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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, June 28, 2007

BernieGate - Day 16

On June 13, The Morning Call first reported sexist and misogynistic remarks that Bernie Kieklak, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola, published on this blog. His remarks to the press? "Do you think I care?" Boscola's public statement? ''What, do you want me to fire him now?''

On June 20, Boscola decided to keep her chief of staff. She's betting this crisis is just a tempest in a teapot, not The Perfect Storm. Inside sources tell me she's met with the editorial board of at least one local paper to put a lid on this story. Despite Boscola's efforts at damage control, The Morning Call and Express Times have both exposed Kieklak with a combined total of thirty-six news stories, editorials, letters to the editor and blogs.

Yesterday, Aphrodite's Daughter started an email campaign directed at Bernie Kieklak. She apparently subscribes to Edmund Burke's observation that evil triumphs "when good men [or women] do nothing." She urges us all to send emails, asking Kieklak to do two things.

First, track down Look Out Lehigh Valley, one of his victims, and make arrangements to apologize to her in person. Lisa Boscola doesn't seem to think we private citizens need an apology. Not important enough. The rest of us feel otherwise.

Second, after apologizing, Kieklak is asked to resign. ... Immediately.

Aphrodite's Daughter suggests we send a copy to Morning Call Comments Editor Glenn Kranzley. I'll be sending a cc to Lisa Boscola as well. If you'd like a sample email, including all relevant email addresses, just click here.

Also in hiding are most of the LV delegation to the state assembly. With the exception of state representative Doug Reichley, not a single member has condemned Kieklak's behavior. Their silence makes them enablers.

Yesterday, I individually emailed all members of the LV delegation to the state house and senate. This includes senators Pat Browne, Jim Rhoades, Rob Wonderling, and representatives Karen Beyer, Jenn Mann, Joe Brennan, Doug Reichley, Steve Samuelson, Bob Freeman, Rich Grucela, Craig Dally, Julie Harhart and Carl Mantz. Here's what I asked them.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley delegation to the General Assembly, you're undoubtedly aware of the sexist, misogynistic and vulgar remarks from Bernard Kieklak, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola. It may interest you to know that, in addition to some of the remarks that were publicized, Mr. Kieklak also referred to state rep. Doug Reichley as a Nazi and slammed open records reform efforts as meaningless.

By retaining Kieklak, state senator Boscola has become his enabler. Her decision reflects poorly on the entire general assembly. It lends credence to what Express Times editor Joe Owens says about all of you. "[I]f you believe [Kieklak's] foul rant is anything more than what is said at every Harrisburg, Trenton and D.C. saloon within walking distance of bureaucratic fatcats, you're woefully mistaken."

I am asking you, as a local leader, to condemn what Kieklak has said, and make clear it is contrary to what you would tolerate from any member of your own staff. Regardless of your personal affection for Lisa, her decision to retain Kieklak diminishes all of you. Your own refusal to condemn this conduct will make you an enabler as well.

I already have one response, and will wait one week to tell you whether our delegation is willing to do what is right.


Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

Bernie K tracking me down sounds like a TERRIBLE idea. (kidding. sorta.)

Tom Foolery said...

Enough about Bernie already..Let's talk about more pressing issues like Paris Hilton's strip search in jail..larry King seemed to be enamored by the thought..

Bernie O'Hare said...


I don't equate a state senator who tolerates sexism and misogyny from her chief of staff, with Paris Hilton. I'm just not seeing that. By being silent about this, we enable it to continue. Is that what you want in state government? Aren't we better than this?

Anonymous said...

"look out LV" where were you during the Spanish Inquisition? Perhaps, if one believes in reincarnation, you have returned: a rabid pursuer of self-aggrandizing malevolence. Bernie K. statements were horrific, irresponsible, sexist and incomprehensible. Perhaps he was tanked. Indeed he needs anger control management.

However, to persecute Lisa is as bizarre as the incident itself.

