To September Rants&Raves
"Is it true that the county won't even get that $180,000 from the Chevron deal after a grant on the (Masontown-German) park to the state is repaid?"
Al Ambrosini's pal, to Dave, this morning at the diner
"How the heck would we know? Ask your pal. I heard there's about $50K taken off the top for that, but don't know if it's accurate. When they don't share
information with (Commissioner Angela) Zimmerlink, the public is in the dark."
REWARD of $1,000 (and growing) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the heartless slaughter of an animal,
left overnight to try to intimidate a contributing writer and photographer here. Details are withheld to assure the sincerity of any statements provided.
Witness must be willing to speak openly to police to provide a statement and participate in any hearings if need be. (30 Aug 15)
More RTK requests
Right To Know requests were sent in recent days to obtain: a copy of the PA Code required agreement between Commissioner Vince Zapotosky and
the County of Fayette for reimbursement of use of a county vehicle for personal use; a copy of a vehicle information log for a second vehicle (Ford
Taurus) that the commissioner used for personal travel in May of 2014; and copies of vehicle information log forms used by staff in 2 different other
county departments from county satellite offices in May of 2014.
Previously, a RTK Answer provided showed a calendar car schedule for a Chevy Malibu, substituted for a traditional vehicle information log form used
nearly everywhere else with public funded vehicles in the real world outside the county courthouse. (28 Aug 15)
though a dear friend has passed away. Newspapers in many markets have literally disappeared from newsstands in hard copy form over the years,
and even large city papers are downsizing and having financial problems.
Trib Total Media is offering a buyout to employees, offering 1.5 weeks of pay and health care for every year of service. The offer is capped at 52
weeks. The offer is correct; there are no typos.
RIP print media. You will be sorely missed. (28 Aug 15)
RANTS that the political mud throwing season is fully underway, that two grown male commissioners have really short memories in regard to staff
suspensions that they've now ordered to be reversed. RAVES of chuckles that these grown men even dare to suggest that the minority commissioner,
whose opinion they've always snickered at, somehow, magically controlled them or insulted their intelligence by deceiving them into agreement. That
said, please continue reading...
"Quotes Of The Day"
without them having the opportunity to objectively review it, I would be trying to influence the opinion of my colleagues and I don’t think I, or any
commissioner should be doing that.”
Vince Zapotosky, today's heraldstandard.com,* trying to weasel out of his former stand to suspend a few county department heads because he claims
that the big, bad minority commissioner somehow influenced him to do so... Zapotosky, also joined in shameful political mud throwing season, tag-team
form in today's article by Al Ambrosini, now ordered the suspensions reversed and sent the letter to the press this week without the courtesy of sending
it first to the minority commissioner.
"Damn, Alfred and Vincent sure have poor memory recall problems!"
Moi, recalling that neither men seemed to be in any more of their usual trance or under the external control of the minority commissioner when they
agreed to the suspensions; Moi, recalling that Zapotosky once took his beef with a county department head straight to the media and tried to hide from
an HR investigation, a Right To Know paper chase and around employee privacy by forwarding this unsolicited private email out to us from his private
*commissioners rescind department head suspensions'
Inmates with suicidal ideation still not a pressing enough matter?
RANTS that 18 months have passed since this column's Right To Know was sent, inquiring about the assessment tool used for suicidal ideation
screenings for incoming inmates at the county jail and that nothing much to speak of to improve the situation has been implemented yet. Oh, last month
the county thought that it had a plan in the works, but learned today that the county behavioral health care provider wants to nix last month's plan to
allow medical staff who are not psychiatrists to do the work that the one doctor cannot cover in a four-hour weekly work schedule.
RANTS that the county does not appear to have involved the provider in the problem solving process until today. Why not? Too long a period in
between jail suicides or since the last one to make it as urgent a need as it is?
Considering that the county wasted a few hundred hours of staff time with prison ad hoc work group sessions with only a building design to show for all
the effort, the time of some members of that team could have been far better spent wanting to help inmates in more urgent ways -- especially after the
last 2 suicides that shouldn't have been allowed to happen.
RANTS because priorities are so ass backwards. (26 Aug 15)
Welcome back, Gateway
RAVES of hope and best wishes to an increasingly number of readers checking in here in recent weeks from Gateway Rehab's IP. RANTS that we
cannot turn on a television or read a newspaper without hearing of yet another fatal or near fatal overdose of heroin or opiates. RANTS that since May
5, more and more horror stories are surfacing of white-collar heroin use, addiction and suspected dealing. RANTS that things have certainly changed
since a parent's biggest concern was that his teen would split a 6-pack and joint with 10 friends. (26 Aug 15)
Another RTK Answer
Zap's county vehicle information log: yes, they're serious!
RAVES to those who initiated sending in copies of their public-funded vehicle information logs that are required by law to be maintained on a daily
basis. RAVES to mailing list readers registered with government email addresses who responded to a late afternoon survey.
Although this was a serious attempt to gather data impartially, the longer it went on, the more likely some thought it was a joke.
To read the email from the chief county clerk and view the county's only documentation of Commissioner Vince Zapotosky's use of a county car for
personal travel, please click here. (24 Aug 15)
Editor's Note: An error in publishing "RTK: Ambrosini-Zapotosky-Gallo-Chevron" resulted in emails between the state Office of Open Records being
published but, inadvertently, undetectable in gray text to readers. A copy of a letter to the editor of a local paper from John Cofchin of Uniontown was
also added to that page.
"Quotes Of The Day" from an old friendship, on mixing politics and religion
"I told you there was nothing wrong with Al and Vince's lease with Chevron. Did you read the paper?"
Note, passed two pews up to Pete, this morning at church, referring to the county's pending oil and gas lease, the subject of a media story* today, in
which a media lawyer discusses the case and stated no apparent Sunshine violation occurred; note, passed between 2 long-time, childhood friends of
opposing opinions on everything except boating and beer
"I read that. The lawyer talked August. Think the lawyer knows there were contacts in June and July? Or that they said in public meetings that there
was no contact until the third week of July when there was?"
Pete, quietly asking the note passer after church
* from heraldstandard.com, "DCNR requests county delay Chevron contract"
You know, in the real world...
Doesn't July 21st still come after June 14?
RANTS that some in office lie.
In "Right To Know: Ambrosini, Zapotosky and Chevron," it's apparent just how much!
"Quotes Of The Day" on what's so noticeably missing in the newspapers
Dave, this morning at the diner
"A better question might be, why isn't the media reporting that commissioners voting for the fast-track lease lied to the public Tuesday, with false
reassurance that state agencies were aware of the lease, when clearly the state agencies were not notified?"
"Why hasn't the media reported that neither commissioner voting for the LERTA knew who would actually get the LERTA?''
"Why do you advertise your business in papers that selectively censor and limit the news that the public gets? A billboard ad down the road could
advertise your business to more people."
Dave, posing the question to the owners who entered the establishment on perfect cue
Dumb question, yes, but...
Where's the county DA?
RANTS because some citizens express great concern that the county's district attorney must be missing and surely needs his photo placed on a milk
carton to locate him and get him to do the right thing.
RANTS that he has not stepped up voluntarily to review the cries of citizens, who feel that the Sunshine Act was breached in reference to the gas and
oil lease signed by the majority of commissioners. As some report being referred from the state attorney general's office back to the county district
attorney, to pursue an investigation into the Sunshine Act and the manner in which the gas and oil leasing option received fast track ratification, some
citizens are already thinking of obtaining court injunctions or some legal force intervention to stop the leasing until it is done properly or stopped in
To make matters worse, tonight, county commission candidate Sean Cavanagh tells his Facebook readers that he consulted with a Pittsburgh oil and
gas expert, who said that county code violations occurred by not advertising properly and conferring with expert certified appraisers. Quoting more than
just dead presidents tonight, he references the below:
"The board of commissioners may sell or lease any county property for at least its fair market value. If the county commissioners know or have
reason to know that any real property owned by the county contains oil, gas, coal, stone, timber or other mineral or forest products of commercial
value, this knowledge or belief must be advertised, together with the description of the land in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation
in the county, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks.
Cavanagh's statements tonight followed an afternoon of AM radio programming, during which Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink mentioned that she had
just become privy to a week-old letter from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, requesting a copy of the gas and oil
lease. That state entity should have been notified prior to any movement being made to approve a gas and oil lease on public park grounds.
RANTS that a team of county officials and county reps miserably failed to do their professional due diligence and that the DA isn't jumping to
investigate. Does Fay really need another Grand Jury run out of the state capital to straighten out the mess? (20 Aug 15)
Right Not To Know Just Yet
The PA Office of Open Records denied the county-Chevron docs RTK appeal mentioned yesterday below, on the basis that the state tacks on an additional
3 days to give the county to play.
Even though the RTK answer was not to be mailed here, Faith Henry, OOR Administrative Officer, states that the extra 3 days is required. The appeal can
and will be refiled if the RTK answer is not received by the end of the business day tomorrow. (20 Aug 15)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"So Ambrosini/Crabtree's numbers for downtown included a pricey parking garage that the county didn't ask for or need. Ambrosini/Crabtree's numbers for off
site don't include anything but the building. The media is still comparing apples to oranges by omitting important details such as these."
Dave, this morning at the diner, turning over his paper place mat to make columns and note what each plan estimate covers
"Don't forget that Ambrosini/Crabtree's off site estimate doesn't include many trees, includes no roads, no fence, no land purchase price, no sewage..."
Pete, looking at Dave's lists and adding to it
"Don't forget that the county has that union labor requirement so guys like me can't bid on much of anything substantial to save the county any money on any
of the plans."
Non-union mason, at the counter, taking it all in
Fayette County blows off RTK request for Chevron-related emails, memos?
The County of Fayette has failed to act before deadline to provide an answer to this website's Right To Know request to obtain all inner-office memos,
emails and written communications among county officials or county reps and their communications with Chevron reps, concerning the gas and oil lease
at the Masontown-German Park.
The RTK request was faxed later in the day on August 11 to the county chief clerk, with a notation that the lease or draft least was already obtained and
was not being requested.
An appeal to the state is filed, since the deadline passed without any type of comment from the county. More to come. (20 Aug 15)
vehicle kept for an unknown period of time at the home of County Commissioner Vince Zapotosky and used for personal travel with his family. This 8-
13-15 RTK also requested a copy of any prior contract or agreement, as required per PA Code, requiring him to contract his written intent with Fay to
repay county coffers for the use of the vehicle, and the name(s) of county officials or reps authorizing him to use the vehicle.
Think the papers will finally get it right?
Alfred & Vincent's $32m jail: price $45m, plus everything but the building
RAVES to the class act from Asterino Cannon Design, two gentlemen who patiently waited 4 hours to speak at a public meeting today,
about their work done on the downtown jail project. RANTS that they were so rudely treated, when commissioners nixed putting an
agenda item from last week onto today's agenda, to advance a late May extension of a notice to proceed with their work on developing
the downtown jail project. Now we really know why!
In their opinion, a 480-bed free-standing jail -- as pitched previously to be built in Dunbar Township -- will cost taxpayers around $45
million dollars, plus the cost of land, roads, utilities, infrastructure, etc. They recommend a third party consultation in the matter.
RAVES to the class act for showing patience and professionalism when they were so poorly treated. RAVES that their comments were
made in front of the public and both area newspaper staff, hopefully eliminating the possibility again that readers will gag reading spin and
fluff quotes, that $32 million buys either alternative jail plan.
his jail plan would have greater operational savings.
