Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kanjorski Flip Flops On Town Hall Meetings

Back on July 2, 2010 Paul Kanjorski appeared on the Webster and Nancy show featured on WILK news radio. According to "Hot Air" he made these comments when asked about town hall meetings with Lou Barletta's response.

Last week the 13-term Democrat from Nanticoke was criticized and attacked for his statements about minorities and “defective” people. On Thursday, while appearing as a guest on WILK Radio’s “Webster and Nancy Show,” Kanjorski was asked if he was going to hold any public town hall meetings with his constituents.

“We will do everything we can to meet with people, but I’m not going to set myself up for, you know, nuts to hit me with a camera.”

He said often times “people can’t resist changing what you said or taking things out of context.” He said these “snippets” lead to “distortions.”

“I’m not going to arm my opponent with a baseball bat,” Kanjorski said later in the interview.

Kanjorski’s Republican opponent, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, leveled criticism against the congressman.

“Paul Kanjorski has been in Congress for 26 years and his response to our region’s 10 percent unemployment rate is to call his constituents ‘nuts’ and to attack the city of Hazleton,” Barletta said. “Do these so-called ‘nuts’ who attend town meetings fall into Kanjorski’s ‘defective people’ category?”

The voters have every right to expect Kanjorski to meet with them in their district to hold him accountable for his job performance. Whether that means “nuts” who want to take down his responses or just voters who are sick of the big-spending agenda Kanjorski supports, those constituents deserve Kanjorski’s time. If he feels above accountability, then he should find another line of work, preferably with those who share his unique perspective on “defectives” and “minorities.”

Kanjorski had no problem attending a town hall meeting sponsored by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority held at the Woodlands on July 8, 2010, just six days after the exchange on Webster and Nancy. I guess the prospect of a free meal was too enticing for Kanjorski to pass it up.

Rockin Traddy chided Kanjorski for his "Telephone Town Hall Meetings" back in August, 2009.

It seems that Paul Kanjorski is afraid of having a real town hall meeting with his constituents.

They are planning a "telephone town hall meeting" tomorrow evening at 7pm. You have to call his office to get on the list and they will call you prior to the meeting. You will then be connected in a conference call with him. Call his office and and plan to holler at Kanjorski with the Traddy.

What a wuss.

Barletta attacked Kanjorski in August over these taxpayer funded tele-town hall meetings and the carefully veiled mailers from his Congressional office.

In today's Times Leader Ed Mitchell, Kanjorski's media spokesman, tries to spin this issue claiming Kanjorski has held several town hall meetings during the current election cycle and all were open to the public.

The Times Leader e-mail archives indicate the paper received five of the six “media advisories” sent from Kanjorski’s Washington, D.C., office. Only one of the five advisories mentioned the term “town hall meeting” – the one held at the Downtown Scranton Senior Center.

None of the advisories mentions that the general public was invited. Each has a specific topic to be discussed by Kanjorski. The topics for the Sept. 1, 2 and 8 appearances were Social Security and health care reform law. On Sept. 7 and a second Sept. 8 appearance, the topic was the Wall Street reform law.

Shawn Kelly, spokesman for Barletta, said the meetings held by Kanjorski are not actual town hall meetings.

“It’s bogus,” Kelly said. “Kanjorski cannot go back in time and say that he held town hall meetings when he clearly did not. No matter what Kanjorski claims they are, these were not town hall meetings.”

In June, Kanjorski, 73, D-Nanticoke, announced he would forego the face-to-face town hall meetings for telephone town halls. Other congressmen across the state, mainly Democrats, also announced they wouldn’t be holding the traditional town hall gatherings in their districts or hadn’t decided if they would.

Kanjorski explained his decision by saying he has found that telephone town meetings can be especially effective because he can interact with as many as 8,000 Northeastern Pennsylvanians on a single phone call. On Wednesday of this week, however, Mitchell said Kanjorski had held six town hall meetings since Sept. 1.

“He changed his mind,” Mitchell said.

That came after Barletta’s announcement on Tuesday that he would hold five town hall meetings – one in each of the five counties that comprise the 11th District.

Commenting on the debate, Chris Borick, Ph.D., political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, said the term town hall meeting is not clearly defined. He said there is no set rule in Congress that defines what a town hall meeting is.

“It’s basically a matter of semantics. You can call a meeting with anybody a town hall meeting, but if the argument is that (Kanjorski) is not meeting with citizens in a well-advertised, open forum, then these don’t appear to qualify.”

Borick said Kanjorski has had meetings with certain elements of his constituency regarding predetermined, specific topics.

“As we’ve come to know town hall meetings in the last two election cycles, these don’t seem to fit the standard definition of what constitutes a town hall meeting,” he said.

Kanjorski's incumbency gives him the power to waste taxpayer money so he can reach his constituents voters surreptitiously.

At this link in the Times Leader article you can read Kanjorski's invitations. Read them. "Congressman Kanjorski...will discuss his efforts... For the past two years Kanjorski has been working on this legislation..." It appears to be the definition of soft campaigning at taxpayer expense.

This article from Queens Crap spells it out correctly.

“This is a persistent problem that the incumbent newsletters that go out ... are all about promoting the individual [and] much less about constituent service,” the literature is more about self-aggrandizement and evoking “warm and fuzzy feelings” than providing constituent service.

Whether it is mailers or carefully orchestrated meetings it is really about getting re-elected, not the taxpayer. In the old days if an elected official wanted to talk to the taxpayer the solon went to meet with Joe, not the other way around.

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