Blogmeister, your gratuitous--"arent we better than this" is so unctuous, self-serving and serves no other purpose other than to exacerbate this awful incident.

Blah Society said...

It's the Lehigh Valley's way to stay silent. The majority of actual community and political issues regarding the area we live in go noticed once, maybe twice, and then disappear. With the exception of the John Hirko Jr. extravaganza, everything seems silenced and unimportant.

If not for the Internet, and blogs like these, barely anyone in the Valley would know or care about anything. Or perhaps it's the Internet that takes the attention away from the actual press? That's a debate in its own. But either way, I agree that staying silenced is not the answer. Though being “loud” may not always provide the end result desired, it’s worse to simply not try. Staying silenced about Bernie Kieklak will only allow him to continue, or allow for more just like him.

And don't get me started on Paris Hilton...

Anonymous said...

Yes BlogMeister, please stop your campaign of persecution against Saint Lisa.

You wouldn't want our elected officials to actually feel like they have to answer to the peasants.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:51,

BTNP, aka Bernie Kieklak, could not have said it better himself!

Yes, what could I be thinking? I'll go back with the Macy's shoe salesmen and learn my place.

Let's admit what's really going on here. Saint Lisa may not be criticized. There must be something wrong w/ LOLV, who takes offense as being excoriated as some mindless slut in a trailer park.

Saint Lisa refuses to take responsibility for her COS's sexism and horrible statements about Iraq. He only apologizes to Dent and Bennett, not the peasants he offended. Instead of speaking out like leaders, the LV delegation runs from this, worried about political fallout.

Either we have standards or we don't. What Bernie has done is unacceptable. His reaction is even more unacceptable. Boscola's refusal to face this head on and do the right thing is disgusting. And those of you who defend Boscola are enabling sexism, misogyny, racism and all forms off bigotry.

I have not exacerbated this incident: Lisa has done this herself by refusing to put out the fire when it was right in front of her.

Keep on spinning.

Blah Society said...

Very well said...

Anonymous said...

I do not spin. I acknowledge the sexism and mysogyny of Bernie K. and know it to be horrendous.

Lisa as disgusting because she disciplined an aide but has not resigned--which is what would make u feel big and powerful, would it not?--will not happen.

She will get re-elected time and time again.

As for other legislators, maybe they do not believe in burning at the stake and gratuitously piling on.

Almost forgot, Run Lisa Run. The cries of intimidation keep getting louder

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:47,

The letter writing campaign I suggest was urged, not by me, but a female blogger offended by the disgraceful behavior you acknwoledge.

Boscola is now as culpable as Kieklak in my eyes. She first ran from this incident, knowing full well her own chief of staff actually was proud of what he had done. When she did speak to the press, she attempted to minimuze what had happened and insulted working stiffs like those at Macy's. Her meaningless psychobabble anger management solution is bullshit, and that is apparent from Kieklak's hollow apology.

Although Kieklak apologizes to Dent and Bennett, he was not required to apologize to the person he most viciously attacked. Why not? Why, she's just a peasant.

By remaining silent in the face of what amounts to much more than sexism, we become enablers. We don't just allow Kieklak to continue to smear people with vicious emails, as he's done in the past. We allow the Boscolas of the world to refuse to take responsibility. We allow them to hide from serious societal problems instead of doing what they were elected to do - lead. And the same is true of the LV delegation. They need to condemn this in the strongest terms.

It's not about making someone feel powerful. I'm just a peasant and will always be a peasant. It's about what we're willing to tolerate in society. I am no longer willing to tolerate bigotry or class distinctions imposed on us by Boscola, where there are different rules for her and her staff.

Run, Lisa, run? That's what she does. Run. Instead of facing problems, she runs.

Chris Casey said...

Sending emails to all the reps is a good idea, if people do it. This could get real interesting, real quick.

Anonymous said...

