3-3-2003 From the inbox

"Hans Blix talks about Iraqi cooperation the same way a battered woman talks about her abusive boyfriend's promise to change." --Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I always point out the fact that you can find anything, anything on the internet if you are persistent enough. I ran across a web site that helps to explain why Wilkes-Barre has become such a financial maelstrom and a city which is in total disarray. I answered the questions on this site based on the actions, statements and tendencies of a local politico. Give it a try.

If we’re going to allow our hookers and pimps to claim squatters rights to our sidewalks, I think the least we should do is pass an ordinance that requires them to practice safe slurps. These might be a good place to start. Check ‘em out.

The Crown, The Kings College Newspaper continues to cover local politics and the goings-on in the city that affect the kiddies as much as they affect all of us. Here’s a few articles from the current edition:

Who wants to be a Mayor?

Space Downtown Available with no Takers

Icy Relations with Mayor Melting Slowly

They did miss one declared candidate for Mayor-James Verdekal.

The Fuq Iraq campaign is probably only days away. The city has already had one city employee, J.J. Murphy, called upon to serve our country. Our mayor, once a Brigadier General (or some such claim), has publicly stated that he supports our troops and our veterans. He even hinted (teased us) that he could be called upon to serve in the looming hostilities. He spent untold thousands of dollars to string patriotic banners from one end of the city to the other after the 911 attacks. Despite all of his flag waving, he is still refusing to simply sign a few forms so that a half dozen or so city employees can collect the education benefits that they earned under the GI Bill after serving in our military.

The GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits for college, technical or vocational courses, apprenticeship/job training and flight training for eligible veterans.

Veterans can receive up to $600 a month for the first six months of an apprenticeship or on-the-job training, $440 a month for the next six months and $280 for the remainder, according to the state Department of Education.

The benefits would not cost the city a penny if the mayor decided to stop blocking them by providing his signature to the necessary forms. He claims to support our men in uniform, but his petty actions suggest otherwise. Here’s an interesting question: If his Deputy Administrator earned the same benefits in the upcoming war, would the mayor sign off so that he could collect his benefits? I’ll betcha he would. The fire fighters that earned the benefits are getting screwed. And some people wonder why they call him vindictive.

There’s a whole lotta dialogue going on here lately. The e-mails have been lengthy and frequent lately, so I’m just gonna let ‘em rip.

From Kings College:

*****Hey Mark,
Well, the gangsters...err...artists....errr...."other people" have made their way up north. There is fresh graffiti on the front of the Margarita building. Thankfully for us, they weren't the brightest of artist/gangster/"other people" and they sprayed their markings on the sub-wall that is going to get covered by brickface or stucco. I don't know about you, but when I think of art, I don't think of illegible print that seems to be some sort of gang or "other" symbol. Oh well, what do I know, I just live here. Its March, 2 months closer to May, praise God! Take it easy.*****

From a Copper Dude:

*****Hey Mark!!! Just a couple of things, first I would like to thank the "Red Lighters" for their support. They were right is thinking that we thought the petition was against us instead of the higher ups. As every one knows, things are rough, I live in the city and I have to live with the same crap that every other resident lives with here. Hopefully things will change in 10 months, but I have to say, it's going to be a long 10 months. If we could weather out the storm, we should be in allot better shape. It may take a bit to get there but at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
The second thing is, I want to sign Tom Leighton's petition for Mayor, where can I sign? I like what he has to say about letting the department heads lead their respective departments. My choice for Chief of Police, Capt. Dessoye!!!
Well that's all for now, I could go on, but I'll save it for another time.*****

Copper Dudes for Leighton! By the way, Capt. Dessoye’s name keeps coming up in my e-mail. Apparently, he has strong support from our rank-and-file copper dudes.

After reading the story in the Sunday Voice about our fire chiefie yesterday, I figured the hose dudes would have something to say about it. This is another city department that is probably headed for new leadership sooner rather than later.

Let’s do it:

*****Mark,
kudos to the Voice writer who presented us with that wonderful article about our fire chief! I haven't had a belly laugh like that in a while. You gotta love the opening sentence: "What would you call Chief Jay Delaney?" Of the 85 possible answers I imagined, "prepared" wasn't one of them. It was interesting to see the various mutilations of the photo that was attached to the article. Our firemen are truly a creative bunch!*****

Again:

