2-1-2004 Our two Steves

Take your meditations and your preparations and ram 'em up your snout.--Francis Vincent Zappa

Was I hallucinating again, or did I read that WBRE's Kathy Bozinski was hired by the county to act as it's official spokesperson? That was a waste. Wanna know why? Because there are two many loose cannons working under the courthouse dome. The new commissioners and the incumbant commish are supposed to be hard at work trying to present a balanced budget. Todd and Skrep have gone on the record as saying they are doing everything in their power not to have to resort to employee layoffs, but warned that layoffs may become necessary. Okay, fine. We nervously await the final numbers and the resulting plan.

But how does a spokesperson fit into the mix when everybody and their elected breatheren are talking to the press nearly everyday and adding nothing but confusion to the already confusing mix? We've got a controller who goes AWOL while the budget is being prepared, but he does have the time to tell the press we may have to layoff close to 200 employees. The majority commissioners are then forced to respond to that comment and suggest that less than 100 would be laid-off if layoffs become necessary. Then there's Steve Urban who seems to think that creating controversy by yapping to the press everyday somehow passes as governing. And he contradicts the numbers offered by the majority commissioners he swore to work closely with by telling the press to expect as many as 150 layoffs. If his auto-response to anything that Todd or Skrep tells the press is "au contraire," we do not have our three commissioners on the same page, and I suspect that Steve is just fine with that.

The two Steves told us that the two Toms were the problem and now that the two Toms are no more, the two Steves don't seem to have changed their tactics at all. They run to the press every chance they get, they create as much controversy as they possible can, and they remind us at every turn that they are the champions of the taxpayers. If the two Toms were Stalin and Hitler reincarnated, are we now to believe that Todd and Skrep grew up idolizing Mussolini and have adopted many of his management techniques? If the Two Toms were the absolute worst tandem to ever preside over this county, as the two Steves would have us believe, Todd and Skrep deserve the same treatment afforded to the Two Toms after only four weeks in office? It seems to me that we've got two commissioners with one agenda and two independant contractors with differing agendas right now, and as the county faces numerous daunting challenges, that's certainly not what we need.

I've voted for Steve Flood in the past, but these days he comes off as a bombastic grand-stander that does not understand what the word 'compromise' means. I also voted for Steve Urban until he launched into his ill-advised, foolhardy, and scurrilous attack on Tom Leighton for not paying enough attention to the needs of the handicapped. And his Lone Ranger routine is getting very old very fast. His constant drone is that he is not included in the process, but how could he be when he's always busy chasing after reporters? It's getting old Steverino. Enjoy your last term as a Luzerne County Commissioner.

Kathy Bozinski's job will probably be reduced to answering the press' questions about the latest allegations made by the two Steves. They told us that the two Toms were the reason for all of the non-stop rancor, but now that the two Toms have bit down on their political cyanide capsules, the two Steves seem to be more than willing to fill the void created by their hasty retreat from politics.

If the Young Guns turn out to be as bad as the Two Toms, I'll cut a four-foot section off of my garden hose and chase down Todd myself, a swingin' and a cursin' all the way. And I'll also help to recruit someone to do the same to Skrep.

All I am saying is give Todd and Skrep a chance.

Would that be okay, Steve? How 'bout you, Steve?

I've been trying to weed through the stacks of press clippings, city-related documents, political flyers, copies of lawsuits, press releases, letters, and god only knows what that very accurately document what has gone on in this city during the past three years. This place could easily become the Historical Society annex with one well-placed phone call. Actually, it's been kinda fun. I keep finding myself going: "I remember that." Hears one for ya'

Remember when the ex-mayor personally delivered the biodegrable yard waste bags to our porches cleverly wrapped in his re-election flyers printed by the city's new copying machine? I re-read the entire thing today and in retrospect-it's as funny as all hell. It yammered on and on about all of the money the city was saving with it's curb-side muckity muck, but we need a debt consolidation loan to the tune of $10 million to pay off 2003 and 2002s' debts. The Garbage King.

Anyway, check this out:

I would also like to let you know that the City is planning to distribute to every home, an emergency planning guide. This will allow families to prepare for any type of emergency. The new family guide will be free and paid for with a grant from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Needless to say, we never did recieve those worthless planning guides, but we did take receipt of the $320,000 from the CDC. If we got the grant money to pay for them, where the hell are the planning guides? Come on, man. The soda pop trailer couldn't have used up the entire grant. The rehabbed trailer passed off as a new emergency command trailer couldn't have cost THAT much. The re-painted Mobile Communications Muckity Truck with the three hundred Radio Shack antennaes wasn't that expensive. One new ambulance, minus a litter shouldn't have put the kibosh to the planning guides. What happened to the planning guides? Or more importantly, what happened to the grant money that was supposed to pay for them? Did that money get mis-appropriated into the general fund too?

How 'bout this one?

Street signs: All North End street signs will be replaced in the summer of 2003.

Promises, promises. Survey says! RHURGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Whatever, man. Anyway, the letter, or campaign flyer ends with this:

If you don't have a City Calendar or white recycling container, please call my Help Line at 821-1111, so one can be delivered to your home. May 9, 2003

The last, dying breaths of The Garbage King.

I also came upon the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project Inflatable Dam Feasibility Study: Purpose and Needs Statements. This report was presented to Tom Makowski by James Brozena, the Luzerne Couty Engineer on November 19, 2002. When I first provided excerpts from this study that suggests that damming un-checked pollution will not enduce anyone to gravitate towards any water-related activities on Wilkes-Barre's shoreline, the resulting debate was fast and furious. God, I love when that happens. I was also accused of being negative once again. Go figure.

I wish that everyone would wander over to the courthouse and grab a copy of this report. It is a treasure trove of all sorts of demographics, not just an evaluation of the proposed dam and it's likely impact on the river. Whatever. I'll toss a couple of snippets from this impact statemant at'cha once again:

Without meaningful water quality improvements, the present conditions in the Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre severly limit recreational use and would impair the success of desired water-based recreational activities and real economic development. Significant public and private investment in riverfront development is needed.

Hmmm. The riverfront development will begin later this year, but the water quality issue is yet to be seriously addressed. Yet, Uncle Paul is still pushing hard for his deflatable dam.

Here's a few words of wisdom from the same report:

Higher taxes act as a further disincentive for population and economic growth.

Heyna, or no?

Okay. I bothered to comment on how utterly disgusting I find the contents of hoddogs to be and I got a quick, but funny e-mail toungue-lashing for having done so. What are the odds against this thing appearing on the pages of SAYSO only a few days later?

Gage Andrew

Gotsta go. Super Bowl XXXVIII is rapidly approaching. This ought to be a good one.