I respect you acknowledge your always interesting father's shrill 1984 statement, but was that not sexism against Jane Wells Schooley?

Did you take a stand then?

Your continuing this crusade against Lisa full of its own internal psychobabble about enabling, socio-pop peasant speak and McCarthy-like rant against other legislators (they must be bad they do not denounce her!!!in the public square) is par for the blogesphere course.

Lisa has faced many personal problems, demons and issues. You belittling her for running is so patently false as to raise ire. She didnt run. She suspended him. Made him get help. And apologize for his lunacy.

Fortunately, this too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

How soon they forget.

Anonymous said...

You have something against trailer parks, Bern?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 12:56,

When my dad said Jane Wells Schooley scared the hell out of him, I had no idea whether he meant her stand on the issues, the fact that she was a realtor, or the fact that she was a female. And in that stage of my life, I was in alcoholic oblivion. I was too busy boozing to ask many questions. And if I did, I'll be damned if I can remember the answers.

But I just don't equate "she scares the hell out of me," my dad's 1984 rant, with "LOLV spends 4 hours a night deciding whether to wear the 'fuck me like the pig that I am' pumps", a 2007 statement.

Do you? Does anyone?

When you speak about my crusade against Lisa, you are in for a rude awakening. Many women are very pissed off at Boscola for the way she handled this. Some are actually considering staging a protest outside her office, according to an email I just received.

Women are angry!

And Boscola has run from this. 1) When first confronted, she blurts out her, "What, do you want me to fire him now?" statement, like Alfred E Newman. 2) Almost immediately after this hit, she went on vacation and became "unavailable." 3) She ignored daily calls from one of her constituents, who asked to speak to her. 4) She blew off two emails from me. 5) When she made her statement to the press deciding to keep Kieklak, she just faxed over statements and ran like hell.

She's gambling it will blow over. It won't because she never faced this in the first place and she pissed off the wrong persons - not me, but other women.

In the meantime, spinners will be out there telling us how Boscola really faced this "without hesiation," as Boscola falsely claimed in her press announcement.

Making false statements repeatedly doesn't make them true. I realize that is a time honored Bush tradition and actually goes back beyond that. But claiming Lisa faced this is simply ridiculous. She's going to have to spend more money to spin that message.

And Bernie did not apologize for his lunancy to the one person he most viciously attacked.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:39,

No. read Kieklak's remarks. " Save your femi-Nazi, psycho babble bullshit for when you're on the Springer Show talking about how your uncle raped your dog in your trailer and made you watch Rusty howl just like you do."

Tom Foolery said...

My earlier comment was a joke. I wasn't equating the two. This issue however, no matter how much you vent about it, will not make Anderson Cooper's show as did the never ending Hilton story last night. Maybe if Bernie looked liked Paris.. My whole point is suck it up, it's over. Boscola wins, we lose. She'll still be a Senator when we are dead and gone...Next story..

Bernie O'Hare said...


Sorry about that. Missed the humor. But Tom, I don't give up that easily. And I'm only a footsoldier in this battle.

Anonymous said...

Bernie K is a disgusting idiot. His poor judgement alone is prima facie evidence of the Harrisburg mediocrity.

However, Lisa has faced demons. Lisa has dealt with hurtful personal and familial issues. She is courageous in those matters. Your crusade with your fellow travelers will prove unsuccessful.

And Bernie, the ad hominem on Jane was for all the reasons you speculated--a woman in power; pro-choice; a realtor; and a sign of what that generation would need to face: change.

I must say, as a Run Lisa Run loyalist, reading that last statement of Bernie K proves he was drugged, drunk and/or in a manic spiral of self destruction. I concede such crap does hurt my friend Lisa, who deserves so much better

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 2:32,

I suspect you're probably quite right about my dad. Jane definitely pissed him off for some reason. Perhaps he was threatened by her, although he'd never admit that. I'll never know. My loss.

Fellow travelers? Now who's calling whom McCarthy-esque?