RANTS because the $32 million dollar man wasn't the least surprised to hear that his plan was not feasible for less than $45 million. It
was as though he already knew or was relieved not to hear $50 million or higher. (18 Aug 15)
Editor's note: to view video of the first 118 minutes of the meeting, please click here. Video courtesy of Chuck U. Farley
Uncle cries 'liar' to nephew commissioner
RANTS to being a public official and having your 75-year-old uncle enter a heated public meeting and declare that you're a liar. That was exactly the
scenario that played out today at the chaotic, jam-packed, monthly Fayette County commissioners meeting. The retired educator uncle -- whose
personal nightmare with the gas and oil industry on his privately owned property resulted with his being jailed in 2012 at the county lock up for
disobeying a court order, by talking to the gas well workers on his land -- yelled angrily today about the deal that the county was striking with Chevron
and a zoning matter and called his nephew, County Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky, a liar.
During the 4 hours of public comment on the Chevron lease offer, and a separate LERTA resolution, the people of Fayette County sat for another 2
subsequent hours to hear the asinine votes on these key issues. As one overwhelmed woman commented on her way out, she stayed just out of
curiosity to see if either commissioners Zapotosky or Al Ambrosini could finally guess who -- Fay Penn, land owner, Eli Shumar, building owner, or
tenant Boeing -- gets the LERTA.
Even frustrated bloggers sending the stumped men telepathic answers did no good. They still didn't know, couldn't answer simple, basic questions
about it, but still voted for it.
Same with Chevron's lease. Rather than continue till they could have a proper public meeting, they rushed today to approve a lease known to contain a
few errors, including the mention of drilling on Sheepskin Trail, a federal park. RANTS that nearby Allegheny County got a whopping $50 million, but the
two Fay commissioners today leased to Chevron for a mere $189K. It is unknown how much, if anything, the gas and oil giant will contribute to private
pockets or future political campaigns. Nine out of 10 people asked today, however, unanimously, agreed that the answer has to be "a lot!"
RAVES, nonetheless, to private citizens kicking around the idea of paying to have a reputable gas and oil industry lawyer review the lease. That is more
than the county did before it rushed to approve the lease. (18 Aug 15)
Ambrosini: sole county commish, equivalent in 40 states, to get political campaign
contribution from Chevron leadership PAC
RAVES of amazement reading through a long, long list of 2013-14 campaign contributions from Chevron Employees PAC -- a leadership PAC, not to be
confused with blue collar worker groups -- and seeing a Fayette County, PA commissioner's name included. Considering he's the one and only county
commissioner or county or small municipal government leader on it is pretty remarkable. There, among names of governors, lieutenant governors,
attorney generals, Texas supreme court judges, U.S. senators, US representatives, state legislators, there is a Fayette County commissioner's name, Al
"Quotes Of The Day" on how to forget about political campaign donations
"There it is right there, on page 10 of 22 pages, of the Friends of Al Ambrosini's campaign expense report filed on 1-30-15. The report is signed by his
wife, the preparer. This $500 contribution from Chevron Employees PAC was made on 9-26-14."
Pete, this morning at the diner, showing one of Ambrosini's friends a copy of the report since the politician stated at a public meeting on August 11, 2015
that he never received a donation from Chevron
"So what! He declared it! It's not corporate money... just political action committee money from salaries of corporate executives and upper echelon
Chevron people who also decide where they'll drill next."
The commissioner's pal, defending his guy for either forgetting about the money he accepted from Chevron staff or distancing himself from controversy
because the donation came from the gas and oil giant's PAC
Solicitor responds... well, kind of
While Commissioner Vince Zapotosky has not replied for comment requested 3 days ago -- to explain how he obtained county vehicle keys and
permission to transport family members in it for a few weeks -- the county solicitor did reply.
However, the solicitor misunderstood the fairly basic email to Zapotosky, which was only cc'd to the solicitor.
RANTS that something so straight forward and simple was misunderstood by someone in such an important position. Does this simple example, at this
link, demonstrate why or how two commissioners, in the solicitor's presence at a public meeting last month, were not stopped in their tracks from
cancelling an office copier and business machine contract and awarding it to their campaign contributors without the benefit of bidding? (16 Aug 15)
Will county vote on Chevron lease or table deal?
As per the agenda for the Tuesday's county meeting on August 18, the county commissioners will consider approval of an oil and gas
lease between Fayette County and Chevron Appalachia, LLC for 125.5 acres in German Township. Unless they choose to continue the
matter for more discussion, the public will have a brief period during public comment to speak.
While a few minutes won't be enough for those opposed entirely to fracking, some in favor of the county obtaining leasing revenue, and
possibly royalties later, might feel a bit more comfortable about the commissioners leasing to the corporation if Commissioner Al
Ambrosini assured the public that none of the Chevron reps involved with the lease proposal were involved or spoke to him about his
campaign donation from Chevron Employee PAC.
The PAC itself relies on donations from high ranking corporate officials who donate from their salaries. Corporate Chevron itself
contributes to the PAC's budget to cover different operational costs, including delivery of the PAC's campaign contributions. With
Ambrosini accepting contributions from so many county contractors (insurance, former solicitor, engineer, etc) and county appointed
board/authority members, the question is completely reasonable to ask. (16 Aug 15)
permission for Zap's personal use?
While it is clear that Fayette County Commissioner Vince Zapotosky took personal possession of a county-owned vehicle home for some time in 2014 and
used the vehicle to transport family members for personal use, as shown in these photographs, it is unknown whether he or other county officials or
operational staff followed proper procedure for Zapotosky even to have had the vehicle for personal use in the first place.
As per PA Code section, § 4300.67, Motor vehicles:
use of the vehicle.
(5) A daily log detailing the use of vehicles, as well as maintenance or service activities, shall be maintained.
In Bedford County in 2012, a former county commissioner repaid nearly $4,000 to the county, after breaching state policy that forbids officials to claim
mileage reimbursements for personal vehicles traveling within the county. Audits there showed that a second commissioner also owes Bedford County over
$1,700, also for forbidden reimbursements for inner-county personal travel in a county-owned vehicle. Sounds as though some are very serious-minded
about this type of thing.
Some years back in Fayette, a non-profit director ran into IRS problems, after the director and the director's family used an agency vehicle as a personally
owned car. The director benefited significantly from having 24/7 access to a free car, free car insurance, free car maintenance, free tires and free fuel.
The IRS forced the director to pay all income taxes on a part of the mileage racked up on non-agency related travel. The IRS declared that the savings that
the director realized, from having free travel and travel expenses for personal use of the vehicle, was undeclared income and undeclared income that needed
to be taxed.
In more recent years, another long-time non-profit administrator was terminated by the agency's board after a vehicle, purchased with public funds, was used
to transport a family member's belongings when relocating. Though different rules pertain to elected officials versus staff just discussed above, the County
Commissioners' Association of PA (CCAP) discourages counties from allowing personal use of a public-funded vehicle whatsoever.
Not that Zapotosky was cruising around town in a luxury car, mind you... but what in the world was Al Ambrosini -- or whoever gave Zapotosky the keys --
thinking when Zapotosky was given the OK to take the car home and drive around in it with his family?
What was the liability of the county if he and his family members in the car were hurt or involved in a wreck, whether it were his fault or not? The
liability is staggering, even if a prior repayment plan were in place to satisfy the PA Code.
A RTK request was sent yesterday to learn the exact dates when he had the vehicle for personal use and to obtain the vehicle's travel and fueling
information log from that vehicle and any possible existing re-payment agreement.
A request was also made to learn who exactly authorized Zapotosky to use the vehicle for personal travel with family members being transported. As per PA
Code quoted above, these vehicle logs are required, not just of non-elected staff, but of anyone using the public-funded vehicles for any reason.
Was there a prepared written repayment agreement, as PA Code quoted above says needed to be completed, prior to Zapotosky using the car for his
personal use? Even if there had been a required prior repayment agreement in place and he were at no fault in an accident, can Fayette really afford the
liability of any county representative, elected official or not, driving around with a family member along for the ride?
Readers here know that Zapotosky publicly sent chills down us, when he said in recent months that the brakes in a county car he used were worn and that
his brake pedal went to the floor for him.
Did Zapotosky have an extensive amount of pre-scheduled, legitimate county business over a few weeks to justify having possession of a county-owned
vehicle? While only a 5-day span was documented with photographs sent here, sources believe that he may have had possession of the car for 2-3 weeks.
Zapotosky was asked yesterday for comment. (14 Aug 15)
"Quotes Of The Day" on transparency and accuracy 101
"Perhaps the reporter could review the 2012 unanimously passed resolution that I introduced to advertise at the beginning of the year that we hold Work
Sessions on specific date/time which would eliminate all of this. It was passed yet the chief clerk failed to advertise it and when I questioned why I was stared
at. I know the reason why, do you?"
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, commenting online after reading the story, "Chevron offers $188K for drilling rights to German-Masontown Park," and the
writer's statement that Zimmerlink accused her 2 fellow commissioners of breaching the Sunshine Act... when, in fact, citizens questioned the men, who
provided answers, proven to be inaccurate with written county documentation of the Chevron contacts and inner county staff communications
"It was then that I corrected both commissioners as they were not telling the truth and also pointed out that they met with Chevron... this has been in the
works since July 21st... Both commissioners conveniently forgo or deliberately left out to the public yesterday and to me the fact that they had email and
phone communications since July and both met with Chevron a few days ago obtaining the lease and forwarding it to the solicitor. The terms, conditions and
money had been discussed and placed in the agreement that was brought to yesterday's meeting."
Zimmerlink, from the added online reader comments of the same story referenced above
Who needs to spend more time in the office pushing paper?
RAVES that at least one county commissioner does read her mail, push paper and actually work for a living. While two commissioners poked fun on the radio
recently at their peer for spending time in her office doing her work, today they demonstrated at a public agenda planning meeting exactly what they're
missing by not sharing her good work ethic.
Not that it's just them, mind you.
RAVES that Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink thought, casually, off the cuff, to inquire from the county redevelopment director about the status of a key audit
needing attention and action, with a quickly approaching deadline this month. Otherwise, since everyone else was surprised and claimed to have not read
the memo, the audit might have fallen through the cracks.
RAVES that someone really does read mail, take notes, monitor progress and casually inquire for updates, since the redevelopment director, other
commissioners and assistants were even aware that letters were sent about the audit's late August deadline. (11 Aug 15)
What don't they forget?
Al, Vince: does the county health plan cover this type of forgetfulness?
RANTS that today's county agenda planning meeting demonstrated the depths of pitiful confusion that 2 of Fayette's 3 county commissioners have, while
trying to perform their routine jobs.
From Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky forgetting today that there was a unanimous vote to replace something as significant as the widely-known
problematic and worn courthouse phone system, through the CoStars program, to Zapotosky's undeserved snip at the poor Advent phone rep, asking
whether his presentation included an unnecessary competitive bid, their poor memories needed jump started.
If all that weren't embarrassingly bad enough, RANTS that Ambrosini could not recall -- and actually denied -- getting a political campaign contribution from
the Chevron Employees Political Action Committee, funded entirely by Chevron money from Chevron officials. While we know that he "forgot" for a few years
to include $34,000 worth of personal loans from 2010-11 to his campaign committee and included this "forgotten" information for the first time as debt only in
late 2014, his most recent campaign reports show that Chevron dollars, indeed, were donated to him as well.
RANTS that the troublesome forgetfulness didn't end there.
RANTS that both men "forgot" that talks started much earlier with Chevron over leasing a county park than they recalled or wanted to admit, as citizens
questioned whether the Sunshine Act was breached. RANTS that the truth was stated, only after a citizen questioned the men for dates and copies of the
correspondences were reviewed at the public meeting.
That said, it was still painful to hear that both men were clueless and unable to name a single project targeted to receive Act 13 funds. It's hard to find fault
with the scorned minority commissioner for not rattling off the answers for them. Here at Rants&Raves, the question sometimes was asked, what would
happen if she just shut up and stopped providing all those little helpful tutorials to them on what's next. Today, the public saw the scenario play out, and it
wasn't pretty, with the commish chair asking for help.
