Home > Uncategorized > And now for something completely different….

And now for something completely different….

I’m from NEPA. It doesn’t surprise me that our local politicians are corrupt. It seems a requirement for office in these parts. We almost revel in the slime of it all. It gives us something to talk about (and someday it may even get us a job). Seems like just last week a swath of Luzerne County judges got fitted for prison jumpers. Now, Lackwanna County gets her day in the sun.

And so 2 of our own are looking at about 500 years in a federal penitentiary. Still, actual accountability around here shocks me, if only because our “nudge-nudge wink-wink” form of local government has gone on for so long with so little of it. Faces change (well, sometimes at least), but the stench tends to remain….like the smell of that dead body in the trunk from “Godfellas”. But it always seemed in the past that these guys darted out of office like deer on a country road, as the law swerved to avoid the mess. A few headlines. A bit of public flogging. But not jail.

Not that these two don’t deserve what’s coming mind you. If Cordaro and Munchak are indeed guilty of only half the things they’ve been convicted of, they should serve at least half a millennium. Their grubby, tasteless greed is what gives places like Scranton its inferiority complex to begin with. Bribes, kickbacks, corruption….it’s all so unseemly and brutish. If you have the scruples of a pissing toad, at least set your sights a little higher than piles of 20 dollar bills passed along by a pack of low life bag-men who’ll roll over on you at first touch.

That’s what I think anyway. Have some panache. Be interesting.

But I guess if you had some panache you wouldn’t be a Lackawanna County Commissioner. Or at least wouldn’t want to be. It’s the first base coach of political hackery. A place to collect a $75k salary and get all your high-school drinking buddies on the country payroll while watching Scranton crumble from a 6th floor window. Pressing duties include cleaning up birdshit and holding a straight face when discussing the budget. I always got the feeling that Cordaro especially felt the job was beneath him…..that to not get what he could while he could get it was almost irrational (as for Munchak, I though him to be the only person polite enough to not turn purple and explode from playing second fiddle to Bob Cordaro. Plus Munchak wasn’t a coke fiend). And really….if when the county is dead broke and you’re still allowed to give Paul Sorvino a non-refundable check for a quarter of a million dollars so Sorvino’s daughter can make a movie that never actually gets made….can’t a guy be excused for thinking he’s entitled to some petty cash?

Ok, maybe not. But it is  interesting to ponder where hubris comes from…no?

Cordaro is a Dunmore guy. Like me. Like most folks from Dunmore I’m familiar with Bob Cordaro…at least enough to say hello and exchange some small talk. He went to school with my sister. And if you know him and never crossed him….he’s a really good guy. Gregarious, friendly, intelligent, witty, willing to buy a round. When he got into politics nobody was surprised. He already had the perfect excuse. He was wealthy. He didn’t need to work anymore….so why not? Show me a guy with money and time on his hands and I’ll show you a politician-in-waiting. And Cordaro had no ideology. He switched parties over and over again…..treating the political process like the captain of a debating team. Just give him an issue, and let him know what side the other guy was on. So what if Bob promised to cut taxes 25% in order to get in and ended up raising them 48% when he did get in. He could explain. And he could be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

He also had the Nixonian ability to remember every little peasant who dared question his wisdom. And the willingness to tear them apart like a rabid Australian dingo on uppers. He never courted anybody. He expected to be courted. So when the press started to quibble with his performance, instead of turning on the charm, Cordaro called them jackals. Which may or may not be true, but that’s beside the point. The press don’t like to be called jackals. If you’re going to call them jackals you need to make sure the other newspaper in town thinks you’re swell and is willing to crank out the rebuttals. But Scranton doesn’t have “another newspaper in town”. If the Times doesn’t like you, you might as well start building outhouses in Peoiria.

But still, if you’re going to play the martyr, it’s probably a good idea to not be on the take. You know…the credibility gap and all that.

Credibility itself is something our political scene sorely lacks….but then it is us who keeps electing these people. So maybe we’re part of the problem?

Gee, there’s a thought.

In a bit..

–tf

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