Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NorCo Dem Chair Joe Long: "Bernie, You're an Asshole!"

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingToday, I was up at the crack of dawn to guest host Ron Angle's WGPA 1100 AM radio talk show. I usually spend the evening and early morning hours scouring the papers so that I don't sound like a complete idiot. And my guest was a person who requires more than the usual amount of research - Ron Angle. I should have stayed in bed.

Now I don't know why, but for some reason, Congressman Charlie Dent decided to call in. All my preparation about local issues with Ron Angle went right out the window, and I had to pretend I knew what I was talking about on national issues. Then I had the bright idea of steering the conversation towards something I actually know about - Northampton County elections. Although the unofficial tallies showed Dent as a 127 vote loser in Northampton County, he actually won with over 3,000 votes.

Needless to say, Congressman Dent believes that Northampton County needs to look at how it conducts elections. Something is seriously amiss. He is not the only one who feels that way. GreenDog and I have both posted this topic. And the problem hurts candidates in both parties.

At this point, Democratic party chair Joe Long called in to tell us everything was wonderful and that the system had been cleared by all members of the elections commission. As I told him that people were being sent away from the polls without being offered provisional ballots, party chair Joe Long made this brilliant point, "Bernie, you're an asshole." I think he was about to call me a poopey head, too, when station engineer Mark Thomas pulled the plug.

The next hour, Ralph Stampone called in, and he just happens to be a member of the elections commission. Guess what? He didn't clear the system at all, and the first time he saw it was when he voted. So I many be an asshole but Joe Long was caught in a falsehood.

Later in the show, Angle started to agree with Long and concluded that I really am an asshole and that bloggers need to do some creative things with K-Y jelly. A caller tried to defend me. He said I wasn't really an asshole - just a horse's ass. Thanks a lot.

The final indignity occurred when I left the show. My jeep was parked on an incline in the Walnut Street parking garage, and I apparently neglected to put the damn thing in gear. My jeep had rolled through the garage during the show, smashing into a wall. The police came, moved my jeep, and it took me about an hour to find it.

Joe Long is right. I am an asshole.


Dem Fly on the wall said...

Guess he knows what to do with the jelly!

LSTresidentPIA said...

It is common for the person who bucks the system and does not go along with the status quo to be singled out as the problems or a trouble maker and even asn a$$hole. I too have be told this is in not such exact terms by some officals in Lower Saucon. But it doesn't discourage me, it just gives me more fodder to use against them. Keep up the good work Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

DemFly, It's quite tasty on a peanut butter sandwich.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LST, Thanks for the nice words, but I was feeling pretty much like an asshole when I learned that my jeep had rolled down the ramp in the Walnut St parking garage.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Im truly sorry about your jeep,I think you did a great job today .I do think though, that the show got alot calmer after that crackpot asked you guys to hold hands, close your eyes and humm that beautiful Christmas carol. Keep up the good work.

PA progressive said...

Don't forget the condoms too Bernie.
Let me see if I get this: you're an asshole but Long's a liar. Right?



Better to be the Asshole than what comes out the hole!

Gort said...

Too bad I can't get the station up here in Luzerne Co. Sounds like a blast. Anyway you can record it next time and post-it as a podcast?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, sorry to hear about your jeep. Just to clarify what I stated today, was that Bob Killbanks, Republican Vice Chair, Northampton County and I signed off on the voting machines a week before the election. Bob was also given a demonstration of the machine, as they would be on Election Day. He made very complimentary comments about the voting machines and did not see a problem with them at that time. I did not say the system was cleared by the elections commission. I stated that the elections commission had to certify the election, which means counts, absentee ballots, provisional ballots and oversee the count process while it is ongoing. In regards to Ralph Stampone's comments, if he would do his job and look just inside the door to his left, as he enters Voter Registration office, for all to see, guess what, there is a new voting machine to look at and simulate voting, then he would not have had to wait for Election Day to see his first voting machine.
I'll have to go now and see if my pants are on fire.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I did not say the system was cleared by the elections commission"

I believe you may have misspoke. My recollection is that you DID say that the system was cleared by the elections commission. This is also the way Angle and my brother remembers it. Perhaps you meant to say that the commission had to certify the results, but what came out of your mouth was something different. And I called it a "falsehood." I didn't point blank call you a liar because we all misspeak from time to time. If you'd like, I'll get a tape of the show and play it for you.

And incidentally, what I was trying to say was that the problems in the voter registration office are problems that can hurt Dems as well as Rs. These are observations I've made before on this blog. Other bloggers like GreenDog and Demothug have similar views and can probably address the issue with you in greater detail.

In the midst of a conversation with a U.S. Congressman, you insisted on calling in to defend the elections system in Northampton County. Your job, as party chair, is to get Dems elected. But so far as I know, the elections office is not part of your domain. But there you were, fighting for an office over which you are not supposed to have any control. I have to wonder why.

I realize Angle tried to make this a partisan thing but it really isn't. But you just added fuel to his fire. If you have nothing to do with the control of that office, then why are you so hell bent on defending it?

As far as calling me an asshole is concerned, that was the only smart thing you did on the air today, even if it got you cut off.

