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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Giordano: The Lehigh Valley Comes Out For "Our Favorite Son"

Just last month, when Sam Murray announced his intentions to run for Northampton County Judge, the 170 people who crowded into Riverview Country Club created a bipartisan aura of inevitability. But I have never seen a larger crowd for a campaign kickoff than last night, when Judge Emil Giordano kicked off his campaign for the Pennsylvania Superior Court. He made his announcement at the cavernous Northampton Memorial Community Center amid dozens of empty pizza boxes. Those boxes were empty because it seemed as though the entire Lehigh Valley had cascaded into Northampton, despite the single digit temperatures and mounds of snow everywhere. The Express Times' Tom Shortell placed the number at about 600, although it could easily have been 700, It was a bipartisan crowd, too. Democrats and Republicans. Lawyers and friends. Urbanistas and country folk. It was the Lehigh Valley. Northampton Mayor Thomas Reenock put it best when he called the gathering "our favorite son's debut."

That favorite son also happens to be the sons of two Italian immigrants who met while learning how to speak English in night school. They came here to raise a family and made pizzas. Lots of them. When Emil was old enough, he made pizzas, too. Lots of them. They got him through Bethlehem Catholic High School, Moravian College and Villanova Law School. Giordano learned about hard work. He learned to respect and admire his parents and grandparents, and to admire the many people wo appear before him to become naturalized citizens. Most importantly, he learned how to listen.

"The time spent behind counters, waiting on people, served me very well," remarked Giordano last night. In time, there was a law office adjacent to Pizza Village. And after 18 years of practicing law, he became a judge. And for the past 12 years, he has handled that role with humility and a genuine concern for everyone who comes before him,lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

At the same time, he has taught at Becahi and Moravian College. But where he has excelled is as a coach to young athletes, bringing out the best in them. I've seen him take groups of kids and win basketball championships despite claiming to know nothing about the sport. He knows how to motivate.

After 12 years as a judge, Emil Giordano is the same person he was before he put on a robe. Few other judges can make that claim.

Why is he running for the Pennsylvania Superior Court?  That;s the state's busiest court. It's an appellate court that reviews the decisions of common pleas judges in all 67 counties. Just to keep up, the 15 judges on that bench must each hand down one or two opinions daily.

Giordano already knows about hard work, He added that he would be a "common sense judge who follows the law." He also believes that the best person to evaluate the work of other judges is a person who once sat where they are sitting.

Business Matters' Tony Iannelli served as Master of Ceremonies and shared a story he had heard that very day from DA John Morganelli. Giordano, when he was still practicing law, once challenged Morganelli in a DA's race. That night, as the numbers came in, it was clear that Morganelli would be the victor. Instead of calling Morganelli to concede, Giordano actually walked into the Democratic stronghold and congratulated him in person.

That's class.

That's Giordano.

Aside from Iannelli, Giordano invited Judges Anthony Beltrami and Paula Roscioli to his reception. Because they are seeking well-deserved retentions this year, they are permitted to attend political gatherings. But Giordano and Iannelli decided against calling them up onto the stage. "Four Italians on the stage at one time might be a RICO violation," explained Judge Giordano.

Giordano also introduced Michael George, the President Judge of Adams County, who is also seeking a seat on the Superior Court.

(This is just part of huge crowd of at least 600 people at Judge Emil Giordano's campaign kickoff for the Superior Court. Judge Giordano asked each of them to give him ten. Not $10,000, but ten votes.)

(Attorney Vivian Zumas shares a few words with Judge Giodano after his speech. At the far right, you can see Al Recker, the great Bethlehem Globe Times reporter who used to cover the courthouse).

(Judge Beltrami with his lovely wife, Gina. Judge Beltrami and Judge Paula Roscioli are seeking retention this year. I trapped Judge Beltrami for a picture, but Judge Roscioli was too fast for me.)

(Abe Kassis, who is running for Judge, offers his best wishes to Judge Giordano. Kassis' opponents, Sam Murray and Vic Scomilio, were there, too, but they slipped out with Judge Roscioli. Abe is Lebanese, Sam is half Lebanese and Vic's wife is half Lebanese.So that's two Lebanese running for judge, right?)

(Though he's only in the 8th Grade, Caden Giordano is already 23' tall, and is just what Becahi's basketball program needs. He's a great athlete, but more importantly, is a great young man. He must be smarter than his father because he tells me he's staying away from the law.)

(Bethlehem City Council Member Eric Evans and his gorgeous wife Jodi, with Judge Giordano. It was amazing to see so many Democrats flock to Giordano's banner.)

(South Whitehall Township Manager Howard Kutzler told me tonight that he is not running for Township Comm'r in Bethlehem Tp because of the time it would take away from his day job. He's also the Treasurer of the Northampton County GOP, and kept charging me admission.)

