5-25-2005 Bikeabout or: How to separate the politicians from the bona fide community leaders


I should do whatever I can to help to create an integrated global community where we have shared benefits and shared responsibilities and we don't fight because of our differences.--William Jefferson Clinton, 2005

Coulda, woulda, shoulda...blah-effin'-blah. Anything would have been a marked improvement over BJs in the oval office.

Don't grab a copy of Homes Magazine just yet. The results of last nights city council work session are in.

The Citizens Voice

Bike ban proposal tabled

By Denise Allabaugh, Staff Writer 05/25/2005

A proposed bicycle ban on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre was tabled Tuesday night.

Wilkes-Barre council originally planned to vote on the ordinance Thursday night at 6. At a work session Tuesday, they decided to remove the proposed ordinance from Thursday's agenda until revisions are made.

As it is written, the proposed ordinance bans all bicycle riding on Public Square. Anyone who violates the ordinance is subject to fines from $25 to $300.

Councilman Tony Thomas proposed the ordinance upon requests from police. He did not attend Tuesday's session. Councilman Bill Barrett said he felt it was unfair to ban all bicycles. "I did some research over the past few days and I couldn't find a city that specifically banned bicycles from city parks," Barrett said.

Barrett said many cities did focus on behavior of bike riders. He took language from these city ordinances to draft a new ordinance, which he believes is a better solution. "I can't imagine police going out there on a Saturday morning to give a citation to somebody who inadvertently rides a bicycle through Public Square," Barrett said. "It's not going to happen and we shouldn't expect them to do that."

Barrett said he understands the need to protect pedestrians and property, but added, "By and large, most people should be able to ride a bicycle."

Council Chairwoman Shirley Vitanovec agreed. "I don't think everyone should be penalized for the wrongdoing of certain individuals."

Councilman Michael McGinley also believed the ordinance should be more specific, such as banning bike riders from benches. "Painting everyone with a wide brush doesn't seem to be fair," McGinley said.

Councilwoman Kathy Kane does not believe there are enough police to enforce the ordinance. She also does not agree with the ordinance the way it is written.

"For some college students, their only way to get around is a bicycle," she said. Councilman Phil Latinski, however, is in favor of banning bicycle riders from Public Square since they have caused damage, he said.

"We were told by the mayor there would be additional police downtown. These additional police could perform the task of giving citations out to people who are destroying property," Latinski said. "It's more of an ordinance to stop the destruction of property and to protect safety."
Councilman Jim McCarthy believes bicycle riders are causing problems for people who like to sit on Public Square, enjoy the fountains and play checkers or chess. "It's Public Square, not bicycle square, not mountain bike square," McCarthy said.

A 1987 ordinance prohibited skateboarding on Public Square. Latinski wants an amendment to ban in-line skating on Public Square.

In 1997, former Mayor Tom McGroarty tried to amend the skateboarding ordinance to prohibit in-line skating. After strong opposition, the ordinance never passed. McGroarty also proposed to build a skate park. It was never built. Brian and Kim Jones of Plains, who own a BMX racetrack in Hanover Township, said their 15-year-old son, Brad, likes to ride his bike on Public Square. They plan to speak out against the proposed bike ban Thursday night.

Oh my gosh! The saner minds have prevailed. That is, for the moment.

I did some research over the past few days and I couldn't find a city that specifically banned bicycles from city parks.

I can't imagine police going out there on a Saturday morning to give a citation to somebody who inadvertently rides a bicycle through Public Square.

It's not going to happen and we shouldn't expect them to do that.--Bill Barrett

So...a veteran ex-cop of ours isn't buying into this program, which reinforces my initial belief that this proposed bike riding ban was not borne out of any requests from the police department. Bring on his newly drafted ordinance. In this matter, his performance shall be graded as an A-plus.

I don't think everyone should be penalized for the wrongdoing of certain individuals.--Shirley Vitacasanova

Voila! Go to the head of the class and take a seat next to Mr. Barrett.

Painting everyone with a wide brush doesn't seem to be fair.--Michael McGinley

He shoots...he scores! Got that right. I have never damaged anything in the downtown while pedaling along, or, for that matter, run over anyone that I didn't already want to. No homework for the rest of the week.

For some college students, their only way to get around is a bicycle.--Kathy Kane

Heyna? But they are kinda young and that makes some people afraid. You can clean my blackboard anytime.

