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10-13-2004

Thanks Walter


If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.--John Edwards

What's that? Is he going after the Crippled Vote? All of the experts agree that stem cell research might reap some actual benefits. But any potential benefits are probably decades away. For the purposes of this election cycle, stem cell research is a total non issue.

Sue Henry had one of those...

...John Kerry spokespeople on her show this morning and if I'm not mistaken, he got himself beat up on by the callers. He made the mistake of repeating that bullspit that the Techneglass closing was Dubya's fault and caller after caller took him to task for it. I couldn't help but to crack up. He even said that the last time he checked, television screens were not an obsolete product after a caller correctly pointed to the fact that that plant did in fact produce screens that are quickly headed the way of the Dodo bird. It sure would help if these Kerry stooges knew what the f**k they were talking about. Anyway, he left a curveball hanging out there and NEPA got all of it.

And how does it make any sense to have the Kerry camp claiming that this is the worst economy since the Flintstone era? The national unemployment rate is what? 5.4%? 94.6% of us are gainfully employed and that's bad? Wait. That's right. I forgot. We're all working at minimum wage jobs, have no health insurance and can't afford our prescription drugs. And still...I have to fight my way through the assembled crowds every time I feel the need to spend a single dollar. Something doesn't add up and I suspect it's the cock-and-bull numbers the Kerry folks are throwing at us. I dunno. Maybe we should all move to Tiera Del Fuego and live it up a tad.

Do their numbers add up? You tell me. Kerry wants to raise taxes on the folks earning more than $200,000. And he wants to give tax credits to small business owners. In other words, he wants to give small business owners tax credits but raise their taxes at the same time. That sounds like a plan. A plan doomed to fail. By just stating that "I have a plan" to address every known ill doesn't mean any of the plans are sound. Whatever. George Custer had a plan too.

Check this out. I snagged it from the Times Leader site:

W-B readies unveiling of new budget plan

Mayor Leighton is mum on whether a tax increase or staff reductions are proposed.

By BRETT MARCY

bmarcy@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE - Mayor Tom Leighton will release his 2004-05 spending plan for the city by Friday and might make it public today.

Leighton said he plans to have a news conference, during which he will lay out his goals for the next fiscal year.

He said the budget is "ninety-nine percent finished," but revealed few details.

"There's always surprises in a budget," Leighton said Tuesday. "But we had a very good year, and we stayed within our budget. We want to continue that."

He would not say whether a tax increase is in the offing or if further staffing cuts can be expected at City Hall.

Soon after taking office this year, Leighton announced he was amending the 2003-04 budget submitted by outgoing Mayor Tom McGroarty. The amended budget included a 20-mill tax increase - the first such tax hike in two decades.

City resident and government watchdog Walter Griffith promised he will attend Leighton's press conference, albeit grudgingly. Griffith said he opposes the city's long-standing policy of unveiling the budget at press conferences rather than at a public meeting of city council.

He acknowledges that Wilkes-Barre's home rule charter only requires the mayor to submit a budget to city council by Oct. 15. It does not specify the method in which the mayor may submit the budget.

Still, Griffith said he believes the intent was that the mayor make his budget presentation at a public meeting.

"The people who drew up the charter drew it up for a specific reason, to protect the people of Wilkes-Barre from things like this," he said. "The people of Wilkes-Barre are being blindsided by the mayor with this budget."

Not so, said Leighton, adding that previous mayors have presented the budget at press conferences for decades.

City Clerk Jim Ryan agreed with Leighton and said the public will have access to the budget as soon as council members get their copies. Also, at least one public hearing will be held before Dec. 1.

City council must adopt a budget by Dec. 31.

Members of the public will be able to review the budget at City Hall or can purchase a copy for 50 cents a page. At that rate, Ryan said a copy of the full budget could cost upward of $100.

Teri Henning, an attorney with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, called the rate excessive.

"The Right to Know Law expressly limits the fees an agency can charge to make copies," she said, noting that the association considers anything above 25 cents per page to be excessive. "That's a real deterrent to public access to a public document."


Okay. Is it me? Is it f**king me? How in the hell does the releasing of the city budget result in protestations of any sort?

City resident and government watchdog Walter Griffith promised he will attend Leighton's press conference, albeit grudgingly. Griffith said he opposes the city's long-standing policy of unveiling the budget at press conferences rather than at a public meeting of city council.

