Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mundie's Placating To The Voters Bites Him

Instead of focusing on leadership Jack Mundie's flaccid thinking draws him to digress into his political toolbox and use 1950's style campaigning during this election cycle.  Mr. Mundie ran on the coat tails of Lou Barletta, Joe Yannuzzi, and Evelyn Graham to win his elections.  Now he finds himself floating in the "Ocean of the Unknown" trying to run his first true solo campaign in a changed political environment.

In a veiled attempt to win voter sentiment Mr. Mundie placed a Resolution on the Hazleton City Council agenda to extend the tax deadline for property owners to pay their taxes to the City and still receive a discount.  The Local Tax Collection Law provides this language regarding discount dates.

Section 10. Discounts; Penalties; Notice.--(a) The rates of discounts and penalties on taxes shall be established by the taxing district. All taxpayers subject to the payment of taxes, assessed by any taxing district, shall be entitled to a discount of at least two per centum from the amount of such tax upon making payment of the whole amount thereof within two months after the date of the tax notice. All taxpayers, who shall fail to make payment of any such taxes charged against them for four months after the date of the tax notice, shall be charged a penalty of up to ten per centum which penalty shall be added.
The Ordinance passed by Hazleton City Council on January 3, 2013 did not specify the mailing date for property tax bills.  Evidently Council left that discretion to the Mayor who, through the City Administrator, would contact Berkheimer regarding the collection of the tax levy.  It was no secret that Hazleton property taxes were skyrocketing with the elimination of a $600,000 payment from Hazleton Creek Properties, the new MMO's(minimum municipal obligation) payments for its pensions, plus the increased debt service.  For months the public was forewarned in article after article.
If Jack Mundie wanted taxpayers to have additional time he had at least six months to express his concern.  Mundie's incessant rivalry has him only thinking of this election.  A true statesman thinks of the next generation.  His demgoguery of this administration serves to detract others from his continued failures as a councilman.  He acts in corners appealing to passions and prejudices rather than to reason and what is right for Hazleton.

Councilman Keith Bast made solid arguments at the March 20th meeting where Mudnie introduced his resolution accodring to this Standard Speaker article.  Bast demonstrated leadership and knowledge of government.

Vice President Keith Bast said that while council should work in the best interest of taxpayers, it must consider costs of borrowing money to cover city expenses if council were to give taxpayers more time to pay bills and qualify for a 2-percent rebate.

Bast contends that Mundie's request is politically motivated.

"We're obligated to taxpayers, but our job isn't not to have people pay taxes," Bast said. "It's a political move to try and get reelected."

Bast also argued that Mundie lobbied for the extension by introducing a resolution. Bast believes council cannot approve a resolution that supersedes regulations set by ordinance.

"I think it was political pandering for votes," Bast said.

Councilman Mundie asked the solicitor for his opinion in this matter after the April 25th vote.

Solicitor Chris Slusser opined "Section 37531 of the Third Class City Code is dispositive of the issue and it requires Council to utilize an Ordinance to “provide for the collection” of these taxes. Therefore the Resolution that passed is of no legal effect." Apparently twelve years on City Council isnt enough time for Mundie to learn the laws of his position.  After all it only took Keith Bast less than one term to be right on the mark.

Mundie's strategy backfired because the foundation on which it was based was flawed fundamentals.  Candidates should know they aren't in control during an election.  Trying to drive the bus because of vested selfishness will not sway the voters.

Louis McHenry Howe stated the following in 1933.  "You can't adopt politics as a profession and remain honest."  Mundie serves as an example.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hazleton Council Members With No Vision

This picture shows the first tenant the City of Hazleton secured due to a new agreement with the Hazleton Airport hangar's owner.  A quick search of the FAA database shows the Learjet belongs to Eagle Rock Air, Inc. located in Dallas, Texas.  The owner is paying $150.00 per night to park the jet in the hangar.

In 2009, then citizen Jean Mope offered comments to Hazleton City Council on how valuable the airport to our community.  She handed out a study she did of the airport.

In an about face as a councilwoman Ms. Mope wanted to give the airport away according to this article that appeared in the Standard Speaker last year. Presented by Councilwoman Jean Mope on Dec. 5: Selling Hazleton Municipal Airport, which would result in the city having to repay all federal funds invested in the facility. If a sale is cost prohibitive, Mope suggested turning the airport over to either Luzerne County or CAN DO.

When the hangar lease came before Hazleton City Council on March 20, 2013 Councilwoman Mope changed her position once more according to this Standard Speaker article "I don't like getting rushed into making a decision," Mope said. "My thing is why always rush us into these things? Is it more feasible to look at other avenues, like maybe place a new hangar on there and see what it would have cost?"

The hangar is owned by Koro Aviation on land leased from the City of Hazleton.  Former Councilwoman Evelyn Graham's family are principals in Koro Aviation.  Councilman Jack Mundie, in his election mode, made this ridiculous assessment of the agreement. 

Councilman Jack Mundie called the agreement part of Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi's "family and friends program."

