12-12-2003 The gift

I don't think there were so many people using their bathroom facilities today they overflowed the line. The problem was the rain and the runoff.--Mayor McPottyMouth, in today's Voice

Barney Street was flooded again. Whoopty-funking-doo! I fully realize that that sucks for the folks that live, work and pick through clutter piles there, but should a minor flood on a street famous for flash floods result in finger pointing by the city's pouting lame-ass, lame-duck mayor? It rained like hell all day and the warm temperatures added some serious snow melt to the mix? Why the freak out session? Hasn't this joker embarrassed us enough at this point? So the floaters escaped. Deal with it quietly jackass. Sh*t happens, right?

It sure as hell happens with increasing frequency in this city, but, as always, mayor McTommy's first priority was to make sure that no one affixed any blame to his already sullied name. Why, it was Hanover Township's line. Yeah! And it was Wilkes-Barre Township's fault. That'll fool the dumber folks that voted for me. We couldn't simply allude to the massive amounts of rain and the obvious snow melt. No, that would be the mature thing to do. Just when we thought that this loose cannon was finally behind us, he goes and launches into yet another "Blame Game" tirade.

Try this on for size. I spent my entire day in the Back Mountain yesterday. You couldn't travel ten yards without encountering some sort of tributary flooding something or other. Dug road was reduced to one rock covered lane early in the day. A customer of mine, who normally has a very small stream about twenty yards from his home, went out back to find that his yard was a lake. A few roads were so rain swollen, they were close to being impassable. Did the elected officials in the Back Mountain end up on the pages of our newspapers today taking an accusatory stance toward any of their neighboring boroughs? Nope. Only our mayor felt the time was right for more finger pointing and ridiculous quotes. How many more days? Can he take a f**king hint, or not? Mayor McToddler, shut the f**k up already. Nobody gives a rat's @ss what you think. As a matter of fact, I believe the 2002 City Calendar promised that the flooding in that area would be but a distant memory within 18 months, thanks to mayor McSuperman's aggressive pursuit of federal and state aid. Yet another lofty promise down the sh*tter. Or in this case, down the center of the street.

Shut up. Go away.

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Private Sector Dude's latest thoughts this afternoon. I noticed that he mentioned that we should start a movement to save our idled Tiller Truck that has been parked and exposed to the elements for two years now. Plenty of folks are like-minded, but the Tiller has been ravaged by the elements, and I'm very, very sad to say; by city employees alike. Yepper, our very own city employees have ripped that old girl to freaking pieces and that's a damn shame. Gone is the siren. Gone is the bell. The Mack Bulldog hood ornament was damaged while some scurfball tried, but failed to remove it. The rear doors have been ripped free. The dashboard has been cannabilized, and the wells where the ladders rest are puddled, rusted and pitted. This classic, the last one of it's kind in this entire country; was scuttled by our mayor rather than investing a paltry sum of $8,000 in it's engine.

That was stupidity on parade and extremely short-sighted, but the thing that absolutely pisses me off is the fact that it wasn't at least protected from the elements. Then, couple that with the fact that city employees were allowed to systematically destroy it and that truck's needless demise begins to approach the level of more needless vindictiveness. One more dagger from the mayor into the backs of his favorite whipping boys: The Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.

If the copper dudes raided the homes of every single DPW employee tonight, I'd bet real good money that the bell and the siren would be recovered. As a matter of fact, I have a pretty good idea about exactly which home they should hit first. If you want me to believe that a copper dude stripped that truck, you're stone cold crazy. I seriously doubt that any hose dude would dare to damage such a classic momento from a bygone era in firefighting. Who's left to suspect? Mayor McPlow's favorites? Whatever. It no longer matters. Mayor McTommy made a decision and as per usual, he f**ked it up again and as a result a proud old girl lies in ruins. It mirrors what he has done to our city.

The Citizens Voice stunned Wilkes-Barre today with it's story Wilkes-Barre gets $450,000 grant to buy firetruck. Hell, it stunned me. Good news for once? After only 26 rounds, we received a FEMA grant? It may be time to sing, dance and love for a change. Hold onto your turnout pants, kiddies. Let's take a closer look at that Voice story.

Wilkes-Barre Fire Department will have a new ladder truck at its disposal in coming weeks thanks to a $450,000 grant awarded to the city on Thursday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In coming weeks? If we recieve that truck that quickly, that would mean we bought a generic truck off of a lot, rather than ordering exactly what we need and then waiting nearly a year for it to be built. No biggie, you say? Think again. We bought Rescue 7 off of a lot and a mere five years later, it is encountering some major mechanical difficulties, partly because it's our only rescue vehicle and it is being run into the ground. Rescue 7 responds to all sorts of emergencies. Fires, paramedic calls, public assists, investigations, but it's primary function is responding to motor vehicle accidents, which occur 24/7/365. In other words, every time some ninny runs a red light and impacts into the side of another vehicle; Rescue 7 is rolling. Again. And again. What we need is two rescue vehicles to lighten the wear and tear on Rescue 7. Or, to purchase a vehicle built specifically for the challenges ahead of it, rather than buying some generic piece on a lot somewhere.