He acknowledges that Wilkes-Barre's home rule charter only requires the mayor to submit a budget to city council by Oct. 15. It does not specify the method in which the mayor may submit the budget.

Still, Griffith said he believes the intent was that the mayor make his budget presentation at a public meeting.

"The people who drew up the charter drew it up for a specific reason, to protect the people of Wilkes-Barre from things like this," he said. "The people of Wilkes-Barre are being blindsided by the mayor with this budget."

Is this guy drinking from the same resevoir as me? I sure hope not. Earth to Walter. Earth to Walter. Nobody gives a f**k! If we must persist in seeing to it that we get our name in the papers, at least do something somewhat productive. Donate a used snow blower to the friggin' Salvation Army or something. Brillo some burned pot bottoms at the soup kitchen. Scrape some gum off of the bottoms of our benches on the Square, recycle it and donate it to the poor. Sleep in a cardboard box next to the college kids during their predictable homeless awareness silliness. Holy son of a silly person!!!

"The people of Wilkes-Barre are being blindsided by the mayor with this budget."

He's serious, right? Methinks. I cannot recall anything so ridiculous short of the time I convinced a whole bunch of drunks on counter at Franklin's that I was the starting strong safety for the New York Giants. Anybody remember Bill Currier? I was cool. I provided each of them with my autograph. Hey, it was the least I could do for my fans.

Anyblooey, what in the farg are we talking about here? The mayor blindsided us with the budget? Why, that sonofabitch! I hate when he freakin' does that! I oughta reach back and clip him one. Dirty rotten scoundrel!

Allow me to illuminate a few things here. I happen to have copies of the last three city budgets and if I sent them off to the landfill, the landfill would be forced to close immediately afterwards. They are that exhaustive. I know my way around profit and loss statements and I have prepared budgets during a previous life. But you'd need a team of crack forensic auditors to make sense of such an expansive set of documents.

With that in mind, what the f**k difference does it make whether the mayor releases the budget at a press conference or a council meeting? Who cares other than the usual publicity whores? Does it matter to the hoi polloi usually too busy with their own lives to be bothered? It wouldn't matter a lick if the mayor rented a Goodyear blimp and parachuted into the middle of Public Square with the new budget in hand. I don't care how he chooses to introduce the new city budget, provided that he doesn't do it stark nekkid. All that matters is that the damn thing adds up. All that matters is that the thing results in the city ending up in the black.

When this guy runs for a city council seat again, I will be off on another one man crusade of mine.

And what's up with the Leader already? They just can't freaking help themselves. Always sowing the seeds of discontent:

Members of the public will be able to review the budget at City Hall or can purchase a copy for 50 cents a page. At that rate, Ryan said a copy of the full budget could cost upward of $100.

Teri Henning, an attorney with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, called the rate excessive.

"The Right to Know Law expressly limits the fees an agency can charge to make copies," she said, noting that the association considers anything above 25 cents per page to be excessive. "That's a real deterrent to public access to a public document."

Let's be honest, shall we? How many city residents would purchase a copy of the budget if it wasn't so danged expensive? Three? Seven?

I really thought we were past this sort of nonsense. Just when I thought it was safe to open our local newspapers, Wilkes-Barre is still generating negative press through no fault of it's own. Thanks Walter. Good job. While the folks in our neighboring communities continue to read this sort of needless negativism on parade, their perceptions of Wilkes-Barre as a failed and struggling place are sure to be reinforced.

I work primarily on the west side. And the folks I encounter always get to hacking on Wilkes-Barre once they find out where I live. With all that's gone on here, you can't blame them. But as soon as they get around to wondering about Wilkes-Barre's future, I turn into a salesman.

Nah. Nah, I tell them. We've got sound leadership now. We're getting a Muckaplex theater. We're getting new street lights. We're getting the new and improved riverfront. We've got a reinvigorated police force. We might even de-roach the Sterling for God's sake. Wilkes-Barre is on it's way back, I always assure them. And they always seem generally impressed by my obvious enthusiasm.

And then they crawl out of their bunks the very next morning only to read: "Activist says Wilkes-Barre mayor blows."

Or something thereabouts. You wanna know what? I'm f**king sick of it. I'm sick and tired of opening the newspapers only to read that some clueless person with an obvious axe to grind has delivered yet another black eye to Wilkes-Barre. And I'm growing tired of denting the front of the fridge when by rights, I should be denting a few thick skulls currently running amok in this city.