I appreciate your comment and clarification. The best way to get Dems elected is to start practicing good government. The elections office seriously needs an overhaul. Elections workers need proper training on provisional ballots. The phone in the registrar's office needs to be answered on election day. Touchscreen machines need to be properly distributed. If changes doesn't happen soon, there are going to be big problems.

Bernie O'Hare said...

PaPro, How about this? I'm an asshole (no surprise there) and Joe Long uttered a falsehood. He misspoke.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gort, I'll try to upload a podcast but the shows are the property of Timmer Broadcasting so I probably can't do that. It can be livestreamed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lobster, Why am I getting the feeling that YOU'RE the tonedeaf caller who was humming on the phone?

Anonymous said...

Your'e not an a-hole. Mr. Long was speaking out of anger rather than reason- like we all do sometimes. I do clearly remember Mr. Long saying that the machines were cleared by the elections committee.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:51, Yeah, That's the way I remember it, too. I agree that Long spoke out of anger and what came out of his mouth was not what he meant to say. Thanks for adding your recollection.

LVDem said...

Holy crap. This must have been a fun time. Sorry about the Jeep. Truth be told, I took it out for a spin and crashed it when I returned. My bad. As for the stain on the back seat, that was coffee, I swear.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, elections in Luzerne County are a joke, too.

My letter to the Luzerne County Board of elections (11/08/06):

Luzerne County Board of Elections
Attn: Commissioner G. Skrepenak
Commissioner T. Vonderheid
Commissioner S. Urban
Mr. Leonard Piazza, III, Director of Elections
20 North Pennsylvania Avenue
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701


I want to bring to your attention a number of potential irregularities I am aware of concerning the election conducted yesterday, November 7, 2006. While the local newspapers reported that there were no major problems with the way that the election was conducted yesterday, I am aware of some instances that I believe should be brought to your attention. It is my hope that by bringing these matters to your attention we will be able to have an election in Luzerne County free of bureaucratic error in the future.

Judges of elections at three different wards informed me that they had to manually override each machine for each voter after seven p.m. because the machines throughout Luzerne County were improperly programmed to shut down at seven p.m. rather than at eight p.m. I ask that you investigate the cause of this problem, ensure that it did not disrupt or otherwise compromise the voting process, hold those who failed to properly program the machines accountable, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure this does not occur in the future, and inform the public that you have taken these measures, so that voter confidence in Luzerne County is not eroded any further.

While in Luzerne Borough last night, I encountered a voter that had been turned away from the polls after being informed by Luzerne County Voter Services, through the judge of elections of his ward, that he was being refused the right to vote. I am led to believe, according to 25 P.S. §§ 3050(a), 3050 (a.1), 3050 (a.4), that this individual was improperly denied the right to vote. Fortunately, I was able to put this individual in touch with an individual who explained the law to the judge of elections who in turn allowed the individual to vote via provisional ballot. I believe that this matter should be addressed, as it was happenstance that I encountered this problem and was able to provide assistance to someone who may possibly have been a victim of improper information originating from the Luzerne County Voter Services. It important that all who have a right to vote be able to do so, and it is also important that those chosen to conduct an election understand the laws thoroughly. It should be noted that not only did the judge of elections, via Luzerne County Voter Services, initially refuse this individual the right to vote, but this judge also took the ballot from the individual and placed it in the secrecy envelope for him instead of providing the voter with the envelope. I ask that you investigate this matter, put a notice in the local media requesting that others who were refused the right to vote step forward so that their vote may be recognized if the law allows for such, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that, if incorrect information was given by an employee of Luzerne County Voter Services, appropriate steps are taken to hold those ultimately responsible for this error accountable. I also ask that you make the general public aware of this situation through advertisements similar to those used to introduce the new voting machines so that the citizens of Luzerne County will be able to remain vigilant and not be refused the right to vote in the future.

The third potential instance of irregularity in the Luzerne County voting process that I am aware of pertains to the lack of sealing of the voting machines after the polls were closed. It is my understanding that the voting machines are delivered sealed to each polling place and are to be resealed by some means so that they cannot be accessed once the poll workers leave at the end of the day, as the machines are left overnight at the polling places. A judge of elections informed me that he contacted Mr. Piazza at 1 p.m. to inform Mr. Piazza that the seals were not delivered with his other materials necessary to conduct a proper election, thereby denying the judge the ability to seal the voting machines at the end of the day as he was taught to do when trained for his position. This judge also informed me that Mr. Piazza replied that no seals were sent out for any machines in the county and that none were going to be sent out at that point, as it would not be logistical. I express my concern to you, because a judge of elections expressed concern over protocol not being followed. I ask that you thoroughly investigate this matter to ensure that the failure to seal the machines and guarantee their security countywide did not in any way compromise the results of this election and will not in any way affect a future election. I also ask that you investigate the cause of this potential oversight, hold those ultimately responsible for any problems with the voting process in Luzerne County accountable for their actions, and seek compensation from any individual or individuals whose duty it is to ensure a fair electoral process in Luzerne County should the taxpayers incur any expenses in order to guarantee that the voting machines were not in any way compromised due to negligence originating at Luzerne County Voter Services.

Thank you for your time and for your consideration of these matters.
Respectfully, Timothy J. Grier