I'm sorry to hear what you say about Boscola facing hurtful personal and familial issues. Obviously, I don't know her as well as you. My objective here is not to hurt her but convince her to do what is right.

I have a suggestion for you to convey to Lisa as her friend. If she insists that Kieklak apologize to LOLV face to face and meets with LOLV herself to explain that she won't tolerate this kind of behavior, she will establish that she still cares about people who can't afford to give her $1,000 campaign donations. If she makes an effort to really face this by taking such a bold step, that would go a long way to convince me that she is all that you say she is.

I'd be very happy to see such a positive outcome.

Aphrodite's daughter said...

I wish to reply to the anon of 12:56. "This too shall pass? You are refering to us as no better than McCarthy on a communists witch hunt?
I will not berate the anon person, but I will correct their "version " of history.
Sen McCarthy had a personal political based agenda that he used to destroy the lives of those who opposed him. It wasn't until the press, in the guise of Edward Murrow, stood their ground and called him on his hate speech, that he was discredited.
Women are asking for Bernie Kieklak to be held to a standard that should be a socially accepted norm. He is a serial offender in the bad behavior department, and his boss, whose employers happen to be "WE THE PEOPLE" are not thrilled that she is not holding him accountable for his misdeeds.
The "*ck me pumps statement is absolutely unacceptable! What part of that do normal people not understand?! I'm getting angry again, I better go have some ice cream!

Anonymous said...

Your candor regarding your truly remarkable albeit"character" of a father is refreshing.

fellow-travelers was a sardonic link to the mccarthysm i do see emerging from the frothing at the computer peeps hellbent on inflaming this disaster. Making other legislators damnable simply because they do not throw matches on gasoline is neo-pseudo mccarthyism

I will share with Lisa what I think is a fair request and indeed perhaps necessary one. Your positive insight in moving this beyond the histrionic stage is most welcomed and appreciated.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:31,

I'm really not interested in inflaming what you correctly call a disaster. But I don't see this problem going away until it is faced. I do think our local delegation should speak out because they are our representatives and this is unacceptable in 2007.

If Lisa and Kieklak made an effort w/ LOLV, I think that would demonstrate Boscola's sincerity and establish that she does cares about all women, not just those who can afford big campaign contriubutions.

That appears to be what has upset people in the blogosphere the most. I can't speak for others, but know I would regard it as a very positive outcome, and would not hesitate to make that clear.

Anonymous said...

If The Unsinkable Lisa Boscola is such a strong person, how did she make such a weak decision?

We hear about her battle with demons. One of the ways you overcome personal demons is by recognizing that you have a problem.

Her aide is a problem, on many levels, for the Unsinkable One. He has shown himself to be an enabler (drinking with her before her DUI). He has shown himself to be insanely jealous of his access to her (witness his behavior in getting the Unsinkable One's top aide -- a woman -- fired). Finally, he views his needs as being more important than her own. (Example: His god-given right to shoot the breeze like a thuggish neanderthal out in the Blog Wilds.)

The co-dependency issues based on mutual bad behavior are obvious in the Boscola and Kieklak relationship. Which would be one thing if this was playing out between two private citizens -- but is completely another when it involves an elected official and a state employee receiving an obscenely-high salary from the taxpayers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 5:44 p.m.

BTNP didnt get me fired I left on my own free will

Anonymous said...

She would have been better off trying to convince you to stay.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 6:46

I would never have agreed to stay and work for someone of my gender who condones BTNP's behavior because by keeping him on her staff is exactly what she is doing - condoning his behavior

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 6:31,

Actually, I blogged about this. As I recall, you returned to Senator Fumo's office. Did you suffer a paycut?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:49 if there is even a remote chance that you are who I think you are, let me say this:

Boscola lost her last opportunity to be taken seriously when you left her office.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:53,
I am not sure I am the person you think I am but I think I was her only female executive director. COS title was reserved for BTNP only

Bernie O'

I have been lurking and reading since this whole thing came about I suffered nothing when I left her office As a matter of fact I gained more by leaving than had I stayed

Bernie O'Hare said...