If left to my insane devices, I'd have all of those taxpayer activist crazies rounded up and then I'd start swinging a copy of that budget wrapped heavily with duct tape. "You wannna see the budget? You wanna see the f**king budget? There! (Thump) There's yer freakin' budget, you numbnut!" Ah, if only...

If some of us must persist in being that annoyingly persistent dingleberry hanging from the asses of the elected in this city, they should at least attempt to make a valid point every once in while. Otherwise, we're once again reduced to reading pathetic tales from the crypt known as Wilkes-Barre such as being blindsided by the city budget. Suffice it to say, we come off sounding like a bunch of hopeless assholes.

Thanks Walter.


Did ya'll catch this letter...

...published in todays' Voice?

Mr. McCarthy, I believe you have been challenged? But by a councilman from a neighboring community? That's weirdness. Don't these politico types have unwritten rules forbidding hacking on one another? I guess not.

Electing our officials by district ensures accountability to voters

Editor:

I am offended by the sentiments of Wilkes-Barre Councilman Jim McCarthy, who asserted in a recent letter that "districting" the City of Wilkes-Barre will be a detriment and a step backward.

I am a councilman in the Borough of Forty Fort, and we are divided into three wards. In my three years sitting on council, no one has ever put the wants of one section of our borough over the needs of the whole. As a matter of fact, I am the recreation chairman, and my responsibility is the park and pool, which are not in my ward. Should I neglect my responsibilities because it's not in my ward, or only do things people in my ward would like? Absolutely not - I care about each and every resident who utilizes these facilities, and I listen to each and every person who cares to make his or her feelings known, good or bad. When you take the oath of office, you swear to represent everyone. If someone can't uphold this oath, they shouldn't run in the first place.

The school district I reside in, Wyoming Valley West, is comprised of once very factious towns. The board members are elected on a "district" basis. However, these board members put the goals and the needs of the entire student body ahead of the wants of students from Forty Fort or any other individual town.

Allowing voters to choose their councilperson from their districts gives them the sense that their thoughts and feelings are being represented. It also makes the councilperson more accountable for his actions. At-large council members may not represent or understand the issues facing certain segments of the city and cause feelings of frustration, not only with the representation they receive, but also at the polls when accountability is spread thin.

True, representative democracy is something from the past, but we still utilize it today for very important reasons. We elect state representatives and congressmen based on districts. If we were to apply Mr. McCarthy's logic to a state or national level, what would happen? Would the residents of the Wyoming Valley have the levee system that protected most of us from the onslaught of Ivan? Would we receive money to build the supposed cornerstone of revitalizing downtown Wilkes-Barre, the movie theater? Would we be the recipient of anything from the state or national government? The answer is probably not, or at least not to the extent we have benefited.

If we were to elect our legislators on an at-large method, we would not be represented to the same extent we are now. On a state level, the majority of representatives would come from larger areas like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. On a national level, the majority of representatives would come from larger states. Our founding fathers foresaw this, and that's why, in their great judgment, they decided to utilize a representative democracy.

Representative democracy in local government creates a miniature version of state and national government. If it can work on the state and national level, it can and does work on a local level.

My advice to the council members of Wilkes-Barre is to not let the wants of their new districts cloud their judgment when the needs of the entire city are on the line.

Joe Chacke
Forty Fort councilman

Hoo! Hoo! Mr. McCarthy, I eagerly await your response. This ought to be good.

Seriously though. Don't these politicos have some sort of unwritten rule barring this sort of thing? When was the last time the embattled mayor of Muckston publicly chastised the mayor of Mucking Grove? If Forty Fort is chugging along very nicely, then why would one of it's elected few feel the need to publicly take serious issue with a council person in Wilkes-Barre? Very weird, but no biggie. We're all entitled to our opinions.

Or to hear John Kerry tell it, opinions are like Access Cards: We've all got one.

And on that note, who would actually vote for a guy who takes Botox injections, spray-on tans, manicures and pedicures?

Sounds like a pampered pussy to me.


Me really gotta go. Do you have any idea what it's like for this deranged person to be the proud owner of a new CD burner? I feel like Tom Clark must feel during a prolonged tornado watch.

Later