12-26-2003 My bloody Christmas

Council and Mayor Leighton have some hard decisions to make.--Council Chairman Mike McGinley

I hear that. This city has so many immediate infrastructure needs and we've been reduced to piling the unpaid bills for months. We may get some nasty and untimely news after that forensic audit is completed, but for the first time in years we'll be getting a no-sh*t assessment of exactly where we're at financially and that will actually be refreshing. For the first time in years, we are going to be told the truth. The smoke-and-mirrors will be no more. We may not like what we're told, but at least we'll know what the situation is and what the plan is to deal with it. The "Doing more with less" days will become the "Doing what we can with what we have" era. Or in other words, we'll have some responsible leadership for a change.

I still have one nagging question for the new administration. Where the hell do you start to put this scattered jigsaw puzzle of a city back together? Whew!

Well? Did y'all have a great Christmas? We sure as heck did. On Christmas Eve, Gage Andrew dove into our piled presents like he was shot out of a cannon. Then, he had Christmas morning at home with his parents and sister to look forward to and today he's at Grandma's in Allentown doing it all over again. He's a lucky little dude.

I didn't get any of those supermodel babes I wanted, but I did get a gift certificate redeemable at Joe Nardone's Gallery of Sound. Who said my kids are slow? I also got some cool trinkets and my DVD collection grew from 2 titles to 5. After the kids headed back to Pottsville, I watched Black Hawk Down twice and stayed up way too late. Hoo-ah!!! Then, on Christmas, I watched Clockwork Orange twice. How's that for a Merry Christmas? Hour after hour after hour of killing, raping and maiming. I can't wait until next year for some more ultra-violence and the old in/out, in/out real savage like.

I didn't want that Gallery of Sound gift certificate to gather any dust, so I took a walkabout through our downtown this afternoon. I done got me a Zappa CD and the new Bowie CD. David Bowie has reunited with his longtime producer from that era when he actually rocked and rocked hard. They tell me this disc is pretty good. Oh, and I also ordered a Cheap Trick boxed set. And I also spotted a new Zappa DVD release. I think I need help. I need to be rehabbed to beat this addiction and I think Joe Nardone should be held responsible for what he has done to me. I'm a victim, just like everybody else. With all of the loopholes in that Americans with Disabilities Act, I might be able to collect social security. Maybe even food stamps. Does Joe Nardone's accept food stamps?

Check this out. One week after being fired and four days before he cleans out his office, I got a Jim Fassel bobblehead doll. There's a must-have item for sure.

So? What do you think? Is The Department of Labor & Industry coming to a hole near you? I would not bet against it. Ed Rendell said all through his campaign that he was committed to revitalizing our smaller cities in this state and here's his chance to start helping to make that happen. Plus, we have a new mayor coming to town who works closely with the governor, rather than hurling insults at the governor as our soon to be ex-mayor does. What many of us knew all along is about to play itself out in Wilkes-Barre. Namely, now that competent adults have been put in charge of things, our fortunes are about to change for the better. No, there is no need to pinch yourself. It's actually going to get better around here. The adults are coming! The adults are coming!

Eating wrapping paper

Why does a vendor owed $503,187 by the city wait patiently for more than three years without being paid suddenly decide that now is the right time to file a lawsuit against the city? What's up with that? More politics? What this suggests to me is that the City more than likely has a different engineering firm in mind for any future projects. Whatever. I could care less what firms do what, as long as we actually finish what we start for once. That reminds me, how's that new super firehouse coming anyway? Is that thing almost ready to use?

Choo Choo!

We might as well have some fun with our misery. McG's $34.3 million 2004 budget is in the circular file where it belongs. On December 29, council has to decide how big of a Tax Anticipation Note we'll need to roll into 2004. And that's without having the results of the forensic audit that will commence just as soon as the mayor's office is fumigated. It's a tough spot to be in to have to come up with the right numbers when there are still so many unanswered questions hanging in the balance. No one is really sure how many surprises they'll find when they begin that audit. We've got unpaid 2003 bills hanging in the balance that will need to be paid. We've got vendors suing the city. My question is, how big should that TAN be? Any ideas on that? Give it some thought, send your predictions and we'll see who comes the closest. If you come within $10 million or so, I might even award a premium prize. I'm working on my guesstimate tonight.

Zach attack!

Dummy me. I made the comment to wifey yesterday that the city was absolutely dead. Just a few minutes later the tone sounded. "Second floor fully involved." Sorry guys, I neglected to knock on wood. Being that Bowman Street is only seconds away from the adobe on foot, I hit the pause button on the remote and wandered out of doors for a look.

F-11 is in route

The hose dudes had this baby under control in the time it took me to grab a pair of jeans. You know, if you guys are gonna keep that up, we'll never get any good fire pics. Jeez!

Mr. McMayor announced today that there will be no New Year's Eve Diamond Drop this year. Boo-freaking-hoo! I'm distraught. He did point out that council placed restrictions on overtime and he would rather spend the money on curbside collections. That's the longer version of, "We're broke." The guy dropped the diamond for seven years. Unfortunately, he also dropped the ball somewhere along the way.

We'll be okay. Instead of attending the Diamond Drop, you'll just have to get totally inebriated and drive around the valley like practically everyone else does. Be sure to buckle up though.

I'm curious. Can we pull a "Bill Barrett" on McGroarty and snatch his company car away from him a week before he leaves the city's employ? That'd be cool. Paybacks a bitch.

The time has come to blast the new Bowie CD. Don't send any copper dudes to the adobe. I won't be able to hear them pounding on the front door.