Mundie referred to Russell Graham being listed in the agreement as a contact for Koro Aviation. Russell Graham is son of former city Councilwoman Evelyn Graham, who served as part of a council majority a few years ago that included Joseph Yannuzzi.

The key word was "majority".  It takes three.  Jack Mundie was the third person in that majority.  The pharisaicalness of his comments border on overt deception. 

Neither council member is interested in what is right for Hazleton taxpayers.  In their ground game they are playing politics, pure and simple.  Their thirst for control seems to be quenched with their brazenness to treat their fellow council members with disdane and insults.  They fail to offer a vision for the direction of Hazleton with a long term fiscal strategy.  Rather than conduct meaningful dialogue their values allow them to excoriate the oppostion which is usually reserved for political rhetoric.

Both Mope and Mundie do the taxpayers a disservice through their sophistry.   They pretend they are concerned about issues when in reality that is the distraction to trick people from not seeing their real thirst.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mundie's Flip Flop On Solicitors


At the last Hazleton City Council meeting Councilman Kevin Schadder introduced a new noise ordinance for consideration.  He made a very professional presentation to fellow council members on the need for the new ordinance.  He invited them to bring their amendments if they were so inclinded to offer one.  Schadder was very clear that he was flexible on the ordinance.

Councilman Jack Mundie said while he didn't think Schadder's ordinance was "bad" he questioned the need to introduce a new ordinance since the last ordinance was passed in 2006.  Mundie asked Schadder why he simply didn't introduce amendments to the existing ordinance.

Mundie questioned Solicitor Chris Slusser on the charge for his time reviewing the ordinance.  He stated "Chris was it two hundred, three hundred. four, five, six, seven?".  Attorney Slusser told Mundie that he "didn't have that much time in the ordinance."  Mundie retorted that he was trying to save money.  He didn't like paying expenses especially for "lawyers."

It was Mr. Mundie who insisted a solicitor attend City Council meetings regardless of whether there was a need for the solicitor or not.

In this article written by Sam Galski of the Standard Speaker Councilman Mundie tried to introduce a resolution to mandate Slusser's attendance at council meetings.  Although the resolution was improper and carried no weight even if passed, Mundie chose to seize the opportunity for political purposes.

 Each council meeting generally lasts about 2 hours.  Attorney Slusser's rate is $125.00 per hour.  There are 21 council meetings a year.  Mr. Mundie doesn't mind spending $5,250.00 of taxpayer money to have the solicitor babysit him during council meetings regardless on whether he is needed or not.

Attorney Slusser attended the March 10, 2013 meeting arriving at 4:30 P.M.  The meeting lasted until 9:30P.M.  Attorney Slusser's bill for that meeting was $625.00.  It is amazing Mr. Mundie had the gall to attack Schadder over at most a $125.00 bill.  Taxpayers paid for Slusser to listen to Mundie's nonsense.

Evidently Mr. Mundie wants to chide his fellow member for allegedly costing the taxpayer's money for doing exactly what a council member should do.  Mr. Schadder ran his legislation past Attorney Slusser so its legality was proper before bringing it before Council.  If Mr. Mundie did the same with his resolution it wouldn't have seen the light of day.  But then again that wasn't Mr. Mundie's intention.  He wanted to banter to the public over a fabricated issue taken from Politics 101.

Councilman Mundie didn't mind when the taxpayers paid for his healthcare for seven years.  I guess his saving money is more important than the taxpayer.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Toohil Targeted With Video

In the last election a video attacking State Representative Tarah Toohil surfaced on in a desperate attempt to discredit her.

Reports are coming out that an investigation into a new video threatening Toohil over a possible vote dealing with marijuana legislation.

The 85-second video being investigated used the slogan of a group of hackers called Anonymous: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us."

A woman speaking with an English accent says in a voice over the "legions" were disappointed by Toohil's response to earlier videos that allegedly showed her smoking a bong. The most recent video said she must support decriminalizing marijuana or it would expose her secret, the Inquirer reported.

"Everyone has secrets. Please do not give us a reason to expose yours," the voice over said.

Revenge is never a reason to enter a race.  According to this Philadelphia Inquirer article written by Angela Couloumbis from their Harrisburg Bureau former Representative Todd Eachus decided to do just that.

State House Democrats, too, saw an opening. Toohil, after all, had unceremoniously defeated then-Majority Leader Eachus in 2010. Bitter over the loss, Eachus raised money to help Young's campaign, according to three Democrats involved in last year's races. At Eachus' urging, the House Democratic Campaign Committee spent about $100,000, just days before the Nov. 6 election, to air a tough ad - featuring photos of Toohil from the bong video, as well as the camel photo.

The decision to run that ad was controversial, with some Democrats arguing that it crossed the line of political decency - and wasted precious resources on an unwinnable race.

Speculation during that election centered on whether another person who worked for Eachus was actively involved in the behind the scenes efforts to discredit Toohil.  That person is working for a State Representative from Northeast Pennsylvania.

State Police have been interviewing friends as well as other House members over any role Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R., Delaware), former boyfriend of Toohil, may have played.  To date no charges have been filed against Miccareli.