If all that isn't bad enough, too, the duo "forgot" what was read and agreed on just 3 months ago in regards to Astorino and K2 Engineering's work on the
downtown jail plan. The agenda item to include advancing that project did not gain approval to be included on next week's agenda. The duo, you see, needs
more time to read.
RANTS that they didn't have the you know what to just say no, if that's how they feel.
On a very positive note, readers, RAAAAAAVES that everyone now seems, these days, to be aware of the Sheepskin Trail. Not that long ago, some county
officials and the county engineer planning the Dunbar Township jail ignored its existence entirely and its status as a park . (11 Aug 15)
"Quotes Of The Day" brought to us by today by the proud cooperative sponsors from
Positive Job Enhancement Retraining Kickback Program (PosJERK) and Services for the Chronically Dazed & Confused of SWPA
"Lets get this straight. Al Ambrosini thumbed his nose at each and every one of us and did not take even his primary paid role seriously as a
commissioner, when he did not come in to work on this year's budget, but had aaaaaaaaaample time to gather political contributions from
county vendors and contracted county professionals... and, of course, we know Zap has missed a lot of work since he has been in office.
"More times than not, they came to meetings unprepared and prematurely, without doing their due diligence on important county issues.
They've had to be stopped in their ignorant tracks from acting illegally or prematurely by Zimmerlink or the solicitor more times than not on key
issues. How many times did matters have to be continued until the next meeting because they didn't read and push enough paper?
"Now to excuse their chronic absence records, today they slap Zimmerlink on the radio by chuckling and by saying a commissioner can't sit in
an office pushing paper 8 hours a day. Do they really believe that people are (expletive) stupid?"
Pete, listening to the AM talk radio show
"They're counting on it!"
Meanwhile, back in Oz....
"I've never seen such well-groomed animals."
Al Ambrosini, giving the radio listening audience his compelling insider take on how spiffy the farm animals at the county fair appeared to him
RANTS that Billy Price reports that he and his band will not be performing at the big festival in downtown Uniontown later this month. The long-time R&B
singer, who probably played Uniontown for the first time with the late Roy Buchanan at the State Theater, became a fixture for years at the Highland House
with his first solo band, The Keystone Rhythm Band.
While Price and his current line up of finely polished veteran performers -- guitarist Steve Delach, ace bass guitarist Tom Valentine (Glenn Pavone and the
Cyclones, Bill Toms and Hard Rain), drummer Dave Dodd (James King & The Usual Suspects, Jill West, Toms), keyboard player Jimmy Britton, and tenor
saxophonist Eric DeFade (2x grammy winner, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw Big Band, Rosemary Clooney, Rick Witkowski, B.E. Taylor) -- played together
recently at a July 4 festival in Connellsville, Price said the Uniontown festival promoter cancelled the band because the band's price to play exceeded what
the promoter wished to pay.
Price confirmed, however, that he nor the band cancelled on their fans for any other reason. A brief check in on the festival's website today showed no
While R&R can't tell readers who is appearing, sadly, there is this note of who was cancelled. RANTS! RANTS! RANTS! (10 Aug 15)
Italian readers invade website for more burgh music information
RAVES that the mailing list readers from Italy just about crashed this site, with hits to read the below items and to read or re-read old copy from 8-11-year-old
Sunday Lively Arts pages about Pittsburgh musicians.
RAVES, too, that some local political junkies clicked on the blue link below and discovered some burgh music that they heard for the very first time.
Pittsburgh musicians really are treated like royalty in Italy and Spain. RAVES to all those who write to say how fortunate we are here that we can go see
these bands just about anytime we want.
Please support our talented local musicians. Too many are now gone to take the ones left for granted.
Bill Toms, Hard Rain, Soulville Horns to perform free outdoor show
RAVES that Pittsburgh rocker Bill Toms had another memorable tour of 9 Italian cities in 10 days, is back home and planning, with his mighty, mighty band,
Hard Rain and the Soulville Horns, a free outdoor show this week, guaranteed to please, on Pittsburgh's South Shore River Front Park.
Please click here for a special page of photos, music links and information on the free 6 PM - 8 PM outdoor extravaganza, planned on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
(9 Aug 15)
Zap to HS editor: I was taught never getting into a blank contest
with a skunk so I won't at this time
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a mention here that a second Fayette County commissioner has taken the local paper editorial page editor to task
in the past week or so. To read Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince Zapotosky's letter to the editor, please click here.
Note: Rants&Raves publishes the unedited text of his letter "exactly as is" published online at heraldstandard.com today. (9 Aug 15)
Uniontown man wages a write-in campaign for county commissioner seat
Jon Jones of Uniontown has begun a write-in campaign in November's general election to be one of the next county commissioners.
The young man, just a few credits shy from graduating from Bucknell University, said that he wants prison reform, including a new jail and better
care and focus for the county jail inmates, who eventually are released back into the community. He also calls for county educational reform.
"How many students graduate from Uniontown, from Laurel Highlands, Albert Gallatin or Fraizer High Schools who can't read or write?
"There's no reason that the school day should just be a formality to be able to participate in your extracurricular activities in the afternoon. We can do better
than that. We have the educators ready and waiting, and our youth certainly has the potential for more," he said on Friday.
As a county commissioner, Jones said that he " would try at all times to avoid any actions that would bring unnecessary costs or stresses" to Fayette. He
addresses a need for transparency and accountability of government.
"We have plenty of projects currently active and probably too many planned for the future, given the states of our neighborhoods. I want to know
what each municipality in the county needs in order to try to breathe some life back into this historic land.
"I want to give each and every one of us our voices back. We have the right to a say in how our government serves us -- it's time we remembered that,
before we've gone mute," he said.
To read more about this young man's desire to give back to his community with his service, please visit his campaign website. (9 Aug 15)
Editor's note: a Right To Know request is sent to the courthouse to obtain all correspondences from county officials, staff or representatives and to and
from one another and Chevron reps, concerning the proposed drilling plan at the county-owned Masontown-German Park. (8 Aug 15)
With not even 1 mere minute of public discussion?
Zap and Ambro have the 5-year Chevron lease ready
RANTS, that at this late stage in their political careers, after accusing one another of bid rigging and being called out by media lawyers, left and right,
for violating the Sunshine Act, the two Democratic Fayette County commissioners have not learned their lessons. The Dysfunctional Duo -- aka Al
Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky -- seem to be mixing a toxic brew with the hush, hush deal with Chevron.
While the Dysfunctional Duo conducted their private talks for weeks with Chevron, and said that no "deal" has been struck outside a public meeting, a
fairly extensive, detailed, 12-page lease is prepared and ready to go for Tuesday's agenda meeting. The meeting agenda, posted to the county website,
includes, as an attachment, the drafted, unsigned lease between the county and Chevron, for 125 acres of the Masontown-German Park for fracking.
While posted signs at the park state that it is a community conservation partnership program, with funding assistance from the Keystone Recreation
Park and Conservation Fund, and administered by the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, PA Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources, it is unknown whether the Dysfunctional Duo or any county representative consulted with those state entities about the matter.
The proposed deal became known after 2 weeks, only when the county solicitor thought to inform the minority commissioner of it, by copying email to
RANTS that the Dysfunctional Duo often have created unnecessarily long, 3-4 hour county meetings, by not sharing information with the minority
commissioner, by being unprepared, by failing miserably to do their jobs, by not adequately performing their due diligence and by bringing matters
prematurely to the table at a county meeting for a vote.
RANTS because this is probably going to be yet another one of those unnecessary, nightmare times. (7 Aug 15)
RANTS that a computer IP number -- pulled from a social media public discussion board for containing some of the filthiest, vulgar, sexist and
down right putrid language directed cowardly and anonymously at two citizens with fairly good records as social activists against political corruption -- likely
belongs to an elected official, or someone trusted enough to use that home computer.
RAVES to this site's Webguy, who screens emails and messages coming in, for noticing that the culprit IP number, 18.104.22.168, noted by one of those
women in an email here, seemed awfully familiar to him.
RAVES that Webguy noted that the IP with Potty Mouth is only 1 digit off the last number of one of this site's most frequent readers, as this site's web traffic
data shows. Webguy and four other computer geeks consulted unanimously agree with web information about IPs that an IP's last digit can have a 3-digit
range for multiple computers running in a residence.
Then deletes her online comments
Local editor takes unmanly*, cheap shot at Zimmerlink
RANTS that a local editor apparently does not thoroughly read his own paper's articles before editorializing with his foot in his mouth, 0misinformation and
bias. Today's edition contains a most unmanly, pathetically cheap shot at Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, for not being physically present in the
conference room when Commissioner Vince Zapotosky announced he's not running for a third term in office.
RANTS that in today's editorial on heraldstandard.com, "The End," the editor writes, "It was interesting that Zimmerlink was nowhere to be found at
Zapotosky’s announcement and didn’t answer a newspaper request via email for a comment. However, Ambrosini did show up and praise Zapotosky for his
Nowhere to be found, eh? Why deliberately, willfully, intentionally try to give readers a false impression that someone is held up in her office pacing, pissed
off and/or throwing darts at her fellow commissioners' photos, stubbornly holding out, refusing to attend?
Why stir the pot, kids? Kicks? Bias? Ignorance? Kicks?
Before anything was ever written at all about Zapotosky's unwillingness to file a few years worth of campaign expense reports in order to be able to hold
office in 2016... and before his subsequent announcement not to run in November, that publication's staff were aware that Zapotosky did not want Zimmerlink
to know he was even holding any news conference.
Please click here to read, side-by-side, that publication's three published pieces on this matter, starting with the first piece, a
breaking news item Tuesday, followed by the full story of the news event, and then today's editorial. (4 Aug 15)
*Thank you, Norman Nardini!
Editor's Note: Thank you, readers, for sending reminders that Chevron had already previously contributed to Commissioner Al Ambrosini's
political campaign. (3 Aug 15)
Al and Vince in secret talks with Chevron for 2 weeks?
RANTS that Commissioners Al Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky appear for 2 weeks to have been having secret, back room chats with Chevron officials about
setting up operations at a Masontown public park, without mentioning this to the third commissioner or public.
Today, during an AM radio talk show, Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink stated that the county solicitor copied her on an email just yesterday, stating that the
gents want a Chevron-related item put on the county agenda for the next meeting.
Whether it's a good versus bad idea to want to link Chevron operations to a community park remains to be seen. RANTS, though, that the manner in which
the 2 men are conducting business for 2 weeks is too reminiscent of their past Sunshine breaches for comfort.
How long will it be before that company is contributing to political campaigns, if checks were not already put in the mail? (3 Aug 15)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"How long do you think it will take till (Fayette County Commissioner Al) Ambrosini announces another no-bid land deal and another site for a jail in Dunbar
Township or closer to Connellsville? Tomorrow? Next week?"
Pete, this morning at the diner
"He's not the chairman anymore. He can't do that."
"How long do you think it will take (Fayette County Commission Chairman Vince) Zapotosky to schedule a reorganization meeting and nominate Al as
chairman again? Come on, those guys already have it all planned out. We're back to illegal meetings, back room deals and secrets. Bid rigging back on!"
Zap takes the low road, announcing departure from public office
RANTS that Commissioner Vince Zapotosky chose to take the low road when announcing this afternoon that he is not seeking another term in office as an
Independent candidate. Zapotosky, who left the Democratic party after announcing last year that he was privy to county bid rigging and withdrew his support
for a no-bid $1.25 million dollar land deal and new $32 million jail in Dunbar Township that he said actually would cost over $40 million, called the job
In announcing his decision not to seek another term in office, Zapotosky renewed his dedication to Commissioner Al Ambrosini and chose to blast
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for not always supporting all things that he and Ambrosini want to fund. The sounds that some of us heard this afternoon
most likely were the sounds of the late Frank Mascara rolling in his grave, from disappointment in the low road actions that his former aide Zapotosky took
Zapotosky, who served 2 terms in office, in more recent years has had several emotional outbursts during public meetings, and was photographed, in widely
distributed pictures taken over a five-day span, sent to blogs and newspapers, leaving a drug treatment outpatient clinic, driving and storing a county-owned
Malibu vehicle at his home 14 months ago.
