used to work at an engineering firm, and the idea that $300K would be enough to build a hydro plant was funny. But it was really good to see Ruggles stand up to everyone and put his foot down. In the end though, he voted along with council. I wish we saw more of this kind of debate on Council, right down to a split vote. This community NEEDS discourse, NEEDS debate, NEEDS to hash things out to get to the best answers for the city at large. El Warner occasional argues about which money should be used for what projects, and tends to be a more creative problem solver than the others, but in the end always votes along with everyone else. I want to see some NO votes, some independent thinking and taking a stand going on. Some REPRESENTATION going on. I never hear anyone say, "Well, I hear you, but I've met with my constituency on this, and they're not into it. I'm voting no." Dennis Lieb is someone I trust to do that, to actually listen to and represent the people he serves, rather than just voting to get along. I also trust Dennis to vote YES on any project that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

you got it right Dave people being here illegal are hurting this country.16 million unemployed 20 million illegals lets do the math.healthcare amess california amess our youth cant find jobs.al sharpton cries black males dont get jobs.all we do is talk in circles never ending one problem.the answer always is how much money can we get government to give us.and Dave dont back down on the illegals thing.