Holy shit! You're Jennifer Boger!

Good for you. I blogged about your situation, and it doesn't seem to me that there is any difference between the way BTNP acted towars you and the way he dealt with other women. I'm truly sorry for what you had to endure.

What bothers me most is the failure to recognize this bad behavior toeards woman. Did he ever apologize to you?

addicted said...

Is your name Bogert? Isn't it dangerous for you to comment on blogs about this? The repercussions if you are REALLY who you say you are could be huge.
Any chance of you "Coming Out"?

addicted said...

Sorry i added a T, Aphrodite is napping, wait until she finds out you were watching.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'

No I wish to stay as I posted.. Anonymous


Who is Aphrodite

Bernie O'Hare said...

Aphrodite is Addicted's wife.

Anonymous said...


Aphrodite's daughter said...

Yes i am, but I am loads smarter than poopiehead!

Anonymous said...

Do I know who you are?

Aphrodite's daughter said...

I had a little nap during the thunder boomer, I waddled over to the Farmer's Market before the rain and got some shoefly. I never much cared for it, but now I do, go figure?! I've been thinking, and I should have talked to LOLV before I demanded BK apologize to her in person. I wrote LOLV to tell her that.
JB, my husband's a big poopiehead, everything's a conspiracy of grand proportions with him. I ignore him, most people do ;-)!
I look at BK's track record of nastiness and I see a little boy that needs to be put in reform school, say some place like
CHILDSERENE. I won't write the name of a local place, because I have a very low opinion of its "finished" product.
So what do you think, our friendly neighborhood lurker, if a bunch of us women show up at the dear Senator's office with signs demanding accountability, you think they will talk to us?
Here's a scenario from my job: If a male assistant principal spoke to a female teacher the way BK addressed LOLV, he would be "hasta manana baby" and I mean that just as it sounds. I don't like all these people touching my tummy right now, so maybe I'm a little more annoyed than usual, but BK should be fired, just like what happens in the REAL WORLD.
So what do you think?

LVDem said...

Don't be surpised if you don't get a response. Two reasons: one budget season. These folks are impossible to get a hold of right now. If you can get them, chances are they don't have much of an impact on the budget process. Second reason, it's kind of an accepted policy to stay out of the personnel decisions of other offices.

I'll through on a third reason: three of the people on the list are terrible at returning emails in general. It typically takes them several weeks to sift through them. They don't mean to ignore, they just look for messages from constituents first and then prioritize the rest later. Again, only based on my experience. Call their offices or send them a letter. You're more likely to get a response that way.

Now if you'll excuse me, my dinner is burning.

Aphrodite's daughter said...

No Anon, you don't, I'm just a petite teacher in a public school system, about to have a baby girl, and I want the world better for her.

Aphrodite's daughter said...

Thank you LVDem, I hadn't thought about the budget thing, that's doofus' thing. But I'm learning!

Anonymous said...

I am all about individuals standing up for what they believe in

LVDem said...

Hey, still a good thought. But timing is everything, especially when every interest group is doing mass calling campaigns and sending emails of their own. Just this week PennFuture has sent me 4 messages about contacting my state rep. It's the budget season.

And yes, I did burn my dinner. That's right... I burned soup. Let's try frozen pizza.

Anonymous said...

Yes may be after the Senator's busy time would be more effective unless you brought your "protest" to her Harrisburg office Now talk about making a statement!

I am signing off I will be lurking

Anonymous said...

I am still amazed at how some can seperate Lisa's behavior from BK,s. Saying somehow Lisa is a victim is psyco-babble. I have difficulty seperating people from their actions. BK is Lisa's responsibility how she handled the affair defines her. Spin, spin, spin but at the end of the day we are what we do!