Zapotosky also failed to submit candidate campaign expense reports in recent years and was taken to court in Westmoreland County twice during his tenure
for not paying campaign expenses. A $4,170 judgment was placed against him 10 months ago for unpaid campaign expenses to West Media Group for
campaign signs. Eight months ago, the matter advanced to a certified judgment to Common Pleas Court.
RANTS that he foolishly chose the low road, without class, to announce his retirement from public office. He knows Zimmerlink's vote record and that they
agreed more often than not. What a shame to end a political career with those unnecessary cheap shots that he sent her way. (3 Aug 15)
From a 2013 incident in the county jail
$4,000 monthly gig for Al's political campaign contributor didn't
stop this federal suit filed against the county
RANTS that the county has yet another federal lawsuit against it, from a former food service provider employee, who supposedly had the royal crap beat out
of her inside the county jail by a county employee. Back in 2013, when the incident happened, county detectives and the DA did not pursue charges against
the corrections officer. As per 2013 news stories, the warden was quoted as saying the tiff was "more verbal" and that the two "were not engaged in a fist
As per the suit from the food service worker filed against the county, the food service worker claims to have nearly $200,000 of medical expenses from
injuries to her spine, hip, head, brain, knee, chest, shoulders and eye, as a result of an attack.
Although no criminal charges were filed at the time, the former food service provider cancelled its contract with the county, saying its workers' safety was in
jeopardy at the jail.
More troublesome even than the extent of the alleged injuries is the woman's claims that jail staff intentionally turned off cameras and that other jail staff
encouraged the alleged attack, allegedly aware that the woman was locked in an area for an attack.
With all the money spent on a $4,000 per month legal contract gig for a political campaign contributor and broken vows that the expense would decrease the
county's lawsuits, this new case really takes the cake. (3 Aug 15)
So much for Al wanting 'to help people' 2 years ago
County to provide inmate yard downtown for sunshine
RAVES that the county's ad finally ran in publication, seeking bids for fencing to construct a high security mini mesh fencing system at the main
inmate yard at the Fayette County Prison. The county, as readers here well know, was cited in prison inspections for not having inmates
outside for sunshine on a daily basis.
As per the classified notice that was published in recent days in the newspaper, the county will accept bids for the fencing through August 20.
RANTS that the county took no prior action and long ignored the need for this fencing while the jail debate took center stage for 2 years.
RANTS because so few ever seriously bought the sincerity of the former commish chair's 2013 repetitive plea, that he wanted to help people.
The ad would have run 2 years ago, if that were the case.
Commissioner Al Ambrosini's delayed actions in this matter spoke so much louder than did his insincere, empty words. (2 Aug 15)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"So I head that Sean Cavanagh told AM talk radio listeners that he would have some citizens removed from a public meeting
if the citizens violate a public speaking policy -- i.e., continue to speak after exceeding an alloted amount of time to speak, or if the citizen
would be deemed to be inappropriately behaving."
Pete, late, late night at an all-night eatery, referring to the former commissioner's new campaign and radio appearance
"Do you think he really would have Mrs. Mazza hauled out of a meeting, for going over the allowed time, especially if she were angry with
"Oh, and what about (Fayette County Housing Authority) Bev Beal -- what if she returned to speak at another commissioners meeting to ask
that good people be placed on county boards and authorities, and, what if, she were mad at Sean -- say in the hypothetical future -- for giving
Harry Fike another term on that board?"
Pete's wife, chiming in, since Cavanagh is always complimentary of Beal and her long years of service on FCHA's authority
"Don't you think that he would have to have his brother (a frequent public speaker at county meetings) escorted out, if his brother violated the
public speaking policy?"
Is this the fund to tap to pay campaign contributors extra money in controversial no-bid county copier contract?
Can the warden get his extra staff before Al and Vince misspend $500,000
saved on out of county jail rentals on whatever else they please?
RAVES of hope that the county commissioners will increase the number of jail staff, treatment staff, or competent contractors in that capacity,
with the money saved from budgeted jail expenses for out of county rentals, if no sudden spikes in jail overtime allow it. At this point in late
July, there is about one-half million dollars still budgeted for 2015 out of county jail cell rentals. RAVES of hope that if the trend continues
another quarter, that at least one or two more positions are created. By the end of the year, if another quarter continues way under budget,
maybe consider another hire.
RANTS, though, that overtime could kill the possibility. On 1,282 times between Jan. 1 and May 30, only 117 times did part-time staff accept
shifts in 1,280 opportunities to work. RANTS that calls to 1,032 of those 1,282 calls went unanswered. RANTS that the county isn't looking to
employment agencies or temporary staff employers for guards or jail staff to answer the calls for as needed, part-time work. When is the last
time the county ran an ad for part-time, as needed jail staff?
Why isn't the union screaming to hire part-timers who want to work and can work? (30 Jul 15)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"Sure, it is unwise, inappropriate and down-right stupid for any county commissioner or anyone not employed or not appointed in an official
government engineering capacity, to offer his or her engineering background 'expertise' to potential future employers when conducting current
Opinion of 2 of 4 lawyers surveyed yesterday from the website mailing list
"You make too much of this."
Lawyer #3, checking Choice C, on the multiple choice survey to increase odds of having solicited opinion questions answered
"Perhaps you don't make too much of this!"
Lawyer #3, a few hours later in voice mail, after viewing a few video recordings of official public meetings, when the one offering his free
engineering expertise as a county government operations official:
"Only 3 out of county prisoners again this month!"
Us here, smiling, as out of county jail rental costs decrease -- so drastically that the county jail warden seems comfortable enough, with the
effectiveness of the specialized courts and day reporting center and drop in prison population, to ask that more in-house help be hired with the
savings to date in 2015.
Bias shows even in routine, day to day matters
Paper gives false picture that Ambrosini voted for the AEDs
RAVES of chuckles galore, seeing Commissioner Al Ambrosini hop to it and take full advantage of a photo op in today's local paper,* showing off the new
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) that he did not vote to approve purchase of for the county.
RANTS that Ambrosini, Commissioner Vince Zapotosky and the local paper writer who covers county government seemed to have forgotten or consciously
ignored the fact that someone else, who voted for the AED device purchase, should have been, but was not invited to be in the photo, when the gents
vogued for the camera. Zapotosky and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink approved the purchase of the AEDs.
RAVES, however, that all county buildings will have the AED devices handy if needed in a health emergency. No thanks to Ambrosini, though. (28 Jul 15)
"Fayette commissioners purchase AEDs for county buildings," heraldstandard.com
CYS building addition: how much did December foul ups cost?
RANTS that the county's Children and Youth Services building addition project is so miserably beyond its original target dates, given how over-crowded the
tiny building is. RANTS that the staff are packed in like sardines and will continue to be so pressed for space for another 6 months, because of poor
engineering project management from the start.
Readers here recall that the architect/engineer project manager in December of 2014 verbally told some construction bidders at a pre-bid conference that the
deadline to submit was extended, but failed to legally re-advertise the extension to all contractors. The unprofessional verbal extension or lack of
professional follow up to legally re-advertise an extension resulted in a delay and bids being returned to contractors.
When county commissioners in mid-February approved contracts with Yarborough Development Inc. of McKeesport for general construction, Controlled
Climate Systems Inc., for mechanical construction and Anderson Plumbing of Export for plumbing, the county project manager, Rob Sleighter of Sleighter
Engineering, said that the project would be underway in 4 to 6 weeks.
RANTS that the CYS building addition project just broke ground last week, just days away from the start of August. RANTS for all the foul ups early on in
this project, as each month the foul ups cost the county money, paying rent for overflow workers set in a temporary Hopwood CYS satellite office.
The rain can be blamed only so much, since hotels and other construction in the nearby industrial park and around the county didn't come to a screeching
halt for 8 months. (27 Jul 15)
Dad of county jail deputy warden named
Feds release name of 1 of several Caucasians from May 5th
heroin money laundering bust
On Friday, the FBI released more information and the name of one of several well-known Caucasians rounded up on May 5, when 11 search warrants were
served in the county.
Joe Croftcheck, long-time Uniontown area businessman and father of a Fayette County Prison deputy warden, is the sole Caucasian named so far in the
most recent federal notification, released 2 days ago. The feds issued a notice of forfeiture regarding the large sum of cash, $930,000, seized from
Croftcheck's home and pockets on May 5.
To date, all other names have been of persons have been non-Caucasians, with no consistent day jobs or legitimate income to account for their large
stashes of seized cash, luxury homes or vehicles.
It is unknown at this time if or when the feds will release the names of the other Caucasian elected officials, prominent citizens and businessmen rounded up
2 months ago. (26 Jul 15)
RAVES to having a quiet night interrupted with a sky full of 10 PM unexpected fireworks this late in July. RAVES that a second fireworks set off site, a
distance down the road, started simultaneously to expand the sky show for the grand finale. RAVES to being miles away, but still enjoying every
surprise minute of it. (25 Jul 15)
"Quote Of The Day" on how to
pull a legally binding county contract and give it to your political campaign
donor without resolution and how to draw a lawsuit for breach of contract, 101
* the county requests for service calls were minimal
* all service calls were responded to with county ok/sign off
* ComDoc needs (not the county IT) but tax claim, to contact our off site server vendor and has been waiting on tax claim
* county failed to give required 30 day notice
* county met with ComDoc 2-3 weeks seeking pricing for additional 5 years never mentioning dissatisfaction
* new pricing of other vendor more costly
* county shared proposal of ComDoc with other vendor
adherence to its terms and meeting with them for extension and getting a proposal then having county staff meet with a competitor.
"The county failed to adhere. The solicitor asked for and did not receive any notice given to ComDoc from any the county yet writes to
ComDoc saying they failed to fix the problems."
Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, as written in an online reader comment of hers, following a newspaper story* that she said left "much
out, as to ComDoc's position and claims," after the other 2 commissioners pulled its copier contract and gave it without proposals being
sought to another company that donated to both of their political committees
*heraldstandard.com, "Commissioners opt to stay with Dunbar firm for copier maintenance"
Why the mistakes in the first place?
RANTS that a county commissioner has to provide online reader comment corrections for news stories about county government business
containing misinformation or untruths.
Crack of dawn readers, who stomached today's "Fayette County delays vote to upgrade fleet" story in the Trib and heraldstandard.com's
"Commissioners delay action for vehicle fleet management," about that vehicle fleet issue and others raised at Tuesday's county meeting,
might have missed the several online clarifications, well worth reading, from the minority commissioner.
Please check those added comments at these mentioned links. RANTS when we can't even count on media for correct basic info, such as
who's really present or not present during a public meeting. (22 Jul 15)
Fay a big step closer to bankruptcy?
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that the county of Fayette may be 1 step closer to being bankrupt, as the Federal courts have given the go ahead to
a civil suit from a former prisoner, who spent 27 years incarcerated for a murder after prosecutors withheld evidence from the jury and courts.
That the case occurred during the time prior to the county being covered with insurance to pay out settlements and court costs is a very unsettling thought.
For about the 10th time now, we ask how much is 27 years of someone's life worth?
The answer is debatable but a sure answer is more than the county can pay without going bankrupt. (20 Jul 15)
Springsteen surprise walk on for burgh band pals
RAVES that Bruce Springsteen must have been going stir crazy Saturday, needed to get out of the house and headed over to Asbury Park's
wonderful Wonder Bar, to walk on stage and play for 2 sweet hours, with Pittsburgh's Joe Gurshecky and the mighty Houserockers.