If our new fire truck appears within a few weeks, it'll be worn-out before very long.

Mayor Thomas McGroarty claimed on Thursday afternoon Wilkes-Barre was the first city in the state allowed to purchase a Quint ladder truck with its grant proceeds.

A Quint? Holy jumpin' orangutan farts! I can't believe it? Wilkes-Barre will be the first city allowed to purchase a Quint ladder truck with it's grant proceeds? Did you hear that wifey? Jesus! That's really impressive news for the average resident that can't even spell "Quint." I'm sorry to rain on the fire truck parade, but our new Quint, with it's 75' ladders, is once again; not the best choice for our city's needs. We've got quite a few tall buildings in this city and quite a few abandoned tall buildings, with a code enforcement policy that is dominated by politics and scattershot at best. That's a recipe for a towering inferno.

Now, lets say that you, or a loved one ends up being trapped on an eighth floor somewhere in the city, while an out-of-control fire rages on the floors beneath you. Sound like fun? Okay. So, the hose dudes raise their ladder truck up to your window and are ready to assist you out of an eighth story window. Would you rather have to climb out onto the very end of a ladder, or would you rather have a platform, a basket perched under your window? Which do you think the firefighters would prefer having? Really. Picture that. The end of a ladder sounds much less safe for everyone involved. Should we be buying a ladder truck with an ariel platform instead? You bet your life. I guess Mayor McFireChief is betting that panic struck people won't slip and fall to their deaths. Hell, they might not even drag down a firefighter with them.

We got a Quint!!!!! But we should have gotten a platform truck.

"This is a great gift for the next mayor, the fire department and the taxpayers," the mayor said. "If we didn't get this grant, the city probably would have needed a loan to buy this type of equipment."

Gift??? Where did that word come from? In the past, the mayor always pointed out how hard we worked to get grant money, now grant money is a gift? As if he has any clue as to what hard work is really all about. I guess that's his pathetic attempt to point out that Tom Leighton had nothing to do with this grant money, or this fire truck coming our way. What a joke. When the grants came on his watch, they were proof of his competancy. Now, as Leighton is poised and ready to correct McG's blunders-we're getting gifts. For the first time in eight years, the word "gift" suddenly passes through his lips. Got it. It's a gift. Note to self: Tom Leighton never got us a Quint.

McGroarty traveled to Philadelphia to meet with FEMA representatives to get the city included in the grant program. It had been rejected earlier this year.

Rejected? Why would that be? Could it be that we kept screwing up the simple online grant applications? Why did it take until the 26th round to get a grant? The way I hear it, it was neither McChiefie or chiefie that secured this grant. The way I hear it, a fire department underling finally got it right well over a year ago. The Quint will look good on chiefie's resume though. Probably the soon to be ex-mayor's also.

U.S. senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter played a role in the city being awarded the $450,000 grant.

BANG! A role? Laugh out funkin' loud! For the first time in about six years, the folks at the very top of the political food chain are trying to save Wilkes-Barre. Why the sudden change of heart? Because, for the first time in years, it appears that fiscally responsible adults will soon be in charge of Wilkes-Barre. Besides, the feds learned their lesson a long time ago about sending federal monies to McG. They gave him grant money for the Classic Bride building acquisition and he went and broke all of the rules and spent it elsewhere. A major no-no in the feds eyes, I might add. Stay tuned on that investigation.

So, there it is. We're about to purchase the wrong apparatus again. Well, maybe. Along with that $450,000 grant comes the stipulation that Wilkes-Barre will have it's 10% grant matching funds. In this town, $45,000 is a helluva lotta money to have to produce, when meeting the city's payroll obligations has become an exciting thrill ride.

Try this. Mayor McTommy can't produce enough money to buy a pack of Razzles, let alone come up with the $45,000 matching funds. Sooooo, no matching funds-no Quint. Heyna? Am I wrong? It looks as if Mayor Leighton will have to increase the size of our usual January Tax Anticipation Note and see to it that our new fire truck actually materializes. Mayor McTommy can't afford it, so I guess Tom Leighton, in a round about way, will have to save the day. Some f**king gift.

He'll also have to do something about the completely bald tires on Truck 6 and Rescue 7. The 14 police cruisers currently out of service. The three out of our four garbage packers out of commission. And with our lone mechanic that finds himself collecting trash when the DPW guys call off sick YET again.

A new ladder truck. Let's see, he caused one to be destroyed and ran the other one to near death, without any regular maintenance. Now, a new ladder truck is offered to us as a gift.

A gift? Gifts? The biggest gift this buffoon could offer us as Christmas 2003 rapidly approaches is his early departure from these horribly long and horribly painful proceedings.

Whatever. The Quint will have to do. We're getting used to doing more with less than we really needed.