Councilman Phil Latinski, however, is in favor of banning bicycle riders from Public Square since they have caused damage, he said.

We were told by the mayor there would be additional police downtown. These additional police could perform the task of giving citations out to people who are destroying property.

It's more of an ordinance to stop the destruction of property and to protect safety.--Phil Latinski

Boooooooo! Hiss! (hand clamped over mouth) Boosh*t! Boosh*t! Boosh*t!

When this guy was first elected, my mom pointed out to me that she had attended high school with him. And she shared with me a few stories about what he was like when he was a kid. We won't go there, but I'm left to assume that her memory was much sharper than his appears to be these days. Kids today? Is he serious? Why, we oughta...

So lemme get this straight, Dr. Phil. Just because someone's kid went and damaged something or other, I should be forever banned from doing something that I love to do in an area that I love to do it in? Me? The guy that pedals his bike and drives his truck with civility and courtesy guiding his every move? Can you say "F>ck you!" in French? No? Well I can, so fuqez-vous!!! Non? Jentre dans la private sector.

Give up this council stuff and find something that you're good at. Please?

D-minus. Have one of your parents call me.

Councilman Jim McCarthy believes bicycle riders are causing problems for people who like to sit on Public Square, enjoy the fountains and play checkers or chess. "It's Public Square, not bicycle square, not mountain bike square," McCarthy said.

It's Public Square, not bicycle square, not mountain bike square. (What the f>ck???)

Yeah!!! And apparently, if he had his way, we'd rename the entire place Pride Mobility Square and see to it that no one be admitted without first presenting an A.A.R.P. membership card. This is one helluva way of building a college town. (?) We'll demonize mountain bikes and then whine on cue about the decades-long brain drain. And when was the last time anyone rode their bike right through the middle of a game of checkers, anyway? Any crime stats available on that one?

Actually, I'm one of those people who like to sit on Public Square and enjoy the fountains with my grandkids, much like their parents did before them. The only problem being that we always preferred to get there on bicycles rather than in automobiles. And for that, we should have the wrath of some ill-informed city council folks crashing down upon us? If only my hair would gray already. You know, there are those frequent weekend days when Gage and I are just about the only people on the entire Square. No bitter and oft-frightened seniors, no self-aggrandizing council folks and no short-handed cops. Just us. Just we two. And if Jimbo had his way, how would I explain to Gage that we were suddenly banned from doing something as innocent as instilling tradition into the minds of the unsuspecting next generation?

No, Gage Andrew, we can't ride through there no more. Jim McCarthy says we're bad for Wilkes-Barre, even though we always spend some money when we ride through there. Jim McCarthy told the cops to stomp on us as soon as we rear our ugly heads, and our even uglier bikes. Jim McCarthy thinks bikes are much worse than unreported bar fights. Jim McCarthy thinks you'd have much more fun at the Viewmont Mall. Jim McCarthy thinks...

Know what? When you grow up just a tad, you had better vote against the youth-averse folks of his ilk.

That's it! Detention for the remainder of the school year and if you're real lucky...you won't get to meet Mr. Corba's boat oar up close and personal.

You flunked Urban Planning 101, champ.

And where's Tony?

Did he skip?

Bill Barrett gets the proverbial gold star today, kiddies. I just knew voting for him was a good idea.

I just knew it.

Anybody up for a bikeabout on Saturday?


The "Heyna 500?" I snagged the following from Sue Henry's WILK web page.

Crackers!...start your bondo buggies!

Anti spokes-people send bad message to bikers

Summer's here, so what's a kid to do? If that pipsqueak lives in Wilkes-Barre, he or she better prepare to spend the warm months inside playing "Magic: The Gathering," because pedal pushers are not welcome on Public Square. If you wear pedal pushers, however, you can navigate the Square without fear of being mowed down by a rebel biker.

Say what? Our elders on Wilkes-Barre City Council (and that doesn't necessarily denote wisdom in this instance) indicated they will ban biking on the city's Public Square, even though it technically qualifies as a park. Next thing you know they'll be tossing out the stroller drivers because those four wheel baby carriages contain the two wheelers of the future.

Various council members have espoused the belief these young whipper snappers are menancing the old with their BMX super bikes. It's funny, because news footage shown on WBRE tonight featured a middle aged biker and an elderly fella. Who are these overgrown hellions?

