Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Judicial Candidate Sam Murray: "I Want to Make a Difference"
When I was younger, I used to visit The Moravian Sun Inn, located on Bethlehem's historic Main Street, to purchase Advent stars. I never got past the counter. I finally had an opportunity to do that yesterday. Most of the rooms are roped off, but I did sneak up into the attic, where there is supposed to be a ghost of a little girl. I thought I heard a faint voice whisper, "No more pepperoni for you, fattie." My real reason for being there was to attend a get together for Northampton County judicial candidate Sam Murray, hosted by Bethlehem Attorney Michael Santanasto. I simply took Easton Mayor Sal Panto's name tag, and nobody was any the wiser. I even ticketed a few cars before leavin the Christmas City.
Santanasto, who went to high school with my son, is a member of Sun Inn's board. He gave us all a history lesson. Many famous people have been there as guests of the Moravians. George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin. Those are hard acts to follow, but now it's Sam Murray's turn.
Santanasto stole Judge Emiil Giordano's line. "Give me ten," is what Judge Giordano likes to say. He's not referring to money or pushups, but votes. Michael asked each person present to get ten friends to vote for Sam and Judge Giordano.
Nearly 100 people were crowded into the second floor, to wish Sam luck. They included famous attorneys like Gary Asteak, Bill Murphy, Joe Piperato, Lenny Mellon, Stanly Vasiliadis, Herb Litvin and Dave Backenstoe. Judge Paula Roscioli, who is seeking a well-deserved retention, was there, and I was finally able to photograph her. Numerous elected officials came, too. Controller Steve Barron, Easton Controller Tony Bassil, former Magisterial District judge jimmy "the Judge" Stocklas, Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez and Easton City Council member Ken Brown, a childhood friend of Sam's.
Judge Emil Giordano, who is criss-crossing the state, was supposed to come, but was still on the road at the time I had to leave for a meeting. It turns out that I had no meeting to cover, and I could have stayed and finished all the pepperoni.
Former NorCo Executive Jerry Seyfried introduced Sam, who he appointed to the PD's staff in the 90s. Seyfried called Murray a "rising star" at that time. He should know. Several of the lawyers who worked for him have gone on to become judges, including President Judge Steve Baratta and Superior Court jurist Jack Panella.
His daughters helped sign everyone in, and his wife Marge is very much like her husband, unpretentious. Their dignity comes from the way they act, not the airs they assume.
In a brief speech, Sam gave his background as a lawyer. He has also been a Custody Master and Juvenile Court Hearing Officer, making him the only candidate among three fine people who has judicial experience. Sam also discussed, too briefly, his role in Little League baseball, where he accomplished the rare feat of taking a little-known Bethlehem team and marching it right into the World Series.
Why does he want to be a judge? "I want to make a difference," answered Sam.
If you'd like to meet Sam, he's having a spaghetti dinner this Sunday from 12:30 - 4 pm at the Safety First Volunteer Company, 307 6th Street West Easton, PA 18042. It costs $10.00 per person, and Pat Sportelli is doing the cooking. Please contact Margie at 610-392-9249 for tickets.