We didn't get to where we are overnight and we won't get out of it overnight.--Tom Leighton
We made it. The snow storm came and went and we're still here. Who could have thunk it? We bought neither milk nor bread nor eggs and somehow-we survived. Thank my lucky stars. (nifty politically correct replacement for God)
During the coming weeks and possibly even months the harsh realities of Wilkes-Barre's grim financial situation are going to be hitting home. Many of us worked diligently throughout 2003 to force change upon Wilkes-Barre. There were many highs and a few nervous lows. The overwhelming euphoria we felt in May was remarkable. The workmanlike approach to the November election was less exciting for many, but we took care of business. Since that jubilant night, as the countdown progressed, all we could do was wait and see what comes next. We knew all along that many tough decisions were ahead of us and now we're poised and ready to find out just how tough they might need to be. We were all slapping Tom Leighton on the back with one hand with a free beer in our other hand while he promised to make the tough decisions necessary to right this listing ship. Now it's game time.
Today's Times Leader story City Hall layoffs possible, Leighton says gave us a glimpse of our possible, maybe even probable immediate future. We all loved him during the election cycle, now the time has arrived to support him while the tough decisions are actually being made. The Leader story reported that layoffs, tax hikes and reassessment of city properties are distinct possibilities in 2004, or beyond. I imagine that the SAYSO editors are going to be very busy from here on out. Facts are facts and we are in some serious debt while facing some daunting capital needs. To get this city out of the red and into the black is going to require more than the city buying cheaper pencils, or cheaper windshield wipers. That "A" word I introduced to many of you a while back, austerity, is about to come to Wilkes-Barre and many are not going to like it at it's onset. Tom Leighton is probably going to take some SAYSO abuse for the foreseeable future.
I know that a few short months ago, he was saying he wouldn't raise our taxes, but that was well before the full severity of the city's financial situation finally eeked out of the mayor's office. I implored Leighton all along to raise our taxes from day one, fix what needs to be fixed and determine if the tax rates could be trimmed back during the latter stages of his term. We need a whole bunch of fixin' done in this city and a whole bunch of fixin' costs money that has to come from somewhere. The question we need to ask ourselves is, "Do we want the fixin' done quickly or not?" Should we go for it, or should we lolligag for years on end? I say we fix it now.
I shudder to think what we would be told as we head towards 2004 if mayor McTom had won a third term. Something like, it's all good. They tried to use politics to unseat me. I never raised your taxes. I gave you a green recycling tub. And I need a $12 million Tax Anticipation Note this January. His track record of creating more debt to pay off unpaid and overdue debts would have led to the ruination of Wilkes-Barre, probably within two short years. He created most of our current nightmares, now he gets to ride off into the sunset, while Tom Leighton will take a ton of grief for being fiscally responsible. It doesn't seem fair.
And while Leighton has been working countless hours since the May primary meeting with everyone and anyone that could help to move this city forward starting next year, our current mayor does nothing to ease the transition. In fact, consider yesterday if you will. Where was Tom Leighton? Addressing the Pennsylvania Economy League. Where was mayor McTom? At a party on New Elizabeth Street which resulted in an activated residential fire alarm that also resulted in our fire headquarters having to "clean house" during a major snowstorm and poor driving conditions. Leighton was trying to save us money and forge a successful future. McG was doing what he always does, costing us more money and endangering men and equipment to boot. What else is new? This is the guy who calls the fire department when he locks himself out of his home on weekend nights. I'll leave you to speculate as to why that happens. Rank has it's priviledges, but they shouldn't come at the taxpayer's expense.
So, as we race towards 2004 and some responsible leadership for a change, the sad fact is that the tough decisions made by our next mayor are not likely to be popular with everyone. Some serious grumbling is sure to erupt. SAYSO will likely be busy. Callers to WILK will give their less than informed opinions on the state of the city. Some bitter McG supporters will likely spout off. Christine's advocate brigades will likely flood the airwaves or the SAYSO pages. Don't go gettin' weak-kneed on us when it starts. When a Mayor-elect starts mentioning layoffs, tax hikes and property reassessments, you should understand fully that this city is in dire straights. The fact that Leighton had the intestinal fortitude to even mention such things in public before even taking office should prove to you that he is ready to do what needs to be done for the good of the city. No one has ever gained in the polls by delivering the bad news. No one ever sees their popularity rise by telling the hard truth.
Rather than trying to sugarcoat the situation, our next mayor is telling us exactly where we're at. Rather than lashing out, or calling SAYSO, we need to think things through and decide what our proper course of action should be. I have to admit, even though Leighton may have some horrible news to report in the coming weeks, I find it refreshing to have our mayor telling us the truth for a change. You'll eventually come to see that the truth, no matter how upsetting it may be, will in the long run be better than obfuscation and piling debts. Hang in there kiddies. There may be a few bumps ahead, but we all knew that when we signed on.
A cry for help from someone in their early twenties. As early as the 1950s, it was concluded by our adversaries that the only way to bring this country to it's knees was from within. Why is it that the country seems to be going to hell faster than we can even comprehend why? Read the plan for yourself that has taken over forty years to finally produce some of the desired results. Or, just read the cry for help: Leaving a broken America to our children
After reviewing the election results posted at the county's web site, it's obvious that many of those among us could easily be elevated to flake status. Here ya go flakes, knock yourselves out.
Anti-Semitism: It isn't just for Nazis anymore. There seems to be no shortage of crazy people all over the globe these days. Did you break your favorite coffee mug? Blame the Jews. It seems to work for just about everyone else.
What's up with this Sue Henry thing? First it was newspapers. And King's College radio. Then it was talk radio. Now it's television. There's just no stopping this chickie.
Recognize any of these puppies? Let's try this one. Why is it that Wilkes-Barre has only one red fire engine in service? Any ideas? Why is it that mayor McFireChief painted all of our apparatus white, but left Engine 3 the more traditional red? Think VLP on this one. One other thing. Who the f**k ever heard of a white fire truck anyway??? Only in Tommy's fractured world, I guess.
I knew it. They tell me that the organizers of the McG luncheon are desperately seeking volunteers to staff the seriously short-handed event. Their biggest need is someone to man the gas grill. Anyone interested should call 821-1170. The pork & beans will be provided by the organizing committee.
I like this one. I realize we're not allowed to mention our religion which is under an ever increasing assault, but the secularists will just have to order a hit on me. Or maybe the ACLU will sue me. Maybe the friendly Islamo-bombers will declare a Jihad on me. How about some womens group sueing me for referring only to male priests. Or some victims group calling for a boycott of this site for my not disclosing how many priests used me like a plastic f**k doll. From the e-mail inbox:
*******A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak.
After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done.
The monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass.
If I start to get nervous, I take a sip."
So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm.
Upon his return to his office after mass, he found the following note on the door:
1. Sip the Vodka, don't gulp..
2. There are 10 commandments, not 12.
3. There are 12 disciples, not 10.
4. Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
5. Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
6. We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J. C.
7. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the Spook.
8. David slew Goliath, he did not kick the shit out of him.
9. When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey,don't say he was stoned off his ass.
10. We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T."
11. When Jesus broke the bread at the Last Supper he said, "Take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say "Eat me"
12. The Virgin Mary is not called "Mary with ! ! the Cherry,"
13. The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, yeah God.
14. Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's, not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.*******
No more references to God and the like. I know how upsetting it can be to so many.
Gage Andrew is scheduled to come out of nap cycle soon and we've got more sledding to do. This afternoon, I humped a ton of snow and built a sled ramp, smoothed it over and poured water all over the surface. It ought to be ready for launch about now.