Council members carped the kids have taken to riding their bikes on recently renovated park benches. Hey, at least someone is getting some use out of them. If they are violating the benches, of course, that's not right. They should be cited for vandalism without changing the existing law.

Wilkes-Barre's leaders should get down on their hands and knees and praise anyone who has the fortitude to show up in the city. These young people are among the few, the proud, the citizens who bother with the downtown at all. And, since they're too young to reach the levers of the voting booth without standing on their handle bars, they have no power to do anything about this stupid bike ban. Yes, stupid.

For about the last 15 years or so, the city has been in an identity crisis that any teenybopper with a 10-speed can understand. Is Wilkes-Barre looking to become a college town? Is Wilkes-Barre feasible without a mall? Does it need a movie theater to save it? Should the city cater exclusively to its spunky seniors? Does the canopy make the city look gawky? Just when it seems they are about to take a leap forward with some good projects, they decide to show their age by picking on the kids.

Should the city alienate its future taxpayers to appease those who are currently paying the freight? No. After all, we all have to start somewhere. From training wheels, we eventually wind up behind the wheel of vehicles that drive to the parking garages and shops of the city. That is, if city fathers and mothers don't drive us away from the downtown and send us into the welcoming arms of the mall.

It may be true that bikers sometimes ride unsafely. However, drivers of automobiles who navigate the Square appear to have skipped some sections of the driving manual. They don't call it the "Heyna 500" for nothing.

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

That really sucks. What's next - kayaks on the river?

You know what I'd say. Ramming speed!

Be well.

KD

Ramming speed? I hear that sh*t. Damn the council folk's efforts to torpedo the city's future! Ramming speed!

You know, I hope they didn't really believe that I would stop riding wherever the muck I wanted to if they passed that stooooopid piece of bilge into being law.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

McCarthy is a genious. If we ban eveything young people happen to enjoy, the last of the trouble makers will split leaving all of us old folks unafraid to play with our commingled at the curb all week long.

Will the last young person to leave the city please push over the last of the standing Franklin lights?

KXX

Again, I hear that. Although, let's not get too crazy. Toppling street lights on purpose would be a clear public safety hazard. Sounds like fun, though.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't you vote for these people?

BXXX

Okay. I'll correct you. I voted for five of our current council members. Any other questions?


This is a good one. Interested in a trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York City? I know I am. I was there a long, long time ago and a return trip sounds like a gas to me.

If you wanna take part, click on this link to the Kevin Lynn and Nancy Kman WILK web page, scroll past Kev's bilge and send an electronic pulse to Nancy Kman.

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was having a hard time finding a bus trip that would take my son and I straight to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. They have a great dinosaur exhibit most kids would love, but it seems all the bus lines I called only drop off at Port Authority, definitely NOT the place I want to be going with children. A listener and friend offered to help organize a trip. What I need now is to know if there is sufficient interest from others so we can fill a bus. It would be a charter trip. The cost is $22.50 per person for the bus...plus the tickets at the museum are $14.00 for kids, $17.00 for students and seniors, and $22.00 for adults..This is for admission to the Museum..plus the Dinosaur exhibit. It is less for admission to the Museum alone. We are looking at a Saturday June 25th date, with pickup at Keyser and Oak Streets in Scranton, 7am pickup, 7pm depart from NYC. Please email me as soon as possible if you are interested in going- nancykman@wilknewsradio.com . We'll fill the bus on a first-come first-serve basis. If you've never been to the museum I suggest you take the kids, it is loads of fun and trust me, you need a day to see everything.

Count Gage Andrew and myself in.


Now that I went and bought me one of those 21 billion jiggawatt digital cameras, the photographers that toil away at our two newspapers are likely to be sick with envy.

They can feel free to reprint my pics after they deposit a case of pounders on the front porch.

Big-ass drill

Big-ass drill

I know how we can eliminate any further grafitti attacks upon the buildings in our town. Why not have council ban everyone under the age of thirty? What do you think? Yeah? No? NO? Okay. How 'bout if we banish the hardware stores selling spray paint from Wilkes-Barre? Yo? No?

We could end rape in our lifetimes if we'd simply ship all of the chicks out of town. And there would be no shoplifting if we'd just do away with the last of the retail outlets. And we'd be a hellluva lot safer if we could just do away with bicycles.

BUT WE CAN'T...so I'll see you out there somewhere on Saturday!!!

BIKEABOUT!!!

Bye


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