12-18-2003 "Pending litigation"

We need to show the state we're working as a team and the council and the administration want to restore financial integrity.--Adult-elect Tom Leighton

I'd like to see legislation introduced at whatever level that would call for restricting major construction projects to the warmer months only. Forget Iraq. If you want to see a real quagmire, visit the new Sprawl-Mart site. What isn't iced-over is flooded and what isn't flooded is a hard to navigate mud bog. Then, just for the full effect, throw in the cold temperatures and the always present winds on that plateau and one starts to wonder why they goofed-off so completely while still in school.

The contractor's job site rules don't help either. You have to wear a hardhat at all times, so you can't protect anything from the neck up from the temps and the wind. No radios are allowed on-site. Kill me, why dontcha? My personal favorite? We have to wear work gloves, which means you can no longer feel your fingers after the first half hour. Plus, the macho men, those tool belt-laden, F-bomb throwing guys who behave as if they think they're all Jolly Green Giants, are deathly afraid of pesticides, so we have to ply our skills after hours. You know, when the sun goes down and the temperature drops even more.

I'm beginning to hate Sprawl-Mart even more than I did before.

I know who called this one in. I know who called this one in. He starts every one of his SAYSO calls with "I see where..."

There's a whole lotta tough talk going on there. "Let me tell you something" Mayor (elect) Leighton...blah, blah, blee, blee, blee. Tough talk from one of McG's cronies, who never sought any reforms before...only kickbacks. This sort of absurdity would be laughable if it wasn't so completely phoney. We were just treated to eight years of mismanagement and lunacy bordering on chaos, but now...NOW...some folks who aren't what they're pretending to be are suddenly demanding much, much better from the new mayor. The fun part is, they don't even realize how transparent they really are. They all have their own agenda, or their own axe to grind and they don't actually give a flying flip about Wilkes-Barre.

The more these self-centered gadflys nip at Leighton's ass, the more I'll nip at theirs. They demanded nothing from McRedInk and recieved nothing, but now we've got elevated standards for the new guy who hasn't even taken office yet? Cut me a break! All of a sudden it's, "Let me tell you something, I want a cure for cancer and I wanna see DPW guys landing on the moon and I pay your salary and..." Ad naseum. This particular dipsh*t didn't bother to call SAYSO when McG started handing out new contracts right before the May primary, but he now demands that Tom Leighton turn union buster right out of the gate.

Shut the f**k up and give the guy a chance. I'm not sure what would be the tougher challenge; straightening out Wilkes-Barre, or bringing peace and stability to Iraq. I would never presume to demand anything of him. I've told him how I feel, what I think would improve our lot and that I'm more than willing to get involved. Right now, he needs all of the help and ideas we can offer him, but what he doesn't need is wusses calling SAYSO, or people turning every single city meeting into an unpaid political ad. Stop trying to personally benefit from Wilkes-Barre and start working to benefit the city.

What did I ask of Leighton? I asked for a clean, safe and bustling city. I asked for a Wilkes-Barre hat pin. I also asked that Cheap Trick perform on Public Square one day. And I asked if I could help in anyway.

Get with the program dipsh*ts!

When I whizzed through the papers this morning, I was surprised to learn that a council meeting was slated for last night. There's no doubt that we still face a few big hurdles before McG is cast off to the dust bin of history, but while I anxiously wait for that day; I find it harder to pay attention to detail until January, 5, 2004 finally arrives. We are so close!

I was not surprised to read that Walter Griffith once again continued his "name recognition" program. It's council this and council that, until the next election rolls around and then his message will morph into "Vote for me." The candidate turned champion of the taxpayers. For the time being. And how is anything of note supposed to be accomplished at these meetings if everyone in attendance has to joust with Walter over and over again? It seems to me that he's quickly becoming an impediment to the progress we all seek.

And did he have to bring up McG's proposed 2004 budget yet again? Is he the only person in Wilkes-Barre not shooting at people for drugs that does not know that that budget will be trucked to the landfill right quick, if we can get one of our garbage packers running again?Walter, listen to me tell it! That budget isn't worth the paper it's printed on that the city couldn't afford to pay for. There is nothing that needs to be amended. It's garbage, Walt. Duh!

And we were treated to squabbling over the Diamond Drop. I could care less if it actually happens at all. I've never attended one and I never will in it's present form. It's gawdy, it's goofy and it's amateurish. And when it's staged, it's usually very, very cold outside. I have no idea how much it would cost to stage this event, but I doubt that it costs very much. The argument probably should be made that we really can't afford it, but in the grand scheme of things, a couple thousand bucks wouldn't make much of a difference at this point.

The good news is that council is officially requesting financial management planning and technical assistance from Gov. Ed Rendell's action team. Hooray!!! The adults have finally assumed control. I honestly believe that this move is a precursor to the city receiving significant state aid from Rendell's administration. First we prove that we're on stable financial footing again and then the state aid flows our way. Now, why couldn't McG make like an adult, instead of fighting with the former governor?

I firmly believe that big things are in our immediate future. Barely a day passes without news that Tom Leighton has once again rubbed elbows with all of the right people. The list is already numerous. The Governor. County Commissioners. Congressmen. Senators. Chamber types. Businessmen. The PA Economy League. Me. Seriously, instead of having our mayor drive plow trucks and play policeman; our new mayor seems to be pushing all of the right buttons, while doing what mayors are supposed to be doing. Namely, taking care of business. He's got some big challenges ahead of him and there will no doubt be some vocal and impatient critics. I think that he needs not to reply to them early on. Let 'em squawk, give 'em lots of rope and eventually they'll hang themselves when Wilkes-Barre's fortunes dramatically improve. And they will.

This snippet from the Voice story is very interesting:

The resolution asks for help with debt reduction, economic development and management oversight. It will be similar to the financial assessment requested by Councilman Phil Latinski throughout 2002 and 2003, but more detailed, according to Leighton.

Mayor Thomas McGroarty would not sign off on Latinski's study, and without city council and the mayor's cooperation, the state team would not come to the city.
Chairman Michael McGinley also indicated council met in executive session to discuss "potential litigation," involving Ordinance 17 of 2003.

The ordinance launched a "councilmanic investigation" to study the financial affairs of the city. It included the possibility of a forensic audit and a $15,000 budget.
As a result of city policy, council members will not publicly discuss any pending litigation.

And there it is. "Pending litigation." Stay tuned kiddies. The day might actually arrive when subpoenas are delivered to those that broke the back of this city. The rumors have been swirling about for months now. It sounds as if some people might not be sailing off into the sunset afterall. The unanswered financial questions just might be answered. Stay tuned. Buckle up.

Jim Fassel is no more. I can't say that I'm happy to see the guy get fired. He seems likeable enough. But, since he became the coach of the Jints, they always under-achieved early and then the big comeback commenced late. This season, like every other under his leadership, the Jints started out a game under five hundred after five games, but unlike other years, the comeback never came as injury after injury took it's toll on the roster. No big comeback, no more coach. So be it. This routine, his routine, was getting very old in a big hurry.

From the e-mail inbox:

Lots of folks are still fuming with the French, Germans and Russians for trying to hang us out to dry in Iraq. For whatever reason, hacking on the French is still the rage. Again, from the e-mail inbox:

Hit me, kick me, spit on me if you will, but please don't tease me. Very uncool.

Hey Walter, "If you don't go, you don't know." LOFL!!!

I gotta roll. No pun intended.