The latest mailer from Luzerne County judicial candidate Daniel Zola is anything but judicial. The flyer, which touts his "unanimous" endorsement "by all of the Luzerne County Chief's of Police," plays to the fears of crime ridden streets.
It takes the 2009 murder statistic, which most believe is an aberration, to make people think that Luzerne County is one of the crime capitals of the state. (The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area ranks 56 out of 332 in the nation in crime. 1 being the safest, 332 being the most dangerous.)
We decided to learn more about Zola by checking out his website.
Zola is the son of Magisterial District Judge Joseph Zola of Hazleton, and we learned from his website that he is "more than a native of Luzerne County. Daniel Zola's family has lived in our county for four generations. Zola descends from coal miners, laborers and law enforcement officers that have built our community and defined our family values."
We also found out that he is an avid hunter.
"Hunting is his favorite pastime. Daniel is an N.R.A. member and avidly hunts during rifle and archery seasons. Archery is his true passion because it is more challenging. As most hunters can tell you, the true enjoyment of hunting comes from the excitement of sitting on stand and wondering what is going to come through the woods next...hearing the crunch of footsteps in the fall woods is enough to spike your blood pressure and get your heart racing."
Finally we found out that he likes putting "junkies" in state prison. He devotes two lengthy paragraphs in his bio section explaining how he convicted "junkies" during his tenure in the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office.
What we did not find out from his bio page was his age, 33; his educational background, Hazleton Area High School; Luzerne County Community College; King’s College, 1999; Widener University School of Law, 2002; and his admission to the Pennsylvania bar in 2003. We guess you go with you strengths.
Apparently Zola is running for Police Chief in Chief of Luzerne County. We do not see how his love for hunting has any bearing on making complex judicial decisions, nor do we see how his continual referral of persons with serious drug problems as "junkies" show the compassion necessary to pass judgment on others.
Zola is certainly not our choice for judge. We believe perhaps his young age and lack of legal experience has colored his views to believe that a judge is only someone who puts bad people behind bars. A judge is so much more. The qualities of a good judge include patience, wisdom, courage, firmness, alertness, incorruptibility and the gifts of sympathy and insight. We see none of this in Zola.