RAVES because they can't stop meeting like that every once in a while. Usually, those little outings get Springsteen jonesing for more and later provide for
us with The Music Sickness a show or two here or there at special little venues, such as Soldiers & Sailors, to get our Music Sickness fix.
That all said, RAVES to the local rockers for getting mention on national tv today -- or sort of. On "The Today Show," Kathy Lee Gifford voiced over video of
Bruce walking on stage 2 days ago at the Wonder Bar, struggled with the name Grushecky, excitedly said, 'if there's anyone you'd want to see walk on stage
as a surprise..." and shocked all dropped mouths here when she finished her thought, that it would be James Taylor or Sting.
Sting, maybe, if he were walking on in surprise behind Springsteen and a few others first. (20 Jul 15)
Area notables helping illegal immigrants: next feature story?
News paper article most likely to win journalism awards next time around
RAVES, on one genuinely sincere hand to the impressive efforts of investigative reporting and photo journalism, to an area paper for its piece today on paid
Americans helping to smuggle illegal immigrants to this country. RAVES to being wowed when reading morning print media news. Seems we're so rarely
given enough opportunities or instances of being wowed. The highly interesting and well put together article at the above link is certainly worthy of any best
of 2015 news writing and photography awards that it seems destined already to receive.
But RANTS to irony. Not one word to follow in any way is about the above blue link on paid American citizen "coyottes" who coordinate the smuggling and
care of illegal immigrants into this county. Please don't lose sight of that fact. Here's, however, why there's irony, after folding the paper and putting it down
after being impressed with the respectful talents of the people responsible for today's article.
The irony of a paper paying some of its top writers and photographers to travel extensively over 1,900 miles outside this county to write about smuggling
illegals into America was impossible to miss. Will the paper realize it already should be sitting on a follow up story, on what became of this or that illegal
immigrant now that he has been successfully sheltered, living comfortably, all things considered, in Fayette County for a few years, with the help of well-
known community leaders and elected officials?
Considering that beat, news, feature writers and most of their editors, across the board of most area publications, ignore what definitely goes on right now, in
well coordinated non-profit social programs in Fayette County, likely not.
It's no secret that donation-only funded groups, receiving no tax or public funds, coordinate the pairing of a local respectable citizens to help illegal
immigrants and their scattered families regroup in Fayette.
One such group that serves illegal immigrants locally has immediate household and family ties to an elected official living in Fay. That's no secret. No photo
op was missed over it, but, of course, not disclosing the whole story.
What is a secret is why the advocates for the ones who find a small town army of volunteers willing to help conceal their illegal status won't rock the boat.
Why not, if they really want to help?
They should be the loud-mouth advocates to the federal government, to expedite the green card or naturalization process, for the guys they've help conceal,
in tight local living quarters for a few years, for help with language, social and other barriers.
RANTS that the locals heralded as leaders don't quite have it in them to take an honorable stand and ask for the illegals they've personally helped so far, for
some time in Fayette, to become legal.
Why is there no willingness on their parts to attest outside of back rooms to the character and goodness of the illegals?
Some illegals, who legitimately work very hard in local businesses and can now afford nicer places to live, other than shacks they've called home for
a few years without their geographically scattered families, want to start their American Dream of having employers deduct taxes and contribute.
RANTS -- in spite of all the help they've had from community leaders and elected officials for a year or longer -- that the only option to staying in tight-
quartered housing with scattered families as status quo for probably a few more years of red tape, is to pay a large sum to buy green cards or citizenship
Some much better off than illegals just landing, of course, still can't afford to buy their way in from their own limited savings. A few high profit businesses that
benefit from illegal immigrant labor and work force know exactly what we're talking about here. They have grown used to helping financially to pay to get their
work force legal. Small businesses, meanwhile, can't contribute financially to paying to have staff become legal. It's easier for them to gamble that they won't
get caught and fined the $10,000 per offense for employing one illegal.
Why do the area do gooders, helping to support the underground illegal immigrant network by introducing illegals to small business owners, not care about
that? (19 Jul 15)
Editor's Note: Please see Friday's heraldstandard.com for an article about Tree of Life's decision to sell its building.
Guardian angels on Carson Street
RAVES to being on the opposite side of the street, but still just within inches from where the pieces of crane being hauled on East Carson Street this morning
flew from the back of the turning rig and crashed to the street.
RAVES for that unplanned pull over to take a quick call and being taken out of the direct path of what would likely have been the crash of tons of heavy metal
that could have flattened us and the vehicle like a pancake. RAVES to guardian angels. (15 Jul 15)
Pittsburgh publication honors Uniontown's Tree of Life congregation
RAVES to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, for publishing its very special front-page article on the congregation of Uniontown's Tree of Life
and its most difficult decision, to sell its building later this month to a nearby church.
While the area once was home to over 500 Jewish families, only 30 members of Tree of Life's congregation are left. Please read the article,
"With only old-timers left, Uniontown’s Tree of Life makes ‘sad’ decision to sell." (13 Jul 15)
Infatuation or crime?
Too long on the bench, in the sun? Does he have 'infatuations', too?
RANTS that you know there just have to be more grown adults in our midst cruising the web -- or however they would meet and greetyoung
teen heroin addicts for sex, if they weren't drug officers -- because a magistrate made it right, by thumbing his nose at what a grand jury and
state attorney general first had to say about how the defendant should be charged and tried.
RANTS that the retired Somerset County judge holding court in Fayette reduced cruising for 15 year olds and giving them a Sweet 16 cookie
before sex to being "an infatuation" and dropped some of the charges a former policeman faced in regard to his infamously bizarre sexual
relationship with a teen informant. RANTS that this happened, not against the county district attorney office that has lost too many key cases,
but before prosecution led by the state Attorney General's office.
RANTS that the judge gave more pathetic, grown, middle-aged adults the goofy AOK blessing and sinful reinforcing push in the wrong
direction, to go be just as disgusting and shamefully victimize even more and more kids, too! (11 Jul 15)
"Quotes Of The Day"
"So is this the moral of the story? If you and I had legitimate day jobs that paid upwards of $200,000-400,000 or more per year, that you and I could profit
splendidly and supplement our incomes by laundering heroin money... aaaaand not have our homes and assets fed tapped and seized?"
Dave, at an undisclosed location, to someone who insists on being unidentified and completely anonymous for his quote to publish
Main Street gossip hurting city's image?
With legal letters sent and a few stories and subsequent "news" corrections run in the local paper, a conflict between 2 area public-funded entities charged
with bringing progress, redevelopment and our kids' fiscal tomorrows seems to be brewing and needs quick resolution.
One needs not have an MBA and 39 years of experience working in the corporate business world to sense that this type of Main Street bickering is
unwise and not remotely positive or good for the city of Uniontown and the county.
Those with MBA degrees with 39 years of experience, however, do believe the recent controversy is but another example of why the region's image
is what it is and turns off some smaller to mid-size corporations considering relocation here.
"It is sad commentary to read about the bickering and then the after thought spins to minimize the conflict.
"Your county has a history of solicitors acting alone," one such retired business source said today, referencing county legal reps who petitioned courts or
appeals courts in prison zoning matters, without the knowledge or direction from county officials.
"Is that what's going on there now in this case? Or is the solicitor trying to do the best he can with what little he has to work with?" he asked.
"The city seems to have a legal right to get those documents that it requested," he said, adding that the groups, charged with making the city and county seat
a better place, need to get their act together today. (7 Jul 15)
No surprise here why one official has to write a letter to the ed
to get message out about inappropriate, no bid contracts
RANTS that a county commissioner has to pen a letter to the editor to get even a mere whiff of a message across of bid rigging or breaches in the county
codes for purchase and contracting.
A letter to heraldstandard.com today from Commissioner Angela ZImmerlink tells of a county copier contract being pulled at the last county commissioners'
meeting and given without bidding to another company. The CEO of the new vendor contributed to both political campaigns of Commissioners Al Ambrosini
and Vince Zapotosky.
While this copier contract matter was discussed openly at the last public meeting, only a mere mention was made once in one of the regional papers and
nothing in the county seat paper.
Where the heck are the outraged editorials over this matter? Seriously, how can the editors and writers pick and choose with bias so often the
subjects they rant about and ignore, with benign neglect, the real corruption going on in the county?
Is censoring the news and editorials done as personal favors? Out of personal bias? Or is the media really tangled up in bed with corruption here
and is there something else worse going on to censor the news and editorial content?
It has to be one of these options, as nobody can challenge and say bid rigging of any kind is not a newsworthy subject.
Zimmerlink's letter today also describes the other disputed contract from that last meeting. A new transportation contract, of course, was awarded, after the
original contractor submitted higher bids. The other two commissioners for an hour leaned towards awarding it anyway to the higher bid. Ambrosini changed
his mind and voted for the new transportation contract, but only after Zimmerlink paused to say at the meeting to the solicitor that she would contact the
federal government if the bids were rejected and put out for bid again.
As per today's letter, Zimmerlink says she did submit a request for a review of the copier contract matter. RAVES to her for that. (5 Jul 15)
"Quote Of The Day"
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be
celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by
solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells,
bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
John Adams, in a letter to his wife, written on the third of July, the day after the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the
legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain and a day prior to the Declaration of Independence was edited and
approved on the fourth day of July that year; Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, the only 2 signers of the Declaration to go on to
become president, both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe became the third president in a row to die on the holiday, in 1831.
Trib newsboy way out of the loop
RANTS to the Trib newsboy for placing the downtown jail project on the "watch" list" and for throwing Al Ambrosini's incorrect words back at us,
on tomorrow's editorial page. RANTS that the newsboy even thinks that the proposed cost downtown is the same as the shelved Dunbar Township prison
It was established long ago that the proposed $32 million shelved industrial jail complex was actually more of a $40+ million project.
Why didn't the Trib newsboy know?
The thinking public knows that the shelved plan did not include the price of expensive land from a no-bid land deal, sewage, all pyrite treatment and non-
pyrite related land preparation exceeding $1 million and change, an amount covered and included in that 2013 quote of $32 million. (2 Jul 15)
"Quote Of The Day" on correctly calling media's most predictable next move
"Breakfast is on me today. You won the bet, fair and square! I was wrong. The Sub-Standard didn't wait till Sunday to publish its propaganda."
Pete, this morning to Dave at the diner, reading an editorial today encouraging voters not to vote for commissioners who opted to suspend jail staff 6 months
ago, an editorial that he believed would have been saved for its Sunday hard copy
"Here's to the commissioners who showed good sense to sever ties with Felice (former county human resource contractor). The public is smarter than some
who write editorials."
Dave, responding in between his last bites of a healthy egg white and veg omelet, without toast, raising his cup of decaf to those who Felic
So the media does care sometimes?
Fayette's BS records policy shot down
RAVES that the Courier/Trib's ordeal with obtaining Fayette court records was added yesterday to a popular Trib Total Media blog and that up
to 200,000 more of the paper's readers may now know about it.
RANTS, still, all things considered, that in other even far more newsworthy instances, when big-time news was handed easily on a platter and
spoon fed during public meetings -- i.e., Commissioner Vince Zapotosky last year stating that a bid rigging scheme had been going on with the
shelved Dunbar Township jail, citizens proving on multiple occasions that elected officials lied in statements to the public and media, etc. --
that not a single word was written or published to help expose and possibly end corruption in Fayette County. Not one word. (30 Jun 15)
Come again about those county suspensions
RANTS because current-day straight news is especially confusing sometimes for those with sharp memory recall ability. This is one of those
times. Here is what so many say they recalled before reading the paper today:
to the prison board,” said (former human resource director) Dominick Carnicella, in a Jan. 12 report to board members obtained by the
Herald-Standard*. “Failing to timely report matters has resulted in delays in receiving instruction from the prison board and (human
resources) and in addressing prison safety, security and personnel actions.”