*****Mark,
I've been taking in all the email regarding the fire department, and the one thing that is obvious is the fact that the majority of the general public has no idea, concern, or understanding of just what we have to do and put up with at work, and how from the workers point of view, what is actually wrong with the fire department. The only way this group ever seems to pay attention about the size of the fire department is when the mayor tries to influence the public (usually by making threats about tax increases and cut backs to the elderly) about how much we cost them. Lazy fire fighters, greedy fire fighters, and they always go to arbitration are the MgG battle crys.
Take my family and friends, other than those in my house, the only thing they know is that if they call 911 and ask for help that we show up. Otherwise out of sight, out of mind. They really don't give us a second thought on a daily basis. It's like me and what I think about the mailman. Sorry mail dudes. I know that he/she exists because when I look for the mail in the afternoon it is there. Other than that I really don't care about his/her job. Yet, let me hear a news report that the price of a stamps is going to rise and I take notice. I guess that is human nature.
As we all know the department is at an all time low with regard to morale, equipment, staffing, facilities, leadership. Our department is not alone in that category. We have the city administration (mayor and fire chief) to blame for that. No question about it. It is a constant lie and struggle when at work. The concerns about less fire stations leading to less equipment and then leading to less fire fighters is a real concern. Just look at the history of the department in regard to that. At one time I believe there were 10 fire stations and somewhere in the range of 120 fire fighters. No wonder when the rank and file are threatened by the administration about cuts to the department they get defensive. Now I understand that the demographics of the city and the overall way in which fire fighters work in the fire service in 2003 as compared to 1903 have played a big part in this journey down the road to where we are now, but at some point the hemorrhaging of the department has to stop. That is the case with the police department as well. In both departments the employees deserve and need a certain amount of people and equipment to do the work. Face it, all aspects of the job are labor intensive. With that said, both the city and the fire fighters need to change with respect to the way they do business. That dear citizen is where the work begins.
I am hopeful that with the right administration things can change for the better. I know for a fact that change will not be liked by all. That is the reality of the situation. But the first step here is to put into office those elected officials who WILL NOT make promises for votes, both now and in the future, that will endanger the citizens and guests of this city by bearing the fiscal balancing act on the backs of the essential services such as police, fire and EMS. Cooperative change in the way we do business is possible, but only with hard work and a genuine interest in providing the best services. No doubt, your opinions and mine will differ on just how we do that. Wouldn't it be nice though to at least have the chance to have both sides working for that common goal instead of the current situation that now exists in this city? I have my thoughts and ideas. They will be shared given the opportunity with the right people. Let's get the right people in place to make this happen. If not, the loser in all this will be you and I, the resident and guest of the city who calls for help and because of doing more with less until the less is no more, will find out the hard way that some things are just worth having no matter how much work it involves.*****

Well thought out, numerous excellent points made and a willingness to do what it takes for the betterment of all involved. A future leader?

Another rather passionate e-mail:

*****Hey cous,,,,,,,I would have written this e-mail earlier but after reading the article about the Chiefie in Sunday's Citizen Voice, I was busy the rest of the day puking my brains out. What a travesty of reporting that was. The person who wrote that article is either 1.) Related to this i***t or 2.) A reporter who was paid handsomely to do the story or 3.) A bumbling i***t like the man he did the story about without checking on this man's credibility. I will try my best to tell the rest of the story without taking up too much of your time.
First of all, Did I tell you he is related to State Senator Ray Musto, his father is Ray Musto's #1 man in his office, his father used to be the Mayor of the thriving metropolis of Hughestown, and chiefie is so well liked in the department that he was not even invited to the recent Annual Retirement Party held on Tuesday, first time in the history of the department that a Chiefie was not invited.
Secondly, the above paragraph explains many of this man's many things on his resume. The only reason this man has ever, ever gotten anything in this world is because of Uncle Ray and not other reason. I wonder how many fires there were in Hugestown in 1975 that gave Delaney so much experience that he assumed an appointment to Assistant Chiefie????? I imagine he left someone even in that small community totally pissed that he used his politics to replace a man who really deserved the position of Assistant. It is certainly not because of his bravery or firefighting skills that he attained this position.
Thirdly, the men that he worked with in Pittston were and are thrilled that he left that community and took his politics with him. He still works up that way on Medic 303, makes 60,000 a year in W-B (we're broke), his wife has a political job with the school district, and he takes a couple of shifts off of other people who truly need the work. Guess he needs to keep his options open for next year. His future in the City is short from what I am hearing.
Fourth, he screwed over people to get a job as a paramedic, talked (or used his politics) to have man change his retirement date so that he could be appointed to the Fire Department on the final day that the list was still good after taking the test 6 times before he even passed it. He then screwed over men to get his promotion to Captain on the department as was stated yesterday (after convincing the Fire Civil Service to change the requirement from 4 years to 3 1/2 years to take the test). As was stated on Sunday's post he flunked the test as per today's requirements. Fifth, he was not promoted to chiefie, the men call it the amazing appointment. You do not promote people that know how to run a department the size of the Fire Department of Wilkes-Barre that only have 7 years on the job. The men that should have been promoted, left the Department because of the political goings on that happened when this man was made chiefie. The moral of the men is totally gone, they are now counting down the days when McG and this idiot that he appointed to run the Fire Department are long gone.
And lastly, this man thinks that he has totally trained the men that are on the department because of his policies and his direction. The policies that he speaks about were and are the same pieces of paper that were written by men who forgot more than this man will ever know about firefighting that he changed a word or two in the memorandum or order and placed his own name on. Hey Chiefie, I've got news for you. The members of the Department do an excellent job "IN SPITE OF YOUR PRESENCE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day Mark,,,,,sorry it was so long. Gotta go puke again,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, *****

Well then. BANG! Nuf’ said.

That’s enough fun and games for one day.

Rutro! Everyone’s getting into the act now. Wifey wants to know if we’re going to show off our famous outhouse float at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. A mobile port-a-potty! Is this City proactive or what?

Talk to ya later.