(My favorite tea party person, Arlene Klocek, and I exchange our usual pleasantries. Not only do we disagree about everything, but she is part of the Ronnie del Wacko wing of the NorCo GOP. But for some reason, I really like her. "I pray for you, Bernie," she always tells me. So I got that going for me.)

(Well-spoken and cerebral, Joan Rosenthal is a member of the NorCo Elections Commission and is on Hanover Township's ZHB. I think she prays for me, too.)

(Bethlehem City Council member Mike Recchiuti, along with a gentleman I'll call Mr. Donchez. The rise between these two thorns is Gross McGinley lawyer Loren Speziale, who no doubt will be suing me one day.)

(Bethlehem City worker Mike McGraw, with Judge Giordano. Mike, a former baseball standout, is the man at Northwest Little League. As baseball season approaches, he is required by baseball law to insert a little chew in his mouth from time to time. It's a rule. But he's quit smoking. Incidentally, he knows EVERYTHING about Bethlehem).  .


Bernie O'Hare said...

I just deleted two comments from some cowardly asshole who anonymously attacks someone who is not even part of the story. WWhoever you are, I don't want people like you on my blog. Slither away.

Anonymous said...

What an impressive gathering for an impressive guy. I've never heard an ill word about him. That's not easy for a lawyer in politics. He seems destined for greatness. But simply because he doesn't see greatness; just each individual he meets each day. Great coverage of a great story.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have to compliment you for the your very astute observation concerning Emil.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So 2:48, are you pro or con?

Anonymous said...

I think 2:48 is a con.

Anonymous said...

I thi8ink anon 2:48 was a tea party member snubbed at the event or one of the Fox News commentators. Just a hunch, based on the tone of the comment.

Bernie O'Hare said...


OK. I'll meet you at the Sheriff's ffice tomorrow morning at 8:30 am. Bring the car.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it he will have the StickerGang make his campaign stickers to pass around. Can you get confirmation on this please?

Anonymous said...

Wait, so someone comes on your blog and yells at you for writing only what you want on YOUR blog?

Man that's way over my head.

fuck you bernie said...

bo is an ass sucking dem loving union supporting pussy. Go ahead and delete the truth

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will be waiting for you tomorrow morning at the sheriffs office as I already stated you can batter me with the truth at that time please bring the car

Anonymous said...

Wow! In my opinion, I think the Mediterranean manslab found the prison Wi-Fi hotspot.

Jim Gregory, the con that roars!

Anonymous said...

This piece is a very important issue facing this nation? I really liked the picture and story that tells the tales of Americas youth? Just wish it was that simple for many as it should be but, is not? Many have to bear the burdun of a subsect of the legally system that is there to protect the very youth it is helpping to distort?

patent pending

Ex Con said...

Too bad Clinton Oxford didn't have Emil presiding over his case, might have saved him from the draconian sentence imposed by that ginger menace.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think Clinton would have faced a stiff sentence no matter who presided over his case. He terrified a very nice person, and forced her to relive that agony on the stand. Tony Ryback did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

Anonymous said...

What does any of these comments have to do with the Judge announcing. When you write a story Bernie, why do you allow these walking rectums time on your blog to destroy a decent event by reporting these asinine comments from individuals who don't even know how to verbalize and communicate unless they are stabbing someone in the back or degrading what they stand for. A little more editorializing on your part would go a long way in making this blog the best in the Country.

Anonymous said...

@7:10 AM Unlike others, Bernie tries have a very liberal comment policy. Compare this to sites that allow no comments, only the site admin leaves comments, and sites you can't even see because the truth is so volatile your eyes will explode if you read it. The comment at 2:48 PM is an example of someone whose entire head exploded when the truth battered them.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" A little more editorializing on your part would go a long way in making this blog the best in the Country."

This already is the best blog in the Lehigh Valley. I pay most of my attention to what I write and try hardest to be factually accurate and grammatically correct.

With one or two exceptions, none of the comments posted here are on topic and could be deleted. I generally tend to let people go, though I sometimes delete with a heavy hand.

Even your comment is off topic.

These off topic observations are always very rude to me. I drive to the event, stayed there longer than most, took notes from the speech, filmed some of it and wrote a story in which I tried to capture the spirit of the event. I included pictures that I thought would be funny or interesting. So when the trolls come on with their attacks, it is a nuisance.

Anonymous said...

Hey asshole bernies is the best as the pompuss advertismental agency allready gave him that award¿ asshole¿! ($

patent pending

Anonymous said...

I thought Jim Gregory was "our favorite son".

Anonymous said...

Excellent article !