Following that above HR quote, the January article continued to quote a human resource memo that it somehow gained possession of,
and informed readers -- some, again, with sharp memory recall skills -- that the warden and deputy warden had been “counseled” on prior
occasions regarding the disclosure of incidents, and received an official reprimand in May (2014) for a similar matter.
Those with sharp memory recall also remember that January's morning paper informed us that the deputy warden also received an
official reprimand in May (2014) for failing to timely report matters. Even those without sharp memory recall somehow remember this
from the January news story:
(Deputy warden) also received a three-day unpaid suspension for disregarding safety rules in June 2013, for having a knife stuck into the
top of his desk in his unlocked office, said Carnicella in the three page report.
Here, on the other hand, is what is published today:
“After investigating the incidents, there was no evidence upon which the warden and deputy had any culpability involving the incidents.”
It's easy, most certainly, to empathize with staff owed back pay. Pay them quickly. It's also very easy to empathize with staff written up for
things they did on days they did not work.
How long really should any investigation have needed to be, if people accused of negligence were not present to be responsible?
In that respect, it's so wise that the former HR entity is history and no longer contracted and no longer putting the county at risk of suits, as this
case has done. For bringing that piece of the story to the public's attention today, the suspended men should be thanked.
But the rest, nah, RANTS that they dare to whine much.
Even if the contracted HR rep screwed them over royally 6 months ago, unwritten policies is a bad subject or a very weak and shameful
reason for these 2 particular men to cry foul. No, not when so many annual prison inspections were so dismal, for the most part, only because
the suspended men did not write administrative jail policies for years of being required to do so. They were negligent for so long, for not
having written policies.
Why did they breeze through this last jail inspection?
Because they finally did part of their overlooked jobs and wrote, yes, finally wrote, those long-neglected missing prison policies needed to get
improved inspection reports and receive less annual state prison inspection deficiencies. How hard is it to send a quick group email, for
goodness sake, to all prison board members when an inmate loses an eye in a jail fight or has been sexually assaulted? ( 30 Jun 15)
* "Prison warden and deputy suspended," Jan 14, 2015, heraldstandard.com
RAVES to getting a second letter to the editor that helps resolve an issue raised in a different first letter. The first letter hurt feelings here and
ranted this column today for not aggressively enough ranting specific writers who help promote "Ambrofables."
RAVES, though, to remarkable timing!
All this as another female airport assistant quits, too!
Airport behind the scenes: drama galore
RANTS that some airport authority members were confused about protocol and shocked to hear that the manager wants to call a special
meeting -- supposedly tomorrow at 5:30 P.M. -- to ask that $100,000 bills be paid now, before a $200,000 line of credit for the hangar project
is open to tap.
Besides the comical behind the scenes drama -- i.e., did an ad of public notice run or not (Yes, yesterday the notice was published.), is the
manager or is he not able to call a meeting or is that reserved for authority decision only, did the $62,000* fee to Sleighter Engineering
increase after the contract was inked, or did the airport authority needlessly waste additional money paying for an unnecessary second
core sample, as one previously was done at the airport -- the situation is pitifully sad.
The authority previously paid former aeronautics guru engineer Michael Baker $18,000 for hangar project designs and switched to
Sleighter Engineering 6 months ago. Recently, a state legislator quietly got involved in the matter, advocating behind the scenes to an
authority member and county commissioner, that the bills be paid now, from the airport's general fund.
Is it any wonder that this Fayette crew is so often the butt of jokes and laughed at, in the real world of aeronautics? (29 Jun 15)
*as per quote in archived "Airport authority seeks line of credit for hangar project," heraldstandard.com
Al would rather do nothing? Seriously?
As the news misinformation mill continues to pump it out
Not just RANTS, but SHAME on heraldstandard.com for the goofy little online headlines such as today's "Commissioners must decide if
remodeling prison is worth $32 million cost," and "Fayette prison renovation price tag comes in with a $32 million price tag." Stories on
the downtown jail project that have run in the paper correctly list all of the new construction areas in the Astorini-Cannon design (two
housing units, food service/kitchen, laundry area and a temporary outdoor recreation yard in a 42,000 square foot space at the rear of the
current prison, new intake/booking area, sally port, staff and public spaces, and medical and visitation areas, adding 13,662 square feet to
That all said, RANTS that a media outlet once again let Commissioner Al Ambrosini make a goofy, unchallenged comment such as he
gave to the paper today, when he went on about how he "would rather we do nothing than proceed with this plan." RANTS that the paper
did not bother to try to answer Ambrosini's ridiculously stupid question that he asked the reporter -- i.e., "How can we consider moving
forward with this project when all we are getting is 128 beds for $32 million?"
RANTS that his reading comprehension and listening skills seem to be so sadly compromised and that misleading headlines and
comments only add to the county's woes. (29 Jun 15)
Politicians torturing kids with cluster seizures
RANTS that parents of children with cluster seizure disorders must beg mercilessly to deaf ears, to have medical marijuana available, in
its chemical oil form, to help improve health and stabilize these horribly miserable grand mal cluster seizure disorders.
RANTS that politics did not deliver the much needed support this month from law makers to make it a reality now. RANTS that kids who
take 12 cluster Grand Mal seizures in 30 hours aren't important enough for politicians of both parties to agree to work together to help
NOW. While it may seem righteous to some lawmakers to offer lip service that the battle can be won next fall, they should have worked
harder to get support for the passage NOW. RANTS because nobody is advocating for Cheech's smoke buzz here.
These are medically fragile little kids who can't be kids at all, because they're always having a seizure, recovering from a seizure,
preparing for the next seizure and down time and trying to fit their lives in the time and space between seizures.
Perhaps some law makers need to take field trips to the hospitals and kids' homes, to review seizure charts and witness first hand why
it's so unkind to expect those kids to have to wait 3-4 more months and endure hundreds of more grand mal cluster seizures in the
meantime for any legislative miracle to help. They shouldn't have to wait till it happens to enough lawmakers' kids or grandchildren to
light a fire under behinds to pass the bills. (28 Jun 15)
Editor's Note: Please click here to read the new Astorino-Cannon downtown jail project report.
Some whining about downtown jail plan costs
RANTS that there's whining about the cost of the downtown jail project. While the once proposed and shelved Dunbar Township prison plan
boasted a price tag of $28-32 million, it did not include costs for sewage, land purchase and any additional costs over the $1 million or so
budgeted for land preparation and pyrite removal.
Since the day it was learned that the price really did not include sewage at the fairgrounds, through the day the Dunbar Township project,
across the field and down the road, was halted, nobody seriously believed that project could possibly come in under $40 million.
That all said, RANTS to Commissioner Al Ambrosini for giving such a reckless quote to the Trib today that went unchallenged. He this week sat
through the presentation from the architect. Didn't he hear that the jail will hold 350 prisoners when it is all done? Why would he say that the
downtown plan is something less of a bargain than was his once-proposed 450 prisoner jail, by saying all $32 million was buying downtown
was 128 cells? Why would he want to mislead and misinform newspaper readers of the fact that downtown's plan holds 350 prisoners, not just
Why, too, would the paper not immediately comment, following the quote, on the true number of inmates who will be housed downtown, so
that Ambrosini wasn't allowed to misinform the public? (26 Jun 15)
To focus on school consolidation?
To detract from bid rigging claims he, Zap hurled?
Was Al told to stop whining about the downtown jail project?
RANTS that Commissioner Al Ambrosini's sudden, quick acceptance of the downtown jail expansion and renovation project seems so sinister
to so many.
Ambrosini, who has been trying mercilessly to undermine the downtown jail project ever since the other two commissioners opted to go in
that direction, suddenly told the newspaper (please refer to below quote) yesterday something positive about the ongoing downtown jail
project planning, leaving us to believe he has made peace with the plan.
Some don't quite believe that Ambrosini's acceptance of the downtown jail project is sincere.
While it is perfectly believable to hear that the county jail warden is pleased as punch with the architectural conceptual drawing -- as this
column previously predicted the warden one day would be supportive of the downtown project , once he saw that it is a most practical plan
that gives him the space he needs the quickest way possible -- Ambrosini's "acceptance" to some seems ordered and insincere.
There is some possibility, yes, that Ambrosini may have been told to give up the jail plan because there now is a much bigger plan in motion
to concentrate on these days. Maybe to focus on school consolidation? There also is possibility that Ambrosini merely said that he has faith in
the professionals planning the downtown project to try to detract from any controversy over him and Commissioner Vince Zapotosky accusing
one another of jail construction bid rigging.
Lets hope that his quote below was said and meant sincerely on Ambrosini's part, that he accepted the professional drawings of the downtown
jail project plan.
Anyone want to bet the farm on it, though? (25 Jun 15)
A drum roll kind of revelation in this "Quote Of The Day"
"I am certainly willing to give Astorino-CannonDesign the benefit of the doubt that this will be a cost-effective, viable project that
will address all the needs of our prison system."
Commissioner Al Ambrosini, in the first intelligent thing he has said in eons, during after meeting quotes, to heraldstandard.com*
today, reacting to the architectural presentation or unveiling of the downtown jail addition/renovation project's preliminary
"It's a good thing he didn't say that in public. People could have fallen over in shock."
Pete, reading online this evening about the presentation of the downtown jail project and Ambrosini's quote above, indicating
Ambrosini's long-opposed view of the downtown project might have changed
* "Architectural firm unveils conceptual designs for prison"
Wants to kick the can onto a federal road?
How much for Mahoney's requested state-wide school study?
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a serious, yet unanswered question begs to be asked.
How much would it cost to conduct a state-wide study of 67 counties, as State Representative Tim Mahoney lobbies is needed, to assess
public school district spending, needs, dismal future funding sources and whether it's feasible to consolidate county school district
administrative departments and duties?
Four years ago, Mahoney's failed attempt to include a referendum question to the county election ballot -- asking whether a county school
consolidation of Fayette's 6 school district administrative entities should occur -- brought forth a chuck of funds, $100,000, to study county
school districts, including $20,000 for media promotion.
Mahoney's recent media blitz, to lobby for a state-wide consolidation of county schools to save about $15-20 million dollars, isn't going to go
If it cost $100,000 four years ago for consultants to study 6 Fayette school districts, what will it cost to study the state's 500 school districts in
the state's 67 counties?
Has public opinion changed on this subject since Mahoney started talking about consolidation years ago? Or is there a big cloud of negativity
over the subject because paid consultants in the education business (different from those in the education field) seem to have the entire plan
already a bit too figured out?
While some in food services and transportation seem to be circling like vultures already in anticipation, perhaps, for a consolidation and hope
that they can become entrepreneurs and clean up, how do the rest of the people feel? It won't matter if enough law makers approve.
consultants to use, repackage and bill excessively for doing so.
While nobody is even hinting at what the districts would look like after a consolidation, the 2011 study should give a few ideas where money
can be saved -- that is, if it actually can be saved.
While Mahoney says recently that a consolidation, in his opinion, could save $15-20 million dollars, a review of the 2011 study of
Fayette school districts touted kicking his elusive can that he often refers to onto a new and federal road, making the can someone
else's job to pick up. Is that federal link really the road he should seek?
The 2011 study touted the unsettling statement that a consolidation of Fayette County's six school districts would increase the
area's childhood educational poverty rate over 25 percent, making a consolidated administrative entity eligible for all four federal
Title 1 grants, or an additional $10 million in funds.
Is that $10 million federal pot of money part of the possible $15-20 million additional funds that Mahoney refers to as savings? Or is that just
more wishful thinking?
Is there really much more than possibly can be saved by building a central administrative building, eliminating 5 administrators and 6
volunteer school boards for 9 highly paid professional board members, eliminating 1 of the 2 vocational training schools and other schools,
eliminating many school cafeteria staff for less trained, lower skilled and paid employees, to serve trucked-in meals to schools serving less
than 300 meals per day?
Some of these measures could very well be necessary. But wouldn't it be easier for a state representative to find more wasted money in all
parts of government spending to help the schools?
For instance, how much extra money would the state have to operate if lawmakers took no per diems? How much, also, do the state senate
and house spend annually to transport a featured guest pastor to the state capital to pray before each work session? Is that not sometimes a
$400 or higher daily operating cost that could be better spent elsewhere?
Couldn't soul searching law makers be just as motivated by a volunteer clergy, or even a paid clergy delivering a daily message via closed
camera, from a state representative or senator's satellite office?
Being a seasoned veteran lawmaker by this time, Mahoney should have no problem spouting off another 10 small areas of pork spending
where money could be saved. If he added all those small sums up, he likely will save more money for education than we will if we start paying
for studies for 67 counties and consolidating the administrative pieces in each county.
Those salivating private contractors in food services and transportation, on the other hand, have solid potential to make a real killing. (22 Jun
Who filed? Who was late? Who still hasn't filed?
30 day out political campaign expense reports
Primary election political candidates who missed yesterday's deadline to submit campaign expense reports to Fayette County's Election
Bureau and did not file reports today include John Terravecchia, who unsuccessfully sought the Democrat nomination in the county coroner's
race, and Michelle Kelley, who ran unsuccessfully for district judge.
Dave Lohr, who is running for county commissioner, filed his report late today and paid a $20 late filing fee, as per Larry Blosser, bureau
While Commissioner Vince Zapotosky broke from the Democratic party and has said he is running as an Independent in November to maintain
his seat, he has not filed candidate expense reports or annual reports that were required since 2012. Blosser said today that all candidates
must have campaign expense reports and fines paid before one can take office.
Zapotosky was sued in Westmoreland County on October 28, 2014, by West Media Group of Latrobe, for his unpaid campaign expenses to that
company. A $4,174.43 judgment was awarded against him for the bad debt. In 2009, the same company took Zapotosky to court for a similar
campaign expense bill of $1,797.95. That particular case was settled in Westmoreland courts, without a judgment order being needed.
For a breakdown of the current 6-18-15 filed candidate reports, please read, "Things out of the ordinary on the 30-day out
political campaign expense reports". (19 Jun 15)
Will Ambrosini rescind his vote?
Zimmerlink: will call the feds if transportation was rebid
RAVES to Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for pausing during today's public meeting to tell the solicitor that she would notify federal
authorities if a controversial transportation contract were rebid.
Today's business was a continuation of a 45-minute discussion last year, when ongoing, unresolved complaints from FACT transportation
administrators fell on deaf ears to the then two Democrat commissioners, who wanted to give the county provider more time to correct
ongoing, long-unresolved deficiencies and rider complaints.
RAVES that Zimmerlink spoke up and Commissioner Al Ambrosini -- whether he realized it or not -- voted also to award the contract to the
lower or lowest bid, to a Greene County bus service.
RANTS that opposition today used "dead miles" as a reason. Don't all transportation companies incur an expense from dead mileage, or
necessary periods of vehicle transit without opportunities to transport fares and make money -- i.e., drives to and from start and end points of
RAVES for doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. It was not possible to forget the county transportation administrators
frustration last year when they wanted to pull the county firm's transportation contract, figuring that they had already then given the provider
ample time to correct the issues.
In follow up to today's meeting, RANTS that some believe Ambrosini may rescind his vote because he didn't understand what was going on --
i.e., or lost track of what he was voting on, when he voted to award the county transportation to the Greene County bus company. (18 Jun 15)
"Audacious Al's Most Arrogant Quote In A Long Time"
that we so wish that Westmoreland official had said instead
"I'm not going to respond to bizarre idiotic comments or wild accusations...There's absolutely no upside to making an intelligent comment to
people with no reasoning skills."
Commissioner Al Ambrosini, by telephone, to heraldstandard.com today, explaining why he refused to answer citizens who asked publicly
why he continued to insist that Commissioner Vince Zapotosky is under some investigation, vaguely reminiscent of "the double, secret
probation" that Pinto and the other fraternity guys in "Animal House" were under; Ambrosini, ignoring citizens' asking to clarify if the DA is
investigating Ambrosini's claims of wrong doing from Zapotosky
"Quote Of The Day," or stuff we couldn't make up, and should
be glad that no Fayette official said
"She's been a discipline problem for the last six months. She violated some guidelines... She was mad because she wasn't promoted. This is
her way of getting back. Maybe I should have fired her.”
Westmoreland County Register of Wills Michael Ginsburg, as per the Tribune-Review, "Harassment suit filed against Westmoreland County
register of wills," not holding back how he really feels, about being sued by a former employee, for sexual harassment and racial bias.
Losing $16 M and serving kids?
What's up at the mountaintop casino?
In spite of reports that this and that one picked up last month in an FBI-led raid are dropping tens of thousands at a clip at the casino and
seemingly unshaken by their losses, the mountain top casino -- that Fayette leaders once hailed as the miracle fund to tap to pay for a new
prison complex -- was said to have recorded a net loss of $16.1 million over the fiscal year.
Not only are there money concerns on the mountain, but yesterday the shocking news was released from the state that another underage
person obtained alcohol on the resort property and illegally gambled at the casino.
One would think that nobody underage would ever get a drop of liquor there again, after the 2011 traffic fatality on the premises involving a
carload of underage kids. One could have only hoped, no? (14 Jun 15)
What's up with the DA?
First, he lost the primary election and there was that FBI-led raid of 11 Fayette sites in a heroin and drug money-laundering raid.
Then, the county district attorney made the news yesterday for having an empty case and questionable court filing methods, resulting in
having to drop charges and offer a lesser plea to a man who injected heroin into his friend and did not attempt to get medical attention for his
friend who died.
Now, today, we learn that a woman acquitted 5 months ago of criminal charges of homicide while driving drunk is now suing the county, the
DA and some state police officers in civil court for not believing that she was a passenger in a fatal wreck 4 years ago.
RANTS if you're the county DA lately. If these cases proceed and linger, RANTS that his work will continue to be on the front burner after he
leaves office and his one, four-year term as the county's lead prosecutor ends. (13 Jun 15)
What couldn't Zap do without Al this week?
Thursday's county agenda meeting, rescheduled from Tuesday, due to one commissioner's absence, contains the reason why the meeting
not have happened without Commissioner Al Ambrosini yesterday.
The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the county and the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council, for all county projects
exceeding $500,000, likely will be added to the agenda this week, on Thursday, for next Thursday's regular meeting on June 18. (10 Jun 15)
Wasn't Burkley's opinion good enough for Ambrosini?
RANTS! In a prepared statement that Commissioner Al Ambrosini gave to the media, he said he filed an ethics complaint in 2014 against a
fellow commissioner after consulting with legal counsel.
Odd, however, is that Ambrosini's campaign contributor/county solicitor Ken Burkley was quoted -- at the time in the paper -- as saying it
appeared to him that Ambrosini had no valid claim against Commissioner Vince Zapotosky. Burkley did not agree that Zapotosky's actions
merited review by the Ethics Commission.
So who was Ambrosini listening to then, who urged him to proceed against Zapotosky with the commission? He wasn't listening to his friend,
apparently. Was he misspending public money if he spoke on county time to county solicitors about this personal conflict? (10 Jun 15)
Is it over or is Al cooking up another investigation?
While today's paper* informs us that Commissioner Al Ambrosini long, long ago should have received formal notification from the state ethics
commission that his claim against fellow commissioner Vince Zapotosky was goofy and no investigation would begin, he let the press believe,
on more than one occasions, that there was a hot, open investigation and open case against Zapotosky going on.
RANTS, really, with all the bogus talk about wanting the best for the county and wanting to attract professional companies here, Ambrosini
pulls something too goofy, even by his own standards of weird and degrees of absurdity, by repeating what he had to know was a lie, the
longer this scene played out.
RANTS that Ambrosini still maintains a hush of goofy mystery, pretending that some sort of secret investigation is underway with the ethics
commission, even though Zapotosky recently received written confirmation from the commission that there never was an investigation
against him. Except for the initial few weeks after Ambrosini filed some type of complaint against Zapotosky, Ambrosini should have known
the entire rest of the time since that there was no investigation. To mislead the press, public, Zapotosky, and his own political party is both
unwise and goofy.
Today, Zapotosky told some things to the paper about that ethics report, but we're yet to hear the full story. We understand that Zapotosky
stopped signing off on the new jail project in Dunbar before the project was to go to bid. He wouldn't sign for some jail construction bills and
the public notice ads that were never placed in the daily newspapers, for the construction piece of the jail project to go out to bid.
The surprise illegal and unapproved publication of the ad in the building trades proved that Ambrosini and the architect were out to do
whatever they wanted, even though they foolishly acted behind an illegal ad that became a total waste of time and energy to contractors, who
submitted bids to the county as a result of that illegal ad that appeared legitimate to them. Contractors sending checks, tying up their money,
wanting to bid, typing up their time... because Ambrosini and Crabtree placed an illegal ad in the building trades.
Why did the ad run in the building trades, with just 1 commissioner approving or aware of it... and why did it run in the building trades with 1
commissioner's approval and with a bogus signature, from an acting county controller, without her knowledge?
Zap let Al slide
Zapotosky let Ambrosini slide on a lot of the wrong he supposedly did in this matter.
Today, Zapotosky confimed here that he filed no complaint against Ambrosini of bid rigging. Zapotosky revealed at a 2014 public
meeting nearly a year ago, that someone from the architectural firm told him previously that his firm and the project engineer were keeping
the jail construction project in house, before any bids were advertised for the project.
As an alternative to placing blame or reporting a fellow commissioner for bid rigging, he said today, "we are charged to work together...
without that there is no people's government."
Today, Zapotosky also said, "We took action to suspend (the jail) project," when asked why he did not notify any investigative entity or the
ethics commission that a project coordinator told him a company was getting a contract, in spite of any bids that might one day come in down
Zapotosky let Ambrosini slide on that one, yes, but for the good of the county?
Likewise, Zapotosky let Ambrosini slide on making a mockery of the building trades contractors, whose contractors, graciously, took time to
send checks and letters, responding to an illegal, invalid, bogus building trades public notice that the county of Fayette did not approve -- but
Ambrosini seemed to be solely aware of, prior to publication.
While it was spectacular that work was suspended on the pyrite prison complex and that the downtown area of Uniontown became the target
for the jail expansion plan, Zapotosky should not have allowed his personal situation -- that Ambrosini accused him of ethics violations for
letting a West Virginia man review the architect's drawings for the jail -- stop him from doing more than just suspending the project.
I'm unsure exactly, if that is really what happened here. If not, it sure seems that way. (10 Jun 15)
* "No grounds for ethics investigation, commission states," from heraldstandard.com
State politician lobbying for county contractor to be paid
RANTS that a high-ranking elected state official seems too overly concerned that a county contractor hasn't been paid for county
projects as promptly as the state official believes the contractor should be paid. As a result, the state official has lobbied a county
commissioner and other county board members and employees to push the pay day up for the contractor -- obviously in financial
need, one would think, if a busy state official is summoned to do his lobbying for him.
RANTS because a few county-wide contract should be the last thing on a state official's mind, especially when payment schedules
or issues were as thoroughly covered as these mismanaged cases have been given media attention.
Did we not say the same thing, also, about a county jail, once upon a time?
(9 Jun 15)
Blog readers call contest lame!
In follow up to the publication 2 days ago and announcement of a new reader contest -- to name and count the lies that a Commissioner Al
Ambrosini has said since in office -- the general consensus of feedback is that we missed the slow boat, with this extensive challenge to
A better contest, readers by the bulk agreed, would be to name the times the man has told the truth. Ah!
Al's latest lie : a whopper and a half!
While on related subject of lies and the willful circulation of untrue statements to hurt another's reputation, there's a certain news item, which,
honestly, we here have been sitting on for days. We're patiently waiting and giving the papers the chance to hit it first or break that story.
This time it is not the minority commissioner saying a newspaper failed to fact check before writing lies, misinformation or an incorrect story
failed to address it since facts have been presented to disprove something was incorrect that was previously published as news.
A different elected official has become the latest one to say that Ambrosini lied about him in the papers and nobody fact-checked the false
statements. While there appears to be proof that the paper attempted to fact-check the day after the accusations were published, there,
nonetheless, once again, has Ambrosini talking out of his head, lying.
One would think that the papers would be holding the presses to get this one to its readers. (9 Jun 15)
Zap: downtown jail project is going strong
Getting in touch tonight was Commissioner Vince Zapotosky, who relayed that the downtown jail expansion project is going strong.
Zapotosky said that he has "no plans on derailing" the downtown county jail expansion project that he and Commissioner Angela ZImmerlink
voted months ago to approve and fund.
Their plan to utilize downtown space to meet the county's prison needs replaces the all-new Dunbar Township mega-facility that Zapotosky
and Commissioner Al Ambrosini had approved in 2114. That plan was shelved last fall when Zapotosky stopped supporting the no-bid, $1.25
million dollar land deal and $30+ million dollar building plan.
A conceptual drawing utilizing downtown space, which was supposed to be ready in April, has yet to be released.
While the commissioner offered no new details of downtown project progress, RAVES to hearing that those goofy rumors, that he and
Ambrosini are planning to build again on township pyrite, are false. (8 Jun 15)
Is the full Fayette FBI raid, scandal about to hit the fan?
If the names of as many politicians, court officials, lawyers and others who we hear were nabbed by the FBI on May 5, end up being
known in factual federal releases to the media and public, Fayette County, thick in scandal, is going to be plastered all over the
Everyone and their cousins from coast to coast will probably hear this Fayette tale of drugs and money laundering, within a day or
of official release of the federal charges. This news will travel quickly.
That all, undoubtedly, is coming -- i.e., if and when these charges and names are released to the public and media. Count on it. It
has the shameful makings of being one of the most notorious political and power scandals to ever hit a poor county such as this.
Fayette County will quickly become the kind of place where Nightline would want to hold a town/county meeting. Mouths will drop
from disbelief, if these charges proceed against all nabbed and become public knowledge with proceeding court actions writing the
Former NBC newsman Brian Williams couldn't make this stuff up.
We're all going to get very, very sick to our stomachs listening as these trials proceed. It took a few decades, but the old sexual
harassment scandal with a long-ago judge now seems dramatically less sensational in comparison to how upset, disappointed,
angry and disgusted the bad boys coming up are going to leave us feeling... that is, if the full list of names and charges become
public knowledge in formally announcements.
Just what were they thinking? Addicts don't have to create a heroin and cocaine empire just to make sure they never run out, you
know. And these, for the most part, were respectable, gifted, white collar professionals with substantial enough incomes, quite
honestly, to nicely support their families, as well as fund their own tragic drug addictions.
They didn't have to create an empire of drug wealth and take so many others down with them.
Enjoy the calm, please, before the media starts chasing this one. Mouths will drop. The scandal will be felt here, even if there are
federal prosecutions 50 miles north in Pittsburgh, or if those accused all make pleas and go straight to jail. (6 Jun 15)
New Reader Contest
How many times has Commissioner Al Ambrosini lied, on record?
Can you count and correctly name the number and instances of untruths that the commissioner has blurted from his mouth, from
first day in office through today? The first reader to correctly guess the number of untrue statements that Ambrosini has said, on
record, since he has been in office, will receive a $50 gift card to his or her choice of any legitimate county business or charity.
To enter this contest, please email your number of specific untruths uttered by the man to firstname.lastname@example.org
"Quote Of The Day"
"If as many millions and millions of dollars of heroin, as people claim was seized on May 5, really was seized, don't you
think that we would or should be experiencing a rash of drug store robberies, or that emergency rooms should be full of
people sick with heroin withdrawl?"
Dave, this evening in email, only to send a chaser email, supposing, on second thought, that the anonymous online tip off
prompted movement of some stock and cash to alternate locations for later sell and use to maintain a supply for demand
Who's out of rehab? Who rots in jail?
Who announced the raid beforehand online?
The FBI raid: 1 month later
With the passing of a month, the names of those detained, charged, on the run or possibly in witness protection since the May 4 Grand Jury
indictment of a man with a contracted government mail hauler and the subsequent -- and possibly unrelated -- FBI raid of 11 Fayette homes or
businesses, have yet to be formally released to the public.
Even so, some of the family members of some of those affected have blabbed. Understandably, some of them seem to need to blab. Some
have cried and blabbed. More than just a few are truthful men and women, now appearing to be in a type of shock.
They know that it is going to hit the papers at some point. They have a temporary reprieve of sorts, while the media walks a mile to avoid a
possible story in the meantime. Those whose loved ones may have gone to detox and/or rehab instead of jail following the raid, and then
went home, no
doubt, will have the hardest time dealing with publicity, when the names and arrests of their dads, grandfathers, brothers or in-laws with hard
narcotic addictions become formal public knowledge.
That all said, nobody here is eagerly awaiting a list of names to be in the newspaper of those well-knowns, who allowed addictions to drugs, or
the money that came with mass distribution or laundering, to become the most important things in their lives. The investigation must run its
course, apparently, and eventually, we'll all read what we already know.
In all probability, a few tears may be shed here, when that list is finally processed and public knowledge, in the papers and all over Pittsburgh
and probably national television news. One name often mentioned still is mind boggling to hear associated with laundering heroin and drug
It's harder when you know or knew their parents, spouses, kids, grandchildren or siblings in shock.
Who wrote the anonymous online message a few days before the raid -- that a raid of well-known citizens was coming -- is still an unknown
question and one that the FBI should be sure to answer. The questions begs to be answered.
Who possibly put detectives' lives at risk? Who gave some possibly a chance to move drugs and/or piles of cash? Was it a professional
working the case? Or one of the suspects writing on a blog after he was picked up and let go? Who put the word out, possibly to give some a
chance to dump
the goods, be declared strictly as an addict, versus distributor or money launderer?
Hearing that information, no doubt, won't heal Fayette from this mess. Some will likely rot in jail. Some may serve time and get a big pay day
for silence. Some will, no doubt, distance themselves from the business end of the operations and will come out smelling like a rose.
This is, after all, Fayette County, where things so often seem, magically, to get leaked. (6 Jun 15)
Just another bit of news that local media keeps to itself
NES bloggers lobby to restore campaign expense voucher law
While the writers at Not Enough Said (please see temporary green link below to access story if regular link is down) did not get that now
infamous $5,000 campaign expense voucher from the Friends of Tim Mahoney, the state legislator's campaign committee, after 3 long years of
trying, NES co-writer, Rob Frasconi, said today that he is personally lobbying state legislators and senators to restore the campaign expense
"While the legal efforts to view the Friends of Tim Mahoney vouchers may be over, I have personally contacted many state senators and
in an effort to restore the law," Frasconi said.
After the state budget talks are resolved this month, the NES co-writer expressed hope that the elected officials will focus on the matter and
act to restore a citizen's right to see the particulars of campaign expenditures. He hopes that anyone reading this site also will contact their
elected officials and ask that the law is restored.
The particular voucher that Frasconi and other NES co-writer Delinda Young tried to obtain for 3 years detailed a $5,000 payment to a Pittsburgh
area law firm that handled campaign nominating petition challenges on the same day for 2 Republicans who wanted to challenge Mahoney for
seat in the 2012 primary election.
Mahoney, as readers of NES and this site know, told the local newspapers and local talk radio back then that he had nothing to do with the
Not that it was or is a big deal for a politician to challenge an opponent's nominating petitions to try to remove the opponent from the ballot. It's
not a big deal. A voucher, if indeed written for those 2 Republican ballot challenges, however, would have proven that the legislator fibbed
twice to the media. (4 Jun 15)
To read an email from Frasconi sent here today in its entirety, please click here.
Also, as a temporary read, while the NES blog site is experiencing online difficulties, the recent story, from which the
"Quote" below was taken, is posted on an alternative site. Please click here to read it in its entirety.
"Quote Of The Week"
"The next time someone tells you that State Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney (D-Voucher-Hiding) represents openness and transparency,
tell them to read the NES articles on the three-year voucher saga and to give a listen to Mahoney’s true position on flouting the
law. Listen here as Mahoney, accompanied by one of his sycophants, lies about the original, 2012 voucher request made by the
principals of this blog (saying that the request was made under the Right-To-Know law, while knowing all along that the request
was made under the PA Election Code)."
Not Enough Said blog, commenting on the bloggers' 3-year quest to obtain a voucher for 2012 election campaign legal expense
that Mahoney refused to release, basically, as he explains in this radio interview, out of spite because the bloggers previously
challenged his school district consolidation referendum and stopped it from being on a county ballot
Election loser alleges possible voter fraud
Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that a candidate in the recent primary election wants all voters in 2 South Union precincts brought to
court to state whether they cast a vote in the sheriff's race.
The losing candidate is asking for a recount of votes, believing that individuals may have tampered with ballot voting software that scans paper
ballots. He contends that imposters posed and voted as known dead people and in the names of persons confined to nursing homes.
RANTS if his allegations are true. RANTS, also, if his allegations are false, given that some non-voters chose not to vote because they don't
want to risk having to miss work to be summoned to court for what sometimes are frivolous, desperate ballot challenges.
RANTS if this ends up being one of those such dreaded instances. (3 Jun 15)
"Quote Of The Day"
Pete, this evening at the diner, commenting on the inmate trial that concluded today in acquittal for one charged with attempting to
"Lucky for him the jurors must have seen the propaganda jail video series, showing easy escape routes through a yard of (expletive)
stone and believed he was desperate for tobacco."
Dave, in response, on the acquittal today that showed that the jury did not believe the county jail inmate was attempting to escape
Ambrosini's schedule conflict prompts commissioners to reschedule,
re-advertise June county meetings
Editor's Note: The county commissioners have changed the date and place for the monthly agenda and regular meetings in June.
The agenda meeting will be in Courtroom 1 at 10 am on Thursday, June 11. The regular monthly meeting will be held in Courtroom
3 at 10 am on Thursday, June 18.
Missed the propaganda films?
Inmates seeking contraband smoke, not escape
RAVES to waking up and reading in the local papers that a small group of inmates at the Fayette County jail tried to pry a door open just to
retrieve contraband tobacco and not escape. This new detail and revelation contradicts an earlier statement from one of the inmates that the
group intended to escape.
RAVES that this new twist to the story -- i.e., they desperately wanted to smoke, not escape -- should be an easy sell to any jury here. One
would think that a jury easily could be swayed to acquit on escape charges since the inmates bypassed all those easy escape routes, through
all those cracks in the courthouse stone and all those weak, weak blocks of historical stone and weak wooden exterior doors, that all of those
propaganda county jail films out there warned us about in the last few years.
RAVES that the inmates were caught before they succeeded in getting to the contraband tobacco and that the propaganda prison films, which
detailed easy escape routes through cracks through several feet of 127-year-old stone, obviously were not shown on movie night at the lock
up. (3 Jun 15)
Fayette coffers hit again to pay for more corruption
RANTS that financially strapped Fayette County will be charged for an out of county magistrate to hear the putrid case against a former area
policeman and former member of the county's drug task force, being tried for charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful
a minor, criminal use of a communication facility, official oppression and two counts of indecent assault.
RANTS that this sordid matter of taking advantage of a child first needed to be brought before a Grand Jury before any action was taken to
prosecute the case. (3 Jun 15)